So we saw the movie Four Christmases this afternoon. Probably wouldn't have except we had some free tickets from a newspaper contest. The reviews I'd read were pretty negative; one critic complained about too much profanity and a disrespectful Nativity play; and that it's not a family film. Okay there's a bit of profanity but the Nativity scene seemed no more or less respectful than many modern farces -- certainly as much so as most local productions of the play "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever". I do have to agree that this is mostly a vehicle for Vince Vaughn, and I'm not a big fan of his -- an anti-fan, really. But there are some legitimate chuckles here and not much that is offensive beyond some swearing and the usual farce ridiculousnesses.
I don't expect Four Christmases to land on many people's annual "must re-watch every year" holiday movie lists; and it's not as clever or endearing as, say, Love, Actually. But as much as I like Love, Actually, it's not a family film eithre, nor is it without ridiculousnesses. Anyway, Four Christmases is about Christmas in California, which is a bit different than in the heartland (or the Bible Belt). They used a Tom Petty Christmas song and everything ("Christmas All Over Again").
And we get the satisfying ending, with a little cherry on top. Family harmony, after a fashion, after all. Since it's actually New Year's Day today, with resolutions and promises to live better, truer, longer lives, I also wanted to point to some family-first wisdom from Dave Winer's site, and just say "Right On" (click through for the full quote):
"A rubber ball will bounce and someone else can pick it up. That's your work life. The glass ball is family, friends, your health. Drop it, and if you're lucky it'll just crack. If you're not so lucky, it'll break into a million pieces. "
Finally, maybe I was put in a better mood for the film by seeing a "First Look" at the upcoming Watchmen film during the previews. I recently read this graphic novel that is on Time magazine's All Time 100 Novels list. I also just loaned my copy to my parents, not only for them to read, but for my Reverend Uncle, too; I think he'll get a lift out of it.