Wednesday, April 11, 2012

i don't hate romantic comedies

I was going to make a Romantic Comedy list but I’m seeing a lot of the same great films being picked and acknowledged for their excellence. I also saw a lot of films that I can’t get on board with being repeated. Instead of making this a contrarian rant I wanted to do a couple of things that I consider pro-active. But before I get to that I think I should clear up a few things. First, I don’t think that the genre is reviled in Film Club despite our consistent dismissal of modern entries. This brings me to Adrienne’s description which is getting much deserved praise and consideration. I think that we should writer to Wikipedia and Webster’s and demand that this be the official definition. Seriously beautiful stuff Adrienne but………….

Under that criteria I would argue that many films of recent times, including ones on everyone’s list thus far (in some cases the honorable mentions list) don’t contain a drop of emotional truth. I would argue that many of them don’t teach us a thing about navigating relationships and I would argue that most of them don’t focus primarily on the wonder of falling in love. I see a lot of cynicism, classicism, and sexism (almost always against women and specifically the way the protagonists almost always adhere to the boring Katherine Heigl archetype). The filmmaking is getting more and more inept as well, not only are they regurgitated but also not willing to learn any new tricks or even improve on the old ones. This isn’t to say that I haven’t seen some good/great ones but in this age of self-awareness this genre seems to have suffered the biggest setbacks.

So I just wanted to clear that up. I love romantic comedies but only when they are done right. Perhaps I’ve underestimated the skill it takes to re-create those feelings we are all so familiar with. Jeff is right about love, it’s strange and capricious just like life. I don’t understand either. I can’t really define love right now, it confuses me. Is it something that comes naturally or do you need to fight for it? Why does something so seemingly strong die? Do we let it die? I’m not sure that it’s a romantic comedies job to answer our questions but rather to make us laugh and give us butterflies. Not all of the great romantic comedies accomplish the same goal or goals and in that fact I think the genre is incredibly budding. So instead of repeating all of the same picks I thought I would name a few that I didn’t see on any of your lists in hopes that you get a chance to see them. ----PS I love all of your lists as well. For some reason I’m on the ropes feeling like a cynical rom com hater.---- Here are some rom coms that I like/love that weren’t brought up before.

Vivacious Lady, Pat and Mike, Irma La Douce, Fools Rush In, Can’t Buy Me Love, Spanglish, You Can’t Take It With You, Raising Victor Vargas, Monkey Business (Hawks), Brown Sugar, The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Heaven Can Wait, and Corpse Bride.

I tried to sprinkle in some less than obvious/questionable films just to ensure you that I’m not a total snob. I DO love the genre and I have high hopes that it’ll get out of its current slog. Perhaps we should do the more serious version of this list later. Do I smell a top ten romance films list?

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