There are two types of people in this world. People who are fine with and sometimes even welcome movies where a great romance ends in the death of one or both partners. And then there are people who really hate that.
I am in the second group. And that is okay. Neither group is right or wrong. We are just different. Sometimes we have trouble agreeing on what movie to watch. I say if you are in that situation, watch The Great Race or Auntie Mame. Or just go bowling.
In this time of political upheaval, worldwide pandemics and possible toilet paper shortages, here is a list of Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead.
The story of Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan), two next-door neighbors pursuing their basketball careers before eventually falling for each other. Directorial debut of screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood. This is the movie you have been waiting for and wanting to watch. It’s funny and smart and everytime I watch it my heart…oh, my heart.
This movie has it all. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert directed by Frank Capra. It won all the major Oscars (even Best Picture) in 1934. It isn’t long or boring and the female character flouts her father’s authority and she doesn’t end up dead or a nun! It’s also a charming road picture between equals, a mouthy man who thinks he knows it all and a woman who refuses to live the way her father and the world at large expect her to. A favorite of movie snobs and grandmas alike. As Roger Ebert put it, “‘It Happened One Night’ is one of the easiest movies to love and one of the hardest to think of as a work of art.” Read his wonderful review here.
This was the movie that won my heart when I was in high school. Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything” wears a long tan trench coat while holding up the boombox playing “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. It’s in iconic scene and even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve seen that part or some version of it. This is a movie about love and truth and lies. Roger Ebert loved this movie as well, he rated it 5 stars.
I love this movie because I love Rosalind Russell. And Cary Grant is just so very Cary Grant in this one. “A scintillating battle of the sexes. Rosalind Russell plays Hildy, about to leave journalism for marriage to cloddish Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Cary Grant plays Walter Burns, Hildy’s editor and ex-husband, who pretends happiness about her impending marriage as a ploy to win her back. The ace up Walter’s sleeve is a late-breaking news story concerning the impending execution of anarchist Earl Williams (John Qualen), a blatant example of political chicanery that Hildy can’t pass up. The story gets hotter when Williams escapes and is hidden from the cops by Hildy and Walter–right in the prison pressroom.”
I am so old I saw this movie in a theatre. It’s a loose retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. The performances are top-notch, Heath Ledger’s smile makes me both swoon and tear up and Julia Stiles remains a criminally underused talent. The paintball scene is boring, use it to go pee or get a snack.
The beginning is a bit slow but once they get going, it is on! Awkwafina’s performance makes me happy to be alive. Her father is a crack-up as well. A synopsis from the Warner Bros. webpage, in case you missed this juggernaut the first time around. “Crazy Rich Asians” follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.”
The male lead, Jack Quaid, is Meg Ryan’s son so that is why he looks familiar. He has her charisma and I think her eyes. The female lead, Maya Erskine, is from PEN15 and I would defend her with my life. She is so funny and bright and talented, I can’t wait to see what she does next. What’s the movie about? Ben and Alice, longtime friends, agree to be each other’s plus one for the endless number of weddings they have been invited to. Wackiness and romance ensues.
There is nothing I can say about this movie that hasn’t been said before or better. It is a fairy tale. It is a comedy. Anybody want a peanut? Here is Roger Ebert’s review from 1987, when the film was released. “It is filled with good-hearted fun, with performances by actors who seem to be smacking their lips and by a certain true innocence that survives all of Reiner’s satire. And, also, it does have kissing in it.” -Roger Ebert
Anna (Amy Adams) travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day. Apparently there’s an Irish tradition, Bachelor’s Day, that a man who is proposed to on Leap Day must accept the proposal. Thank God there is not one of those for women, well, except the sport stadium proposal. You have to say yes to that or be treated like a Red Sox fan anywhere but Boston. But she ends up far from Dublin, where her super successful surgeon boyfriend is. And there is Declan (Matthew Goode). Now, I would have just moved into the bar where Declan worked and watched him for the rest of my natural life but I am creepy. Wackiness ensues. Declan is a jerk but he’s handsome and Irish so what in the hell does anyone expect?
Adorable comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. They are beautiful, talented and charming. You can not go wrong with this little gem.
This is a better movie than the synopsis makes it sound. I generally avoid Jim Carrey movies because he exhausts me but in this I am charmed by his character. Kate Winslet is as always a delight. “Jim Carrey stars as Joel Barish, a man who is informed that his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of their relationship erased from her brain via an experimental procedure. Not to be outdone, Joel decides to have the same procedure done to himself. As bumbling underlings Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood) perform the operation on Joel — over the course of an evening, in his apartment — Joel struggles in his own mind to save the memories of Clementine from being deleted. Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, and Jane Adams also star.” ~ Matthew Tobey
Okay, this movie has it all. Steven Soderbergh directing, Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney starring and the line that is famous in my family, “What do you need a hatchet for?” Here’s a useful synopsis from Bhob Stewart, “Steven Soderbergh directed this crime caper adapted from the novel by Elmore Leonard. When ex-con Jack Foley (George Clooney) robs a bank, his car goes dead, and Foley lands in a Florida prison. His escape from prison doesn’t go as planned, since it’s witnessed by deputy federal marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez). Foley’s pal Buddy Bragg (Ving Rhames) intervenes, with the result that Sisco winds up in the trunk of the getaway car with Foley, and the two realize they’re attracted to each other, despite being on opposite sides of the law. However, that doesn’t stop Sisco from her mission to capture Foley.”
Another Soderbergh film, “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” was made in 1989, hence the videotape. It is a quiet film and can be slow but I think it’s one of Soderbergh’s finest. There’s a lot of talking about sex and depictions of sex so be advised. James Spader is absolutely beautiful. Andie MacDowell in one of her best performances.
A note on the film from Roger Ebert’s review: The story of “sex, lies, and videotape” is by now part of movie folklore: how writer-director Steven Soderbergh, at 29, wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles, how the film was made for $1.8 million, how it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, as well as the best actor prize for Spader. I am not sure it is as good as the Cannes jury apparently found it; it has more intelligence than heart, and is more clever than enlightening. But it is never boring, and there are moments when it reminds us of how sexy the movies used to be, back in the days when speech was an erogenous zone.