Eleven Romantical Films I Actually Like

So recently, TimeOut London published a list of 100 Best Romantic Movies that they collected by surveying various famous actors and directors. There were some interesting entries that I agreed and disagreed with, some obvious, some not so much.

Since all I seem to be doing is spinning my wheels these days when it comes to even marginally original ideas, I challenged myself to come up with my own list. I don’t like rom-coms. Nor do I like sappy lovey-dovey movies. But when I read the list, and thought about it for awhile, I realized that a lot of my favorite movies are actually pretty romantic. Or at least I think so.

Some Interesting Facts about my list you may or may not notice:

  • It’s got not one, but two Jane Austen adaptations.
  • Also two John Hughes-related movies.
  • Lots of angst.
  • It’s debatable whether most people would consider two or even maybe three of them to be “romantic” but I do so they’re on the list.
  • I like old movies
  • None of the films were made after the 1990’s

So here it is, and I actually made an attempt to rank them in order. And yes, there are eleven. Also I placed a (*) next to movies that are also on the TimeOut list.

1. Laura

It’s Preminger’s film noir classic, a murder mystery, not a romance you say. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. Or at least not exactly right… Laura Poster

Laura Portrait

2. Party Girl

A girl on the Lower East Side just wants to dance to House Music so what happens when a new falafel cart guy shows up and why does the Dewey Decimal System have anything to do with anything?

partygirl2

“What’s up buttercup?””The rent. And I’m not paying.”

“Can I have a falafel with hot sauce, a side order of Baba Ghanoush and a seltzer, please?”

3. Gigi

When I watched Gigi over and over again as an eleven-year old in Texas, I had absolutely NO CLUE what the story was really about. Then again, I was listening to Prince’s Lady Cab Driver on repeat so it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

gigi

3. Pretty In Pink

See this post for more details. But in the meantime here’s a song from the soundtrack:

4. The Princess Bride

“As you wish was all he ever said.”

5. Wuthering Heights (1939)

Not any other adaptation of Wuthering Heights THIS ONE only. Olivier and Oberon. I really liked Andrea Arnold’s new version a lot, but when it comes down to it, this is the Cathy and Heathcliff that matters.

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wuthering-heights

6. Black Orpheus

A yearly tradition in our family, I was always surprised to find out that so many of my friends had never heard of it. Greek tragedy in Brazil. The African Diaspora. People who looked like me not speaking English or Spanish. Being beautiful all over my tv screen. It mattered. A lot.

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I still wonder why I’ve always had a soft spot for the villainess. It’s actually not so surprising.

black orpheus2

7. Clueless

There’s so many reasons for this to be here, but it makes it just cause of Paul Rudd.

8. Wings of Desire*

For some reason I thought that twenty years later I’d think it was overwrought and corny. I don’t.

wingsofdesire

9. Some Kind of Wonderful

I would bet cash money that this movie would never get made today. Not with this ending. In a way, I’m kind of conflicted about the fact that Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty and Pink happened when I was a teenager. Because while on the one hand it’s cool that the weirdo girl gets the guy, and that’s why I love them, middle-aged me sometimes wonders if maybe they lied to me.

Also, Eric Stoltz.

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Some-Kind-of-Wonderful-02

10. His Girl Friday*

It was between this one and Bringing Up Baby and the decision was soooo hard to make because I adore Katherine Hepburn. But it came down to this one cause of the quick banter, and the witty repartee’. And Rosalind Russell’s damn hats. So these two are newspaper reporters and they’re divorced but they just can’t shake each other.

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his girl friday1

11. Persuasion (1995)

I’d rank this higher if it didn’t leave me utterly shattered. Out of all of the movies on this list, Persuasion connects with me the most personally. So you think it would be #1, or at least #2. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I do, but this adaptation of the novel, like the novel itself, is too hard, even with the second chance, the happy ending. Because I suspect that’s the part Austen added to make the rest go down more easily. Cause the rest was the truth.

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The Fact That I’m #TeamBlane Probably Explains a Lot

I’m thinking about my past a lot and how it relates to my present. Anyone who’s been following my entries here can pick up on that pattern. I also use pop culture to process my life. That’s pretty much obvious.

Pretty in Pink came out when I was a freshman in high school. Like millions of other teenage girls I wanted to be just like Molly Ringwald. I wanted red hair. I’m black though and my mom wouldn’t let me actually use real hair dye so I got a can of henna and plopped it on my head. My hair was reddish.

pretty in pink

These days with Twilight and whatnot all the girls are #TeamThis and #TeamThat  but back then the big deal was Duckie vs Blane. Andie loved Blane the gorgeous smooth rich dude but her best friend Duckie loved her. Blane’s friends would never accept her cause she was from the wrong side of the tracks.

Pretty In Pink Team Blanetreamblaine

These days it’s cool to say you were always #TeamDuckie. Well eff that noise, I was always #TeamBlane. We’re supposed to feel all bad for Duckie. Duckie was not cute plus he was annoying as hell. Blane was hot, he was just conflicted and needed to grow up and get away from evil James Spader and the other socs (oops wrong movie). Plus look at Andrew McCarthy now.

mccarthy

Look. I’m fully and completely aware that this fact explains a lot about me and the fact that I’m a spinster. I mean I’m not stupid. I want the ones who are out of my league (Blane), who are unattainable (Blane), reject or ignore the ones who want me (Duckie), I’m superficial and love the pretty boys (Blane although I do think he made good grades), etc, etc, etc, etc….

Anyway, I’m not saying anything new. So. Yeah.

Also the soundtrack was hot as HELL. I still listen to that shit and you should too.

My two favorite tracks were from Jesse Johnson and Nik Kershaw.

1993 Project II: A Year Without Hip Hop

A conspicuous absence from my life in 1993: Hip Hop. There just wasn’t that much of it. There had been for a long time before, and just before, and there would be after, not too long after. But right then? Nope. I realized this going through a list of rap/hip hop albums released that year and noticing that I didn’t even recognize MOST of them, except for the most obvious ones. I know this is gonna make me lose credibility within certain circles. Can’t do anything about that.

So tthis NPR piece on Bay Area Hip Hop that year is interesting. I wonder what it was about the sounds, themes, imagery caused me, and the person I saw myself as at the time, to be disconnected from it?

The Many Sounds Of 1993 Bay Area Rap

This year marks the 20th anniversary of a remarkable year in music. Over the 12 months of 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah and more than a dozen other rap groups released albums that helped change the sound of America. In the late ’80s, a music industry focused on New York and Los Angeles was slow to see the San Francisco Bay Area’s rap potential. And so the music made there followed two rules: Do it yourself, and be yourself.

In 1993 in Oakland, Calif., Too Short was rhyming about having money in the ghetto, while The Coup rapped about the Communist Manifesto.

Instead of rap, there was lots of “alternative”, R&B, lots of House and club stuff, cheesy pop some I own up to, others I won’t admit to now and smatterings of Selena in the background cause I’d moved back home to San Antonio.


Actually that year hip hop wasn’t completely absent. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that its presence in my life that year was at a low point. But what was there was the good stuff. Like this:

1993 Project I

I’m revisiting the me I was in 1993.

Not only have I been repressing the fact that my college reunion is in May, I visited the New Museum exhibit “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” a couple of weeks ago. It pretty much freaked me out. I’ve been freaking out ever since. Cause a few words came up for me that I didn’t expect: Anomie. Alienation. Disaffection. Disconnection.

And those words didn’t feel as if I’d left them back then. 20 years ago. They’re still with me. And the art I experienced made me realize that in ways I hadn’t before.

So, instead of doing what I usually do, which is battering the experience into the back of my mind, I decided to take a look-see and figure out what the deal is.

So here’s where I start. With some images that I’m not analyzing. That are here for a reason. And not.

And a playlist/mixtape. Of songs that I listened to then, and that I can still listen to now. There are more songs I liked then, but I just can’t bear them anymore. They don’t connect me to that time, if anything they repulse me with their banality and mediocrity. I’m sure that means something, I don’t know what.

And yup I have read this article in New York Magazine about the exhibit.

Prince Personal Social Cultural Project I

“We’ve all used shock value to sell things, I used shock to get attention, but back when I was doing the freaky songs in the freaky outfits; we were exploring ideas. I wanted my band to be multi-racial, male & female, to reflect society. The song ‘Sexuality’ was about education & literacy. ‘P Control’ & ‘Sexy M.F.’ were about respect for women. Go & listen to the verses, all people focus on is the hooks.”

–Prince, Entertainment Weekly April 23, 2004