An Englishman in New York

It occurred to me this weekend, after watching the film Music & Lyrics, that I have seen more Hugh Grant movies than any man rightfully should.  What makes this development particularly concerning is that I have watched hardly any movies in the last eight years since becoming a parent.  And yet, without even trying, I have absorbed most of Hugh’s oeuvre.

In fact, I’d estimate that between 10% and 20% of the movies that I’ve watched over the last eight years have involved Hugh Grant in some way shape or form.  There’s probably an outside chance that I am the foremost living expert on Hugh Grant.  And sometimes, late at night, when the rest of the world is fast asleep, I lie in bed and wonder what this says about me. 


As a movie critic, I like to assess movies a simple rating based on their relative value.  Stars and numbers are far too arbitrary for a critic of my discerning tastes. 

Great movies are deemed theatre-worthy.  They are well worth the cost of entry plus the cost of refreshments and the cost of the babysitter.  For example, The Godfather is obviously theatre-worthy.  Citizen Kane is definitely theatre-worthy.  In Grantian terms, the sweet and delightful About a Boy is clearly theatre-worthy.

Good movies are deemed rental-worthy.  It’s much less of an investment, both in time and money, to truck down to your local rental store and pick up a movie.  I’ve even heard that people can now use the magic typing box to order rental movies that magically appear in your mailbox.  Hugh’s spot on portrayal of Daniel Cleaver in the Bridget Jones’s Diary film adaptation (first one only) is a good example of a movie that isn’t good enough to watch in the theatres but is good enough to spend $5 (plus late fees) on.

Most movies fall into the average category, otherwise known as the cable-worthy class.  Yes, you’re paying extra each month for HBO or Starz or Showtime but the cost is minimal and it’s built in to your cable bill.  Movies on pay seem free even though you are paying extra for them.  The nice thing about movies on pay cable is that they preserve the gratuitous cursing and nudity.  The aforementioned Music & Lyrics falls into this category, although it sadly did not include any gratuitous nudity from Drew Barrymore.

Bad movies are considered free TV-worthy, although the endless Frank TV commercials and on-screen graphics tend to spoil any minor pleasure that one might receive from free sub-par entertainment on TBS.  Even an actor as magnificent as Hugh Grant has worked on a few turkeys in his day.  The execrable Nine Months is a prime example of a Hugh Grant film that you wouldn’t want to pay anything to watch but might catch on the TV.  In fairness to Hugh, though, Tom Arnold was also in Nine Months and everyone knows that Tom Arnold is the kiss of death for any film.


I’m puzzled why Hugh Grant isn’t a bigger star.  In my estimation he should probably be the biggest movie star living today.  He’s British, he’s handsome, he’s in great shape, he doesn’t look his 48 years, he can play funny or jerky and he can even sing a little.  He’s been in a ton of good to great movies and probably only 2 or 3 bombs.

Seriously, how could Elizabeth Hurley let a catch like Hugh Grant get away?  I can’t think of one bad thing, not a single misstep in the divine career of Hugh Grant.

I guess the ways of Hollywood will always remain a mystery to me, Hugh Grant’s #1 unintentional fanboy.


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