Love Actually opening scene
NOTE: Typos will be edited at some point. Have fixed my desktop and am trying to get used to the keyboard again.
Embedding disabled on all decent copies I can find, so have a look, above, and then read the following tirade. I'll try and incorporate some audience theory into my scathing assault on Richard Curtis and all who sail in his very naff little boat which I hope gets sunk.
Reasons why I hate 'Love Actually' (hopefully confined to the first 2 minutes, as per the )
Okay, aside from the fact that Richard Curtis has gone from being the doyen of great British comedy to the keeper and maintainer of vacuous status quo-dom at the same rate that Ben Elton has gone from wonderfully-Thatcher-baiting-if-deeply-condescending-and-nowhere-near-as-clever-as-he-supposes luminary to purveyor of Queen musicals there are a great many reasons to hate this opening two minutes. A great many reasons to be insulted. A great may reasons as an audience to feel, at the very least, aggrieved at the shockingly mindless monkeys we are thought to be. How easily manipulated by trite sentiment does Curtis think a cinema audience is? Judging by the success of the film and all his other offerings the answer is very. And UK audiences are doing sod all to challenge this.
Just be warned, I don;t care if you like it. If you like it, fine. This is a personal rant about the cultural values it supposes and how it treats an audience. If you enjoyed the film, I'm glad (thereby neatly contradicting my previous couple of sentences - I'm trying to be liberal about taste whilst lambasting and that is a difficult skill).
We looked at Monkey Dust in class, here is a Monkey Dust version of every Richard Curtis movie ever* WARNING: a little subversive, don't press play if you might be easily offended. Remember, I'm covered by the spec as long as I'm not showing you anything inappropriate and if 'Int he Loop' is a 15 according to the BBFC, then this is easily admissible in a court of Media Studies teaching.
But back to 'Love Actually'.
How is an audience manipulated? By setting up a situation where you have to buy into the premise or risk being ostracised. It may even come close to hypodermic needle theory ( see next video) only instead of reading messages in the media and being encouraged to kill, maim, rape we are, instead, forced to go along with an idiotic premise.
"As far as I know, when the twin towers collapsed none of the messages were about revenge".
1) A far as Hugh Grant knows, thereby fallible (start with your least convincing argument first - a sure fire way to alienate your audience, natch);
2) as far as Richard Curtis knows, thereby fallible;
3) if you were on the receiving end of a revenge message from someone about to die on the 11th September attacks, you probably wouldn't let loads of people know therefore making 1 and 2 even less convincing, thereby fallible;
and now we get more convincing...
4) this manipulates an audience to buy in completely to the premise of the film as, if you don't, it is heavily implied that you either don't feel compassion for the victims / agree with terrorism / aren't as lovely as the 300 other people you're sharing air space with in the cinema who have all, en masse, gone 'oh yeah, if 9/11 showed that people loved each other it must be. Therefore everything in this film is both immediately relevant and, furthermore, important**';
5) the whole notion is idiotic - taking a group of people who realise they are about to die as a representative sample and then going through their final messages to their loved ones as proof of the primacy of love is ridiculous. I'm fairly certain there would have been a high proportion of people who died from heart attacks before but it doesn't mean lots of people on planes around the world will die of heart attacks. There was probably, and this will sound crass and insensitive but it is the only way to highlight the sheer offensiveness of the love comparison, lots of people with soiled underwear. Curtis isn't going on about how it makes evacuating your bowels when hijacked and murdered a universal experience we can all relate to is he? No, because that isn't nice. But love is. Love is lovely*** and any audience member who dares now not buy into the whole shebang is, by association, evil. So he uses an atrocity to peddle his insulting little wares and make himself more money to send his kids off to private school with.
Because audiences are base, degenerate and unthinking.
Here endeth the rant.
* apply audience theory to the prevalence of white middle classness and work out who these films are really aimed at and how they're aimed at them.
** they might have thought this using less commas. I like commas, we have established this on numerous occasions.
*** the poem by poet Ann Ziety called 'Before and After Weddiflop' illustrates this perfectly but it is nowhere on the web so can't be shared unless I type it out. Which I'm not going to.