A good movie will draw you into the world it has created and make you feel part of it. So much so, that there’s a chance you’ll leave the theater after with a bit of an adrenaline rush. Maybe the latest Bond flick has you feeling like you can be the next 007. Maybe an over-the-top car chase has you pressing on the gas pedal and drifting like a pro. Maybe the story of a talented musician has you thinking you could pick up a guitar and strum a perfect rhythm.
Most of the time we’re left with wanting more. We want something similar, yet new at the same time. We don’t want to watch the same film again, we want to watch something that pairs nicely.
Here at ScreenAge Wasteland, we’ve selected six films that you should watch during quarantine if you want to enjoy a good romantic-comedy.
This movie is full of the typical ’80s cheese, but there’s a bizarre sci-fi twist thrown into this otherwise by the book rom-com. For some reason, in the Egyptian Age a woman (Kim Cattrall) who does not wish to go through with her arranged marriage prays to the gods to help her find her true love in the future. She is whisked away into the body of a mannequin that was created by Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy). Jonathan is the only one Emmy (the mannequin) comes alive for, and that leads to some awkward situations involving the other staff at the box store the mannequin is housed at. James Spader is also around trying to get Jonathan fired from his job. It’s quite bizarre to be honest, but it’s got some great performances by some ’80s mainstays and that Billboard Hot 100 #1 song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”.
– Marmaduke Karlston
Romantic-comedies usually are somewhat formulaic. I think one reason I enjoy High Fidelity is that it isn’t a traditional romantic comedy in this formulaic sense. The movie follows Rob Gordon (John Cusack), the youngish owner of a record store who has recently been dumped by his long-term girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle). The end of this relationship is a catalyst for a journey of self-discovery for Rob. Confused about why he’s consistently being dumped, he decides to revisit his “top five” breakups in order to find out what keeps going wrong. Though Rob starts his little trip down memory lane viewing himself as a victim, he quickly realizes that it’s not that simple and that he has a share of the responsibility for his failed relationships as well. While some rom-coms are heavy on the schmaltz and light on the comedy, this film is consistently funny all the way through, while also having some genuinely dramatic moments. The supporting cast is superb. The contentious relationship between Rob’s coworkers, Barry (Jack Black in a breakout role) and Dick (Todd Luiso), is a source of much of the film’s humor. Joan Cusack, Tim Robbins, and Lisa Bonet all give memorable performances, even if their roles are small. Couple all this with a stellar soundtrack and you have one of the best romantic comedies of the last two decades.
The Big Sick
There have been plenty of romantic comedies released in the past decade. Some followed the tried and true rom-com playbook, and then there was a handful that surprised and breathed new life into the genre, The Big Sick is a perfect example of the latter. With a sharp and genuinely funny script written by real-life couple, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick is not afraid to tackle race and religion head-on, imbuing the touchy subjects with edgy and heartfelt humor. Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan have incredible chemistry, but it’s Nanjiani’s moments with Ray Romano and Holly Hunter that are the most engaging.
– Romona Comet
Before Sunrise may not be what pops in your head when you hear “rom-com”, but trust me, there are plenty of heartfelt moments that will bring a giggle or two out of you. The first in the Before Trilogy, we meet Jesse and Celine, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy respectively. Jesse is an American tourist and Celine is a French student and they are on a train from Budapest. Jesse is scheduled to get off in Vienna while Celine has to catch a connecting train back to France. After a conversation on the train Jesse convinces Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna. This type of plot and simple idea for a story is where Richard Linklater thrives. It is heavy on the dialogue. The whole film is just Jesse and Celine discussing life and philosophies while trying to keep both feet on the ground. There is an antagonist in this film. It’s time and how we never get enough of it for the people we care about. Watch Before Sunrise and next thing you know, you’re on to Before Sunset.
– Cody Legens
Love is All You Need
Love Is All You Need took me by complete surprise when I watched it a few years ago. A rom-com starring Pierce Brosnan isn’t the usual type of movie that I get recommended to me, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. The story centers sound Ida (Trine Dyrholm), a hairdresser that has lost her hair to cancer and is flying to Italy to attend her daughter’s wedding. She has also just found out that her husband has been cheating on her. Pierce Brosnan is the groom’s Father and while you can probably guess how things play out, the story has far more depth than I’ve been accustomed to in the genre, as two bruised souls look to find comfort in each other. The Italian scenery is beautiful to look at and the chemistry between Brosnan and Dyrholm is fantastic. A real under-appreciated gem.
– Lee McCutcheon
It was a tossup between this and LA Story (also starring Steve Martin) to be honest, but there’s something about Roxanne that I can’t quite describe that makes it just such an easy rewatch for me. I don’t know if it’s the quaint setting, the quirky supporting characters (Played Shelley Duvall, Fred Willard, John Kapelos, and Michael J. Pollard) that make you wish Nelson, Washington was an actual place you could move to, the imaginative retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, the delightful Daryl Hannah, or Steve Martin himself. More than likely it’s a combination of all these things. Whatever it is, it keeps me coming back again and again. Roxanne is easily one of my favorite movies, and you could do much worse in the rom-com genre.
– Billy Dhalgren
What rom-coms have you recently watched?