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Heartbreakers and Heartachers: Ten Great Romantic Movies… and Ten Really Bad Ones!

A good romantic comedy is so rare these days, and you’re lucky if you get even one remarkable rom-com (or rom-dram) each year. So I thought I’d highlight ten great romantic movies from the history of cinema–not the ten best, just ten great ones. And to remind us how the romantic genre has failed in recent times, I’m also including ten romantic movies that make me groan…

The Heartbreakers: Ten Great Romantic Movies:

1: It Happened One Night (1934)

This delightfully original romantic comedy swept the Oscars in 1934, winning all five major Academy Awards (Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress). It is a great and funny story of two people who hate each other but grow to fall in love whilst travelling cross country. Sound familiar? Well it’s been done many times but never like this. Fantastic.

2: Casablanca (1942)

The original, classic romantic comedy is this beautiful, enthralling tale of love between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, whose characters are steaming hot and full of secrets, through the stunning scenes of a bar in Morocco where men come to drink away their sorrows and love is strangled by an air of cigarette smoke and booze. Play it once, Sam.

3: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Billy Wilder has crafted some of the greatest films of all times, from classic comedies such as this to intriguing dramas like Sunset Blvd. and downright disturbing masterpieces like The Lost Weekend. Some Like It Hot was an instant hit for Wilder, and a classic comedy with laugh-out loud moments and beautifully captured romantic scenes. The diva Monroe is a hit here, as are her counterparts, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, grovelling for her affection. This is something special indeed.

4: The Apartment (1960)

Considerably darker than its 1959 sister comedy, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment is nevertheless a very funny, very charming romantic comedy which also touches on important social issues. The always hilarious Jack Lemmon graces through this film, as funny and witty as he’s always been and at the top of his game. Of all the films you must see on this list, this is no. 1!

5: The Graduate (1967)

This will always be regarded as a classic among romantic movies in history for its wonderful plot and remarkable performance from then-unknown Dustin Hoffman. There’s plenty to laugh at and a lot of great chemistry as this famous romantic plot unfolds. Director Mike Nichols has created a wonderful film.

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6: Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Bertolucci’s timeless erotic drama is filled with the grace of the screen’s leads, and has a special place in my heart because of the coffin scene with Marlon Brando. Romance has never been so visceral and breathtaking as it was when it was presented in 1972 in such a glorious, explicit, memorable manner.

7: Annie Hall (1977)

Whether you love it or loathe it, you’ve got to admit Woody Allen’s 1977 comedy is original and very clever. It adopts techniques and uses them in new ways for its era, as well as spawning provocative one-liners (“the size of a Buick!”) and tirelessly hilarious scenarios. Everyone should be able to find something to relate to in this classic comedy.

8: When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

“You made a woman mieow?” Rob Reiner’s classic romantic comedy stretched the boundaries and let in a flood of new emotions. It was a romantic comedy like no other, and yet if it were made today they would probably screw it up. The leads are enthralling and the film is hilarious. Well done.

9: Groundhog Day (1993)

It’s hard to forget the hilarious chemistry between leads Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in this laugh-out-loud comedy from Harold Ramis. Bill Murray plays one of his best performances as he attempts to win over MacDowell and there are plenty of laughs to be shared. A great romantic movie.

10: As Good as It Gets (1997)

Winning Oscars for both its leads, this great dramatic romance has its moments, and more, as it manages to master emotions. Jack Nicholson is excellent in his performance as an embittered writer, and the supporting performances by Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear are nothing short of remarkable.

So there you have it, ten great romance movies. But unfortunately, there are more bad romance movies than good ones, such as the following dreadful ten:

The Heartachers: Ten Horrible Romantic Movies:

1: Gigli (2003)

Probably the worst film on this list, Gigli is infamous for being a shockingly bad romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Disgusting acting, a soggy script and plain awful direction by Martin Brest (who surprisingly directed one of my favourite comedies, Midnight Run plus the excellent Pacino hit Scent of a Woman) are all components of the driving force behind this absolute shithole.

2: The Hottie and the Nottie (2008)

You should know what to expect when you see Paris Hilton stars in this, as well as its terrible reception, Razzie pickups by the dozens, and generally distasteful and amoral viewpoints on society. Are we trying to dumb down our teenagers? At this rate, we’ll have twenty-year olds crashing on a beanbag enthusiastically watching Barney by 2050, not sure how they’ll ever grow up.

3: Down to You (2000)

Suicide by shower utensils? Freddie Prinze, Jr.? Excuse my blunt language, but f*ck that! Yet another distasteful addition to romantic comedies that don’t even try to be good. Any semblance of togetherness this film might have had is washed away long before the film starts.

4: Mannequin (1987)

Certainly not as bad as some of the others on this list, my disliking of this crummy eighties love story has been emplanted into my brain because of the day I saw it: in June, last year. I had watched three movies that day already: Lawrence of Arabia, 12 Angry Men, Being There and then… this. It ruined my day and wasted my time.

5: Rumour Has It (2005)

Again, this doesn’t suck as much as others, but I just have a complete and utter dislike of Jennifer Aniston. I can’t even look at her without feeling… sick. She calls herself an actress? I can’t believe it. And attempting to revive The Graduate fever with a plotline involving that successful film is not paying tribute to it, but rather, insulting it.

6: The Bachelor (1999)

Okay, I’m especially pissed off at this one for attempting to recreate Buster Keaton’s fantastic 1925 comedy Seven Chances. It is a failed remake, tribute, parody or whatever it was trying to be.

7: Mr. Wrong (1996)

Before we ever knew Ellen’s true sexual agenda, she starred in this painfully dry comedy in which she is trying to avoid a stalker of a suitor. One of the most painful viewing experiences I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch… if watching only the first hour counts.

8: Blind Date (1987)

The only way in which this is close to Die Hard is chronologically. Other than that, it’s a flop and a complete stinker. Bruce Willis is disgustingly lame and manages to waste our time in ways that we’ve never thought possible… or have we?

9: Say It Isn’t So (2001)

Despite the sexual appeal of Heather Graham following Boogie Nights and that Austin Powers movie she was in, we uncover one of her true sides and that is that she can’t always put a movie together. As for the Farrelly brothers… for shame!

10: From Justin to Kelly (2003)

If ever Gigli had a rival on this list for worst movie, it would be From Justin to Kelly. This is a hopeless romantic comedy which made me cringe with disgust and boredom, and is unworthy of any love, compassion, respect or even pity. Awful. No, horrible. No… adjectives cannot describe the deep hatred I have for this film.

So there you have it! Ten great romantic movies and ten horrible ones. So… what’s your opinion? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Leave a comment below and tell me what you thought.

Thanks for reading.

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100 Things I Love About the Movies

Recently, John at The Droid You’re Looking For made a sequel to his hugely successful “100 Things I Love About the Movies” post, and being a fan of both posts, I’ve decided it’s about time I did my own. It was a very inspirational and thoughtful post, and if you read it yourself it might just make you want to do one of the same. For now, here’s mine:

1: Hi-hi-hi there, at last we meet.

2: The shaking fence in Evil Dead.

3: A rape depicted through the clever usage of a silent movie in Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her.

4: Qantas never crashed.

5: Whatever you want, Leo Getz.

6: The stunning ending to Lars von Trier’s Dogville.

7: Dave. Stop, Dave. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it.

8: The best movie cut of all history in Lawrence of Arabia.

9: The theme that plays when we see the man with the Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West.

10: Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me…

11: The abrupt ending of Bonnie and Clyde.

12: I’m a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star. I’m a big bright shining star. That’s right.

13: The final perfect five minutes of Irreversible…

14: …and how The King’s Speech stole the music!

15: Ellen Burstyn’s monologue in Requiem for a Dream.

16: The hand emerging from the water in Deliverance.

17: The final half-hour of Audition.

18: Jimmy Schtewart.

19: The emotion and raw energy with which Kirk Douglas delivers this line in Paths of Glory: “I apologise to you, sir, for not informing you sooner that you’re a degenerate, sadistic old man, and you can go to Hell before I apologise to you now or ever again!”

20: John C. Reilly shining his flashlight into the camera in Magnolia.

21: Blood Simple to True Grit and everything in between.

22: Hello… Hello, Dimitri? I… I can’t hear, could you turn the music down? That’s great, you’re coming through fine. I’m coming through fine, too, am I? I agree with you, it’s great to be fine. Now then, Dimitri. One of our generals… he went a little funny in the head… you know, funny. And he went and did a silly thing.

23: Tracking shots. All of them.

24: The Monty Python movies (“I fart in your general direction!”)

25: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.

26: Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar.

27: Steve Martin in The Jerk.

28: Isabella Rossellini begging Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (“Hit me!”).

29: In Heaven… everything is fine.

30: Did You Know You Can Use Old Motor Oil to Fertilise Your Lawn?

31: That lucky occasion when you come across a really, really good TV movie (Indictment: The McMartin Trial)

32: Get away from her, you BITCH!

33: I am Death. I have long walked at your side.

34: The most striking and disturbing use of colour in any film, that of Sven Nykvist’s brilliant cinematography in Ingmar Bergman’s fantastic Cries and Whispers.

35: NOT LOVELY, LOVELY LUDWIG VAAAANNNN!!!!

36: The slow-paced and slightly comic final duel in Barry Lyndon.

37: The deadly silent arrival of Martin Sheen into Colonel Kurtz new jungle home, rudely interrupted by an obviously high Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.

38: The first six or so minutes of Persona.

39: This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun.

40: The haunting piano music that plays throughout the latter half of Kubrick’s fantastic Eyes Wide Shut.

41: A surprise cameo from the greatest stand-up comedian of all time in a non-comedy role in Lost Highway.

42: Tom Cruise’s finest hour:

43: The perfect opening shot of Apocalypse Now.

44: Bernard Herrman’s shrieking violins.

45: Black and White movies in the era of Colour.

46: The nameless dystopian city in David Fincher’s Se7en.

47: Uncomfortably casual nudity in Short Cuts.

48: Marge Gunderson.

49: Nobody fucks with the Jesus.

50: Bring Out the Gimp.

51: Norma Desmond’s delusions of grandeur.

52: The drug deal scene in Boogie Nights.

53: I only got two things in this world: my balls and my word. And I don’t break em for nobody.

54: Robert Downey, Jr. in Natural Born Killers.

55: The “train going into the tunnel” at the very end of North by Northwest, a clever albeit overused sexual metaphor.

56: Ricky Gervais. Always. Always.

57: A movie set entirely within one room (i.e. Buried)

58: Rob Brydon’s cameo in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

59: Nothing’s wrong with it, Tommy. It’s tip top. I’m just not sure about the colour.

60: I am Jack’s _____ ______.

61: Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, oh, and while we’re at it…

62: 80s high school movies. All of them.

63: The epilogue of Pink Flamingos.

64: Clerks. ‘Nuff said.

65: Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!

66: Silencio.

67: Earn this. Earn it.

68: The final shot of the rat at the end of The Departed.

69: Extended Director’s Cuts.

70: I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

71: The inability of Jack Lemmon to be able to watch Grand Hotel in The Apartment.

72: Memorable last lines in Billy Wilder movies.

73: We’re a loving couple that doesn’t touch.

74: Sunday nights, where I put aside a few hours to rewatch one of my favourite movies, no matter what it is or how many times I’ve seen it.

75: The creepy hidden camera shots in Michael Haneke’s Cache.

76: Amelie’s strange games with random people in the film of the same name.

77: Go round mums, deal with Phillip, grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.

78: Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure: “In the water, I’m a very skinny lady.”

79: Sidney Lumet. Rest in Peace.

80: The final shocking moments of Planet of the Apes.

81: The meaning of Roger O. Thornhill’s middle initial.

82: Martin Scorsese’s cameo in Taxi Driver.

83: Gregory Peck’s powerful courtroom monologue in To Kill A Mockingbird…

84: …and the uniquely different but still subtly similar version presented by a suprisingly good Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill.

85: Dustin Hoffman’s moving turn as Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy…

86: …and the eerie subtle similarities between Jon Voight’s character in the same movie and Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.

87: Mr. Jingles.

88: I just wanted to hold the little baby.

89: You mean the man who inserted rubber fist in my anus was a homosexual?

90: The stunning revelation at the end of Spoorloos (The Vanishing).

91: How quickly a director can take my interest, and how stunningly tight their grip remains on me within the shortest of times, and how it can last seemingly forever, as evidenced by my recent delve into the films of Ingmar Bergman.

92: Hit Girl.

93: Bill Murray waking up to the same nauseatingly repetitive jingle every morning in Groundhog Day.

94: Reese Witherspoon humiliating a disfigured Kiefer Sutherland in Freeway.

95: The little bit of low-budget masterpiece that was Sex, Lies and Videotape.

96: Dogme 95.

97: The Criterion Collection.

98: The little things in movies that so few directors really think to care about.

99: How movies affect my everyday life, the way I do things, the little idiosyncrasies that people rarely notice, and how I think and perceive things.

100: “I’m finished.”

Movie Title Mash-Ups

I’ve been thinking about what to post next, how to keep the ideas entertaining, and I’ve got a few notes down for future posts, but for today, I’m going to stick to a subject many have attempted to tackle and often, succeeded in getting laughs. That’s right, the movie title mash-up. You know, where you combine the titles of two movies to make one super-movie and keep the laughs rolling in. If you know your cinema, its not a hard thing to do. Here’s my attempt at some movie title mash ups:

Lost Highway in Space

Star Wars of the Roses

Dead Silence of the Lambs

2001: Homer’s Odyssey

The Princess Bride Wars

Boogie Nights in Cabiria

A Clockwork Orange County

After the Sunset Blvd.

The Lost Weekend at Bernie’s

Shaun of the Dead Snow

The Man with the Naked Gun

An Andalusian Dogtooth

I Am Legend of the Falls

Inland Empire of the Sun

The Elephant Man with the Iron Mask

The Basketball Diaries of a Wimpy Kid

Mao’s Last Dancer in the Dark

Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Age of Innocence

Hannibal Holocaust

Apocalypto Now

Last Tango in Paris, Texas

The Wild One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Groundhog Day the Earth Stood Still

Let me know what you think of these in the comments, and as usual…

Thanks for reading.