Even if only Cats and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker were coming out over the holidays, they’d still represent one of the stranger arrays of Christmas movie season choices in recent history. Add everything from an Adam Sandler film with Oscar buzz to movies about Fox News and we’ve got a very non-thematic (albeit definitely textured) lineup on deck.
Bless anyone attempting to whittle all these movies down to one perfect choice to please an entire group. Whatever the case, whichever one you chose probably says a whole lot about your family.
You have someone in your family who has distinct theater kid, Broadway aunt, or Taylor Swift super-fan energy, and those people tend to make sure they get their way, terrible reviews be damned. We’re very, very sorry that you will have to endure Cats, but, admit it, you’re kind of curious, aren’t you?
Either that or your family has a shared sense of extreme irony. In that case, we’re actually very, very happy for you.
It’s not as if this movie doesn’t hold wide appeal, but to elect to watch it as a Christmas movie or holiday break excursion—during a timeframe in which most people strain to avoid any mention of politics or hot button issues around their family—is certainly a strong choice. Likely, your family is mostly lockstep in their politics, generally watch MSNBC, had an absolutely popping group chat on impeachment night, and the biggest political argument your kin are likely to have is over that Pete Buttigieg supporter dance (“It’s cute! People are clearly fired up about him,” says aunt Clarice. “Ok, boomer,” cousin Janet murmurs from across the table).
While allowances are to be made for grandpas who just have a lifelong love of Clint Eastwood movies (valid!), this film, with its noted political undertones, is almost the exact opposite of Bombshell. It’s for Fox News families where no one is liable to go off about that time Eastwood talked to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
You are a big, franchise-loving family. You’ve got an aunt who doesn’t mind that she’s too old to be obsessed with Twilight. The twenty-somethings all know their Harry Potter houses and have the appropriate pajamas. Someone has a Disney all-access pass. The notion of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man leaving the MCU was a matter of great collective concern. You share “Which character are you?” Buzzfeed quizzes in a family e-mail chain. You all could have rushed out to see The Rise of Skywalker individually on the night of its release, but your family bonds are built on mass entertainment and there’s no way you would have seen it with anyone else (well, except for your cousin Greg or little brother William, who will be seeing it for the fourth time since its premiere, somehow).
Of course, there are likely two or three family members who aren’t into any of this nonsense, but know by now that there’s no use in fighting the popular vote. They’ll just go watch the big, loud space movie and nod gamely.
Ford vs Ferrari
You didn’t come home for Thanksgiving, so your dad is being stubborn and making you go see this consummate dad movie now. He’s been really, really excited to see it. You absolutely can’t disappoint him. He’s a simple man and it’s all he wants.
You’re a family full of teens, apparently, looking for some quick freights in between moments of hitting the Yule Juul.
Spies in Disguise
If you’re checking out Spies in Disguise this week it’s probably because you’ve got lots of little children in your family. Thankfully, for the adults in the room, it has decent reviews.
At first we were just going to write this off as something like, “Your family is all incredibly hip and lives in New York City,” but those types of families have probably already seen the screeners.
On second thought, we realized that despite its A24 cred, this is an Adam Sandler film after all. Everyone loves an Adam Sandler film. So, really, this is for a family that has one or two members flying in from some art school or some urban center looking to trick their kin into getting some culture. “Yeah, hmmmmmm, it was, uh, really cool,” says your dad afterwards.
It’s Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Emma Watson and Saoirse Ronan all in a single movie based on a beloved American literary classic. Who isn’t this for?