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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Top 10 Romance Movies: Part 1

Welcome to J and J Production's Weekend of Romantic Fiction where I will be ranking my favorite Top 10 Romance movies. Instead of the typical list, today's list will rank the ten best films in ten subgenres of romance. To explain, there will be one film in each various subgenres like "Romantic Adventure" or "Romantic Drama" that I consider to be the best in its subgenre, and there are ten different subgenres that I will rank plus a bonus at the end of part two.
To preface this entire weekend of posts, the romance genre is one that is often more miss than hit with me. Of course, I am referring to romance movies that actually try to be good, not those corny chick-flicks that I know I will not enjoy like the Notebook (that’s fine if you enjoy it). For me to care about a romance between two characters, I must first actually like the characters individually to the point where I, as the viewer, want these two characters to be together. Plus, the narrative must provide a compelling reason why the characters start a relationship, because way too many movies have rushed romances. Unfortunately, live-action films rarely succeed in making me care about the characters enough for the romance to work, which often leads to a painfully sappy resolution. However, there are a select few movie romances that work, and often times they are in films where the romance is not the main focus, like Iron Man or The Empire Strikes Back, because the characters are developed as individuals, not in relation to the other character. Of course, there are many anime that completely succeed in all respects, and you can read why anime executes romance better in tomorrow’s post. Now, without further ado, here’s the list.

Fantasy Romance: The Princess Bride
Could there be any other film to top the romantic fantasy genre? The Princess Bride's romance might not be the central focus of the film, but it is a classic that is so much fun to watch!
Plot: 8.6/10- Despite taking 10 to 15 minutes to find its groove, once the characters of characters Inigo Montoya and Fezzik are on screen the movie really picks the pace. Using the narrative device of a story within a story, the Princess Bride is a satire of the fantasy in general, and it most definitely succeeds. While some plot elements are clichéd, the clichés are intentional to produce some very clever humor.
Humor: 8.7/10- While not constantly hilarious, the Princess Bride is a very clever satire and comedy. The movie is able to ride the fine line between corny and cleverly satirical well, with only a few scenes crossing the line. Unlike Mel Brooks’ movies, where the parody goes too far into stupidity, the parody in the Princess Bride is not overly ridiculous most of the time. It is also entirely aware of how absurd and silly it is which works to its advantage. However, at times, the movie is a little too corny for its own good delving into not funny.
Overall: 8.6/10- From the clever comedy to quirky characters, The Princess Bride is a fun storybook like movie that is just generally entertaining to watch, and it is fun for the whole family (for the most part anyway). (Click here for the full review)
Honorable Mentions: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,

Action Romance: Casino Royale
Who would have actually expected a real romance in a James Bond film? Yet Casino Royale certainly delivers the most compelling relationship of the entire franchise, while also delivering possibly the best film in the franchise. 
Characterization: 9.9/10- Casino Royale makes James Bond is real human character for the first time in the franchise. Even though the cheeky wit of the character in previous films is great fun, Casino Royale really dives into what makes him who he is, and a lot of his development is because of his relationship with Vesper Lynd. Bond's relationship with Vesper is surprisingly a central aspect, at least in regards to character development. What transpires with Vesper in the film provides the reason why Bond later becomes so cold hearted and not caring about relationships. 
Action: 9.7/10- Martin Campbell's action direction is extraordinary! He uses a lot of actual stunts, which gives the film a classic feel to the action sequences that is reminiscent of the best action film ever, Raiders of the Lost Ark. From the insane record breaking car flip to the parkour chase sequence, the action sequences in the film are intense, gritty, and thrilling!
Overall: 9.5/10- Casino Royale makes Bond a human character while also delivering one of the best action and spy films ever made. Despite originally disliking the film upon my initial viewing, after furthering viewings, Casino Royale continues to convincement me that it is the best Bond film to date.
Honorable Mentions: True Lies,

Romantic Adventure: The African Queen
One of my first experiences with a Humphrey Bogart film, The African Queen is such a fun adventure film that throws romance and comedy into the mix. 
Plot: 7.8/10- The African Queen takes place during World War I about a Canadian boat captain, Charlie Allnut, at the beginning of WWI in African. Rose Sayer is a passenger aboard Charlie's boat, and they eventually get tangled up in an adventure that leads them to grow closer throughout the film. The plot is rather simple and straightforward, yet effective and well paced, and the romance element is never under or over-played.
Humor: 8.0/10- The film is not the funniest movie ever, but Bogart and Hepburn's great chemistry and banter make for a good many laughs.
Overall: 8.0/10- While not Bogart's best work, The African Queen is one of his most entertaining, and the great banter and African scenery makes the film all the more entertaining.
Honorable Mentions: The Adventures of Robin Hood, Romancing the Stone,

Young Love/Romance: Whisper of the Heart
Adolescent and teen angst in fiction can the most annoying things ever, and the romance genre is often the main culprit for such annoyance. However, Japan can actually make young love, and even angst, surprisingly compelling, and few films demonstrate this better than Whisper of the Heart.
Plot: 8.3/10- Whisper of the Heart's plot is simple yet effective and deep in its own way. It is a coming-of-age story about a 14 year old girl named Shizuku. For those aspiring writers reading this, there will likely be a lot that you can relate to with the film, and while I am not a writer of fiction, as a writer of non-fiction, there was plenty for me to relate to as well. 
Characterization: 9.5/10- While not the most memorable character ever, Shizuku is a very well developed and realistic character. She has real problems, and many aspects of her story seem as though it could actually happen. Seiji, while not given a lot of screen time, is good character for what is required of his character. Whisper of the Heart's romance is subtle and easily the best that I have seen between young characters. Typically, romance with younger characters is corny due to the lack of consequences, and Whisper of the Heart uses the romance to drive the theme of self-discovery.
Overall: 8.7/10- Whisper of the Heart is a criminally underrated film that few have actually seen, but if you are an aspiring writer, or already a writer, this is a film that should appeal to you. (Click here for the full review)
Honorable Mentions: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,

What is your opinion of the romance genre? Do you agree with my picks? What do you think of the new format? Please comment below and let me know, and do not forget to check back on Saturday for the rest of the list and tomorrow for my Top 5 Romance Anime.

P.S. If you missed it, click here to read about why this list's format is drastically different than previous ones, so please let me know if you like and if you want to see more of it in the future.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

11 comments:

  1. The African Queen never grabbed me, for some reason. Weird, because I do really like Bogie. I love both The Princess Bride and Casino Royale, though.

    My favorite romances that are not also rom-coms include (in no particular order) Romancing the Stone, North and South, Laura, The Thin Man (and its sequels), To Have and Have Not, Giant, and Australia, and a couple different versions of Jane Eyre.

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    1. I have not seen Giant, Australia, or The Thin Man, but I do like the rest of the films you mentioned. Laura was an especially interesting movie.

      -James

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    2. Ooooh, some time when you're in the mood for witty repartee mixed with a murder mystery, find one of the Thin Man movies! Super duper fun.

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  2. Great post idea! :) I agree, the romance genre has never been one I liked too much most of the time. I do like shipping but most romances in fiction annoy me. When it's well done, though, I always appreciate it. Good choices! :) The Princess Bride is an awesome, fun film and Whispers of the Heart was SUCH a good movie too! :) I'll be looking forward to seeing what's on your list.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, the genre is just kind of meh, but there are some exceptions.

      -James

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  3. First I wanted to say I love how this post layout looks! Sharp! :D Ok, onto the movies themselves.

    The Princess Bride---eh, when I watched this I wasn't impressed (I still think its overrated) so I didn't pay that much attention to the romance, as it didn't grab me.

    Haven't seen Casino Royale...

    Aw, The African Queen was such a good movie! I love Bogart and Hepburn together, they made a wonderful couple by the end of the film--I actually feel like rewatching this at some point. This film is reminding me of Cary Grant's Father Goose, which had a fun romance too...and now I want to rewatch that one as well!

    WHISPER OF THE HEART. OMG THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME WATCH IT. IT WAS SO WONDERFUL AND SWEET AND TOUCHING AND ENGAGING AND IT MADE ME CRY AND IT DEFINITELY IS A CRIME THAT IT IS SO UNDERRATED. AHHK.

    *cough* due to the amazing stress of this past week, I have just had a meltdown over a Studio Ghibli film... so sorry. ;)

    ~Jamie

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    1. Thanks for commenting about each film! :D

      -James

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  4. Very provocative post. Yes Cupids arrow does not necessarly have to be a chick flick.
    Princess Bride
    True Romance
    Romancing the Stone
    Breakfast at Tiffinays
    Roman Holiday
    Notting Hill
    The English Patient
    Ground Hog Day
    Safety Not Guareented
    An Officer and a Gentleman

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    1. Of the movies that I have seen, great picks!

      -James

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  5. Ok, so I watched The Notebook when I was at CVI (it was after a long day at the con and my mom and i just wanted to chill) AND IT WAS THE MOST FRUSTRATING MOVIE EVER OH MY GOSH

    Moving on... I love The Princess Bride! Something that I really appreciate about the movie is that it follows the book with 99.9% accuracy, leaving out only 2 or 3 "important" scenes in order to keep the film moving.

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    1. LOL, Fortunately, I have never watched the Notebook, and I hope I never have to.

      Wow, that's impressive in regards to the accuracy of the book to film.

      -James

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One rule: No strong profanity. If you want to link to one of your posts, please do; I am always interested in other reviews and such.

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