DISBELIEF

LOVE ACTUALLY – movie review

This film has been around the block more than once. It’s supposed to be a big romantic thriller. Ha, ha!

A mostly British predictable production of an ensemble story about love and relationships, everything happens in the six weeks before Christmas. The British don’t celebrate Thanksgiving so no one has to climb through the Planes, Trains and Automobiles of that holiday.

Jerks showing up like the President of the United States (Billy Bob Thorton appearing as Bill Clinton) interfere with love. The first third of the movie pairs couples, one being the British Prime Minister. The next third is about the difficulties of life making love impossible. Nothing is very interesting about any of those episodes, most of which have been seen by American audiences on failing sit-coms lasting only a season because the laugh track has gone awry.

There is some interest when a couple removes their clothes to shoot a movie, an MTV piece or an ad for the Nude Olympics. They are the only naked people in the flick. It’s good the see Martin Freeman who plays Doctor Watson on Sherlock burst out of that role and get some action. Liam Neeson is a much better actor when he’s killing Albanians than in this movie (father trying to help his son’s romance along).

The final third of the movie is about couples coming together. Intimacy is swamped by the drive to love actually. There is a lot of coincidence and wow – this should have happened years ago! The most preposterous is Colin Ferrel who flies somewhere (Portugal?). He intends to propose. His intended is a waitress at work. Half her village follows wanting to see Colin pop the question and get an answer. The parade goes down the street; not everyone can fit into the restaurant. It’s a true waste of film showing the crowd and time, attempting to provoke a tear or two, before the whole thing becomes incredulous.

Don’t bother with this movie, either in 2005, 2015 or 2025.

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ANNOYED

ELIHU ROOT – Philip C. Jessup, Dodd Meade, 1938

This biography (two volumes; 1050 pages) should not have been published. Elihu Root was an eminent New York City lawyer, an excellent Secretary of War, a fabulous Secretary of State (under Theodore Roosevelt) and a Senator from New York.

The writer did not know how to write this story; the organization is sloppy. When Root was appointed Secretary of War (President McKinley), the author spends ten (10) pages on the appointment and wraps up with paragraphs about people who did not want Root to accept the appointment. Note there is no background or telling of the affect on Root: What was the effect on his law practice? Just get up and go and leave clients to their own devices? What was the effect on his family – what did they think? What was the effect on local government government matters he was working on when Root went to Washington? None of these questions are explained.

For his personal life and his law business [which Root loved, liked or had grown tired of], the book provides insignificant background: By example a local matter describes competing transit companies in New York City, but did does not explain the transit market, competitive forces and the personalities being affected by the sage lawyer.

There is more to writing a biography than stringing together quotes from letters, some of which cover a page and a few go a few pages. This biography puts Root in the middle of a crisis or a situation, and based upon that placement of Root the reader is supposed to understand the crisis or the situation. When the Spanish left Cuba (1898), there was no sanitation, an illiterate population (96 percent), no institutions, no education, no law enforcement and no economy. There was the church. Note as Secretary of War Root was in charge of Cuba reconstruction because the U.S. Army was the agency capable of performing. According to this biographer the Cuba situation, circumstances and crisis were handled by exchanges of letters, actions and decisions made by Root, Theodore Roosevelt in Washington D.C. and Leonard Wood in Cuba.

I don’t know what the U.S. Army was doing in Cuba or why. In lieu of reading more about those Washington D.C. actions for 100 pages, I stopped reading at page 320. The remainder of the biography would get no better.

two pages.