Junkee Watches Secretly Cooked Christmas Movies: ‘The Holiday’

This movie is less about Christmas and more about the fragility of existence and how death is coming for us all.

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Have you ever noticed that Christmas movies tend to be kind of a bummer? That in celebrating the holiday spirit, they also like to remind you of the depravity of capitalism, the fragile nature of relationships and the steady decay of the human soul? 

Every week until Christmas we are going to watch a holiday movie that seems sweet and benign on the outside, but is secretly very cooked. This way, when you’re sitting around with your family or friends on Christmas Day, you can avoid these films and won’t have to confront your own mortality/discuss child labour laws at any point of the day.

Merry Christmas, or whatever! 

This week we watched The Holiday.


Had you seen this film before?

I tired to watch it last Christmas and I turned it off after 20 minutes, because I was so mad that this movie was trying to fucking ruin Christmas for me. That’s what families are for!

Would you watch this film again?


What is it about this movie that is secretly cooked?

Okay, so this movie is less about Christmas and more about the fragility of existence and how death is coming for us all? Death is invoked constantly in this film. Jude Law’s wife is dead. Pretty much everyone Eli Wallach’s character once knew is dead. I guess if you want to talk to your family about your will this could be a good ice breaker.

It’s also about loneliness and how your partner is probably cheating on you, and that men are trash but also women are trash. But like, interspersed with shots of the snowy English countryside.


Beautiful trash people.

Were there any fun bits at all?

It is a Nancy Meyers movie, so there’s still cute scenes of attractive people being charming, but I’m sorry, I’m not here for the romantic pairing of Kate Winslet and Jack Freaking Black. You can save all your: ‘hey some people don’t care about looks, some people just want a nice partner!’ explaining, just tell me this: in Hollywood films, is a man ever paired with a woman who is less attractive than him? LITERALLY NEVER.

Kate Winslet is an angel on earth, I’m not here for it.

Which cooked scene in this film will haunt you for many Christmas’ to come?

Any scene with Eli Wallach talking about being lonely, I can’t, please hand me a trifle so I can eat my feelings until infinity please.

Cooked rating out of 10: 6 Jack Blacks


Had you seen this film before?

No, and because I’m a giant idiot and forgot to watch the film last night as my colleagues politely requested I still haven’t seen it.

But I have read the Wikipedia summary! And that’s the same thing, really.

Would you watch this film again?

I guess for me this question should really be: “Now that you’ve read the Wikipedia summary of this film, would you watch it?”

And I’ve got to say the answer is… no. Absolutely not.

The first paragraph of the summary makes it sound like a fun grown up version of The Parent Trap. Two people living in London and California swap lives and all sorts of mayhem ensues.

But there are so many characters with boring as hell white people names like Ethan, Miles, Amanda, Jasper and Arthur that I got confused and couldn’t figure out who was sleeping with who.


Hope it works out for them, so cute!!!

What is it about this movie that is secretly cooked?

Okay so in the second paragraph of the summary you find out that one of the main characters, Amanda (Cameron Diaz), has gone to Surrey for a holiday (That’s where Harry Potter grows up, btw). During her first night at her holiday house a drunk man (Jude Law) knocks on her door and demands to be let in because he’s doesn’t want to drive home.

Apparently this interaction indicates there is “obvious chemistry between them” and they end up sleeping together. Which is kind of cooked? Maybe there’s more too it than the summary indicates, but it sounds very weird.

I mean, if Jude Law rocked up drunk to my house and demanded to be let in I’d probably be up for it, but I reckon we’d just play Xbox.

Later on Iris (Kate Winslet), who has temporarily moved from Surrey to Los Angeles, meets an old man on the street who tells her to watch films with strong female characters so she can develop “gumption”.


I don’t know if these bits qualify as being “secretly cooked” because they are pretty outwardly cooked, IMO.

Were there any fun bits at all?

It’s hard to tell from Wikipedia. There seems to be a lot of crying, and a lot of discussion about crying.

The bit at the end where the old man obsessed with gumption wins a Screenwriter’s Guild award (???) seems quite touching and fun.  Apparently Miles (Jack Black) writes a song for him, which I assume is funny and good.

Which cooked scene in this film will haunt you for many Christmas’ to come?

The fact that this film is about two separate stories but the Wikipedia page insists on summarising the plot as an incomprehensible chronological timeline. We keep flitting from Iris to Amanda and back, I have no idea what is going on.

I know that this isn’t a scene, but the process of trying to make sense of this dense and impenetrable summary will haunt me for years.

Cooked rating out of 10: 7 Jude Laws In A Scarf


Had you seen this film before?

Nope! In my mind it was a mashup of Wife Swap and Music and Lyrics and I’m not really about either of those things.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 12.03.24 PM

Oh god, what has happened to Hugh Grant?

Would you watch this film again?

Nope! It was a genuinely unpleasant experience and I think, if you watched it during the actual Christmas holidays, it would pry each one of your deepest fears and insecurities out of your psyche and leave you sobbing alone over some kind of large meatloaf.

What is it about this movie that is secretly cooked?

I think personal reflection and reinvention are fine themes for grown-up Christmas movies. It’s okay for things to be sad. I liked seeing that kid from Love Actually run through the airport to hit on a chick with his dead mum’s name as much as the next weirdo. But the balance between jaunty rom com tropes and Serious Shit in The Holiday is way off.

Cameron Diaz hasn’t cried since she was a teenager, frequently argues with herself out loud, and has persistent visions of herself in movie trailers where her life falls to shit. Kate Winslet is hung up on the bad guy from A Knight’s Tale (who is maybe a sociopath?) so bad that she at one point holds her head over a gas element and contemplates suicide. The extended side-plot with Eli Wallach is essentially the first 10 minutes of Up. Goofy songs with sleigh bells aren’t enough to lighten the mood.

Were there any fun bits at all?

All that being said, I am here for Hot Dad Jude Law.


Which cooked scene in this film will haunt you for many Christmas’ to come?

Academy Award winner Kate Winslet. Lowers her face over a gas element. And deeply breathes in. Merry Christmas!!!!

Cooked rating out of 10: 2 Incredibly Successful Women Who Need Romantic Love To Validate Them.

Next Friday we’ll be watching another terrible Christmas movie! Please, please read it and make all this worth something.