Here comes the most depressing batch of holiday films in history!
Looking to Hollywood to brighten your Christmas season with laughs and good cheer? You’d have a better time renting old Hammer horror flicks.
The last month of the year has become less of a venue to trot out cinematic smiles and eggnog than to appeal to the dark side of the audience while also groveling for awards and recognition.
It’s a bleak time in the movie cycle, and I have no problem with that—in fact, I detest cheap sentiment—but I sometimes find myself dreading the December depressathons, even if they’re admittedly better for you than feelgood rom-coms and cutesy cartoons.
Decide for yourself as I tell you what’s on the cultural horizon this December, along with warm woolen mittens, whiskers on kittens, and lots of crime.
All Good Things, with Ryan Gosling as a disturbed real-life man who may well have been responsible for three grisly deaths. (I actually liked this a lot, though Santa’s elves should probably stay home and keep wrapping.)
I Love You, Phillip Morris. Just another comedy about a con man (Jim Carrey) who decides to be openly gay after a horrible car accident.
The Tempest, with Helen Mirren as an exiled magician seeking revenge on those who wronged her as an earthly creature (Djimon Hounsou) screeches and yelps for attention.
The Fighter, about an ex-crack addict helping his brother punch people in the face.
The Company Men, about a wave of corporate downsizing—just the kind of thing you want to see when you’re in the middle of Christmas shopping.
And Soon The Darkness, about an American girl who goes missing in Argentina.
Rabbit Hole, with a well-preserved mother (Nicole Kidman) coping with the fact that her son died in a car accident. (No, Jim Carrey wasn’t involved.)
And Frankie & Alice, with Halle Berry suffering from the kind of “multiple personality disorder” that always leads to a doctor asking, “So, what exactly happened in your youth?”
Suicidal yet? Wait, there’s more! On December 22, we get the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit, which stars Jeff Bridges as a marshal trying to hunt down a guy who killed a nice girl’s father. And the year ends with Biutiful, another ultra-serious entry about a guy (Javier Bardem) who’s “disturbed” for 148 minutes.
Of course there are one or two light-hearted films sprinkled into the schedule, but they’re of no use; they look positively awful. Hand me the razor blades now!