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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

the oh-no! DVD of the week: ‘Columbus Day’

This may be a perfectly acceptable movie, but the title leads me to doubt. Columbus Day? You don’t name a movie after a holiday unless you’re trying to glom onto that holiday’s mojo. Hence, we get a lot of movies about Christmas — that’s a holiday with mucho mojo. It’s why we don’t really see many movies about Arbor Day: trees are awesome, but even a movie about the death of the last tree on a dying global-warminged up planet would have to be called something like Arboreal Apocalypse. Or maybe Arbor Day: The Reckoning. But just Arbor Day wouldn’t cut it.

Yet here we have Columbus Day:

After the heist of his life, a thief hides out in a city park as he plans to strike a deal and unload the stolen goods. There, he begins as unusual friendship with a precocious boy, prompting him to reach out via phone to his ex-wife and estranged daughter, who he hopes will reunite with him now that he is about to be rich. As his business deal begins to unravel, he fights to keep the kid out of harm’s way and escape to Florida to join up with his family.

That’s from the description on Amazon U.S. The one on Amazon U.K. is a little different:

Val Kilmer plays Jon, a thief who has just pulled off the ultimate heist. But he has an even bigger task in the days before his getaway: setting things right in his life. Among those he has to make amends to are his estranged ex-wife (Marg Helgenberger) and, more perilously, the gangster he stole the loot from. The clock’s ticking as he only has one day to tie up all the loose ends and avoid getting killed.

That suggests that the kick-ass one-day race against the clock is gonna happen on Columbus Day. And… Val Kilmer might have to force his way through a little parade of cute old-man veterans marching down Main Street in their jaunty WWII berets while the high school marching band comes up behind them?

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