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About Wile-E

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  1. Wile-E

    Episode 134 - Love Actually (w/ Michael H. Weber)

    I had been wanting to participate in discussions a few weeks ago, but because of Christmas etc. I always kept putting it off... Too bad, I would have loved to give a German perspective on the satire in "Starship Troopers", now "Love Actually" is my starting point... Anyway, I am really disappointed with this episode. If you choose to boost a film for the canon then don't keep constantly arguing against it. Acknowledge its weaknesses, but don't keep referring to them all the time. I voted "yes" for the canon, even though I see the movie's flaws as well. But many of the things mentioned in this review I do not see as "yikes". I can see people being mad about the female representation, but if you watch the movie you cannot tell me that these things come from a negative place on part of the makers of the film. To be honest, I do not see the characters as representatives of their gender, but of character types, though I completely realize that as a man this is easier for me to say (As an aside, this is also why I don't mind not remembereing the characters' names). This is especially true for the Laura Linney character. Sure, Carl is a weak character and watching it, you get frustrated that, should he be interested in her as well, he cannot be a bit more understanding. But this story arc is not about him, it is about her. It does not matter how good a person he actually is, it is about a woman who is constantly putting her own needs behind those of her brother and can only find happiness in projection. That is why this story arc is so incredibly sad and a great addition to a film with so many other kinds of versions of love, lust and longing. I also wonder what you are worrying about when it comes to the discussions between Liam Neeson and Thomas Sangster. Yes, they are a bit uncomfortable, which they are meant to be. The sexual frankness is played for a (squeamish) laugh, but still, these two characters can only build their bond of trust through this openness. It is not even Neeson who pushes the sexual element into the discussion, it is mostly Sangsters characer who signalizes that he is ok with talking openly about these things. The only thing I really struggle with is that you never really see Sangster's character dealing with the death of his mom. This factor is brushed off in the discussion very easily. I have to admit, I almost lost it, though, when you started talking about the Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Heike Makatsch -story arc. Really, people! Yes, Makatsch is shown in her own home in her underwear putting on the necklace and yes, her entire character is VERY on the nose, but still... this one shot of her is not misplaced in contrast with the shot of Thompson. I find it fits perfectly. The contrast of these two small scenes, connected through the Mitchell-song, gives me a real punch to the stomach. Sure, the shot of Makatsch is stylized, but it is not unbelievable. And the way she moves into focus and sits down in front of the mirror and admires herself shows everything she represents in contrast to Thompson in her own bedroom. The shot might not even be reality, but only what Thompson is picturing in her head. Nitpicking about the probability of the shot instead of discussing its purpose in connection to Thompson really misses the point. And don't get me started on the final scene. I find it strange that American critics more than those of any other country that I read reviews from, love to point out things that are too spelled out for them, but whenever there it vagueness they point out perceived unexplained plot holes. To be honest, I do not even see real vagueness here. Everything in the scene is more or less clear, it is just not directly spoken out. Look at Thompsons forced smile, the way she allows him to give her a small kiss (just the fact that he even attempts to give her a small kiss). What does she say? "Good to have you back" (not very believable) and then "Come on.....home." Of course they have not seperated. She is doing the same thing this woman probably has always done in her life and which she has done at least once before in the movie (in the bedroom scene), she decides to push through it and put on a smile and to keep up the appearance of normality. I am really wondering how you can even question this. The one thing the movie leaves open is whether or not this approach, which is actually quite common, will be successful in the end. I cannot really add anything positive to the list of things your guest mentioned, although he mentioned them all too briefly. The cast is great, most of the stories work, the scenes that work well, work especially well. I just want to stress two small points: Whatever the flaws of the movie may be, it has a perfect structure. Even if you don't like a story you don't have to agonize over it for too long, because in a moment or two we will visit another story arc that you probably like better. The movie is crafted in a way that you get an emotional climax almost every ten minutes and because of the multitude of stories and the skillful way they are interwoven you get swept along. I honestly think that the backlash against the movie that has started a few years ago is because of "fridge logic". "love Actually" is supposed to mostly work on an emotional level, all of Richard Curtis' films do. When you watch the movie for the first time, you just get swept along by it and because of its precision it is almost impossible to see the cogs in the clockwork. The movie manages to swipe away many smaller and even a few bigger improbabilities through this and accepts that every viewer will probably still have his or her one or two moments which they find a tad bit too unbelievable. It is only through multiple viewings that you really get to see how it all works and that these previously barely visible flaws become bigger. And then it depends on how much you believe the movies good intentions and the general talent of the people involved Lastly, I think it is a great Christmas film, because it manages to swipe away all the baggage that is associated with Christmas movies and only deals with the FEELING of Christmas, the feeling even atheists can enjoy. In that way it is then as flawed as most Christmas movies in one way or the other are, but it is, as the avclub once put it, a great Christmas movie "for the rest of us". And therefore it does belong into the canon as a truly unifiingChristmas movie.