2/13/10

Love, The Lair-ican Style- The Bugg's Top 10 Romantic Films

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I wanted to take this edition of Love, The Lair-ican Style to countdown my favorite romantic films. That’s right. The Bugg likes more than exploitation films, eyeballs being gouged out, and explosions. Sometimes I like to sit back with a film where no one dies, gets shot, or eviscerated in any way. Ok. That’s a lie. There’s some of that on this list as well. Without any further ado let’s get this started.



10. The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas (2000): Ok, sure, it’s not the best made, best written or best acted film, but there’s something here that really plucks the heartstrings. Viva Rock Vegas tells the story of when Fred (Mark Addy) and Wilma (Kristin Johnston) met, and Fred had to vie for Wilma’s affections with Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson). Throw in a budding romance between Barney (Stephen Baldwin) and Betty (Jane Krakowski), the Great Gazoo (Alan Cumming), and Wilma’s conniving mom (Joan Collins), and you’ve got a recipe for a movie that will suck me in every time I see it on. Say what you will, but this is a sweet, funny movie that more people should give a shot.

9. Knight’s Tale (2001): I don’t know what it is about Mark Addy, but here he is again showing up on this list. This time he’s not the romantic lead, but rather the comic relief along with two of my other favorite actors Paul Bettany and Alan Tudyk. The film’s star, of course, is Heath Ledger, and the first time I saw this film I was unsure what I thought about it. The pop soundtrack (especially Bowie’s Golden Years) really put me off of it, but something kept me coming back. That thing was the romance between Ledger’s wannabe knight and Lady Jocelyn (Shannon Sossamon). Sure it’s the age old story of star-crossed lovers, but there’s a reason that ago old stories got that way.

8. Love, Actually (2003): Years before Judd Apatow made his series of bromantic blockbusters, Richard Curtis, the screenwriter behind Bridget Jones’ Diary, made his directing debut with this man-centric romantic comedy. With a cast of great male actors including Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, and Hugh Grant, Love Actually guides us though an interlocked group of romantic interludes each feeling very original. My favorite has to be Colin Firth who falls for his Spanish maid played by Lucia Moniz even though neither speaks the other’s language. It’s an extremely sweet story that tugs at my heartstrings in the end. Each of the stories is about love in a different way, and this film never gets old to me at all.

7. Mallrats (1995) When Brodie’s (Jason Lee) girlfriend Rene (Shannon Doherty) dumps him for being too immature and TS’s (Jeremy London) gal Brandi (Claire Forlani) cancels plans to go with him to Florida, the pair hang out at the mall and plot a way to get their girlfriends back. Kevin Smith’s follow-up to Clerks tore a page right out of my life. I was a serious Mallrat in high school. I knew all the asshats and freaks that hung out there, and it’s also where I met many of my dates. The film is full of gross humor, sexual innuendo, and more snoochie boochie than you get in most films, but at its core, this is a film with a ton of heart.

6. The Thin Man (1934) Myrna Loy and William Powell made the best couple as Nick and Nora Charles, and I have to pick this film because of the great portrayal of married bliss. Only recently my wife and I sat down and watched the Thin Man series from start to finish, and one of the things that stands out in each movie is what a great couple the Charles are. While there is no wooing falling in love in this film, I find the portrayal of the two characters and their interactions with each other to be the definition of romantic. Oh yeah, you get a ripping mystery as well.

5. The Getaway (1972) Sam Peckinpah isn’t known for his romantic films, and The Getaway is probably not everyone’s idea of a love story. Hang with me here for a second though. The Getaway is the story of “Doc“ McCoy (Steve McQueen) whose wife Carol (Ali McGraw) gets him spring from jail so he can take part in a bank robbery. When everything goes wrong, they go on the run, and the couple must confront cops, baddies, and the problems in their own relationship if they want to make a clean getaway. McQueen and McGraw have a great chemistry (probably because they were in the throws of a real life affair), and the McCoys play out like a Bonnie and Clyde type fantasy that I think runs through every married couple’s mind.

4 The Princess Bride (1987) Rob Reiner’s film based on William Goldman’s book is full of the mushy stuff, and doesn’t hold back on the action either. The fairy tale love between Westley (Carey Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright) is perfectly captured in the film, and this is a film that appeals to men and women just as well. While Fred Savages’ character might have been a little squeamish about the “kissing parts” at first, by the end of the tale even he comes around. Plus you get Chris Sarandon as a baddie, Andre the Giant as, well, a giant, and Mandy Patinkin as a Spanish swordsman. As far as romantic films go it doesn’t get much better.

3 Heartbeeps (1981) When this movie came out, it was a massive flop. No one was interested in Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as robots who fall in love, but even as a child when I saw this one, I was sold. It’s a sweet story that I won’t go too much more into because I reviewed it in full last year for Valentine’s Day so check out my review of it here.


2 Jackie Brown (1997) Tarantino is another film maker who isn’t known for his romances, but his 1997 film based on the Elmore Leonard book Rum Punch contains one of the most subtle and unrequited romances ever put to film. The relationship that develops between Max Cherry (Robert Forrester) and Jackie (Pam Grier) is built with a subtle touch. From the moment that Cherry pops his tape of the Delphonics song La La (Means I Love You) into his car stereo, you know he’s fallen for Jackie, but the film, like Max, never brings it out in the open.

1. Casablanca (1942) I guess I like love stories that don’t end up the way I hope they will. Like Max Cherry, Bogart’s Rick has to let the woman he loves walk away in the end. Casablanca goes back to that old adage that if you love someone, set them free, and from the look in Rick’s eyes as Ilsa boards the plane at the end is heartbreaking. Bogart had the ability to be a tough customer and still portray softness with his eyes. Director Michael Curtiz used this to high effect in this film, and Bogie was never better. The problems of two little people “might not add up to a hill of beans in this world”, but thankfully we’ll always have Casablanca to remind us that sometimes the most romantic love is love that is lost.

So there you go. If you’re looking for something to watch with the one you love on Valentine’s Day, there are my ten selections. No matter if you want action, mystery, or just a classic tale of love, there’s something for everyone to like here. I hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day, and if you’ll excuse me, my wife and I have a few movies to watch.

7 comments:

  1. Peckinpah's version of The Getaway is stylish fun, and it's definitely a twisted love story. In the book (by Jim Thompson) the love story is even more twisted.

    Possibly Steve McQueen's finest moment as an actor. And apparently Ali McGraw did most of her own stunt driving. She couldn't drive at all before making the movie, but having Steve McQueen (who did after all drive racing cars) as your driving teacher does help.

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  2. Thanks for the commend D. I've never read the book. I need to look that up someday. I guess Steve was teaching Ali all kind of skills (much to the chagrin of Bob Evans)

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  3. Remind me to give you shit about this list on the podcast. lol

    I can't argue with number 1 though.

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  4. I think you probably just have issues with the Flintones for some reason....

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  5. There was quite a lot of British rubbish unfortunately polluting the list but if i overlook that (which is rather difficult to do obviously) i must admit that it was quite a charming list, a reasonably good selection, its just a shame the Brits always have to spoil everything (simply by existing).

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  6. LOVE Mallrats! One of the best and most underrated comedic films ever! Brody Bruce is still my idol, no matter how pathetic it is to say that!

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