Monday, June 16, 2014


I thought it would be a good idea to go see 22 JUMP STREET with my youngest son for Father's Day, since we both found 21 JUMP STREET very funny. But the sequel turned out to be one long joke about relationship troubles and male bonding with gay sensitivity part of the joke (though in a way that is meant to be affirmative). I laughed out loud several times, my son fewer. Tells you something that his 16-year-old sensibility did not find the formula funny this time.

We used to watch movies together a lot when he was younger. And one of our favorites was LOVE ACTUALLY from 2003. As a kid he identified with the young kid character who learns to play the drums and is widower Liam Neeson's character's stepson. It's a very sentimental and emotionally manipulative movie in the best senses of those terms. Maybe you don't fall for that stuff. I have a lot of friends who don't. But I do when it's done this well.

There's disappointment and heartbreak in the flick as it tries to cover many versions of "love, actually," like the third wheel friend of a couple who's in love with one half of the couple, or the sibling love that interferes with actual romance, or the cheat-on-your-wife not love, or etc. etc. etc. And the cast is enough to keep me watching, from the radiant Keira Knightly to the always amazing Emma Thompson, or from the inimitable Bill Nighy to the master of the slow take Alan Rickman.

The film demands a lot of suspension of disbelief as in the handsome Hugh Grant character playing inexplicably awkward romantically, though he's done it before and always so charmingly we accept it. The entire movie is so charmingly written and acted and directed and edited it's hard not to like it. Hard for me anyway. And watching it a few nights ago I found it the perfect antidote to a trying day, not just for me but seemingly for a lot of the world.

My old friend Hubert Selby Jr. once said to me he thought the most damaging defect across the world was the urge to try to control people and things other than ourselves. Like territory, or someone else's beliefs, or feelings, like love, actually. Although that is the power and attraction of love, we get to lose control and are at the mercy of forces in ourselves and others we can't control.

Next time I'll wait to see the sequel on TV where I can turn it off or look for something better if it doesn't live up to my expectations or desire to fall out of my chair laughing, as a great comedy will do, or make me laugh and cry, like a great romantic comedy will do.  Like LOVE ACTUALLY.


AlamedaTom said...

Actually, I love that movie too.

~ Willy

Lally said...

Great minds etc. Willy