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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Holdovers Blu-Ray Review: That '70s Movie

By Jonathan Bilski

Out on the rooftop it's good ol' Paul Giamatti being a curmudgeon at an all boy's school called Barton Academy. The story has him as the only teacher left watching the "holdovers" the students unlucky enough to not go home for Christmas vacation. He's stuck with the annoying brat Angus Tully played by Dominic Sessa and the school's head chef Mary Lamb played by Da'Vine Joy Randolph. All set in the early 70's the film looks like it came out from that era. This could have been a year time classic if the story was more of comedy and not have been as long.

I'll praise Paul Giamatti as Paul Hunham and the rest of the cast for their performances. Him and his young protege are a perfect foil to see bicker back and forth. Giamatti is the perfect know-it-all, worst teacher you've ever had. And, Dominic Sessa plays a perfect entitled stuck-up brat; stuck with each other over the holidays. Joy Randolph as the school chef needs to be in her own movie because the story is too long with all of them in it. And, though she plays her part well, takes away from their story with her own over dealing with her son's death in Vietnam.

There's some great lines and learning from each other. Something that could have truly been a real memorable romp. But, they wanted to add some tragedy and a predictable ending if you've seen enough like minded films. It just drags on for quite a while, more of a drama than a comedy, which I might have been tricked into believing it was from its trailer.
The style is rich in 70's flavor. The editor did a great job putting in the old logos from Universal and other production companies of the past at the start, everything feels of the era.
A little late for Christmas this one should have tried to get out with the sentiment of the season.
Don't know why this is a collector's edition other than coming with some extras. The Blu-ray cover could not try less. Graphic design team, take some time if you want it to stand out, don't get random images of the main cast from different parts of the movie and shove them together. Is their a real word like un-iconic? Maybe do the main characters as an illustration of the era; focus on Giamatti's eyes which are a major part of the movie.
That's what hurts, the detail from a great retro opening not saved on the cover of the Blu-ray. The logo captures the 70's feel, the rest is generic and thus forgettable.
Blu-ray provided by publisher for review purposes