It’s that time of the year my friends. Snow is falling (behind a TV screen), warm fires are crackling (in the west Texas wildfires), and genuine smiles between loved ones fill the air (eh, I’ll give you that one). Alright, so Christmas time in Texas doesn’t fit the desirable stereotype. Maybe that’s why for the next month I will share my OD of Christmas cheer.
It’s difficult to get into the spirit of wearing grandma-knit Christmas sweaters in the Lone Star State. I can tell stories of rain turning into dangerous ice storms, lightly falling snow covering the sidewalks, or a warm 75 degree post-Santa morning. You never know how December 24th and the 25th will turn out. So when one of the opening scenes of a movie starts out with a car pulling into a white driveway, stepping out with wrapped gifts in arm, and opening the door to a warming family welcome…I enjoy the scene with some envy. And as you might expect, the Stone home will overflow with family and many charismatic faces.
The Family Stone plays out the family atmosphere. A large grownup family bringing a 3rd generation under the roof plays well for the chemistry on screen. No one person is overshadowed. And the ensemble cast plays really well together. Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Tyrone Giordano, Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Brian J. White, Paul Schneider, and…Sarah Jessica Parker. Sounds great right? Luke Wilson and Rachel McAdams are some of my more favorite actors. Sarah Jessica Parker is one of my least favorite actors. (She’s not enjoyable to watch. Ever. Nor is she attractive. Ever.) But lucky her, I’m a patient and tolerable man. And lucky me, she plays the victim.
What? You want to know what the movie is actually about? That’s not what I’m here for. But since you asked so nicely, I’ll squeal. Sarah Jessica Parker, a really uptight business woman, comes home for Christmas as one of the son’s girlfriends. The Stone family is super acceptable and relaxed in their 21st Century ways of life…except they can’t stand SJP (join the club). One son is deaf and gay. His partner is black. Nothing wrong with that, but it gives SJP’s character something to question allowing her to rub some feathers the wrong way. Luke Wilson is the intuitive pothead brother. Nothing wrong with that, just another layer proving their laid back way of life. Accidental things are said, crap blows up. The awkward comedy is there, and so is the real tearing drama within a family. It’s light hearted and highly relatable. Maybe a few overused Hollywood plots, but who cares?
If I’m being completely honest, I know a lot of people who don’t like this movie and I know a small handful who despise it. But if you’ve read my posts, I’m pretty optimistic most of the time. So here’s my real opinion: I would not suggest The Family Stone to a friend, however I’m not scared in the least to tell you I watched this movie last night…even if the only reason was to nudge myself into a festive spirit.