Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gulity Pleasure Pick: Holiday Movies, part 1: Love Actually

Love Actually (2003).
 Find it in the catalog!

Holiday movies for me are like pizza; not something you'd serve to someone you want to impress and certainly not the best thing you've ever ingested, but perfect for the end of the week when you are too lazy and brain dead to cook.

Love Actually is an amalgamation of several different cinematic dealbreakers for me: it's a holiday movie, a romantic comedy, and it interweaves several different stories with similar themes Crash-style.  Yet, I still watch it practically every holiday season.  It does have a great cast: Bill Nighy, Laura Linney,  Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Chiewetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman and so on.  Basically the who's who of British cinema minus James McAvoy and Martin Sheen.  Some of the plot line are tracing paper thin and downright depressing, but thankfully, you never stick to one story too long.  The film is set primarily in London and it has dry, ironic Brit humor going for it.  Below are my top 5 favorite things about Love Actually

1).  Bill Nighy as Billy Mack:  Bill Nighy's performance as a washed up former rock star is by far the most entertaining part of the film.  Most likely modeled after Keith Richards, Mack struggled for years with substance abuse and pretty much says whatever enters his brain. However, Mack reminds me more of a mild-aged Russell Brand, as he revels in being randy and inappropriate and he only wears tight leather clothing.

2).  Prime Minister Hugh Grant's dance:  This is probably the most iconic moment for the film.  Joyful about all the positive press he is getting for telling off the Bill Clinton-esque American president (Billy Bob Thorton), after the president hits on Grant's pretty assistant, he does a happy dance to the Pointer Sisters' "Jump."  Like Sam Rockwell, Hugh Grant knows how to dance in a way that both skilled and hilarious.

3).  Colin Firth weak Portuguese skills:  *contains spoilers*  Firth's character learns Portugeuse in order to communicate with his housekeeper, who he has fallen in love with.  However, he never quite masters the language and winds up saying everything just a little bit off.  It manages to be both funny and realistic.

4).  Rodrigo Santoro.

 5). Christmas Pageant:  In order to give all of the children a role in the school Christmas pageant, several characters are added to the traditional Nativity scene, including lobsters and octopi.