Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, March 21, 2008

One thing that certainly does blossom in the spring is a romantic comedy

The first official day of spring arrived yesterday,with some fierce March winds announcing it's arrival in my area. This time of year usually brings about a couple of romantic comedies to the theaters but in looking over a list of coming attractions lately,I'm hard pressed to find some.

The closest I've come to one is Leatherheads,a period film about football with Renee Zellweger's heart being tossed between George Clooney and John Krasinski and Forgetting Sarah Marshall,a Judd Apatow produced movie about a guy trying to get away from his recent ex-girlfriend only to wind up vacationing at the very place she's staying with her new guy. They might be good movies but the emphasis seems to be more on the comedy than the romance.

I tend to like my romcoms in the same way that I enjoy a Reese's peanut butter cup,as two great tastes that taste great together. With that in mind,here's a look at some of my favorite films in this genre that best fit the bill.

Notting Hill is a good place to begin;there are so many reasons that I love this movie. It's directed by Roger Michell(who also made one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations,Persuasion),Hugh Grant playing a travel bookstore owner,Julia Roberts blending into a very British cast with the greatest of ease,Rhys Ifans as Spike,the insanely wise roommate.

One of the best scenes in the film frames an emotional mourning period,as Grant's character moves thru the marketplace to his bookstore and feeling the loss of his relationship with Anna Scott over time. It's beautifully done,with the perfect song as the background narrative to his heartbreak:

I know that I've talked about You've Got Mail before,but I can't help it,folks. It's the only Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan pairup on film that I really like. It has so many charming scenes,like those voice over readings of Kathleen Kelly's and Joe Fox's e-mails to each other about the everydayness of their lives.

Another little gem of a scene is the Thanksgiving food shopping jam that Kathleen gets herself into by standing on the wrong line and Joe smoothly coming to her rescue. As a former cashier myself,I do have to admit that I probably would've given in after the knock-knock joke,too:

John Cusack is pretty much considered the king of romantic comedies by some and proof of just how far his charisma can stretch is nicely showcased in Point Grosse Blank,about a hitman who returns to his hometown for his high school reunion and to check out what happened to the girl he left behind(smashingly played by Minnie Driver).

The movie is a weird little mix of dark humor,kickass violence and a tale of lost love revived. When I first heard about this film,I thought it was going to be a pretentious piece of wannabe hipster film making but everything in it clicks together in near perfect harmony:

Educating Rita is a rather unorthodox selection here,given that the two seemingly meant to be together leads don't ultimately hook up but it's still a happy ending regardless of that. It's really a platonic love story of two people who learn to love themselves by teaching each other about what's really worthwhile in life.

The movie also celebrates a love of books and literature(a major drawing point for me)and the drive to change but to be careful of falling for superficial makeovers. Michael Caine and Julie Walters have a strong chemistry together that lights up the screen,even with very talkative moments(of which they are plenty)such as their first meeting on campus:

Well,whatever tickles your romantic comedy fancy,I hope that you can find it this spring,if not at a theater near you,then on video somewhere out there.

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