AMC's Best Christmas Ever: 10 Things We Love About Queen Latifah's Last Holiday
Looking for a feel-good holiday movie to watch in the Christmas season? Look no further than Last Holiday.
Last Holiday stars Queen Latifah as Georgia Byrd, a shy, unassuming woman whose life is turned upside down when she's suddenly diagnosed with a grave illness. With only weeks left to live, Georgia pools her entire life savings and decides to live whatever time she has left to the fullest. It sounds dark, but it'll definitely end up putting a smile on your face. Here are 10 things we love about Last Holiday:
1. The Food
The food in Last Holiday takes so much of the spotlight, it might as well be another character in the film. Queen Latifah's character Georgia Byrd longs to become a professional chef, and spends much of her nights watching Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network while preparing elaborate new dishes. When she discovers she has a terminal illness, she flies off to a luxurious hotel to enjoy meals by one of her favorite chefs. In fact, real chefs from the Food Network prepared many of the dishes seen onscreen, and the Food Network stills hosts the recipes on their website, including Duck Hash, Roasted Quail with Brioche and Chorizo Stuffing, Poulet Tchoupitoulas and more. Try them yourself at home!
2. Georgia Takes Pictures of Her Food — Before It Was "Cool"
These days, everyone pulls out their phone to take a picture when that insta-ready dish comes out of the kitchen. But in 2006, Georgia was taking pictures of her food before it was cool - with a polaroid! In the film, Georgia keeps a scrapbook of the recipes she makes from watching the Food Network, which is delightful and charming.
3. Georgia Makes a Dream Journal to Marry LL Cool J
Speaking of charming, LL Cool J stars as Sean Williams, Georgia's handsome co-worker and love interest. Georgia spends much of the movie with a secret crush on Sean, and has a picture of him in a dream journal titled "Possibilities," where she makes a vision board of a better life. It seems that Georgia has mastered the law of attraction, because Sean definitely has feelings for her as well — despite their unfortunate "meet cute." But who could resist the Queen?
4. Halle Bailey's First Role
When Georgia phones her sister to tell her about her terminal illness, her sister has her hands full with her three children. But look closely: One of Georgia's nieces is young Halle Bailey in her first credited acting role. Does that name sound familiar? Bailey -- who is one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle -- is about to make a big splash as Ariel in the upcoming live-action version of Disney's The Little Mermaid.
5. Queen Latifah's Singing
Last Holiday knows not to waste Queen Latifah's many talents. When Georgia is reeling from the emotional weight of her terminal illness diagnosis, she gives voice to her pain and leads her church in an impromptu, moving song.
6. Giancarlo Esposito
When Georgia decides to spend her last weeks living life to the fullest, she pools her life savings and heads to the luxurious Grandhotel Pupp in snowy and picturesque Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. There, she runs into Better Call Saul's Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Senator Dillings. Want to see what Gus Fring might look like if he actually cashed in on his illegal earnings and let loose? Get a glimpse of it in Last Holiday.
7. The Incredible Side Eye
When Georgia decides she's got nothing left to lose, she's not afraid to let people know how she feels. And when she finds herself surrounded by self-aggrandizing rich folks at the Grandhotel Pupp, that means one thing: amazing side-eye. The Queen really lets the high-rollers have it throughout the movie, which is worth the watch.
8. Alicia Witt
Alicia Witt stars in Last Holiday as Ms. Burns, the assistant turned mistress of self-centered business guru Matthew Kragen. But a stern talking-to with Queen Latifah's Georgia helps Ms. Burns find her own fiery confidence. Witt takes that kickass mindset to the next level in The Walking Dead Season 6 as Paula, one of Negan's Saviors. Check out an interview with Witt about her time on The Walking Dead here.
9. "Ladies First"
In 1989, Queen Latifah broke onto the hip hop scene with her debut album All Hail the Queen. The single "Ladies First" was a hit, becoming a feminist anthem that helped propel Queen Latifah to stardom. In Last Holiday, Georgia decides she has nothing to lose and goes BASE jumping. As she's peering over the edge of the massive dam with her duplicitous boss Matthew Kragen, he gestures to the edge and says "Ladies first." Queen Latifah levels him with a knowing look. To discover more about Queen Latifah's start as a hip hop artist and the legacy of "Ladies First," check out the episode dedicated to the song in Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America.
10. The Story Was Rewritten for Queen Latifah
When screenwriting duo Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman first penned Last Holiday, loosely based on the 1950's dark British comedy of the same name, they imagined John Candy in the lead role. But the project was held in development, and then shelved for several years after Candy's death. When Queen Latifah's agent discovered the script, they suggested to Price and Seaman that they revise the role for her instead. We're certainly glad they did!
Want more Queen Latifah? Check out her rise to fame as an iconic hip hop artist in Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America. Plus, Queen Latifah also stars in another Best Christmas Ever film, Joyful Noise - watch it here.
Check out the full schedule here to see when your other favorite holiday movies are airing on AMC. Don’t want to wait? Take a look at our full holiday offering of Christmas movies on amc.com and the AMC apps.
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