Nothing Like the Holidays Reviews
Anyway, produced by the people that brought you the Barbershop movies and making extremely strong use of Chicago based locales, Nothing Like the Holidays categorizes the happenings of a Peurto Rican clan over a short weekend during Christmas time via a west side Chicago village. The Rodriguez family (a husband and wife along with three young adults as kids) is rooted in tradition and proudness in their heritage. They consist of John Leguizamo (Mauricio Rodriguez), Freddy Rodriguez (playing Jesse Rodriguez), Vanessa Ferlito (Roxanna Rodriguez), Alfred Molina (he plays the father who is Edy Rodriguez), and Elizabeth Pena (she plays the mother, Anna Rodriguez). Throughout the proceedings, these people invite other friends and relatives to their house for holiday fun and cheer. While there however, not everything is so peachy. Secrets are revealed, old relationships are rekindled, and traditions are exposed (all the citizens in the Humboldt Park area goes door to door and pick up everyone to do some Christmas caroling). You also have to be on the lookout for scenes involving a large tree that blocks the Rodriguez family view. This tree in my mind, seems to be a metaphor for the dynamics of the immediate family that has been talked about throughout this review. There are a couple of times in the movie where everyone helps to take the tree down. But to no avail, it's stays up and will not be removed. Again, I feel that this tree is a metaphoric expedition for everyone visiting the Rodriguez house. I'm not sure what that is exactly. And to tell you might not be the most valid answer. Anyway, the sequences involving it are pretty funny. If anything, they are flat out entertaining.
Despite its authentic, familiar setting, characters that mesh well, and direction by De Villa that feels genuine and personable, "Holidays" still seems to have been edited to the point where small plot holes arise. You watch certain scenes where there is feuding by friends of the Rodriguez family and the Rodriguez family themselves. Cut to the next sequence and everyone seems to be getting along. With dialogue that constantly exudes a strong conflict between husbands/wives, brothers/sisters, and friends/cousins, it's kinda weird when a feeling of resolution is missing and everyone goes back to jovial, happy times. Then there is the look of the film that suggests that its say, a small scale version of something like 1983's The Big Chill. Basically, Nothing Like the Holidays lacks that independent film making vibe which would constitute award consideration. And based on its short running time and slight TV feel, it doesn't come off as epic in scope as it should. All shortcomings aside, this is a warm, tiny little movie with a big heart. Added to that, you'll watch this thing realizing that the actors/actresses might have had a blast making it. In fact, I've seen the DVD cast reunion segment and it seems like everyone became friendly and close after filming concluded. To be honest, I can't say I'm surprised.
Overall, Nothing Like the Holidays is a flick that everyone should see come November and December. Its strongest attribute is having many character back stories that don't seemed to feel crammed into one movie. Every one's plight is told in a smart, held back sort of way. My favorite subplot doesn't even involved the main players in the cast. Jay Hernandez (Ozzie) playing a family friend to the Rodriguez family and trying desperately to romance the daughter in that family (Vanessa Ferlito as Roxy), also wants to avenge the death of his brother so he decides to go after the guy in the neighborhood who committed the crime and is out on parole. The scenes involving these two people divert from the comedic element in "Holidays" as well as the mild dramatic tone that involves everyone else. It's powerful stuff and it adds an element of danger in a sometimes all too comforting movie who's only other major sense of dread, is one of the family members having cancer (spoiler alert). In a sense though, the filmmakers don't overdo the barrage of plot points involved here even though there are almost too many to count.
Like I said earlier, this traditional and original exercise despite taking place in a frigid Chicago winter, is the warm equivalent of a steaming cup of hot cocoa. It's got a certain amount of wit and charm, characters that you cling to throughout, and an effortless amount of improvisation by the actors/actresses who play those characters. If you haven't seen "Holidays," I'm hoping that after reading this review, you'll check it out. It ain't "nothing" but good.
this doesn't come off wrong, but it's about time they bring out a Hispanic Christmas Movie I know it may sound funny but it's true. A Great Funny, Inspirational, Tradition, Celebrating The Holiday that sends the most message of all. Great Flick with alot of great Hispanics Actors.