Romantic Movies I Like That Most Hate

As a serious devotee of cinema one of the things I get a bit of clack for is my love for romantic movies- particularly romcoms. I am an unabashed fan. I even recently started a new podcast with my friend Amber where we review the Hallmark Movies which are pretty much all romances (we are having an absolute blast by the way). It’s a new channel so if you are interested we could use new subscribers! Anyway in honor of the podcast I thought I would share with you some romantic films that I enjoy, which are often hated on (hate may be too strong of a word but you get the idea).

In no particular order

Last Holiday

Everyone knows I especially love a good romantic Christmas movie and Last Holiday definitely fits the bill. Queen Latifah is warm and lovely as a woman named Georgia who finds out she has a month to live, so she decides to start living her dreams. This includes staying at a fancy hotel in Europe, eating good food instead of Lean Cuisine and buying the prettiest party dress.

LL Cool J plays her co-worker who is impressed with both versions of Georgia and they have terrific chemistry.

Romeo + Juliet

I honestly might like this film even better than Moulin Rouge. I enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s creative take on Shakespeare. He obviously gives it is his own flair but the core story remains in tact. The production design is great and the Shakespeare manages to feel natural.

Most importantly Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio have fantastic chemsitry and the supporting cast including Brian Dennehy and John Leguizamo are great.

No Strings Attached

In 2011 two films came out that dealt with casual relationships. I prefer No Strings Attached. This is directed by Ivan Reitman and it has his charm and engaging scripts. I find myself laughing out loud throughout the film. My favorite parts are when Adam is trying to impress Emma and he makes her a period cd full of songs like Bleeding Love. That always makes me laugh.

It’s no secret that Ashton Kutcher is not the greatest actor but I honestly think he is fine in this and Natalie Portman has never looked sexier in a film. This is a fairly strong R rating but I like it. Mindy Kaling is fun as her roommate.

A Walk in the Clouds

Like Ashton Kutcher, Keanu Reeves is also not the greatest actor in the world especially when he is trying to be sincere; However, there is so much else going for A Walk in the Clouds that I can deal with his performance. Directed by Alfonso Arau this movie looks gorgeous with vineyard cinematography and intimate camera work. I love all the other performances including Aitana Sanchez-Gijonb and Giancarlo Giannini as Reeves’ pretend wife and her strict father.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton

Is this movie loaded with contrivances? Sure but at its heart are 3 good people who I want to see happy. I will put up with so many contrivances if a romance can give me that. Plus, I love Topher Grace. He is perfect in this role and Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel are great too. Charming, charming, charming!

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

I admit there may be a bit of nostalgia in this pick. This is a very sugary romance from 90s about a blind girl who becomes a horse diver despite the odds. It’s cheesy but I love Gabrielle Anwar and Michael Schoeffling. She is stunning and they have great chemistry. It’s a breezy 88 minutes and I love it!

Some Kind of Wonderful

I admit this one is a bit of a cheat as a lot of people like this movie but I feel like it is constantly overshadowed by Breakfast Club and 16 Candles and I like this better than both those films. It is fairly predictable story but underneath that plot are 3 very well written and acted characters. I particularly like Lea Thompson’s Amanda who should be the cliched judgy popular girl but she’s not. She has a personality and makes interesting choices. The chemistry between Watts and Keith is so strong. I love it!

The Rewrite

The Rewrite was one of my favorite movies from 2014 and everyone I have shown it to has also liked it. It’s the kind of movie we never get any more but it’s really well executed. Hugh Grant is in top form as a screenwriter who is demoted to a teaching position in a small town. It has something to say about love, work, writing, movies, stories and more. The cast is tremendous with Allison Janney, JK Simmons, Marisa Tomei and more. It’s funny, thoughtful and sweet.

The Longest Ride-

This is probably my toughest sale of this post but I will try. Most Nicholas Sparks movies are awful because they are so emotionally manipulative usually killing off a major character just to make you cry. In The Longest Ride they don’t do that! They get close but then don’t do that. I liked Britt Robertson and Scott Eastman in this. They have great chemistry. I liked seeing them work out their differing career ambitions and I also liked the older couple played by Alan Alda, Jack Huston, and Oona Chaplin. I get why many don’t like it but I enjoyed it.

Serendipity-

Some romances soar on the chemistry of its stars. Such is the case with Serendipity. Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack  are so great together and I like them both so much that I enjoy going on this silly ride with them. The whole cast is actually solid with Molly Shannon, Jeremy Piven, John Corbett, Eugene Levy and more. New York never looked better and it’s easy for me to get swept away in the romance.

Just Wright-

Another underseen romance from Queen Latifah on this list. She is beautiful in this film and is a nice contrast to the stunning but vapid Paula Patton (yet still likable in a kind of unlikable role). Latifah and Common have great chemistry and it’s another romance where we like both of them and want to see them happy.

The things that separate them are somewhat contrived but I was invested enough to not care.

Beautician and the Beast-

I suppose this film is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I know it is super contrived but I still enjoy it. Timothy Dalton is hilarious as the uptight dictator and I’ve always loved Fran Drescher. In fact, The Nanny is one of my favorite shows ever and this  is basically a movie version of The Nanny. They have decent chemistry and it makes me laugh. Beauty and the Beast combined with Fran- what more could you ask for? LOL

So there you have it- my list of romantic films which aren’t appreciated enough. What about you? What are some romances you like that most people don’t? I’d love to hear your list.  Thanks!

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The Longest Ride Review

longest rideSo far 2015 has not been a strong year for movies IMO.  Aside from the carry-overs of 2014 the only thing mainstream to really dazzle me is Cinderella and Paddington but there have been a lot of single base hits even without the home runs. 

I looked at the movie options this weekend and it seemed pretty dry.  I could see a poorly reviewed sci-fi film like Chappie or Jupiter Ascending or go see the new Nicholas Sparks movie The Longest Ride.  I went with the latter figuring I could at least make fun of it.  But so help me I actually enjoyed it.  Is it a masterpiece?  No but its a heck of a lot better than anything he has made in a long time. I’d put it right up there with his best The Notebook.  I really would.

It’s actually similar to The Notebook in a lot of ways.  We get the story of an older couple and a young couple and we see their love stories play out.  In this the young couple is Sophia played by Britt Robertson who is a budding art history graduate with a big job in New York coming up and Luke played by Scott Eastwood who hopes to mount a comeback as a professional bull rider.

longest ride4The two have a meet cute but there is also genuine chemistry and the script is passable.  Robertson is especially winning although she feels a little young for the part. She reminds me a little of Rachel McAdams innocent sweetness in The Notebook or Mandy Moore in Night to Remember.   So much of these kind of movies depends on the connection between the lead couple and these two had it and I bought them being together.

longest ride5While they are on their first date they come across an old man who has crashed his car and they are able to save him.  He is played by Alan Alda who is so good in the part.  It is a bit of a plothole that Alda would have to be 95 years old to be the character in the flashbacks but I will give it that.

longest ride alanThe two younguns become friends with Alda and Sophia ends up coming and visiting him and reading him letters he wrote to his wife Ruth over the years.  (Some of the letters don’t quite make sense because they are supposedly written in 1941 but cover events after that…but again I will give it that).  In the flashbacks young Ira and Ruth are played by Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin.  I really liked her but for some reason never liked him and so their chemistry wasn’t as good as the modern couple.

longest ride8Their accents were also extremely corny but I liked how Ruth loved art and that love carried them through some tough times.  They couldn’t have children so she taught and they collected art.  Of course modern Sophia responds to this because she also loves art. (Opposites attract on both stories but I didn’t mind it).

longest ride7I kept waiting for the cancer or terrible event to happen like in every other Nicholas Sparks movie but this actually stays away from that trope (spoiler I guess).  This is just a love story about 2 couples.  Hurray!

longest ride6Luke’s career begins to terrify Sophia because of the chance he will get hurt again.  She meanwhile must decide whether she can sacrifice her job in New York for this guy she just meant.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for a man in a cowboy hat (that would be true…) but I liked it.  It’s a sweet, simple love story with an appealing cast and actually a little bit of a sports movie thrown in there too.  I can see why some people would hate it but like I said compared to other Nicholas Sparks movies this is one of the best. Take that for what you will.

The ending surprised me because I was expecting something more melodramatic but it was sweet and simple.  I teared up but not in the emotionally manipulating ways of many Sparks films.  This was because I was genuinely moved.

A lot of my readers are men for some reason and they will probably hate the movie but if you have a girl I can think of a lot worse you might have to sit through.  But I would suggest to the girls out there get a few of your friends and go together.  There were 3 women who sat behind me and were a little vocal whenever our hunky cowboy took off his shirt, smiled, tipped his hat.  Whenever something sweet happened they sighed.  Normally that might be annoying but I found myself jealous and wishing I could have gone with a group of my girlfriends.  That is totally the way to see this movie.

Now I’m ready to be rebuked and mocked for liking a Nicholas Sparks movie.  Bring it on! At least you know I’m being honest with these reviews.  Why would anyone pretend to like a movie like this? 🙂

As far as content its a pretty strong PG-13.  The sex scenes are very racy so I would check it out on screenit.com for more details before recommending it to your teens.  I probably would say this is adults only although the language and other aspects are fine.

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel so I can’t give it an A but I feel a solid B- is fair.  It is above average but not spectacular.  Still I enjoyed it.

Overall Grade- B-    Content Grade- C