The holidays are a magically boring time of year where inventive original programming goes out the window in place of the same dozen formulaic Christmas movies.
Escaping the usual suspects—those cable channels should play The Usual Suspects instead—is futile, but I had somehow dodged the most polarizing one for this long. As an outside spectator, Love Actually loomed large as a massive human divider. The Nickelback of holiday flicks and John Cena of romance romps, most people either to religiously adore it or detest it with a burning passion.
Because I’m a cynical asshole, I could have reached a logical conclusion I’d fall on the dislike side. But unlike Cena, I realized I indeed could see it when it randomly popped up on Netflix. It even topped the list on my recommendations. Netlifx has led me astray before, but it typically has my best interest at heart. (Also, I was lonely and had nothing else to do on a Tuesday night but shut up this isn’t about my problems.)
No, I didn’t quite enjoy a sappy Christmas movie which was really just about a bunch of attractive English people who wanted to sleep with each other. But it’s somehow a quintessential showcase of love because people are desperate to feel fuzzy inside around the holidays. I also quickly confirmed that it’s incapable of indifferently watching this, so I have a lot of thoughts I need to get out for all four of you lunatics who are actually reading. If you’re not going to humor me by reading these running thoughts WHEN IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS, when will you?
WARNING: The following incoherent rant contains spoilers and foul language. Also, I never took the time to learn any of the characters’ names.
Oh dear, we’re starting with a voiceover about 9/11. OK? Got to say, I didn’t expect this cheesy British Christmas love film to begin by talking about 9/11. Congrats to the writer for since finding a sweet gig as every politician’s speech writer!
It’s too early to genuinely know if the old musician weary of packaging a crappy song under the guise of Christmas is supposed to be meta. Isn’t it the worst when everyone throws Christmas lights on the same old thing and we’re stuck with that subpar thing for every December until the end of time?
If this goes south, at least Liam Neeson and Rick Grimes are here to clear house.
We got a Creepy Guy who hits on two clearly uninterested women. Naturally, he determines that every English girl in the world is awful and it’s all their fault for not loving his douchey ways. Maybe you just suck? But nah, going to the United States seems like a perfectly logical solution to your problem of being generally insufferable. It’s like Principal Skinner deciding that he’s not out of touch, but rather every child is wrong for not sharing his ideology.
What happens after Christmas that the office woman must declare her love to her office crush now? Is the world ending on Dec. 26? Is that a plot point that comes later, or did I miss something during the opening montage?
Liam Neeson: Hey kid, I know your mom just died, but why are you so sad? It can’t still be the dead mom thing, right?
Kid: Nah, it’s far worse than never seeing my mom again. I’m in LOVE.
Neeson: Oh, terrific. What a normal response to a traumatic event. You’re coping with this fantastically. Let’s get you laid, sport.
So the kid saw a cute girl—a girl he has never actually spoken to or doesn’t know at all—and immediately forgot about the opening scene of his mom’s funeral which really just seemed like a segue to transition back to the wedding of Rick Grimes’ friend. Maybe take a week or two before making your stupid childhood crush the No. 1 priority? For a movie about love, the characters sure don’t care about family.
Prime Minister Hugh Grant is smitten with a new office assistant. Good for him! You know, until he creates a potential conflict with his nation’s greatest ally because he might have walked in on U.S President Billy Bob Thorton harassing said crush. Billy Bob is a scummy asshole who couldn’t possibly get elected president of the United States (I regretfully redact that last part after remembering Donald Trump), but it’s also inconclusive if he was pushing the issue or she was going for it too. If it’s the latter, the Prime Minister just called out the fricken President of the United States out of jealousy. I hope this movie ends with both sides engaging in The Great War of I Called Dibs.
Why is Colin Firth writing outside on a typewriter on a windy day right near the water? Why does he have an entire desk set up outside right near the water? The movie came out in 2003. Computers with word processors were a thing by then, right?
Surprise, his pages of writing were blown into the water. Who could have seen that coming? Then his housekeeper takes off her clothes, and it’s love at first sight of the woman he can’t even understand because she doesn’t speak English removing her clothing to clean up his mess. You know it’s true love once the woman you can’t even converse with turns out to have a nice body when only donning her undergarments.
Note: Louie, a show I enjoy, did a similar story without the 1800s French cottage. But there at least was an underlying appreciation for the absurdity of their flawed relationship.
Plot twist: Rick Grimes (or whoever Andrew Lincoln is playing here) isn’t secretly gay and in love with his best friend. He’s in love with Keira Knightley. And by love, he finds Keira Knightley attractive like every other heterosexual man in the universe. Let’s hope she leaves her husband for the guy who’s a complete asshole to her but shows how much he cares by stalking her throughout her wedding.
I guess acting like a total prick to a perfectly nice person for “self-preservation” helped him once the walkers came.
The kid’s crush is going to the U.S. (Dear Lord, keep her away from the Creepy Guy who changed countries in hopes of having sex.) His completely reasonable response to the girl he admires from a distance going home: “That’s the end of my life as we know it.” Hey champ, a bit dramatic from someone no-selling his mom’s death THAT JUST HAPPENED.
Goodbye Colin Firth, You’re a real slow driver and can’t type for shit. But there’s real slow piano music playing and I can’t say for sure whether you’ve insulted me to my face since we don’t speak the same language, so I’m going to kiss you.
Love Actually is the wrong title for this movie. Lust Actually. Infatuation Actually. Too Many God Damn Characters to Form a Meaningful Connection to Any of Them Actually. It’s just a bunch of good-looking people who would very much like to have sex with each other. Granted I’m the worst source imaginable on love, but none of this seems like love in the slightest.
The married man pay 270 pounds (Is that a lot? I’m too lazy to look up the conversion rates) to get laid by his younger employee who already did everything but shout “Let’s have sex!” on a megaphone. How did he go from resisting her passes to spending money on a fancy necklace in order to get into her lady parts? Also, who is this guy again?
Creepy Guy initiates the dumbest plan in the history of civilization, AND IT FUCKING WORKS IMMEDIATELY. He goes to a random, mostly empty bar in the middle of Wisconsin, and of course the only three people there are three beautiful women enamored by his slight English accent. WHAT THE SHIT? Why are you rewarding his shallow stupidity?
This has to end with them robbing him. Or him saying something stupid (as he’s wont to do every other word) that drives them away. People like me have to live every goddamn second with crippling self doubt, and this asshole travels to a different country, stumbles into a Milwaukee bar on the off chance he’ll meet an American women charmed by his being from England. And three promiscuous women just all happen to be right there and ready to meet that to a fucking tee? Also, do all three of them regularly sleep in the bed together when not being a lonely screenwriter’s fantasy of sex objects who don’t exist in real life?
It’s not a good sign for your movie if I begin every scene thinking, “Oh, I forgot about them. I wonder what they’re up .. Eh I really don’t care.”
Welp, we’re at the scene with Rick Grimes and giant cue cards. For something referenced every second, this better not suck….
….Well that totally sucked. Let’s break down what happened.
Hey girl I barely know, your husband and my best friend (I think?) is right in the other room, but let me show you pictures of women I hope to bang because you won’t bang me.
I don’t have an agenda, but let me continue this grand gesture just for kicks! Just because it’s Christmas…(WHAT IN THE BLUE HELL HAPPENS AFTER CHRISTMAS?!? Why is everyone on such a tight deadline to declare their love before Christmas? Is this another Walking Dead prequel where everyone knows the zombie outbreak begins on Dec. 25? Did they get Christmas confused with Valentine’s Day? Would anything about this movie change if every mention of “Christmas” was replaced with “Valentine’s Day”? Or Thanksgiving, Easter or Columbus Day?)
“To me, you are perfect.” – Dude, have you ever had an actual conversation with her? Do you know anything about Keira Knightley other than “She’s super pretty”? Maybe she’s just aesthetically perfect and you’re willing to ruin your best friend’s marriage for no good reason.
At least he ends with I’ll forever love you, until you’re no longer attractive, because that’s the only trait I love about you. Where are the walkers when you need them?
Wait, is the old musician in love with his manager? Or is he just saying “I love you, man. You’re my best friend.”? Seriously, I’m turning off the snark for minute. I sincerely don’t know.
Hugh Grant is the Prime Minister. I’m pretty sure the Prime Minister has the resources to look up a home address instead of going door to door. But he eventually finds Natalie—I actually remembered a name!—and typical romance shenanigans ensue.
So Natalie’s whole deal that everyone except Hugh Grant thinks she’s fat even though she’s clearly not. I don’t think overweight women are allowed to play Hugh Grant’s love interest in Christmas movies.
Hey look, those unrelated characters are loosely connected by something that doesn’t advance or enhance the story in any way.
Liam Neeson’s kid’s love interest totally nailed “All I Want for Christmas”. She’s way out of your league, buddy. But afterwords, Neeson explains to the kid how he’ll always love his mother. Two seconds later, he bumps into a blonde lady with blue eyes and now he’s in love with her instead. Isn’t love magical?
Nobody is perturbed by the Prime Minister making out behind the curtains of a school musical? No? Well OK then. Carry on.
Colin Firth is going from not speaking the language to taking a few lessons to proposing marriage. To the woman he hasn’t actually had a discussion with due to the language barrier. There are so many questions to ask before “Will You Marry me?” What about “Are you racist?” or “What is literally one thing about you because I know literally zero things about you?” Oh wait, he needs to do it NOW. Because it’s CHRISTMAS, and if he’s not going to hastily jump into an irrational life decision on CHRISTMAS, then when will he? Two days after Christmas? Fat chance, pal.
In a post 9/11 movie, the kid is Home Aloneing an entire airline security staff to say goodbye to a girl he has never said hello to. In the greatest victory of all, she acknowledged his existence, which is really all any of us want at the end of the day. She also kissed him on the cheek and now she’s gone and he’s alone again. Love is magical, guys.
Come on, Firth, at least get her language down pat before making what will almost certainly become the biggest mistake of your life and hers.
Creepy Guy got no comeuppance. Not only that, he’s now dating another hot girl he met outside of his foursome featuring January Jones and Elisha Cuthbert. This would be the equivalent of Games of Thrones ending with Joffrey murdering Tyrion and Arya before living happily-ever-after with Margaery Tyrell.
She also brought along another woman for his friend back home, the one who rightfully called him a dumb asshole for enacting the DUMBEST PLAN IN THE HISTORY OF FILM. So she just went to another country to settle down with a complete stranger. Because Creepy Guy vouched for him. And she kisses him before a proper introduction. And all is well and this isn’t weird at all.
This movie HATES American people more than I hate this movie. From President Billy Bob Sexual Harassment to every American woman existing as a brainless sex robot, this entire thing is just revenge for every American actor who has ever used a terrible English accent.
OK, maybe I’m projecting some personal insecurities on Creepy Guy, but I would pay to see a sequel where Dumb American Woman No. 4 leaves him after finding out he has contracted every STD known to man. Liam Neeson could take the wedding ring off his dead wife’s corpse and give it to New Blonde Lady as they make love on her tombstone, and it wouldn’t offend me as much as Creepy Guy not getting met with reality.
Rick Grimes just went right back to being the third wheel. Again, I don’t claim to know how love works. But here’s his entire plot arc:
Hey, I love you. Don’t tell your husband/my best friend. Phew, all better now. You guys want to grab some drinks Saturday?
At least he gets his comeuppance when Shane steals his family. Serves you right, dick.
You may be wondering if I forgot about the office couple. I did, but so did the writers. Why were they the only ones not to get a cheesy happy-ever-after ending?
You also may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned the body doubles who met filming a sex scene. They seem nice. I hope those crazy kids stay together.