Re: The Decline Of The Romantic Comedy

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I love His Girl Friday and It Happened One Night! And you know what's weird? I don't think of them as romantic comedies, even though that's what they are.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:38 AM
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a) Sturgeon's law:the reviwer should be chained in a screening room and forced to watch all the romantic comedies from 1938-39, especially the Maisie series. I am not even sure that our favorites from classic Hollywood were the A-list movies, Hepburn, Grant, and Stewart may not have been at the top.

b) He also needs to watch more indies & foreign films, as do we all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:41 AM
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I think one of the problems (which I couldn't quite articulate so I left it out of the main post) is that the "conflicts" the couples have to overcome in most romantic comedies are trite and ridiculous -- the one that jumps to mind immediately is the "you must find the book that I wrote my phone number in in some used bookstore in NYC" plot of Serendipity. You'd think studios would notice that the romcoms they've made that have actually gotten a good reception lately have involved people dealing with real problems instead, like Juno and Knocked Up. Another movie that I kept thinking of as I was reading the article (and thinking of that point) was Kissing Jessica Stein.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:43 AM
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His Girl Friday may be my favorite movie of all time, and I love romantic comedies, so I have a lot of sympathy for Scott's claim. But I think Scott neglects two explanations:

1. The movies from the past that he sees now are the good ones. He never had to wade through all the terrible follow-on ones made.

2. There's less at risk in a romantic comedy now. A bad marriage isn't a trap anymore. It's just a mistake. If the protagonists marry the wrong people, they can get divorced.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:44 AM
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See, all movies are basically date movies, but romantic comedies are boring because that's all they are. (Sort of like poern movies). It's more interesting to have a hott FBI agent played by Scarlett Johanssen falling into the arms of Brad Pitt (a newspaperan? A private detective? The cable repair guy? Possibilities are endless) at the end of an action sequence. A good movie has some porn, some romance, some action, some political relevance, some plot, some sentiment, and so on. Because movies are basically boring unless presented well.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:49 AM
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I think one of the problems (which I couldn't quite articulate so I left it out of the main post) is that the "conflicts" the couples have to overcome in most romantic comedies are trite and ridiculous

Scott claims, at least, that this was true in the past as well. I wonder if we're less comfortable with the archtypes, too. Do we like the Doris Day woman who is, what, "saving her virtue"? Are we OK with Rock Hudson, complete cad?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:52 AM
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3: I don't know if that's so much of a problem. Lots of movies have silly macguffins driving the plot (what's the meaning of 'rosebud'? the Nazis will never stop a passport signed by Charles de Gaulle!) No deep analysis from me here: it's just that modern romantic comedies don't seem to be as well-written or as well-acted, partially because as SCMTim says, we only see the best of the old movies, and partially because romantic comedies seem to do well enough that it really doesn't matter if most of the humor isn't funny because they're relatively cheap to produce.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:04 AM
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You Can't Take it with You is my favorite of the Capra romantic comedies, but It Happened One Night has that great scene where the protagonists suddenly act like a fighting couple.

I would not be shocked to find that most romantic comedies have always been bad; the same is true of most movies. But have the percentages changed? Someone needs to quantify this.

Also, A.O. Scott loved Shopgirl, which wasn't a very good movie.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:09 AM
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There's less at risk in a romantic comedy now. A bad marriage isn't a trap anymore. It's just a mistake. If the protagonists marry the wrong people, they can get divorced.

This is sort of true, but it's more complicated than that. After all, a very healthy helping of those classic romantic comedies revolved around remarriage plots. Cary Grant's oeuvre in particular is full of these: in His Girl Friday and Philadelphia Story the central couples are already divorced at the beginning of the movie. See also The Awful Truth and The Palm Beach Story.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:10 AM
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Trollishly, there's a case to be made that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan destroyed romantic comedy by making fans of the genre blind themselves.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:11 AM
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Are date-movie patrons having more post-movie sex now than in the 1940s? I'm going to say yes. Isn't that the correct measure?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:12 AM
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I was part of a captive audience on a plane recently and saw Catch and Release. That was a romantic comedy I'm not ashamed to say I liked. When I think about what distinguished it from others of the genre, part of it is what Becks describes (non-triteness of problems faced). Two other aspects: (1) There is no villain in the cast. One character is introduced who appears destined for that role, but it turns out she's basically OK; (2) The central conflict in the plot is not between the two romantic leads. Just a couple of departures from the conventions of the genre made it refreshing and enjoyable.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:14 AM
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9: Excellent point. Do you think the idea that they can't sleep together without marriage matter? I'm hard pressed to believe that.

Also, I use "yar" whenever I can--for good coffee, a nice shirt, etc.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:14 AM
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Someone needs to quantify this.

Yes! With multiple regressions, multiple equilibria, path-dependency, fractals, long tails, the whole nine yards! Send this thread to The Valve! Or to Crooked Timber.

John Emerson's "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" was the greatest of all romantic comedies, as we know. Even though he was gay. His wife, Anita Loos, scripted a bunch of that shit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:17 AM
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Is it just old-fogey snobbery to say that the Doris Day & Rock Hudson vehicles were objectively better? Because, while I enjoy the hell out of, say, Pillow Talk, I'm hard-pressed so supply any objective evidence that it's actually *good* in any artistic sense. It's just that Doris Day is so goddamned sexy. Perhaps it's because she is sexy in an innocent-girl-next-door way that is no longer a plausible role for a leading lady.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:26 AM
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14: Send this thread to The Valve

This did bring to mind Bill Benzon's post there this summer in which compares the level of verbal pyrotechncis of The Philadelphia Story to Deadwood.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:30 AM
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Perhaps it's because she is sexy in an innocent-girl-next-door way that is no longer a plausible role for a leading lady.

Innocent girls next door are still a big hit in porn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 9:37 AM
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The article has a long front porch, but I think the meat of it is here:

Love, in those old pictures, was a dangerous and noble sport that required skill and cunning as well as commitment. It required movie stars whose physical appeal was matched by verbal dexterity and a vital sense of idiosyncrasy. They were not real of course: Who ever met anyone like C. K. Dexter Haven and Tracy Lord, the central pair in "The Philadelphia Story?" They were better.
L
LWhich brings me back -- apologies to both; it's nothing personal -- to Mr. McConaughey, Ms. Hudson and their photogenic ilk. They are, for sure, better looking than the rest of us, but in their screen incarnations almost programmatically less interesting.

I don't disagree with what people have been saying above, but something I look for in movies is people who a) are fully present and b) have some iceburg (as in, 9/10 below the surface) going on. The TV remake of Bye Bye Birdie was a terrific example of the failure of the former. Everybody in that movie was so busy being hip and knowing and ironic and I'm-not-taking-this-seriously that there was no personal investment. How can we get seduced into a soap-bubble of a story if the actors haven't?

And b) is harder to pin down but a piece of it does depend on the real-life actor. They don't have to be book-smart, but if their main qualification is their ability to be well-groomed, to hit their marks and not require retakes, that's a lousy recipe for an interesting person.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:00 AM
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Do you think the idea that they can't sleep together without marriage matter?

They can't in a screwball, maybe (although Carole Lombard is apparently running around in My Man Godfrey) but the Lubitsch touch clearly occurs somewhere below the waistline, sunshine. I think it's more that these are almost all comedies about class (His Girl Friday, which is possibly my favorite movie of all time, is an exception, but fits into the same pattern of the later Tracy/Hepburn movies of being about the weirdness of working women), and class is both more muddled now than it was in the '30s and more resolutely ignored by Hollywood. You can't have the same kind of plots, because even the rich are all nouveau riche now. (Holiday, which I like very nearly as much as Friday, revolves around a poor-boy-made-good Harvard graduate who's made a small fortune as an investment banker and now wants to find himself, man. That part would work today, but neither Hepburn nor Nolan would come out right, because they're Old Money.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:03 AM
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Whoa, formatting runs amok. Sorry, everyone. And iceberg.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:03 AM
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I dunno. I haven't been watching a lot of movies in recent years, but I can think of a lot of modern romantic comedies that are quite good.

What is Grosse Pointe Blank if not a romantic comedy? For another John Cusack, how about High Fidelity? It's possible that movies like that could have been done in the '50s, but they wouldn't have been as good. Things change.

Serendipity on the other hand, was as hideous as Becks makes it out to be, for the reason that Becks describes.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:03 AM
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Holiday, which I like very nearly as much as Friday, revolves around a poor-boy-made-good Harvard graduate who's made a small fortune as an investment banker and now wants to find himself, man. That part would work today, but neither Hepburn nor Nolan would come out right, because they're Old Money

I'm not sure Holiday worked the first time.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:11 AM
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Oh no, man, those are fighting words. Rfts is gonna cut ya.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:13 AM
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What! I love Holiday.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:13 AM
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I'll grant that Holiday is arguably better than Mr. Lucky, but not by much. Grant doesn't do earnest all that well.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:23 AM
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Trollishly, there's a case to be made that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan destroyed romantic comedy by making fans of the genre blind themselves.

It's not trolling if it's true. (The Shop Around the Corner, from which You've Got Mail was ripped off, is great.)

There have been a few good recent romantic comedies that haven't been mentioned yet: Clueless, Chasing Liberty (yes, I am publicly endorsing a Mandy Moore movie, but it works; also, Jeremy Piven!), things like 4 Weddings & a Funeral, which could have worked if Andie McDowell weren't one of the worst actresses of our time (who's trolling now?), Much Ado About Nothing.

Also, PBS is rebroadcasting the sublime BBC version of Pride & Prejudice!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:24 AM
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Even if I didn't love Holiday for several other reasons, it would be well worth watching if only for the delightful Jean Dixon.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:26 AM
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I got your back, rfts. Holiday is wonderful.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:26 AM
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class is both more muddled now than it was in the '30s and more resolutely ignored by Hollywood

This is so true.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:30 AM
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which could have worked if Andie McDowell weren't one of the worst actresses of our time

It's not trolling if it's true.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:30 AM
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28: Women have no place in the judging of chyck flicks!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:30 AM
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Also, pf is right about Grosse Point Blank, and Four Weddings succeeded.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:32 AM
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class is both more muddled now than it was in the '30s and more resolutely ignored by Hollywood

Aw c'mon! Joe Dirt? They've got it covered.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:33 AM
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This is a recent RC I liked, entirely formulaic:

Wedding Date

Catch & Release was also good. I'll try to remember others.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:36 AM
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McConaughey looked so much like young Paul Newman that I was offended. I'm not a big Paul Newman buff or anything, but it was like the whole thing of making crappy remakes of pretty good movies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:37 AM
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#34 should probably stay anonymous.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:39 AM
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See, I liked Grosse Point Blank, but I don't recall it as having the central feature of a romantic comedy: the focus of the movie is on the hero and heroine, thrown together and then kept together by crazy plot devices, interacting as much as possible.

That's It Happened One Night, it's His Girl Friday...is it really GPB? I feel as though I'm remembering more angles and subplots to that movie. Like Joan Cusack, who is great.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:40 AM
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McConaughey looked so much like young Paul Newman

Heresy! Go watch The Long Hot Summer or Hud, then write an essay on How Wrong You Were.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:42 AM
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37: Next you'll say that "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" (better than expected) wasn't a romcom. Of course GPB was a romcom! He still loves her! He has to kill her dad!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:44 AM
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which could have worked if Andie McDowell weren't one of the worst actresses of our time (who's trolling now?)

It's only trolling if there's someone on the Internet who is going to disagree with you.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:45 AM
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38: Actually, I recommend the shirtless hotel room scenes in Sweet Bird of Youth.

Holiday is perfect: RTFS has a posse.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:45 AM
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Who stole my fucking cookies?

34 was me. "Absolutely Adorable" and "It was Soooo Cuuuuute" are two of the user reviews.
Highly recommended.

Whereas I watched this week Breach (Phillippe's looks are changing, will he survive?) and The Number 23 and fegh, but would watch WD again in a heartbeat.

You only think you know me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:46 AM
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Pwned by mrh, alas.

The Shop Around the Corner is great -- man, that Lubitsch! -- but it suffers somewhat from the problem many screwballs suffer from, which is that the love story part is underbaked. (At least we get told that the reason Sullavan is so horrid to Stewart is to get him to notice her; she's been taking romantic advice from Ogged.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:48 AM
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I don't watch movies except by accident, Witt. I work at a higher theoretical level than you empiricist motherfuckers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:49 AM
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Hurrah!

Those who cannot appreciate Holiday deserve not our scorn, but our pity.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:50 AM
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This thread is timely for me as last night I insisted on watching Rumor Has It... over the wise protests of my wife and son, due to its potentially interesting plotline and my interest in staring at Jennifer Aniston. The Graduate is spinning in its vault. And it was a real treat on the "class" issues as well. How do mere Manhattan yuppies deal with old-money Pasadena* and mega-rich Venture Capitalists? Very piquant and moving.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:52 AM
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41: Okay, I'm not picky. Go look at stills from Sweet Bird, John, if you're so all-fired determined not to watch a movie.

And Tim, dude, GPB was a good, fun movie but I just went and looked at the Ebert review and it's really not a romantic comedy. I can't say anything about M&MS except that it benefitted from truly elegant and mouthwatering promo posters.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:53 AM
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40:Or it's trolling to disagree. I like Andi McDowell.

Harrison's Flowers (Adrian Brody, David Straithairn) and Dinner with Friends (great little scene by Dennis Quaid) should not be missed and even Ruby Cairo (Neeson & Viggo) all have a lot going for them.

Andi is comfortable.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:54 AM
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After all, a very healthy helping of those classic romantic comedies revolved around remarriage plots.

Didn't Cavell write a book or article about this?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 10:58 AM
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Maybe I lack feminine intuition, or maybe I just steroetype honky dudes. It's not that I especially like either one of them or anything, though I have nothing against Newman. I just thought that it was like plagiarism


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:00 AM
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Yes sir, indeed he did.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:00 AM
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Hmph. Ate my links.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:01 AM
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the focus of the movie is on the hero and heroine, thrown together and then kept together by crazy plot devices, interacting as much as possible.

If those are you criteria, I'm not sure Philadelphia Story is an RC. C.K. Dexter Haven isn't the focus for a lot of it—in the first half it's much more about Stewart and Hepburn.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:02 AM
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Holiday is perfect: RTFS has a posse.

Now I'm going to have to re-watch "Holiday" so that I can hate you people more effectively. Look at the list of films starting from "The Awful Truth" onward. Aren't there five or six movies he made in that genre that are clearly better?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:02 AM
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Oh, and C.K. and Hepburn aren't kept together by "crazy plot devices", unless you think Hepburn getting drunk is a crazy plot device.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:02 AM
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Twice and counting.

http://gracemagazine.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/paulnewman480.jpg

http://images.eonline.com/eol_images/Profiles/20060925/244.mcconaughey.matthew.092506.jpg"

http://files.list.co.uk/images/2008/01/30/BS2BS10971.jpg


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:02 AM
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People Will Talk may be a hidden gem, written & directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, or may be badly dated schlock. I loved it 40 years ago.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:08 AM
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And Tim, dude, GPB was a good, fun movie but I just went and looked at the Ebert review and it's really not a romantic comedy.

Ebert review begins John Cusack is one of those rare actors who can convincingly look as if he is thinking about words of many syllables. He seems smart, and that's crucial for the character he plays in ``Grosse Pointe Blank,'' because like so many really smart people, this one is clueless about matters of the heart.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:08 AM
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Aren't there five or six movies he made in that genre that are clearly better?

I know you'll always carry a torch for Shirley Temple, but The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer isn't that good.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:10 AM
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58: Woot! I claim pride of place, with young Lochinvar on my side.

59: What kind of twisted soul doesn't love Loy in "Bachelor"?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:13 AM
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A natural double feature with The Major and the Minor. Now there's a title that would make people uncomfortable today.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:14 AM
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Nora Charles is the one true Myrna Loy, and all the others only shadows.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:15 AM
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Fah So Lee is the one true Myrna Loy, and all others are only shadows.

They don't make' em like Loy & Colbert & Russell anymore.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:20 AM
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62: That you have to ply your women with alcohol doesn't mean it always has to be that way.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:20 AM
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If Andie MacDowell had appeared only in Sex, Lies, and Videotape, she might be remembered as a great actress. Some people don't know when to stop, or when to begin, for that matter.

I'm surprised Emerson hasn't pointed out that, the better romcoms notwithstanding, romance is a subject better suited to tragedy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:21 AM
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Hmmm make that "Fah Lo See"

Umm, racist music jokes should get you banned, so watch it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:23 AM
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Ben, your 58 does nothing to refute my contention. Movies can have love in them without being romantic comedies.

Your point about Philadelphia Story is a good one, although I would add that when the main energy of the movie is about getting the couple together, that still says romance to me.

(And the Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer I remember as being actively bad. Lame in the purest sense of the word. I don't remember Loy even being it it, though, so the 20 years that have elapsed since I saw it may be fogging up my memory.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:23 AM
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Andie MacDowell is weird. She is as wooden as a big wooden thing, really not capable of acting at all. Yet I like the movies she's in, and her sitting in the middle of them being a very attractive big block of wood doesn't seem to spoil them. I don't know if she just picks good scripts, or what.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:24 AM
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64 - That's true in theory, but this is the best of all possible worlds.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:24 AM
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Witt simply ignores my solid evidence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:24 AM
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70: No, I'm tactfully and graciously ignoring your troll-bait. Feminine intuition, indeed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:26 AM
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New thesis: if a modern comedy that includes romance is good, it receives its letters of transit from the romantic comedy genre.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:27 AM
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And the Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer I remember as being actively bad.

As you'd classify it as an action movie, or maybe a court room drama, I can sort of see that. It probably does fail on those terms.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:28 AM
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Witt, you know how tact infuriates me, and then you go ahead and do something like that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:29 AM
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To say nothing of graciousness! I'm a man of the people, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:31 AM
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Look at the list of films starting from "The Awful Truth" onward. Aren't there five or six movies he made in that genre that are clearly better?

Granted. Holiday isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn good. Cary Grant doing a back-flip has to be worth something. And no movie is all bad that features Edward Everett Horton (he's the ur-Harry Dean Stanton).


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:32 AM
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Next Tim will defend Operation Petticoat as an unjustly neglected masterpiece, the lost bridge between Run Silent Run Deep and Das Boot.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:34 AM
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I know you'll always carry a torch for Shirley Temple, but The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer isn't that good.

Cary Grant made some of the best movies of all time, and some of the worst. This was driven home a few weeks ago when I found myself bored enough to sit through all of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House on cable.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:35 AM
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My mom and I, out of boredom, watched Because I Said So while on vacation. By far the worst movie I have ever seen. Nothing about the plot makes any sense, and then there's all this fake-ass dialogue between the mother and daughter where the mom asks the daughter what an orgasm feels like, which is the moment the daughter realizes why her mom is such a huge bitch. One wishes a film like this were bad in a hilarious way, but this was just bad in a miserable-making way.

Agreed with the above, though, that AO Scott has serious blinders on w/r/t the badness of romcoms that we no longer watch. People do this with literature all the time, saying that in the past, all books were Miltonic in quality and look how far we've fallen. Those people should be forced to read 18th-century political joke-books for punishment.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:35 AM
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Awww, Tim, now you're just being snarky. Let's talk about courtroom dramas! I like Anatomy of a Murder and Twelve Angry Men (both versions).

Does My Cousin Vinny count? Probably not -- the courtroom scenes are hardly the bulk of the movie. Same for A Time to Kill (starring John's old friend) and A Few Good Men.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:36 AM
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68: Case in point: Groundhog Day. A near-perfect film which somehow overcomes the Andie McDowell handcap.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:36 AM
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My Cousin Vinny is a brilliant legal movie -- I know of at least one large law firm and a couple of law schools that use it in trainings or classes. Also the scene in which Marisa Tomei refers to a hypothetical fawn's 'little deer lips'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:39 AM
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I actually rewatched Operation Petticoat recently, and was tolerably amused. I may have had exceedingly low expecations, though.

Emerson, see if I ever again get your back in a higher-ed discussion. Bah.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:40 AM
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Twelve Angry Men on the other hand, while a good movie, is hard to watch without muttering "Mistrial. Whoops, mistrial again. And another mistrial." throughout. Jurors really aren't allowed to go out gathering evidence for themselves.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:41 AM
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82: really? So is it alone in cinema in getting things right in the courtroom?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:54 AM
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The mention of Twelve Angry Men causes me to speculate that the best films, regardless of ostensible genre, are those that wind up being, for lack of a better term, cross-genre.

That's not quite right. But an alleged romantic comedy that's not particularly romantic or comedic is generally more interesting than one that is. So with a so-called courtroom drama: the mistrial moments in Twelve Angry Men aren't really bothersome (to a non-lawyer, anyway) because it's not really, like, a law movie.

I suppose this is just to say that most contemporary movies are so formulaic that anything non-formulaic makes them (potentially) more interesting.

Caveats all 'round.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 11:55 AM
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85: Oh, it's not generally realistic or anything. But it has a fair number of usefully realistic, or at least accurately cartoonish, moments.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:03 PM
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Does Good Will Hunting qualify in this category? Because it is awesome. I also like Love Actually. It charmed me.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:10 PM
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What is Grosse Pointe Blank if not a romantic comedy?

I thought it was supposed to be an intentionally boring parody of crime films. But it seemed too boring even for that.

Of course, that's also how I would describe The Ice Harvest. Maybe I just don't like John Cusack.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:14 PM
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Does Good Will Hunting qualify in this category?

I'd say no, mostly because the Affleck/Damon relationship to me is the emotional heart of the movie. And then maybe the Robin Williams/Damon relationship. The romance is the growth device for the hero, not the raison d'etre of the movie.

(yes, yes, low-hanging fruit)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:18 PM
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Anatomy of a Murder is one of the best films ever. I was impressed by every aspect of it. And it left me no longer feeling embarrassed to eat hard-boiled eggs for lunch.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:20 PM
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You could say the same thing about The Philadelphia Story, couldn't you? It's not really about the romance, so much as it is about Katherine Hepburn growing and changing. Because of all sorts of things that annoy me, the expression of her finding emotional growth and health is getting together with Grant, but it's not as much about bringing them together as it is about her becoming healthy? (stupid word, but I can't think of a better one) enough to want to be with him.

He doesn't change a hair through the movie -- he's a fixed reference point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:23 PM
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I liked Raul Julia in Presumed Innocent. Just saw the courtroom scene in A Few Good Men the other night. My pleasure in the thing has waned upon learning that military types think Nicholson's final monologue is some kind of validation of their way of thinking. One would think the very end of the scene with him -- you're under arrest, you son of a bitch would be a tip-off.

I've lived some pretty good moments of courtroom drama, but more comedy than tragedy.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:24 PM
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The Princess Bride should sort of qualify, and is awesome. Romancing the Stone? Awesome. Groundhog Day? Awesome. Clueless? Awesome. My vocabulary today? Awesome.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:25 PM
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The actresses are spunky and sweet, but lacking in the vinegar that made Barbara Stanwyck in "The Lady Eve" or Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night" so definitively sexy.

There are still comedies, about romance, with characters like that in them. Just not the formulaic ones that we feel 100% safe referring to as "romantic comedies".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:28 PM
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Groundhog Day shows MacDowell to advantage: humorless, wooden straightman. I will say, though, that she's a great representative for the appearance-modification industry, looking to all the world like she's aged very well. (She'll be 50 this year, after all, the end for a great many of us of any and all illusions of physical attractiveness).


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:30 PM
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He doesn't change a hair through the movie -- he's a fixed reference point.

That's because he's Cary fucking Grant, motherfucker!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:31 PM
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you're under arrest, you son of a bitch

Wouldn't it be awesome if this were in fact a reference to Zhukov's arrest of Beria?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:39 PM
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To be pedantic:

The older films define the genre(s), which is a principal reason we have a tendency to revere them. The question whether they were good or bad doesn't really apply. According to what standard?

How the dimension of something like The Philadelphia Story was written out of subsequent emulations of the model is the subject of numerous discussions, no? But there's no doubt that modern movies are to be money-makers first, art (loosely) second -- and movies that are not much more than star vehicles, where the stars are understood just as pretty people, predominate.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:40 PM
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"Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:42 PM
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I'd be really interested (is Moira around?) in some historical analysis of how screenwriting practices have changed since the thirties and forties. Mostly, I think the difference is that scripts now are much less interesting? witty? something. Actors are as good as they ever were, but what they're saying has gotten dull.

Anyone see Notting Hill? I like Hugh Grant, I like Julia Roberts, the setup had potential, the minor characters were interesting, and no one said a single line during the movie sufficient to distract me from fishing through my Jujyfruits to find the black ones.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:44 PM
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Racist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:45 PM
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99: I take your larger point on the trajectory of the genre, but that modern movies are to be money-makers first, art (loosely) second -- and movies that are not much more than star vehicles, where the stars are understood just as pretty people, predominate was certainly true in that era as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:45 PM
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(I don't think this is just temporal snobbery, or that only the good movies survived. I wouldn't say the same thing about a contrast between, say, mystery novels from the 40s and today: they're different, but not systematically blander and dumber. But movies seem to be.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:45 PM
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(She'll be 50 this year, after all, the end for a great many of us of any and all illusions of physical attractiveness).

Hey! Andie McDowell rides horses on a ranch in Montana or something. She is naturally clean and beautiful.

Anyways, speak for yourself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:46 PM
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Hollywood movies are no longer dialogue-based, so scriptwriters just don't learn to write really good dialogue. And rom-coms are more dialogue dependent than any other movie genre.

There is still great dialogue being written for TV series, but the extended series is a total mismatch for the marriage plot, it's too long.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:47 PM
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I liked Mr and Mrs Smith.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:48 PM
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101: distract me from fishing through my Jujyfruits to find the black ones.

To ritually torture them on the charge of impersonating candy, I trust.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:48 PM
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98 -- Or AG Edwards arrest of Yoo.

A guy can dream.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:48 PM
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rom-coms or ro-cos? I prefer the latter.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:48 PM
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and movies that are not much more than star vehicles, where the stars are understood just as pretty people, predominate.

The Philadelphia Story is a bad counterexample to this trend, given that Hepburn got her former lover Howard Hughes to buy the rights for her after playing Tracy Lord on Broadway. Hepburn then demanded control of the casting and the choice of director; it was very explicitly a star vehicle for her, and meant to be a commercial success after Bringing Up Baby and Stage Door had tanked.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:50 PM
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Mostly, I think the difference is that scripts now are much less interesting? witty? something

Witty is hard, b/c it veers into bitchy so easily. There is some lack, though. Even movies I like-"40 Year-Old," for example--seem to lack something. Could it be the lack of a fixed endpoint? Marriage is no longer the assumed end?

And, yeah, the only good thing about "Notting Hill" was a few minutes at the dinner.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:51 PM
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106 is exactly right.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:51 PM
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105 -- She moved back to NC after her marriage broke up.

107 -- Everyone in my household knows that the mere mention of Ms. Jolie will set off the wife. Something about her eyes.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:52 PM
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The question whether they were good or bad doesn't really apply. According to what standard?

I disagree. To ask whether they are good or bad examples of the genre, in the sense of "good fit", would indeed be silly. But the question of whether they are good, successful, enjoyable movies applies entirely.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:52 PM
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There is still great dialogue being written for TV series,

Excellent point. On the whole, I now expect TV to be richer and more satisfying than movies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:53 PM
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111: Except that it's not Hepburn understood as just a pretty person. It's completely a star vehicle for her -- if they switched the sexes, I'd be muttering about the treatment of Cary Grant being sexist (yeah, I know). But it's about the character as a person, not just having the camera gloat over her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:53 PM
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Mostly, I think the difference is that scripts now are much less interesting? witty? something

Filled with words.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:54 PM
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There is real resistance to my attempts to dumb down this thread, but I persist: My Best Friend's Wedding isn't bad.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:54 PM
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Everyone in my household knows that the mere mention of Ms. Jolie will set off the wife. Something about her eyes.

Um, that they're so awesome? She could be such a great comedic actress. (I'm not to be trusted on Jolie or Loy. I even kind of loved "Hackers.")


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:55 PM
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You know what was a really good romantic comedy? The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, 1997). When that stupid hobbit bought it at the end I laughed and laughed.

And what about Happy, Texas (Mark Illsley, 1999)? This may be revealing too much, but when William H. Macy's character takes Jeremy Northam's character to the gay cowboy bar in the next county, I thought it was one of the most poignant scenes in recent cinema.

Also, how do we draw the line between a "screwball comedy" with romantic elements (e.g. Bringing Up Baby) and farce with some love interest subplots (e.g. Election [Alexander Payne, 1999])? Part of the problem that Scott is trying to resolve in the linked article seems to me to stem from the fact that the category "romantic comedies" has come to connote only the most hidebound and formulaic expressions of the genre (which is kinda what he says at the start.) But is this a problem of production or one of reception? If, as McManus suggests, we were to cast a wider net and catch within it some of the underappreciated international and true-independent cinema, I think we'd find that the genre as a whole is much healthier and more worthwhile than Scott gives it credit for. I mean, if the only melodramas you see are along the lines of Stepmom (Chris Colombus, 1998), and you ignore Dirty Pretty Things (Stephen Frears, 2002) you can make the same broad claims about the poverty of cinematic philosophy without really engaging the genre in question.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:55 PM
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Jolie is possessed by an unclean spirit, but I don't see why people make such a big deal of that.

IIRC MacDowell is extremely clothes-optional, which for some adds to her appeal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:56 PM
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193: was certainly true in that era as well

Star vehicles, true. But surely the dialogue was more vibrant?

I'm not prepared to argue that in detail, but it would be interesting to know how many people in that era went to see a film in order to ogle the actors without particularly caring about the film itself.

Maybe nothing's changed, and that's all it was then as well. You may be right. And if that's the case, there would be no reason Hollywood shouldn't increasingly drop any pretension of interestingness in favor of just filming pretty people.

104: Most of Hollywood's output these days just feeds the gaping maw.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:56 PM
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Also, how do we draw the line between a "screwball comedy" with romantic elements (e.g. Bringing Up Baby) and farce with some love interest subplots (e.g. Election [Alexander Payne, 1999])?

Not to be simplistic, but happy ending? Or at least 'formally coupled up' ending, to include creepy 'happy endings' like Love In The Afternoon?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:57 PM
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I love Angelina. I might put a poster of her in my room if such things were still done at 30.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:57 PM
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Excellent point. On the whole, I now expect TV to be richer and more satisfying than movies.

Er....um....I am presuming you aren't comparing a randomly chosen TV show to a randomly chosen movie. That statement is still wrong even in our era of great programming on cable networks 12 hours a week.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:58 PM
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124: Election has a happy ending, for the anarchist lesbian, who was the only character I cared about.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 12:59 PM
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113: ah, sweet recognition! Thank you Witt.

Seriously, 118 supports that point too -- none of the great dialogue dependent movies of the past, like All About Eve or Casablanca, could be made similarly today. "The Maltese Falcon" was the 30s version of an action movie, but it practically looks like a stage play today.

With that said, though, I never see a midlevel rom-com today without wondering whether the profound spiritual fucked-upness on the screen represents something uniquely corrupt about modern gender roles, conceptions of romance, pop culture, etc. (Sex and the City made me wonder this too -- used some of the conventions of romantic comedy but it was rotten to the core). I have to believe all those things were messed up in the past too.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:00 PM
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But surely the dialogue was more vibrant?

I don't really think it was, in the typical movie ("His Girl Friday" not being the typical movie in any way). I watch things I've never heard of on TCM and they're just as predictable and full of cliches as the unmemorable movies of today are. In fact, back then the potential universe of cliches to be found in Hollywood films was much narrower. The occasional clever line sounds better to me in these old films because I haven't been hearing a lot of things like it. But I don't think they were any better written.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:01 PM
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126: No, not randomly chosen methodology. Though I bet you could make a decent case, using that methodology, for "more satisfying experience." If a show is bad, I turn it off. If a movie is bad, I feel irritated that they stole my money.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:02 PM
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Audrey or Katherine Hepburn? In the only movie I remember by Catherine (Suddenly Last Summer) she overacted worse than anyone I've ever seen. And sure, she was playing a character who overacted all the time, but that's a copout. Otherwise you could say that Andy MacDowell is a great actress who specializes in wooden, unresponsive characters.

Oh wait. Someone already said that.

Anyway, I like Audrey. She reminds me of my sister a lot, for one thing, and she killed Nazis, and she's cute.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:02 PM
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Though I bet you could make a decent case, using that methodology, for "more satisfying experience." If a show is bad, I turn it off. If a movie is bad, I feel irritated that they stole my money.

Of course.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:04 PM
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and she killed Nazis

I'm pretty sure that's wrong; I think she suffered under Nazi rule, or something.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:04 PM
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I have a lot more patience with television because episodes are shorter, and a weak episode won't ruin a season. A movie that has a weak part just annoys me, especially if it already has a 2.5 hour runtime.

This may be mostly to me having the attention span of a mayfly. But I think it's also because most things I see are on DVDs, and TV shows provide more entertainment-per-dollar.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:04 PM
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and she killed Nazis

I'm pretty sure that's wrong; I think she suffered under Nazi rule, or something.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:04 PM
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Okay, you've said that your sister's high school nickname was Marilyn Monroe. I'm sure she's gorgeous, but it's not mechanically possible to simultaneously resemble Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. The fabric of space-time would rip or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:04 PM
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Also, you know, I think Something About Mary was a great romantic comedy. The only Farrelly Brothers movie that totally worked 100 percent. Grossout, but sweet and funny. Jonathan Richman really helped.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:04 PM
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And Katherine Hepburn's great in a script that fits her. Suddenly Last Summer wasn't good for her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:05 PM
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, but it's not mechanically possible to simultaneously resemble Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

I think he was referring to the Nazi killing.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:07 PM
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Continuing my argument in favor of movie scripts, I remember as a teenager being impressed even when my friends would bring home pieces of crap on VHS like Major Payne and Down Periscope, the cinematic equivalent of sitcoms -- the jokes were still a huge amount funnier, less predictable, better timed than the jokes in Family Matters or Growing Pains. I would say it was worth the extra $4 for that enhanced experience.

And today, something like Stranger Than Fiction may not be a classic film, but it's way better than watching two hours of Brothers and Sisters or Men in Trees episodes. As long as you stay away from things that are transparently formulaic and created on an assembly-line, going to the movies will rarely be completely disappointing.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:08 PM
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when my friends would bring home pieces of crap on VHS like Major Payne and Down Periscope, the cinematic equivalent of sitcoms -- the jokes were still a huge amount funnier, less predictable, better timed than the jokes in Family Matters or Growing Pains.

We're just going to disagree about that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:09 PM
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"The Maltese Falcon" was the 30s version of an action movie, but it practically looks like a stage play today.

I call foul on this. Action movies in the '30s looked like action movies; the difference is that nobody except AMC addicts and people who were in their college film society (koff) have seen things like The Fighting Marines or the 1937 King Solomon's Mines, just as nobody fifty years from now is going to have seen Live Free or Die Hard.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:10 PM
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nobody except AMC addicts

TCM addicts. It seems like AMC never has anything more than 20 years old nowadays.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:12 PM
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Snark, 142 is fine right up until you claim that my grandchildren aren't going to be watching Die Hard. Where's your sense of Christmas tradition?!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:12 PM
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TCM addicts. It seems like AMC never has anything more than 20 years old nowadays.

Really? I wouldn't know. But that's idiotic. (And how "classic" can they be if they don't include Ferris Bueller's Day Off, huh?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:15 PM
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Snark, 142 is fine right up until you claim that my grandchildren aren't going to be watching Die Hard.

Die Hard 4, dude. One and Three are still money.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:15 PM
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He doesn't change a hair through the movie -- he's a fixed reference point.

His changing happened before the movie begins, or so we're led (fairly explicitly) to believe.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:15 PM
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142 makes a good point. I was under the impression that the concept of the "action movie" didn't exist until post-Dirty Harry, and that before that the equivalent was "adventure movies". But again I haven't actually seen any of the 30s and 40s equivalents of the movies in question.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:16 PM
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136: Two sisters. My niece resembles Cindy Crawford. We all have the movie star good looks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:17 PM
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146: Oh, phew. Comity!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:17 PM
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Oh, yeah, if you're using "action movie" in that sense, I think the first big one is The French Connection (I won't swear to that, and I suspect I'm overlooking a few obvious car-chase-and-gunfight movies in the mid-to-late-60s). Before that you had war movies and adventure movies and gangster movies, but not "he gets results, you stupid chief!"


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:19 PM
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Speaking of movie star good looks, what annoys me in modern movies is when the character actors are good-looking.

Also, upon discovering that Heath Ledger is the villain in the eagerly-awaited-but-unknown-to-me Batman sequel, I looked at its IMDB entry hoping against all hope that Katie Holmes would not be in it. And she isn't! And she's been replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal! Amazing!!!!!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:20 PM
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Well, Woody Guthrie's guitar didn't literally kill fascists either. Hepburn's family was involved in the Resistance, she herself did little things for them, and an uncle was killed.

Her birth father was a Nazi.

She was a distant relative of Katherine.

I already told y'all this shit.

I just found out that the pre-game show is about 6 hours long. I found out that it started 3+ hours ago and figured that I had missed the game.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:20 PM
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My dad used to always say my sister looked like Audrey Hepburn. This was usually in the context of how she would REALLY look like Audrey Hepburn if she'd just lose 20 pounds.


Posted by: Geo-Wash | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:21 PM
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Speaking of movie star good looks, what annoys me in modern movies is when the character actors are good-looking.

So true! And when lead actors are good-looking when it doesn't fit the part! Lots more ugly actors in contemporary foreign movies, though.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:22 PM
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128: I never see a midlevel rom-com today without wondering whether the profound spiritual fucked-upness on the screen represents something uniquely corrupt about modern gender roles, conceptions of romance, pop culture, etc.

Oh, thank you.

Were things the same "back then"? The established conceptions were (slightly) different, no doubt. Now we have a great deal more advertising and lifestyle-norming in movies, and the cult of youth may be more pronounced -- which roughly corresponds to how the viewing public lives its life. But I'm honestly not sure whether the spiritual corruption can be said to be greater than it was.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:22 PM
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Stranger than Fiction is a kind of neat romcom in which the underdeveloped rom aspect is given extremely short shrift in order to make room for the not much better developed metafictional aspect.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:25 PM
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The only romantic comedies I can stand to watch were made by John Woo. Or Michael Mann.*

I have seen Andie Macdowell a couple of times in person, and found the sight pleasant enough. As pleasant as the sight of that girl from Felicity or Julianna Margulies, I reckon.

* See, they're romantic because of the furious passion between adversaries, and comedic because the unrighteous die violent deaths, restoring the equilibrium that they upset. The gunfights are like the snappy conversations that people like me are supposed to like but I don't, really.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:25 PM
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155, yes. The worst is when the generically handsome actor adds a moustache for the role of the sympathetic and downtrodden loser. WRONG. I know what to expect in real life when I see a generically handsome man with an inappropriate moustache, sir, and it's not a sympathetic and downtrodden loser, it's a slumming hipster worthy of my envy and hatred.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:26 PM
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123: I should have been more explicit, I agree that generally the dialogs was more vibrant and involved, but that result was obtained despite the movies being star vehicles and equally commercially motivated. I think it is a combination of some different audience assumption (late 30s not that far removed from Shakespeare-spouting vaudevillians) and the existence of a greater number of other options (for audiences and writers) such as the high-end of TV series (The Wire, Deadwood, Sopranos etc.).

One of the few recent Hollywood movies that approached those kind of verbal pyrotechnics was I ♥ Huckabees, with the Tomlin/Hoffman patter. (Different genre, I know, although removing some of the mud sex and other modern elements and you could map it onto a screwball comedy.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:26 PM
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158: Was she clothing-optional?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:27 PM
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a very neat comedy of remarriage, and the best American movie of the decade so far. Haven't read the thread other than to see it's not come up yet.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:27 PM
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157: I had completely forgotten about the rom part of Stranger Than Fiction, even after posting a comment about Maggie Gyllenhaal a few minutes later. Wow. I was constantly cringing through every scene in the bakery. Her character certainly was not the fault of the actress, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:28 PM
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144: snark's speaking of the recent fourth installment, not the original and classic.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:28 PM
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How do we feel about Intolerable Cruelty?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:28 PM
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153: Huh. I did not know that:

Hepburn's father's job with a British insurance company meant the family travelled often between Brussels, England, and The Netherlands. From 1935 to 1938, Hepburn attended a boarding school for girls in Kent. In 1935, her parents divorced and her father, a Nazi sympathizer,[5] left the family.[6] (Both parents were members of the British Union of Fascists in the mid-1930s according to Unity Mitford, a friend of Ella van Heemstra and a follower of Adolf Hitler.)[7] She later called her father's abandonment the most traumatic moment of her life. Years later, she located him in Dublin through the Red Cross. Although he remained emotionally detached, she stayed in contact with him and supported him financially until his death.[8] In 1939, her mother moved her and her two half-brothers to their grandfather's home in Arnhem in the Netherlands. Ella believed the Netherlands would be safe from German attack. Hepburn attended the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945, where she trained in ballet along with the standard school curriculum. In 1940, the Germans invaded the Netherlands. During the Nazi occupation, Hepburn adopted the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra, modifying her mother's documents because an 'English sounding' name was considered dangerous. This was never her legal name. The name Edda was a version of her mother's name Ella[9] By 1944, Hepburn had become a proficient ballerina. She secretly danced for groups of people to collect money for the Dutch resistance. She later said, "the best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performance."[10]


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:28 PM
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Before that you had war movies and adventure movies and gangster movies, but not "he gets results, you stupid chief!"

What about Seven Men From Now? A whole bunch of other Randolph Scott movies from the Boetticher factory? Rio Bravo?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:28 PM
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Whoops. Totally pwned.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:29 PM
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I feel great about Intolerable Cruelty.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:29 PM
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162: Eternal Sunshine, a comedy? I found it more of a Jacob's Ladder-esque horror.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:30 PM
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I feel great about intolerable cruelty.


Posted by: Dick Cheney | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:30 PM
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162: Eternal Sunshine is a great movie in the course of which the characters grow and change and find out important truths.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:31 PM
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161: As I recall, she was enrobed in many layers of extremely expensive-looking cashmere.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:32 PM
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172 might be a verbatim thesis from a 101 class I taught.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:32 PM
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170 gets it right, although I don't know anything about Jacob's Ladder. Eternal Sunshine was about as funny as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:32 PM
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The French Connection - 1971, Bullit - 1968. I think the latter is often considered the prototype of the genre, which The FC further perfected.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:34 PM
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"Tolerable Cruelty" was sort of OK. Not unbearable. I could handle it. No big deal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:34 PM
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But Bullit doesn't get results. He goes off half-cocked and fucks everything up.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:36 PM
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167 - Westerns, which admittedly is a genre that contains multitudes (Rio Bravo is such a good movie, too; it's a shame Martin had his real successes making crappy comedies and t.v., because I think he's great in that and The Young Lions).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:36 PM
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It's easy for you to say that from behind your desk, ben.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:36 PM
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170 is right, and so am I. The same thing happens at the end of Eternal Sunshine as happens at the end of every other remarriage comedy: the characters get back together, knowing full well how horrible they've been to each other in the past.

Love as sought trauma: the repetition compulsion as the only enemy of death.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:37 PM
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And how do we feel about Down with Love?

Admittedly, both that film and Intolerable Cruelty are conscious exercises in bygone genres, but I liked them both, and they are romcoms.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:38 PM
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"War of the Roses". Loved it. Happy ending!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:38 PM
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176: Aren't TFC and Bullitt more beholden to the traditional police procedural than what we think of as "action movies"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:39 PM
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Juno is not only worth discussing, but qualifies as a comedy of remarriage.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:39 PM
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Down With Love I don't care for so much. Not awesome.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:39 PM
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Oh, good call on Bullit,


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:39 PM
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I guess 142 is right. I had a father who dragged me to lots of old movies when I was a kid, so I should have remembered. "Wings", from 1927, was probably the first effect-laden action movie:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018578/

But still, the "Maltese Falcon" and the like were what we would today call guy movies. It would actually be a prototype gangster flick, which were always more characterization and dialogue dependent than other action movies.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDElightful | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:39 PM
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182.1: I feel good about DWL.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:40 PM
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Love as sought trauma: the repetition compulsion as the only enemy of death.

This is exactly what I made of it. Trauma, exactly. I probably had a specifically Learian twist on the Freudian line, but still. Wrongshore, you are a doughty hermeneut.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:41 PM
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Secretary?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:41 PM
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Cronenberg's Crash?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:42 PM
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I didn't care for Down with Love, but I have no particular fondness for the Hudson-Day comedies, either. (It was at least livelier than Far from Heaven.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:43 PM
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Kids?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:45 PM
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Secretary?

Could have benefited from more Maggie Gyllenhaal nudity, but otherwise OK.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:46 PM
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184: 176: Aren't TFC and Bullitt more beholden to the traditional police procedural than what we think of as "action movies"?

But what I think they got going was the "Fuck this procedural shit holding me back, let me get out there on my own and we can really BURN SHIT DOWN/BLOW STUFF UP/WRECK CARS". Fortunately, the industry has been very restrained in how they have explored the further reaches of this genre.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:46 PM
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190: Thank you, ben w-lfs-n.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:46 PM
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Polyester.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:47 PM
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I have no memory at all of this Down With Love movie. As far as I can tell it was marketed exactly like the most generic rom-coms imaginable. If it had even been mentioned that it was set in the past I might have taken notice of it. Interesting.

What I would like to know is whether I Think I Love My Wife is any good.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:48 PM
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190: Go on, Lear it up now.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:49 PM
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Polyester?

Preferable to natural fabrics for certain technical applications, such as sportswear and outdoor gear, but generally not as comfortable or attractive as cotton or wool.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:51 PM
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200: I'm rusty on both my Lear-deetz and my Eternal Sunshine–deetz; sorry.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:52 PM
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But what I think they got going was the "Fuck this procedural shit holding me back, let me get out there on my own and we can really BURN SHIT DOWN/BLOW STUFF UP/WRECK CARS".

"I know what you're thinking, punk. Did he fire six shots? Or only five?' But seeing that is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world*, and can blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?'

"Well? Do ya, punk?"

* No longer true, but firing a .44 Magnum scared the daylights out of me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:53 PM
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LB distinguishing between screwball romantic comedies and other movies with romantic elements in 124: Not to be simplistic, but happy ending? Or at least 'formally coupled up' ending, to include creepy 'happy endings' like Love In The Afternoon?

Where does Roman Holiday? fit into this. It's not a true screwball, but there are a lot of semi-preposterous elements which seems to be one of the main criteria that people are employing to describe the genre. I think it's comic, and it's certainly romantic, but (at least from a romantic perspective) it's not a happy ending. Peck and Hepburn don't wind up together. Of course, he is quite gallant in not selling any of the photos. That might be a certain kind of happy ending, because the gesture is certainly romantic.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:58 PM
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204 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 1:59 PM
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142 is interesting -- of course, nobody today sees King Solomon's Mines, except for the people who turned it into Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's fun to think of the way the Die Hards of today will be turned into romantic pastiches fifty years from now, especially since it's not easy for me to imagine today's action movies getting any more pastichey than they already are.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:00 PM
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"Charade". A movie I actually saw. Can't remember a thing about it, but Audrey Hepburn, right?

An American in Paris. Cute French girl + stereotypical Irish-American. Dynamite.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:00 PM
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It's a bittersweet ending, but surely Roman Holidy is disqualified from screwballhood on other grounds? No one, I don't doubt, could seriously contest that it's a romantic comedy.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:02 PM
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It's clearly not a screwball, especially since there's no duelling between the stars, but it does have one element of the screwball, namely that a lot of screwy, semi-physical comedic stuff happens. I think that a case can be made that it's a romantic comedy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:06 PM
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204: I was actually thinking of Roman Holiday as a counterexample, and couldn't figure out what to do with it. I can't remember the end of the movie perfectly -- they're explicitly *in love* before she has to leave him to go back to princessing? If I've got that right, I'd say that it's a rom-com with a 'happy ending', and the fact that the 'happy ending' isn't the end of the movie, and falls apart, makes it bittersweet but doesn't change genres.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:10 PM
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208: I'm with w-lfs-n: not a romcom.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:12 PM
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Tim, you can't read. I said it is one.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:13 PM
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I think LB is about right in 210. (No way is it a screwball, though.)

John, until recently Charade was available for free legal download from the Internet Archive, but MGM's lawyers seem to have sent a nastygram. It's probably still floating around out there. Not a romcom -- more of a To Catch a Thief-y Hitchcock pastiche.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:14 PM
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What about Emanuelle in Africa? Rom-com or no?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:15 PM
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212: Perhaps I don't remember it well enough, but is there that much comedy in it?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:16 PM
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Katharine!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:16 PM
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215=>214


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:17 PM
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215: Yes. It's all physical comedy -- Hepburn smashing a guitar over a policeman's head? Hepburn, stoned out of her gourd on sedatives, borrowing Peck's pajamas?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:17 PM
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Are heroic quests, culminating in the recovery and restoration of a kidnapped princess, the primary antecedents to romantic comedies? No wonder the feminist head rests so uneasily beneath its current inheritance.

In his ... Cavellian way, Cavell says something about It Happened One Night that reminds me of this: i.e., that Clark Gable's character transcends his subordinate social status (charming heiress > dashing reporter, as it should be) by doing an extraordinary deed, raising himself to Colbert's caste in the eyes of the proper authority: her father.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:19 PM
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218: Maybe I'd consider it a failed romcom; Hepburn, whom I usually love, seems sort of McDowell-ish in the role. I liked Peck. Another movie to watch again.

What about Sabrina?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:20 PM
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214: is that the one that ripped off "Larks' Tongues in Aspic II"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:20 PM
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(Answer: no, that was the original Emmanuelle.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:22 PM
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seems sort of McDowell-ish in the role

I can just see her now, lecturing Gregory Peck about the need to avoid a Davidson-style "frictionless spinning" without succumbing to the Myth of the Given.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:26 PM
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220: She was very young, no? I think that's one of her first movies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:31 PM
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223: Ben, you're killing me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:33 PM
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Audrey Hepburn smashes a guitar over someone's head? Haven't seen that one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:36 PM
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Don't listen to Tim -- it's a good one, if you like her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:39 PM
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Who's seen "Love in the Afternoon"? There's a sad, awful, fucked-up romantic comedy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:42 PM
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I haven't seen "Love in the Afternoon", but I've read "Death in Midsummer" and I want to drink a Death in the Afternoon.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:48 PM
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Sybil: We have the exact same taste in movies, or at least romantic comedies. (Though I would describe My Best Friend's Wedding in more positive terms than "isn't bad".)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:52 PM
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"Love in the Afternoon" is both a good movie and a bad movie. The Audrey Hepburn movie? Kind of sad and bad. The Rohmer movie, "L'amour apres-midi," a really good movie.* The Chris Rock movie, "I Think I Love My Wife," is a remake.

*Well, I love Rohmer, but lots of folks don't.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:55 PM
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The Chris Rock movie, "I Think I Love My Wife," is a remake.

Is it any good?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:56 PM
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228:Hepburn & Cooper? Parts. Cooper is a complete snooze.

Hepburn & Bogie, Hepburn & Astaire. Old guy/young woman romances ain't new. Audrey in her girl/woman roles, like Leslie Caron and Claire Bloom, seemed to be putting us on. Not sure any actresses now compare. Oh! Portman. Not Johansson, she really is young.

Two For the Road is a good Hepburn movie, altho a lot of people have trouble with Finney. Not a stud.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:58 PM
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Don't listen to Tim

Always pretty sound advice.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 2:59 PM
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Ahh, that Great Depression & World War, made men outa boys and woman outa girls before their times. Weren't no young twentysomethings 1945-1955.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:02 PM
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Sheeet. Janet Leigh and Liz Taylor. Good vintage. Strong in a very different way, maybe role-driven but still independent, than the 30s stars.

60s totally sucked.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:11 PM
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234: Oh noes greeks are liars!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:16 PM
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I don't know if anyone else has seen The Big Hit, but for me it's a very good example of the romantic comedy/action fusion, and a great deal of fun. It's not as good as Grosse Pointe Blank, but that's no shame, GPB is just a really damn good movie. TBH stars Mark Wahlberg as the hapless shlub of a bunch of gangsters, the one everyone else uses and dumps on...who's also almost a Batman-scale superman of strength, speed, and precision, who has no idea of it because he's so desperately insecure. Lou Diamond Phillips is the sleaziest of his buddies, Avery Brooks their boss. The buddies make an unauthorized kidnapping in hopes of making some extra money for themselves, only to find out that the young woman they've nabbed is the daughter of a very old close friend of their boss, who naturally wants them to go find who's done this vile deed and whack them but good. In the midst of it all, love blooms.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:29 PM
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237: No! Cretans are the liars.


Posted by: A Cretan | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:30 PM
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238:Liked it better than GPB, but I prefer shlubs. The ransom note scene is hilarious.

Lines from Two for the Road If I have seen a more romantic movie love story in my life, I can't remember it. Hepburn went out with two masterpieces, and the academy flipped a coin and nominated her for Wait Until Dark


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:48 PM
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Weird. The Big Hit was almost universally panned by critics and everyone I know who saw it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 3:59 PM
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232: I haven't seen it! But the NYTimes fell all over itself to give it a good review. It seemed to me at the time that the wanted to reward the remaking of Rohmer movies.

Oh, Eric. Je t'adore.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 4:01 PM
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an old movie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqt-S9kfrWc


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 4:02 PM
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241:Maybe it's class envy, but GPB just felt so yuppie and slick. Arch? BH is a shlub of a movie, made by & for shlubs. The difference between Wahlberg/LD Phillips and Cusack/Spader. I like Donnie even more than Mark.

I wouldn't expect you to understand.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 4:09 PM
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Oh, the aversion to yuppie and slick I can understand (I liked CPB despite these qualities). I'm just wondering if TBH got a raw deal because of its schlub-ness, now. Could be.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 4:13 PM
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I remember critics saying The Big Hit was that year's worst example of the decline of contemporary morality because of its characters' apathetic and sarcastic approach to ultraviolence and sex. I distinctly remember hearing that from someone who doesn't usually say things like that, like Roger Ebert or A.O. Scott or something. It was grouped with "Very Bad Things" for this purpose.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 4:42 PM
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I looooved Very Bad Things

Coldblooded is another amoral, message-free hit man comedy. With sweet romance between Jason Priestley and Kimberley Williams. And Robert Loggia. And Garafalo as a prostitute.

Lots of schoolgirl "fan service" in Big Hit. And kidnapped schoolgirl falling for her kidnapper while cutely bound and gagged is maybe a little transgressive.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 5:02 PM
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Good grief. I just actually read the NYT article linked in the post. I should do that sort of thing more often.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 5:31 PM
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At least some of TBH's bad press was because of it starring Wahlberg. This was before the opening scenes of The Sixth Sense made it clear that the Wahlberg brothers had reliably good acting ability. As for amorality...I dunno, to me the movie seemed very sweetly romantic about it. Being casual about the ultraviolence and sex is what abusive jerks do, and self-respect and love lift people to other attitudes. That could be just me, but it seems a bit like quoting "first thing we do..." to mean that Shakespeare himself was anti-all-lawyers without bothering to note which character says the line, and in what context.

Me and Bob will be over here having a good time with it and to hell with the rest of the world! :)

Romancing the Stone is a delightful pulp adventure romance comedy, as long as I'm looking over my list of movies to buy at some point.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 6:17 PM
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Speaking of shlubs, I recall reading reviews that harshed on Joe Versus The Volcano for the implausibility of its opening scenes. To which I could only say "I wish..."


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 6:23 PM
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I'm glad to see that High Fidelity and Knocked Up have already been mentioned upthread; I would add the 40-Year-Old Virgin. (Yay Judd Apatow!)


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 7:55 PM
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The weak link in Groundhog Day was not Andie MacDowell, but Chris Elliot. Watch it again and pay attention to Chris. He ruins every scene he's in (which thankfully is not too many) with his stilted, forced line readings and awkward overacting.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 7:57 PM
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I saw Jerry Maguire on cable the other day and I was surprised at how moving it was. Dated, but still effective.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:00 PM
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252: You're right, about the only lines he hits right are "He might be okay .... Probably not now" after Phil drives the pickup into the quarry.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:26 PM
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Oh. My. God. Joe Versus the Volcano is a horrible movie, but the opening half hour is total genius.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 3-08 8:49 PM
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238: "I still love you, baby! I just need my space right now."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 4-08 8:59 AM
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I thought "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" was a pretty cute movie. It stuck to the modern romcom template but the actors were appealing.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02- 4-08 11:07 AM
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Roman Holiday is Cinderella upended. At the end, the pumpkins (or Vespas) turn back in to horses.

I'm sure there are many other versions of this elsewhere, but Roman Holiday works because Peck and Hepburn are floating in a bubble of cynicism. As BG says, the final romantic gesture is lancing it harmlessly.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 02- 4-08 11:34 AM
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The Big Hit is one of the only movies I've ever walked out on. Joe Versus the Volcano is great.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-08 11:37 AM
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