Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics)’ by Gay Raymond organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. I hope that you will check out both the author and the book, as well as the rest of the blogs involved in the tour.
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*
RARELY HAS THE POWER OF CINEMA BEEN FELT BY SO MANY, IN SUCH OPPOSING WAYS…
“Love Actually dulls the critical senses, making those susceptible to its hallucinogenic powers think they’ve seen a funny, warm-hearted, romantic film about the many complex manifestations of love. Colourful Narcotics. A perfect description of a bafflingly popular film.”
By any reasonable measurement, Love Actually is a bad movie. There are plenty of bad movies out there, but what gets under Gary Raymond’s skin here is that it seems to have tricked so many people into thinking it’s a good movie. In this hilarious, scene-by-scene analysis of the Christmas monolith that is Love Actually, Gary Raymond takes us through a suffocating quagmire of badly drawn characters, nonsensical plotlines, and open bigotry, to a climax of ill-conceived schmaltz.
How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) is the definitive case against a terrible movie. With a foreword by Lisa Smithstead.
For me, Love Actually has always been one of those films that you love because they are terrible. And sometimes you want to curl up in a blanket with a hot chocolate, a box of chocolates and watch a film that doesn’t demand anything from you, especially in the run-up to Christmas while working in retail.
So, I came to this book already knowing that it wasn’t the best film by a long shot, but enjoying it, and I have to say I can very much agree with the idea of ‘Colourful Narcotics’ – although sometimes that is just what you need. That said, I absolutely loved this book. There is no ambiguity about how Raymond feels about the film, however, even though he makes his dislike evident from the very beginning, it is not the basis for his arguments against the film, and that makes them all the stronger. Instead, we get a blow by blow account of the film, it’s characters, its plot (or lack thereof) in great detail and with where it gets it (very) wrong. With a superb balance of information (I particularly enjoyed all the nuggets of information in the footnotes) and humour, and I found myself laughing at numerous points throughout.
Love Actually Ruined Christmas is an astute, witty, takedown (I almost wanted to write massacre, but it’s not quite) of a film that many call ‘a classic Christmas film’ and as much as I enjoy vegging out and watching the film (and admittedly may do again this year), it made me view the film in a new light. Because, that alongside the humour in this book’s greatest strength, as it focuses on cracks and weaknesses within the very structure of the story and characters, and general attitude of the film, that can’t just be glossed over by going ‘…oh but it has such and such actress/actor in…’
Raymond knows what he’s doing, what he’s saying and how to prove it, and I don’t think I will ever be able to see Love Actually in the same way ever again. I can already imagine some of the commentaries from the book popping up in my head if and when I watch it again.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys film, or who want a humorous read in the run-up to the Festive Season. I would also argue that people who enjoy Love Actually will find something within this book because the witty take will appeal to many people (however, maybe not if Love Actually is your absolute favourite movie…).
About the Author:
Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor, and broadcaster. He is presenter of The Review Show for BBC Radio Wales and editor of Wales Arts Review. He is a regular writer on film, music, literature, and theatre, and can often be heard on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as an arts commentator and reviewer. His novels include For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015), The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018), and the upcoming Angels of Cairo (Parthian, 2021).
How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) – Gary Raymond – **** (4/5 Stars)
If you’ve read it or read in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.