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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 So, my film is bound, in some moments, to feel, you know, out of date.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.

Mom's reaction to toddler's self haircut

An unsupervised toddler with a pair of scissors is nightmare fuel for parents.

Will you find shredded books, a hole in your new couch, or a pile of lopped off hair when you emerge from your quick trip to the potty?

Toddlers may still be very young, but they are fast and have a knack for getting ahold of unapproved things quickly, inflicting maximum destruction. TikTok user, @designerluxury4you, shared a video of their toddler proudly showing off the haircut she had given herself.

Experiencing your child giving themselves or their siblings a haircut seems to be a rite of passage for parents.

But the way this mom handled the discovery is showing how gentle parenting is changing the game. It's pretty safe to say that most parents would react in a more expressive way and immediately remove the scissors from the child's hands. This mom responded in the kindest and most respectful way you can imagine and maybe the internet is a little better for having seen it.

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Science

Someone invented the 'Pokémon Go' of bird feeders. It sold out in minutes.

A bird feeder that takes pictures of each hungry critter that stops by has taken the tech world by storm.

The Bird Buddy bird feeder.

A little more than five years ago, the world freaked out overnight with the release of “Pokémon Go,” the augmented reality app game where people can find and collect pocket monsters in the real world. It seemed like everywhere people went they’d see folks staring at their phones trying to chase down a Charmander.

The Pokémon Go app’s popularity soon fizzled out but the idea lives on in Bird Buddy, a new app-enabled bird feeder.

Bird Buddy is all the rage at this year’s CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, because it takes fantastic pictures of real wildlife and it’s a fun, educational game to play as well.

CES runs through January 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Bird Buddy is a feeder you put outside your home that has an app-enabled camera attached, like a Ring doorbell. The motion detector inside the app turns on when birds fly up to get a snack from the feeder and then it takes photos and videos.

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Toddler helps mom when she's locked out of the house.

Would you be considered human if you haven't locked yourself out of your house at least once? One mom on TikTok found herself in quite the predicament with only her toddler to "mission impossible" his way to unlocking the house door to let his mom, @gesikaaaaaa, inside. The video starts with the camera pointed at a rosy-cheeked toddler on a snow-covered porch.

The boy looks to be no older than 2 or 3 but he's an expert at following directions … sort of. It's all still pretty new to him and, as anyone who's ever interacted with a toddler knows, multistep directions are not the way to go. They tend to hear one thing only and even then are apt to be distracted by a stray piece of lint and not be able to finish the task.

Everything is new to a toddler and it doesn't take much to distract them. And just about anything can be a toy. So when this mom helped her son through an open window in an effort to guide him through the process of unlocking the door, classic toddler cuteness ensued.

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Jenna Ortega explains how she came up with the viral 'Wednesday dance' in just two days

'I'm not a dancer. I don't do any of that. I have no experience in that field.'

Jenna Ortega explains how she came up with the viral Wednesday dance.

By now just about everyone has seen the viral "Wednesday" dance. It's the dance Jenna Ortega does in the hit Netflix series, "Wednesday" where we get a closer look at the eldest Addams Family child as she navigates the boarding school, Nevermore Academy.

The dance resembles the kind of moves a zombie might make, with a little extra rhythm, and it's jumped off the small screen onto the even smaller screens of cellphones. It's become a viral challenge on TikTok that even celebrities and athletes have joined in on. But Ortega recently revealed that she had no idea what the dance was going to look like until it was nearly time to shoot the scene.

Ortega stopped by "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and explained that she was tasked with choreographing the dance. The young star said director Tim Burton came to her about two days before the scene was to be shot and said, "Hey, Jenna, so I know you said that you wanted to choreograph this yourself. I know you got it. I know you've been working on it," he ended by saying he trusted her. The only problem is … she in fact did not have it. She was not working on it.

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Honeybees are getting their first vaccine.

Without bees, the human race would be screwed. We rely on those little buggers to pollinate most of the crops that feed most of the world—they're a critical link in the food chain that sustains human existence.

But scientists have been worried about bee populations in recent years, as colony collapse disorder, habitat loss and various bee diseases have threatened the planet's primary pollinators. There's good news for our fuzzy, buzzy friends, however. The world's first honeybee vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help stave off American foulbrood, a deadly disease that's spread through bacterial spores and can take down entire colonies.

So how does a bee colony get vaccinated? Are we talking 50,000 teeny-tiny syringes or what?

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Joy

Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin is awake after his cardiac arrest that shocked the world

'Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement. Thank you God.'

Images via Buffalo Bills and Wikicommons

Damar Hamlin is reportedly making good progress after his traumatic on-field injury.

In a recent game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field after making a tackle. The game was only about 10 minutes into the first quarter when Hamlin collapsed and a flurry of medical personnel rushed to revive him.

His medical emergency immediately raised questions and put renewed focus on the safety of football as a sport and the degree to which professional sports places profits over the health and safety of the players who make the game what it is.

Hamlin was immediately transported to nearby University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the game was postponed indefinitely while the NFL focuses on Hamlin's recovery and what caused the incident. He was placed into a medically induced coma but has since woken up. According to Yahoo Sports, Hamlin is alert, responsive and asking questions, though he's still on a ventilator.

One of the first things he inquired about was who won the game, and while he can't speak, he has been communicating through writing. Doctors are hopeful as “it appears that his neurological condition and function is intact,” according to Dr. Timothy Pritts, division chief of general surgery and vice chair for clinical operations at UC Health, speaking at a UC Health Medical Center press conference.

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