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August 31, 2009

Guilty Movie Pleasures?

What's your biggest guilty movie pleasure? What movie do you love despite the fact that you know it's a bad movie. And I'm not talking about movies you like because they're bad. I don't want any Rocky Horror Picture Show responses, because that's part of a whole different genre.

No, I want to know what movies are truly bad, you know they're bad, and you're embarrassed to admit that you really love the movie and will watch it whenever it comes on.

What's mine?

Glad you asked.

Mine is Love, Actually. This is a 2003 Christmas movie, and it's overly sentimental, schmaltzy as hell, overwritten, trite, and so many other bad descriptive words that I can't even think of them all.

And yet I love it to pieces. And yet I cry whenever I watch it, despite the fact that I know my emotions are being manipulated. The dialogue is really bad, but the acting more than makes up for it. And it's got a stellar cast: Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant and so many more.

Basically, the movie is a hodge podge of romantic storylines all happening to a British family and their group of friends, all taking place around Christmastime. Rickman is marvelous as the mild-mannered office worker (he even does mild-mannered brilliantly!) who's having an affair with a co-worker; Thompson is his wife who happens upon it completely by accident when snooping through the Christmas presents. Grant plays her brother (I think, I know he's a family member), who also happens to be Prime Minister. Somehow, he managed to be elected while being an eligible bachelor, and he develops feelings for one of his staff members.

To detail all the various storylines would make this post go on forever, but all of them have something to do with budding romance, unrequited love, or something like that. All of the relationships are also written so obviously that the writing and dialogue becomes truly annoying after a while. When things start to come together in all of these different vignettes, you know your tear ducts and emotions are being manipulated in a horribly direct way.

And yet I can't help myself. I think it's the acting, personally. This cast breathes life into these lifeless characters; they add any realism that the trite situations have. Even as I'm laughing or cringing at the dialogue or the situations, I'm reveling in watching these performers go through the motions.

I could have done without the strawman president Thornton plays, included only to give Grant's character a chance to show he has balls, but Thornton is still fun to watch. And given the fact that this movie was made in 2003, I find it ludicrous that the kid was able to run after the love his life by jumping through airline security and reaching her just as she gets to her gate. In real life, he would have been riddled full of bullets before he made it there (or at the very least he'd be in detention for a long time). But it is a Christmas fantasy, so I just laugh at the logic instead of rolling my eyes.

Love, Actually is a truly terrible movie. But I will watch it whenever it comes on. I truly love this movie, despite all of that.

So what's your guilty pleasure?


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