Winner: Hugh Grant!
Did you notice my increased sensitivity by not declaring Hugh Grant the landslide winner?
Nobody who lives in a valley wants to ever hear the word "landslide."
I loved this 1995 film set in Wales co-starring the always wonderful Colm Meaney and the delightful Tara FitzGerald, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112966/
which I saw at a studio sneak preview with some friends, and then saw again two weeks later on a date with an LA for a well-known Senator, pretending I hadn't seen it before.
You know how that is!
There was a period of time in the mid-Nineties when I was living in Arlington County when I was seeing 5-6 new films a month, plus taking in a Saturday or Sunday retrospective film at the National Gallery of Art if I didn't have tickets to the Orioles game, and reading nearly a dozen film magazines a month, when I really thought Tara FitzGerald was, in fact, the bee's knees.
And this charming film was one of the principal pieces of evidence, along with Brassed Off.
Ironically, I was working at the time with someone who was from Cymru -Wales- who even had a flag decal on his car.
A clip from the beginning of the film immediately sets the mood...
In case you were wondering, the fabulous music in the film is by the ridiculously talented Stephen Endelman.
Listen to some of his past efforts at http://www.stephenendelman.org/
and you'll notice that you really have heard his music before, you just didn't know it.
Endelman's music in the film is everything a period film is supposed to sound like, instead of cheating by having the characters play music on a Victrola!
(1985's Sydney Pollack classic, Out of Africa, being the exception that proves the rule, in that it had Meryl Streep and Robert Redford playing coy by turns with a Victrola, plus some of the most genius music ever heard in a film, composed by John Barry.
I have had the John Barry Soundtracks CD for quite a long time and it never ever disappoints, especially on long multi-day drives across the country by yourself when you are NOT in the greatest of moods. It's like your own traveling theme music as you drive thru one Midwestern town after another, unable to leave your troubles behind in the rear-view mirror.
See more of Barry's genius here:
I'm a big Hugh Grant fan and have been ever since he started in the business, having seen nearly every film he's ever done, with one of my favorite being 1995's Love Actually, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000424/ with him cast as the new British Prime Minister, who gets the measure of dastardly American president Billy Bob Thornton in one of the greatest comeback put-downs ever seen in a film.