KSL MOVIE SHOW

KSL Movie Show review: ‘The Holdovers’ is your new seasonal anthem

Nov 7, 2023, 1:40 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2024, 3:26 pm

The KSL Movie Show reviews"The Holdovers" and says it might be one of your favorite movies....

The KSL Movie Show review by Steve Salles says "The Holdovers" may become your new favorite holiday season movie.

SALT LAKE CITY — For those who struggle with the unrealized joy of holiday exuberance, in this KSL Movie Show review we explore how “The Holdovers” could become your new seasonal anthem.

It is the anti-Hallmark movie that celebrates the awkward difficulties of three troubled humans during Christmas break at a prestigious prep school for boys in 1970s New England.

Right out of the gate, you’ll know you’re in for a trip into the past by the grainy placards pronouncing the film’s R rating, its studio origins, and even its narrower aspect ratio. It screams we found the reels of this film in an old steamer trunk tucked away in some professor’s attic crawl space and we’ve resurrected it just for you.

I personally felt a gleeful nostalgia wash over me as I’d just parked my parents’ Oldsmobile 442, squirming in my brown corduroy jeans and paisley shirt while catching a whiff of English Leather After Shave. Wow, what a powerful memory trigger!

Never miss a review from the KSL Movie Show

So Barton Academy has shut down for the two-week holiday stint, so students and faculty can have a break from each other, except for an unfortunate few.

Irritable history teacher Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) has been tasked with the trying responsibility of watching over the handful of boys who can’t go home for Christmas or Hanukkah for various reasons, either too far or expensive to travel or family has made other plans. Ouch.

Head of the kitchen, Mary Lamb, (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) is also sticking around, still grieving the death of her son, Curtis, to the War in Vietnam, and also because someone needs to feed these kids and Mr. Hunham during the break.

While most of the remaining holdovers are whisked off to a ski resort to spend the holidays, poor Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa) who can’t reach his mom for permission, is left behind with Mr. Hunham and Mary.

Here is where the fun (yes, there is plenty of humor) and misery begin, as we peel back the onion of each of these remaining characters. We already mentioned Mary’s devastating loss, but her first Christmas without her boy sends her into a deep, whiskey-flavored funk. Mr. Hunham also keeps company with his old pal Jim Beam to soothe his loneliness, while focusing on enforcing strict rules and being a professional curmudgeon.

It’s film newcomer Sessa, who has done some theater work, who brings a special mix of charm, sass, wit and intelligence to his performance that sends this Alexander Payne production to a whole new level.

KSL Movie Show on “The Holdovers”

Some are suggesting this is Payne’s “feel-good Christmas movie” which he bristles at. To him, “The Holdovers” is an in-depth character piece that just happens to be set at Christmas time. Either way, it’s some of the best work he and Giamatti have done, since nearly 20 years ago with “Sideways.”

Regardless, for me, it will go down as one of my favorite films of 2023.

“The Holdovers” comes to theaters on Nov. 10.

THE HOLDOVERS is rated R for language, some drug use and brief sexual material. Starring Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Dominic Sessa. Directed by Alexander Payne (“Nebraska” “Sideways”) – filmed at various prep schools in Massachusetts. Running time: 133 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

More movie reviews: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

KSL Movie Show

KSL movie show host steve salles next to The Strangers movie poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: “The Strangers” is basically the same as the other movies

In this KSL Movie Show review, host Steve Salles explores "The Strangers," a horror movie with decent suspense and repetitiveness.

11 hours ago

ksl movie show host steve salles next to IF movie poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘IF’ has a solid message and a sense of melancholy

In this KSL Movie Show review, host Steve Salles explores "IF," a movie with imaginary friends and an odd sense of melancholy.

12 hours ago

ksl movie show host next to nowhere special poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Nowhere Special’ is amazingly inspirational

In this KSL Movie Show review, "Nowhere Special" explores the bond between a terminally ill dad and his son.

8 days ago

ksl movie show host steve salles next to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ has great action and a few minor setbacks

In this KSL Movie Show Review, 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' shows us a world 300 years after Caesar.

8 days ago

'The Old Oak' might have a few f-bombs, but it's worth your time to see....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘The Old Oak’ lays a roadmap for reconnecting communities

'The Old Oak' might have some f-bombs but it's worth your time, telling a tale of reconstructing country and our relationships with neighbors.

15 days ago

...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: Get ready to laugh and get excited with ‘The Fall Guy’

In this KSL Movie Show review, dive into "The Fall Guy," where a stuntman goes above and beyond to prove himself.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

KSL Movie Show review: ‘The Holdovers’ is your new seasonal anthem