Saturday 5 December 2020

BLOG TOUR: How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) - Gary Raymond


"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.

What did I think?

Having watched Love Actually many years ago and being completely underwhelmed, I was very intrigued by Gary Raymond's book: How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics).  The only thing I could remember about the film was Hugh Grant doing his crazy dad dancing so I decided to watch the movie before reading the book.  After watching the movie and scratching my head in confusion, Gary Raymond writing this book makes so much sense, a lot more than Richard Curtis' dreadful movie that's for sure.

Love Actually is not the first movie that springs to mind when I think of Christmas films, that's because it's the least Christmassy Christmas movie EVER.  You could ruin your Christmas just by watching it so read this book instead.  It's much funnier than the movie and points out a lot of the things that don't make sense in the film and there are a LOT of nonsensical things to point out!  As well as the things mentioned in the book, I was astounded that there would be a school play on Christmas Eve, days after schools have broken up for the holidays.  It also seems to be tradition in Love Actually to open your Christmas presents BEFORE Christmas Eve, whereby Karen discovers that Harry hasn't bought her the necklace that Mia is now wearing.  It's all very confusing when you try to make sense of it.

Gary Raymond's scene by scene analysis of Love Actually is absolutely hilarious.  You really don't realise how bad the film is until you strip it down to each painful (and sometimes pointless) scene.  I found myself laughing out loud, snorting and chortling my way through the book and I think it was made even funnier by the film being so fresh in my mind.  So very well written, the writing is fresh, insightful and witty making the whole book incredibly entertaining.

An anti-companion to the film, it's an eye-opening read and wouldn't look out of place on a film studies course.  It's a great book to discuss with others (of suitable age) who have read it and I'm still talking about it many days after reading the book.  If you love Love Actually then maybe this book isn't for you, but then again it might make you see the film in a different light.  For those of us bemused by the popularity of Love Actually, this is the book you've been looking for.

How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) is the perfect gift for a film lover or someone with a good sense of humour.  If you're going to ask Santa for one book, make it this one; you could even copy the weird tradition from the film and open it on 23rd December.  I absolutely loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it; it's an honest and hilarious analysis of a very strange and perplexing film.  An absolutely cracking five star read; I'll definitely be adding Gary Raymond's back catalogue to my wishlist.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon UK

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). 

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