Or otherwise titled, 5 Romantic Comedies it’s okay to like. With it being Valentine’s Day and all, I thought it’d be nice and seasonal to do this list for you all on this day of love and stuff. Ick. I’d like to think these are fairly unconventional choices and are films which although at heart are romantic comedies, they have a lot more to say for themselves. So you won’t be finding any run of the mill Jennifer Aniston or Kate Hudson crap in this list. No sir. If you fancy a change to those kind of films then check out the following films if you can:
My favourite Rom-Com is also one of my favourite films due entirely to the story of one guy’s relationship with the girl of his dreams, Summer (who happens to be played by my number one movie crush as well, Zooey Deschanel). It’s very unconventional for Rom-Com’s. For one, it is from the guy’s perspective which rarely happens, whilst also featuring a non-linear timeline as the film cuts back and forth over the duration of the how long these two people were in each others lives (no points for guessing how long that is). Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredibly likeable lead, someone I think any bloke can relate to. I certainly did. The film is unbelievably original in an age when it’s very tough to be, with some very memorable and well constructed scenes, dance routine and the split screen sequences being personal favourites. With a memorable soundtrack to boot (featuring both The Smiths and the much more upbeat Hall and Oates) and with a wave of indie freshness, that although not at times the cheeriest rom-com, it is one that is charming and hard not to like.
The film that actually inspired me to do these Top 5 lists, as John Cusack’s Rob gives a number of Top 5 lists in this romantic dramedy about love, music and other great hits. Based on the equally great novel by Nick Hornby, the movie moves the North London setting of the novel to the streets of Chicago. Rob Gordon (the awesome John Cusack) owns a record store and his life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, particularly when his girlfriend leaves him. This moment inspires Rob to re-evaluate his life and take a second look at everything. It’s a romantic comedy of self-discovery, with Cusack giving one of his best performances, always breaking the fourth wall, talking directly to us during his many monologues. Again, not the most up-beat, but a satisfying experience none the less. Definitely give both this and the book a look if you can. And this features an awesome soundtrack, loving the Beta Band and Velvet Underground here!
All three of these movies so far are very much in the same DNA. Can be fairly downbeat at times, is from the guy’s perspective, quite indie and it has an awesome soundtrack. Garden State, which stars Scrub’s Zach Braff (who was also on writing and directing duties), has all these qualities. Braff stars as Andrew Largeman, a struggling actor out of touch with this life who goes on a journey of self-discovery when he returns to his home town following the death of his mother. Whilst there, he strikes up a strange friendship with the kooky-spirited Sam (a brilliantly energetic Natalie Portman). It’s an incredibly strong directional debut from Braff, who really needs to do more of this stuff, and an unusual love story. Braff and Portman make a strange couple, but they work mostly because Braff’s Andrew is so devoid of life, he needs a girl like Sam to kick-start his life. Highlights from this soundtrack include The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel and Frou Frou.
John Cusack’s back again! Say Anything is one of one the movies that truly established Cusack as a teen movie icon, along with all the Brat Pack and John Hughes regulars. Cusack was more for these sort of movies though, straight lined rom-coms rather than ensemble teen comedy dramas. This is one of his best 80’s movies, which is also the directional debut of Vanilla Sky’s Cameron Crowe. Cusack plays Lloyd Dobbler, a nice guy who isn’t really going anywhere in life, but is always in high spirits. Lloyd desperately wants to go out with the high-acheiving, beautiful, yet socially detached Diane Court. Sure enough, the pair hit it off and fall in love in the summer before she heads off to college, much to the dismay of her over-protective father. It’s an incredibly likeable film and Cusack is once again very relatable. It doesn’t have as memorable a soundtrack as the films above, but its got a good Peter Gabriel song in it and some good old 80’s pop. And plus the title for this film was the inspiration for the band Say Anything as well. So be thankful for that.
Probably the most conventional choice on this list. But then again it is a classic. Hence why Deep Blue Something named a song after it. It’s one of the most charming movies I’ve ever seen, a film that’s very hard not to admire. Audrey Hepburn is the definitive movie starlet, lighting up the screen as Holly Golightly, a socialite living in New York, who becomes the point of interest of a journalist in her apartment building called Paul, played by future A-Team leader George Peppard. As the two get closer, Paul begins to discover a vulnerable and sweet girl underneath her glamorous persona. The film hits its 50th Anniversary this year, and if it wasn’t for the rather racist portrayal of a Chinese man by Mickey Rooney, this would be pretty un-dated and still a very fresh love story. And yes, it does also feature a great soundtrack with the classic Henry Mancini track, Moon River, which features heavily throughout the movie and, in course, becoming the timeless classic that it is now. Much like the film itself really.
Looking back over this list, I’ve noticed all the films deal with characters fighting with their own neuroses. Not too sure what that says about me then. But I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and have been inspired to watch something maybe a little bit different this Valentines Day. I guess all that is left to say now is that I hope you all have a great Valentines Day, be you single or in a relationship, I hope you enjoy yourselves. Don’t be too down fellow singletons, The Social Network is out on DVD today, so we’re sorted! Much love to everyone.