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Pop Culture

Director and cast of 'Love Actually' share why the beloved Christmas rom-com was such a hit

Twenty years later, and it's still a Christmas classic.

love actually, love actually special

Writer/Director Richard Curtis and Emma Thompson

Since its release in 2003, the Christmas-themed rom-com "Love Actually" captured hearts and became one of the most beloved holiday films of all time. True to its title, the film celebrated love—all kinds of love—as it actually is, and managed to maintain optimism without being overly saccharine. This, coupled with a truly stellar ensemble, made it so well received among audiences, despite the mixed reviews from critics.

Nearly 20 years later, the film’s writer and director Richard Curtis (who also brought us "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones’ Diary") reflects back on why it might have meant so much to so many people. As an artist who has made a name for himself creating enduring love stories, perhaps it’s no surprise that he feels it’s something the world is in constant need of.


As part of the ABC special “The Laughter and Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later”, Curtis told host Diane Sawyer “we get thousands of films about serial killers and there's only ever been about nine of them.”

"And yet," he continued," there'll be a million people falling in love, feeling it's the most interesting moment of their lives. Good deeds inside families, and good deeds inside communities.” He went on to remark that during the COVID-19 pandemic people displayed an “extraordinary sort of bravery and heroism.”

“Every day has the potential, in all its simplicity, just to be gorgeous,' he concluded.

Curtis also noted that despite its timeless themes, that there are definitely some choices he would no longer make. “Thank god, society is changing. So, my film is bound, in some moments, to feel, you know, out of date. I mean, there are things about the film, you know, the lack of diversity makes me feel uncomfortable and a bit stupid,” he said.

Sawyer held interviews with not only Curtis, but with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Laura Linney, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Olivia Olson and Martine McCutcheon, who all starred in the movie.


Thompson, who played upper-class mom Karen, and Bill Nighy, who played aging rock star Billy Mack (and, let’s not forget, gave the film its iconic tune “Christmas is All Around”) seconded Curtis’ sentiments.

"Time and time again, we forget that love is all around us," Thompson told Sawyer.. "It's all that matters. [Curtis] reminds us in a film that is very funny about love and all its messiness and its unexpectedness. That you'll find love in the weirdest places."

Similarly, Nighy said "I love films that emphasize how remarkable people can be. It was full of love and heart and all those words that you resist, perhaps, and why not?"

Perhaps it’s this refreshingly positive attitude of appreciating life’s simplest, yet most profound moments that helped the movie defy the odds. After all, even the cast admitted to finding the story pretty out there. Hugh Grant, who played Prime Minister David, joked that he originally thought it was all “a bit psychotic.”

“But the thing is,” he added, “with [Curtis], what you have to remember is when he writes about love, he means it. And that is quite rare."

It’s because of Grant’s commitment to Curtis’ vision that gave us one of his characters most iconic moments—when the Prime Minister gets caught by his secretary while dancing to "Jump (For My Love).”

"I saw it in the script and I thought: 'Well, I'll hate doing that,'" Grant quipped… "No Englishman can dance sober at 8 in the morning." But in the end he honored what he called his "contractual obligation,” though he would like us to know getting caught by the secretary was his (“genius!”) idea.


The special contains all kinds of fun behind the scenes stories that will make you love the film even more. One particularly funny bit is when Curtis shares a story about Keira Knightley wrongly predicting her next role in the major blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” would be a flop. “I remember sitting down with Keira while we were shooting, and saying, ‘what are you doing next?’ And she said, "oh, I don't think it's going to work. It's a pirate film and they always fail.’” Sometimes it’s nice to be very, very wrong.

If you'd like to watch the full special, it's available on Hulu. And if you haven't seen "Love Actually," do yourself a favor and watch it right this second.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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