ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

While You Were Sleepless: holiday alternative films

Updated on December 14, 2012

In the realm of "movies that I kinda like watching around Christmas time but aren't really Christmas movies" I'd have to first mention two movies that really have nothing to do with each other except Bill Pullman and very opposing takes on zonking out: While You Were Sleeping and Sleepless in Seattle.

I think one of the reasons these movies come to mind around the holiday season is that they both basically start on or around Christmas. That's about it. But there's something of an impression made when you see Christmas celebrations at key moments in movies. That's largely why It's a Wonderful Life is considered a Christmas classic.

But first, the stories

Sleepless in Seattle

The story opens right after Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) and his son, Jonah (Ross Malinger), have lost their wife and mother to cancer. It sounds like the opening of a heavy drama, and at first, that's how it plays out.

But for a change of scene and a change of pace, Sam realizes he has to move from Chicago, where everything reminds him of his wife, to Seattle. But he continues to grieve.

Fast forward 18 months. One Christmas Eve, Jonah calls a radio talk show trying to get help for his father, who he hopes will eventually get remarried. On the talk show, they avoid using real names, so after being persuaded to talk to the host of the show, and revealing that he has trouble sleeping, he's given the nom de radio "Sleepless in Seattle".

Okay, so that's a long way to set up the story, but it turns out that Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), engaged to Walter (Bill Pullman), was one of the women who heard Sam's confession on the radio. Women from all over the country, including Annie, start writing to the poor widower via the radio station. Jonah quickly latches on to Annie's letter and insists that his father try to meet her.

Meanwhile, Annie, a Baltimore Sun reporter, uses her contacts to sniff out Sam's real identity and does some cute, light staking. Jonah, pretending to be his father, arranges with Annie to meet at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. You know just like in that movie: all of them.

While You Were Sleeping

This movie opens a bit more like you might expect a comedy to.

Lucy Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) is a booth worker for a Chicago train station. She has no family anymore, but there is this one handsome guy—Peter Callaghan (Peter Gallagher)—who comes through that station a lot and on whom she's developed a bit of a crush. And I'll admit, he is quite handsome.

One day, there's an altercation and Peter falls onto the track. Lucy rushes to help and sees an express train coming by. She jumps on the track and pulls the man to the side just in time.

At the hospital, things get confused. She mutters to herself that she'd hoped to marry that man. A nearby well-meaning nurse overhears and when the man's family—I mean his whole family—shows up at the hospital, they're told that Lucy is Peter's fiance.

Things happen so fast and with such emotion that Lucy is unable to drop the truth bomb on them all.

Ordinarily movies where one quick sentence would clear up the confusion really tend to bug me. But this is done in a believable and extremely charming way.

Anyway, Lucy is invited to spend a late Christmas with the family, where they glom onto her and simply make it harder and harder for her to extricate herself. The next day, she meets Peter's brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), and Jack gets suspicious of the engagement, but he also kinda starts to thinking that he may just like this rather odd girl his brother's engaged to.

Dot dot dot

I know it's a bit ridiculous, but for a while, whenever I tried to mention one of these movies, I would frequently say the name of the other. My brain apparently filed them both under "sleep" and said, "Eh, that's good enough." It doesn't help that they both have Bill Pullman and came out within a year of each other.

Sleepless in Seattle is a great, charming and well told story. The relationship between Sam and Jonah feels very natural and father/son-ish. (That's a word now.) In fact, some of my favorite moments of the movie are when it's simply Sam and Jonah talking together. Like when he pulls down the map. Very fun.

And Ross Malinger may not be the best actor I've ever seen, but for a child actor, he's very very good.

Meanwhile, While You Were Sleeping is such a fun, heart-warming little comedy, and it has so so many sections that my family quotes, sometimes ad nauseam.

"Do I like Jell-o?" "I never said he was Spanish. I said he was tall." "These mashed potatoes are so creamy."

Trust me, that last one is more qotable than you might ever think.

The whole movie takes place within about a two week period, running through New Year and just a few days into January. Talk about whirlwind romances. I mean, Lucy was even ostensibly engaged to Peter the whole time Jack was falling for her.

But probably most endearingly, throughout the interactions with the Callaghans, the family really feels like an actual family. Conversations where everyone is talking at once but you can nearly follow it all. Good-natured ribbings and family jokes. It's so natural, that you're not even thrown off by the presence of Saul (Jack Warden), the Jewish neighbor who celebrates Christmas as part of the family and is Catholic Peter Callaghan's godfather.

Saul, in fact, is one of my favorite and one of the most natural characters in the movies.

For family friendly feel-good movies as holiday alternatives, those are probably two of the first ones you should consider.

For me, I marginally prefer While You Were Sleeping, but both are very good.

Sleepless in Seattle gets a solid 8 / 10.

While You Were Sleeping earns a respectable 9 / 10.

Both Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping are rated PG for a little bit of language and maybe one or two slightly adult comments. Really not much, though.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)