Ep 10.5: Down With Love

So here’s what happened. Lucy was having a hellaciously bad day and went to bed early. I did my usual crash in late afternoon, wake up at midnight, and I’m working and at 3AM I get an e-mail from Lucy saying she can’t sleep, she’s too miserable. So I do my standard buck-up stuff in e-mail and when that doesn’t work I say, “Hey, how about a movie? We just watched Pillow Talk and Down with Love is the pastiche of that. It’s a terrible film but the art direction is amazing and if worse comes to worse, we’ll turn off the sound and talk while we look at the pretty pictures.” Lucy says, “I’ll make chocolate chip cookies,” and we meet in the kitchen at 3AM to eat warm cookies and watch this movie we’ve both seen once and hated. But hey it has David Hyde Pierce and cameos by Tony Randall, so not a complete loss, right?

Reader, we loved it.

After we’d stopped laughing, we looked at each other and said, “Podcast.” Because, Poppers, you need to know about this movie. The ratings are below with the impromptu podcast where we pinpoint the entirely STUPID plot move the writers made that kneecapped the movie, but basically, it was a lot of fun, we laughed out loud a lot, Ewan MacGregor definitely fell in love so we got a great hero with a romantic arc, Pierce and Sarah Paulson are hysterical, Pierce and MacGregor even funnier (they’re the Hudson and Randall of the 21st century), the costumes and sets are insane . . . it’s a really good time. Also Lucy went immediately to iTunes and downloaded the soundtrack, so the music is fabulous, too. She went upstairs to get my computer and came down to find me singing along with the credits, that’s how good it is. I NEVER sing along with anything on TV. But the movie just made me so happy because it was so smart/dumb . . .

WARNING: There are huge spoilers in this podcast. Don’t listen if you intend to watch the movie. But we’ll put up a poll for it in case you have the time to watch it. And you really should; it’s a good, good time. Also, we were giddy by the time we finished the podcast at 6AM and feeling very smug so there’s some unattractive gloating in there. Just telling you, we were obnoxious.

Get the podcast: Listen here at PopD | Go to iTunes

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 4.5 Pops ~ I’m not saying it’s not flawed, and yes… perhaps low expectations and a total lack of sleep fed into the incredible love I had for this movie this morning, but I think we’ve got a sleeper classic on our hands. Too much hyperbole? Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 4, Comedy: 5, Romance: 4

Jenny says: 4.5 pops ~ Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 4, Comedy: 5, Romance: 4

Blog Poll Rating: 3.6

Movie Info:

Release Date: May 16, 2003 Tagline: The Ultimate Catch Has Met His Match. More info at IMDb.

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35 responses to “Ep 10.5: Down With Love”

  1. Wow. I mean, I’m sorry Lucy had such a bad day, and I’m glad it cheered you guys up so much, but I hate, hate, haaaaated this film. And I really don’t think a second watch is going to change my mind.

  2. I will have to watch this — wonder if I can find it before Friday — because I MIGHT just cheat on my seekrit husband John Cusak with Ewen McGregor. And I like pretty pictures.

  3. I may have to re-watch. I went to see this in the theatre when it came out because I love Pillow Talk and wanted a pick me up. I don’t remember anything about it except that it was mildly chaotic but fun to watch.

  4. I think you guys might have nailed it. I haven’t rewatched it yet, but you really got what I hated about the movie. And I wanted to love this movie. But I just couldn’t deal after the end. And if it they had done it the way Jenny wanted, I probably would have loved this.

    Now I’m going to have to re-watch this and come back.

  5. Ooh, I have much love for Down With Love. I like how it pays homage to 60s sex comedies and also makes fun of them. And you’re right, the soundtrack is awesome. I think its what got me into Michael Buble and he got me so into classic standards its not even funny.

  6. Love love love the costumes, and I liked the wink-wink cuteness of the movie. Just a total champagne bubble of a movie.

  7. Perfect! I have been traveling forever and now have the ‘flu (of course), so it will be wonderful to sit down with something fun and fluffy. I’m going to have chocolate chip cookies, too, because I suspect they may be an integral part of the Down With Love love fest.

  8. JulieB- I decided I have to watch this NOW, so I hunted around and found that even though it’s not available to Watch Now on Netflix, it is available for a “Watch Instantly 24 hour rental” at Amazon for $2.99. Thank god for societal trends that support my need for instant gratification.

  9. Well, there you are. Several of us proposed it for the list, and you said it was no good.

  10. Yay! I’m so glad y’all watched this and did a podcast. I know it has imperfections and all that, but I LOVE this movie! MacGregor and Pierce, as you stated, are hilarious, and Ewan sitting around in a bathrobe moaning about how he wants to get married gets me every time. *squee*

  11. I love this movie… Everytime I watch another 60’s sex comedy, I find another source that was used in writing Down With Love — Check out Sex and the Single Girl with Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis in place of Doris Day and Rock Hudson… She plays “Dr. Helen Brown” — He plays the cad who’s out to find out if the author of Sex and the Single Girl “does or doesn’t…”

    One of the things that I like about Down With Love is that even though Zellwegers character starts out (secretly) as the standard heroine of one of these movies, out to get her man so she can settle down and get married, she evolves to be balance of that character and her “fake” character, Barbara– she wants the guy, and her own life — she arrives at balance (ie not blonde or brunette, but redhead) — there does not have to be a dichotomy between lover/wife and Career Gal. (Thinking about it that way, I would submit that Barbara actually does have a character arc, though its evolution happens mostly off screen)

  12. I love this movie. The costumes, the set design, and the zany, madcap antics really make this movie work for me. I know there are some issues with the plot that I always have to overlook, but that does not lessen the enjoyment I get from the rest of the film.

    I am really looking forward to listening to this podcast. Thanks!

  13. I’ve always loved this movie and not just for the OMG eye candy. Can’t wait to fire up the podcast after work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Loved this movie at the theatre, the costumes – reminded me of Barbra Streisand’s clothes in On A Clear Day. Homage to 60’s movie and the movie with Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood – Sex and The Single Girl. It was a feel good movie for me and you all from the sounds of the laughter and the cookies.

  15. It is kind of interesting that at the end she doesn’t go back to being Nancy Brown, but stays Barbara Novak(Block). HMMMM.

    Yeah, I think I do have a new appreciation for this after watching Pillow Talk, as well. You guys sound like you’re wasted (on movies!?) during this podcast, but it’s funny ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Loved this movie–its such a valentine to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson, and other;s films of the 60’s. Great sets/costumes, kudos to the Art Director! The music /soundtrack is fab. Loved the song/duet by Zelwegger &MacGregor at the end. This CD is in my ipod & B4 ipod, was always in the car for vacation music selection when it is my turn to drive! Despite some weak parts, its a fun flick–strictly chicksville, though! You’ve gotta love Doris Day movies to appreciate this one. When this movie was released in theaters, i was in charge of organizing the Girls NIght @ The Movies–a success then!

  17. Similar experience here. The film was much more charming the second time around. Perhaps I expected too much the first time, due to my love of 60s romcoms?

  18. I think expectation played a huge role in my first disappointment, but I’m still not sure why. I’m pretty sure the previews showed it was a farce.

  19. I loved this movie the first time I saw it, and still loved it the next time, too. I’m glad you gave it a second chance!

  20. Finally got a chance to listen to the podcast – you weren’t joking about he punch-drunk, were ya? ๐Ÿ˜›

    I love this flick. One of the main reasons was because it’s so visually addicting but also because it is so beautifully choreographed, like an excellent live musical or ballet – I remember every movement/expression/tone being a deliberate choice, as in a dance. That’s not something you see a lot of in film because it tends to break the 4th wall, and it’s a construct I adore.

    When you talked about it being a farce, a light popped in my head – of course that’s what it was! I wasn’t crazy about Bringing Up Baby as a whole movie because it felt frenetic and out of control to me and I’ve been using it to define farce since we watched it – to farce’s detriment. Now I have a better frame of reference and I’m like, wow, ok, I can wrap my head around this sub-genre a little bit better.

    I have to respectfully disagree with Sue – I’ve never seen a Doris Day movie in my life (I’m a very bad popper and I’m waaay behind on my coursework) and I very much appreciate DWL. Maybe it’s because I come from a live theater background where a broad presentation like this is found more easily.

  21. Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but watched DWL last night. And yes, it was much better!

    Before, my reference point for 60s sex comedies were I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, so I kind of got it. But . . . after seeing Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, I really got this movie a lot better. I think Pierce really underplays his part, actually. Noticing how Tony Randall does it, and then getting those lovely echoes while watching Pierce finesse his way through this was really a wonderful experience.

    Did anyone else squee when they saw Tony Randall’s cameo??

    The thing that really threw me out of the movie was the sex montage. They really were reaching for it, and while it was funny, it wasn’t true to the 60s sex comedy (oral sex? no, they’d NEVER do that, would they?), and it wasn’t true to the characters, and it just wasn’t right. Technically brilliant, but stupid in context. Gratuitious.

    Funny thing is, I didn’t even remember the twist at the end! I was surprised when I watched it the second time, and then started to remember (-:. The things I remembered from the first viewing was that pink suit with the really bad collar, the fun clothes, and the book. So much of it was a surprise, and practically a brand new movie.

    (-: Glad I got to see it again with new eyes and a little more thought about the 60s sex comedy. I haven’t seen American Dreamer either.

  22. Oh, and you know what they did really, really right? Took the damn 90 seconds or so of screen time to show Catcher falling in love. The first one I remember is looking at those photo booth shots with that goofy look on his face . . . seriously, it doesn’t take much, does it?

  23. Micki, you’re right, it doesn’t take much to show that shift, although it does take good writing and great acting. MacGregor was good at the subtle stuff that at the end when he moaned, “All I want is marriage,” it was funny but you believed him. It was such a great update of the original character, true to the spirit but a huge improvement.

  24. LOVELY podcast! Very joyful and happy-making itself.

    Now, I want to know WHY so many people hated it on first view, and so many people did a 180 on the second view (because I was one). Is it the context? Is it the simple fact of viewing it again and having at least a subconscious knowlege of where it was going? If anyone watches it for the first time after watching Pillow Talk (or conversely, skipped Pillow Talk and watched DWL a second time), I hope you’ll share.

    (Did a quick add up: PT virgins for first viewing of DWL are Jennifer, Romney and me . . . L. too? Saw DWL after PT: for sure, Regina, Freddie and Sue? Jennie? Andrea, did you get to see it?)

    And the other mystery: what’s it going to be like upon third viewing? After analyzing it, I WILL remember it.

    Finally a comment on the Exposition Fairy monologue (love that term): I think that’s one of the most powerful parts of the movie. Yes, it’s dangerous to fool the readers in the hands of amateurs, but whoever wrote this took the rule, and broke it good and hard. At least the second time, I LOVED discovering the Barbara had these new depths, and we needed to know this in order for the movie to end with a balance between love and career.

    It would have been a totally different experience and movie if we were playing along with Barbara; in the right hands, a really super experience, probably. But, that wasn’t the story this writer was telling. In fact, the whole movie may have come from the germ of an idea: wouldn’t it be funny if (spoiler spoiler spoiler)? So I can forgive them for the Exposition Fairy Monologue from Deepest Darkest Underhill.

    Who knows? Maybe if I watch this one more time, I might even forgive the sex montage.

    Lovely, lovely podcast! Look forward to hearing the Apartment podcast later this week.

  25. What’s not to love? Renee and Ewan and a hugely tongue-in-cheek (albeit straight faced) pastiche of 1960s bubbly pink romantic movies.

    I loved this movie first and second time. Gotta go watch it again. And pillow talk too.

    But… Don’t fool the audience? What price The Sting?

  26. The Sting is a caper movie, and as I remember, if you watch closely, the clues are all there. (But I’m not sure so don’t take that to the bank.) Also, the protagonist is exactly who you think he is, and most of the surprises happen to him, too, as I remember. But it’s been so long since I’ve watched it, that I really shouldn’t comment on that until I’ve seen it again. I could be totally wrong there.

    I think if the protag had turned out to be somebody he wasn’t 3/4 of the way through, the audience would have been annoyed.

  27. Okay, finally watched this and the only thing I liked about it was David Hyde Pierce. He cracked me up. Everything else – not so much.

  28. When I first saw this, I’d already seen all the Hudson/Day movies, so I loved the inside jokes. And David Hyde Pierce. Laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe every time he opened his mouth. But I hated the relationship between Catch and Barbara. Yet I still felt compelled to watch it twice more after that and I liked it better each time, but could never pinpoint exactly why. Thank you SO much for making me realize what it was.