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25 years ago, 'Clerks' was the low-budget comedy that took the world by storm. Click here to relive it in Jess' retrospective review!x

NOTTING HILL'S 20TH ANNIVERSARY

THE ESSENTIAL ROMANTIC RICHARD CURTIS

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jess Fenton
15th May 2019

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been quoting “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her” for 20 years. And while we quote that and many other classic lines from the famed ‘Notting Hill’, we also frequently and wrongly credit the deliverer of said lines and not the genius behind the pen... or keyboard, as it were. So I thought it was high time you get to know more of the works of the man behind the best, the most classic, the funniest and the most romantic movies of all time - basically so you can go, “Oh, I didn’t know that same guy who wrote ‘Notting Hill’ also wrote [insert movie title here]”. Ladies and gentlemen - I give you Sir (not yet but bloody should be) Richard Curtis.

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (1994)
Written by Richard Curtis
A group of the most horrible, chain-smoking alcoholics seem to get invited to an awful lot of weddings where they’re perpetually late and rude - but we love them anyway... especially Gareth (Simon Callow). At one such wedding, Charles (Hugh Grant) becomes enamoured with American Carrie (Andie McDowell) - not the most morally scrupulous person, the pair eventually sleep together and continue to have a series of run-ins at different weddings and one funeral. Don’t worry, knowing there’s going to be a funeral doesn’t make it any less sad. It’s still devastating and then funny again. Classic British cinema. Come for the romance, stay for the Rowan Atkinson!
IMDb SCORE: 7.1/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 96%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW:
"There is so much screen time for this film but it's used so un-wisely. I'm an hour in and I still don't know how most of the principle [sic] characters are related to each other. Hugh Grant's character is flat. You know nothing about him except he's invited to a lot of weddings and, surprise! Cat's got his tongue (like every other character HG plays...). Don't get me wrong, his face is beautiful as ever, but he's so wack. His character literally stood in the room, not announcing himself, while his friend and his new wife had sex. Ew! Andie McDowell plays a sociopath who keeps sleeping around with HG's character, but is secretly engaged... Then she invites him to her wedding as well as to try on wedding dresses with her, all while ignoring their secret love affair and its consequences. I don't like her. I don't like him. I don't like anyone else in this movie except the flamboyant older gentleman who laughs at the inappropriate jokes throughout the movie. But even with him, the script is not clear... Is he gay with that Scottish guy? They live together, apparently, but nothing is made explicit (even though there's a frank conversation about lesbians at some point). This movie sucks."
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
“Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.”
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
FLOWER GIRL - “What’s bonking?”
SCARLETT - “Well, it’s kinda like table tennis, only with slightly smaller balls.”

NOTTING HILL (1999)
Written by Richard Curtis
William (Hugh Grant) is a guy who runs a travel book store in, you guessed it, Notting Hill. Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) is the biggest female movie star in the world, huge, like... Julia Roberts big. Oh, I see what they did there. Clever! Anyway, after several “surreal but nice” meetings, they start to dig each other, but she’s super famous and he’s a nobody and their differing lifestyles kinda get in the way... and her dick boyfriend (hello Alec Baldwin cameo!). Don’t worry, it all turns out okay in the end. Shoot! Spoiler alert! Full of wacky British characters including Rhys Ifans, quotes galore, heart-melting moments and a love story for the ages, this movie proves that all those years I spent believing that I’d one day meet, fall in love with and marry Dean Cain, Devon Sawa and Leonardo DiCaprio weren’t wasted. It could happen!!
IMDb SCORE: 7.1/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 83%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW:
"Unrealistic. Might as well had space aliens and zombies read the parts... I guess if good looking enough [a] guy it does not matter what personality you have, what internal determination you have, or how smart you are. Pretty Boy finds Sugar Momma."
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
“Don’t forget... I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
HONEY - “William just turned down Anna Scott.”
SPIKE - “You daft prick.”

BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY (2001)
Written by Richard Curtis
Bridget (Renée Zellweger), as observed by one, is a “verbally incontinent spinster who drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney and dresses like her mother.” Oh, and she’s also fat - or what passes as “fat” in 2001, which is by today’s standards (and even 2001’s for that matter) is not fat at all and is, in fact, painfully average. But to the rest of us, Bridget is the fabulous everywoman. An embarrassing, clumsy, constantly says the wrong thing, granny panty-wearing everywoman. Taking its inspiration from Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Bridget loves Daniel (Hugh Grant). Daniel is a narcissistic fuckwit who only loves himself. But he’s hot, so when they get together, we still cheer. Then Daniel does what all “Daniels” do and we love Bridget even more, because we are Bridget. Along the way, she has many an encounter with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the haughty son of family friends, who constantly looks down on her but, like I said, because she’s freakin' awesome he eventually develops the feels for her and fun, fantastic romance ensues. NB: There is a wet shirt scene à la 'Pride and Prejudice' but with a twist. Intrigued? You should be.
IMDb SCORE: 6.7/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 81%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW:
“It seemed like Bridget's bloody diary lead to nothing but trouble, injustice, and grief, kind of like how one innocent love letter lead to 6 sticky situations in the movie 'Secret Admirer'.
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
“No, I like you very much... just as you are.”
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
“Come the fuck on, Bridget!”

LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)
Written and directed by Richard Curtis
Okay, if you’ve never seen ‘Love Actually’, it’s either because you don’t own a TV, don’t celebrate Christmas, live under a rock, and/or are dead (inside). For the uninitiated, this is the tale of eight interconnecting stories in London in the lead-up to Christmas. Warning: there’s only one wedding and one funeral. There’s love in all shapes and sizes, a hint of betrayal, some nudity, language barriers, a scene-stealing turn by the incomparable Rowan Atkinson, the greatest cover of ‘All I Want For Christmas’ ever, and one very famous scene which, depending on who you ask, is either the most romantic in cinema history, or one of the creepiest. You be the judge.
IMDb SCORE: 7.6/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 63%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW:
“It will make you laugh and cry, it is perfect. And before you blow this off as just a 'chick flick', you should know that I am a hardcore horror movie lover. So, if I love this movie, anyone will!”
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
See the above-mentioned scene which actually has no dialogue. Hint: it involves a bunch of hand-written signs.
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
“I am Colin, God of Sex. I’m just on the wrong continent, that’s all.”

BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON (2004)
Written by Richard Curtis
This is a sequel. It’s not the worst, but certainly not the best. ‘Nuff said. A small blip on Curtis’ otherwise perfect record.
IMDb SCORE: 6.0/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 27%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW:
“Hard to rate for an American speaker since it depends heavily on an enthusiasm for British wittiness.”
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
Here’s the thing - in order to have a famous quote you have to have a famous movie. This is not such a movie. Soz.
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
BRIDGET - “I will not fuck it up again, Mum.”
MUM - “Bridget! Language!
BRIDGET - “Sorry. I will not fuck it up again... mother.”

THE BOAT THAT ROCKED (2009)
Written and directed by Richard Curtis
It’s the swinging 60s, and a rag-tag group of radio DJs are dominating the airwaves and the minds of British youth aboard a pirate radio ship, spinning awesome tunes and anti-establishment sentiment as the government try desperately to shut them down. Shenanigans ensue as the shock jocks and their “Captain” (played by Bill Nighy) fill the boat with rock and roll, women, drugs, fun, family, love and friendship. Okay, so this isn’t technically a rom-com, but there is romance and there is comedy - lots of it - and it’s my list, and I say it counts. And with a cast like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Rhys Darby, Katherine Parkinson, Jack Davenport and Kenneth Branagh, all brilliant alongside a killer soundtrack. There is no wrong here! Oh, and if you manage to track this one down, make sure you watch the British ‘The Boat That Rocked’ version and not the butchered American version known as ‘Pirate Radio’. Blergh!
IMDb SCORE: 7.4/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 62%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW: “It showed people listing [sic] to pirate radio station under sheets and other places.”
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
“To all our listeners, this is what I have to say - God bless you all. And as for you bastards in charge, don't dream it's over. Years will come, years will go, and politicians will do fuck all to make the world a better place. But all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song. Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there'll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.”
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
Again, not technically a quote, but just watching Chris O’Dowd melodramatically mime Lorraine Ellison’s ‘Stay With Me Baby’ makes me all kinds of happy.

ABOUT TIME (2013)
Written and directed by Richard Curtis
Without a household name as its lead and not sporting your classic romantic lead looks, ‘About Time’ flew under the radar for a lot of people, but it also happens to be my favourite Richard Curtis film ever! Only four years before this, Rachel McAdams had already released another “wife of time traveller” movie and it was not great, but after seeing ‘About Time’ you quickly realise why she’d return to such a familiar concept. This film is magical in all senses of the word. And yes, while there is a romance at the forefront of this story, its core, in a masterful slight-of-hand trick, is actually about the love between a father and son. This is the film that turned Domhnall Gleeson into a leading man and also gave us a dose of Margot Robbie (this time with an English accent) right before she exploded in ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’. This film is, in a word, divine, and worth repeated viewings.
IMDb SCORE: 7.8/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 69%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW: “The star is quite agreeable to look at if you like redheads! Also, nice to look at from a woman's point of view is his co-star Bill Nighy. Enjoy it!”
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE:
“You're kidding! I can go anywhere in time and you bring me back to the worst party of all time.”
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE(S):
TIM - “What do you think of her?”
DAD - “I like her more than you already.”

“Greatest record ever recorded by an Italian who looks like he's got a dead badger on his head."

“I am fucking furious. I am so uninterested in a life without your father."

“I'm not taking my panties off for Scotland!”

YESTERDAY (2019)
Written by Richard Curtis - scores accurate as of 15th May 2019
Ummm… this movie hasn’t come out but from what I can tell, a man receives a head injury during a blackout and wakes up in a world where The Beatles never existed, so he claims their music as his own and overnight becomes the greatest and most celebrated songwriter who ever lived. And there’s also Lily James... and Ed Sheehan... and Kate McKinnon.
IMDb SCORE: 7.2/10
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 71%
FUNNIEST AMAZON REVIEW: (See above description.)
MOST FAMOUS QUOTE: (See above description.)
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE:
(Insert something Kate McKinnon says... I assume.)

FAST FACTS
NOTTING HILL
RELEASE DATE: 21/05/1999
RUN TIME: 2h 4m
CAST: Julia Roberts
Hugh Grant
Gina McKee
Tim McInnerny
Rhys Ifans
Emma Chambers
Hugh Bonneville
Richard McCabe
James Dreyfus
Dylan Moran
DIRECTOR: Roger Michell
PRODUCER: Duncan Kenworthy
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