‘The Holdovers’ Trailer: Alexander Payne Reunites With Paul Giamatti In 1970s Holiday Dramedy

It’s taken nearly a decade, but Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti are together again. The Sideways duo have reunited for the period dramedy The Holdovers, Payne’s first film since 2017’s Downsizing.

Starring Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa, the ’70s-set film centers on a grumpy teacher at a New England prep school asked to stay behind over Christmas break to watch over some students. He forges an unlikely bond with one of them, as well as the school cook who has just lost a son in Vietnam.

Payne is quite familiar with stories about makeshift families, always finding the humor and dramatic depth in their unusual bonds. David Hemingson wrote the screenplay.

The trailer uses a ’70s aesthetic that has it resembling an old school sitcom. A clever way to set this film apart as these kinds of low-key stories tend to get overlooked nowadays.

Here’s the official synopsis: From acclaimed director Alexander Payne, THE HOLDOVERS follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually he forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) — and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph).

The Holdovers opens in select theaters on November 3rd before going wide a week later.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.