Holiday Diversion Guide

Headed home for the holidays? Looking forward to the food but not the family? Afraid to mention religion/Trump/Sanders/cousin’s wedding snub lest you herald an epic emotional maelstrom? FEAR NOT. Queen Mob’s has compiled a film/TV guide, to direct you and your loved ones to the TV and/or to the cinema. The demands of a glowing screen can provide calm between meals. And luckily, both the movies and Netflix are full up on the good stuff right now. Keep reading for your show business Xanax.

First, read Eve Johnson’s review of the latest James Bond film ‘SPECTRE’ here.

Then…

  • The family that noirs together stays together: Roman Polanski’s ‘Chinatown‘ holds up remarkably well. Trumpet solos careen across the sun-baked stretches of Los Angeles, ridden then as now with a crippling drought. Pour the family a round of stiff drinks as you look off the steep cliffs that are Faye Dunaway’s cheekbones. (Netflix Instant)
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  • You and/or a sibling need to slip out for a while. Plant the folks in front of ‘Breaking Bad’. As you put on your coat, tell them it’s the guy from ‘Malcolm in the Middle’, except that here, he’s a terminal cancer patient+chemistry teacher who starts cooking high-quality meth to provide for his pregnant wife and handicapped son’s future. When you see their jaws drop, say goodnight and leave. They won’t be leaving the TV anytime soon. (Netflix Instant)
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  • What gets everyone to pay attention? Subtitles! This might seem like a heavy-duty pick but Sweden’s ‘Force Majeure’ was one of the best films of 2014. Mom and Dad and son and daughter are skiing in the Alps when, during an avalanche, the father runs away, grabbing only his phone, while the mother shields their screaming kids. Everyone lives, but it’s the aftermath that bears the emotional violence. (Netflix Instant)
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  • Harrison Ford, American Hero. If your holiday’s in a grave way, save it by choosing from Grizzly McGee’s literal titles: ‘Clear & Present Danger’, ‘Patriot Games’. (Netflix Instant)
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  • RIP Robin Williams. When I was a child the late, beloved Mr. Williams was my whole world. He was the Genie, he was Flubber, he was Mrs. Doubtfire. I haven’t been able to watch any of his work since he died, but that doesn’t mean you and yours can’t share in some 90s nostalgia with ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘Jumanji’. (Netflix Instant)
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  • Let the Brits handle it. They’re good at the stiff-upper lip thing, so line up their blockbuster hits. There’s the BBC’s ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’ – a period drama, told from the same man’s POV, but during different parts of his life. Played by none other than Harry Potter and Don Draper! ‘Love, Actually’ will never go wrong during the season either; everyone can chime in on whether they hate-love or love-hate the original ensemble holiday flick.
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