Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Movie's Charms Elude You? LOVE ACTUALLY


I have watched this movie several times in an effort to understand why people are so bonkers about it? Call me a grinch but it but it doesn't work for me at all. Too many story lines that all seem underdeveloped and manipulative. And this is surprising because I love the cast. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

What movie, widely loved, eludes you? (Not necessarily Christmas films).

44 comments:

Deb said...

Neither Pretty Woman nor Four Weddings and a Funeral do anything for me. Both seem derivative and false to me.

/Bah, humbug!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Pretty Woman eludes me too although I do have a soft spot for the other one.

Anonymous said...

The Truman Show, hands down.

Peter Weir is a great director and, well, I don't loathe Jim Carrey. It's just that the film creates a world in which Carrey leads his life unaware that he is surrounded by actors, that his oblivious life is actually being broadcast as a TV show. This weird adolescent conceit ("I'm the only one who really FEELS anything!") mingles with the undiscussed but obvious fact that every "actor" around Carrey's character is actively involved in deceiving him on every level, lying to him about everything in his life 24/7/365. That's a unbelievably callous deception that's begs the question of what kind of people could actively create and sustain it.

I found this film false, awkward and insulting, and it made the cover ot Time with Carrey described as the new Jimmy Stewart.

John Hocking

pattinase (abbott) said...

When I first saw TTS, I thought it pretty clever. But on a second viewing I found most of the issues you suggest. And over time, I came to dislike Jim Carrey. And to compare him to Jimmy Stewart is ludicrous as I bet TIME would admit to now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Deb on those, though the latter was OK. I'd add other Julia Roberts movies including NOTTING HILL, which Jackie likes.

Although "charm" is not a word that was used for it, AMERICAN BEAUTY was liked by enough people in Hollywood to win several Oscars, including Best Picture. I know we share an opinion of it.

As for LOVE, ACTUALLY I feel differently. I find it uneven. I like several of the stories and dislike several of the others. So I watch it annually (Jackie loves it), enjoy the Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and even Hugh Grant stories (in descending order of enjoyment) and suffer through the rest.

Here's another: THE HANGOVER. Add any movie starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Gerard Butler, Paul Rudd, Katherine Heigl.

Jeff M.

le0pard13 said...

These Best Picture winners:

OUT OF AFRICA
THE ENGLISH PATIENT
AMERICAN BEAUTY
CHICAGO

There, I said it.

George said...

I'm with you and Jeff on AMERICAN BEAUTY. I'm also resistant to all the Judd Apatow movies. I've found them all to be banal.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have a friend whose favorite movie is OUT OF AFRICA. I just don't see it.

Anonymous said...

No, even Meryl and pretty pictures couldn't make it interesting.

Jeff M.

PS - If we're talking Best Picture winners I'd add:

CRASH
FORREST GUMP (except for the Bubba and Lt. Dan scenes)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Detest FORREST GUMP and I have to say the book by Winston Groom was very different.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

SWEET HOME ALABAMA and MAID IN MANHATTAN though I preferred the latter to the former. Reese Witherspoon was over the top.

Chad Eagleton said...

There are so many. If I had to pick one, considering the time of the year, I'd go with Elf. Apparently, I'm missing something since this is now some kind of Christmas classic for my generation and younger. I think it fails as a comedy and as a Christmas story, but mostly it's just stupid and not very funny--like pretty much everything with Will Ferrel.

Randy Johnson said...

I second Chad. Pretty much anything with Will Ferrell in it. Though to be fair, I stopped watching them after the first couple. I suppose he might have gotten better.

Anonymous said...

I sort of liked him in STRANGER THAN FICTION but otherwise, no.

Top of my "why does he have a career" list remains Ben Stiller, but Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler are right up there with him.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have never found Ferrell funny but because I read what a nice guy he was I keep trying to like his movies. But I don't.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Jeff, your last comment reads like the one I had in mind. I haven't seen more than a film each by Ben Stiller, Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Ashton Kutcher, Brendon Fraser, and Vince Vaughn. I am think more names along these lines...

pattinase (abbott) said...

If we all agree on these names, who is the audience for these guys? SNL has sent many awful actors into the world.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Steve Carell. He was tolerable in the Streep/Jones movie. But only in light of how awful he usually is.
And I would add Robin Williams, with a few exceptions: MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON, BIRDCAGE, GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM.

John said...

1. Little Miss Sunshine. A critical fave that bored the hell out of me. Turned it off after only 30 minutes.

2. Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman, et al. Noisy, garish, chaotic.

In defense of Paul Rudd: He's a fantastic actor who started on the stage doing a lot of dramatic roles. I think he squanders his talent making those crap comedies. He was intense and moving (and funny, too) in GRACE which I just saw on Broadway. An amazing play, BTW, and anyone who is in or near NYC ought to do themselves a favor and see it before it closes on Jan 6.

Charles Gramlich said...

I guess my main question would be why would you try it more than once if you didn't like it? Much less 3 times? One movie that many folks liked that I tried to watch but never made it through was The Bridges of Madison county.

le0pard13 said...

Believe me Charles, Eastwood's film is way better than the dreck of the novel that is The Bridges of Madison County.

Anonymous said...

John, I have nothing against Paul Rudd as an actor, other than what you said - he squanders his talent making those crap comedies. We would have seen GRACE long ago if my wife hadn't hurt her leg in Vegas.

I agree on MOULIN ROUGE and other movies by the incredibly overrated (IMHO) Baz Luhrmann. I'm not holding out much hope for his forthcoming remake of GATSBY.

On the other hand, I do like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and I do (Patti) like Steve Carell, in that and three or four other things.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I watched it again because last Christmas everyone raved about it.
I liked Carell best in THE OFFICE.
I also like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE although Phil hated it.
The trailers for Gatsby look great in terms of costumes, set design, but it's hard to tell. I think it may be unfilmable.

Richard R. said...

Patti, not a criticism - though it sounds like one I guess - just a comment, as this always fascinates me. You say you've "watched it several times" then later you say "maybe the third time will be the charm." So... "several" equals two? That would be a couple of times, but several? I guess I think of several as being at least three, more likely four or five.

++++++++++

Movie whose charms elude me? E.T. would be one. Almost all "funny" Christmas movies except Christmas Vacation. ELF is a good example. I love A Christmas Story and the old classics. Anything with Jim Carrey. I see a lot of the answers have to do with actors and actresses instead of specific films. which is interesting. I even did it.

But then so very few films look appealing to me anymore, I don't bother with them, so I wouldn't know if I missed their charms, I guess.

Richard R. said...

I said all that very badly.

Movie whose charms elude me would include E.T. almost all "funny" Christmas movies anything with Jim Carrey. Most action films too, though I don't know how much charm they have anyway.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am a very imprecise person, Rick. I think I have seen it twice. So several was clearly an incorrect term to use.
Most action films elude me too but I liked SKYFALL and THE AVENGERS. They had humor in them and seemed more fully fleshed out.

Anonymous said...

THE AVENGERS was OK I thought, mainly for the humorous stuff with Robert Downey, but I would certainly not see it multiple times.

There are movies I can watch repeatedly but they aren't - for the most part - action movies. CASABLANCA, ANIMAL HOUSE, GROUNDHOG DAY, TWO FOR THE ROAD, ANNIE HALL,CHARADE, MY COUSIN VINNY, etc.

Jeff M.

Todd Mason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Mason said...

Spielberg's jejune, flashy corpus of work. George Lucas's jejune, flashy corpus of work, save, to some extent, THX-1138 and AMERICAN GRAFITTI. Michael Haneke's jejune, self-satisfied, wildly overpraised oeuvre...and, even more ponderously if less self-righteously, Christopher Nolan's.

SNL does a disservice to too many actors, when their most mechanical routines catch on, and they decide they can Get By with that kind of material (and commercially, they often can). Even Adam Sandler can be better than he usually is, as in PUNCH DRUNK LOVE or the sitcom UNDECLARED. Most of SNL's cast has done better work before and after their term there...but that series has only been actually good in three stretches, and one of those stretches (when the series was all but turned over to Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Billy Crystal and Martin Short) was only barely actually good, despite the talent involved (Julia Louis-Dreyfus being among those wandering around in the background of Shearer, et al.).

Cap'n Bob said...

Anything with Sandler, Ferrell, or Glenn Close. I don't watch anything with a member of the Scientology Organized Crime Family in it.

As for individual titles, there are a number already mentioned, like The English Patient, and I have to say I was totally underwhelmed by Doctor Zhivago. Also, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Bob Ford, if that's correct.

Todd Mason said...

It's interesting, Patti, that you often pose this question as if (or almost as if) there's something wrong with you if you don't like, for example, LOVE ACTUALLY, which is a manipulative trifle.

Most of the films cited have been. Manipulative trifles can do very well, since most film viewers are not (REVELATION!) terribly sophisticated.

Ah, well, I hope it's simple politeness on your part.

Todd Mason said...

COWARD ROBERT FORD, fwiw, Bob.

Cullen Gallagher said...

BLACK NARCISSUS. Powell and Pressburger made some great movies, and Deborah Kerr is a terrific actress, and Jack Cardiff is without a doubt one of the greatest cinematographers of all time -- but I find this movie dull beyond compare. It still plays to sell out crowds here in NYC at Film Forum, but I didn't care for it one bit.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Haven't seen it in many years. But it did not stay with me.

Anders E said...

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. Simply put, I did not find it funny at all.

Then again, whenever Jonathan Richman comes on the screen it's one of the best things ever.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My mother loved that movie. I didn't get it. Although both Carmen Diaz and Ben Stiller occupy the bottom of my list of actors.

Anders E said...

Jonathan Richman's theme song is nevertheless truly, utterly wonderful. Why this did not earn him an academy award is totally beyond me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5vHRMtEDZU

Addendum: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. More craft than art, noir cliches galore and Javier Bardem is basically just a wacky gimmick. The Coen's most overrated, by far. Their most underrated? INTOLERABLE CRUELTY.

Naomi Johnson said...

So many come to mind, but the one that I seem to be well and truly out of sync on with folks is Moonstruck.

pattinase (abbott) said...

One of those films that worked for me however many years ago. But on second viewing-cringeworthy.

Todd Mason said...

Cameron Diaz. I think she's better than you suggest, but rarely does anything that challenges her (or her costars) much.

MOONSTRUCK offended me from jump.

Todd Mason said...

Ben Stiller sure does more than his share of pap, but at his best, is by me quite funny. Liked him in GREENBERG, for example (only partly a comedy, and definitely a tragedy).

pattinase (abbott) said...

Both actors seem to settle for very little and yet give the impression of having some brains. I guess there are not many A films around.

le0pard13 said...

Naomi/Todd: Hehe... I'm teeing up MOONSTRUCK this weekend for its 25th anniversary ;-).

Anonymous said...

The recent hype and reviews make me add one more name: Quentin Tarantino.

I find most of his movies not hilarious or retro or (you choose the adjective here) but unwatchable.

I did love FROM DUSK TO DAWN, however. Go figure. Of course it did have Salma Hayek...


Jeff M.