Valentine's Day

ROUNDTABLE RECOMMENDATIONS: Belated Valentine’s Day Special

Editor’s note: An extended weekend vacation out of town is the main reason this post is just now going up. Even though Valentine’s Day is two days past, I think it’s a good thing to keep those loving, heartwarming feelings going even after the holiday has ended. So here’s to love, relationship, and just really good romance movies!

Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg pose for a marketing photo op for Ghost | Paramount Pictures, 1990.

The Formal Review: As an almost 31 year old movie, Ghost (1990) is still one of the best romantic movies to watch. It was directed by Jerry Zucker, written by Bruce Joel Rubin, and stars Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, and Rick Aviles. It is about a young woman in trouble (Moore) who has to be saved by the ghost of her murdered boyfriend (Swayze), and a reluctant psychic (Goldberg). Yes, the plot may seem a bit cheesy but if audiences suspend their disbelief for a little bit, they’ll be rewarded with a phenomenal love story. Regardless of its age, the movie is still enticing, even with a simple, yet tragic, love story. Once the movie begins you will not want to fast forward anything as it has a number of elements that make it irresistible to any viewer; from comedy to thrills, and (obviously) romance. The performances are fantastic, especially by Whoopi Goldberg in her sole Academy Award winning performance. There are some things, like the CGI, that may be a bit dated, and yes, Molly probably should have simply changed her locks. However, Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze’s chemistry keeps the most important part of this story, the romance, intact. There’s a reason why this movie brought back the 1965 Righteous Brothers’ cover of “Unchained Melody” to the top of the radio charts, and was made into a stage musical in 2011. It has one of the most iconic moments of 90’s cinema–and the word “ditto” has never had more emotion tied to it.  It’s a film that will make viewers cheer and cry on every rewatch, again and again.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in a scene of You’ve Got Mail | Warner Bros., 1998.

Rachel Wagner: There are so many reasons I love You’ve Got Mail. To start off it is probably Nora Ephron’s best script; she manages to take a classic film like, The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and add her witty banter throughout. Then you add the incredible chemistry of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks and you are in for a treat. I also love the supporting cast with Dave Chappelle, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Dabney Coleman and Jean Stapleton. There are so many quotable lines like, “You don’t go to Spain and fall in love with fascist dictators,” or, “When I get out of this elevator I’m having my eyes lasered,” and,”They are called readers, Dad.” All of that comes from Nora and her brilliant script. The other aspect of You’ve Got Mail I love is what it has to say about work. Joe and Kathleen have both defined themselves by their work and yet it is not who they are. It’s no wonder they don’t fall in love until they meet each other outside of work where their vision is broader and open to trying new things. It’s such an easy trap to define ourselves by our work, and yet, it is not truly who we are. If we can broaden our horizons perhaps love and happiness will in our lives as well. There’s always hope!

Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche in a scene of Dan in Real Life | Walt Disney Studios, 2007.

Sam Cooley: Dan in Real Life is not only one of the greatest romantic comedies, it’s the quintessential comfy movie. In one of Steve Carell’s first leading roles, it looks at a single dad of 3 girls just trying to keep it together. The surrounding feel of the flick just adds to the coziness, set at an autumn family reunion in Rhode Island. The soundtrack is contagious. Laughs are constant from everyday blunders and the often inconvenience of love. Touching moments, sincere characters, helpless attraction, jealousy, more laughs–it’s so fun! Dan in Real Life is a sweet look at the complications of being a dad, and that of being open to love for a second time. It’s appropriate for all ages, and it’s soooo rewatchable.

Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson in a scene of About Time | Universal Pictures, 2013.

Parker Johnson: About Time may be the greatest love story ever put to film in my completely authoritative opinion. Very few films have impacted my life in the way this one has. And apparently, I’m not alone. Go to the trailer on youtube and look at the comments, or whenever this movie is mentioned on reddit. This is no mere “will they, won’t they” rom-com, but a lesson on the true meanings of romantic love, familial relationships, and life. Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson as Mary and Tim are amazing, and Tim’s relationship with his Dad (played by the amazing Bill Nighy) had me tearing up. Most rom-coms will have you feel the warm fuzzies at the end, and even though About Time indeed left me feeling warm and joyful, it was even more than that… it left me wanting to be a better person. I cannot express how great this movie is, and cannot recommend it enough.

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