Movies and the holidays: Hugo

NPR featured a great story last week about how the holiday movie season is woefully cut short because of Christmas and New Year’s Day both being on Sundays.  Next year’s Christmas is on a Tuesday, much to the relief of movie executives.

Seems no one goes to movies on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so four essential money-making days are down the drain.  That leaves eight instead of twelve days of movie viewing pleasure for the 2011 holiday.

In spite of these dire predictions, we planned our New Year’s Eve around movie viewing, with a movie marathon, hoping to see some of the Golden Globe nominees, and we had plenty of company, although maybe not the crowds theatres desire.  We started with a matinee of Hugo in 3D.  The hefty $12.00 ticket was well worth the price!

Many of us who enjoyed a film history course or two in college remember the George Méliès La Voyage de la Lune, one of the earliest films featuring special effects.  Film history is woven with mystery story about a 12-year-old orphan who lives in the walls of  a Paris train station.  The cast of characters who work in the train station, including the station inspector played by Sasha Barren Cohen, is loveable.  There’s a great clip of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last and plenty more.

Sometimes, I felt the pace was sacrificed for the “admire me” beauty of the film, but I was alone in my opinion.  Two hours is still 30 minutes too long by my measure.

For parents raising young teens, don’t miss the teachable moments. Check out YouTube clips of the classics, maybe before you go to the movies.  The magical experience of Hugo’s story is enough for many, but the film history adds an additional layer of interest.

We also saw Beginners.  This depressing film with a marginally redeeming ending was not a good choice for New Year’s Eve.  In fact, the pacing of this movie was so deadly and the motifs so overplayed, that we checked the timeline to see just how much more suffering we had in store.  While it has big themes, it is not “entertaining” by any measure.

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