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Love in the Time of Cinema

Has love ever truly been captured on film? Or, my little blogureaders, have movies that do capture it ever been appreciated? Romance is usually relegated to the "Chick-Flick" shelf at Blockbuster, denegrated with the "in touch with my emotions" label, only acceptable to most of the population when it's subtly integrated into an action-adventure film with a much wider scope (see: my father's favorite epic love story, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon").

My un-definition of the romance genre:
Romance isn't spending one day together and falling in love. Romance isn't people hating each other and sparing until they suddenly realize they're in love. Romance isn't anything starring Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook.

Of course, my opinion isn't receiving much attention. More powerful, nostalgic, and generic critics get to make lists that get some respect...

The American Film Institute Lists the Top 100 Passions:
1. Casablanca
2. Gone with the Wind
3. West Side Story
4. Roman Holiday
5. An Affair to Remember
6. The Way We Were
7. Dr. Zhivago
8. It's a Wonderful Life
9. Love Story
10. City Lights
11. Annie Hall
12. My Fair Lady
13. Out of Africa
14. The African Queen
15. Wuthering Heights
16. Singin' in the Rain
17. Moonstruck
18. Vertigo
19. Ghost
20. From Here to Eternity

And number 21 is Pretty Woman.

Casablanca I can understand, because it's classic and a true epic and memorable.

"Here's looking at you, kid"

And Roman Holiday is one of my favorites, even though they do fall in love in a day, because it has Gregory Peck, my romantic ideal of a leading man. They also ride a scooter around Rome together. Rome is lovely...and a holiday there right now might be nice. Which photo is from the movie and which is of two honeymooners currently on a roman holiday?

Moving on: My Fair Lady? Don't even get me started! Rex Harrison is misogynistic, patronizing, and self-serving, and his final romantic line, showing his affection (or affectation) is
"Eliza? Where the devil are my slippers?"

I wish I had an ugly old man to say that to me, after mocking my family, way of speaking, and manners! Swoon. Not to mention the fact that her romantic distraction is Freddie, an incredibly cute, British guy, who writes her pages of poetry and loves her background (and later in his acting career, goes on to play the only true version of Sherlock Holmes).

Vertigo has always been one of my favorite films, but it's not a romance! It's a movie about obsessions, psychosis, and murder.

And The African Queen? That's one of those cranky, "I hate you! No, I love you!" movies, but it's about two white people on a boat in Africa, yelling at each other about obnoxious idiosyncratic behavior while swatting mosquitos.

Honestly, AFI? Do you even know what romance is? Do you want to know what love is? Excuse me a minute while I slip into something more, shall I say, comfortable? Why don't you wait on that bear skin rug and pop a bottle of Dom. Let me turn on some smooth jazz and dim the lights. Now that I've got your attention, AFI, let me persuade you...

This list must be revised. When love is truly captured, whether romantic, familial, or platonic, it's an amazing accomplishment of film making. My list is as follows, with explanations.

1. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
I feel that Robert Linklater realizes a connection that's based on a true understanding of world views. The characters consider each other's opinions, and respect and appreciate them. Yes, this breaks my rule of love-in-a-day, in each case, but the movies are not just about the lust of the characters. It's about a profound love that all humans have for connecting to another person. We look for that everywhere from when we are born to the day we die, and these films capture two people who, whether they've found it or not (curse you ambiguous fade-out!), are inspired by the search.

2. You Can Count on Me

Believe me, I'm not a follower of the Freudian or Greek tenets of twisted family love, nor do I think Matthew Broderick is a leading man. This movie is all about the love between a brother and sister, which is rarely portrayed accurately...usually there are just a lot of nuggies. But in this film she's scared, she's overprotective, she's his mother and friend and voice of reason. He, on the other hand, is the only person who will always understand her. It's not romance, but it's love, and I think that Kenneth Lonergan is a genius at depicting the nuance of a brother-sister bond: it's like knowing a guy who is simultaneously your best friend and an obnoxious geek who you can't shake. (¡Te amo, hermancito!)


No, actually, I'm out of examples. How many times do we have to see the "meet-cute" and listen to the Celine Dion before Hollywood learns how to capture love? And, once and for all, right here on the blogulator, I'm officially rejecting the term "chick flick" as a descriptor of a film that focuses on love instead of violence, horror, intrigue, action, or comedy. Yes, "chick flick" can continue to be used in reference to base forms of fluffy entertainment, but must be replaced for movies that capture love and more sentimental emotions. Because those movies shouldn't be just for girls. I'm sure even the jaded horror/anime/rockumentary buffs on the blogulator staff know a good human drama when they see it (or when I force them to). From now on you can call those movies, that capture love in any form and make you stop and consider the human condition and our predilection for comfort and romance, a more descriptive term:

"feel reel."

And this Thanksgiving, readers, I'll be thankful for you. But not in a romantic way. Gross.

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  1. Blogger ashm | 1:56 PM |  

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Blogger ashm | 2:03 PM |  

    All Over Me. Love Liza. Requiem for a Dream. I can think of lots of good films dealing with love.

  3. Blogger Nicole | 2:55 PM |  

    I couldn't think of many and I haven't seen any of those. I forgot to mention "Once," though. I think that's an example of love that we have to let go.

  4. Blogger DoktorPeace | 4:08 PM |  

    Does this post count as "chick lit"?

    I don't care how normal it makes me, I like It's A Wonderful Life. The love story is prominent and reasonable throughout, though it doesn't dominate the plot. Buffalo girl, won't you come out tonight?

  5. Blogger chris | 5:27 PM |  

    eternal sunshine! and once, definitely.

    uh oh, is that the first time a photo of a blogulutioneer has been posted on the blogulator??? dangerous!

  6. Blogger Nicole | 10:52 PM |  

    And dance by the light of the moon...

    That photo isn't of a blogulutioneer. I just looked for "Roman Holiday" on google image search and posted a random pic. Why? Do you KNOW them? That's creepy;)

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