Even If 'Love Actually' Is Terrible, Obsessing Over Its Quality Is Ruining Christmas
The great Love Actually debate (is it perfect or is it terrible?) continues to rage on all over the Internet, with both sides taking shots. Thanks to its 10th anniversary taking place in 2013, the rom-com has been written about on the daily since the first inklings of the holiday season came about. As Vulture pointed out Friday, no one seems to be willing to drop the Love Actually bone, so we're here to do it for the rest of the internet: seriously, just let it go.
Yes, Love Actually is 10 years old and the passing of time often comes as a shock. Yes, we have to talk about it because we're the Internet and that's how we operate. And yes, everyone's editor (including mine) would love to have another piece with the nostalgia-friendly name in the headline. But somehow, a few instances of "what's all the fuss about?" have turned into a battle and it's nothing short of absurd. Why spend this much time laboring over a so-so rom-com that came out in 2003 simply because a great deal of people feel such a connection to it that it's become their Christmas tradition? I, for one, am a proponent of accepting both camps and moving on: Love Actually is a terrible movie that I love and watch every Christmas because it's tradition. There. Debate over.
Any criticism beyond that statement is unnecessary and an excuse to whip out a long string of well-crafted insults. The film is just something that makes people happy during the holidays — it doesn't stop them from enjoying a good film any more than Christmas cookies keep someone from enjoying dessert at a five-star restaurant.
As a tradition, Love Actually is akin to the ridiculous Cabbage Patch Elf my parents gave me when I was two. His name his Bobby, he still smells like cinnamon, and I'm pretty sure that were he not on a ridiculously high shelf, he and his terrifying eyes would come alive at night and murder me and my roommates. Love Actually is *NSync's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" — and at least half of the Christmas songs we all love, for that matter.
Love Actually is the spread of weird traditional Stahler family Christmas snacks that I gobble up every year as if the prior months of careful eating were but a dream. There's "Kibbles and Bits" which is named after a dog food and looks like it too, but there's chocolate involved so we nibble on it anyway. There's my uncle's famous crab dip and while the recipe is secret, I'm pretty sure it's an intoxicating mixture of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and crack because there is not a person in my family who doesn't scoop it onto crackers without question. And don't even get me started on Egg Nog, the disgusting, gloopy holiday beverage without which Christmas is not complete.
Love Actually is the set of icicle lights I hung inside my apartment because I bought the wrong kind and put them up anyway. Love Actually is the "Nut House" jar shaped like a squirrel's house if it was in a long term relationship with a demanding Keebler Elf that's gifted to someone in my family every single year. Love Actually is a tiny dollar store stocking held together with safety pins that my roommate and I decorated for her dog Albus. It's Hugh Grant doing this dance in Love Actually:
Yes, from a critical standpoint Love Actually is a terrible movie and probably a terrible holiday tradition, but it's mine. As Andrew Lincoln says to Kiera Knightley via scribbled poster board (sort of): to me, all of my traditions — including this silly movie — are perfect.
I'm not going to write an essay about how I actually think A Christmas Story is a boring movie and that I've fallen asleep every time I've tried to get through it and I'm not going to come over to your house and tell you the ornaments on your tree are hung incorrectly. If you don't like the way I celebrate Christmas or the way I hang my lights, keep it yourself and to quote Nick Miller, get off my lawn.
Image: Screengrab of Love Actually; Tippycal/Tumblr