How to Fix Love Actually

Love ActuallyI demand a new edit!

Since 2003, Love Actually has become almost a part of the holiday season. It is on TV, the DVDs are on sale. Some people love it, some people don’t; for me, I always have viewed it as a beautiful mess.

What I mean by that is that I see the well-intentioned heart under the surface, but there is a lot of embarrassing junk covering it up. You know what I mean, the stuff you throw away that you hope not even the garbage man sees.

The film also makes me sad, because it is a slipup of a writer I actually enjoy most of the time (and it could be argued should have known better). While in the movie world he is known mainly for romantic-comedies (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Bridget Jones), in my opinion his genius has always thrived in television. Richard Curtis is the man who gave us Black Adder, Mr. Bean, The Vicar of Dibley and probably one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes of all time (“Vincent and the Doctor”). If you don’t know what I am referring to here, check them out pronto!

But here is the kicker, while most movies after they are completed are what they are and we have to accept it, there is so much going on in Love Actually that a little correcting doesn’t feel impossible.

It would be like going to a barber but for films. A snip here, a snip there and suddenly we have a film that maybe the whole family can enjoy. Granted, some of my hopes are beyond the skills of the editor (unless we are lucky and there are deleted scenes out there), but quite a few of these could be done almost easily, all it would take are a pair of sharp scissors. I will even put a Christmas bow on them if it helps. Continue reading

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Re-Blog: Romantic Movie Suggestions

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wrote this post last year and still stand by the list. Maybe I might have moved Philadelphia Story and It Happened closer to the top since I love both of those films so much; but honestly, it is not a best to worst kind of list. They are all good. Cheers!

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

I’ve always found romantic films, and especially romantic-comedies,  to be the weakest of the movie genres. It’s formulaic, it is ridiculous many times, and usually inconceivable that one character would actually be interested in the other (Because, let’s be honest, in every romantic film one of the leads is a jerk that doesn’t really deserve the attention of the other).

When I first started writing screenplays, I really wanted to fix this genre; expose it for all its weaknesses. I created a serious romantic comedy, a silly romantic comedy, an experimental romantic comedy, and even a musical romantic comedy. Suffice to say, none of them got made, so they are now all enjoying a very nice home on a burned CD someplace in my house. Was it because I wanted to avoid all the formula gimmicks that they met their demise? For example, the chase at the end to prove…

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This Writing Guy’s 9 Romantic Movie Recommendations

I’ve always found romantic films, and especially romantic-comedies,  to be the weakest of the movie genres. It’s formulaic, it is ridiculous many times, and usually inconceivable that one character would actually be interested in the other (Because, let’s be honest, in every romantic film one of the leads is a jerk that doesn’t really deserve the attention of the other).

When I first started writing screenplays, I really wanted to fix this genre; expose it for all its weaknesses. I created a serious romantic comedy, a silly romantic comedy, an experimental romantic comedy, and even a musical romantic comedy. Suffice to say, none of them got made, so they are now all enjoying a very nice home on a burned CD someplace in my house. Was it because I wanted to avoid all the formula gimmicks that they met their demise? For example, the chase at the end to prove the love, the annoying supporting characters (Don’t get me started on Love Actually and the mind-blowingly dumb storyline of the waiter that comes to America looking for love), etc. Who knows?

Well, I could go on and on and speculate on why they are still around (Let’s all agree on a lack of dumb luck they are still only on paper), but instead here are my favorite films about love.

There is not one Nora Ephron film listed… Not a one. Oh, and no reference to Titanic either (I mean, she seriously dropped him like a load of potatoes the second he died in the cold water, didn’t she?). Continue reading

A Writer’s Remorse: Shooting Myself in the Foot…

One of the problems of having an imagination is that you also become burdened by the “what ifs.”

What if I made that decision instead? What if I went with that agent or publisher? What if I didn’t lose that contact?

The trick is not letting these “what ifs” become regrets. And for me that is many times hard to do.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but many times in my career I’ve made decisions more out of my own “vision” of what I wanted to be, as compared to the opportunity in front of me. And in all of those moments I have walked away wondering if I had just shot myself in the foot.

Here, let me give you an example… We’ll start with one of the funny ones… Continue reading