Romance Recap – Part 2

Sorry for my brief hiatus.  Here is the remaining romantic movies that I’ve seen from “501 Must-See Movies” so far…


Seen to date: 16 out of 50

Annie Hall (1977)

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton and Christopher Walken

Academy Award Wins – Best Picture, Best Actress (Keaton), Best Director (Allen) and Best Original Screenplay

AFI Top 100 – #31 (1998) #35 (2007)

Alvy (Allen) is a neurotic comic who attempts to have a relationship with the eccentric Annie (Keaton).  After years of arguments and reconciliations, the couple realizes that they are too different and decide to call it quits.  Annie moves to LA and Alvy realizes he still loves her and tries to persuade her to move back to New York with him. 

Woody Allen is one of America’s most recognizable directors and Annie Hall represents a changing point in his career.  For the first time, he stepped aside from zany comedies and molded his style into an emotionally rich film.  His work paid off with Oscar statuettes for directing and writing.

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs (Out of 5)

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 98% (47 Reviews)

The Princess Bride (1987)

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright and Peter Falk

A grandfather (Falk) reads his sick grandson (Fred Savage) the story of “The Princess Bride”, which details the love of a Farm Boy named Wesley (Elwes) and Buttercup (Wright).  Wesley leaves Buttercup in the hopes of seeking his fortune abroad so he can return and marry his true love.  After years he never returns or sends word and a local prince selects Buttercup as his bride to be.  Eventually villains for hire, kidnap Buttercup and she is rescued by the mysterious Dread Pirate Roberts.

The Princess Bride is easily one of my ten favorite films of all time.  My fiancée asked me the other day, why I liked it so much.  I guess I just feel like it has everything and is wildly entertaining.  It’s extremely romantic and has outstanding comedic performances (including an unrecognizable cameo by Billy Crystal as Miracle Max).  It’s got sword e, fights, giants, revenge, battles of wit and like I said and extremely romantic story about true love.

My Rating – 5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 96% (46 Reviews)

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Director: Emile Ardolino

Starring: Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze

Academy Award Wins – Best Music, Original Song (The Time of My Life)

Seventeen year old, “Baby” (Grey) is on vacation with her family at a resort in the Catskill Mountains.  While there, she meets and falls for the resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze).  Despite being forbidden by her father, the romance blossoms and eventually Johnny is fired for having a relationship with a guest.  All in all, you might say that they ‘had the time of their lives.’

This seems to be a movie that has more appeal for female movie fans, but has become a staple of the genre and one of the classic examples of forbidden love romances between lovers from different classes for our generation.

My Rating – 2.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 68% (44 Reviews)

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Director: Rob Reiner

Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan and Carrie Fisher

Academy Award Wins – Best Music, Original Score

The first time they met, they hated each other.  Well, Sally contends that Harry didn’t hate her, but she hated him.  Either way, they met randomly; thrown together to drive across the country from college back to New York.  Five years later, the story picks up as they find themselves on the same flight.  They meet again five years later and this time begin a friendship, before eventually developing romantic feelings.

Another of my favorite movies from this genre, When Harry Met Sally deals with the differing ideas about relationships between men and women.  Harry believes members of the two sexes can never be true friends.  Because of this theme, it is a timeless film that seems contemporary more than 20 years later.

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 91% (47 Reviews)

Pretty Woman (1990)

Director: Garry Marshall

Starring: Julia Roberts and Richard Gere

Businessman Edward Lewis (Gere) is in need of directions when he happens across a prostitute named Vivian (Roberts).  Lewis then hires Vivian to stay with him for the week and escort him to social events, paying her $3,000 and giving her his credit cards for the week.

Pretty Woman is one of the most financially successful romantic comedies of all-time and established Julia Roberts as one of the most iconic and beloved actresses of her era.  In many ways, Pretty Woman is a modern fairy tale and has become one of the 90s most beloved movies.

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 62% (55 Reviews)

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Director: Nora Ephron

Starring: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

Sam Baldwin (Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son after losing his young wife to cancer.  A year and a half later his son calls into a radio talk show to talk about his dad and he is convinced to do the same.  Hundreds of women hear the show and write to Sam.  One of those women is Annie (Ryan) who is engaged, but feels her relationship is missing something.  Her letter encourages Sam to meet her on the Empire State building.  However, his son is unable to convince him to do so.  Eventually the son goes to New York; unbeknownst to his father to meet the woman who he feels is right for his dad.

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are both fan favorites and also worked together later in You’ve Got MailThey are equally outstanding on opposite ends of this distant love story.  Hanks’ Sam Baldwin is heart breaking at times as he mourns the loss of his wife while still being a caring father, and Meg Ryan seems extremely realistic as someone in a stable, but lacking relationship. 

My Rating – 3 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 73% (44 Reviews)

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes and Paul Rudd

Romeo + Juliet is an abridged modern version of Shakespeare’s most famous play.   It keeps the Shakespearean dialogue, but the warring families are represented as warring business empires and swords are replaced by guns (manufactured by ‘Sword’).

Before Titanic, Leo (along with Claire Danes) took on the stage’s most famous star crossed lovers.  Hearing the famous dialogue told against a modern backdrop with cars and guns make this film unique even though we’ve seen the story countless times before.

My Rating – 4 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 70% (56 Reviews)

Titanic (1997)

Director: James Cameron

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane

Academy Award Wins – Best Picture, Best Director (Cameron), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song (“My Heart Will Go On”) and Best Art Direction

AFI Top 100 – #83 (2007)

Told as the memories of a survivor named Rose (the younger version played by Winslet), Titanic is the story of lovers from different social circles who find each other on the doomed ship.

Titanic broke box office records in the late 90s and is easily one of the most decorated films of recent history and may be the most recognizable of Cameron’s epic career.  It made a superstar out of DiCaprio and solidified Winslet as acclaimed female lead. 

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 83% (98 Reviews)

Punch Drunk Love (2002)

Director: P.T. Anderson

Starring: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Barry Egan (Sandler) has a plan to exploit a loophole in a Healthy Choice promotion and collect a million frequent flyer miles, by buying a large quantity of pudding.  But, a chance encounter with Lena (Watson) and the pursuit of extortion thugs related to a phone sex line complicate things.

PT Anderson (of Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood fame) is one of America’s hottest directors.  In Punch Drunk Love he managed to do the unthinkable and take Sandler out of his typical comedy films and put him in position to garner positive reviews for his depth as an actor.

My Rating – 2.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 79% (180 Reviews)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Director: Michael Gondry

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Elijah Wood

Academy Award Wins – Best Original Screenplay

Joel (Carrey) has decided to have the memories of his relationship with Clementine (Winslet) erased by a revolutionary new procedure.  Joel’s memories play in reverse and once he comes across some of their happier memories from the beginning of their time together he struggles to preserve some of them.  In the meantime, the employees of the company performing the procedure deal with its impact on their own lives.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the most unusual, remarkable films of recent memory.  It shows that Jim Carrey’s range extends past his inane comedies of the 90s.  This combined with his performance in The Truman Show prove that Carrey is more capable than often given credit for.

My Rating – 4.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 93% (217 Reviews)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Rubina Ali

Academy Award Wins – Best Picture, Best Director (Boyle), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“Jai Ho”) and Best Sound Mixing

Jamal Malik (Patel) a former street child is a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and is close to the grand prize.  However, because of the improbability of a “slumdog” doing this well, he is suspected of cheating and detained by the police.  Through flashbacks, Jamal recounts the incidents in his life that led him to know each answer.

The expression ‘Cinderella Story’ gets thrown around quite a bit.  But, that doesn’t make it any less appropriate to describe the unbelievable run of this film.  After originally being released in just 10 U.S. theatres, Slumdog Millionaire went onto major success at the Academy Awards (winning 8 categories).

My Rating – 3.5 Ticket Stubs

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 94% (222 Reviews)



About DC Evans

I’m a long time film lover. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent my free time going to multiplexs; renting tapes and building my own DVD/Blu-ray collection. I'll be blogging about my efforts as I watch my way through the history of film. For starters, I’ll be focusing on watching each movie in the book “501 Must-See Movies.” Follow me on twitter: @D_C_Evans
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