The following blog post is copied with permission. The back story is that The Cutaways and Jen from Indoorswomen Podcast were guests on So I Married a Movie Geek for their Fantasy Movie Draft series. The topic: 2000s Romantic Comedies. The dilemma: Who to vote for?
This is Diana's struggle.
“I could write an essay on this draft. And what methodology to use? Do I discount because I have not seen them? Do I give extra points for following certain tropes? Or take them away? Jen, Ashley, Justine did any of you put on ones you haven't seen?”
Me in the Lady Pod Squad Slack after this was Tweeted
You can see my from my initial thoughts, I could not just make an idle vote. Okay, this won't be an essay so much as a stream of consciousness as I try to recapture my original brain explosion when asked to vote on the best.
First off, kudos to Ashley, Jen, and Justine for their choices and that they did not put any that they had not seen. With all do respect to their choices, the first thing I thought of was, “where is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Wedding Planner, 27 Dresses, Kate & Leopold, Sex & The City.....” If I didn't have to go to work right now, I could do research and go on. After work, I did. Hitch, Two Weeks Notice, The Prince and Me, Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, Mama Mia.
I would not necessarily call these the best. I was strictly under the impression that these would stir the votes of those looking at a 2000 RomCom draft and assure victory. Of course that is ignoring the ones already grabbed. I'm looking at you Sweet Home Alabama and The Proposal. And if we were going back to only ones I have seen, I would have to eliminate from the possibilities Sweet Home Alabama, The Proposal, It's Complicated, and from my own research: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Wedding Planner, Kate & Leopold, and Mama Mia. Everything else on the board is up for grabs.
Side complication, the question about whether all of these can be considered RomComs. I am of the opinion that two (In Her Shoes and Waitress) are heavier on drama, but all have the required elements Comedy and Romance. Therefore all are acceptable. I also recently rediscovered Coming To America does not get enough RomCom love.
Here I go on narrowing this down:
Ashley: Legally Blonde, In Her Shoes, Miss Congeniality, Penelope, & Waitress
Fine choices, but I see two issues from my own perspective. Similar to one of my favorite RomComs Working Girl, on closer examination, these films are about women coming into their own while a romantic element is thrown in. Yes, I love Luke Wilson, Mark Feuerstein, Benjamin Bratt, James McAvoy, and Nathan Fillion sweeping in to be adorable prizes for these heroines, but these ladies would have a Happily Ever After with or without them. Second, the more drama heavy movies as stated above make it hard to crown these five.
Justine: High Fidelity, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (500) Days of Summer, Amelie, 13 Going on 30
EXCELLENT MOVIES! Well, I love the first two. And I have fond memories of the 500 days of Summer. Except they have the breakup element first. Nothing wrong there, but it puts a wrinkle in my RomCom warm fuzzies. High Fidelity has a huge impact on me, but I would not want my own personal Rob Gordon. And Eternal Sunshine and 500 Days have the guys heartbroken over the manic pixie dream girl trope that does not endear me on repeat viewings. I will fully admit to an Amelie blind spot. Saw once about 15 years about and remember little. And 13 Going on 30 has the shoe horned romance factor against it. Great movies, but what about RomCom- ness?
Jen: Love, Actually, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Proposal, The Holiday
Love, Actually feels like it's cheating because it's multiple RomComs at once. But I feel it in my fingers. (Thank you all for not putting any of the crappy knock off around other holidays on the board.) My Big Fat Greek Wedding, just YES. It does change it's focus after a certain point away from the romance, but what is marriage but surviving your family's antics together? I wanted to love Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I think I wasn't prepared for the dirtier comedy(even if the red band trailer tried so hard to warn me). I think I cringed more than laughed, but still want to give it a chance. AHA! The truly formulaic RomCom plot device in The Proposal. But can I vote hard for what I have not seen? Oh, The Holiday. As a whole, I do not think this is a good movie. But I can't stop watching it. And I can't stop watching the bad story of of people falling in love. And I want so bad for a happy ending despite hating how jealous of how beautiful everything is this film. These rich, successful ladies are unlucky in love. CRY ME A RIVER IN YOUR GORGEOUS MANSION IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA! Oh, angry Diana came out. Still, I guarantee I will see this again before the year is over.
Krissy: Serendipity, Bridget Jone'ss Diary, Knocked Up, Sweet Home Alabama, It's Complicated
Krissy, you did amazing being in the last slot! All fall almost perfectly into the RomCom category. Sadly, it's a flaw in the RomCom genre. Serendipity is fun, but a forgettable movie. It is also overshadowed by the fact that John Cusack has other beloved movies so this gets pushed to the middle. Bridget Jones was great back when I watched it repeatedly 15 years ago. It has not aged well with two sequels after it and to be honest, I'd prefer my Colin Firth Darcy in a cravat. Knocked Up, very funny, but hard to get on board with this relationship. And I have not seen Sweet Home Alabama and It's Complicated, but based on the internet, solid choices.
All this being said, I think I may have overthunk it. But that's what makes talking about movies so delightful. You four kicked ass in such a tough category. I will admit that even if I tried to analyze like crazy and vote by logic, I voted with my gut. Crap, should I have voted with my heart? I love you all but I voted for Jen. Not my favorite movies, but they are all solid in the genre and (most) stand as good movies. Okay, time for bed.
Diana can be found on twitter at @DeeRoSko and her podcast is Happily Ever Aftermath WHICH is another Romantic Comedy podcast that you should listen to!! You can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and follow on twitter @HEAMCast. She will be joining us on our next episode to review The Princess Diaries, which she hasn't seen... yet.