You're Such A Critic

YOU'RE SUCH A CRITIC

December 02, 2005

THE QUESTION

From now through January, holiday films - good, bad, offbeat or indifferent - will be everywhere. Which begs the question: Which holiday chestnuts are so universal in their message (It's a Wonderful Life) or so funny (A Christmas Story) or askew (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa) that you'd be willing to sit through them in, say, July?

WHAT YOU SAY

It has to be The Ref - my absolute favorite warped holiday movie. This movie is hilarious as well as absolutely spot-on regarding toxic family interactions. My favorite scene in any movie is The Ref 's St. Lucia dinner scene. I howl every time I see it. All the actors are true to their characters, but watch the children playing the visiting niece and nephew - priceless reactions to the goings-on around them. Language makes this one inappropriate for children, but for anyone longing for a little edge in his holiday entertainment: Give The Ref a try - at Christmas, in July, anytime.

SUSAN SMITH, BALTIMORE

Last year I hadn't paid attention to my queue on Netflix. I actually cringed when I saw that I received Love Actually. Had no desire to watch it. Well, after avoiding it all weekend I finally plunked it in. And then proceeded to watch it TWICE. It is one of the best Christmas movies I have seen in years.

JEANNE HEGARTY, BALTIMORE

THE NEXT QUESTION

You know you've felt it: A sneaking suspicion after watching a movie trailer that you've just seen the whole film. Or heard all the best jokes. So what's the point in paying to see the movie later? For example, the seemingly endless preview for Casanova, which opens Jan. 6. (It includes more than a fleeting glimpse of one of the film's climactic scenes.) We wonder: Why can't the producers of trailers add a little more mystery and subtract a few punchlines? What do you think are the worst recent offenders?

Please send your thoughts in a brief note with your name, city and daytime phone number (and "Such a Critic" in the memo field) to arts@baltsun.com.

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