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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Film: According To My Wife -- Valentine's Day Edition

My beautiful and charming wife has a soft spot for films of a romantic nature. Fittingly in honor of Valentine's Day she has come up with her 10 favorite romantic films. So curl up with a loved one and max out your Netflix account with these fine choices:

1) Moulin Rouge
Baz Luhrmann's eye-popping ear-bending musical extravaganza is a big candy-coated paen to love and integrity. Our lovers are played by saucy Nicole Kidman and winsome Ewan MacGregor. What is love but a melding and mash-up of two worlds? So the film splices bolly- and Hollywood, The Police with tango, 1880's Paris with punk rock. A post-modern musical with it's heart on it's sleeve.

2) Brokeback Mountain
The "love that dares not speak it's name" prefers to shuffle it's feet and mumble stoically in Ang Lee's cowboys in love drama. This time the lovers are played by a never-better Heath Ledger, tamping down his true feelings into a monotonal hunch and by a daring fun-loving Jake Gyllenhaal. Society tells them "No" but they just can't quit each other.

3) When Harry Met Sally
The film that launched the rom-com craze of the 90s (which continues today) and also established Meg Ryan's reign as the woman most likely to be matched with a guy du jour in a romantic comedy. It's a bonifide classic, asking the eternal question, "Can men and women just be friends?" There's also great support from the late Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher.

4) The Price of Milk
This offbeat film from New Zealand has it all : cows, an agoraphobic dog, Maoris. The surrealism captures the fantastical (and sometimes tricky) world that lovers create together. Not to be confused with the Ed Harris / Melanie Griffith let's-chip-in-and-buy-Dad-a-hooker flick Milk Money this independent gem stars Karl Urban, soon to appear as Dr. McCoy in JJ Abrams' update of Star Trek.

5) The Princess Bride
The search for and devotion to "true love" forms the backbone of this comic adventure. Rob Reiner's surehanded adaptation of screenwriter William Goldman's (also wonderful) novel features Cary Elwes and Robin Wright (now Robin Wright Penn) as the gorgeous young lovers torn asunder by a scheming Prince Humperdinck.

6) Serendipity
The random nature of love comes to the fore in Serendipity, starring chick-bait John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, along with Molly Shannon and former Cusack sidekick Jeremy Piven. Cusack and Beckinsale test the meaning of fate, which ultimately has it's way with the two would-be lovers.

7) Holiday
Delightful Cary Grant / Kate Hepburn vehicle (not to be confused with the Jack Black / Love Mecha / Kate Winslet / Cameron Diaz rom-com The Holiday). Grant is set to marry Hepburn's materialistic sister until he realizes that goofy free-thinker Hepburn is the one he loves all along. Splendid dialogue, great cartwheels.

8) Love Story
This five hanky pic was a surprise hit upon it's release. Ali McGraw plays spunky dirty-mouthed Jenny to Ryan O'Neill's rich kid Oliver. He gives up his family wealth to be with her but alas, fate intervenes. Directly responsible for my wife's birth.

9) Frankie and Johnny
Underrated film adaptation of Terrence McNally's play Frankie and Johnny in the Claire De Lune. Critics carped at the casting but what's to complain about when you have a charming Al Pacino dialing down his late-period overacting and sharp Michelle Pfeiffer getting gritty as our two struggling lovers.

10) Two Days in Paris
Here's my original review of this gem. A frequently hilarious look at how cultural differences can test the course of love, directed and written by the wonderful Julie Delpy and starring she and Adam Goldberg.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Your wife rocks.
Aside from the fact that I had no idea anyone else in the world had actually *seen* The Price of Milk, much less listed it as a Valentine Must - Frankie and Johnny is, without doubt, one of the best love stories to have graced our screens.

Kudos, Tracy!