Musical Musings: Love Songs … Actually

If you are a fan of the Richard Curtis School of  (Romantic ) Comedy and its music, you will like this post. Released in 2011, Love Songs … Actually is a compilation of the music from Richard Curtis’ most popular comedies, including:

  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary
  • Notting Hill
  • Love Actually
  • The Boat that Rocked (Pirate Radio)
Whatever you may think of the films, this collection contains a varied array of songs that ranges from the some of the classics songs to the ‘latest’ pop confection (truth be told, I tend to steer clear of the latter). But with over 40 songs to choose from, I was bound to  find a couple of faves:

Unfortunately, there are some serious omissions from this two-disk set; most notable for me are:

  • Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ and The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ (from Love Actually)
  • ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ by The Pretenders (from Bridget Jones’ Diary)
  • And several tracks from The Boat that Rocked.

In this case, your best bet may be to acquire all the individual soundtracks and create your own ‘master playlist’ for your listening pleasure. I have done so myself.

But for folks in the USA who will insist on having this single, abridged version set, please note that Love Songs … Actually is an import title that you will have to order a physical copy of, likely over the internet.

What Do You Think? (Accents in Films)

I am always fascinated by accents (or lack thereof) in films. On a related matter, I have read a lot about this week’s film release of One Day, which stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess and is directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education). David Nicholls adapted his best-selling novel for the screen. David Nicholls also wrote the novel and screenplay Starter For Ten. Although I did not read this novel, I did enjoy the film.

Now back to One Day. Much is being made about the success or failure of Anne Hathaway’s efforts at a Yorkshire (Leeds) accent. As a self-confessed Anglophile, I am able to distinguish between some (I repeat SOME) regional accents from the greater United Kingdom; but I am a far from an expert. I defer to folks who are from the area to make that distinction. However, based on a couple of clips I have seen of the movie, I am left a bit perplexed. To my ear, her voice is a bit “whispier” than in its American incarnation, but it does not sound too distinctly British, much less from the north of England.

The Guardian newspaper (UK) posted a pretty entertaining piece on their movie blog on the very subject. My personal favorite was listening to Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I say all this with the accepting that I can only imagine how challenging it is for actors to not only take on the challenge of embodying another character but to have that compounded with trying to master an accent foreign to them. I get occasionally and momentarily distracted when I hear non-Americans working to tackle the accent, especially when you get down to regions – notably the Northeast (Boston and New York). In spite of this, I have been able to enjoy the films even in light of being less-than-convinced by the accent that I hear (Emma Thompson in Dead Again immediately comes to mind).

The real question for people who have a problem with the accent, will this deter you from seeing the film? More generally, have you ever let your accent reservations affect your ability to enjoy a film?

Please share your comments below.

DVD Release: The Lady Vanishes on Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection is releasing a new master of this Hitchcock classic in a special two-disk set. I already own the original Criterion disk and am almost tempted to get this one to see the special features it had to offer.

This is definitely one of my all time personal faves from a favorite director – hopefully more of his films will get the “Criterion treatment” in the future.