"Notting Hill" played on HBO last Saturday night. I caught it somewhere in the middle, and contrary to efforts to distract myself with something else, immediately got hooked all over again.
It's not easy for a guy to admit liking chick flicks, but "Notting Hill" is one of those rare chick flicks that I can't help but like. ("You've Got Mail" is the only other movie that comes to mind.) On the surface, it's unadulterated romantic fantasy: a Hollywood actress falling for an average guy? Su-uuuure.... Hugh Grant as an average guy? Ri-iiiiight.... All that is just an excuse to whip up the cheesiest lines: "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."
Many years ago, when I still took the Supercat between Dumaguete and Cebu regularly, they showed "Notting Hill" on one trip. The movie ran a few minutes longer than the trip itself but for some reason the crew kept playing it right through the end. The reason might have been because all the passengers, myself included, were just so entranced by the movie we didn't want to leave till after the hotel conference scene. I seem to remember all of us cheering and leaving the ship with smiles.
But what's really carried this movie -- and what separates it from the rest -- is the interaction between William Thacker and his friends, the real average joes. It's something we hardly see anymore: pals meeting regularly for dinner and in their homes, no less; nowadays, they always meet in trendy bars to get sloshed. These fellowships generate warmth, and that's a rarity today, in film or in real life.