December is a tough month for a parent, regardless what age you child or children might be. As a parent of a very young child, I’m already looking at a pretty busy December, running right up until Christmas. There’s pictures with Santa, there’s hunting for a Christmas tree, there’s pictures in front of that Christmas tree, there’s another picture with another Santa, there’s tree-lightings and there’s house-lightings and there’s someone else’s tree-lighting. Then the closer you get to the actual holiday there are the multiple celebrations of that holiday. By the time December 27th hits you have no idea what happened, only that there’s stuff that needs to be put together, filled with batteries and a home found.
Now I’m not complaining. Those are just facts and they are facts I am totally cool with. I get down with Christmas and having a little one around has definitely given the holiday a different look. However, when it comes to doing something like getting out and going to the movies – forget about it.
Although if you are lucky enough to sneak in a date night this month, then here is your New Parent Movie Guide for December. Just like the November guide, this is a rundown of some of the more notable movies coming out in theaters in December and whether or not you should go or wait.
Natalie Portman plays Jackie Kennedy in a film set in the aftermath of the assassination of her husband. Portman is generating Oscar buzz and I’m sure this is good, I’ll be patient and whisper into someone’s ear and see if they can find me a version of this movie of the Interweb.
Office Christmas Party (12/9)
The world needs good, fun comedies and that is exactly what this movie looks like. Of course comedies are hit or miss and if we’re being honest, a lot more miss than hit. I’m not sure why. Look at Ghostbusters. Given the people involved, that looked like it was going to be funny. But then you know, it wasn’t. Like at all. I have faith in this movie though. Of course it’s largely for the same reason I had faith in Ghostbusters – because of the people involved, but I am nothing if not a dude governed by my faith in unreliable things. The timing for this movie is really good though because God knows we could use a laugh or two.
Nocturnal Animals (12/9)
Ready for this – Amy Adams and Isla Fisher are both in this movie. I suppose if they share a scene we can once and for all make an informed decision as to whether or not they are the same person. As for this movie, in which Adams stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaall, let me paraphrase the description for it I found: Adams is “a successful Los Angeles art-gallery owner” who has a wonderful life that’s only bummer is that her husband (Gyllenhaal) travels a lot for work. Husband leaves for a trip, Adams is “shaken by the arrival of a manuscript written by her first husband, who she has not seen in years.” As she reads the book “it forces her to examine her past and confront some dark truths.” Call me crazy, but I’m not really sure what to make of that.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12/16)
I mean, if there’s snow on the ground you’re going to shovel it, right? The same goes for a new Star Wars movie. If it’s in theaters, that’s where you’re going to see it. This conversation is over.
La La Land (12/16)
I look at musicals the same way I look at raking the leaves. I rake leaves because it needs to be done. I watch musicals because my wife likes musicals and I like my wife. That’s not a perfect analogy, but I’m not a perfect person. My name might be Ryan but my last name sure isn’t Gosling. This musical stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and there’s singing and there’s dancing and there’s not much here I’m keen on. But when you get married, you rarely make decisions solo, so I’m going to assume I’ll see this at some point. It just won’t be this month.
Verdict: Wait (unless musicals are your thing, then Go)
Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, space. That alone should be enough to sell someone on Passengers. But there’s something about this movie that hasn’t sold me yet. I want to like it. I really do. But I’ve had the same reaction every time I think about it or watch a trailer – meh. Of course, I also think it’ll be hard to get an honest read of this movie because it’s kind of tee’d up for some kind of backlash, you know, because as a society, we’re unable to embrace the good in the world for more than a year or two and I’m sorry JLaw, the tide is about to turn on you. By them! Not me. I love you. Don’t tell my wife. Well, she knows. But I don’t think we need to rub it in.
Patriots Day (12/21)
I’m in. Mark Wahlberg plays a Boston cop caught in the middle of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Peter Berg directs it and I’m cool with Berg. Lone Survivor was really good and he gifted us with both Friday Night Lights the movie and Friday Night Lights the television series. He doesn’t cut corners and really respects the subject matter when real life events are involved. I trust him to do this horrific and galvanizing event justice.
This movie has been Martin Scorcese’s white whale for nearly thirty years, dating back to when he first read the book by Shusaku Endo, a Japanese author, in 1989. The story, which takes place in the 17th century, is about a priest (Liam Neeson) lost in Japan, where Christianity is banned and his two protégés, Spiderman and Kylo Ren, who set out to find him. This movie is almost three hours long. Three hours. That’s like two and a half weeks if you have a child under two years old. But hey, if you can swing it, I bet this will look great on the big screen. Personally, I’m more inclined to watch it at home.
Why Him? (12/23)
Bryan Cranston is a talented dude. That’s not even up for debate. His time on Breaking Bad ensured he’d be labeled as such for the rest of his career. Yet with that being said let’s all just admit that homeboy makes some interesting choices when it comes to movies. Contrary to popular belief (and the film’s marketing campaign) he was only in Godzilla for a minute and for some reason he is in the upcoming Power Rangers movie. In between he’s done things like an HBO movie where he plays Lyndon B. Johnson and another flick where he was tracking down Pablo Escobar. In Why Him? he’s opposite another puzzling case, James Franco. Franco plays a weirdo and Cranston is the father of that weirdo’s lady love. Spoiler: Dad isn’t too keen on Weirdo. This looks kind of funny and could be really funny, but given how busy December is, I’m not wasting a date night on it.
If you don’t see this movie in theaters, you’ll see it around Oscar time because Fences is sure to be in play, whether it’s for Best Picture and/or nods for the film’s stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. It just looks like a good movie, one that when it’s over you sit back and take a moment, take a second to reflect on what you’ve just seen – maybe think about it a little. With that being said, it might not be an ideal date movie because it does kind of look like a movie that could result in a rather somber night at a restaurant after. This looks better suited for the couch, but that’s just me.
Verdict: Wait (maybe)
Live by Night (12/25)
Ben Affleck adapted this from a Dennis Lehane novel which I read and the whole time I was doing so really kept thinking that it’d make for a good movie. It’s like Affleck read my mind. It takes place in the 1920’s and revolves around Affleck’s character running booze in Boston and then Florida. As far as trusting film maker’s go, I’d trust Peter Berg with my house keys, but I’d trust Affleck with my dog. Look at his track record when writing and directing stuff: Mystic River, The Town, Argo. Those are three killer movies. Affleck’s acting choices have always been suspect but when he’s in the driver’s seat, he produces.