Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Top 25 Movies of 2000s: 22 Love Actually

Love, Love, Love
Love, Love, Love
Love is all you need.

My favorite Beatles song made it into this very simple Romantic Comedy. That gives this movie a little bit of a bump, but the movie has more than a good cover of a great song.

Since it is a romantic comedy the producers were required by law to cast Hugh Grant. Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman, Mariano Rivera and John Grisham all only do one thing well, romantic comedies, a great man with a fatal flaw, a perfect slider and a simple lawyer story, but they do them exceptionally well. Hugh Grant does his usual Hugh Grant thing and does it very well. This time he is doing the Hugh Grant thing as Prime Minister of Great Brittan. Hey, if you can believe a multiple men can fall head over heels in love with Sara Jessica Parker you can suspend disbelief enough to think of Hugh Grant as Prime Minister.

Love Actually is a combination of eight (yes eight!) love stories all slightly connected either through friendships or random chance. This is an example of how the sum is great than the parts. Each of the stories is unique and even at their most bizarre (one British man goes to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to meet women because over there he will be exotic) to their most ominously foreshadowing (Liam Neeson plays a widower, six years before his wife’s tragic death, who is trying to raise his son on his own and give romantic advice to a 10 year old). While all of these stories revolve around love/romance they have at their true center courage. These are stories of a Prime Minister who stands up to a bullying US President (played perfectly by Billy Bob Thornton who is channeling Bill Clinton) and starts a relationship, a cheated on wife who has the courage to make her marriage work, a man who has the courage to fly to America to seduce women (ok, maybe that one is more lust and desperation), a husband whose marriage is ended by his wife’s infidelity with his brother who has the courage to learn Portuguese to seduce the woman he has fallen in love with, a washed up rock star who has the courage to be a real human being and a decadent rock start at the same time, and a man who has the courage to walk away from the woman he loves because she is married to his best friend.

This movie also benefits from having an amazing cast.
Alan Rickman (2nd best performance barely edging out Galaxy Quest and behind Die Hard)
Bill Nighy (great washed up ROCK STAR)
Colin Firth (women like him)
Emma Thompson (getting better at comedies)
Hugh Grant (always good/never great)
Laura Linney (Massively underrated, deserves more good roles and an Oscar)
Keira Knightly (a role that is right in her wheelhouse)
Rowan Atkinson (has a two minute appearance that is the perfect amount of time for him)
Billy Bob Thornton (has he ever been bad?)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (you may not know him now, but he has been in a ton of great movies, Inside Man, Red Belt (trust me), American Gangster, Children of Men. Watch three of his movies and judge for yourself. It is possible that he could turn out to be the best actor on this list.)

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