In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve decided to rerun a series of top ten lists over the next few weeks dedicated to the film-genre equivalent of those little heart candies: the romantic comedy. Today, we’re starting with the gimmies, the classic rom coms. We defy you not to watch and enjoy these movies when they come on TNT on Sundays, and you’re hungover, and so’s your boyf/girlf, and you’re cozied up on the couch together eating chips and salsa. Hello? That’s like the perfect date!
- When Harry Met Sally – If anyone says they don’t like this movie, do not date them: they don’t have a heart. There’s the classic “can men and women be friends?” debate, the infamous faked orgasm in Katz’s Deli (that made “I’ll have what she’s having” a household catchphrase), and of course, baby fish mouth. Who couldn’t love “baby fish mouth”?
- Moonstruck – Once you get past the idea of Cher going for Nicolas Cage (let alone Danny Aiello), this is a great little story about the messiness of love: “Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice — it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!” Daaauuum!
- The Princess Bride – This almost ended up in our Top Ten Overrated Rom Coms list (forthcoming). After all, that “inconceivable” joke gets old real quick. But Cary Elwes was hot and promising back then (before his puffy “Saw” days), there was the hint of a sub-dom relationship at the beginning (“As you wish”), the term R.O.U.S. prophetically predated the whole Internet acronym craze, and the movie had a rhyming Andre the Giant! (“No more rhymes now, I mean it!” Andre: “Anybody want a peanut?”) There’s a lot to love.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary – The opening credits immediately appeal to anyone who’s ever been so heartbroken and lonely that they cried themselves silly over a solo bottle of wine in their PJs — i.e., everyone. From there, it just keeps honoring the painful moments we’ve all had: making a fool of yourself during public speaking, getting busted in granny panties, falling for the wrong person, and running down the street in a snow storm without your pants on (okay, maybe that last one isn’t exactly universal).
- Annie Hall – The movie Woody Allen himself has been trying (and failing) to top all these years. It’s got crazy Christopher Walken, Diane Keaton’s awesome hat & tie outfits, the hilarious lobster scene (even more hilarious when he tries to recreate it with another woman), and the best last line of any rom com: “I thought of that old joke, y’know, the, this… this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y’know, they’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and… but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us… need the eggs.”
- Sixteen Candles – Molly Ringwald lives out every (inner) teenage girl’s fantasy in the last five minutes of this otherwise hilarious movie when “Jake Ryan” shows up with a freaking birthday cake and a birthday kiss, all set to that amazing Thompson Twins song. Anthony Michael Hall lives out every (inner) teenage boy’s fantasy in the last five minutes of the movie when he wakes up in the arms of the school’s smokin’ hot queen of mean. Everybody wins!
- She’s Having a Baby – Here’s one for the breeders. This Kevin Bacon classic was a forerunner of the quirky cutaways that eventually made Ally McBeal and Family Guy such hits: Wife Elizabeth McGovern admits to hubby Bacon that she mentioned their trouble conceiving to her parents and he immediately envisions his in-laws at the foot of their bed with head lamps on and his father in-law instructing “Get your butt up!” It’s the only funny movie on this list that will actually make you cry (once you hear the first three notes of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”).
- The Shrek Trilogy – Kid movie or not, Shrek is really clever, well made, hilarious and totally adorable. It sends up all the fairy tale cliches, including the idea that all princesses have to look like Barbie in order to fall in love. A feminist kid flick? Love it! Both sequels hold their own. (Even the half hour Xmas special is darn good.) Plus, the soundtrack to Shrek 2 has some super cool tunes.
- Groundhog Day – You either love it or you hate it. We love it. And we’d watch it over and over and over again. Because it really hammers home, probably better than any other movie (even better than Dead Poet’s Society), just how important it is to seize the day, to be the best person you can be not only in love, but in life. Plus, Punxsutawney Phil is just so cute and cuddly, like one of those stupid stuffed animals they sell at Hallmark around Valentine’s Day.
- Pretty Woman – This almost didn’t make the cut. But because Em has seen it 75 times (58 when she was eleven and then about once a year since) and swears it still holds up, it’s made the cut. And we gotta say, for a Julia Roberts vehicle, it’s got a lot of provocative stuff: sex for money, role playing, fuck-me boots, gold condoms, public sex, Julia Roberts going down (albeit implied). Pretty smutty stuff for a Cinderella story.
Stay tuned for five more installments of the Top 10 Rom Coms series next week (we promise they won’t be so heavy on ’80s sap).