Friday, 27 December 2013

Love Actually

It's ten years since this odious film was released. I have nothing against Richard Curtis, I love Four Weddings and adore Notting Hill but this film makes me angry and what makes me most angry is that I watch it when it comes on the telly. I am watching it now. WHY? Why do I do it to myself? Let me explain why I loathe it by story lines.

Keira Knightley. I don't understand why she gets any work, she's a terrible actress and she has a funny jaw. Whatever. Good luck to her. This story is so trite. He's in love with his his best friend's wife and it's not romantic. He makes a creepy wedding video where it's all shots of her. He then turns up at her doorstep doing this Bob Dylan pastiche. Arrrrghh. It's awful. He's awful, she's awful and the story is awful. What about his poor mate? No mention of that. And the godawful wedding where they burst into All You Need Is Love. Again, awful.

Bill Nighy. I don't share the Bill love but again, that's my problem. This story of him doing Christmas Is All Around is again, so cringeable and unfunny. Why are we meant to find it funny that he sings this with a bevvy of buxom ladies?

2003 and he's writing on a typewriter. WTF? Cliches ahoy with the Italian/Spanish/French (I paid no attention to where he is meant to be) woman falling in love with him despite them not speaking a word of each other's language.

This one moment is funny, in fact it's the best moment of the film, but why is she not allowed to have a boyfriend because of her brother? Why does she answer the phone in the middle of finally making out with the hot guy? Why does she not explain to him? He seems like a sensitive chap, I am sure he'd understand. It's nonsense.

No film is ever better with the addition of Rowan Atkinson just to be clear. And this is no exception. This scene goes on and on and it's tedious and Not Funny.

Hugh Grant as Prime Minister? Ummmm. Maybe. Billy Bob Thornton as the US president? No. And this scene is so ridiculous that I can't believe anyone requires an explanation as to why.

This storyline is moronic. No goofy English guy would rock up in America and be a hit like this. American women are not stupid. That is January Jones next to him by the way. I am embarrassed for all of them.

The widowed dad. CLICHE ALERT. A 10 year old is in love and we're meant to take it seriously and find it heart-warming. I find it nauseating. And the precocious girl he likes sings that damn Mariah Carey Christmas song. It makes me want to cry. And not in a good way.

Much is made of Emma Thompson and rightly so since she can actually act and does so here effortlessly. Her scene crying over the Joni Mitchell CD is touching but she's married to such an arse that you wonder why she bothers.

I don't even know what to say about this. Again, not funny and Martin Freeman is another bland, boring actor that mystifyingly gets work.

It comes to something when the best story involves Martine McCutcheon. But she is sweet in this and the scene near the end where he goes carol singing with his security is quite amusing.

Finally, it has Ant and Dec in it. And Michael Parkinson.

Gawd. It's a contender for worst film ever made and I am never watching it again. Ever. It is designed to appeal to the lowest possible denominator and I'm afraid I do judge people who like this film as idiots.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Jennifer Aniston update: We're The Millers

Another flight, another Jen film to watch. She's a busy girl. To keep my Jennifer Aniston reviews up-to-date, I present We're The Millers.

Is it as bad as the picture above suggests? Not quite. Let's look at the evidence. Jennifer Aniston plays a stripper. This is beginning to smack of desperation. Jen, we know you have a kick ass body, there is no need to resort to playing strippers to show it off. Do a Playboy cover if you feel so inclined to show the world. There is inevitably a scene in which Jen has to strip (if you count leaving your knickers and bra on stripping) and it's excruciating. I am honestly not a stripping expert, I've never been to a strip club and apparently neither has Jen. The whole scene is an embarrassment.

The plot: a bunch of misfits pretend they are a family to smuggle drugs from Mexico back to the US. Happens all the time I'm sure. The guy is a drug dealer but small-time and with a heart of gold really. Of course. The young girl (played by Julia Roberts niece) is a runaway and the boy is a neglected kid who lives in the apartment block. The two kids are good, especially Emma Roberts who I was impressed with. I can't defend this film, it's pretty bad but there are moments that are quite amusing and when one is on a plane, that can be all you need to keep you entertained. I can't imagine ever going to see this at the cinema however I've sat through far worse and the closing credits are a joy where the cast sing the Friends theme to Jen. Genuinely funny and worth watching just for that.

Jen, stop taking your clothes off. You'll never win an Oscar doing that love.

Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 RIP

Another year passes. Here are the deaths that have touched my heart.

Michael Winner. No, I don't harbour a secret affection for Death Wish but Winner was a true British eccentric and he went to school with my dad.

Mel Smith. Much sadness at this news. He was way too young.

Lou Reed. Effortlessly cool.

James Gandolfini. I never got in to The Sopranos but I enjoyed Gandolfini in many films. He was a class act.

Peter O'Toole. They don't make stars like this anymore.

Richard Briers. For The Good Life.

Lewis Collins. The cool Professional.

Joan Fontaine. For her legendary rivalry with her sister, Olivia De Havilland and for excellent genes - she was in her late 90s and Olivia is still alive.

Nelson Mandela may not be in entertainment but how can I not mention him? What a man. RIP.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Now That's What I Call Music

Thirty years ago this album was released. Obviously I had it in vinyl. I still can't listen to You Can't Hurry Love without expecting Duran Duran's Is There Something I Should Know immediately after it. I was reminded of this album because I heard The Safety Dance on an episode of The Carrie Diaries. The track listing for the original Now album makes my heart sing. It's like a history lesson in 80s pop. Let's explore.

It opens with Phil Collins. I mean, why? And he is covering a Supremes song. It's like the worst of the 80s right off the bat. Then we move to one of the worst Duran Duran songs. Then another cover with UB40's Red Red Wine which I can't even discuss I hate it so much. Then, wait for it, Limahl. Anyone sane would give up but no, what's this? Heaven 17's Temptation. A classic of our time indeed. Things are looking up.

KC and the Sunshine Band with Give It Up follows which I love. I had forgotten how much I loved this and I am just listening to it now. It's going on my workout playlist. Double Dutch by Malcolm McClaren and the mighty Bonnie closes side one.

Side two and we have Karma Chameleon. I bloody hate this song. I feel I should like it being an 80s kid but god it's awful isn't it? The only people who like this are those who are too young to remember it the first time round. Culture Club did some good songs but this wasn't one of them. The magnificent Safety Dance follows and what is this video about? Bonkers.

Mike Oldfield bores us and then we come to Down Under. Possibly one of the greatest songs ever recorded. Not much else to say about side two except to ponder how Paul Young was ever successful.

Side three and New Edition hit us up with Candy Girl. Bobby Brown!

Limahl left Kajagoogoo and they decided to press on without him. To the regret of all of us. This is the worst of the 80s. Another cover with Tina Turner's Let's Stay Together. Al Green did it better. But we have Human League to save us. (Keep Feeling) Fascination with a great use of 80s brackets there. And Howard Jones with New Song - love, love, love it. More UB40, there is no explanation. Peabo and Roberta close side three with Tonight I Sellotape My Glove To You as my sister likes to call it.

Side four and Tracey Ullman with They Don't Know. A contender for one of my favourite 80s songs this, I adore it. The bells! Then Will Powers Kissing with Confidence, another fave. Skipping over Genesis to The Love Cats. This is totally perfect pop from a band that didn't really do pop. Then we have Simple Minds with a song nobody remembers, Waterfront? Anyone? The tedious Madness follow and we close with yes, just what we all wanted, another Culture Club song, Victims.

I am puzzled. I loved this album, I listened to it a great deal because I was 12 and hadn't built up a large collection of music and had not discovered my parents Beatles albums yet. I had remembered it being brilliant. It's clearly not. It has about 8 good songs on it and then bad songs by bands that weren't even that good to start with. I mean, Kajagoogoo? But the good songs really are properly good, we have Bonnie, The Cure, Tracey (although I admit it might just be me that loves this), Men at Work and the mighty Men Without Hats. Men did us proud in 1983.

I wish I'd kept my original vinyls but alas, they have long gone. Looking at the cover takes me back to fluro socks, Frinton-on-sea and poring over Smash Hits. Bliss.

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