December 15 – 21

The Holdovers

December 15 – 21

7:00 pm Nightly
1:30 pm Matinee Sunday

Comedy / Drama
Rated PG — 2 hr 13 min

Director Alexander Payne reunites with the star of his most beloved film, Sideways, and gives Paul Giamatti his richest part in years as Paul Hunham, a brutal professor at the prestigious Barton Academy in the early ‘70s. He is generally disliked by students and staff. When Hunham isn’t handing out failing grades and assignments over Christmas break, he’s yelling at students for the slightest infractions. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t have much power in his life, so he uses it belligerently, leaving him few friends. Every holiday break, a few kids have to stay over instead of going home, which requires a lonely man like Paul to keep an eye on them, even assigning schoolwork because that’s really all he knows to do. Over the course of the film, they will influence each other in a heartwarming and genuine way.

Nostalgia has consumed pop culture, but The Holdovers does something special. Yes, Hollywood has a long history of stories of “makeshift families that learn something,” but then why does “The Holdovers” feel so fresh? It’s probably because it’s been so long since one of these stories felt this true. Payne and his team recognize the clichés of this life lesson, but they embed them with truths that will always be timeless. 

The Holdovers is a consistently smart, funny movie about people who are easy to root for and like the ones we know. Alexander Payne finds deft balance, where every glance and verbal exchange may as well be set up for something equally hilarious and touching. Newcomer Dominic Sessa brings a youthful fire to his role a volatile, dejected teen, and Paul Giamatti has never been better, playing a caricatured grump with dynamic and vulnerable layers.

Directed by:
Alexander Payne

Cast:
Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa