not only are you right, even your conflation’s right, the actor is a rapping monk in at least 2 movies
not only are you right, even your conflation’s right, the actor is a rapping monk in at least 2 movies
I watched this like three weeks ago and have already blocked almost all of it out except that the guy from A Touch Of Cloth was one of the gay couple and the love interest is just, like, this sort of grinning American slab with no notable personality or interests who reappears at sporadic points and talks to Hugh Grant. Didn’t she marry an old Scottish guy at some point with no real explanation…?
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001): I genuinely enjoy the first of these movies, maybe because having a romantic lead who spends a lot of time eating icecream alone in her pajamas is more relateable than these other freaks. it’s true that whatever lived-in qualities there are are balanced against some very alarming romantic setpieces - like when she finally brings the main hunk home, and he sees an old page of her diary where she’s making fun of him, and he silently leaves, and she has to run after him in the snow for an appreciable distance, and then - - he reappears smiling and holding a new diary!! he was just heading out to buy her a new diary, without saying anything, in the middle of the night.
Bridget Jones 2 (2004): I guess it’s unusual to have a sequel to a romantic comedy - the only other recentish one that immediately comes to mind is sex and the city 2, where they go to saudi arabia (!!!). in bridget jones 2 bridget jones gets framed for smuggling cocaine and thrown into a women’s prison in thailand, which turns into a heartwarming musical number as she bonds with the other girls about how much they all love madonna. and then she hears their life stories and re-examines her feeling towards her ex, on the basis that he didn’t, uh, beat her or force her into sex work. Romance!!
Bridget Jones 3 (2016): The third Bridget Jones movie came out in 2016 so there’s a scene where she meets Ed Sheeran and a scene where she does the opa gangnam style dance, unfortunately fortnite hadn’t been invented yet so we need a bridget jones 4 where she becomes a twitch streamer i guess. there’s a retroactively eerie scene where they’re lying in bed and joking about “the US primaries”. an interesting thing over the course of these movies is seeing “everyday life” slowly morph from, like, movie-style but still recognisable in some aspects to just taking place entirely inside this weird bland yuppiedrome briefly glimpsed between trips to various exotic locations. hugh grant’s character is killed off offscreen at the very start of this movie in the manner of hicks and newt from alien 3, although interestingly in the source material it was actually colin firth’s character who died! Anyway this means they couldn’t reenact the big fight sequences between the two that happened in the first AND second movies, unfortunately, I had hoped there was some kind of contractual rider which forced them to do that every few years, up until they’re both 80 or dead, maybe get some wire-fu effects in there as well.
Love Actually (2003) - this one is very weird and exhausting, it’s like they had a pile of romantic movie setpieces sitting in a desk somewhere and couldn’t figure out where to use them so they threw together a movie with like 20 different ostensible protagonists where they could burn through each one. like, the very start of the movie is a viral surprise wedding thing where suddenly all the guests start playing instruments (the trombone player is my favourite), and then all those characters disappear and then they reappear after a bunch of other shit for ANOTHER setpiece section about watching the wedding tape the best man made and realizing he’s in love with keira knightley because he kept creepily zooming in on her face, and then they disappear again before ANOTHER setpiece where the best man reappears to keira knightley in secret and gets her to read a series of messages written on big placards (“i have a gun / pointed at my head”), where he says he loves her but won’t intrude on her new marriage, and you wonder why he needed a series of placards just to say this, and like what if her husband answered the door and was like alright guv whats on those big placards eh but it’s already moved onto another set of characters going through their own disquieting setpiece moment. i’m not gonna say i have no reason to care about these characters as it’s never stopped be enjoying a movie before but the overall effect is like, a later friday the 13th sequel but with elaborate love declarations instead of “kills”.
Most of the characters get happy setpieces but then there are one or two who just get a quiet moment of domestic sadness instead, and that doesn’t really register in a movie where fake tony blair is having romantic trysts before a musical number.
Also: this movie has Hugh Grant as fake tony blair. they do make sure not to mention any actual political positions (just like the real thing ha ha ha) but he does get a weird psychosexual thing with Billy Bob Thornton as fake george bush, who he sees making out with his crush, and it inspires him to deliver an impromptu press conference where he complains about the lopsidedness of the USA-Britain relationship and talks about the importance of british things like “harry potter and the beatles”. and his staff all pump their fists like yesss. he’s showing them! and then afterwards he celebrates by blasting american pop music and dancing around. i don’t know if the iraq war happened in this movie universe, maybe they just sent slightly fewer troops as a result of flexing that backbone, idk.
My favourite characters were I guess the couple who meet on a porn set, but I don’t know if it’s actually a porn set since it seems to be filmed inside this very roomy and ornate Georgian manor filled with fancy marble furnishings and etc. But they do have sex so I guess it’s not a music video or anything? I’m enamoured by this movie’s conception of porn as like one regular-looking couple having unanimated missionary sex in the middle of a heritage site, in neutral daylight lighting.
“America” occupies such a weird distinct place in the british romantic comedy boom - in every Richard Curtis movie americans are glamorous but also threatening, they sort of represent a life of luxury and excitement but that life has to be safely integrated into the we’re-british-i’m-afraid clutter and dithering thing in order to be tolerated. I guess love actually explicitly frames this as related to britain’s contemporary status as a kind of cringing lackey to american imperial power but it also reflects the conditions these movies were made under - british productions aware of and playing for an american blockbuster audience but still selfconsciously trying to retain a seperate identity. America is something to be both courted and kept at a distance.
There’s a subplot in Love Actually about a dopey english guy who goes to America to meet girls, and instantly there are all these glamorous available women attracted to his accent and fighting over him etc - but at the end of the film, in nearly the final shots, he returns to england with these women in tow! Bringing American capital to the English film industry, creating a new synthesis of glamour and homeliness which would have led to many more star-filled romance collaborations if this particular one hadn’t been so widely reviled.
There is a horrible gremlin child in this film who looks like a cgi effect. Mr Bean shows up in it and according to imdb was originally meant to be an “angel”.
This completes more or less my backlog of romcoms watched this year but I’ll update if I remember or watch any more.
hey you should do the brittany murphy trifecta and watch Love and Other Disasters, The Ramen Girl and Little Black Book
i can guarantee that one of these is great i just refuse to tell you which one
i wonder now that garry marshall’s dead if anyone will keep making the weird american love actually holiday knockoff movies. valentine’s, news years eve, mother’s day are fine but i mean there’s a whole calendar out there
Ohh god, i’m looking these up now and I remember these posters ambiently from bus stops but had totally repressed them from my brain. His whole filmography looks like the dvd shelf at every secondhand store so will definitely have to add some of these for later.
I will also add some of these for later!!!
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) - OK, stick with me, this is a talking animal movie but I believe it’s much more committed to the romantic comedy format than like Garfield or whatever. There are two opposites thrown into a wacky situation who hate each other but slowly learn respect and even love over the course of the movie, there are emotional misunderstandings, there’s some mildly child-unfriendly content in the form of implied drinking and premarital sex (the humans, not the dogs).
The plot is that the privileged titular Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Drew Barrymore) gets lost and has to fend for herself in Mexico City and it basically has the kind of racial politics you’d expect from that synopsis. There are some scares and criminals before she slowly learns to embrace the life-affirming zesty spirit of etcetcetc. Cheech Marin makes a guest appearance as a talking rat. She gets captured by an underground dogfighting circle but escapes with the help of a gruff streetwise german shepard who used to be a police dog until his handler was killed by the mob, he agrees to help her find her owner, there are mishaps, but the adversity and their cultural differences bring them closer together. two things:
Other than that the main thing I remember about this movie are that the soundtrack included not just “Hot Hot Hot”, “Bad To The Bone”, “I’m Too Sexy” and “Low Rider” but ALSO a Gwen Stefani cover of the song “If I Were A Rich Man” from Fiddler On The Roof.
I can’t breathe
Love Actually is actually terrible***
***pun made for the twelve millionth time in history
I don’t know why it’s on all the lists of good christmas movies. are we that impoverished for good christmas movies?
my sister loves Love Actually
maybe I was adopted
one of my sisters makes like macrame religious iconography and the other knows a whole lot about the E network
you were probably not adopted
Sleepless In Seattle (1993): featuring Meg Ryan as Golgo 13. It’s funny to watch this for the first time after seeing You’ve Got Mail which I think has more of a rep as a time capsule of 90s computer culture or the imagined version of same. Like in this one, Meg Ryan hears Tom Hanks on a nationwide radio broadcast - - she looks up him and his son by name on some kind of newspaper database - - she commissions a private detective to dig into his private life and send confidential photos, also via the computer system - - finally she flies out to Seattle and just sort of, follows him and his son around from afar? When they get into a boat she drives after them in her car and then hides behind a house watching them goof around on a beach? It’s like the awkward early-adopter version of creepily namesearching people on google or something. And then I guess the big romantic finale comes about when the kid uses the computer to buy cheap airline tickets. A vast network of surveillance and information technology functioning seamlessly to bring together two characters who haven’t actually exchanged a word more than “hello” until the very end of the movie! Panoptoromcom.
At the end the camera pans out on this beautiful 3d model of the empire state building:
Elizabethtown (2005): Oh shit, I was sort of aware of the reputation this one had before I went in but I started out actually sort of liking it. There’s lots of very stilted screenwriter dialogue, people sort of monologuing at each other instead of talking etc which I can have a soft spot for. And it has a weird tone where it’s sort of cartoonishly broad at times but doesn’t pay that off with an actual joke, like when he gets a golf cart down a long corridor to the executive offices or when he arrives in the small Kentucky town and every denizen is just standing still out on the street, waving to him and pointing where he has to go. Anyway at the start he is a shoe inventor who fucked up somehow enough to “cause a generation to return to bare feet”. Patient zero for the barefoot-is-legal movement… I like the rigged electric exercise bike he ties a knife to in order to make just a hellish but very ineffective looking suicide machine. The suicide version of that vibrating sex toy chair George Cloony built in his garage in that one Coen bros movie.
The romance part is pretty rough. He calls Kirsten Dunst out of boredom(??) and they’re shown talking for hours and just delighting in each other’s company, in this really drawn out montage that apparantly lasts like six hours in the movie, but every time it cuts to what they’re actually saying to each other it’s just like “ever feel like people think you’re someone you’re not??” and “yes, i love truffles” and so forth.
About 4/5ths through the movie she just abruptly gives him, like, a good 200-page printed ring binder of maps and pasted-in pictures and polaroids and sassy remarks and about a dozen mix cds and a full, minute-to-minute itinery of road trip directions for him to follow by himself. While listening to the mix cds in tandem to the instructions. And lists of places to eat, roadside attractions to visit, wise old men to talk to etc. I think the entire course of the movie to that point takes place over something like… four days??? Like, between having that phone conversation and then giving him this enormous copyprotection booklet and presumably with breaks in between to drive around, sleep, do romantic movie things, etc.
But anyway, he goes on the road trip and learns to take life as it comes and listens to a bunch of very 40something music journalist ass mixtapes and visits a lot of attractions. Including… the hotel where Martin Luther King was assassinated!!! There’s a shot of him sadly standing outside a museum display about it and reading the little plaque!! Set to the same like sad 2000s alt-country music as the rest of it and then he gets in the car and continues having ephiphanic moments about how it’s the journey instead of the destination that matters. Very bizarre.
We don’t even get to find out what exactly was so wrong with the shoes so I must give this movie -99 stars.
I think both of these movies testify in their different ways to how the sprawl and inconclusiveness of modern life necessitates female romantic comedy leads who are just like, the equivalent of obsessed homicide detectives stringing together photos and names on a big wallboard or of devious five-moves-ahead terroristic master planners in action films, just to make up for the depressive torpor of the other lead. I am pitching a movie to hollywood called “Conspiracy To Love” where Meg Ryan plays one of those QAnon conspiracy types using her powerful connection-deducing powers to set up elaborate love voyages for desperate clients, but when an old flame comes into town she’s about to find out that nothing goes according to plan, etc.
EDIT: the 8yo kid in sleepless in seattle even has the Alex Jones / Virtual Hydlide walkcycle!
You should get paid for this
I had such a hard time with Sleepless in Seattle the one time I saw it because I felt really bad for Bill Pullman.
now I can only picture a shirtless Alex Jones, hot and sweaty after finishing a bucket of wings, stomp-waddling through the streets of Seattle, pausing only to lick the gum wall
BONUS IN SEATTLE:
the babysitter’s outfit is very good
I guess the word ho was contemporary with this movie so the characters keep calling each other hos? like meg ryan spies on tom hanks meeting with his sister and then disgustedly refers to her as “some ho”.
it makes such a thing about his allergies that when he was hanging around by the third act I was seriously wondering if the movie was gonna just kill him off by feeding him an almond or something. lucky to get out of there alive… I do like that the fakeout boyfriends in both this and You Got Mail are so instantly accepting and relaxed about being broken up with though. I think the Tom Hanks Starter Girfriend in this one just sort of disappears?
Haven’t read the whole thread (it’s awesome by the way) but I really also want to push My Sassy Girl (Korean original) to the top of your list. It’s the only rom com I like, to this day. Really wondering what you’ll think about it.
Note to self, I need to get a German subtitled version of it so I can watch it with my girlfriend
There’s a great Japanese romcom called Audition
It’s the best. I mean, I know, like about halfway through, you are gonna think “well that’s odd” but just keep with it. It’s gonna turn out great.
What’s a good ancient Roman rom com
The ancient Romans were base brutes without aesthetic judgment but the ancient Greeks had Lysistrata