Hello Screened Pups. Happy Hearts Day to one and all! While I know that today is pretty much a made up "Hallmark" holiday that was created to sell candy, cards and delicious treats, it still can be a day to celebrate love of all kinds. Is there any better way to do that than by watching a delicious, sweet or endearing romantic comedy? These movies have a way to make your heart and tummy swell up with joy or break into a 1,000 pieces.
I found when making this list that there are just so many great romantic comedies so it was difficult to narrow them down! This was interesting for me, because if you were to ask, I would say I'm not a huge fan of the genre. However, every time I would think of one that I loved, my heart would flutter and get all giddy and smiley just thinking about watching the film
For that reason, of all the "Best Of" lists I have made, this was the hardest to cull into a manageable list, because I just couldn’t choose. They also felt like far more personal selections than I might make in other genres.
Also, how do you pick just one 1980s classic John Hughes "teen angst" movie, or one Audrey Hepburn film or even just one Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan vehicle? For that reason, I have split this list into two parts and some of them might not be the best, but rather are my favorites. When you have your love hangover tomorrow, check back for part two! I also hope there are a few underrated and under-watched movies on here of which you might have possibly heard but never actually taken the time to watch.
|1. You've Got Mail|
“Don't cry, shop girl, don't cry”: This is one of the most memorable and single best lines in a romantic comedy. Back when Meg Ryan was the sweetheart of Hollywood, You've Got Mail was a "sort-of" follow-up to the runaway hit Sleepless in Seattle. The first film that paired Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan could just as easily be on this list, but I am partial to the New York setting and independent bookstore theme of You've Got Mail. It's interesting to watch this movie now since it revolves around a big book company that is putting a small bookshop out of business. These days, it is actually the big bookstores that are being put out of business by the digital revolution. No matter, You've Got Mail is sweet and endearing and likely my favorite on this list. Oh, and if you ever miss hearing the quintessential AOL greetings every time you check your email, this is the movie for you.
|2. Love Actually|
I know I already had this on my best holiday movies list, but because it so perfectly exemplifies romance, it had to be mentioned again. The movie intertwines the stories of many people and couples who are in various stages of being in love or a relationship. Somehow, it is perfectly able to capture the emotions of new love, old love, lost love, friendly love and everything in between. In the end, it is a basic study of human relations and is funny and charming all at the same time. It might be nine more months until Christmas, but do not wait until then to watch this gem.
|3. Definitely, Maybe|
This is one of the movies that I think fits in the category of highly underrated and highly under-watched. It stars Ryan Reynolds, before he was the “it” guy Ryan Reynolds and when he was known just well enough and utterly charming. Reynolds stars as Will Hayes, a political consultant who is trying to explain the history of his romantic life and divorce to his 10-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin). The story is reminiscent of How I Met Your Mother as he changes all the names in the story and leaves her trying to figure out which one is actually about her mother. The way the story is crafted is interesting and original and keeps you interested and guessing throughout the whole film. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend watching, as it is a movie whose appeal crosses gender, age and pretty much everything.
This movie is a rare case in which both the original and recent remake are brilliantly wonderful. So much so, that I couldn't choose between the two. The first 1954 version features Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden in the Larrabee brothers/Sabrina Fairchild love triangle. The 1995 version stars Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. Both movies follow the story of Sabrina Fairchild, who is an ugly duckling who undergoes a huge transformation and gets involved with the suave younger Larrabee brother whom she has had a crush on her whole life. However, the practical Linus Larrabee tries to get in the way of the relationship, but for different reasons than he would expect.
This is a movie that I have probably seen ten times as I stop to watch it whenever it appears anywhere on basic cable. I am also going to presume that it fits in the very undervalued category. Back when John Cusack was a Hollywood A-lister and Kate Beckinsale was only a rising star, they came together for this RomCom that is all about fate and well, serendipity. After both reaching for the same pair of cashmere gloves at Bloomingdales, Jonathan and Sara instantly feel a connection and have a quick romp around New York. Both being in serious relationships, they decide to leave it up to fate to see if they are meant to be together. They both embark on their own romantic tales, but still always wonder if the other was "the one that got away", and maybe you can guess the rest, but it is well worth the journey.
|6. An Affair to Remember|
Another nod to Sleepless in Seattle (SIS was partially based on this movie and arguably should be on this list, but for me, You've Got Mail and An Affair to Remember knock it out.) This original movie stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr and is called by AFI "the most romantic movie of all time". Two people who randomly meet and have a connection, but are in other relationships, decide that they will meet in 6 months time at the top of the Empire State Building if they have been able to successfully end their relationships and want to be together. I don't want to say much more in fear of ruining the excitement of the movie. My heart is hurting just thinking about the sweetness.
|7. Jerry Maguire|
The movie that created 1,000 quotes. "you had me at hello," "you complete me, " and "show me the money" all are phrases that skyrocketed to fame after the release of the Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise stars as a ruthless sports agent who has a moral epiphany (breakdown) and quits his job to become an agent with a heart. He and his new assistant (Renee Zellwelger) have a slightly tumultuous affair that you guessed it, ends with them "completing each other."
|8. Sixteen Candles|
This was a toss up between Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink for a 80s teen movie, but this one inched out the win by a mild margin. Both star Molly Ringwald as an awkward teenager who is just trying to find herself…and love. It's the overly romantic ending of this one where (spoiler alert) the nerdy girl gets the popular guy she has pined after for years that makes me favor this one by a slight margin. Isn’t that what everyone really wants? Also, who couldn't adore the awkward relationship between Long Duck Dong and his "sexy American girlfriend"?
|9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall|
It definitely rides the line between romantic and outrageous comedy and sometimes tonally feels a bit odd for that fact. It is worth watching almost solely for Russell Brand's outrageous performance as Aldous Snow. However, the love triangle between Jason Segel, Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell is pretty amusing. Also, if you at all have a desire to go to Hawaii right now, this movie will make that about 722 times worse.
|10. Pretty Woman|
The ever so classic romantic tale of the rich guy and the hooker. Okay, maybe it's not actually classic, but it's so good it can create a genre all its own. After getting lost in Hollywood while out of town, businessman Edward Lewis (RIchard Gere) asks the “charming street” walker, Vivian (Julia Roberts), for directions to the Regent Beverly Wilshire. He then takes her for a ride that begins as a weeklong business deal, which may or may end with its own rescue by a Prince Charming on a horse (limo).