By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

What to watch over the break

Hijack debuted this summer on AppleTV+ (Photo courtesy Apple)
Joaquin Phoenix as Naopelon Bonaparte (Photo courtesy Apple)
Dominic Sessa and Paul Giamatti (Photo courtesy Miramax)
Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci as the Wet Bandits (Photo courtesy Twentieth Century Studios)
”Oppenheimer’ is projected to net Cillian Murphy his first Oscar win (Photo courtesy Universal Pictures)

We’ve finally reached the end of fall quarter, or at least we are real close. Personally, I am more than ready to finish up the work I have left to do and then book it back home and enjoy the holidays with my family. But when we do get home, and the day is nearing its end and the family is sitting around the TV… how do you choose what to watch? There are so many people to please, each person with their own unique tastes. Or even if you’re on your own, there are so many options, how do you choose?

I’m here to help. I’ve compiled a collection of different movies, TV shows and something else that I think will be hits amongst the whole family. 

‘The Holdovers’

Currently in theaters and available to rent or buy on Amazon

The newest feature from Alexander Payne, acclaimed director of classics like “Election” and “Nebraska,” “The Holdovers” is my number one recommendation for the season. “The Holdovers” follows a professor at a New England boarding school who has been assigned to watch over the small collection of students who have nowhere to go for the holidays. 

Paul Giamatti is immersed in his role as professor Paul Hunham, a bitter but ultimately warm-hearted man whose shield is taken down as the film goes on. That shield is lowered by the presence of Angus Tully, one of his students who gets left with him on short notice. Tully is played by Dominic Sessa in his first ever acting credit, which given how stellar he is in the film is frankly impossible to believe. 

“The Holdovers” is presented in a way that intends to mimic holiday classics from the 1970s, which only adds to the warm and cozy feeling that the film gives you as you watch it. If you’re looking for something to get you in the Christmas mood, that is also funny and can really tug at your heartstrings, I can’t recommend “The Holdovers” enough. 


Streaming on AppleTV+

On the television side, “Hijack” is one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s incredibly simple in its premise and I mean that as an absolute complement. Idris Elba plays a fairly normal man who is stuck on a plane in the middle of a hijacking, and he must use his negotiating skills to get everyone home safe and sound. 

Elba is fantastic. He is incredibly charismatic in a way that reminds me of Harrison Ford in the 1990s. The simple premise and short episode count makes this incredibly bingeable, and the show is enthralling in a way that is sure to capture the attention of everyone. While it loses the plot a little bit towards the end, you’ll be so bought in by that point that it won’t even matter. 


Currently in theaters

Looking for something on the more big and theatrical side? Maybe something to see with your dad? “Napoleon” should do the trick. The newest film from cinematic legend Ridley Scott (director of “Alien,” “Blade Runner” and many, many more) “Napoleon” is the story of the former French commander and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played tremendously by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix. 

While “Napoleon” services fantastic battle sequences, gorgeous visuals and frankly one of the funniest scripts of the year, it balances that all out with the core of the story being Napoleon’s cat and mouse psycho-sexual romance with the Empress Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby. Kirby absolutely steals the show as Josephine, she is completely riveting on-screen and controls both the movie and Napoleon himself like puppets on a string. 

Scott has already confirmed he is working on a four-hour cut of the film that will eventually be released on AppleTV+, and while it might be hard to muster up the energy (and money) to go see a presumptively incomplete film in theaters, I think it is more than worth it. The theater I saw it at was packed and everyone had a great time. 


Currently available to rent or buy on Amazon

My current choice for Best Picture, “Oppenheimer” is finally available to watch at home. While the 4K disc and the Blu-ray are pretty much sold out everywhere right now, you can still purchase it digitally. Although, the digital edition doesn’t contain the expanded IMAX ratio, which might only matter to sickos like myself, but do with that what you will. 

There’s not much to say about “Oppenheimer” that hasn’t already been said. It’s one of the best movies of this century, boasts one of the best ensembles of the century and is absolutely electric from beginning to end. If you need to kill an afternoon over break, you could do much, much worse than getting together again with the Los Alamos crew. 

‘Home Alone’

Currently available to stream on Disney+

No winter break in my home is complete without at least one viewing of “Home Alone.” Arguably the quintessential Christmas movie of the 1990s, “Home Alone” captures the Christmas spirit in spades. The importance of family, how grim the holidays can be without them and how healing rekindling with people from your past can be. 

Macaulay Culkin is phenomenal in a way few child actors have ever achieved. He’s equally hilarious as he is earnest. Katherine O’Hara is great in arguably the most overlooked role of the movie despite being maybe the most key character as Kevin’s mother. It is also just great that Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern decided to lend their talents to a movie like this. They are both throwing 150 miles per hour here as borderline ethical burglars. Plus, the John Williams score is pure magic. 

The NBA Christmas games

Set to be broadcast on ABC and ESPN

While the NFL has Thanksgiving locked down, the NBA on Christmas day has always been my favorite. Packing the entire day with five games highlighting the perceived top teams in the league at the time of the schedule-making. From 9:00 AM PST to 7:30 PM PST, it’s nonstop hoops. 

The first game of the day features Giannis Antentokounmpo, Damian Lillard and the Milwaukee Bucks taking on Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and the New York Knicks in what could very well be a playoff match-up. Next, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors versus Nikola Jokic and the 2023 champion Denver Nuggets in what could either be a blow-out, or one of the more entertaining match-ups of the day. Following that is a rivalry as old as time: the Boston Celtics in LA against the Los Angeles Lakers. Jayson Tatum versus LeBron James. The future versus the past. I will be sat. 

Capping off the night are two more rivalry games. First reigning MVP Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers head to South Beach to take on former Sixer Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. Should Philly and Miami meet in the playoffs, this will provide an excellent preview. Finally, in what might end up being the best game of the day, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks face their revitalized rivals the Phoenix Suns, who boast a big-three of Devin Booker, former MVP Kevin Durant and one of the league’s premier scorers in Bradley Beal. The Mavericks and the Suns have created an intense rivalry over the course of the last few years thanks to their playoff bouts, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds after the presents have been unwrapped. 


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