Posted by: pop-break | February 14, 2013

Pop-Ed: Our Favorite Romantic Films

the gang gets all lovey dovey…

romanticheader

It’s that time of year — when we get together with our girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, romantic partner and we plop on the couch to watch a romantic film. The staff of Pop-Break have listed some of their favorites for you check out. Some are classic romantic films, some are a bit left of center — but they all mean something to our staff. If you’re stuck on what to watch tonight, maybe some of our recs will help you out…and help you get lucky.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Maxwell Barna: High Fidelity
I know what you’re thinking: This guy’s cheating! This was a novel before it was a movie. And you’re right. High Fidelity is a novel by Nick Hornby. According to Wikipedia (because who does actual research, anymore?), the novel has sold over one million copies. But I never said I wasn’t a bold-faced cheater, so we’ll move on.

220px-HighfidelityDVD

This movie changed the game for me. It took my outlook on life, love, women, sex and even music (I’m almost ashamed to admit I’d never heard the Stiff Little Fingers before I saw this movie — who, by the way, sound absolutely nothing like Green Day), and beckoned me to re-evaluate everything.

I saw a lot of myself in Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a 30-something-year-old, self-deprecating, first rate cynic and second rate record store owner. The film opens as Gordon is just being dumped by Laura (Iben Hjejle), his girlfriend of God knows how long,. Needless to say, Gordon, being the sort of manic-depressive man he is, doesn’t take the break up very well. And in the end, there’s only a man left alone to himself and his indescribably large record collection — which, if the shit should ever hit the fan, is exactly how I’d like to go out. But that’s beside the point.

After a certain amount of time, a man left alone to wallow in his own self-loathsome misery will hit a threshold. They hit a wall of sorts, forcing them to think about things they’d never really bother contemplating before. Like a moth edging itself closer and closer to a flame, Gordon follows suit and begins to think, eventually settling on a single question that must be answered: “What do I keep doing wrong?”

HighFidelityJohnCusack

The movie really begins here. Gordon outlines his top five most painful breakups (top five lists are a theme throughout the film, and in a really odd twist of fate, have always been big with me), and in the vein of a man going through a minor midlife crisis, decides that he’d like to reconnect with some of his former flames to find out what he keeps doing wrong.

What follows is a witty, intelligent, and pretty damn hysterical [and fictional] account of one man’s struggle to live long and prosper as a romantically challenged fuck up in a veritable ocean of women. The story ends with him getting Laura back (after she breaks up with her weird, new, Zen’ed out, pseudo philosophical, yuppie boyfriend, Ian [Tim Robbins]), launching a successful record label, and Jack Black’s character singing a bitchin’ cover of Let’s Get It On by the late, great, Marvin Gaye. All is right with the world! … Kind of.

But after the credits started to roll, I began thinking to myself — and this is really why the movie’s such an important romantic comedy to me. Sure, it’s funny and well written with a relatively great cast of characters, but there was much more to it than that. I began looking at my own ex girlfriends; every single girl, one by one. And I started analyzing them. I looked at our relationship, how and why it ended, and how they, as individuals, affected me. I concluded that each one of them, including the ones who I still talk to and the ones I don’t, was beautiful in their own right, and each had a profound influence on the man I am in the present, and the man I’ll be in the future.

I’m certain this movie’s original intent was to just be another 90’s Hollywood chick flick, but it did quite a bit for me emotionally and psychologically. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to the beta band for the next 10 hours.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Michael Dworkis:
41pF7yDnnvL._SX500_
I have never celebrated V-Day, partly because of my strict Jewish upbringing, and partly because I never gave a damn. In Keeping the Faith, the trials of a Priest (Ed Norton) and a Rabbi (Ben Stiller) fighting over one woman (Jenna Elfman) is awesomely sacrilegious enough to earn my vote for the Valentine’s Movie. It is the tale of two childhood friends who become clergy in their respective religions, but when the old flame returns, the two struggle with their religious beliefs in order to accept their love for one girl. It is funny how each one has their moment of conflict with their faith, Stiller as the Rabbi having the hots for a non-Jew and Norton questioning all the vows he took to his path to priesthood. My gripe is the actual conclusion of the film, where everyone gets back together, and Anna, the girl being fought over is won over by the Rabbi, who finds out she is taking classes to convert to Judiasm. This is the spirit of Valentine’s Day because this is a fine example of the fantasy love-life people dream of, especially on V-Day.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Luke Kalamar: I don’t usually watch romantic movies as most of them are usually pretty terrible, so when I was asked to contribute to a Valentine’s Day piece about my favorite, I had trouble thinking of one. I went a good while trying to come up with a single title I could write about. Then, it suddenly hit me. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. That movie, quite simply, has it all.

215px-Movie_poster_Anchorman_The_Legend_of_Ron_Burgundy

At its core, Anchorman is all about love. It’s about the love Ron feels for the news, the love between him and Veronica Corningstone, the love between Ron and his dog Baxter, and obviously, the love between San Diego and their most trusted anchor. The betrayal the “San Diegans” felt when Ron unintentionally cursed over the air is equivalent to when someone discovers their partner is having an affair. Plus, who can forget that amazing rendition of “Afternoon Delight” by the Channel 4 news team? Last time I checked, that’s the best way anyone can learn what love is really about.

Anchorman is definitely a great date movie too. I have not met a single person who hasn’t found it hilarious. If you want to have a good time, pop in this movie and let the laughs fly. You’ll be quoting it nonstop once you finish it too. You could also pick up a bottle of Sex Panther by Odeon. It’s illegal in nine countries, but also made of bits of real panther. Studies show that 60% of the time, it works every time. So get to it!

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Sue Bodkin: Who doesn’t love a JGL dance sequence? Communists, that’s who. As Tom, in (500) Days of Summer, JGL plays the quintessential scorned male. He’s surly, lashes out, fails at his job and blames it all on Summer, played by the (sometimes annoyingly) adorkable Zooey Deschanel. Why did I pick (500) Days of Summer when I had classics like Say Anything, Up! and P.S. I Love You in my romantic movie holster? Because it’s funny, sweet and above all HONEST. Sure, Tom got his heart broken and likes to blame it on the titular Summer. He even doubts his belief in true love and kismet, destiny, fatum. But its when he gets his ass handed back to him that the point becomes ever so clear. A) Summer told you she didn’t want a relationship (Thank You, blind date girl!) B) Don’t give up on love just because it didn’t come in the package you wanted. Tom was right about everything…but Summer. She just wasn’t the one. Its a story as old as time…with a good Hall & Oates soundtrack.

1-500-days-dance

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Ann Hale: As someone who spends 98% of the year watching horror/action films, this list has been the hardest for me to make. I cannot stand Kate Hudson/Jennifer Garner romantic comedies and I find Nicholas Sparks absolutely absurd; however, there are a few romance films that I would recommend:

1. When Harry Met Sally- Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal seem like an incredibly unlikely couple but after seeing neurotic Sally (Ryan) and jokester womanizer Harry’s (Crystal) friendship blossom into the perfect relationship, they show that love is sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

1060959

2. Amelie- Amelie (Audrey Tautou) finds a small metal box in her apartment that belonged to a small boy several decades ago. When she finds the man and returns the box, she finds that his happiness fills a space in her which had previously been void. In order to keep that space filled, Amelie sets out to help others find happiness but, in turn, finds a love of her own.

3. Scott Pilgrim vs the World- In order for Scott (Michael Cera) to be with Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) , the woman of his dreams, he must defeat her seven evil exes. He must determine if his love alone is strong enough to defeat his seven rivals or if he has a little extra power he has yet to tap into.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- After a tough breakup, Joel (Jim Carrey) finds out that Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had all of her memories of him erased. When Joel goes to have the same procedure, he finds that there are plenty of great memories that he doesn’t want to lose, such as why he loved Clementine in the first place.

5. What Dreams May Come- After the death of his children, Chris (Robin Williams) dies in a automobile accident. When he reaches Heaven, he finds out that his wife has also died. However, having taken her own life, Annie (Annabella Sciorra) has been denied access to Heaven. Chris is determined to plunge himself into the depths of Hell to retrieve his one true love and to bring her to Heaven to spend eternity with him and their children.

6. Timer People are implanted with timers that count down to the moment when they will meet their soul mate. Oona’s (Emma Caulfield) timer won’t start as her soul mate has yet to get his implant. While waiting for her timer to start, Oona falls in love with another man, whose timer does not match up with hers. When her timer begins, she must decide if she should follow her heart or her timer.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Lauren Stern:

garden-state-dvd

I’m not a big fan of romantic films, but if I had to choose one to watch on Valentine’s Day or any given day it would be Garden State. The 2004 comedy-drama, written, and directed by Scrubs’ Zach Braff is not really so much a love story as it is a personal awakening, but I can’t help but connect it to true love. For those of you who have never seen it, the movie centers on Andrew Largeman(Zach Braff)’s personal journey after his mother drowns herself in a bathtub. Throughout this quarter crisis, Largemen meets Sam (Natalie Portman) who not only introduces him (and the film’s audience) to The Shins but also essentially changes his life for the better.

As lame as this sounds, when I first saw the movie 9 years ago, I became obsessed with the idea of having a relationship like Andrew and Sam’s one day. I mean, who doesn’t want to find a person with a phenomenal taste in music that really brings out the best in them and likes them no matter how crazy they are? Needless to say, about 7 years after I first saw this film, I started dating my boyfriend and two months later, he watched this movie for the first time with me. The look of awe on his face throughout the film is something I’ll never forget and our experience watching it together makes this film even more special to me now.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Kimberlee Rossi-Fuchs: After a typically tumultuous high school relationship, my now-husband and I remained purely platonic friends long after our breakup, but after spending seven years apart and dating several other people, we found ourselves drawn together again and in February of 2004, we saw Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on our second-ever first date.

eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind_ver42

Kaufman’s Oscar-winning screenplay – a dreamlike journey through one man’s mindscape as he struggles to retain his memories of his former lover before they can be permanently erased by a new elective medical procedure – is typically whimsical, inventive, and imaginative (though definitely owing to the memory-based storyline of the classic Annie Hall.) The film features stellar performances from both leads, as Kate Winslet’s moody, rainbow-hued manic pixie is equally maddening and endearing and a superbly restrained Jim Carrey breaks your heart over and over again as her grieving ex. However, It’s when Clementine and Joel find themselves together again, despite having no recollection of their shared past, that the film’s true heart is revealed.

At the center of Eternal Sunshine lies one of the more romantic sentiment ever committed to film – the idea that when it comes to love, there’s a divinity that shapes our ends, a mysterious, fated gravitational pull that draws us to the one we’re meant to be with no matter what we do and I for one can’t think of a more perfect movie for a first, or second first, date.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Marla Pachter: Really great romantic films I love: (500) Days of Summer, Juno, Benny and Joon, A Walk to Remember, Stardust, Scott Pilgrim, and Charlie Bartlett.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Jason Kundrath: When my wife and I went on our first date back in 2004, we had dinner in the village, and afterwards we caught a showing of Garden State. By the film’s end, I was sunk low into my theater seat, unsuccessfully trying to hide the tears streaming down my face. Did I mention it was our first date? Yep. It was all out on the table from day one. I am a sensitive guy. I love… love.

gardenstate

Now, nearly nine years later, this film still gets me every time and stands as one of my all-time favorites. It hits so many of the right notes: It’s funny, quirky, heavy, sad, and lovely. And it has an absolutely killer soundtrack.

Garden State explores themes of family, friendship, love, and death, and it has something substantial to offer on each of them. But mostly, it captures the essence of young adulthood, as we find ourselves adrift, searching for our own course. While this time in our lives is supposed to be exciting, sometimes it can feel so empty and rudderless as we look for some place to drop anchor. And while love can seem like a reliable compass, it often proves to be our destination. Happy Valentine’s Day!

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Jonathan Elliott: I’m probably best-off at going on the record right now and saying I sort of hate Valentine’s Day; the one relationship I’d probably contextualize as “good” thus far in my lifetime derailed spectacularly one weekend in mid-February 2006, after three years of patent stability and one year of what can only be described as “glorious flailing.”

220px-Life_less

But it’s that last year, somehow, where all the pop-culture memories really come into play, and what we saw, and talked about, and argued and fought over and reaffirmed and finally acknowledged a permanent fracture—our story became entwined with the movies we watched, the songs we listened to, the television we disagreed on, and the pop we consumed. I think that’s why I’m wary of romance and romantic contributions here in a generic sense; sure, the right Prince mix tape and a box of chocolates and a snuggly viewing of The Lake House will get you laid, assuming your partner is the right kind of girl (or guy, or whatever). But these sorts of things end up being a very personal map of how romance did or didn’t work with someone very particular.

With all of that frontloaded and in mind, here’s my thoughts on some movies and songs and why they’re here; I don’t do “cute” well, per se, but each of these taught me something about romance, and probably would make for good dates under the right circumstances. The first film is a 90s guilty pleasure; everything else is from that odd period in 2005 and 2006, aka the oddest, most romantic, heartbreaky year of my life.

A Life Less Ordinary: Cameron Diaz and Ewan MacGregor in a messy little film about metaphysics and destiny and goofy comedy and getting shot with an arrow. It’s surprisingly sweet and might’ve been the first film where anyone gave a damn about Diaz’s acting chops.

good_night_and_good_luck_ver3_xlg

Good Night and Good Luck: If you’re dating the kind of guy or girl who tilts at windmills and walks through life with a sort of two-fisted idealism about right and wrong, this is the kind of movie that will spark wonderful conversation and the sort of dangerous light behind their eyes when they talk about big ideas and the nobility of certain professions (in this case, journalism). A lot of Aaron Sorkin stuff works the same nerve, too; it’s a good movie to get the right kind of person to open their heart in a certain way. I have a lot of love for this film; it led to my very favorite night of ice cream and conversation in Princeton, ever.

Brokeback Mountain: Under all the cultural scrutiny and significance and hoopla is beautiful story of two people who just can’t get the honesty and circumstances and timing right. We’ve all been there. I think that’s the important thing about this film, and the important thing it taught me about the relationship I was in at the time and others moving forward since: the key to getting what you want out of life is saying what you want, and the consequences of ignoring or shuttling your desires irresponsibly can be extreme.

The 40-Year Old Virgin/Forgetting Sarah Marshall: I’m including these here for the Judd Apatow one-two punch; both of these films have the same lesson, although I think one of them is ultimately better made and more entertaining (you can guess as to which one). Either way, the boy gets the girl in the end and all of the vaguely raunchy, emotionally shocking humor opens you up to the happy endings here in surprising ways. I think it’s important for romantic comedies to contain a spine of pain or growth or something in there somewhere. Apatow and his partners usually do that well.

the-40-year-old-virgin

Walk the Line: In addition to being maybe the best inadvertent video for woodshop safety ever, this film gets it, and really makes you buy what happened between June and John. You have to be made of stone to not see yourselves in these damaged music titans, and you’ll leave with something rare and wonderful heaving in your chest, if you’re viewing it right.

All in all, I think the right way to absorb pop culture around Valentine’s Day is to look at the person you love and think about the kinds of pop that open one another up; start some conversations, hold hands, find things that show and share human experiences that either bounce off the both of you or force you to engage one another in ways you haven’t yet. Screw the stalwart, clichéd choices like PS I Love You or The Notebook or that hackneyed chestnut, the first five minutes of Up (much as I love that movie, come on, people. We’ve all seen it. There’s new paths to tread).

So find someone you love. See something together you haven’t yet. Talk about things that haven’t been talked about yet. Be more to each other than you are right now.

Trying to pick a favorite romantic type, Valentine’s Day-esque movie was certainly not easy for me. I couldn’t even think of one without flipping through my binder of movies but then I saw it, the perfect romantic movie, Ever After: A Cinderella Story.

While there are so many different versions of Cinderella, this one is my favorite.
Being an avid reader myself, I love that this Cinderella gets lost in books; more than that, I love that the peasant girl save the prince’s life, hangs out with Leonardo DaVinci, frees herself from the bad guy, and then finally gets to choose whether or not to accept the Prince’s love. The movie culminates with the quote “the truth of their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.”

Ever After is a movie that doesn’t truly shine in script or in acting ability but there is something about this movie that gets me every time. It’s about strength, defeating the odds, love, passion, and possibilities. That, to me, is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie.

====================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Lisa Pikaard: Trying to pick a favorite romantic type, Valentine’s Day-esque movie was certainly not easy for me. I couldn’t even think of one without flipping through my binder of movies but then I saw it, the perfect romantic movie, Ever After: A Cinderella Story.

MV5BMTI1MjE2NTczNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzUyMTM5._V1._SX260_SY475_

While there are so many different versions of Cinderella, this one is my favorite.
Being an avid reader myself, I love that this Cinderella gets lost in books; more than that, I love that the peasant girl save the prince’s life, hangs out with Leonardo DaVinci, frees herself from the bad guy, and then finally gets to choose whether or not to accept the Prince’s love. The movie culminates with the quote “the truth of their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.”

Ever After is a movie that doesn’t truly shine in script or in acting ability but there is something about this movie that gets me every time. It’s about strength, defeating the odds, love, passion, and possibilities. That, to me, is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. […] Pop-Ed: Our Favorite Romantic Films […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: