01 February 2013

Top 10 Romantic Movies (AKA The Anti-Superbowl)



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!

The Notebook
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.

Top Gun****
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**
Muslims go to Mecca. Catholics go to Lourdes. Trekkies go to Star Trek conventions. Overly-dramatic chubby kids with attention-issues go to The Princess Bride. Here is a newsflash: I am one of those kids.  The Princess Bride is not a movie, it's a religion. It's a thing. This is my thing. This is my movie. I have been drinking Priness Bride Kool Aid since 1987 and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Okay, now that I have confessed my bias affiliation to this film, I can get on with an objective synopsis of the movie, which is, in a nutshell: if you don't like The Princess Bride there is something wrong with you. Lets talk about this for a second. Fantasy. Sword Fighting. Pirates. Mandy Patinkin’s mustache. What is there to not like? The Princess Bride is a cinematic adventure, an American treasure, as well as a drinking game enjoyed on college campuses the world over. Gah. Why am I still talking? I should be watching this movie.

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.

Sliding Doors**

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.



33 comments:

  1. I'm with you abt football. I live in one of the cities that played in the Superbowl and I didn't watch it. I posted on FB that I guess we won, judging from the screaming on my block. People thought it was a joke but really that is how I found out.

    Anyway....I wish I'd been watching most of these movies instead (except for the Great Gatsby, which along with The Sting and The Way We Were are Redford movies I never got...call it a character flaw).

    I'd add "Say Anything" with John Cusack. And Peter's Friends with Emma Thompson.

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  2. I'm with you abt football. I live in one of the cities that played in the Superbowl and I didn't watch it. I posted on FB that I guess we won, judging from the screaming on my block. People thought it was a joke but really that is how I found out.

    Anyway....I wish I'd been watching most of these movies instead (except for the Great Gatsby, which along with The Sting and The Way We Were are Redford movies I never got...call it a character flaw).

    I'd add "Say Anything" with John Cusack. And Peter's Friends with Emma Thompson.

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  3. I'm going to have to vote for "Amelie". It's a French film about a wonderfully quirky girl and her mission to make people's lives happier. The main characters are weirdly romantic and shy, and it never fails to bring tears of joy at the end. NB: it won the Best Foreign Film Oscar the year it came out.

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  4. No, I have never seen Hoffman -- but it looks like something up my alley. Officially added to my Netflix que!

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  5. I love the Princess Bride more than I love waffles. And that is a lot of love. A friend and I spend 90% of all our conversations yelling Asssssss Yooooouuuuuu Wiiiiiiiiissssshhhh at each other and pretending to roll down hills.

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  6. Imma need in on that friendship. I am excellent at pretending to roll down a hill.

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  7. Fantastic! I laughed so hard at the idea of happiness sitting on your face...where's the movie with that in it? Oh, wait, prolly that comes in a different list. I am so entertained by the inclusion of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir! Always loved that one.


    I will add a weird one, I wonder if you have seen it? Hoffman with Peter Sellers. A horribly twisted romance that might also belong on a different list...but it's my favorite.

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  8. I second that. Weird, weird, amazing movie.

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  9. Yes! "The Way We Were"; I'm old, too. It needed a sequel, but I guess Babs and Bob figured they said it all. I watch once a year. It's a ritual. Also, "Same Time, Next Year"... pass the Kleenex, please. And "Bridges...", as PA mentioned... the book AND the movie! And so many more... Happy Hearts Month.

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  10. You know, part of The Way We were was filmed in Balston Spa and Saratoga Springs -- right where I was at Xmas. I heart anything with a Barbra connection.

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  11. Love Actually and Stardust!

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  12. I have to put a plug for "Dirty Dancing". I've watched this movie over and over and over and still love it each time. I also have a thing for "The Princess Bride" and, here I reveal my age, "The African Queen.

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  13. Duh,.....Notting Hill. Love Actually. The Way We Were, for gods sake. Jeeez, I'm old. An Affair to Remember. great topic, just discussed icky Gatsby with my Mom for 20 minutes.

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  14. I Agree, Dirty Dancing is one of those movies that comes on TV pretty often and I STILL sit down to watch it again and again, and cry when they start in with I've Had the Time of My Life....

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  15. I can't believe I'm admitting this in a public forum, but Crossing Delancy is one of my most favoritest movies of all time. And now, just writing that down, has made me have to watch it again. Also, Four Weddings and a Funeral, if only for when Matthew starts reciting "Funeral Blues/Stop All the Clocks."

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  16. Hooray, someone else who HATESSSS the Great Gatsby! In that case, I leave you with these wonderfully snarky comix. http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=259

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  17. We can have a club! Thanks for the snarks.

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  18. Jillian (Birds and Baking)February 9, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    You've Got Mail

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  19. So I Married An Axe Murderer. It's just so much fun and goofy. I also love Notting Hill and Love Actually. And, this doesn't end up on most people's lists but Torch Song Trilogy is beautiful and tragic and funny. Plus, Matthew Broderick at his sexiest.

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  20. Thanks for the love!! btw, we also have a Top Gun drinking game (http://chug.to/Top+Gun) AND a Dirty Dancing drinking game (http://chug.to/Dirty+Dancing)... that is if you're still alive after the Princess Bride game

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  21. That makes me cry every time I see it.

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  22. Ha! Actually...of all sports, I probably like hockey the best. It's action packed and simple to understand. Then again, if I lived in the thick of it like you, I would probably dislike it just as much as you do. Overexposure, huh?

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  23. OMG There is a Princess Bride drinking game?!? Now I have a Valentine's Day plan the hubby will love! Thank you Aunt Peaches!!!

    p.s. I'm Canadian, hockey to me is NFL to you, except up here it is front page news and "the national obsession" for 9 months of the year, every day of the week. :'(

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  24. I absolutely ADORE the Great Gatsby, it's one of my favorite books of all time... but here's the thing: I don't think that it is in no way, shape, or form a love story. I kinda doubt that Fitzy ever intended it to be... it's a, as you said, beautifully written account of how completely f-ed up people are.

    as far as favorite romantic movie, Love Actually all the way, man

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  25. I'll give you Love Actually for sure! I'm sort of shocked that half this list didn't come from that production team...Love Actually...Four Weddings and a Funeral...Notting Hill....Bridget Jones.... All excellent. Is it weird that I wrote the list and I'M surprised by the content? Ha!

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  26. Bridges of Madison County

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  27. I have seen The American President (with bf) at least 4 times...It def needs to be in this top 10!

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  28. My husband I love When Harry Met Sally. We watched the movie together when just friends, and now that we are married, it is one of our favorites!

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  29. So true about Sliding Doors! It is one of my absolute favorite movies even though Gwenyth annoys the heck out of me!

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  30. My favorite movie ever is Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine- he plays an Italian butcher in the 1950s Bronx who thinks no girl would ever like him, but then he meets a girl at the Stardust Ballroom who thinks no guy would ever like her. It's the best.

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  31. It's ridiculous, but True Romance is one of my favorites. Although that is at least in part due to my undying love of anything Gary Oldman-related.

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  32. OK, OK, I just found you, so I am late as Easter to the Christmas party, but if you haven't seen it, netflix "Agatha". It is a very strange mystery/romance movie based on a true mystery. Agatha Christie, the murder mystery author, discovered her husband was having an affair, and disappeared for some days. Her husband was even suspected of murdering her! She turned up, and never offered an explanation of where she was, what she was doing, the secret died with her. This movie offers a scenario of what happened. It stars Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman, he is an American reporter trying to track her down (this was gigantic news when it happened). The interesting thing is that it is romantic without being sexual, and the height difference between Redgrave and Hoffman is not disguised at all.....very strange.

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-AP

 
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