Saturday, January 5, 2008

Our Holiday Movie Fare. . .

Our tradition since Donna and I were married 27 years ago is to go to a movie on Christmas day followed by dinner out. It’s a family day and the kids are always with us (if they are in town). And we always meet friends along the way.

So, Donna, Seth and I went to see Charlie Wilson’s War on Christmas Day. It was a lot of fun with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman heading up the cast.

It seems a bit strange saying that a movie focusing on how one Congressman led the fight to get the U.S. to provide funds to Afghanistan to fight off the Russians in the early 1980s was fun. I was puzzled when the film received Golden Globe nominations in the “Comedy/Musical” category. War is not funny but, in some ways, was incidental in this look at the life of a real Texas Congressman and those working with him to get the U.S. to respond, if only covertly, to soviet aggression. Yes, it was a fun, albeit not a great, film. And in some ways, I am embarrassed to say so.

We added another film outing on New Year’s Eve this year when we met some friends for a movie, dinner and a (very short) party. Actually, we saw The Kite Runner at a mid-afternoon matinee on December 31. (I’m not sure it qualifies as New Year’s Eve if it’s still daylight when the movie starts.)

One of the pleasant surprises was that this was an excellent film, based on Khaled Hosseini’s powerful novel which I had read some time ago. The cast, unknown to American audiences, was outstanding in depicting this autobiographical account. Sadly, I have seen reports that the two young boys who played the major roles in the first part of the film cannot return to Afghanistan. I don’t know the full particulars other than apparently there are those in their homeland who cannot separate the roles they played from reality and the boys lives could be threatened.

I usually do not like movies of books I have previously read. However, The Kite Runner is a must see film; a rare combination of a moving, well-written story bought to life by an outstanding cast. On top of that, it is well made with wonderful cinematography.

So that was this year’s holiday film fare. It is a rare that I see 2 movies in theatres in a week’s span. I think I should do it more often than just during the holiday season.

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