Cagematch: Four Christmases vs Bolt

Four Christmases

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Bolt is the easy winner here.  This cagematch is a bit more difficult since I never performed the play by play in Four Christmases’ previous match.  It is nice to see Vince Vaughn where he is best – in a heavy dialogued comedy.  While everyone now casts him correctly, I must caution that there was a time post-Swingers where he was lost (Psycho anyone?).  Although, I do prefer Vaughn in a role that allows him to be naughtier, where his character is single (Wedding Crashers) or at least in a knowingly-strained relationship (Old School).  The funniest part of this movie is in the beginning when he and Reese Witherspoon are acting as though they are single.

This movie is too contrived.  Weather causes a flight issue, a reporter just happens to interview them and their families just happen to be watching at that moment.  And!  All four divorced parents still live in the San Francisco area.  My parents divorced when we lived in San Francisco and now none of the three of us live there, but somehow all of these families all remained within driving distance of each other.

411Mania sums up the basic problem of the movie best: “More than anything, the biggest problem with Four Christmases is that it feels like a basic sitcom plot with a tremendous amount of filler to fill a barely feature length runtime.”

Bolt, however, does not feel contrived even though it is the epitome of contrived: animated, speaking dog, evil cats (maybe that is not so contrived) and a hamster in a ball.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  I did see it in 3D and if I had the chance to redo that decision I would.  The glasses are uncomfortable and the 3D features are few and far between.  I definitely would not pay extra money to see it in 3D, but it is nice the option is there.

When I first saw the trailer I remember thinking what a brilliant story idea it is: a dog is on a show where he has special powers, but when the actress goes on vacation he sets off after her not knowing that it was a TV show.  There is a wrinkle to that brief synopsis which I had not thought of and which is…brilliant.  Brilliant enough that I hope to tease you into seeing the movie.  I do think this movie will lose some in the translation onto DVD.

The characters are well done, particularly the surprisingly awesome hamster, Rhino.  The trailer let me in on the humor of this character but there are much funnier and little bits throughout the movie that make it superbly well done.

Even though the lesson of the movie is about humility and mediocrity it does not seem to be a lecture (Amadeus) and the movie leaves you with a sense of ease.  I am recommending this movie to everyone and I am also asking everyone how this movie can possibly be beat by a pack of teenage angsty vampires?

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One thought on “Cagematch: Four Christmases vs Bolt

  1. Nate

    I really like the metaphor of a cagematch for comparing books and movies and stuff. Nick Hornby suggests doing something like this for different art forms – “If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. The Magic Flute v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. The Last Supper v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on point And every now and again you’d get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I’m still backing literature 29 times out of 30.” (

    I think it’d be funny if these were written in sort of like announcer-style, hits to the body etc etc.

    take care,

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