Friday, February 07, 2014

My Ten Favorite Romantic Comedies

I have all my comedies shelved together, but I decided that since Valentine's Day is only a week away, I would make an extra list from that section, one of movies that revolve around boy-meets-girl.  

You'll notice there are no Classic Hollywood movies here.  I kind of feel like rom-coms are a genre that began in the '80s.  Before, you had romantic dramas, and you had comedies that happened to involve romance, but you didn't really have funny movies that focused entirely on people falling in love.  There are of course a few exceptions -- the original Sabrina has a lot of humorous moments, and I almost put How to Steal a Million on here, except that its focus is really the art thievery, and the romance happens because of that.  Hmm.  Maybe I'm splitting hairs here.  Oh well.

And yes, While You Were Sleeping is on my list of Ten Favorite Christmas Movies too.  Overlaps happen, especially with movies I love very much.





When a lonely train fare collector (Sandra Bullock) rescues a handsome stranger (Peter Gallagher) from being hit by a train, his family thinks she's his fiancee. I love the entire cast, from Sandra Bullock to Glynis Johns, and it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.


2. Sabrina (1995)

When Sabrina (Julia Ormond) returns from Paris, suddenly dazzling instead of dowdy, her father's employer (Harrison Ford) pretends to woo her to prevent his younger brother (Greg Kinnear) from having a fling with her.  A lot sweeter than it sounds, and I much prefer it to the 1954 original because the cast has better chemistry and the whole thing works better.


3. You've Got Mail (1998)

Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) are online penpals and real-life bookstore-owning rivals, and they don't realize who each other is until they've started falling in love.  Another remake, this time of a Jimmy Stewart movie called The Shop Around the Corner (1940), and another Greg Kinnear movie where he doesn't get the girl.  Sensing a trend here!


4. French Kiss (1995)

Kate (Meg Ryan) chases her fiance (Timothy Hutton) to Paris to win him back, and enlists the help of impossible Frenchman Luc (Kevin Kline) on the way.  Another Meg Ryan movie -- yeah, I'm a fan, especially of her '90s work.  Also, this is the only rom-com I've ever seen that involves smuggling and chase scenes.


5. Someone Like You (2001)

Jane (Ashley Judd) gets dumped and develops a theory that she thinks explains why men leave women, but her co-worker Eddie (Hugh Jackman) thinks she's both adorable and wrong.  The trend is official!  Greg Kinnear loses the girl again.  This time he's a a bit of a jerk, though, so I don't care.  


6. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Widowed Sam (Tom Hanks) and complete stranger Annie (Meg Ryan) are clearly M.F.E.O (made for each other) even though they don't meet until the end of the movie.  Far-fetched, implausible, and delicious.


7. Mrs. Winterbourne (1996)

Single, homeless, and pregnant, Connie (Ricki Lake) is mistaken for a dead man's wife and taken in by his wealthy mother (Shirley MacLaine), though his brother (Brendan Fraser) remains skeptical of her.  Also far-fetched and implausible, but very sweet anyway.  Especially the tango scene!


8. Runaway Bride (1999)

Maggie (Julia Roberts) has been to the altar three times, but never married, and newspaper columnist Ike (Richard Gere) stakes his career on her running away from her fourth fiance too.  I like this way better than the first Roberts/Gere movie, Pretty Woman (1990).


9. Moonstruck (1987)

Loretta (Cher) falls for her fiance's weird brother Ronny (Nicholas Cage), which throws her Italian family into turmoil.  More turmoil than usual, anyway.  This has all the big-ethnic-family charm that My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) needed more of.


10. A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

Robert (Ewan MacGregor) kind of accidentally kidnaps his employer's daughter (Cameron Diaz), and two wacky angels have to get them to fall in love or lose their jobs.  Yes, it's a very odd, very quirky movie.  But worth seeing for Ewan's rendition of "Beyond the Sea" alone.  Rated R for violence an profanity, though, just FYI.


Also, the soundtracks for While You Were Sleeping, Sabrina, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and Runaway Bride are some of my favorite soundtracks of all time.  In fact, Sabrina was one of the first soundtracks I ever bought.

26 comments:

  1. Sabrina! Love that movie. Although it's not the kind of movie that comes immediately to mind when I think of "romantic comedies" even though it is romantic and funny, it's also just a very good movie in general!

    French Kiss... I saw that a while ago, before I really appreciated movies, or knew who Kevin Kline and Timothy Hutton was, so now I really should see it again!

    Poor Greg Kinnear.... but at least Bill Pullman comes out even. ;)

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    1. Yeah, you could make the case that Sabrina is a drama with some funny parts. But my family laughs a LOT over it, so I think of it as a comedy.

      Greg Kinnear is just too good at hang-dog looks for his own good.

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  2. I love love love both Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. I can't get enough of them. And Sabrina is another one I can watch a lot!

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    1. If you love Sleepless and Mail, have you seen Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's other pairing, Joe Versus the Volcano? Quirky and rather weird in places, but worth seeing just cuz it's their first outing together and Meg Ryan plays like 4 roles.

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  3. I love While You Were Sleeping and Sabrina and You've Got Mail! :) Great list. ;)

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    1. Thanks! They'll be classics in a few more decades.

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  4. I can't say that I have seen many true rom-coms, at least not ones made between the 80s and now, and I have not seen any of the movies on your list.
    A couple of older rom-coms are "His Girl Friday" and "The Philadelphia Story." I am not entirely sure if they would count, but those are probably my favorites of the genre. And Groundhog Day, that was a funny movie, but again, it was more comedy than romance.

    While this is an unorthodox choice, my number one favorite is definitely Clannad and Clannad: After Story, however those two are actually TV series and movies. Also, they are Japanese animation, but they are both funny and probably the saddest thing I have ever seen.

    -James

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    1. You're right -- screwball comedies like the two you mentioned are the real precursors to rom-coms. Heavier on comedy and lighter on romance, I feel, though it's not always the case. And The Philadelphia Story gets pretty dramatic in the middle.

      I know a lot of guys don't like rom-coms -- I was blessed with a dad who liked some of them (he loves Sabrina and While You Were Sleeping), as long as they weren't very sappy. My brother also enjoys them -- in fact, he prefers rom-coms to westerns, which I find unfathomable, but to each their own.

      I haven't seen a lot of anime, but I have a couple friends who love it, so I'll pass that recommendation along!

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  5. I see you've branched out some since you lived at home (naturally) :-) But I'm happy to see some of our favorites on your list. Thanks for adding a few that I've not seen, so I have something to look for on Redbox once in a while. I don't think I've ever seen "Someone Like You" or "A Life Less Ordinary". And, I would have to add "Return to Me" if it was my list, although there probably isn't much comedy in that one.

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    1. I don't know if you'd like "A Life Less Ordinary" -- it is VERY off-beat. You might say it's "too weird." In fact, I'm pretty sure you would. But you would probably like "Someone Like You" a lot!

      There are a lot of good rom-coms that didn't make the list -- I've got 5 or 6 that aren't here. But that's how it goes.

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  6. My family and I just watched Sabrina last week, but I was so exhausted from school that I didn't stay up to finish it; so my sisters told me how it ended.

    I should let you know that I was honestly thinking about putting you into that post regarding the Valentine's Day gift (full size Thor poster) that you got from your husband a couple of years ago! As proof that Valentine's Day really is for the whole family : )

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    1. It ended happily, of course! And so sweetly.

      And you know, I almost made my comment on your post even longer by describing all the wacky things my hubby and I have exchanged for Valentine's Day over the years. Mostly it's him -- I tend to give him small, private gifts. He gives me things like a huge thesaurus (our first Valentine's Day), five Nero Wolfe books (our second), a rack for our oven because it only had one and I was going nuts trying to bake cookies with only one rack, a set of nice glass mixing bowls, and of course the giant cardboard Thor last year. This year, he gave me my gift already... season one of Sherlock!!!

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  7. Some of my favorites! And some great recommendations, too! Rom coms are my guilty pleasure. (Or maybe not so guilty...)

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    1. Sometimes I feel that way too -- that watching a rom-com is kind of giving in to my less-serious side or something. And yet, some of them are decidedly non-frivolous. In fact, I really dislike the fluffy and loopy ones like How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Still, they do feel like a chocolate truffle, don't they? So sweet, but not necessarily "good." Which is ridiculous.

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  8. Like you I have a soft spot for 1990’s Meg Ryan movies and her pair ups were always interesting, whether Matthew Broderick, Tim Robbins, Billy Crystal or in the case of French Kiss a French Kevin Kline. French Kiss may be an under-appreciated romantic comedy, but it works for me. It makes me laugh a lot and is always an easy watch.

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    1. Paul, I agree that Meg Ryan in the 1990s is unbeatable when it comes to enjoyable rom-coms. While I don't like When Harry Met Sally all that much, I do really like I.Q. and Joe Versus the Volcano and Anastasia and City of Angels. I even like Kate & Leopold, though that one I like for Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber -- her character bugs me. (Though it was made in 2001, so not part of her '90s oeuvre.)

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  9. Just discovered your blog while I was googling 'While You Were Sleeping.' Great summary of the best rom-coms - although I don't know Mrs. Winterbourne, which I intend to remedy very soon. WYWS is probably my favourite all-time rom-com and Christmas movie.

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    1. Hello, Rosie Dean! Nice of you to stop by :-) I'm glad you like my list! Mrs. Winterbourne is a little-known delight, and I hope you dig it. It's one of the movies I love introducing people to because it's so cute and sweet.

      WYWS is pretty nearly a perfect movie, I think. I just watched a movie this week that had Jack Warden (Saul) in it -- Donovan's Reef, with John Wayne and Lee Marvin. Wacky, fun movie, and it was so cool seeing Jack Warden so much younger! Really got me in the mood to rewatch WYWS, and I hope to do that before Christmas.

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    2. Another (almost) rom-com I discovered recently, by seeing it on a DVD trailer, was Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. I can't remember it ever being promoted in the UK (where I live) but it's a lovely film. Do you know it?

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    3. Rosie Dean, I actually have a copy of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and have not watched it yet. It sounds super cute. I don't really remember it getting much attention here in the US either, but it has Ciaran Hinds AND Lee Pace in it, so yes, I must see it some time.

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  10. I think you'll enjoy it. I also discovered, via a trailer, Return to Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny. It's a bit of a slow-starter but I think it's a lovely film with some great comedy from a bunch of old guys, and also a great partnership between Bonnie Hunt and James Belushi.

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    1. Oh, I definitely know Return to Me! In fact, I saw it in the theater way back when. I love that it's got an unusual set-up, and is about second chances, not first loves. And that Bobby Darin gets mentioned as one of the great singers ;-)

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  11. Yay! I've never met anyone who's seen that film. One of my faves.

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    1. Yeah, I don't know a lot of people who have seen it either, which is odd considering how popular Duchovny was when it was made.

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  12. I managed to get a copy of Mrs Winterbourne and watched it today. No idea why it never made it onto our screens. I was a bit wary of it, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about using death and deceit as a vehicle for a rom-com but they got away with it. It reminded me a little of 'While You Were Sleeping'. I'm a big fan of Shirley MacLaine - in anything.

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    1. Rosie, that's great you could find it! I first saw that one on VHS in college -- I had a roommate who lurved Brendan Fraser, so I saw bunches of his movies thanks to her. It does have a little While You Were Sleeping to it, with the let's-just-not-clear-up-the-misunderstanding thing going on, but in a wholly different way.

      I've only seen Shirley MacLaine in a few things, but I totally dig her in this. Such a cool mix of gutsy and classy!

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