ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Many people find it challenging to keep their cool around family members this time of year. Comedian Josh Gondelman has a suggestion for this year's trying times.
JOSH GONDELMAN: Three hours and 54 minutes - according to a recent survey commissioned by Motel 6, that's how long it takes the average American visiting their family to get sick of them. That statistic reveals what many of us already knew. After just a short time with family, you start looking for the exits like your grandmother's house is an escape room where the theme is the ceaseless march of time. But what it also means is that Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" is the perfect family film for the holidays simply because watching it takes up the entire length of a tolerable visit. And, yeah, the movie itself is only 3 1/2 hours long, but you have to build in another 24 minutes for your dad to successfully locate it on the Netflix menu after he suggests you all watch it together. And don't worry. Your dad will suggest watching it. "The Irishman" is an ideal movie for dads. First of all, it's based on a true story, which is classic dad bait, even though it's not about World War II, the ultimate dad movie era. Plus, it stars actors whose names every dad knows - De Niro, Pacino, Pesci - not these young kids they've never heard of like Arnie Hamper and Jimmothy Cassoulet.
In the event you do feel the need to socialize, the film even provides a number of light topics for family conversation. Is Robert De Niro's young CGI makeup a visual effects triumph, or does it look like a botched robot facelift? Are any women going to talk at any point? Was "The Departed" even good, or was it just very, very Boston? So no matter how tense your own relationship with your father is, "The Irishman" reminds you that at least your family hasn't been torn apart by his involvement in organized crime - you know, the way it went down with Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman - unless that has happened to you. And in that case, maybe stick with "It's A Wonderful Life," a movie about a dad who was so emotionally available, it almost killed him.
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SHAPIRO: That's Josh Gondelman. His most recent book is "Nice Try: Stories Of Best Intentions And Mixed Results." You can also hear him on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
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