This was an idea conceived over too many half-priced watermelon martinis at Houlihan’s, as all good/bad ideas tend to be.
I love Love Actually. It’s true. Back in 2003, when I was still receiving DVDs from Netflix, Entertainment Weekly (my pop culture Bible) was talking about this sweet (probably even saccharine) movie about Christmas and love. How could a movie about CHRISTMAS and LOVE go wrong?! Would there be puppies? There should be puppies in every movie about Christmas and love… and I would soon learn, movies about Christmas and love also need to feature Rodrigo Santoro in only tight black boxer briefs.
Here we are, 15 years later, and I still watch this movie every holiday season. My friends know to expect one single tear to trickle down my cheek at the conclusion of the infamous “cue card” scene with a pre-Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln. I bawl into my oversized caftan like Emma Thompson any time I hear Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”
Sorry. Those are spoilers. But if you haven’t seen Love Actually yet, your heart is cold and dead and you don’t deserve to celebrate Christmas with me.
I can’t help but realize that for every wonderful person in this Christmas classic, the movie is REPLETE with HORRIBLE people. I was rewatching it this Thanksgiving to get into the holiday spirit, and perhaps it’s the cynicism of the unending trash fire that is 2017 seeping into my heart, but for such a heart-warming movie, some characters are just THE WORST. However, since we can’t always have nice things, I present to you the 25 Worst People in Love Actually.
Let’s get on, shall we? (sounds very British in my head)
Uncle Jamie, played by Colin Firth, heads home for Christmas. His hands are FULL of bags FULL of gifts, probably for his nieces and nephews.
I’m going to assume Uncle Jamie is an introvert. He enjoys alone time in his quaint French cabin. He looks utterly mortified as his family descends on him once he enters the house. I can imagine him thinking “I just want to sit in front of the fire in my chunky knit Fair Isle sweater and contemplate life and drink cocoa (spiked with brandy, obvi) and plan revenge on my girlfriend and brother for sleeping together behind my back.” Christmas will take everything out of him.
So, I respect that Uncle Jamie decides he’d rather be in Portugal with the housekeeper with whom he has fallen in love and I respect his decision to leave the introvert’s nightmare that is his Mom’s house on Christmas. At the end of the day, he wants to shoot his shot (look it up…it’s a millennial term, and the entirety of Love Actually is people just trying to shoot their shot, to be honest.)
So, HOW DARE YOU GIRL IN PINK WHO DECIDES TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF BABY JESUS BY SAYING “I HATE UNCLE JAMIE” EVEN AFTER HE HAS BROUGHT YOU PRESENTS. DO YOU ALSO HATE YOUR OTHER UNCLE WHO SLEPT WITH UNCLE JAMIE’S GIRLFRIEND!? I BET YOU DON’T BECAUSE HE BOUGHT YOUR AFFECTION WITH A NINTENDO.
So, nameless girl in the pink who hates her kind, introverted, heartbroken, handsome, in love Uncle Jamie… you are the 25th worst person in Love Actually.
Imagine you are a French housekeeper. Imagine you have a British author for whose house you are responsible. Imagine you find yourself unable to serve as that British author’s housekeeper when he makes an unexpected return to his writing cabin. You are now responsible for finding an adequate replacement.
When you find that “adequate” replacement, the French housekeeper you have selected doesn’t speak a lick of English. Your author client doesn’t speak a lick of French. Tell me, dear Eleonore, how the hell this seems like a good business decision? And what is with all the extra vowels in your name?
Although you may have single-handedly been responsible for one of the sweetest love stories in Christmas-themed cinema, your hiring decisions are trash and you should be fired as the French Housekeeping Human Resources manager, or whatever it is you actually do, immediately.
You could probably argue at this point that I am taking the easy way out by picking on small, potentially nameless, inconsequential characters in Love Actually and naming them the worst.
One may think I’m merely doing this for attention (let’s be honest, I kinda am) and this countdown will have no pay-off, because the #1 most horrible person will be “Airport Security Manager”—who, real talk, he does a pretty piss poor job by letting Sam run through the whole of Heathrow Airport.
Perhaps a reader is saying I don’t want to offend any of my two readers by targeting the main characters.
Does Hugh Grant have a fandom? If he does, do I risk offending them by saying he is absolutely the worst? He probably isn’t, mainly because of his dance to The Pointer Sisters. It is written in some ancient text that thou shalt not hate a British man dancing in his slacks to one of the best songs of all time.
Well, friends, no risk, no reward. Here we go. I’m going for the big guns today.
Peter and Julia are the WORST.
As a perpetual third wheel, I do relate to Mark on a visceral level. And yes, I’ve conceived doing the cue card thing in my own sad love life. But I imagine that it goes something like this—
Me, standing at Kyle and John’s door (names changed to protect the innocent and because of a likely restraining order).
I knock. And old man dressed as Santa and smelling like peppermint schnapps answers. “Who the hell are you?”
Me: Oops, wrong house.
Old Man: Well, you’re cute.
I run away.
I knock again. This time at the correct door.
John answers. “Eric, what are you doing here?”
Me: Actually, ummm, I was hoping to speak with Kyle.
John: Oh, he’s actually in the shower. Why are you holding a boom box and oak tag?
Me: Oh, ummm… I meant to leave these in the car.
I drop the boom box and “Silent Night” starts playing.
John: Wait…are you…are you doing the Love Actually cue card scene?
Me: Ummm… no… I mean, I don’t even know what that is.
John: Oh my GOD. KYLE, COME DOWN HERE. ERIC IS DOING THE CUE CARD SCENE FROM LOVE ACTUALLY FOR YOU. Do you need me to run upstairs and pretend it’s carol singers?
Anyway, we can save that for therapy. Back to Peter and Julia being horrible.
Are they so in love that they are completely oblivious to Mark’s insanely huge unrequited crush on Julia?!
I’m all about being extra, but neither of them thought it weird he went out of his way to book such an extravagant wedding surprise?!
Even painfully oblivious Laura Linney picks up on what Mark is putting down… and his best friend can’t?!?!
And then when he believes there are carol singers at the door, Peter tells Julia to give them a quid and tell them to bugger off. So, not only are you a horrible friend, you don’t mind taking a giant shit on those who are just trying to spread some Christmas cheer!!!
AND THEN JULIA KISSES MARK AS IF THAT WON’T MESS WITH HIM ANY MORE?!?!!?
Love Actually… more like “Emotional Manipulation Actually.” Aaaaand I’m going to go cry in a corner and process how I feel after this roller coaster of feelings.”
Guys. In terms of real presidents, Trump sucks.
In terms of fictional presidents, Billy Bob Thornton as presidents sucks real hard. Holy hell, he’s bad.
Ugh. What a skeeze.
Not only have I learned that Love Actually is just a movie about people trying to shoot their shot… It’s also a movie about people who are horrible at their jobs.
I’ve never been to a wedding reception, no matter how casual, where the caterer has the luxury of standing in the corner looking sad. Although we’ve established that Peter and Julia are the WORST, they still deserve a caterer who is going to make sure the day is perfect.
But here we have Nancy. She’s not running around. She’s not taste-testing the food. She’s not screaming at the kitchen staff and calling them donkeys. Sorry, TV has conditioned me to believe that’s what British chefs do. She’s literally doing nothing.
So, I can understand Colin Friggin’ Frissell’s (oh, dear reader, you know his moment of reckoning is coming soon) confusion about her role in the festivities. And although Colin’s come-ons are painfully awkward, and Nancy shouldn’t have to tolerate it…
Perhaps she should take some of his constructive criticism about the food and not cater a wedding with hors d’oeuvres that look and taste like, and I quote, “dead baby’s finger.”
Nancy, do your job.
#19 – Tony (Who???)
You know you’re pretty horrible when I literally have to Google “Tony Love Actually” to see if I’m talking about the right guy.
First, this guy is friends with Colin Friggin’ Frissell. Second, I’m not even sure what he does for a living. He shows up as a production something-or-other in the “fluffer” John and Just Judy scenes. Third, he supports Colin Friggin’ Frissell. Fourth, he does a piss poor job of keeping Colin Friggin’ Frissell from unleashing his sexual terror on the United States.
And then he shows up at the airport at the end, is given the chance to make out Denise Richards, and it looks like he is stork pecking at birdseed.
Who are you, Tony? And why do you contribute so little to one of the best Christmas movies of all time?
At least he has smolder.
You know you’re pretty horrendous when the writers don’t even bother giving you a name. And it’s even worse when the descriptor they use is the word “bad.”
Now, as I understand it, all the ladies (and some men—we’re equal opportunity here) swoon over Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. My tastes in literature are not nearly as refined, so I have no idea.
But, if you trade in Colin Firth for this Tom Green lookalike—
You’re pretty dumb.
“Hurry up, big boy. I’m naked and I want you at least twice before Jamie gets home” is a quote that has cemented Jamie’s girlfriend as the absolute worst in the annals of film history.
The only saving grace is that it appears Jamie’s Bad Brother isn’t invited over for Christmas. Perhaps the nameless girl in pink is his equally horrendous and ungrateful offspring.
HOW DOES ANY MOTHER LEAVE HER KID HOME ALONE ON CHRISTMAS NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE.
AND HOW IS SOCIAL SERVICES NEVER CALLED?!?!
Wait. Wrong Christmas movie. Too much Egg Nog.
Eh. She’s still the worst.
We love Natalie. Look at that sassy smirk and that sense of style. Works for the Prime Minister but still manages to BRING.IT! She’s also recently heartbroken and had to move back with her family in the “dodgy end.”
Sister is doing it for herself. She is vibrant… glowing… HEALTHY.
Natalie, the perfect, proportional, body positive angel is one of the BEST people in Love Actually. Hands down. No question. Don’t @ me.
Annie also works for the Prime Minister. Annie wants to help the Prime Minister fix the country.
Annie is mean. Annie describes Natalie as “chubby” and having a “sizeable ass” right before she agrees to redistribute dear Natalie at the request of the Prime Minister. Annie is not blind. Annie must realize the attraction between the Prime Minister and Natalie. Annie is lucky she wasn’t named in Natalie’s sexual harassment lawsuit.
Stacey, Jeannie, Carol-Anne, Harriet “The Sexy One,” Carla “The Real Friendly One”
Ladies. To quote one of my favorite ad campaigns in recent history:
“That’s not how this works. That’s not how ANY of this works.”
To my lady readers, when’s the last time you all descended upon a marginally attractive British man just because he says “bottle” the way Brits do?
And ladies, is it common practice for you to let your heat bill lapse to the point where you need to cuddle naked with each other? Are you THAT cold you invite a strange, horny foreigner back to your house to sleep with all three of you?
I get it. Everyone in this damn movie is trying to shoot their shot. But let’s talk about unrealistic expectations for British men traveling to Wisconsin.
And it’s Colin Friggin’ Frissell. These ladies aren’t going to look past his utter creep factor just because he speaks funny?!?!
And since we’re talking about speaking funny… Shannon Elizabeth and Denise Richards may just have the worst.southern.accents in all of film history.
Nope, no American stereotypes to see here. #RollsEyes
Wait, you’re trying to tell me neither of them received Oscar nominations for their award-winning characterizations of southern women in charge of their sexuality? #RollsEyesAgain
And why do they have SOUTHERN ACCENTS WHEN THEY ARE FROM WISCONSIN?!?! THIS DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.
For writing and performing a song that makes me ugly cry in the car whenever it comes up on my iPod because it made Emma Thompson ugly cry when she realizes her jerk husband is sleeping with his evil secretary.
I bet you think I’m going to rip into Mark because of the cue card scene.
Nope. I’m not gonna do it.
I think it’s romantic. If you think the cue card scene makes him a stalker, YOU ARE WRONG AND YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE.
The ONLY reason Mark even has a spot on this listicle is because HE IS STUPID.
Now, this is fresh in my mind because I’m literally watching the movie on Comedy Central… But, just in case you forgot—
Horrible Juliet: I stopped by unexpectedly and am going to force you to like me by bringing Banoffee Pie and letting myself into your flat because me and Peter made a horrible choice in videographer for our wedding so I want to see the video you took for free!
Stupid Mark: Nope. No idea where that video went. Can’t find it.
WHILE THE TAPE SITS ON THE TABLE LABELED CLEARLY AS PETER AND JULIET’S WEDDING VIDEO FOR ALL TO SEE.
Mark, dude, you’re an idiot. You played yourself.
For letting Laura Linney’s character wear this hat to a wedding.
(Side note, I watched this movie twice on Saturday. I never knew a purple hat could cause me such rage.)
I know. I’m counting them as one person. But, they are pretty interchangeable.
This spot almost went to Miss Dunkin’ Donuts 2003, but I love that bish.
And she gives great face.
So… like I said, Ant and Dec. Oh, I cannot tell a lie. This is really just a Miss Dunkin’ Donuts 2003 appreciation post in disguise. See, I’m not a completely cynical bastard!
But if I must give a reason for Ant and Dec, let’s just say Seacrest and Dunkleman you are NOT.
I feel like Billy Mack did when he beat Blue for the #1 Christmas hit in that movie Love Actually.
According to something I read on the Internet (and if you read it on the internet, it must be true), it was meant to be revealed that Rufus was, in fact, an angel.
Wait, wut?! Richard Curtis must’ve been smoking some pretty potent mistletoe laced with hallucinogenic reindeer antler if he thought that was going to be a good idea. Let’s take a story (relatively) grounded in reality and add an angel. If he had done that, Rufus could’ve done all types of things to make this movie less sad. He could’ve resurrected Liam Neeson’s wife. He could’ve messed with Sarah’s phone signal so she could make sweet, passionate love to Karl. He could’ve written Colin Friggin’ Frissell out of the script.
However, the internet is forever, and I just can’t get the idea of a what a spectacularly crappy angel Rufus turns out to be.
I don’t know. I like to think that the man upstairs would be a bit more direct with a man who is cheating on his wife with his secretary who literally DRESSES AS THE DEVIL FOR THE OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY. Instead of making a Broadway-worthy performance of wrapping a horrifically ugly heart necklace, perhaps Rufus could’ve sprouted his wings, grabbed Alan Rickman by the coat lapels and screamed some sense into him.
“GOD IS WATCHING YOU. DON’T CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE. AND GIRRRRRLLLL, THIS NECKLACE IS UGLY.”
Now, I know what you’re going to say. “Eric, Rufus redeems himself by distracting the gate agent so Sam can run past and profess his love to Joanna.”
Yes. Rufus does do that. However, his actions would theoretically have led to a complete security lockdown at Heathrow, thus disrupting MILLIONS of travelers’ holiday plans… just so a kid can tell a girl he likes her.
Is he going to use his divine powers to get everyone to Grandma’s house on time for her last Christmas when all of their flights are cancelled just so Sam can tell Joanna he loves her!?!?!
Yet again, another character who is pretty crappy at their job.
Let’s set the scene.
A college senior is on the cusp of discovering his sexuality.
A new company called Netflix will send DVDs (digital video discs) directly to this student’s dorm room.
So, he requests Love Actually, a feel-good Christmas romance.
He gets comfy in his Twin XL bed to enjoy the fact that a DVD got sent DIRECTLY to his college mailbox AND he won’t have to worry about insane Blockbuster late fees.
SPOILER ALERT – this college student is ME! Shocking twist, right?
I am also a die hard romantic at 21. I think my heart blackened and died around age 23?
So, I cannot WAIT for Laura Linney’s Sarah to have her Dawson’s Creek moment with the SMOLDERING and SEXY Karl, played by the SMOLDERING AND SEXY Rodrigo Santoro.
Who didn’t realize they were a little bit, if not totally, gay after this?
But, NO. We don’t get our happy ending. Sarah doesn’t get her happy ending. Colin Friggin’ Frissell gets his happy ending (in fact, it would appear he gets at least four). But not poor Sarah.
Why does Karl suck so much?
One, in this scene, he puts his clothes back on, rather than taking more off.
Two, he proceeds to totally disregard the fact that Sarah has taken an urgent phone call. Mid-hook up, when an emergency call has come in, at least have the heart to make sure everything is OK. But nope! nary a “How can I help?” to the woman who was just straddling you moments before.
Then, a few scenes later, Karl rolls up to Sarah’s desk, when they are all alone in the office and merely says “Good night.” That’s it. Nothing more.
In a movie where pretty much everyone else gets who and what they want, Karl is absolutely one of the freakin’ worst. What he should’ve done is figured out from Alan Rickman’s Harry where Sarah was always going, and in a grand romantic gesture, show up to Sarah’s brother’s hospital to HELP HER. RIGHT?!??!
You know that’s how you wanted that story to end. Admit it.
The one saving grace is he is still pretty with his shirt off, but pretty damn useless in Lost as Paolo. So, I guess if you want to ruin a TV show or movie with a useless character, hire Rodrigo Santoro.
Guys, you had to have known this was coming. Every time Colin Frissell is on screen, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. I understand he is meant to provide some comic relief, but holy hell, it’s evident that subtlety is not his strong suit. His main story line is that he is going to travel to America (Madison, Wisconsin specifically) to unleash his unique brand of sexual terror upon the masses. Mainly because no woman in Britain will sleep with him.
Let’s review a sampling of some of the things he says to or around the women of Britain—
“I am Colin. God of sex. I’m just on the wrong continent, that’s all.”
In the middle of the airport: “Watch out, America. Here comes Colin Frissell… and he’s got a big knob.”
“I’m on shag highway heading west.”
“Try my lovely nuts.” This is said to a woman in the office where he delivers sandwiches.
“Beautiful muffin for a beautiful lady.” Said, again, in the same office.
Not to mention his horrible attempt at picking up Nancy, the horrible wedding caterer. And he even tries to hit on Mia, and you know she isn’t having it.
How is ANY of this acceptable? Sure, 2003 was a simpler time… but sexual harassment was still a thing.
I hate you Colin Friggin’ Frissell. You make me cringe. You’re not charming. You’re not funny. Your accent DOES NOT make you more attractive. You are the farthest thing from what I imagine a God of Sex to be like. The only God of Sex in Love Actually is Karl. Or at least we are all left imagining what he would be like in bed because of Sarah’s damn phone.
Colin Friggin’ Frissell, go say “bottle” and “straw” somewhere else.
I don’t think I need to go too much in this one. But this right here is why he’s the worst—
Not to mention, he did THIS to Emma Thompson. And whenever I watch the damn scene, I ugly cry too. So, congratulations Alan Rickman as Harry, you made us ALL ugly cry for Christmas.
And the necklace he got for Mia was ugly as sin. I’m not going to condone cheating, but if you are getting something for your mistress, maybe it shouldn’t look like a piece of papier mache noodle art. But that’s just me I guess.
Harry is so horrible, I actually feel sympathy for Professor Snape and Hans Gruber.
Sure, Harry is bad but MIA IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST.
Look at her. She’s just so… smug… and homewreck-y. If you haven’t seen the movie, in this scene, she opens her legs to convince her boss that she wants a “Christmas gift.” Real subtle there, Mia.
Now, I know full well that Harry and Mia both choose to engage in this affair and ruin a marriage. Perhaps you may think I am clearly allowing my gender bias to influence my rankings.
I OBJECT! A lady friend of mine turned to me immediately during this scene and outright demand that Mia be #1 on this list. SO THERE. I dislike homewreckers equally. And if this ranking really ruffles your candy canes, feel free to switch them up in your mind. Feel free to debate it over Christmas dinner with your drunk Republican uncle!
Let’s also review the fact that she dresses up as SATAN for the office Christmas party. First, Halloween was two months ago, lady. Second, don’t @ me trying to defend a woman who cosplays as the Prince of Darkness to celebrate the holidays with her co-workers.
We are going to ignore the fact that MARK—yes, cue card MARK—is her date to the party. She completely ignores him so she can make her move on Harry, in plain sight of Karen.
What the HELL, lady?! You.are.horrible!
Apparently, Harry did give her the gold spray-painted macaroni necklace, and she wears it like a predator proudly displaying the teeth of her victims around her neck.
She even flirts a little with the Prime Minister when he accidentally shows up at her door. Girrrrrrrlllllll…I’m all about being confident in your sexuality, but you’ve already ruined one marriage, try not to the ruin the whole of Great Britain.
Thank you for sticking with me. It’s good to know I have, like, two people across the far reaches of the Internet universe who enjoy my writing AND Love Actually as much as I do. But it’s time to wrap this up, because come 2 P.M., I’ll be as drunk and tired as Mariah Carey at an egg nog tasting. Sometimes, when I drink too much holiday cheer, I find the nearest gingerbread village and pretend I’m Godzilla…and then pass out in the ruins.
So whether you love or hate Love Actually, you need to admit there are some pretty horrible people peppered through the Christmas classic. I am firmly in the “love” category, but as mentioned, the cynicism that comes with living through the dumpster fire that is 2017 has made this all possible.
Happy New Year!
A candy cane for Glenn Coco and all of you…and none for Gretchen Wieners (or Mia)… bye.