This post is scheduled. I’m currently on a holiday and will be answering Your comments when I get back. Be sure to leave some, so returning to rain and wind would be more enjoyable.
Either people are gonna disagree or agree, I don’t really mind what the overall opinion on the matter will be but since it’s yet again Wednesday I will ramble on about a topic which will probably receive quite a lot of comments. I’m assuming this because the last time I did a ramblings post it received almost half as many comments as my usual amount and I couldn’t be happier. This week I decided to give quite the critical look towards a genre that I grew up loving, then kept watching and hating and now, as my recent archive shows, I don’t even watch it anymore – ladies and gents, please say a warm welcome to the post about the dying genre that goes by the name of romantic comedy!
I want to point out as a side note that most movies in this paragraph are British or involve British actors which goes to show that UK still appreciates the humor in a less offensive romance.
Alright, I might be overly dramatic when I say it is basically becoming instinct but from my personal point of view, it does seem to be slowing down. There aren’t even many romantic comedies I could name at the top of my head that came out this year and the last one I really-really loved was (500) Days of Summer which was in cinemas 3 years ago! Although, one can’t forget Bridget Jones (2001), Love Actually (2003), The Holiday (2006) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) – all which I simply love but other than that, the last 10 years has been pretty low key when it comes to romance. I might be a bitter woman who doesn’t like women finding their right man and all but I will now continue on discussing on the matter until I get too exhausted from the whole romance thing.
In addition to the list in this paragraph: Look Who’s Talking (1989 – almost 90’s with the other movies), Clueless (1995), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), As Good as It Gets (1997), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), Picture Perfect (1997), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Never Been Kissed (1999), Notting Hill (1999), What Women Want (2000 – border line 90’s). Should I go on, or this kind of proves my point?
This topic came to my mind after I watched a very lovely romantic comedy starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney called One Fine Day (1996). It was simple, adorable and a lot of fun for a Sunday evening with friends. After that I thought about other romantic comedies I like and most of my examples tended to stick with the 90’s with Sandra Bullock’s While You Were Sleeping (1995), Meg Ryan with Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail (1998) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Pretty Woman (1990) and Notting Hill (1999) with Julia Roberts, even The Object of My Affection (1998) with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as leads. I’m not saying that I don’t know or can’t name any from the 21st century, trust me, I can ! but I simply don’t want to because the ones I usually go back to are those listed here. They are simple, fun and don’t have the qualities a lot of the romantic comedies nowadays seem to posses.
If you think back to last year’s big romantic comedy hit Bridesmaids and start to compare that story with the ones listed in the previous paragraph you’ll eventually end up at a certain point where I have now established my strong opinions. When did romance became something that was shown together in the same movie with women in their wedding dresses sitting in the middle of the street doing number two? First of all, I’m fine with that kind of humor as long as I keep away from it – honestly, I get the whole dirty joke thing and I use way too many curse words on a regular basis, but such comedy with romance, seriously? The thing is, One Fine Day was about two people meeting one day and basically having this inner connection which ended with them kind of getting together. Nowadays, you have friends with benefits who do it in every possible position and then the guy flash mob’s the girl into a relationship. I don’t know about you but I prefer the version where love is seen as the motivator because yes, I am a hopeless romantic.
But what’s wrong with wanting to have a simple love story without any vulgar words and inappropriate sex jokes thrown around like they were pleasantries. I get that the world is changing and we must be up for a change but the place where romantic-comedies are heading is in no ways the way to portray women nor men. The thing with the 90’s was that women where never put into a desperate situation at least from their own point of view. Let’s view at my list, shall we: divorced woman who also had a kid, a dreamer who was also on the shy side, a workaholic, a woman in a relationship, a woman with a bad career but still not complaining about it, a famous actress, a woman who was in a relationship and got pregnant but didn’t want to be with him. All in all, these woman don’t seem desperate nor seem to whine about the fact that they are single and alone, they just are and the movie starts off with just two elements coming together.
Now we have the whole benefits thing that has appeared to be popular, a woman who has had too many sex partners, a woman who wants a child through a sperm-donor, a woman who gets knocked up after a one-night-stand (the idea sounds bad but I do love Knocked Up despite Heigl being the lead and all), a woman who desperately wants a perfect man, a woman who chases after a man to propose to him, a woman who is addicted to shopping, two best friends who end up fighting like crazy, an ambitious and gorgeous woman who is just unlucky in love which stands for most of the romantic comedies nowadays because the women keep saying that. Basically, I feel like the plot is started from whining and women being unhappy and unsatisfied but at the same time beautiful and successful. This all leads me to think that 90’s were all about logic and realism while now they just want to humiliate women, men and overall the whole idea of romance as something that definitely has to come with a twist where the woman finds out that the man didn’t tell him the truth and gets mad which leads them to break up just before they live happily ever after.
Not saying that the 90’s didn’t have that twist but it just feels that now they are even more ridiculous and so unreal that I can’t even remember any of them due to my ability to forget the things I dislike. Sadly I can’t forget the more romantic and at the same time funny times of the 90’s romantic comedies which made women look like they were content even if they were single. Or at least didn’t made them look way too hot to be single but it also might have been the style back then. Whatever, I just miss those movies and I might end up watching many of them during Christmas. Now it all makes sense when the women in romantic comedies watch the old American classics like Breakfast at Tiffani’s and Casablanca – they are like me but instead of the classics I go for 90’s, which almost are classics in my eyes because it was 20 years ago!0
Brilliant post. I love romcoms from the 90s. Like growing up in India in the 90s, there was the romantic comedy element in every Bollywood film. Romcoms are innate to me. If done right, I will love them. And yeah, I like how you pointed out the difference. From the 2000s I would say that I love Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist the most. My favourite film this year so far is also a romcom- Ruby Sparks, which is just wonderful.
I didn’t like Nick and Norah as much, probably because of that bathroom scene. I find it awkward.
Haha I forward that part everytime. Barring that, I love the film.
But the only thing I remember explicitly from the movie is just that.. so I don’t know how I like the overall movie.
If the 90s did anything right, it was movies. In my opinion, the 90s has some of the best movies of its decade…aside from the romcoms, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s list, Shawshank, any Brad Pitt movie, the ending era of classic Disney, etc. The past decade in general has been pretty dull movie-wise. I’m not saying there haven’t been a handful of great films in the past years, but none that are really going to be as impacting as a Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump or Pretty Woman. Can we just resurrect Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts?
I think the quality in general has gone to earn more money and sequels and re-makes etc. With exceptions of course but still.. so sad.
You’re exactly right.
Incredible post! I say that because I feel like I could have written so much of it myself, that’s how much I agree with you! I love that you have picked One Fine Day to really compare to more recent rom-coms as that really does have a good heart and nice story. I guess the more sex/sex talk the more romance disappears!
I’m just.. the way romance is shown now just makes me sad all over and I could discuss this for hours!
Do you not think that it’s more lust than love/romance now? As that’s what I think it is.
No, I think it’s just sex. Sex sells and if you make it funny, it sells even more.