As of this writing, the Emilia Clarke-Henry Golding rom-com Last Christmas has only been in theaters for about an hour, ahead of its officialrelease date of Friday the 8th. And yet any even casual social media spelunker probably already knows the big twist. We won’t spoil it, which should make one person happy: Emilia Clarke, who’s none-too-pleased that many were ruining the movie before it came out.
The former Daenerys Targaryen was speaking to IndieWire about her latest, which is also the latest by Bridesmaids/Ghostbusters/A Simple Favor director and sharp-dressed cane enthusiast Paul Feig, and she did not mince words about people talking about the twist, often pejoratively.
“It’s bloody annoying. Frustrating,” Clarke told IndieWire. She also thinks people, especially those who have only heard about the hairpin turn second-hand, in reviews and whatnot, are simplifying it. “It’s more complicated than people are guessing.”
The script, by the way, comes from no less than Oscar-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise. You wouldn’t speak ill of Dame Emma, would you?
Clarke also spoke — again, none-too-happily — about another controversial part of her CV: that divisive last stretch of Game of Thrones. She sees people mocking the ending of Last Christmas and GoT heads demanding a Mulligan as part of the same menace.
“When it comes to signing petitions to reshoot the last season of a very popular TV show, or whether it’s spoiling a goddamn Christmas rom-com, people are able to do something about that,” she said. “Our world’s literally on fire, so I think that there’s a lot of things outside of people’s control, so when it comes to this kind of stuff, they can do something with it and want to. It’s done with so much fervor, it’s done with a huge amount of energy and all that is, is misdirected energy.”
Indeed, the president and his cronies are currently trying to wiggle their way out of an impeachment, so perhaps now’s not the time to waste energy over a romantic-comedy in which, as it turns out, [redacted].
There’s at least one person not interested in seeing Paul Feig’s holiday-themed romantic comedy “Last Christmas” spoiled all over the internet: star Emilia Clarke. When trailers for the new film arrived in mid-August, social media users and entertainment journalists alike picked up on more than a few hints that not everything was as it seemed to be in the film, which sees Clarke playing a prickly Londoner who is pursued by a handsome and slightly odd stranger in the form of Henry Golding. Outlets published entire screeds attempting to unpack what was really happening in the Emma Thompson-scripted film and Twitter lit up with entertainment obsessives casting about their own theories about a possible twist.
Clarke, for one, wishes people weren’t trying so hard to read into it, at least based on just a trailer or two. Asked in a recent interview with IndieWire how she feels about the weeks-long spoiler-guessing unfurling on social media, and the actress with succinct. “It’s bloody annoying. Frustrating,” Clarke said. “It’s more complicated than people are guessing.”
And, yes, while the film does indeed pack a twist, Clarke believes it’s far more nuanced than people are expecting. Written by Thompson who also appears in the film as Clarke’s character’s mother and first-time screenwriter Bryony Kimmings, the initial idea sprung from a concept developed by Thompson and her husband Greg Wise. And it’s one they spent some time refining. “Emma and Greg wrote this script together, but they sent the script to all of their friends and it was only ready when their friends didn’t see the twist coming and couldn’t guess until it happens, so that’s where it comes from,” Clarke said. “It’s just frustrating.”
It’s hardly the first time Clarke has dealt with fans turning to social media to spout off about her projects. After the series finale of her popular HBO series “Game of Thrones,” displeased fans took to the internet to launch an online petition that urged series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to remake the final six episodes, many of which divided “Thrones” fans around the world. The series' penultimate episode, “The Bells,” proved to be one of its most divisive, thanks to a twist in which Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen went full Mad Queen and burned King's Landing to the ground.
“I’m careful with what the way that I’m wording this, but it’s no surprise, it’s common knowledge that the state of our world at the moment is scared and confused and there’s a lot of stuff going on that’s completely out of our control,” Clarke said. “So when it comes to signing petitions to reshoot the last season of a very popular TV show, or whether it’s spoiling a goddamn Christmas rom-com, people are able to do something about that.”
As frustrating as it might be, Clarke is introspective about what’s really going on with our current spoiler culture. “That’s something within their own control, unlike the rather turbulent political environment that we seem to be living in,” she said. “Our world’s literally on fire, so I think that there’s a lot of things outside of people’s control, so when it comes to this kind of stuff, they can do something with it and want to. It’s done with so much fervor, it’s done with a huge amount of energy and all that is, is misdirected energy.”
Perhaps that energy could be better spent checking out a “goddamn Christmas rom-com,” twists and all.
Universal Pictures releases “Last Christmas” in theaters Friday, November 8.
Last weekend saw Terminator: Dark Fate claim the top spot at the U.S. box office, but its reign as champ will be short-lived, much to the dismay of Paramount Pictures and everyone else involved. This weekend sees four newcomers enter the fold in the form of Warner Bros.' Doctor Sleep, Universal's Last Christmas, Lionsgate's Midway and Paramount's Playing With Fire. Safe to say, it's going to make for a crowded weekend.
Doctor Sleep, directed by Mike Flanagan Gerald's Game, The Haunting of Hill House serves as a sequel to The Shining, both Stanley Kubrick's movie and Stephen King's novel. It's an ambitious undertaking, but one that looks to pay off as the horror flick, which stars Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, is expected to bring in between $25 and $30 million on opening weekend. That box office number could be bolstered as reviews for this one have been quite good so far. It currently boasts a 74 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go with a stellar 95 percent audience score. The new golden age of King lives on.
Next up, Paramount looks to get a jump on the holiday season with Last Christmas, the latest from director Paul Feig Bridesmaids. The holiday romcom is toplined by a couple of hot stars in Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, with Emma Thompson also included in the ensemble. Despite middling reviews thus far, the Christmas flick is looking at a debut between $15 and $19 million. Considering this one could have long legs up through the end of the year, this could be another winner for Paramount in 2019.
Related: Doctor Sleep Runtime Promises Another Stephen King Epic
Midway, a large-scale World War II epic from Roland Emmerich Independence Day faces an uncertain long-term fate. Estimates have it taking in around $15 million, which isn't great considering the $100 million production budget, which Emmerich raised outside the studio system, essentially making it one of the most expensive independent movies ever made. If overseas audiences turn up, this could work out, but things aren't looking great. The cast includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson and Woody Harrellson.
Rounding out the top five will be Terminator: Dark Fate, which is going to stumble with between $13 and $14 million, further cementing it as one of the biggest bombs of the year. Playing with Fire, a family-friendly comedy starring John Cena, will get off to a middling start with between $7 and $10 million. Elsewhere, Netflix's The Irishman expands to several key markets across the country and Fox Searchlight's Jojo Rabbit, a likely Oscar hopeful from director Taika Waititi, also will expand to more than 250 screens. Be sure to check out our full list of weekend box office predictions below and check back with us on Sunday for the weekend estimates. Numbers used in this report were provided by Box Office Mojo.
1 Doctor Sleep2 Last Christmas3 Midway4Terminator: Dark Fate5Playing with Fire6Joker7Maleficent: Mistress of Evil8Harriet9The Addams Family10Zombieland Double Tap
, , ] HomeBox OfficeDoctor Sleep, Last Christmas & Midway Enter 3-Way Battle for the Box Office
Guess what, guys? The constant stream of George Michael music in Last Christmas isn't as annoying as one might expect. Nor is it the worst thing about it. It's actually the most charming aspect of having to sit through this whole 105 minute ordeal back in my day this would have clocked in at an easy 88 minutes. But come on. Did we really need a literal adaptation of that title song? Which is on constant repeat as if to bash us over the heads with such an obvious twist, overly gleeful to give the whole ruse away? The concept, scribbled out on a napkin, reads like a joke. But instead plays like a funeral dirge.
What the hell am I watching here?
I would've loved to watch Paul Feig and Emma Thompson who co-wrote the story idea pitch this in a meeting. Were people laughing? Crying? I'm going to guess both. But seriously. Minor spoilers right at the top. Go back and listen to Last Christmas. Yes, someone is literally going to give someone else their heart. Oh, boy.
Related: 4 Christmas Movies Are Coming Out This Week and Halloween Is Barely Over
Last Christmas is going to work on you one of two ways. You'll either guess the spoiler midway through and thank it's hokum. Or you'll be fooled by its blatant trickery, and weep thick chunks of rock salt for the last fifteen minutes. This is evidenced by the fifty-fifty reaction I experienced at my own theater.
Perhaps I'm too cynical at this stage in life? But I hardly ever guess the big twist in any given movie. So that I saw where this was going fairly early on means it's pretty sloppy with its biggest reveal. Though, there is a speech that comes on the cusp of that big third act shocker. It's supposed to be emotional and heartfelt, swung like a hammer. 'Feel your feelings, fool!' A real kick in the ribs. Sorry. All I could do is stare at that bug crawling around in Emilia Clarke's hair.
Yes, there is a goddamn bug crawling around in the girl's hair, and I can't tell if it was done on purpose, if it's a joke to distract from the big emotional punch of the dialogue, or if no one noticed this overzealous extra on the day the scene was shot.
This moment between Emilia Clarke's Kate or Katarina as everyone likes to point out is her real name and Henry Golding as bike obsessed weirdo Tom, is supposed to be upsetting. The big dramatic crescendo heading into that third act power play. Perhaps the movie's most important scene? But as I watched that bug struggle and dance to escape movie-grade hairspray, I started launching. But realized no one else in the theater was. I wasn't laughing at the dialogue.Henry Golding and Emilia Clarke sit on a bench, discussing there impossible romance. And you can see the gnat plain as goddamn day. It's akin to the fly eating scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Bravo. Did Paul Feig not notice it on the playback screen in video village? Did he think it was natural and of the moment so he kept it in? Is it supposed to be an Easter egg? I'm clueless.
I personally feel that this is the type of one star movie both Siskel and Ebert would have mercilessly bullied on their show. Thumbs down, for sure. But they're not around any more to pick and pull at this nonsense. Maybe Bill Maher is right, maybe someone does need to bringing Bullies back. Perhaps it would stop us from getting this kind of holiday dreck in theaters. There comes a point late in the game when Kate is trudging up some laborious hill, and I could literally hear Ebert's voice in my head, 'Dear god can someone please get this girl a new jacket and some new shoes.'
Yeah, yeah, yeah. She's broke and lives in these clothes. But come on. She's back at home with her parents, and that overbearing mom, as played by Emma Thompson, would have surely been as sick of those boots as the audience. Right? The fact that I'm looking at this girl's boots means one of two things. They are practically their own character, or they are more interesting than anything else being shown on screen.
What is this movie, anyway? Spoiler time, so turn around if you're easy to fool or unable to pick up on fat hints as to where this is all going in the end. The movie meanders along with its mouthful of inconsequential dialogue. At the 40 minute mark, you realize, someone in this story HAS to be dead. Otherwise what's the point? if none of these characters are ghosts, this has to be the worst, most pointless Christmas movie ever. For a few minute, you may wrestle with who that dead person could be. The guessing game will keep you distracting from some of the absolute banality on screen.
This is not Paul Feige's finest hour. And if you hated Ghostbusters 2016, it's best you stay home or wait for the movie's Netflix debut. The real kicker here is that the George Micheal song upon which the story is based is the biggest spoiler.
Last Christmas, boiled down to its bare essence, is a Millennial retelling of A Christmas Carol. Though told one a subverted way. Katarina is a spoiled selfish wank, our stand-in Scrooge. But the movie falls into a trap of using this unlikable cliche of Millennial life. The girl hard to root for at every turn. When her redemption arrives, it's impossible to care. It's as if a millennial themself is retelling the story with heavy emphasis on how they 'changed', a little too excited to tell you that they changed. It's all very 'me, me, me' to the point where you want to give up and throw in the towel. If you're ever on anyone's side in this movie, it's anyone else but Kate. The sister, the mom, the dad, the boss. They would all make for a better movie's central character. Kate is a side character that should get a few scenes. Comic relief at best, given her own vehicle to ride around in and crash against the curbs. Even the poor old handsome Ghost of Christmas past at the center of this tale would be a more interesting central subject to grasp onto. But he's barely around, sprinkled in for some serious life changing. All of the side characters here are more interesting than the grease spot at the center of the movie. Kate is a stubborn stain.
It's not Emilia Clarke's fault. She's charming enough for someone you never really grow to care about or like much at all. Nor am I pointing fingers at millennials. They be who they be. The problem here is, you got Feig in his Hitchcock suit and Dandy cane directing this, what should be a young man's game. There is a very heavy boomer-millennial disconnect hovering around the dome at all times, and it all reads like a heavy-handed dissertation on the worst kind of Millennial behavior. And how that behavior needs to be Scrooged out of existence with literally a man-sized heart. And it all rings very false and weird.
Last Christmas, over all, falls into the same trap as the canceled Netflix series Girlboss and this summer's horror favorite Midsommar. The central character is not likable. But not in a hate-able way. Tolerable, but like the rest of the characters in the movie, you, too, will want to get away from her as soon as possible.
You may find yourself politely nodding at her the whole time, wishing you could run for the door. Problem, you have to spend nearly every single scene with her, and that awful wild cat print jacket. Once she finds her redemption, I couldn't help but smile politely and nod, 'Ok, cool. Can I go now?'
It's my own personal belief, but if someone the same age as the main character had revised the script and directed the movie, I'm positive they could have made me give just a little bit more of a shit. Paul Feig has aged out of this material. And while half the audience might buy into its big blatant attempt at selling tissues, I'm of the other half that is springing from my seat, happy to never spend another second with Katarina. Last Christmas comes to us from Universal Studios, and though I didn't care for it much, it'll probably be a Christmas cult classic in the years to come.I bet you see it somewhere along the way.
Side note: Paul Feig re-shows almost the entire movie during the end credits with Time Bandit style credit filters. I liked this! There are a lot of overdubbed jokes, one in particular about Jason Statham, who starred in Feig's much better The Spy. These jokes are told with the character's backs to the screen or off camera altogether and the audio seems louder than anything else. Obvious ADR to add some jokes? I didn't like this.
, , ] HomeMovie ReviewsLast Christmas Review: A Millennial Christmas Carol Where the Song Is A Big Spoiler The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Movieweb.
Paul Feig’s cheesy and intermittently charming “Last Christmas” asks its audience to suspend its disbelief early, opening the holiday-themed rom-com in a decidedly unhappy locale: Yugoslavia in the early ’90s. If the situation looks bleak, that’s by design, all the better for an unexpected — and very unlikely — twist of musical magic to liven things up in an otherwise drab small town church.
Things may be bad in a country on the verge of splitting apart, but they’ll get better once the church’s youth choir — led by the angel-voiced Kate played by Madison Ingoldsby as a child — bursts into an apparent local favorite: George Michael’s “Heal the Pain.” It’s a strange choice for any choir, but hardly an off-kilter pick for Feig’s latest film, which stuffs curious choices inside a grab-bag of otherwise warm rom-com tropes.
The formula is all there: There’s the salty leading lady an appealing post-“Game of Thrones” Emilia Clarke, as adept at studio-manufactured romance as she is at big-budget fantasy, the smooth-talking love interest Henry Golding, also appealing, even with significantly less screen time, a glossy location and seasonal flair, not to mention a big honking twist to keep it all chugging along to a heartwarming finale. Little about “Last Christmas” is that surprising, but as Hollywood continues to grapple with the idea that the rom-com still has legs and audiences are hungry for comfort food entertainment, it’s a welcome addition to a rebounding genre.
Like many rom-com women before her, Kate Clarke packs a secret, the kind she buries under bad decisions and worse behavior. At one point, a supporting character deems her “the most selfish woman in the world,” a designation she’d likely shrug off in the moment, only to feel the sting of it much later. Funny, brittle, and — thanks to Clarke’s supernova charm — much more lovable than she’d like anyone to acknowledge, Kate has spent the past year indulging in her worst desires. She drinks a lot, goes home with incompatible men, and attempts to pull it all together in the morning to give half-attention to her gig as an elf at a year-round Christmas shop…owned by no less than Michelle Yeoh.
But Kate is hiding plenty of key stuff underneath her prickly exterior, like some serious family troubles hinging on a spotty relationship with her mother, played by Emma Thompson, who also co-scripted the film and a desire to sing professionally that she’s not nearly together enough to make happen. The film itself is also not nearly together enough to keep much attention on Kate’s ambitions, even though they ultimately bookend the feature in zippy musical fashion. Kate’s not looking for love, companionship, understanding — and, if she is, she’s looking for it in all the wrong places, which makes her the perfect heroine for the genre.
Surrounded by love stories and holiday cheer in a glossy, pre-Christmas London even “Notting Hill” showed off more grime, and that’s a film that takes place mostly in a bookshop and at swanky press junkets, Kate is suddenly confronted with an appealing paramour. Tom Golding is handsome, sweet, kind he volunteers at a soup kitchen!, and he doesn’t appear to be put out by Kate’s prickliness. In fact, he may even be able to use his good humor and charitable bent to turn Kate into a better person. As both Kate and the audience come to assume, he must be up to something.
As it turns out, so is the film. “Last Christmas” presents itself as a straightforward story — one that works well enough, even if it often feels like the cinematic equivalent of holiday candy — but there’s something else lurking just out of frame. Plenty of potential moviegoers have speculated about the possibility of a twist, thanks to the curious choice of both title and accompanying George Michael reference last Christmas? what happened last Christmas?, and the film does eventually meander to a conclusion that provides some necessary answers. And yet, like many other much smaller elements of the film, even that bit is shoved inside “Last Christmas” as something of an afterthought.
From top to bottom, “Last Christmas” is shy about engaging with Its most substantial ingredients, from key elements about Kate all that stuff about wanting to become a professional singer gets cast aside to a cadre of thin supporting characters who come and go with little care. Even Kate’s years-long obsession with George Michael is never fully explained fine, and is only ever utilized as a gimmick for the film’s musical moments and its cutesy title obvious. Thompson and first-time screenwriter Bryony Kimmings’ script attempts to shove in some topical issues, including a truly strange injection of Brexit awareness and a more successful look at Kate’s complex family dynamics, but they arrive too late in a screenplay that has veered off track, chugging to an end that could have used significantly more finesse.
At least there’s Clarke, who deftly handles the rockiest of moments with charm and the right amount of edge for a character as complicated as Kate. “Last Christmas” might not be destined to enter the annals of classic holiday winners, but Kate is already a rom-com queen to be reckoned with. That’s worth celebrating on its own terms.
Universal Pictures will release “Last Christmas” in theaters on Friday, November 8.
The actress also played "Box of Lies" when she visited 'The Tonight Show' on Wednesday.
Emilia Clarke finally revealed who was responsible for the coffee cup mystery on Game of Thrones when she stopped by The Tonight Show on Wednesday.
Back in May, fans of the HBO show noticed that what looked like a Starbucks cup appeared in a scene that took place at Winterfell, the home of House Stark. In response to "inquiries from those who saw a craft services coffee cup in Sunday night's episode," the network said in a statement, "The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea."
The cup was later removed from all platform re-airs.
While many assumed that Clarke was responsible for the cup, she said that the cup belonged to co-star Conleth Hill.
"We had a party before the Emmys recently and Conleth, who plays Varys, who's sitting next to me in that scene, he pulls me aside and he's like, 'Emilia, I've got to tell you something. I've got to tell you something, love. The coffee cup is mine,'" she said. "It was his. It was Conleth's coffee cup. He said so."
"He's like, 'I think it was. I'm sorry, darling. I didn't want to say anything cause it seemed, you know, the heat was very much on you.' And I was like, 'What?'" she recalled. "He was like, 'I didn't have very much to do in that scene.'"
She added that she felt confident that Hall was responsible for the act. "I think that's who did it," she said. "He said it. He might have been drunk, but he said it."
Clarke also joined host Jimmy Fallon in a game of "Box of Lies."
Fallon explained that each player would choose a box and describe the object to their opponent. The other player must guess if they are lying or telling the truth.
The actress kicked off the game by opting to lie about the object in her box. While the box contained a corndog dressed as a vampire, she said that she was looking at "a very small frog wearing a monocle."
After Fallon questioned her description, he declared that she lied. She then showed Fallon the real object and admitted that she thought the corndog was a carrot. "I'm so English. I don't know what a corndog is," she joked.
For Fallon's first round, the host inaccurately described his object as figurines of Donald Trump and "the hero dog that caught the terrorist." He added, "And they're doing a Lady and the Tramp. They're about to kiss each other."
Clarke asked Fallon if the figurines were sitting down before she guessed that he was telling the truth. Fallon celebrated his victory by revealing that his real object was a model of a hockey-themed McDonald's meal. "I think that was the first time I ever won!" he said.
For the final round, Clarke chose to tell the truth and described the object as "a salad bowl of money." Once he clarified that she said "salad bowl" instead of "solid bowl," Fallon guessed that she was telling the truth.