It’s the first day of February, which means that I get to spend this weekend in an endemic plague of non-stop football commentary waiting for the Superbowl to descend upon me like some screaming, unholy, Pepsi-sponsored death rattle.
In other words: Can we get this over with?
The fact is, not everyone likes football. I’m glad other people like football. Good for them! But I’m a little tired of the last few months of people trying to get my opinion on who did what in the in zone with forty yard pass with tackle drop back outfield kicker guy by the line of cribbage. Scribbage. Scramble. Quarterback. Backfield. Infield. OJ Simpson. Superbowl shuffle. I win!
…and that, that right there is what football means to me.
If you, like me, are stuck indoors this weekend and looking to do something, nay ANYTHING, that is non-football related, may I suggest a movie marathon? Without further adieu…
Disclaimer: I call this my top ten, but actually, it’s a lot more than just me. I tried to be objective. I reached out to readers on facebook and came back with a list of one hundred names, then filtered that list by a couple of film buff friends, then passed it to a couple of guys to make sure there were some man-friendly options.
Code: ** = Dude Approved | ** = Instant streaming on Netflix (Note: even without a Netflix account, you can watch the trailer for any of these movies by clicking on the title link).
Silver Linings Playbook**
This movie is at the top of the list because it’s the only one still in theaters. It’s picking up all sorts of awards and nominations, including an Oscar for Best Picture. It’s the story of two deeply flawed, highly unstable individuals who form a friendship based on feeding their respective mental illnesses. Awesome. Weirdly enough, it’s very cute. There is tap dancing involved. And gambling. And even though a significant portion of the movie is devoted to talking about football, I still liked it. Whoa! And, what’s even more guy friendly: Robert DeNiro is in it. And he is great. I liked him better in this movie than any other. Don’t nobody email me crap about how great he was in Goodfellas — I get it. This movie was better. Go see it!
Five words: Ryan Gosling in the rain. That scrumptious sentence alone should make you want to see it, but actually, it’s kinda sorta deep. Sweet. And sad. First time I saw this movie, I was so haunted by how much these people loved each other, it kept me up half the night thinking about it. And for that, I would not recommend this movie to single people. At least not single people with pie and wine in the house. It’s also not good for people feeling stuck in a bad relationship. However, for everyone in a deeply committed and loving relationship: go for it! Ryan Gosling is tasty as ever, and Rachel McAdams does an almost convincing southern accent despite the fact that she is Canadian. It’s beautifully made and even features a fixer-upper house. It’s like HGTV meets the Bridges of Madison County (another good romance movie one should not watch with pie in the house).
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir**
This movie is your typical 1940’s rom-com about a beautiful widow and the cantankerous phantom of a dead sea captain who simultaneously offends and woos the object of his affection, all while managing to publish a best selling memoir “Blood and Swash.” You know, the usual. It’s hard to imagine abuncha Hollywood suit types sitting around a table in 1946 and agreeing this movie was ever a good idea, but oddly enough, it’s pretty swell. It’s touching without being overly sentimental, and you find yourself rooting for the ghost to get some lady action. It’s weird, but it works.
People don’t think of Top Gun as a movie about romance just like people don’t think of Dirty Dancing as a movie about abortion. Surprise! They snuck that one in. With Top Gun, it’s easy to get distracted by the movie’s military machismo, but really, it’s a love story with an undercurrent of pseudo-feminist theology. Wait, women’s lib in a military movie? Double surprise! Plus, lets remember that this was made in 1986 and Tom Cruise was sexy as hell, fresh faced, all jacked up in his Navy uniform and swaggering around like he was hung like Uncle Merl’s bull. Who cares if we now know he is crazy as shit? Who cares Kelly McGillis is now a lesbian? They make a rockin’ 80’s couple. The hair gel alone makes this movie worth the price of the rental.
When Harry Met Sally**
When I asked the folks on Facebook to recommend their favorite romance movies, this one came up more than any other. Everyone likes it. Your husband. Your mother. Your dentist. Everyone. I like it because it’s the quintessential anti-romance. The central characters spend 80% of the movie pointing out what’s wrong with each other and exchanging bon mots on the failures of romance and love in general. It’s cut into chapters with cute little documentary vignettes of real couples telling how they fell in love. By the end of the movie, you think your are just about to die (Death by Cuteness!) Despite that, the moral of the story is surprisingly sound and Dr. Phil-esque: Keep your expectations low and happiness will find you. Granted, you might not actually recognize happiness for a few years, and it might have to sit on your face before you realize it, and it might look like what you fear most, but it is there for the taking all the time. Also, this movie is rad because it co-stars Carrie “Princess Leia” Fisher, and Rob “Meat Head” Reiner, who also directed. Speaking of Rob Reiner movies with Billy Crystal…
The Princess Bride**
Bringing Up Baby
Cary Grant made a movie with Katharine Hepburn blah blah blah. There is a monkey in it blah blah blah. It’s real good but I’m tired of talking about this. Let’s go watch The Princess Bride.
The Great Gatsby**
Ughhhhhh. I included this one because one of my film buff friends says it is “a cinematic must-see” and because Robert Redford is easy on the eyes, and because Bazz Lurman is about to release a remake and it would be fun for y’all to compare and contrast, HOWEVER, let’s be clear on one thing: I hate this movie. Actually, I don’t hate the movie, I hate the book. The movie was beautifully made. The book was beautifully written, but the story? People say it’s a love story. People, WTF? Let me get this right; a dude stalks his teenage crush for years, builds a commercial empire for the sole purpose of impressing her, then uses his newly acquired riches to entice her into an extramarital affair and gets his ass shot. The End. That’s not a love story –that’s a Lifetime movie. And a bad one at that. And don’t even get me started on Daisy. Daisy, Daisy, Daisy. Not even Mia “Rosemary’s Baby” Farrow could fix her. Never has a fictional heroine been written so feeble minded and irritating. Does she ever have an opinion? And where is her kid in all this sun bleached grandeur? Why is this story so popular? If you can’t get your Gatsby glamor fix by looking at a Ralph Lauren catalog, rent this, I guess, if you have to. Thud.
This movie was not a box office hit, yet everyone I know who has every seen it says it’s one of their favorites. Go figure? It’s hard to believe that the perpetually elegant Gwenyth Paltrow made a movie that the rest of us can watch without feeling like fat and dirty slobs, but what do you know? This is it. This is…what is the word…good?Real good. This is the story of one woman cut into two totally opposite realities living side by side. Does that make sense? No. Okay, so, was there ever a pivotal moment in your life that caused you to wonder how different your world would be if that moment had gone down differently? Yeah. Well, Sliding Doors is that. It’s wonderful, thought provoking, and there is a twist at the end you won’t see coming. This is great movie to watch with your honey or just when you need a pleasant pick-me-up. Still on the fence? There are cute dudes with British accents. I knew you would like that.
Well that is it. Did you notice, I only outlined nine movies above? I’m saving room for number ten. Tell me, what’s your favorite romantic movie? Write it in the comments!
PS: Not so big on the romance? Check out the fabulous Michelle L’s 13 Scary Movies.