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What I Did on My Saturday

Considering that What We Did on Our Holiday debuted in American theaters this weekend, I decided it was high time I finally watch the British blu-ray that I bought months ago. It's part of the huge pile of DT works that I have yet to watch. Huge pile. Including the entire series of Blackpool. I am such a poor fangirl.

The movie was surprisingly good.

In case you don't know, the premise is that Doug (DT) and Abby (Rosamund Pike) have three children, Lottie, Mickey, and Jess, and they are currently separated and going through a divorce which they haven't told Doug's family about. Doug's father Gordie is dying of cancer, and they decide to travel up to Scotland to attend his 75th birthday party, trying to hide their difficulties and their divorce through the weekend, because Doug doesn't want to upset his father and wants him to live the rest of his short time thinking that his son and family are doing well. On a meta level, the children were filmed by letting them act they way they wanted to, and the adult actors had to react in character to them. (That's what I heard anyway, and that's a terrible paraphrase of what I heard.)

With a description like this, I expected this to be a slapstick type of movie, with instances of the children nearly revealing the divorce to Gordie (or to Doug's brother Gavin and his family) and Doug and Abby working to cover it up, ending in feel-good, "Oh, we really actually do love each other" reconciliation, but it wasn't like that at all. This myth was dispelled in the first few minutes of the film, as Doug and Abby are trying to get the kids loaded into the car to leave on time, agree on a path and a timetable for traveling, etc., without arguing - and failing, on all counts (succeeding at their tasks and avoiding arguing). Each of the family members are painted well, so you can see exactly where they're coming from, why they're reacting the way they do.

The thing that really made this movie, though, was the situations the characters got into and the dialogue. They weren't designed to make you go, "Oh, such precocious children, how adorable!" They were realistic, though of course things start to head down the bit unlikely path as events start to spiral out of control. But it just amazed me how much I laughed during this film. This is not the kind of film I normally watch, and when I do, I rarely react, but I really laughed. Here's another point in its favor. As normal with non-sci-fi Tennant shows, I sit down to watch them alone, with my husband at his computer playing video games and whatnot. He might listen in, but he doesn't watch or pay close attention. Within the first few minutes, he was laughing, and after about a half an hour, he was watching. And at one point (if you watch the movie, you'll know which one), he berated Gordie with "You bastard!" and laughed. If this type of movie catches his attention, it must be good.

So, short answer: I recommend this movie. It's fun and entertaining, and heartrending in the right places. Go catch it while it's in the theaters. If only to find out why this is the poster for the German version.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
On a meta level, the children were filmed by letting them act they way they wanted to, and the adult actors had to react in character to them. (That's what I heard anyway, and that's a terrible paraphrase of what I heard.)

I'd read it was "semi-improvised" and always wondered what they meant by that.

If only to find out why this is the poster for the German version.

"A Scotsman does not make a little summer"?

I forget what the Japanese title for this was off the top of my head, but it's always strange how some movie titles seem to be translated pretty directly whereas others get oddly twisted (from my English-speaking perspective). I guess the joke of having to write a back-to-school essay about what you did over your summer doesn't hold in all markets, so they had to come up with something else mildly humorous, but still - *headtilt*

ETA: Oh! You were referring to the ostrich, LOL.

Edited at 2015-07-15 06:33 pm (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2015 06:47 pm (UTC)
According to Google, the Japanese title means "A Gift from Pirate Grandpa", which makes absolutely no sense. There were lots of references in the movie to Vikings, not pirates, but maybe the Japanese translation used pirates instead of Vikings. On the other hand, focusing the title Billy Connelly's character changes the expectation of the movie.

I think my husband, at least at first, was watching only to find out what was up with the ostrich. Part of the way through, he said, "So, where are the ostriches?" and I turned to say something to him and right at that moment an ostrich walked across the screen for half a second. I completely missed it! Then at the end of the movie, he said, "So... I guess that's all the ostriches?" and I turned to him again, and again, an ostrich walked across the screen and I missed it. :P

Knowing that the scenes with the younger two children (it was obvious that the oldest one, Lottie, was scripted) were semi-improvised made it even more fun to watch, as the adults have to figure out how to deal with the kids in-character (especially DT, because Doug truly has no idea how to handle his children and has to swallow his frustrations).
Jul. 15th, 2015 07:09 pm (UTC)
I loved the bit with the younger daughter who wants to take rocks with names along, and is like "Daaad, don't be stupid, not that one, this one" - whatever it was. (It's been since Memorial Day weekend I watched this.) Overall I thought it was quite cute and enjoyable, though I don't think it will wind up on my wishlist if it comes out on DVD here, and I wouldn't try to get my husband to watch it with me or anything. Like, if you're a fan of DT, it's a fun time; other than that it's light family comedy and eh, not much to write home about.

I always feel awkward watching such stuff with my husband in the room, like I've been caught doing something naughty. And I'm not talking Casanova or even Blackpool, I mean basically family-friendly stuff like this or Decoy Bride (which IIRC you didn't like, but just for comparison's sake). I dunno, it's weird.
Jul. 15th, 2015 07:59 pm (UTC)
I loved the rocks scene! You could just see on Doug's face what was going on in his brain: "No. No. Really? Names? You've named them? No... No... Ok FINE! Rocks!"

There are a few things I feel awkward with my husband about, and this is after nearly 19 years of marriage! One of them is watching stuff while he's right there and not watching with me. Part of it is that I explicably feel responsible for entertaining him, so if he's there but not watching, I feel bad that I'm doing something without him. I have a hard time starting to watch something on my own because of this.

The one thing I really can't do when he's around, though, is write. It's not like he's going to look over my shoulder and read it or anything. I just can't do it. It makes me nervous and irritable.
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