27 October 2017 4810 Views

PolitFlix: The Richard Curtis Rom-Coms, from 4 Weddings to About Time: Dave Bond and James Murphy look at the Brand, the Ethos, the Politics, the Legacy! Also: Blade Runner 2049/Indy 5, Justice League, Last Jedi, Brexit and those secret JFK Files!..

by James Murphy

Politiflix, Actually. 2 blokes and a Podcast..you get it.

James Murphy and Dave Bond take a look back at the canon of rom-coms from the Richard Curtis stable: 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually, Boat that Rocked and About Time. Are they JUST movies? Or did these products both drive and reflect quite monumental shifts in social, sexual and other brands of politics? We’ll find out!

Also discussed: Blade Runner 2049: is it any good? Can Harrison still play Indy? Does The Last Jedi lack a certain something /someone or is it a work of genius? Justice League, DC film and how to make a shared universe work. And those JFK conspiracy theories. Brexit! Trump! Plus all the usual news, comment and comments about news. It’s yuge. ‘um..excellent’

(nb: audio quality goes up and down volume wise. Blame youtube!)

So..stop all the clocks (or put them back an hour?). Pour a glass of yoghurty, sugary, milky drink that pretends it has something to do with fruits of the forest. Phone a loved one and tell them you, actually, love them. Then put your feet up. Relax. And drift off into Curtis rom-com land (the focus on the Curtis films starts around the 50 minute mark).

Post Script Show Notes:

James Murphy is Editor in Chief at MovieViral. But wishes he’d been an actor in a Curtis rom-com, or that real life was a bit more like a Curtis rom-com. Hope springs eternal..

Dave Bond is Host of a weekly film retrospective series, Do You Expect Us To Talk.

Richard Curtis CBE is a celebrated screenwriter/director and one of the founding fathers of the charity, Comic Relief. There is a consistent tone and voice to his work: genial, British with American sensibility, optimistic, romantic and mixing cerebral wordplay with accessible sentiment and broad comedy. Works include: BlackAdder, Mr Bean, The Tall Guy, Bernard and the Genie and the 5 rom-coms discussed in the podcast. Also adapted War Horse for Steven Spielberg.

Emma Freud OBE is an editor, broadcaster, writer and performer. Petite. Brunette. Busy Mom. Funny. Caring. Endearing. The Queen of Twitter. Media marketing mastermind, always on top of a trend before it takes off. Great eye for lighting and atmosphere (Emma was instrumental in crafting the airport montage images for Love Actually). Check out her podcasts / radio contributions if you get the chance. She’s lovely, actually!

Hugh Grant is one of the most prominent English stars in Hollywood of the last 25 years. A graduate of New College, Oxford (before the place was made even more famous by James Murphy studying there); Hugh started his acting career in student films. He graduated to television comedy and drama mini-series. Progressing to film (notably Remains of the Day);  Four Weddings and a Funeral activated his career as a romantic lead. Grant is currently filming A Very British Scandal, in which he plays Liberal Politician, Jeremy Thorpe, for writer Russell ‘Dr Who’ T Davies.

4 Weddings and a Funeral: 1994 / Polygram /Channel 4. Director: Mike Newell. A commitment shy bloke called Charles (Hugh Grant) meets an American girl called Carrie (Andie MacDowell) and they fall in love over the course of the titular events. For a time, this was the Biggest British movie ever. A sleeper hit and a blockbuster at once. Also notable for launching John Hannah to prominence as an actor. You might have seen him in Spartacus and Sliding Doors. Oh and THAT Wet Wet Wet cover version of Troggs classic..Love is All Around..Released the same year that Tony Blair took on the role of Labour leader, 4 Weddings.. arguably spelled the dawn of Cool Britannia.

Notting Hill: 1999 / Universal Pictures. Director: Roger Michell. Can the most famous woman in the world (Anna Scott, played by Julia Roberts) fall in love with everyday book selling bloke, William (Hugh Grant). Of course she can! It’s just never easy to keep the romance on track, as Anna struggles with the burden of fame and William tries to integrate to her world, whilst maintaining his own. A film inspired by and in love with its own geography: an ode to London, life, love and friendship. Breakout performance from Rhys Ifans as Spike. Best song: She, covered by Elvis Costello, from the Charles Aznavour original.

Love Actually : 2003 / Universal Pictures / Director: Richard Curtis. Multiple, inter-linked love stories, (Robert Altman style), pan out in the build up to Christmas. Hugh Grant collaborates with Curtis again, playing the British Prime Minister, falling in love with his secretary (Martine McCutcheon) at Downing Street. Liam Neeson features as a widower. Alan Rickman plays a husband who cheats on a beautiful, dutiful wife (Emma Thompson in one of her career bests). Rowan Atkinson cameos, as an over zealously tidy shop assistant, with an angelic habit of turning up when love needs a lift. Look out for Keira Knightley, too..so lovely, actually. THAT dance number and speech from Grant’s PM are all time classic scenes. Bill Nighy hilarious.

Boat That Rocked /Pirate Radio : 2009 / Universal Pictures / Director: Richard Curtis. Nostalgic, romantic, comedic look back at the days when frock and roll was still a bit..well..rock and roll (ie young, fun, naughty). Thinly disguised tribute to Radio Caroline. Some big name cameos, an ensemble effort but Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Frost and Rhys Ifans stand out. Beauties on the Boat inc January Jones and Gemma Arterton. Crowded soundtrack of top tunes, with a little secret added Hans Zimmer thrown in for that Dunkirk moment with the Boats coming to the rescue at the end.

About Time / Universal Pictures/ 2013 / Director: Richard Curtis. Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim, a shy and awkward yet brilliant lawyer who has a secret ability to travel in time when needed. He uses that ability to meet a lovely wife (Mary, played by Rachel McAdams). But there’s a cost. His beloved Dad (Bill Nighy) taught him the skill and every hero must lose their mentors. An underrated gem; by turns hilarious and touchingly sad, About Time is officially Richard Curtis‘ last directorial effort. But then he went and made a sequel to Love Actually for Comic Relief. So There!

Comic Relief: is a charity that helps those in need on both national and international stages. Some great comedy is produced in the name of raising funds, usually via a biannual, epic telethon format. For more details, inc how to help out, see: https://www.comicrelief.com/ 

Blad(d)e(r) Runner 2049 is a very, very long film indeed. It is a sequel to the 1982 classic, Blade Runner. Visually stunning. Philosophically rich. Harrison Ford still cool. The film is still too long..

Indiana Jones 5 (title TBA) will be released in 2020. Steven Spielberg will direct and Harrison Ford is still the Dr Jones of record at time of going to press.

The Last Jedi is the eighth saga film in the Star Wars movie series. It will be released in December 2017.

Justice League is released in November. It is the first full team up film in the DCEU /Warners shared universe, which started at Man of Steel and continued through Batman V Superman and Wonder Woman.

John Glen holds the record for directing the most James Bond films (5 in a row: For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill). One of the greatest action choreographers of all time (he masterminded the ski chase footage in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Spy Who Loved Me). He did not direct 1995’s GoldenEye , but did cut the original screentest footage for a young Pierce Brosnan back in 1986. John is also a ruddy nice bloke. A gentleman craftsman of the old school. John took his lovely wife, Janine, to dinner at New College, Oxford once in 2001. Their host was a certain James Murphy. Mr Glen is still in shock 😉 

John F Kennedy was an American President who was sadly murdered in 1963. President Donald J Trump is set to release the files which will tell us all whodunnit. Clue: this is one thing for which Donald cannot be blamed. Possibly explaining the alacrity with which he wished to release said files? Also explaining perhaps why some files’ release have now still been blocked? Blame Donald! It’s a CONSPIRACY, i tell ya! Yep. 😉

Brexit was a very, very silly idea that a bloke called Dave allowed to take off about a year ago. He meant well and thought we would remain in Europe. Bless. Dave has not been seen since. But Britain will survive, as will Europe. Treat it as an economic opportunity and we can all still be good mates. Then Dave can chillax again.


PolitFlix will return in Die Hard with a Podcast..



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