Nov 28 2012
It should be glaringly obvious by my article and film choices that romantic comedies are just not my thing. The way I see it, real relationships are hard enough work, I don’t want to waste my time watching others romantic follies, when I could just be getting into them myself. But, just because I don’t like the genre, doesn’t mean even my jaded ass can’t appreciate a particularly moving or hilarious love story, because I can. I just choose not to for the most part. But, there are films that transcend their respective genres and resonate with me as great films, regardless of the varicose vein of love that may run through the thighs of some of them.
Here are six romantic comedies for people as weary and jaded as myself. And to the one reader who always feels like commenting on the very few (sweet?) articles I write like this one and tell me they lost all respect for me (because I am supposed to be dark and edgy, or some such similar bullsh*t), it’s cool. I lost respect for me a long time ago.
Yes, it’s true. Before all the walkers, Rick Grimes was romantic as f**k.
The best part of this is that I watched this movie on a dare. I told people, over and over, I hate romantic comedies. I think they are trite and contrived for the most part, and it takes a lot to charm me. Over and over, I was told I would love this film, because it is impossible not to. I reassured my friends I would hate it, and honestly, it may be my favorite romantic comedy of all time. Why? Well, the cast for one. The cast of this film is like a who’s who of amazing British talent, and each one brings a distinct element to the table. On top of that, I liked it because it is not just funny. There are real tragic elements to the story (death and infidelity, to name a few) and honestly, all of it is incredibly moving.
And much like I mention above, it features a young Rick Grimes who pulls a romantic maneuver that is KIND OF scummy, but unforgettable regardless. Also, it has this, which is pretty much the best thing ever. Really.
If there is a single thing not to love about this, I don’t know what it is.
40 Year Old Virgin
The movie is even better if you pretend it is Michael Scott from The Office, which makes perfect sense, actually.
Yes, Virginia. 40 Year Old Virgin is a romantic comedy. I know, people tend to pull off the “romantic” part and stick just comedy on it, but that is a bit of an injustice. Truth be told, as (wonderfully) vulgar as it is at times, this is still just the story of a man who is looking for love, and has no idea how to find it. And if you really pay attention to the movie, the love story that develops over the course of the film with Trish (played wonderfully by Catherine Keener) is actually incredibly innocent and sweet, especially by today’s relationship standards. But to reveal that love story, you need to endure a good hour of man-boy humor at its finest, and it only makes the journey that much more memorable.
See, I bet a few of you who enjoy my “most disturbing” lists are slightly relieved that the romantic comedies I am choosing may have some bodily fluids in them.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This one is quite bittersweet, actually.
While less outwardly humorous as some of the other films on the list, Eternal Sunshine deserves a nod for a few reasons. One, Jim Carey giving the best performance of his career, hands down. You can see the pain behind his eyes at times, and the elation at others, and he runs that spectrum beautifully in this film. And two, it asks an incredibly intense question of the viewer, and it is a question very few people can answer outright. If you loved someone dearly, and lost them, would you do it all over again, or erase that memory if you could? I am still not sure how I would answer that, even years after seeing the film and first having the question posed.
And the scenes of the memories erasing while he is still in them are some of the best “dream” sequence ever shot, pre-Inception. I almost put The Science of Sleep over this film, for they both have some very similar elements in them ( both dazzlingly directed by Michel Gondry), but Science of Sleep needs to be saved for another “dream sequence” list, down the road.
Lars And The Real Girl
I still consider it to be Eva Longoria’s least plastic role. Wait, that’s a sex doll?
So Lars And The Real Girl is about a man who falls in love with a sex doll he orders (not because he is a pervert, but more so because he is cripplingly lonely and socially awkward) and it is really a rather moving story about a whole town who tries to help keep this illusion alive for one man grasping to be understood. Lars, played by Ryan Gos…oh crap. I am talking about him again, huh?
That is Matt Dillon as every dude I knew who had a band in the nineties.
Cameron Crowe is awesome, and honestly, all his movies could be on this list. But none resonate quite as intensely with me as Singles did. Granted, kids who grew up in the eighties or the aughts will have very little appreciation for this movie, because it was a topical romantic comedy set in Seattle in the nineties, and had cameos from every amazing grunge band (NO ONE call that an oxymoron, please) and really, for those of us who were growing up then, it is as much a love letter to the decade and music, as it is to love, itself. Played more for laughs at times, but with some REALLY memorable scenes (Pearl Jam watching bees have sex for the win), an amazing cast, and a soundtrack that makes me wish my hair was still long (yes, I was one of them), Singles is a movie that, whenever it is on, I will stop what I am doing to watch.
Another great reason to see it is Bridget Fonda dressed like Blossom. Seriously, guys with long hair and girls in giant hats. How anyone got laid in the nineties is beyond me.
(TIE) High Fidelity/ Say Anything
Jack Black always does best when he just plays himself.
Yup, Cusack gets TWO on the list, because he seemed to influence the ideal of Hollywoodromance far more than he would likely think. I will start with High Fidelity.
Much like Singles, High Fidelity is as much a love letter to music as it is to love, which is why it places on this list. Love is great, but merging love stories with awesome soundtracks tends to just make the story that much more epic and memorable. Also, I need to give this movie an ever bigger nod for being the movie (book, actually, but we will say movie for the sake of the article) that got me OBSESSED with lists. Seriously, before this movie, lists were just lists to me. After this movie, lists began to represent that much more. A legacy that will survive long after most of us will. High Fidelity is funny and honest and every single other thing that makes these kinds of movies work.
Now, onto Say Anything.
When I did this with an iPod, people just pointed and laughed at me.
John Hughes is another who never missed, and I easily could have filled this list with just his movies. And though I ALMOST went with Some Kind Of Wonderful (I just got to talk about that movie two articles in a row in the same week. I officially believe in God again) for being the underdog, is there ANY image from films that represents teen love so perfectly as the the boombox under the window of the upper class girlfriend? No, no there isn’t. To NOT end the article with this film would have been inexcusable.
500 Days Of Summer: Though it has lost some of its charm on me over time (because I find Zooey a little bit grating), this is still an awesome film, and I loved how it was as bitter as it was sweet. Also, JGL. That dude is boss. And the musical scene owns life.
Wall-E: While some may choose not to call it a romantic comedy, that is exactly what it is, actually. And so damn charming, seriously. I adore this film.
Wall-E was programmed to trip balls.
Knocked Up: Not on the list because similar in tone and delivery to 40 Year Old Virgin, but a cute love story about a man and his bong. I hate Kathrine Heigl, and would have saved the bong, too.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: People can hate on this film all they want, but to me, it was about as perfect as a comic-to-movie translation can get. And the love story, though odd and offbeat, was epic and quite sweet, actually. Also, see every other Michael Cera film, namely Youth In Revolt and Juno, for other quirky, indie, romantic comedies.
Everyone thinks he is so sweet and charming because of the roles he picks, but he impregnated three of my friends. The same night. In the same room. At the same time.
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