SOME GREAT ROMANTIC COMEDIES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

SOME GREAT ROMANTIC COMEDIES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Anyone who knows me knows I adore romantic comedies, and Valentine’s Day seems like a good time to share some of them with you. (NOTE: I’m not talking about romances. They’re a totally different genre. So fear not, you won’t find any BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY or Nicholas Sparks stuff here.)

I’m talking about romantic comedy, which has wit, charm, banter, and, most important, banter. It treats men and women as equal partners rather than seducer and seducee or conqueror and conquest, and it frequently turns romantic tropes like flowers, rings, and weddings, on their heads. Romantic comedies are about forging relationships whose hallmarks are honesty, humor, selflessness, teamwork, and bringing out the best in each other.

And it’s a genre that’s wildly underappreciated. People sneer at them as “rom-coms” and dismiss the whole genre as contrived and unrealistic. And yet Shakespeare wrote lots of them, and so did Jane Austen, and the classic screwball comedies remain popular to this day, while the dramas of the time are virtually unwatchable. And great ones continue to be made today. You just have to look for them. (NOTE: There are also a lot of terrible ones out there, which is why romantic comedies have such a bad name. I know. I have watched all of them. Many Bothans died to bring you this list.)

So here’s the list, divided into convenient categories for you, including my top ten favorites of all time. But watch them all–and have a happy Valentine’s Day!

THE CLASSIC ERA

Screwball comedies emerged with the coming of the talkies
and were brilliant all through the thirties and forties:

HIS GIRL FRIDAY
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
BRINGING UP BABY
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
THE MORE THE MERRIER
THE LADY EVE
BALLS OF FIRE
MY MAN GODFREY
MY FAVORITE WIFE
THE AWFUL TRUTH
NINOTCHKA
THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR
THE THIN MAN
THE DARK AGES

In the fifties, Doris Day and Rock Hudson got hold of the
romantic comedy, and it took the genre a long time to re-
cover. In the meantime, good ones were in short supply,
though there were still a few around:

HOW TO STEAL A MILLION
FATHER GOOSE
WALK, DON’T RUN
THE AFRICAN QUEEN
THE APARTMENT
THAT TOUCH OF MINK
CACTUS FLOWER
WHAT’S UP, DOC?
HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE
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THE MODERN ERA

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
YOU’VE GOT MAIL
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
FRENCH KISS
PRETTY WOMAN
SABRINA
ROMANCING THE STONE
FEVER PITCH
ROXANNE
WORKING GIRL
RUNAWAY BRIDE
LEAP YEAR
SWEET HOME ALABAMA
L.A. STORY
SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS
MISS CONGENIALITY
THE WEDDING SINGER
FOR LOVE OR MONEY
NEW IN TOWN
GHOST TOWN
OVERBOARD

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THE BRITS

For some reason, probably their understated approach
to emotion and their sense of irony, the British are way
better at this stuff than we are, and rate a whole
separate category.

WIMBLEDON
THE DECOY BRIDE
NOTTING HILL
BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY
JACK AND SARAH

AND THE AUSSIES

The Australians aren’t bad at it either:

STRICTLY BALLROOM
CROCODILE DUNDEE
PAPERBACK HERO

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THE REAL CLASSICS

Romantic comedies didn’t start with the movies, though
they’re a perfect medium for them, and Shakespeare et al,
have taken full advantage of that:

Jane Austen’s EMMA
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
PERSUASION
NORTHANGER ABBEY
CLUELESS (modern version of EMMA)
BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (modern version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)
BRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
AS YOU LIKE IT
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (modern version of
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW)

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

Willam Goldman’s THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Dorothy L. Sayer’s STRONG POISON
HAVE HIS CARCASE
GAUDY NIGHT

E.M. Forster’s A ROOM WITH A VIEW

SOME THAT ARE CHRISTMAS MOVIES TOO

I’ve listed these before, as Christmas movies, but they’re
great romantic comedies, too:

THE SURE THING
LOVE, ACTUALLY
CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT
BACHELOR MOTHER
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
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SOME YOU MAY NEVER HAVE HEARD OF

THE BIG SICK
STATE AND MAIN
THE REWRITE
LAST CHANCE HARVEY
NEW IN TOWN
ALL OF ME
FEVER PITCH
RETURN TO ME
HE SAID, SHE SAID
LOVE HAPPENS
FOOLS RUSH IN
PICTURE PERFECT
MORNING GLORY
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

AND MY TOP 10, WELL, ACTUALLY 12, NO, WAIT, 13,FAVORITES OF ALL TIME
In no particular order:

1. STRICTLY BALLROOM
2. HOW TO STEAL A MILLION
3. WALK, DON’T RUN
4. SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE
5. GHOST TOWN
6. THE LADY EVE
7. NOTTING HILL
8. FATHER GOOSE
9. WIMBLEDON
10. OVERBOARD
11. HIS GIRL FRIDAY
12. JACK AND SARAH

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