Three Movies I Think You Would Enjoy

By John J. Duncan Jr.

During most of my working career I very seldom ever went to a movie theater and only rarely watched one on television.

However, there are two fairly recent movies, “Phantom of the Open” (2021), “The Holdovers” (2023) and an older movie and my all-time favorite, “The Castle” (1997), which I believe you will really enjoy.

All three movies are classified as “comedy-drama” because they each have elements of both in them.

When I do go to a movie theater and see previews of upcoming movies, most seem to be made for young people who have grown up addicted to video games. These movies have very unrealistic action scenes, really weird characters, and seem to take place in strange other worlds. They have no appeal to me.

“Phantom” and “Castle” are based on true stories, and “Holdovers” is a very realistic movie, and in all three you will feel a range of emotions from happy to sad, and laughter to maybe even a tear or two.

One reviewer said “Phantom” was inspirational and said the movie is about a man, Maurice Flitcroft, who scored the worst score in the history of the British Open but “wins the moral and spiritual battles by showing up at all.”

He describes the “unambiguous niceness” of the movie and says it is “fundamentally unconcerned with appearing cool in any sense of the word.”

I may relate to this because I told my daughter, Whitney, when she was a teenager that “I tried real hard to be cool when I was a senior in high school and a freshman at UT, but then I decided I was just going to relax and enjoy life.”

You don’t have to like golf to enjoy this movie, and while much of it is funny, there are scenes by a great actress, Sally Hawkins, who plays the part of a very loyal wife, that have brought tears to the eyes of many.

The lead character, Maurice, says at one point, “If I can inspire just one person, my life’s hole-in-one will have been made.”

“The Castle” is based on another true story about a man who loved his home which was located at the end of the main Sydney, Australia airport runway and fought all the way to the Australian Supreme Court when the airport tried to take his home.

“The Castle” is the funniest of the three movies, and you will get big laughs out of the jake-leg, incompetent lawyer the man hires to take his case.

One of the official trailers calls it “a comedy that sticks it to the big guys.” I read a review of this movie in the Washington Times that caused me to want to see it. I went to just four movies in Washington during all my 30 years in office there.

Every wife should want her husband to see this movie because the lead character is so complimentary of everything his wife does and is so loyal to and proud of his family.

All of the characters in “The Castle” are realistically funny with all sorts of side humor off the main story. Also enjoyable is the interaction and friendship that develops between the blue-collar homeowner and the likeable but very upper-crust lawyer who ends up taking his case pro bono (for free).

“The Holdovers” just came out this past November and one survey gave it a 96% rating by those who had seen it.

It is a movie about the small group of students at a very elite Northeastern private school who cannot go home over the Christmas break because their parents are too far away or don’t want them to come home.

While there is comedy in this movie, too, it is mainly one of very good acting and a very good storyline. The movie is mostly about the relationship – sometimes funny, sometimes sad – between a very unlikeable bachelor teacher and a spoiled brat lead student. Both end up very likeable by the end of the movie as you get to know them better.

The person who did the casting for this movie should end up with an Academy Award, not only for the perfectly-cast teacher and lead student, but also for the choices of the actresses who played the parts of the school cook and school secretary/part-time waitress.

If you will watch the two-minute trailers for all three of these movies, I believe you will understand why I recommend them to you.