"Why watch hundreds of rom-coms together? What keeps us coming back?"
December 14, 2023 9:19 PM   Subscribe

"An Oral History of Socially Distant Movie Night: 3 Years, Nine Months, and 182 Movies (mostly rom-coms)" appears in Avidly's RomCom Superlatives! series: "Destination Wedding has a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where critics revile its 'utterly repugnant characters' and 'sewer-bile dialogue.' Turns out it hit the spot. Keanu and Winona hooked up in the desert under the watchful eye of a mountain lion, we all kept up a steady stream of snark and emojis, and for 87 minutes all was well with the world ... What follows is an oral history of our movie night in the shape of a romcom, spliced together from our memories."

The authors are Jennifer Ho, Briallen Hopper, Caroline Kyungah Hong, Leah Abuan Milne, Amy Wan, Amanda Watson, and Sarah Woodford. Incidentally, there is a Fanfare discussion for Destination Wedding, not to mention these other films referenced in the article: Roman Holiday, When Harry Met Sally ..., While You Were Sleeping, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Fire Island, The Wedding Planner, You've Got Mail, But I'm a Cheerleader, My Best Friend's Wedding, Crazy Rich Asians, Happiest Season, 27 Dresses, Always Be My Maybe, Runaway Bride, Anything's Possible, Pride, and The Half of It.

Other essays in the series:
posted by Wobbuffet (7 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This is an all-female panel, as it should be. Most guys wouldn't have much to contribute bar 'Euh! These movies suck!' But as a guy, here are my thoughts on romcoms and watching them together as a couple. (Feel free to delete this if it's considered a derail.)

- Mrs. CF is happy to watch football (soccer) with me, though she has usually had little interest in it (that changed with the latest Women's Euro and World Cup, incidentally). It is the least I can do as a husband to watch romcoms with her in return. Some are good, some are bad, some are... well, neither she nor I could stomach more than the first few minutes of I Love You, Man, for example.

- I liked Crazy Rich Asians. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I lived in Singapore for a while, and I was therefore able to understand at least some of the plot devices (for example the mahjong game) which are otherwise incomprehensible to Western viewers.

- Sometimes she'll pick a movie on the strength of the actors alone, and it turns out not to be a romcom at all. As a result we have seen, quite by accident, excellent movies such as Never Let Me Go (Keira Knightley) and Rachel Getting Married (Anne Hathaway)
posted by Cardinal Fang at 2:26 AM on December 15, 2023 [4 favorites]

Oh I freaking LOVED Crazy Rich Asians. It's everything a wish fulfillment movie in this genre should be (minus the little racist bits, sigh).
posted by MiraK at 5:32 AM on December 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

This is an all-female panel, as it should be. Most guys wouldn't have much to contribute bar 'Euh! These movies suck!'
(I note that IMDB has a special page of Romcom's that appeal to men. Putting "Sean of The Dead" on there is coup, to be sure.)
posted by rongorongo at 6:02 AM on December 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

The Forty-Year-Old Version

Ah yes, from 1983...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

Most guys wouldn't have much to contribute bar 'Euh! These movies suck!'

Well one of the movies that is highlighted truly does suck, and I consider it one of the worst movies ever made with decent actors and a decent budget. That movie is The Family Stone, and FanFare got it right.

If you haven't seen it, an engaged dude (or about to be engaged I don't recall) visits lady's family, passes her off to his brother, gets engaged to her sister, all while lady's mom is dying. If that sounds like some hillbilly nonsense, well its set in wealthy upper class New England.

In FanFare, it's on lists for the 'worst movie of all time'.

If you want a heartfelt rom-com about dying comfortably of 'beautiful disease', Love and Other Drugs with Anne Hathaway is right there.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:24 AM on December 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

I still love While You Were Sleeping but I understand the hate. There is a throwaway line by the doc early on that says Peter will likely recover, so that's the lampshade for the weirdness of everyone having fun while he's in a coma.

But they were also careful to make him a yuppie putz so that you didn't care a lot about him anyway.

It makes no sense whatsoever but Lucy gets out of her sad life with a hunky flannel wearing dude so who cares?
posted by emjaybee at 9:36 AM on December 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

Incidentally, Hunky Flannel is my stripper name.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:49 PM on December 15, 2023 [2 favorites]

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