The Ringer‘s Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins are making trouble for Alexander Payne‘s The Holdovers.
On Fennessey’s list of Best Films of 2023, The Holdovers is #25…well below The Iron Claw, Showing Up and May December.
Friendo: “You gotta be on the front foot about this because these people are attempting to diminish The Holdovers in every way they can, and they do have influence among cinephiles. These arguments are not going away so you should tackle them head on.”
HE to friendo: “There’s no tackling a generational dislike of The Holdovers. Either you get what Payne and Giamatti are doing…either you appreciate the way films used to be made in the ’70s…either you’ve seen The Last Detail and thereby appreciate the care and the craft and roll with it, or you don’t. The fact that dumping on one of the finest films of the year makes you sound like a Millennial shithead…that doesn’t matter to people like Sean and Amanda, and why should it?”
Sean: “A movie that older audiences are feeling warmly towards.”
Amanda: “This is a lovely, well-made film…a set of characters who are thrown together for two weeks and they’re gonna talk through some feelings and go through some things and we’re going to keep moving. I didn’t connect to it and I don’t know why.”
Sean: “There are some people who think it’s a masterpiece of filmmaking but that wasn’t my takeaway. There are younger folks who are pretty much where you are. Thought it was really well made, lots to admire but there’s more here. We can be more audacious in our filmmaking.”
Amanda: “This movie lands but is maybe not that ambitious. Safe is unfair, but The Holdovers feels a little smaller.”
Sean: “What I can’t find in The Holdovers is what is the big idea? I don’t know what it represents more broadly.”
Amanda: “I wonder what my block is here. You know, I like it a lot. I do wonder if I am just responding to some of the larger enthusiasm, particularly awards enthusiasm. The word CODA kept popping into my brain. It’s like, can I, I was going to say something mean? It’s like Pottery Barn. And I say that as someone who owns a lot of Pottery Barn but you can feel the ageing on it is aged as opposed to it being, you can feel the reference and the difference.”
Sean: “Are you evoking Paper Moon? Is this for me or is this for you?”
Amanda: “There’s no Tracy Flick for me to latch onto.”
Sean: “I saw someone greviously or egregiously declare this [to be] this year’s Green Book, which makes me want to gouge my eyes out. But I know what they meant by that.”