I’m not going to say who, but during last night’s Montclair Film Festival screening of The Holdovers I was sitting next to a youngish guy (early 30s), and I could sense his vibe all through it and that he wasn’t exactly grooving with pleasure.
I could tell that he was okay with it in a subdued way, but the crowd (mostly GenX and boomers) was chuckling and guffawing left and right. The Holdovers is nothing if not full of sly, cutting humor and lacerating putdown lines that are cavalier and half-mean and yet sometimes heartfelt. And so this guy’s silence felt a tiny bit ominous.
And then around the two-thirds or three-quarters mark, he looked at his watch. That told me everything. The under-40s are going going to respond to this film with a little resistance.
Given that The Holdovers is set during the ’70 to ’71 Christmas and New Year’s holiday, obviously people who were around back then are going to relate more than Millennials or Zoomers. Nobody’s disputing this — seemed obvious from the get-go.
But Payne’s film is about much, much more than just savoring the nostalgia vapors and the exactly-right period aura and all the atmospheric trimmings. It pays off in dozens of deep-down ways, and I thought the fact that it’s obviously an excellent film, and one that exudes complete confidence in iself…I thought this obvious fact might start to win this guy over. But it didn’t.