Tim’s Fave Romantic Films

Valentine’s Day. Well, it looks like we’re stuck with it.

Honestly I don’t mind it, but I personally miss the Valentine’s Days of my youth when you made little envelopes to hang off your desk, so your friends and sweeties could slip superhero, Disney, Star Wars, and cartoon cards into it, while you were off delivering your own share.

As we grow, the amount of those cards we send out are lessened, and perhaps we only send one out, or none at all, depends on where we are in our lives, and who and how we love. But one sure thing that always seems to come into play when this day rolls around is romantic movies…

So I thought in keeping with the day, I would give my favorite romantic films… Though but for the first, I kind of shy away from some of the uber-classics, An Affair to Remember and its ilk, because everyone has seen those… So here are some of the ones that I adore. The top 3 are pretty much set in stone, the remaining 7 can move up or down on the list depending on my moods, but these 10 films are definitely my fave romantic movies!

1) Casablanca – This is the one, the only, the classic. Bogart was never cooler, nursing his broken heart over a bottle, and Bergman never looked better. Yes, one can get lost in all the classic lines, but the story plays true. The dialogue is crisp and sharp, the setting of Rick’s Bar is eternal. The clothes, the style, the music, the era, are brought to life and make me long for it. I’ve said it before, there are times when I think I was born in the wrong era, and this film makes me think it more so. If you’ve never seen it, then it has to go to the top of your list. There is a reason this film is a classic.

It simply doesn’t get any better than this. And of course as is revealed in my next film on this list, it has the best ending line of a film ever.

2) When Harry Met Sally – The perfect companion piece to Casablanca, and usually something I reserve for viewing on New Year’s Eve. It answers the age-old question can women and men truly ever be friends, as well as whether or not Rick really wants Ilsa to leave him in Casblanca.

Rob Reiner gives us a modern classic with the funny Billy Crystal, and the adorable Meg Ryan (who shows up a couple of more times on this list yet) as a couple who becomes friends, sleep together, hate each other, and then fall in love.

Much like the film above and below it gave us a number of classic lines, and scenes, but if that’s all you’ve seen and never seen the film properly, it’s time to amend that. It also has a wonderful soundtrack featuring Harry Connick Jr.

3) The Princess Bride – Another Rob Reiner entry into the list! Adapted for the screen from his own novel, William Goldman and Rob Reiner crafted a wonderful tale that isn’t just another ‘Kissing story’. As the late Peter Falk describes it to his grandson in the film… Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…

How can that not catch your interest? There’s something in there for everyone, and can be shared with younger viewers as well, just watch out for the rodents of unusual size, though I don’t think they exist…

It’s a fantastic film that gave us a whole new way to look at fairy tales look before Shrek and his brood came along.

4) Serendipity – Kate Beckinsale. Sigh. For some of us that’s enough to have seen this movie. But beyond that I thought it was a delightful rom-com which also featured John Cusack, who I’ve always enjoyed. Especially those moments when he gets to play off of his good friend Jeremy Piven. The story follows our would-be couple as they lead lives apart from one another, having only met once, and left their meeting up again to fate, because if it’s meant to be, then they’ll find their way to one another. And it’s fun and sweet to see how all the strings get tied up together. Though I still very much want to slap that little kid in the elevator!!

It’s a fun little story for those who like to believe that there is something moving us about if we just look for the signs.

And did I mention the part that it has Kate Beckinsale? Sigh.

5) Little Manhattan – Everyone was 10 once, and this one rang so many bells with me. I totally was Josh Hutcherson’s character at that age.

It’s a first love story set in New York, and it’s also another one that’s suitable for the entire family.

As I watched the film, I fell in love with it, and couldn’t believe that someone had adapted a lot of things I had done as a silly kid into a feature film. It’s all the wonders of first love and heartbreak that it seems we all go through at that age.

6) Sleepless In Seattle – The second outing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Directed by Nora Ephron the story follows a radio call that Hanks’ character, a recent widower, that Meg Ryan’s character hears, and is swept up in wondering who he is. Hanks’ son starts screening all the letters and calls that Tom receives because of his heartfelt call until he decides that Meg’s is the one that they should meet.

They travel to New York, and in an homage to An Affair To Remember, plan to meet atop the Empire State Building.

Hanks and Ryan seem like just inherently nice people, and you want to see them together. They do make a wonderful onscreen couple…  which is probably why the next title made the list as well.

7) You’ve Got Mail – Based on the James Stewart film Shop Around The Corner (which is also the name of Meg Ryan’s book store in the film, the story follows two book shop owners. One owns a small book shop, Meg, and the other owns a chain of them, Fox Bookstores. The two of them are completely at odds in real life, but have a wonderful online email and chat relationship.

As the battle and verbally fence in person, they chat to each other as old and affectionate friends online, and once again, you just want them to clue in and realize how good they are together, even if they are rivals.

8) Love Actually – The best of the ensemble rom-com genre, and I wish it had’ve been the only one. We didn’t need a New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day. This is the only one you need to see. The cast is top-notch, the stories are wonderful, wavering between the ecstasy of love, and the pain of heartbreak.

None of the other ensemble rom-coms that followed it had the cast quality that this one does, and it is just good fun. Sure it’s set at Christmas, but it works anytime of the year.

Throw it in to your player, curl up with a loved one, and enjoy.

9) The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard -Jeremy LaLonde’s movie will always be inextricably tied to The Mind Reels in my mind, and will always hold a very special place in my heart. We’ve reviewed the film a couple of times here on the site, so I won’t do so again now. I will say that the casting, some of whom we’ve yet to chat with yet, but we have every intention of trying to, is wonderful and pitch-perfect, and then there’s Mary Krohnert who transcends adorable in this film. This movie is in turns funny, sad, dramatic, and will be one I plan to revisit often should we see a DVD release of it.

10) Joe Versus the Volcano – and to round out my list, here’s Meg and Tom’s first film together, an eccentric little comedy about a hypochondriac who believes he is suffering from a terminal disease known as a brain cloud. Convinced he’s going to die, he decides he’ll travel to a remote tiny island whose inhabitants believe they must sacrifice a willing soul to the volcano or they will all die.

Along the way, he meets Meg Ryan, in a number of roles and characters before stumbling across the right one. A delightful and quirky little movie, and it makes for a nice change for those people who want to see Meg and Tom together, but have already seen Sleepless and Mail a number of times.

So there’s my list…

What is yours like?

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