Don't You Forget About: Notting Hill

Sure, it's fun to catch the latest flick at the multiplex, or grab the newest release at a video store, but sometimes you just gotta say, "Out with the new, and in with the unknown." There are plenty of older flicks out there that are worth a rental, but never registered on your radar. In Don't You Forget About, we remember the long-gone gems, so you don't have to.

Photo: Polygram Filmed Entertainment

WHAT it's about: A demure travel book shop owner, William Thacker (God, even his name is dull) gets swept up in a tempestuously hot-and-stone-cold affair when movie star Anna Scott rolls into Notting Hill. Anna's "foul temper" (think Ava Gardner's bravado minus the sailor tongue) keeps the meek Briton at bay, but the poor bloke is nonetheless hooked, showering Anna and her outbursts with equal patience and admiration from his endless well of nice-guy understanding, as needed when crushing on the popular girl.

WHO's in it: Come for the great and beautiful Hugh Grant and well, still beautiful, Julia Roberts. Stay for the backseat hero, William's gamely Welsh roommate, Spike (Rhys Ifans) who can't keep his hands off himself. Directed by Roger Michell, whose latest rom-com, Morning Glory, couldn't recreate the same aw-shucks on-screen chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Patrick Wilson.

WHEN it came out: May 28, 1999

HOW come you haven't heard of (or just seen) it before: You tell me. Seriously. Eleven years ago, your excuse may have been the film's debut was sandwiched between the hotly anticipated releases of summer blockbusters, The Mummy and Star Wars Ep. 1: The Phantom Menace. Even still, the film grossed $363,728,226 US to date worldwide and sits at the 20th spot on the list of highest-grossing Hollywood rom-coms. And don't tell me you've never caught W Network's Saturday night Hugh Grant film spotlight. (I can't be the only steadfast Grant devoter to happily stay in for this...)

WHY you need to watch it-immediately!..
  • Sure, for most of the film, William's self-esteem suffers because a pair of male anatomical imperatives has yet to grow in. (Anna's high-priced heels trample all over him and at one point he loses her to Alec Baldwin!!!) But he shamelessly oozes Jane Austen-era old-world elegance and English class. Sigh.
  • British banter. William's gang of not-much-better-off thirtysomething supporters, each competing to be more self-deprecating than the last, are charming and poignant in their no-nonsense English way. The scene where they reward the Saddest Act in London with the last remaining brownie will leave you hankering to throw posh dinner parties to celebrate the cathartic healing of commiserating with your equally self-pitying pals.
  • There's a Grant line that gets me every single time: The paparazzi have tracked down Anna, who's been shacking up at William's flat. Caught up in one of her many bouts of rage, she tells him she'll regret the conjugal visit for the rest of her life. His gentlemanly response? "I will do the opposite, if that's all right by you- and always be glad you came."
  • A newfound, tear-jerking appreciation for Elvis Costello's "She".
  • If you haven't heard the meta-billion references of the following dialogue as rehashed in pop culture and cheesy pleas to drifted lovers thereafter, well, here's your chance to fix that:
  • Oh, and because I said so.

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