A Valentines Special: Top Ten Favorite Romantic Films.
Happy Valentines Day all you lucky lovers out there!
It’s that time of year again when you watch some of your favorite romantic films whether comedy or drama to get yourself in the Valentines day mood. I consider myself a hopeless\hopeful romantic and in spite of myself get stuck in a romantic movie bingeathon this time of year. Here are my top ten favorites and I hope some will be yours too.
10. Southside with You.
The 2016 biopic\romcom of Former 43rd and 44th President Barack Obama that starred Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama who also produced the film and unknown but talented Parker Sawyers as Barack. The film was not only a throwback due to the film being set in 1989 but also the low key nature of the film focusing on two characters and letting the film be carried by a simple plot and the acting strengths of its leads. There’s no explosions, no big lie, no mistaken identity, no aliens coming down to take over Earth etc. Just a simple story about two intelligent, likable people on a all day and most of the night date and arguing with each other, bonding with each other and ultimately getting to know one another. It’s a nice, charming, sweet, funny and romantic story and it’s fun to see how the first black president and first lady fell for each other and on their way to becoming one of our greatest power couples.
One of Will Smith’s most memorable and finest roles and just a unique and fantastic romantic comedy, Hitch has always been a favorite rom com as well as one of my all time favorite Will Smith films. With an all star cast featuring Will Smith, Kevin James, Eva Mendes and future Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan there was no way Hitch could lose. It has many classic scenes but the one scene that most people love and remember most is what’s typically the “fight for love\get back together scene” after the two would be lovers had separated due to some big blow up and one of them (usually the guy) tries to get the other back. This scene has been done a billion times but Hitch’s version of this is one of the funniest and unique out of all of them:
8. You’ve Got Mail.
The second collaboration between stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and writer\director Nora Ephron after Sleepless in Seattle. A classic type of romcom with a (then) modern twist including the internet and emails. The chemistry between Ryan and Hanks is of course more explored and developed together than Sleepless in Seattle where they didn’t meet until the very end of the film. The movie also boasts a phenomenal cast including Dave Chappelle, Parker Posey, Greg Kinnear, Dabney Coleman and the legendary Jean Stapleton. You’ve Got Mail is a must watch for romcom lovers, especially for scenes like this:
7. Think Like A Man.
Based off of Steve Harvey’s best selling novel “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. This all star ensemble film featuring Megan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Gary Owens, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Lewis, Regina Hall etc. was the number 1 movie in 2012 for a lengthy amount of consecutive weeks and was a fantastic movie I might add. It’s one of those films I can watch over and over again and that’s due to the amazing chemistry amongst the large cast, especially the guys that you feel have been buddies for years easily.
6. Just Wright.
One of the most underrated of this list but also one of the very best romantic films in my own humble opinion. Just Wright was a fresh take on the classic Cinderella fairy tale story and a unique blend of romcom and sports movie much like Love and Basketball only much less appreciated or as well known as that film. What really makes this movie score are the characters, all of them feel like real people with flaws, quirks, hopes and dreams, ambitions, heart, soul and just plain relatable, we all know or are these characters in some fashion and it only enhances the movie’s charm. Of course there wouldn’t be a movie without extraordinary chemistry between the leads and Queen Latifah and Common as Leslie and Scott have some of the most natural, comfortable and fun chemistry of any onscreen pairing in screen history. With most romantic films we sometimes root for the couple just because the story calls for it or we just like them enough, but with Just Wright you just root for Leslie and Scott to be together because like with real life people they just fit and feel so natural.
If they were real life friends of mine I’d love to go on a double date with them and my wife because they’re so fun together and I know my wife and I would have an amazing time.
5. 50 First dates.
Some things in life are a guarantee. The sun will rise and set, the seasons will change, kids grow up(at least physically) and Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore will make an iconic romcom every ten years. 50 First Dates is the second installment of the Sandler\Barrymore romcom triad and is certainly a classic and original film. The chemistry between Adam and Drew is one of those magical things that can’t be explained but it truly is a wonderful thing. Do yourself a favor and check this one out if you haven’t. You won’t regret it… or forget it like Lucy.
4. The Wedding Singer.
The first Sandler\Barrymore pair up and most people’s favorite of the collaboration between the two. Once again you get a chemically perfect combo in Sandler and Barrymore as well as one of Adam Sandler’s greatest performances. At the time Adam was considered a one trick pony for his more goof ball persona but The Wedding Singer certainly proved other wise. Adam just somehow is a natural as a romantic lead and shines best in these films:
The film is not only just an incredible romantic comedy but is a great travel back in time to the 1980’s for 70’s babies and 80’s enthusiasts. It’s also a genuine tearjerker with Adam Sandler’s serenade of “Grow Old With You” has the power to reduce grown men to tears:
3. Love & Basketball.
One of black cinema’s greatest triumphs and one of the best romantic films in general, Love & Basketball is one of my all time favorites and I’m sure many if not most of yours. Director Gina Prince Blythewood based Monica Wright on herself and the film’s unique blend of autobiography, romantic movie and basketball\sports film was a new concept at the time and is still one of the best examples of that hybrid. Omar and Sanaa were a perfect match, even though we mostly associate Sanaa with Taye Diggs due to their numerous collaborations in other fantastic romantic movies like The Wood, The Best Man movies and Brown Sugar, Sanaa and Omar’s one film together was magical. It also helped that the two were dating in real life at the time.
2. Love Jones.
It was brutal trying to choose between Love Jones and Love & Basketball for the number 2 spot. Both are so iconic and amazing romantic films but I had to really dig into my heart and Love Jones beat it out for this spot due to the slight edge with the pitch perfect sensual chemistry between Larenz Tate and Nia Long, the unique smooth jazz motif and elegance to it, the originality of the spoken word world the film introduced the mainstream audience to and the killer, unbeatable soundtrack including Lauryn Hill’s “The Sweetest Thing”:
The film has become so iconic that there has been many calls for a sequel, spoken word celebrations in its honor and even a Broadway musical. Love Jones is as iconic as some of the big boys like It Happened One Night, Mahogany, Annie Hall, His Gal Friday etc. A film that has been imitated but never bettered.
- When Harry Met Sally.
The romantic comedy that changed romantic comedies forever. The type of romantic comedy that grown folks can relate to. When Harry Met Sally is not only my favorite romantic film of all time, it’s truly considered one of the greatest modern films period and it’s because the story and characters were some of the most realistic and compelling in movie history. It also had some classic dialouge and scenes that still are talked about and enjoyed to this day:
When Harry Met Sally has been often imitated and never bettered by many films since its release back in 1989. Many writers\directors have been inspired by it including Love & Basketball’s Gina Prince Blythewood, Think Like a Man’s Tim Story, Love Jones’ Theodore Witcher, the About Last Night remake’s Leslye Headland etc. just to name a few. When Harry Met Sally is a classic film that helped pave the way for neurotically funny, down to earth, grown up romantic comedies for the modern era where the obstacles for the intended couple didn’t have to be some giant contrived lie or a villain, but from one’s own neuroses and insecurities keeping them apart.
I hope if you haven’t seen any of these classic films you’ll give them a glance on this Valentines day. ’Til next time, folks!