Jaillan Yehia

Why We All Need Bad Holidays

Written by Jaillan Yehia

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Bad films; A bit like bad holidays

Bad films; A bit like bad holidays

I love it when a plan comes together as a well-known member of the A-Team might say.

If the makers of the film Chalet Girl planned to inspire me to think about the correlation between bad films and bad holidays, then their plan really has come together perfectly…


Granted, I am not exactly the target audience for a ski-themed teen rom-com starring the pouty bloke from Gossip Girl, but even being charitable the end result was more suited to a lesson in what not to do for would-be film directors than a great evening’s entertainment. Perhaps it has even earned a place on the syllabus alongside the Sex and The City sequel?


What does this have to do with holidays? Well everything has to come together for a film to be truly great. Chalet Girl and Sex and The City 2 had credible actors, fabulous locations (St. Anton and Morocco) and no doubt talented crews, but overall the films didn’t work. Even though the component parts were there to create a good film (minus the racial stereotyping in SATC2, of course), good films are not what emerged.

Filmmaking, like holiday planning, is not a sausage machine. It needs artistry and finesse to make the magic happen, but most of all the process needs a wise director and a brutal final edit.

Yet it’s thanks to time spent watching film failures like these that we’re able to fully appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted piece of cinema when we see it – just as we have to experience some bad holidays to really appreciate the magic of a brilliant well-rounded trip.

Once we understand that the difference between a perfect film and a dreadful one can be imperceptible, yet palpable, we understand that the perfect outcome does not just happen without a rare and mysterious marriage of talent and wisdom.

Anyone can plan and book a holiday. There is an inexhaustible supply of travel information, destination options and holiday possibilities on offer for today’s traveller. But the difference between a bad holiday, a mediocre holiday and a great holiday is all about editing.

It isn’t just knowing what should go into a trip that matters, its knowing what shouldn’t. It’s knowing that one man’s travel meat is another’s holiday poison.

It’s having the experience to sniff out the duds, and cull them, and the vision to spot the gems and collect them. And as the saying goes, the wisdom to know the difference.

To direct a great holiday one must know when to plan and when to go with the flow – when to let the actors ad lib and when to keep the action firmly scripted.

Holidays, like films, start off looking great on paper. But the devil is in the detail – as well as the execution. It takes a single-minded visionary to see the project through hundreds of iterations, while shielding it from the contradictory visions of others, and masterfully steering it, keeping it on course.

The real magic happens when everything comes together, and then fate, always a magnet for success, rewards our inspired efforts and plants the perfect cherry atop our holiday sundae – as with the Amsterdam weekend when I turned a corner to find Kylie on a podium giving an impromptu concert: it couldn’t have been planned but it couldn’t have been a more perfect holiday moment.

Yet sometimes it’s the really awful trips that we remember most fondly. Holidays, like movies, can reach that other level, where they’re so bad they’re good. Here the magic happens when our expectations are removed and reset to zero and we can just enjoy the experience for what it is.

These are the trips where it rains all day, you end up playing black jack for six hours straight, you’ve given up all hope of the holiday panning out as you planned, or the sun ever shining again. And then you have a really great time, because you just let go and truly relax.

Trips like the hen weekend I organised to Mallorca. I spent hours calculating which European destination had the perfect combination of beaches, great weather, stylish hotels and direct flights. That weekend was the wettest on Mallorca since records began and we spent the entire time huddled in cafes reminiscing about old times. It was utterly relaxing.

Of course we all love the so bad they’re good films, which are so preposterous and laughable and awful that they are completely unpredictably brilliant.  A bit like The A-Team. Ah, I love it when a plan comes together.




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