Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm watching Love Actually, in honor of Valentines day. (Happy VD, everybody.) I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. There are a bunch of stories and they cover the whole spectrum for me. The storylines, as ordered by wikipedia:

Billy Mac & Manager: I really love this story. Billy Mac is a great character, he's like Jack Sparrow but more likable and more real. I love how he's sorta flapping his arms like a hippy when he's singing in the intro scene. As far as I know, Bill Nighy is always fantastic. And this storyline about maturing beyond the rockstar mentality and appreciating your friends warms my heart every time.

Juliet, Peter and Mark: Otherwise known as the weird third-wheel story. I'm not a big fan. The creepster friend likes his best friends' wife so much that he's awkward around her and does... weird stuff. Kiera Knightly is cute but too skinny, and she can't save this storyline. None of the characters are really fleshed out. I did enjoy, the first time I watched the movie, how it kinda tricks you into think the weird one is acting strange because he's gay for his friend. Because that might actually be kinda tragically touching. Instead you find out that he has an unhealthy fixation on his friend's wife. Let down. Maybe if we knew that he somehow knew Kiera Knightly from someone else. But you can't have your friend introduce you to his girlfriend and then decide they you're going to love her too. Or I guess you can, but you're an idiot.

Jamie and Aurélia: I didn't much like this storyline. Some male writer's wish-fulfillment fantasy of having a hot Portuguese maid fall into his arms despite his buffoonery. The end of the story is like something out of a broadway play or a fairytale. They don't even try to make it believable. The story also glosses over how discovering your brother fooling around with your wife will completely destroy a family. That would be a less-than-happy Christmas reunion.

Harry, Karen, and Mia: Kind of an interesting story, and well acted all around, but perhaps too abbreviated. It just isn't given enough time to drive home the drama. And what is up with that scene where Mr Bean takes 10 minutes gift wrapping the necklace while Alan Rickman is trying to rush him the whole time? Is that supposed to be funny? It was just oddly absurd.

David and Natalie: This story was okay, but also clearly a male writer's wish fulfillment of some kind. The young, single prime minister is awkward around women, and happens to have a hot, personable maid working in the white house (or the brit equivalent) who randomly confesses her love for the guy in a Christmas letter. The part about how the president's flirting with Natalie caused David to make a political stand against the USA was clever. But I'm not sure Hugh Grant makes a believable prime minister.

Daniel; Sam and Joanna: Liam Neeson is excellent, as he usually is. And I liked watching him try to connect with his step-son. The Sam and Joanna storyline was ridiculous. First, there's the random acrobatics in the airport at the end. They might as well have made the kid fly like superman. Also the kid looks like he's 12, and is in love with a girl who is 16. Plus she's American. Even if he plays the drums like a rockstar he doesn't have a chance, and that is how it's supposed to be. I'm sure half the guys in high school had crushes on hot senior girls when they were freshmen, and it never amounted to anything because freshmen boy don't really have anything to offer, um, anyone. The writers have stretched reality way too far. At least make the kid likable for some reason. Maybe he's super poetic or witty. Give me an excuse to believe he has a chance with a 16 year old rock star singer girl.

Sarah, Karl and Michael: Gah, this story was depressing. Girl has issues because her brother has serious issues, and you try to help her but you can't. Michael is essentially a non-character and his haircut was like something out of the 80s, and why doesn't he have a british accent?

Colin, Tony, Stacey, Jeannie, Carol-Anne, Harriet and Carla: What a random story to throw in there. It's like they threw in a surreal dream sequence where hot girls are falling out of the sky, but then at the end instead of waking up, the character says "I was awake the whole time!" Again, give me an excuse to believe this story. Milwalkee, Wisconsin? And that has to be the quietest bar I've ever seen. Who knew that's where the hotties go to slum it. It's like the writers went out of their way to make this storyline unbelievable. They could have just inserted this storyline as a cartoon, where all the girls are identical copies of Jessica Rabbit, and it would be equally believable.

John and Judy: Who is this? Oh, the stand ins. I guess a writer thought "wouldn't it be funny if people who are naked together every day for their job still feel awkward about making romantic overtures?" And it turns out that it really isn't that funny. I don't mind them adding boobs to the movie, but I could have easily done without this whole storyline. And then the movie might have been more successful with conservative people. I was at a college church group when they were discussing this movie. The review I got was "That movie is basically porn. I had to walk out." Later I discovered it was because these two characters mime sex as their job and we watch them trying to talk to each other while they do so. Anyway, a mostly boring subplot.

Rufus: Mr Bean. I'm not even going to comment on this non-storyline. Two appearances of a character does not a storyline make.

(comments about a torrent of The Room. No, I didn't download it, I own the dvd.)
djTeka: Thanks! Gonna check this out, thanks to Tim and Eric making me interested in this movie!
seanhart213: I definitely have breast cancer.


Sarah said...

Hey Joe! How very Valentine's of you to watch Love Actually. I've never seen an analysis of it at that depth before...very interesting!

joe said...

Hey Sarah! I will take your comment as a compliment! Some things aren't meant to be over-analyzed, but I think a movie that weaves together 10 different storylines can't claim that.

And despite how it might sound, I do like this movie.