I’ve always been a fan of the romantic comedy and although I agree with Vulture that the version of the romantic comedy I grew up with has evolved, I still have a bias towards the romantic comedies of olden days.
This week, I saw the trailer for Netflix’s romantic drama (which they somehow cut up to seem like a comedy — complete with Kate McKinnon side shots), Irreplaceable You and I have to say that I’m quite liking this genre of sick person romantic movies (hello, The Big Sick ). Do I wish neither lead were sick or dying? Of course. But this seems to up the ante for movies these days.
Apart from the wonderful supporting cast (Steve Coogan, Christopher Walken, Guy from Veep) , I’m super duper excited to see Michiel Huisman do this leading man turn again. I do prefer him with a full on beard (like one Age of Adeline ) and everything else he’s been. I just like having him on my screen. Thanks, very much.
Speaking of rom-coms, given the “month of love” is upon us, and inspired by Vulture listing their favorite Seasons for romantic comedies series, I thought I’d take time to refresh myself with my 14 favorite rom-coms. I guarantee I will miss out on classics that many agree on but I probably haven’t watched, and so this serves as a disclaimer that this isn’t a greatest ever list and I’m totally open to all the things I should watch and haven’t gotten around to (Princess Bride and Sleepless in Seattle, I know).
Unusual Leading Men
Wimbledon (2004): I can't not include this one because it has so many of my favourite things: London, tennis and adorable British boys (Jamie Lannister and James Mcavoy are in it, too).
I'm not sure how realistic Kirsten Dunst or Paul Bettany were as tennis players but the movie had the classic struggles and the cuteness thrown in and odd British family members and side characters and that's always good in my book. Let's all wear our tennis whites and re-watch this one with some Pimms.
Train wreck (2015): Sometimes, Amy Schumer's comedy is a bit too much for me but then Bill Hader comes in and steals this entire movie for me. I had never seen Bill in this romantic lead light and I love it. I need more of Bill Hader as a rom-com leading man in my life.
Also fun to watch is the rest of the cast! LeBron James as himself and oh so funny! Tilda Swinton as a crazy magazine boss lady (totally realistic! She's amazing!). I need more screwball rom-coms like this one in this era!
Maid in Manhattan (2002): Another strange pairing but who knew Ralph Fienes could do rom-com leading man. I'm glad i saw it before Harry Potter otherwise, I couldn't get Voldemort's face out of my head. This too, has a makeover scene. And we know that's enough for me.
Also, I know Jennifer Lopez did The Wedding Planner but I haven't seen that one (sins I have committed!!!) and she's ben pretty prolific rom-com wise, but this one just wins. Also, nothing ages a trailer like a Vanessa Carlton song.
The Holiday (2006): Since Nancy Meyers needed to make it to the list, I chose this fun one that had the most weird match-ups that somehow worked. Jack Black as a romantic lead? Sure, why not. Let's pair him up with Kate Winslet. And you know what? It all was very very lovely.
Also, because Nancy Meyers is Nancy Meyers, this had such amazing houses (both of them!). From the quaint cottage to the crazy mansion, I wouldn't mind living in either or having either of the leading ladies' wardrobe.
Crazy Premise is Crazy
The Proposal (2009): It's so rare to see this kind of power dynamic in a rom-com (marry or get deported!) and also, it doesn't hurt that Ryan Reynolds was extra cute in this one (and just like the other Ryan in this list looks extremely amazing without his shirt off. I also love Mary Steenburgen and Craig Nelson as parents! Betty White as a grandma!
Sandra Bullock is so good at comedy but I really want to see her in another rom-com. And thus I'm pretty excited for Ocean's 8, because I saw some Richard Armitage in it and I saw their faces in the same shot. I will take it.
50 First Dates (2004): Apart from the amazing soundtrack it had, I really do like seeing Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore together (even with the amnesia) and out of their three outings, I liked this one best (because I haven't actually finished The Wedding Singer -- sacrilege, I know).
Apart from the totally bonkers premise, the set-up for the entire movie was amazing. And the way Adam Sandler works to get Lucy every day just makes me go aww every time. This movie was just really funny and easy to watch and I remember seeing it over and over again that summer on DVD. And I'll never stop loving this soundtrack. I really do need to go to Hawaii one day.
13 Going on 30 (2004): I love a good body/personality switch-time jump story and it works so well this time. Even if Jennifer Garner never really became that romantic lead, the 80s references, working at a magazine had me hooked. She was just so fun to watch.
It also is a plus that Mark Ruffalo is just so goddamn adorable. Also, Liz Phair’s Why Can’t I set over a romantic montage is the clincher. I've played that over and over again, no joke.
Crazy, Stupid Love (2011): The way everyone's stories is linked makes this pretty crazy and the number of storylines could make it confusing but it wasn't. What's also cray is Ryan Gosling without his shirt. This should be enough to hook me to this movie. It doesn't hurt that he and Emma Stone just looked effortlessly adorable and seriously made me ship her with Ryan Gosling for quite some time after this movie came out -- which was only rekindled by La La Land.
Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling also make such a great bromance in this movie. And I think their relationship is one of the cutest things about this movie. Also, any makeover scene is an A+ in my book.
Adaptation Done Amazing
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001): Between the three installments, this clearly comes out on top because as much as I love me some Colin Firth. Peak Colin was him saying the words, “I like you, just as you are.” Daniel Cleaver was never even a choice although Hugh Grant made it a bit hard -- and even if this trailer is making you think that he had a chance.
I also really like this one cause it tried to stay true to the book for the most part -- which was a great adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. And because Mark Darcy is basically Fitzwilliam Darcy, I'll always love the choice casting of Firth who just brightens up this entire film for me in every scene he's in.
You’ve Got Mail (1998): Nora Ephron knows what she's doing (even if I only realised this was an 'adaptation' of The Shop Around the Corner) and as I've re-watched this movie so many times, it's so funny to see how the 'technology' introduced in this film (email) was such a novel concept back then. Also, I wish Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would do another film now.
And can I just say how lovely Meg Ryan looked in this movie -- from her hair (I could never pull that off but I love it) to all her lovely outfits. This movie was just delightful to watch and apart from the technology, doesn't feel too aged/dated.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999): Teen comedies need to stay on this level of awesome. It's because of movies like this that I kind of wished I studied in an American high school. I'm sure none of this was even realistic, but a girl could dream, right? I always loved me some Larisa Oleynik (hey, Alex Mack!) all non-tomboy-ish and baby!Joseph Gordon Levitt as a cute side story to Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger’s main drama. Never forget the tearful reading of that poem in class.
A slight improvement in the trailer department, I have to say, but still so many unanswered questions and definitely could have been represented better.
Clueless (1995): Austen adapted in Beverly Hills? count me in. Alicia Silverstone perfected Emma for the 90s and Paul Rudd never aged since playing Knightley. Too many catchy lines that I could never have pulled off as a child but remember by heart. And the closet envy. I really did wish I could have her closet.
This trailer does not do the movie justice. If I didn't know what this movie was about, I wouldn't have wanted to watch this movie at all based on the trailer.
All Hail the Queen
My Best Friend's Wedding (1997): Probably the only film in this list where the girl doesn't quite get that happy ending in the traditional rom-com sense, I couldn't help but include this one because Julia is just amazing in it. Although I prefer the crazy ass plot of Notting Hill (more on that in a tiny bit), this one involves a wedding. It's an immediate in.
And Rupert Everett is just too cute as the best friend. I do wish there was fanfic about Julia and George and their fabulous adventures together post-credits.
Notting Hill (1999): Nothing beats Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant at what they do best. Movie star + commoner? Check. Based in the UK? Check. Zany side characters (shout out to Lord Grantham!) who are hard to understand sometimes? Check. I could watch this over and over and over again.
Again, who knew that was the trailer for this movie? They totally gave away the killer line at the end. Oh how trailers have evolved!