Tim Abel

Well, it’s that time of the year once again.

Facebook.com takes forever to load because of all the procrastinators jamming their servers, businesses claim political correctness by saying “Happy Holidays,” yet cover their windows with Christmas decorations, and I continue to search for the perfect combination of alcohol and eggnog. All of this can mean only one thing: It’s nearly time for winter break.

Heading home for the holidays sounds great on the surface, but let’s be honest, after a couple days, you’re bored. Like, really bored. No amount of playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or watching Real Housewives marathons can save you from this boredom. You begin to realize your high school friendships were a product of proximity, and you really don’t like any of them. You just want to get back to school so you can continue to drink on mom and dad’s dime.

So what do you do to kill those three weeks spent at home? Well, the thing I like doing more than anything is nothing. As in, literally sitting around, being lazy and doing absolutely nothing. And if you’re anything like me, you know nothing goes better with doing nothing than watching a movie. It’s like you’re doing nothing, but you’re kind of doing something, so you don’t feel as terrible about yourself. Sure, you’ve got your holiday classics, like Die Hard, Die Hard 2 and Elf, but there’s

something about heading to the theater and checking out the new releases that just goes well with winter break. So without further ado, I’m here to help you decide which movie to see, and which to avoid at all cost this winter break.

Do whatever it takes to see these

Sherlock Holmes (Dec. 25) – Guy Ritchie tackles telling the tale of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, giving it a modern facelift while still maintaining the essence of Sherlock. With Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and his trusty assistant Watson, this movie has all the elements of a winner.

Daybreakers (Jan. 8) – This movie’s got a couple things going for it: 1. It’s about vampires. 2. It’s not Twilight. Ethan Hawke stars in this movie set in 2019, where humans are harvested for their blood. There’s no way this won’t be fun to watch.

The Slammin’ Salmon (Dec. 11, limited) – The guys who made Beerfest and Super Troopers are back at it, this time with a movie starring Michael Clarke Duncan. If you’re a fan of their other work, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’re not, well, you probably have a mature sense of humor and are boring.

Invictus (Dec. 11) – Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela might be the most perfect casting job ever. Nelson Mandela couldn’t pull off playing Nelson Mandela as well as Morgan Freeman can. This uplifting tale of the South African rugby team (captained by Matt Damon) beating the odds and beating racism is sure to be a tearjerker.

Has the potential to keep you amused

The Lovely Bones (Dec. 11, limited) – While it probably won’t be lifting your spirits for the holidays, it’s a good story (based on the novel) told by a good director (Peter Jackson) with good actors (Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon). Overall, it has the ingredients for success.

Nine (Dec. 18) – Daniel Day-Lewis leads a star-studded cast in this adaptation of the Broadway musical that was nominated for 12 Tony awards. Day-Lewis plays director Guido Contini, who must learn to balance the women in his life as he comes to a personal crossroads.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel (Dec. 23) – The first movie received terrible reviews, yet did surprisingly well at the box office, hence the sequel. This probably won’t be nominated for any Oscars, but if you’re forced to go to the movies with a younger sibling, there are worse things you could see.

It’s Complicated (Dec. 25) – I don’t know much about this, but it’s got Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John Krasinski in it, so it can’t be all that bad … right?

Avatar (Dec. 18) – My instincts tell me that this movie is going to be terrible, yet it has been well-received by critics, so much so the words “Golden Globe for Best Picture and Best Director” are getting thrown around. James Cameron has made this movie his life’s work, but honestly, it just looks like a steaming pile of special effects. Which I suppose can be pretty entertaining. See this at your own peril.

You’d rather hang out with relatives than see this.

Case 39 (Jan. 1) – A horror movie starring Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper, opening New Year’s Day. Remember what I said above about ingredients for success? This movie has none of them.

Crazy on the Outside (Jan. 8) – Tim Allen directs and stars in this movie, where his character, Tommy, has just gotten out of prison and is trying to get his life back on track. Naturally, comedy ensues. The brilliant J.K. Simmons could potentially save this movie, but it seems unlikely.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (Dec. 18) – This movie has Wilford Brimley in it. Despite this fact, it will be awful. Beyond awful. Even people who love Hugh Grant and romantic comedies will think this movie is awful. Here’s the plot: a Manhattan couple with a struggling marriage accidentally witness a murder and are sent to Wyoming by the government to protect them. Without their fancy technology, their marriage is saved. AWFUL. If you, for whatever reason, actually want to see this movie, have some holiday spirit and don’t drag anyone along with you. You’ll just ruin their day.