Why I Hate … Richard Curtis

By Ali

If Arnold Schwarzenegger personifies American cinema – powerful, symbolic and domineering – then British cinema would have to be Hugh Grant – bumbling, unsure and frankly, a pain in the arse to watch. There’s one person more than any other to blame for this, and funnily enough, it’s not Hugh Grant himself. No, the person mainly responsible for the current image of British cinema is Richard Curtis, the softly spoken, bespectacled ginge behind some of our country’s most financially successful movies. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not the most deathly boring, stereotypical, chuckle-free movies you’ll see produced this side of the Atlantic. Frankly, I’d rather watch old people fucking.

Fair enough, he’s got a fairly good pedigree, and you can’t ignore the fantastic TV series like Blackadder and Spitting Image on his resume. There’s no resting on your laurels in this business however, and despite the sterling work he’s done on the telly, his recent movies are absolutely atrocious portrayals of Great Britain, painting the British as incompetent but lovable oafs; well-meaning fools that are constantly misunderstood and always fall frightfully in love with the wrong people. After watching a Richard Curtis movie, you may feel a sudden desire to introduce a shotgun to the roof of your mouth to try and shoot the memories out.

Four Weddings and a Funeral. Absolutely one of the most overrated British movies in history, which is also responsible for bringing Hugh Grant to the attention of bean-flicking housewives the world over. Hugh’s bungling character falls in love with a girl he shouldn’t, runs around like the posh, overpaid twat he is and swears a lot. There’s a character in it called Fuckface! Ahahahaha! See, look how edgy British cinema is now we’re in the nineties! Awful.

Notting Hill. Only a Richard Curtis film could have a movie set in Notting Hill – that’s the most diverse, multi-cultural area in the whole of London – and not have it feature a single black person. Instead, we’re introduced to Hugh Grant’s bungling bookstore owner, who – gasp – falls in love with someone he shouldn’t and pratfalls his way through 2+ hours of tedium in the desperate attempt to get a whiff of Julia Roberts. It’s an uncanny representation of British life today (if you’re white, rich and annoying).

Bridget Jones’s Diary. A mind-numbing movie that should have stayed a book, aimed solely at fat old spinsters that sit at home on a Friday night in their pyjamas, gorging on chocolate and sobbing tears of woe down their porky cheeks. It also features Hugh Grant, but – get this – this time, he’s the cad! What genius playing against type! If you like this movie, you are a woman or a homosexual, it’s been proved in labs. Scores high on the shit-o-meter for featuring Colin Firth, another black hole of talent.

Love Actually. Stars Hugh Grant, as a bungling… oh for fuck’s sake, aren’t you sick of this yet? All you need to know is that he falls for someone he shouldn’t (lower class this time – daring) and rather than have one irritating storyline to follow, there’s ten, with each character ten times more plummy and a hundred types more bland than the last. Another back-slapping luvvie-fest that’s about as accurate about British life as a Blackpool postcard.

It’s not enough that his films are dire, but the man himself is an absolute excitement vacuum who has about as much charisma as glass of water. Enjoy some of his trivia from IMDB: “When he was in college, his girlfriend left him for a man named Bernard. In each of his screenplays, there is a fairly unpopular character named Bernard.” Whoah, steady on Richard! He might even figure out you’re talking about him! “I didn’t decide to be a writer. I wanted to be an actor and I turned out to be very bland, so I would always get cast as a character from Twelfth Night called Fabian, who hides behind the hedge and doesn’t have any funny lines.” You know why they put you behind that hedge? Because just to look at you makes peoples’ teeth fall out of their mouths from sheer boredom. It’s a scientific fact that time goes twice as slow when Richard Curtis is in the room.

You can’t blame Americans for ridiculing us Brits when they see the kind of films that Curtis writes. Between him and Guy Ritchie, we’ve become known throughout the world as either floppy-haired halfwits or gun-toting cockney wideboys who’d slam your head in a car door if you so much as looked at us. Jesus, we’ve got enough problem shaking off our ancient snooty image as it is without Richard casting Hugh fucking Grant as prime minister in his movie. Compare Curtis’ movies with the work of someone like Shane Meadows and see just how big the gulf is between the two – one is making low budget, genuinely funny and true-to-life British movies, the other is living in a dream world, hiring his posh friends to appear in his multi-million pound endeavours before driving home in his Rolls, listening to Ronan Keating and thinking to himself how wonderful life is. “You won’t find many people who’ve had an easier ride in movies than I,” he says. No fucking disagreement here, pal.

And don’t even get me started on The Vicar of cunting Dibley.

Source: Why I Hate… Richard Curtis | Movie Feature

Movie Review: ‘The Boat That Rocked’ (aka “Pirate Radio”)

Richard Curtis is one of the most successful British filmmakers of all time. His films, particularly “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994) and “Love Actually” (2003) remain hugely popular twenty years after their release.
With a few exceptions (2005’s The Girl in the Cafe, 1997’s Mr. Bean) THE HOBBLEDEHOY seriously loathe Curtis’ insincere dreck, and this is why finding this scathing review of Curtis’ 2009 “The Boat That Rocked” was a gift from the Gods of Criticism. Bless you, reviewer Colin Edwards.
Read on! Rock on!

By Colin Edwards

Richard Curtis’ abomination ‘The Boat That Rocked’ or ‘Pirate Radio’ (2009) tells the story of… actually that’s the thing — it doesn’t tell a story. Of any kind. Except from maybe that of how far Curtis’ talents have atrophied and completely turned in on themselves over the years. This is, by far, the worst movie I’ve seen in 2019.

Set in 1966 it ostensibly concerns the pirate radio era of Britain in the sixties but seems more focused on how a teenager called Carl can lose his virginity even if it means resorting to sexual abuse. And that’s it. Seriously, there is NOTHING more to this movie than that; it’s simply two hours of ersatz nostalgia and, as is par for the course with Curtis’ movies, shockingly retrograde and distasteful views on sex and “love”. Sure, there’s some badly thought out and underdeveloped stuff about Kenneth Branagh’s nasty, stuffy Government minister wanting to close the pirate station down (you can tell he’s a nasty, stuffy Government minister because he only listens to classical music) as well as the arrival of a rival DJ (Rhys Ifans) that threatens to introduce some drama or even some fucking actual narrative to the movie, but nothing comes of any of these whatsoever leaving the story, literally, adrift at sea.

Pirate Radio

Is that the “joke”? Am I meant to be laughing now? Christ

The only aspect of the film more lacking, more lazy, than the plotting is the humour. This is a movie for people that find the names Bob or Twatt (of course, it’s another nasty civil servant called that) funny because, you know, Curtis has never relied on that particular crutch before. I also wish some would tell Richard Curtis that there is nothing, nor ever has been, remotely funny about Bill Nighy dancing, something that seems to be crowbarred into one of his movies whenever possible. Is it because he’s middle-aged and somewhat posh so the idea of him dancing is inherently hilarious? That’s a pinnacle of British comedy? Is that the “joke”? Am I meant to be laughing now? Christ.

Oh, and it’s not just Bill Nighy that’s dancing as the movie is constantly inter-cut with shots of the “average” person –nurses, grocers, mothers — immediately dropping what they should be legally doing to dance on down to the music. It is grating and infuriating only five minutes in but after two hours of it starts to induce murderous rage like a sort of choreography version of Chinese water-torture. What kind of fantasy world does Curtis live in anyway where his characters always do this? Then again I guess you’d be permanently dancing too if you’d pulled off the comedy crime of the century of getting paid vast sums of money for simply churning out unwatchable shit like Curtis has.

And don’t even get me started on the tone of the film which aims for the sex, drugs and rock and roll hedonism of the 60s but actually comes across more like an appalling 70s school-disco DJ’d by a serial sex-offender eying up the kids. Plus, the fact that Curtis is oddly puritanical about it all oddly compounds matters, almost as though he was too self-aware that he was also the guy who wrote ‘Four Weddings’ whilst writing the script so knew he couldn’t go too far, which just compounds the insincerity and the other issues inherent here; this is not a move to trust. This is a cynically calculated film which is utterly ironic as there is zero intelligence functioning here in the slightest.

The only aspect of the movie worse than Curtis’ writing is his directing which is so awful I genuinely can’t think of a way to describe how appalling it is. “Terrible”? Yeah, I guess that’ll do and is succinct enough. The directing is terrible and is enough to make you sea-sick with choices that are baffling in their idiocy and lack of aesthetic result or purpose. Hopefully it might be saved by a decent editor… oh no, the editing’s fucking awful as well and is simply an aleatorical process. Did the editor use John Cage’s dice system of chance to piece the images in this movie together because it sure looks like it? I don’t think a single shot related to any of the ones that followed or preceded it. It’s a mess.

The music choices are so on-the-nose you could wear them as a pince-nez and despite the strenuous nostalgic reaching back for the 60s that’s so graceless you feel the movie’s going to pull a hernia, it feels way more like the spirit of the 90s when Brit-pop and TFI Friday butt-fucked the zombie corpse of the Summer of Love back into the grave. Maybe Curtis isn’t nostalgic for the sixties but actually for the nineties, the period when people thought he had talent and seemed to look forward to one of his film being released?

The film ends on a decidedly creepy note that’s sort of a cross between ‘Titanic’ and ‘Confessions of A Window Cleaner’ except less fun and more tragic as we are bombarded with even more shots of people dancing in a trance of forced joviality and it is scary as hell as this movie has the cold, insincere smirk of a psychopath that could turn on us if we refused to join in the charade. There is nothing genuinely human here at all.

Source: ‘The Boat That Rocked’ or — Motion (picture) Sickness?

‘He got our tortoise a part in Taming of the Shrew’: Alan Rickman remembered by Emma Thompson, Eddie Izzard and more

Why did Rowan Atkinson infuriate him in Love Actually? Could he have started his own religion? And was Betty the tortoise any good on stage? Stars from Ruby Wax to Richard Curtis remember an acting colossus

‘From furnishings to sausages, his taste was impeccable’
Emma Thompson

The most remarkable thing about the first days after Alan died was the number of actors, poets, musicians, playwrights and directors who wanted to express their gratitude for all the help he’d given them. I don’t think I know anyone in this business who has championed more aspiring artists, nor unerringly perceived so many great ones before they became great. Quite a number said that, latterly, they had been too shy to thank him personally. They had found it hard to approach him. Of all the contradictions in my blissfully contradictory friend, this is perhaps the greatest: this combination of profoundly nurturing and imperturbably distant.

He was not, of course, distant. He was alarmingly present at all times. The inscrutability was partly a protective shield. If anyone did approach him with anything like gratitude, or even just a question, they would be greeted with a depth of sweetness that no one who didn’t know him could even guess at. And he was not, of course, unflappable. I could flap him like nobody’s business and when I did he was fierce with me and it did me no end of good.

He was generous and challenging. Dangerous and comical. Sexy and androgynous. Virile and peculiar. Temperamental and languid. Fastidious and casual. My list is endless. There was something of the sage about him – and had he had more confidence and been at all corruptible, he could probably have started his own religion. His taste in all things, from sausages to furnishings, appeared to me to be impeccable. The trouble with death is that there is no next. There is only what was and for that I am profoundly and heartbrokenly grateful.

Commitment … with Emma Thompson in Love Actually.
Commitment … with Emma Thompson in Love Actually. Photograph: Working Title/Allstar

The last thing we did together was change a plug on a standard lamp in his hospital room. The task went the same way as everything we ever did together. I had a go. He told me to try something else. I tried and it didn’t work so he had a go. I got impatient and took it from him and tried again and it still wasn’t right. We both got slightly irritable. Then he patiently took it all apart again and got the right lead into the right hole. I screwed it in. We complained about how fiddly it was. Then we had a cup of tea. It took us at least half an hour. He said afterwards: “Well, it’s a good thing I decided not to be an electrician.”

‘He suggested me for a David Mamet play’
Eddie Izzard

I first met Alan after a benefit show at the London Palladium in 1994. At that time, I knew and loved his work in Die Hard: the seriousness but lightness of touch. I remember chatting to him after and telling him that I really wanted to do dramatic acting, my first love. He said he didn’t think I was crazy, which was nice of him, but we left it at that. Next, I was suddenly told Alan had suggested my name to play opposite Lindsay Duncan in a David Mamet play. It was a wonderful thing for him to do and Lindsay was a fabulous actor to be working with.

Later in 2003, I saw him in New York when I was doing a play. Afterwards, we all went to eat in a restaurant. Alan had started playing Professor Snape from the Harry Potter films. He portrayed him with an intense and brittle spirit. I asked if Snape continued in future stories. “Well,” he said, “the latest book has just come out, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Then he quietly added: “And I – I am the Half-Blood Prince!”

He went on to give classic and heartbreaking performances in the Harry Potter films that will live with us for ever.

‘Our tortoise Betty starred in The Taming of the Shrew’
Ruby Wax

My mission in life was to make him laugh and when I did it was better than winning an Oscar. When I hit a comedy nerve, he would fold on to the floor and heave laughing, then he’d make me heave back until we were both on the ground, hysterical.

We had a tortoise called Betty, which was like our adopted child, when we were both performing at Stratford. (Alan played leads, I played seaweed along with Juliet Stevenson.) Alan promised he’d help me get Betty into a show. I had tried to get her into Antony and Cleopatra, telling Peter Brook, the director, in front of Alan, that I’d like to audition Betty for the role of the asp. Alan almost died, because he was playing Antony. I know he was partially upset because Betty would have upstaged him.

In the end, we got Betty on stage during The Taming of the Shrew. Every night, when I’d bring Betty on during a crowd scene, Alan proudly watched from the wings, both of us sick with laughing. He broke my heart by leaving and there isn’t a day when I don’t remember him.

‘Rowan was taking his time while Alan was acting his socks off’
Richard Curtis

I wanted to cast Alan as the lead in Four Weddings and a Funeral – before we got stuck with Hugh Grant – because he’d been so perfect in a film called Close My Eyes, both tender and funny. So it was a great joy to me when Alan agreed to be in Love Actually. My strongest memory was when we were doing the shopping scene where Rowan Atkinson takes too long wrapping Alan’s illicit gift. Rowan was taking his time, doing long, improvisatory takes, even chatting casually to me about ideas – while poor Alan was acting his socks off, in character, angry and impatient, sometimes for 10 straight minutes. It was a great example of true commitment. But also I’m pretty damn sure by the end Alan was actually, quite rightly, extremely angry and extremely impatient.

Another thing about his performance: the most memorable scene is probably Emma Thompson in her bedroom, listening to Joni Mitchell after she’s discovered her husband’s betrayal. I’m convinced that what makes it twice as strong is the subtlety and truth of Alan’s performance with her before that moment. If their scenes hadn’t completely captured a proper, long-term, adult marriage – if Alan hadn’t been so solid, so cool, so not a person who would fall so far – it wouldn’t have all hit so hard. It was an honour to know him and work with him.

‘He turned down perfectly OK jobs because they were just OK’
Harriet Walter

One thing Alan couldn’t do: he couldn’t drive. And that was a blessing because it meant that I could give him a lift every night after The Seagull or The Lucky Chance, the plays we did at the Royal Court. We talked in the car and then he’d ask me into his flat and there I got to know his wife Rima and we’d talk politics and gossip into the early hours over bottles of wine.

In that flat, it struck me that every colour, every piece of furniture, every witty object, had been deliberately chosen and lovingly displayed and prized. Nothing was accidental or superfluous – just as Alan’s jobs and his political causes were very deliberately chosen. Long before he was well known, he’d tell me how he had turned down this or that seemingly perfectly OK job because it was just OK. It was as if he knew that life is short and must be filled only with the things that really matter to you.

Class … with Lesley Manville in the RSC’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
Class … with Lesley Manville in the RSC’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Photograph: Donald Cooper/Alamy

‘Do what I do, he said during Quidditch – absolutely nothing’
Jason Isaacs

Everything that I did as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films was down to Alan. When they offered me a part in the second movie, I nearly turned it down because trying to be sinister in the same film as him seemed pointless. In the end, I came up with a Malfoy designed to avoid doomed comparisons with his effortlessly terrifying Snape: Malfoy had long blond hair, a pinched, high voice and as many props as I could hide behind.

In person, though, he put paid to my intimidation on my first day: we were shooting a sequence where we watched and reacted to a Quidditch match. “This is the quaffle,” said a props man, waving a tennis ball on a stick. “And now, here come the beaters. Here they are, but the keeper blocks it and, watch out, here’s the Gryffindor seeker. And … he falls … but … HE’S GOT THE GOLDEN SNITCH!”

“I’m so sorry, Alan,” I said. “But what’s going on? What should I do?”

“No idea.” he whispered. “Do what I do. Absolutely fucking nothing.”

Who knew! The man behind the most distinctive and contemptuous drawl in theatrical history was actually completely accessible, anarchically funny, utterly in the moment on and off screen, and a consumer of music far, far more contemporary than my best-of-the-70s tastes – a point he made mercilessly in the makeup chair as my cheese-fest blasted out.

He was also passionately committed to making things better, whether through his many unwavering political and charitable commitments or by having, like me, busloads of kids visit the set every time he worked. It will continue to be one of the highlights of my professional life to have shared the screen, and the odd terrible gag, with him.

Source: THE GUARDIAN ‘He got our tortoise a part in Taming of the Shrew’: Alan Rickman remembered by Emma Thompson, Eddie Izzard and more

Love Actually: The tearjerking love scene deleted from classic Christmas romcom

It’s the festive season, which always brings with it seemingly endless repeats of Love Actually on the box.

But while many of us have seen Richard Curtis’ romcom enough times to know all the words, including those on Andrew Lincoln’s soppy placards, few know of the highly emotional storyline about an older lesbian couple that ended up on the cutting room floor.

The relationship was between the headmistress (Anne Reid) at the school attended by Karen’s (Emma Thompson) son and her terminally ill partner Geraldine (Frances de la Tour).

The audience was supposed to see a moving scene in which the pair bicker over their differing tastes in fancy sausages and display wicked senses of humours, before cuddling up at night.

It is later revealed during a school assembly that Geraldine died shortly before Christmas [ . . . ]

Source: Love Actually: The tearjerking lesbian love scene deleted from classic Christmas romcom | The Independent