FLICKS. RIFFS. AND OTHER BITS.

Talking movies, music and other close encounters of the social media kind.

CHICK FLICKS & ROM COMS.

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Oh yes – Valentines Day. For some people it’s the day to spend time with their special someone. For others, it’s not so special and they feel like the lyrics of that famous Queen song. You know the one.

And when it comes to the subject of love, cupid, a bunch of red roses and matters of the heart, I’m absolutely terrible. Like the lyrics of that Don Henley song. You probably don’t know that one.

But if there’s one subject I do know, is that I’m pretty sure most women love a good romantic movie. Even most men, who are man enough to admit it.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some women (even some men) have one or two of these movies listed in their top films list:

Pretty Woman, Ghost, Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, Love Actually, Maid in Manhattan, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Pride And Prejudice, Reality Bites, Moulin Rouge, Mama Mia, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Strictly Ballroom,The Holiday, Crazy Stupid Love, Say Anything, Sweet Home Alabama, Notting Hill, The Princess Bride, Shakespeare In Love, Four Weddings And A Funeral, An Officer And A Gentleman, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Pretty In Pink, Bridesmaids, Some Kind Of Wonderful, The Wedding Planner, Titanic, Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Wedding Singer, Before Sunrise, Midnight in Paris, Casino Royale….the list goes on.

Casino Royale?

Well, it’s kinda romantic. Sort of. Ok, maybe not.

I must admit, I do like the odd romantic film.

Even my Godson Vaughan admits to liking romantic films, like Midnight in Paris and Moulin Rouge – because he says; “It has Obi-Wan Kenobi in it.” Fair point my young Padewan.

And so, for Valentines’Day,  I’ve chosen my 5 favourites.

It’s a diverse range – from the old, to the totally unknown, the downright cheesy, to the romantically-bleeding obvious.

So first up we have:

BULL DURHAM

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I’ve always liked this romantic comedy.  It’s just plain out sassy, sexy and superb.  A rugged Kevin Costner plays the lovable rogue ‘Crash’ Davis, an old time Baseball player who reluctantly has to groom a promising young pitcher Ebby Calvin Laloosh – played by a very young and very funny Tim Robbins. They both get involved in a love triangle with a very witty and seductive Annie Savoy – played by Susan Sarandon. Even though Laloosh and Savoy are an item for most of the film, in the end Crash gets the girl. The movie is raunchy and funny, with great banter between the leads. Oh yeah, and there’s also a bit of baseball too. Favourite scene is Crash at bat during an innings and having an inner monologue with himself about Annie. It’s hilarious. If you want to pitch a cool and funny romantic movie that even guys would watch – this one hits it out of the ball park.

OUT OF SIGHT

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George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. How can you not go wrong with these two together?

Clooney plays a bank robber and escaped convict who falls for Lopez, who plays the US Marshal assigned to catch him. The real catch is, she’s totally attracted to him.

They’re the coolest couple this side of Bonnie & Clyde (before those two got shot down in a hail of bullets).

Two great romantic scenes stand out in this crime-caper directed by Steve Soderbergh (who made Sex, Lies and Videotape, Traffic, Che and Magic Mike). One is set in a totally romantic setting (see above photo) where Clooney gives the ‘What If’ speech drinking her glass of bourbon. No sign of a Nespresso here.

The other romantic setting isn’t romantic at all. It’s when Clooney escapes prison and kidnaps Lopez and they’re both stuck together in the boot of the car. How intimate. It’s their first encounter, and they discuss everything from his ex-wife, the movie ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ actress Faye Dunaway, actor Peter Finch and the movie, ‘Network’ and their love of the film ‘Three Days Of The Condor’. It’s such a totally weird and at the same time, ultra-cool scene. Much like the whole film.

WHITE PALACE

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Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. I had to see this movie and then write about it for my film criticism paper at University in the early 90s. Watching it again recently – it’s  actually a sweet little film about an unlikely romance.

A very VERY young James Spader (The Blacklist) is an advertising executive and ends up having an intense relationship with a much older waitress – played by Susan Sarandon (god, it’s her again).

I like the chemistry between the two, who throughout the film are trying to deal with the age difference – even though the cheesy cliched ending lets it down a bit. It’s interesting seeing a young and brooding Spader, after years watching him on Boston Legal, and now on The Blacklist.

And after choosing two films with her in it, I guess I must have a thing for Susan Sarandon.

JERRY MAGUIRE

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Cameron Crowe makes some great films. And other than his latest film ‘Aloha’ which I have not seen, but heard was bad, he’s made some decent romantic films. From the sweet ‘Say Anything’ to the very strange ‘Vanilla Sky’. But this is my favourite. Maybe because it has football in it.

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Tom Cruise is great as the sports agent who gains a conscious, and in the process wins over Renee Zellwegger and her adorable son. And then there’s Cuba Gooding Jnr and his ‘Show Me The Money’ swagger, stealing most of the film. Yes, there’s the famous ‘you complete me’ and ‘you had me at hello’ lines in that final scene, but there’s also the sweet moment when Cruise and Gooding Jnr acknowledge and hug each other amongst the throng of reporters after an important game that will turn their fortunes around for the better. That’s true bromance right there.

AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

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Sorry guys. But this film is actually very good.

It’s the original Top Gun film, before Top Gun came out.

I’ve always liked Louis Gossett Jnr playing the hard-nosed military drill sargeant, which he won the Oscar for. But this is Richard Gere and Debra Wingers’ picture. Gere playing the loner Zac Mayo, training to become an air force pilot and Winger plays the poor girl with a good heart, Paula Porifiki. Did the delicatessen section come up with their character names?

Not only is it a good film – it also happens to have my favourite romantic (and unromantic) scene of all time.

And no, it’s not the end of the film when Richard Gere carries Debra Winger off in the distance to the tune ‘Lift Us Up Where We Belong’ by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warne.

Hell no.

It’s when Gere  loses  Winger at a bar, played out to the tune of ‘Tunnel Of Love’ by Dire Straits.

Here’s the lowdown: Zac has decided to not see Paula again after survival training and is out celebrating with his mates at the local bar, but he notices that she is out with a flight instructor. Paula heads towards the jukebox. ‘Tunnel Of Love’ by Dire Straits is playing. Zac leaves his drinking buddies and slowly walks up to her.

In that moment you hear Knopfler softly sing;

And girl it looks so pretty to me, like it always did

Like the Spanish city to me, when we were kids

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Paula stares dreamily into the jukebox. Zac simply stares at her. She looks up and sees him. Her eyes light up for the first time that night. They start to talk. Saying everything, and nothing. Knopfler’s beautiful guitar solo plays along in the background. When Paula says she has to go because she’s on a date, Zac suddenly stops her and is just about to say the words…but he doesn’t. Instead he thanks her. She tells Zac that it’s ok and that he should go after his dream and fly Jets. She leaves.

As Zac heads back to the bar, he turns to see her leave with the instructor. He orders a drink, changes his mind and angrily demands a bottle instead, throwing his money on the bar.

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I dunno what it is about that scene – whether it’s the combination of the classic Dire Straits song, the way Debra Winger and Richard Gere beautifully play it out, or Taylor Hackfords’ brilliant direction, that very simple scene… kills me whenever I see it.

I’m sure the Top Gun writers used that Jukebox moment when they did their version, playing The Righteous Brothers, ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” on the Jukebox in the final scene of that film. But ‘Officer And A Gentleman’ is just so much better.

So there you have it. I’m sure you have your own favourites. Be cool to know what they are.

Right. I’m now starting to get a little bit misty-eyed. Enough of this. Time to watch a guy film.

Where’s Terminator 2?

Happy Valentines.

2 comments on “CHICK FLICKS & ROM COMS.

  1. Paul S
    February 21, 2016

    Fascinating article. Even though as a guy, I probably shouldn’t admit this, I do find romantic movies enjoyable if they’re intelligent, well acted and generally done right. Sadly there haven’t been many over the last thirty years that have accomplished the basics. The formula’s been done to death. So the genre is in a rut that it may never be able to dig itself out of.
    Of the films that you mentioned in your post, I own Bull Durham and Jerry Maguire (and I’ve never heard of White Palace, I’m going to seek it out now though.)
    So you’d like a list of my favourites? I’ll give you one. I just went upstairs and had a look through the voluminous vault to see what sort of gems in this genre caught my eye.
    I don’t care for sappy, unrealistic scenarios and characters. I’m more drawn to the subversive. Consequently, I tend to like romantic dramedies more. Anyway, sorry for rambling, here are some films that I own that more or less fit your criteria.

    ADDICTED TO LOVE
    THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
    ALFIE (with MICHAEL CAINE)
    CHERI
    THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS
    FRANKIE & JOHNNY (PFEIFFER/PACINO)
    LEGAL EAGLES
    JOE VS. THE VOLCANO
    MOONSTRUCK
    ONE FINE DAY
    PRELUDE TO A KISS
    A ROOM WITH A VIEW
    TEQUILA SUNRISE
    TO CATCH A THIEF

    • Flicks, riffs and other bits.
      February 21, 2016

      Hey Paul. Thanks for reading the article and really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on the subject.
      You’re so right about how romantic films have gone to formula these days. Love your list! Had also The Fabulous Baker Boys and Tequila Sunrise on my favourite list as well (If I made a Top 10). Another one I had in my 10 list was TOOTSIE. I saw it the other day and forgot how good that movie was.

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