Written by: Ben
I know it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these lists, but with it being Valentine’s Day and love in the air, I can’t help but think about that. I also find romantic comedies to be a big guilty pleasure of mine that are often maligned as they are frequently lazy cash grabs. So for this Valentine’s Day I thought I’d recommend to you my Top 5 Romantic Comedies so you have something lovey dovey and entertaining to watch with your special someone. So without further ado, let’s get this love train a’movin!
So I thought I’d start off with the top pick for me, and most people, for romantic comedies and Love Actually truly is that. You’ll see from my list that the British do generally beat us and most others when it comes to romantic comedies and Love Actually is one of the cleverest, charming and truly endearing romantic comedies I’ve seen. Mix in a star studded cast including Bill Nighy as an aging rock star and there’s no way you won’t enjoy at least large sections of this movie. Put this on and even the most anti-romantic comedy guy will have a good laugh and a good time this Valentine’s Day.
Shaun of the Dead
Speaking of the anti-romantic comedy guy crowd, how about my kind of cheating addition to the list? I know there are definitely some haters out there going “How is that a romantic comedy?” but true fans of it will know that the tagline for the movie is “A romantic comedy with zombies”. Now, if you want to argue whether the romance is between Shaun and Liz or Shaun and Ed, that is fine, but it’s there and most certainly so is the comedy. I’m not just saying it’s for the guys, I know plenty of ladies as well who love the movie, but I think that most people will agree it is a movie generally associated with guys and one even those that hat romantic comedies will be willing to watch. Think about it ladies, the holiday is mostly for you otherwise s give your guy this one if you need to.
Hey, remember how I said the British usually make the best? Well here’s an American romantic comedy and probably one of the best of all time. Woody Allen is well known for his awkward neurotic characters that are basically him (and generally played by him) and Annie Hall is kind of the pinnacle of that. It tells the story of Alvy Singer, a Jewish comedy writer and his romance with a tightly wound signer and is a great look at how they as very different people come together as well as a very real look at the creative underground of late 70’s New York. It’s a heartfelt autobiographical sort of film and a really entertaining film for all.
This one was a tough choice because all critical venues I’ve seen would otherwise tell you that you should watch About a Boy if you’re watching any other Hugh Grant romantic comedy than Love Actually. However, due to my mother’s influence on me as a movie goer, and her love of this film, Notting Hill wins out for me. It has Grant as a charming middle class guy living on the titular Notting Hill with his roommate Spike until, as chance would have it, the lovely American actress Anna Scott visits his ‘Travel Book” store. There is a gradual build up and drop down in their relationship as one would expect, but I find the characters and the dialogue so much more endearing and entertaining than About a Boy and really Spike (played by Rhys Ifans) is too awesome to not qualify this film for the list. It’s on TV a lot so you really should have no issues being able to see it and its worth giving a shot.
When Harry Met Sally
While there are countless other ones I could name that are great (and many of them British and starring Hugh Grant) I think it’s only right to end with one last American one. When Harry Met Sally is perfect for that as it is one of the most well known in the genre, and it’s not another Woody Allen film. Rob Reiner directed this film incredibly well with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as the titular characters who are just best friends in New York who come to realize they are meant for each other. Its playful and witty with a good sense of the time that their relationship grows over and a great finale. Mix in the notable fake orgasm scene at the now famous Katz’s Deli (little trivia fact, the lady that says “I’ll have what she’s having” is actually Reiner’s mother) and you have a true notable classic. If you want to watch an American romantic comedy without Woody Allen then this is your best bet…made after 1965…in my opinion. But that’s what you’re hear for after all, so stop arguing me and go find a way to watch a few of these since its almost time for that Valentine’s Day date I’m sure you’ve got!