“You want to be in love in a movie” – Top 15 Romantic Comedies

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Like every rational person, I am well-versed in the art of watching romantic comedies.  And I’ve seen them all: from the terrible, overly cheesy films to the ones that are so well-done, you don’t even want to mention them in the same breath as some of the other drivel that makes up the genre.  I watch them all eagerly, and let myself get completely wrapped up in the sentimentality that drives them all.  Romantic comedies get a bad wrap for being unrealistic and falsely building up expectations, but there’s so much more to it than that.  In fact, some of the best romantic comedies are the ones that don’t follow those stereotypes at all, to the point where they might not even seem like romantic comedies at first glance.  Sure, a formula has developed, but really, every good romantic comedy stands on its own, and has its own definition of what it means to fall in love.  Ultimately, my definition of a romantic comedy (and what defines a film as such) is one that puts two characters on a journey that ends with both falling in love and becoming the person they need to become in order to have a happy and sustainable relationship.

A few friends and myself have decided to start a podcast, and our inaugural episode will feature a discussion of romantic comedies.  To preclude that discussion, Kim, Sage, Jenn, and I came up with our top 15 favorite romantic comedies (and all their picks can be found by clicking their respective names!).  This list took a while to come up with, and is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  So without further ado, here it is: my fifteen favorite romantic comedies.

 

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15. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

The only way you can beat my crazy was by doing something crazy yourself. Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.”

After being released from a court-ordered stay in a mental health facility, Pat (Bradley Cooper) struggles with his return to his normal life.  His friend sets him up with his sister-in-law Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), but the two, both suffering from mental illness and instability, find countless flaws within each other.  But they quickly realize they need each other: Tiffany needs a dance partner for a competition she’s always wanted to enter, and Pat needs to prove to his estranged wife that he can be dependable.

Silver Linings Playbook is the youngest film on my list, and received tons of attention last year, including Oscar nominations for every acting category and Best Picture, among others (and a win for Jennifer Lawrence).  I think you’ll see a trend in my list where I often favor films that aren’t just romantic comedies; in fact, at first glance, Silver Linings Playbook isn’t a romantic comedy at all (and in fact, it’s only so low on my list because its status as a romantic comedy isn’t something that jumps out to me right away).  At times, it’s incredibly dark, and the focus isn’t on Pat’s growing romantic feelings for Tiffany, but his growing connections to the world around him.  But Tiffany is a huge grounding force for Pat; she helps him let go of his need to win back his wife and allows him to cut loose and have fun.  You don’t want Pat and Tiffany to fall in love for the sake of watching people fall in love; you want them to fall in love because it genuinely seems like it would be good for them.  One of the biggest draws of romantic comedies is the idea of fantasy; you want to see the characters find each other and fall in love because you want to fall in love.  But Pat and Tiffany are both suffering from deep-seeded issues, and are on heavy medication and under serious pressure from their families to show signs that they’re improving.  There’s no fantasy here; you don’t want to be Pat or Tiffany.  But you want the best for them, and at the end of the film, it’s clear that starting a relationship is the best decision either of them could make.

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Top 10: Office Episodes

Tomorrow night is going to be difficult for me: it’s the series finale of The Office, a show I’ve been watching since its second season that has meant so much to me over the last seven years.  I’ve been strongly attached to it ever since I started watching, and to be honest, I’m not sure what I’m going to do without my all-time favorite show every week.  So in honor of the finale, I’ve decided to list my ten favorite Office episodes.  This wasn’t an easy list to make – I’ve only really ever ranked my top two favorites, and after that, it’s sort of a big jumble.  But after some thought, I came up with a list that I think is accurate to both my own feelings toward the show and what the show represents.  I should warn you guys in advance: this list is 50% season two episodes, and pretty Jim/Pam-heavy.

 

10. Beach Games

Season 3, Episode 23

Confident that he’s going to be promoted to a job at corporate, Michael holds a competition between four people to determine who will take his job as regional manager.  But Jim and Karen decide to throw in their names for the same position Michael wants, and after months of keeping quiet, Pam finally tells Jim how she feels.

 

A lot of really important things happen in Beach Games, and it marked the beginning of changes in Jim and Pam that completely changed their trajectories for the following six seasons.  Of course, this episode isn’t just about Jim and Pam; it’s the first time we get a real sense of what Dunder Mifflin would be like without Michael Scott.  But it has such a different tone from the other two arcs in the show that revolve around Michael leaving (when he quits to form his own company in season five and then, of course, when he actually leaves in season seven); it was much too early in the show for any real shake-ups, so we could all sit back and enjoy the image of Stanley trying to murder Jim on Beach Day while wearing a sumo suit.  It was the mix of silliness and conflict that The Office does so well; everyone has probably had varying ideas through the show’s run about who they think would make the best manager, but this episode isn’t about that, not really.  It’s about this group of people who we’ve come to love hanging out on Beach Day, and watching them interact in a new environment (something that was always so interesting in the first three seasons of the show, when the bulk of episodes were occurring within the office). 

 

And of course, this is the episode that should have earned Jenna Fischer an Emmy.  She was nominated this season, and this was the episode she submitted, but didn’t win for reasons I’ll never understand.  We had watched Pam grow all season, inspired by but not dependent on what had happened with Jim.  And that was what made the scene when she finally explodes and tells Jim she misses him so beautiful: she didn’t call off her wedding for him.  She wasn’t jumping to him because she wasn’t strong enough on her own.  Her friendship with him made her realize what she wanted, and she knew she would never get that in her relationship with Roy.  But telling Jim all this wasn’t her way of declaring her love, and she made sure to mention that.  She missed her friend.  And for once, Pammy’s getting what she wants.  And don’t call her Pammy.

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Top 10: Movies

Last week, I managed to do something really, really difficult.  This week, I’m going to do the impossible: I’m going to list my ten favorite movies.

I’m one of those people whose mind goes completely blank whenever someone asks their favorite movies.  If I hear the question, I can barely think of a single movie I’ve seen, let alone a movie I love.  But I think I’m pretty much pleased with this list, and so, without further comment, my ten favorite movies are as follows:

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Top 10: TV Shows

For my first top 10 post, I wanted to start out with the hardest possible category: my favorite TV shows.

Anyone who knows me knows that I watch a lot of TV, and I’m very passionate about it.  Most of my tweets are just me flailing over Jeff/Annie or the twist in the latest Doctor Who episode.  I’m sure most of my Twitter followers think my capslock button is broken.  But I’m always up for a challenge, and so, here it is, after much scrutiny, and always subject to change: my top ten television shows.

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