Saturday, July 25, 2009

Romance Schromance


While romance might not be in the top one hundred and ten list of what I'm best at in this life, I have always been a sucker for romantic comedies. One of my favorite magazines out there, Paste, has it's list of the 17 Best Romantic Comedies This Decade.

I'm not sure of this list. No, wait. I am sure. I don't like it so much. Well, I like close to half of it.

Can we do better? How about it? What's your list of top romantic comedies this decade? And for that matter, let's go all the way. It is romance after all. Errr... umm... what I mean to say is...

What are your favorite romantic comedies of all time?


DugALug said...

Firstly, I don't think I agree with 80 percent of that list.

Here is a list of some of my favs' that you can disagree with too!

> She's Having A Baby => I still love this movie. It is the one movie that makes me laugh so hard my sides hurt.

> The Wedding Singer => My favorite Adam Sandler Movie. I especially love his 'unbalanced' love song.

> She's The One => Ed Burns is brilliant.

> Intolerable Cruelty => An awesomke Coen movie that flew under the radar.

> Princess Bride => Anyone want a peanut?

> The Taming Of The Shrew => IMHO William's best (don't know if it was ever made into a movie)

> Home Fries => Do I actually have 2 movies on this list with Drew? Amazing... Wilson and Busey as brothers makes this one great!

> 10 Things I Hate About You => Corny but fun. The dad makes this one pretty entertaining to me.

> Say Anything => Just a great movie. "Kickboxing: it is the sport of the future!"

> Sixteen Candles => I loved this movie... even with Molly Ringwald in it.

> Grosse Point Blank => Can you see a theme here... I like John Cusack (And Minnie Driver)

> Return To Me => All I got to say: Bellushi, Hunt, Driver, O'Conner, Green => so much good.

I can't think of any more off of the top of my head... I think that this is a good start.


DugALug said...

Oops... I forgot

French Kiss and SoapDish... Kevin Klien is another of my favorites.


Milly said...

The Taming of the Shrew was a Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton movie and a very good one. I recommend watching it.

Milly said...

Forget Paris
French Kiss

Doris Day Danny Kaye, and Katharine Hepburn movies
Too many to list.

Rich said...

Here's some I really like in no particular order:

Some Kind of Wonderful
Gross Anatomy
Big Fish
When Harry Met Sally
Notting Hill
Stranger Than Fiction
The Last Kiss
Ever After
Say Anything
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Princess Bride
Just Like Heaven
Jerry Maguire
Can't Buy Me Love
The Girl Next Door
The Prince and Me
There's Something About Mary
13 Going on 30
Sweet Home Alabama
She's All That
Doc Hollywood
Music and Lyrics
10 Things I Hate About You

Like I said, a sucker...

Anonymous said...

Of course The Princess Bride
50 First Dates -- this one actually surprised me
The Cutting Edge "Toe pick!" (watched this one again just the other day)
While You Were Sleeping
You've Got Mail (way better than Sleepless in Seattle, imo)

those're my picks


p.s. Don't know that I'd consider Return to Me as a comedy. I cry everytime David D. does when he sits at the door with his dog.

DugALug said...

Wow you guys/gals have named quite a few I forgot.

I also loved Ever After, 13 going on 30, 50 first dates, Sweet Home Alabama, While You Were Sleeping, and You've Got Mail.

I love lists like this. It shakes some of the brain-cob-webs out.

God Bless

Rich said...

Some I failed to mention:

Four Weddings and a Funeral

and Doug was right when he listed

She's Having a Baby

a classic.

Anonymous said...

Okay. I know I'm late to the party here. But I want to register a protest to Paste. Most of the movies they list aren't comedies and some of them aren't really romances. About A Boy, for example, has some comedic elements but the romantic subplot is almost irrelevant. It's a good movie from a very enjoyable novel. But it's not a romantic comedy unless we stretch the definition of romantic comedy to the point of meaninglessness. If "romantic comedy" means "any movie that isn't an obvious drama or action movie or suspense film or straight up farce or kids' movie or horror film," then Paste's list (and I don't want to point any fingers, but some of the lists posted here in the Realm) is worth at least considering.

Eternal Sunshine is one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years. But it's neither conventional romance nor comedy. And it's #1?! Good grief!

And, repeat after me, people. Say Anything is not a romantic comedy! It's subtle and brilliant and far smarter and better-executed than most movies that win best picture Oscars. It also registers very differently with me now than when I watched it as a college kid. (I could go on for days about this movie, but I won't.)

Nice call on Grosse Point Blanke, though, Doug. It's an actual romantic comedy (though an unconventional one) and it has the coolest character Cusack has ever played (not the best, but the coolest) and, of course, a killer soundtrack.

Rich said...

With Say Anything, I'm not sure what other genre you could put it into except romantic comedy. If one is hard-lined that movies have to work as comedies first to be a romantic comedy, sure most of these features fail. It's arguable, I guess.

But having scenes like at the Gas-N-Sip with Joe and the other three goons who break into the "Lloyd, Lloyd, he's trying to avoid..." rap and all the other advice they give him, that's almost straight comedy, imo. And his line after that, "That was a mistake." Hilarous. Smart. Clever. But also funny in the comedic sense.

The whole running his mouth at the table to Mr. Court and his accountant and wife just after the girls talk about Lloyd having that "nervous talking thing", that's comedy.

When Lloyd's standing outside of Diane's house holding the ghetto blaster over his head playing In Your Eyes, you go through a range of emotions, but you almost can't help but laugh there, because as much as it's heartbreaking, it's funny.

And when Diane comes to see him in the gym, and he gets drilled by the roundhouse kick - you laugh.

I think a lot of Cameron Crowe movies are thoughtful, heart-rending, romantic, with a touch of drama mixed in, but the ones I'm thinking of (Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Elizabethtown), they also make you laugh.

Isn't that what good romantic comedies do?

Diabolical Genius said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am grudgingly persuaded by the younger Pearce boy's argument about the definition of "romantic comedy" and specifically the movie Say Anything.

Though given Rich's hodge-podge of movies flung awkwardly under the label “Romantic Comedy”, I don't know why he picked on Doug's otherwise stellar list. Big Fish? Is it the main character's romance with his father that you found so comedic, Richard? Love the movie. Not a romantic comedy.

Say Anything would have been on my original list but after further thought (sadly, much further than I'd care to admit) I've omitted it. {Sigh}The list is long enough anyway.

On to my list. In addition to Brich's criteria, I've self-imposed the additional qualification that the movie have a lighter tone. I also think it's helpful if the unrequited love that dominates the plot is unrequited for a humorous reason, but I don't insist upon it.

No particular order and including titles from above that I felt strongly about. There are also a few oldies I like.

Better Off Dead
The Princess Bride
10 Things I Hate About You (supposed to be Shrew-like. Ledger classic)
Kate & Leopold (with added Sci-Fi bonus)
A Knight’s Tale (another Ledger classic with added Paul Bettany bonus)
Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh superb cast)
Emma (any version)
Sense and Sensibility (ditto. Would have included Pride & Pred., but not light enough)
The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills, Brian Keith, Maureen O;Hara version)
Sabrina (both)
Roxanne (Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac)
Something About Mary
Sweet Home Alabama (ah, Reese)
The Egg and I (though Ma and Pa Kettle steal the show)
She’s All That (and I don’t even like Freddie Prinze, Jr.)
Along Came Polly
Clueless (which is basically Emma with Alicia Silverstone)
Mrs. Winterbourne (Brendan Fraser)
Blast From the Past (Fraser, Silverstone, and a dash of Walken)
Meet John Doe (Gary Cooper)
Fools Rush In
Little Shop Around the Corner (Original You’ve Got Mail)
My Favorite Wife (Cary Grant)
Father Goose (older Cary Grant)
Overboard (Goldie Hawn with lover Kurt)
Housesitter (Goldie again loving on the Jerk)
When Harry Met Sally
Runaway Bride (not a Gere fan, but…)
My Best Friend’s Wedding (… I do like Julia)
Just Friends (Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart)
The Philadelphia Story (Cary Grant again this time with Katherine Hepburn)

Interestingly, (at least to me) I also found that while I love romantic comedies too, these are not typically the movies that I purchase and add to my DVD collection.

And for Doug since this feels like a High Fidelity list, here are my Top 10 Cusack movies:

Say Anything
Better Off Dead
High Fidelity
Fat Man and Little Boy
16 Candles
The Sure Thing
Grosse Pointe Blank
Eight Men Out
The Grifters

Rich said...

You liked The Grifters more than Con Air? Huh?

Also, buzzard, why didn't you just write a new post called "Romantic Comedies According to Ken (and Rich's Brother When Necessary)"?

For the life of me, I can't understand that you'll call A Knight's Tale -- a great movie, no doubt -- a romantic comedy, but then stick Say Anything into a different pocket of yours. Both of them have romances, Say Anything more than A Knight's Tale. Other than that, they're plotted stories that are humorous, but neither would be a comedy outright. However, there's enough humor that they can both be called romantic comedies, because there's not really any other classification for those sort of movies.

Also, where did I pick on Doug's list? I thought it was a good one.

Regarding Big Fish, Edward Bloom's whole pursuit of Sandra Templeton was comedic, and it easily captured enough of the story to qualify it. Certainly as much as A Knight's Tale as a romance, and far more comedic than any of the Jane Austen's you mentioned.

Lastly, if you need to borrow a couple romantic comedies, I'll lend them to you. I got a few.

Diabolical Genius said...

I grudgingly agreed with Brich. Hence the sigh. And it was his nitpicking Doug's list, not yours, that I was referencing.

Jousting to We Will Rock You? Yeah, you're right, it's not a comedy. I outta fong you.

Strike the Jane Austen's? Badly done, Richard. Very badly done.

Rich said...

Nice Emma reference. Kudos.

Again, though, you've got me wrong. I wasn't striking any of them. Everything that's been listed by commenters here (not necessarily Paste's list), I can see falling into the romantic comedy genre.

DugALug said...

I guess I am having a problem with 'defining' a romantic comedy.

While I agree that the comedy of Say Anything is not exactly with the relationship. But that movie is quite brilliant. And the movie REQUIRES the romance for it to work. So are you saying that this would be a comedy with a little romance thrown in on the side?!!!

Are you saying that a romantic comedy requires the banter to be between the hero and heroine?

I'm confused.

I would certainly add all the Jane Austin movies to my list and Shakespeare in Love.

I'm quite comfortable with that and much kudos for so many awesome movies that I missed on my list. I love most of the ones everyone has named.

God Bless

Rich said...

>I guess I am having a problem with 'defining' a romantic comedy.

Don't worry, Doug. It's not you. It's the romantic comedy rule legalism set in place by Ken and Brett.

With Say Anything, I think they're agreeing with the romance, but not that it's a comedy. However, I could be wrong, and as much as I'd like to speak for them - which would settle the entire matter - if I did, we'd hear it from the two. You can be sure of that.


Anonymous said...

A couple of points re: Say Anything...

First, I disagree with Doug (to a degree) that the romance is required for the movie to work. Of course, if you take the romance out, it's a completely different movie. But I think a great movie could have been made that centered on the relationship between Diane and Jim Court. He was a really bad guy but he manipulated her - a very smart girl - into believing he was a great guy. He isolated her from her peers, became her "best friend" despite the inappropriateness of such arrangements, and dominated and directed her life so that she lacked a real identity beyond what he wanted for her. He did all of this in addition to robbing dying old people and evading taxes. He's one of the most sinister characters you'll ever see in cinema. (Consider - He convinced Diane to choose him over her mother during their divorce, despite the fact he knew he was a criminal. Consider his icky jealous reaction to Diane's blossoming romance with Lloyd.) Jim Court was a bad dude with an adoring daughter that he used to feed his own ego. There's a powerful movie in there. But it's a different movie than the one that features Lloyd Dobler as protagonist.

Second, Say Anything... isn't a comedy. It has some comedic elements. But it's not a comedy, anymore than Dead Poet's Society (which is a total piece of unserious, fascist dreck) or Good Will Hunting (because I'm picking on Robin Williams) were comedies just because they had a few laugh lines thrown in. Say Anything is a serious, thoughtful drama. It's morally serious. It's serious in tone. It's one of those movies - like Groundhog Day (and how could no one mention THIS as a great romantic comedy) - that is deeper and greater than the filmmakers likely even intended. Say Anything is one of the great movies of the last 20 years.

So is Groundhog Day. It's certainly the best romantic comedy of the last 20 years. Nothing else comes close. But it's also an incredible movie on a philosophical level.

(BTW - I think Andie McDowell is a horrible actress, and yet she has appeared in two really terrific movies - Groundhog Day and Four Weddings and A Funeral - that are excellent romantic comedies and terrific movies in general. How does something like this happen?)

Anonymous said...

Seriously, people. All of these lists and NO ONE mentions Groundhog Day?!?

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Every last one of you!


Diabolical Genius said...

I considered Groundhog Day, which I love. But rejected it on the basis that because Bill Murray is not a romantic lead on any planet and certainly not with a Southern belle Revlon model that it must in fact be pure farce and therefore strictly a comedy.