Feature Image Includesf ‘To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before’
Growing up, I couldn’t get into romantic-comedies. I dismissed their stories and felt every movie contained the same synopsis with the over-the-top jokes, typical endings, and unrealistic expectations. Horror movies were my thing instead, along with the occasional comedy (depending on who starred in the movie).
My interest in boys ignited the hidden interest in romantic-comedies. The first rom-com I watched without even realizing it was Better Off Dead (1985). I watched the movie a lot but didn’t even pay attention to the romance because of the dark humor and ridiculous scenes. When it hit me that the movie can be considered a rom-com, I realized it wouldn’t kill me to try and watch more movies like it.
I’m not a die-hard fan now nor have I seen the hundreds of movies out there but, I did develop a small love for some of them. Some of them I even tried to find a way to make them a part of my daily conversations.
Of all the rom-coms I watched, the five listed below always stuck out to me. Whether it was their sense of humor, their uniqueness, or the type of love they expressed in the films, I could never get bored of them.
If you need movie suggestions or want to join in on my obsession, these are my five rom-coms that I will always have a love for.
- To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Directed by Susan Johnson, the Netflix film tells a cute story about the sweet yet shy Lara Jean Covey (played by Lana Condor) whose secret love letters she kept hidden away at home suddenly were released to her former loves. One of them landing in the hands of Peter Kavinsky, (played by Noah Centineo) a guy she kissed during a game of spin the bottle when she was 13-years-old. Despite Covey’s protests that her feelings for him remained in the past when she originally wrote him the letter, Centineo believed she wanted to rekindle their ‘moment’. Another letter was also addressed to Covey’s older sisters ex-boyfriend, Josh (played by Israel Broussard). To keep her dignity in check and figure out a decent explanation for her sister and Josh, she and Centineo come up with this crazy scheme to pretend date each other. Other purposes involve Centineo trying to get a rise of out of his ex-girlfriend and make her want him back while Covey gets an idea of what a relationship is like. As predicted in most high-school rom-com’s, issues such as jealousy, drama, and rumors occur but the “relationship” between Covey and Centineo remains unpredictable. Netflix marked this movie as one of the top three most rewatched original movies of 2018. Netflix also confirmed in December 2018 that a sequel is on the way when they released a holiday-themed teaser.
Why I Like It: I admired Lara Jean’s character; she’s a genuine, kind girl who didn’t become petty or shallow temporarily. She made a couple mistakes but she’s human. Who would always know what to do in her and Peter’s dating situation? From my perspective too, I kept going back and forth on who she’d wind up being with in the end so it was a good touch the ending of the movie wasn’t too typical.
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Directed by Joel Zwick and written by Nia Vardolos stars her character, Fotoula “Toula” Portokalos, an awkward Greek-American woman who always stood out in her chaotic family. She grew up with the least amount of luck compared to her brother and sister and starts off the film as a lonely woman working at her parents restaurant, Dancing Zorba’s, in Chicago while her sister is blessed with a family and her younger brother is confident he is next. As one can guess, the values and culture of being Greek are the highest to Portokalos parents and they impatiently wait for their daughter’s time to come to marry a Greek man and raise her own Greek family. Tired of feeling like the black sheep, Portokalos goes through a period of transformation where she learns to take care of herself more, gain confidence, develop in her computer skills, and seek independence. Along the journey she falls for a non-Greek man, Ian Miller (played by John Corbett) who she spotted dining in her family’s restaurant one afternoon. The two begin a relationship but are initially shut down by her parents because he isn’t Greek. Portokalos goes against her parents wishes and continues to pursue a relationship with Miller. Miller willingly offers to adapt to the family’s Greek customs and lifestyle, in hopes he can share the rest of his life with Portokalos and also receive her family’s approval.
Why I Like It: What mattered most to Toula was seeking independence instead of desperately finding love. Although it was precious she found love, she stuck to her values by gaining freedom and independance from her family while keeping a strong relationship with them.
3. Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
Directed by Steve Rash and written by Michael Swerdlick, this film focuses on Ronald Miller (played by Patrick Dempsey) a nerdy high-schooler who spent his summer mowing lawns for the Mancini’s. The daughter, Cynthia “Cindy” Mancini (played by Amanda Peterson) attends the same high-school as Miller in Tucson, Arizona and is known as the popular cheerleader. She and Miller have made small conversation in the past but suddenly she needs his assistance when she stains an expensive outfit she stole from her mother’s closet. In exchange for fixing the dress, Mancini agrees to help give Miller a “cool” persona and pretend to date him for the month. Things start off rocky at first but as time goes on, Miller learns to adapt to the popular life. Along the journey he develops a friendship with Mancini and pushes aside his true friends. Letting the new lifestyle get to him, Miller turns into a jerk that gets called out by his now ex-best friend, Kenneth, and almost taints his bond with Mancini. Unexpected feelings occur in the film and while it has a lot of clichés, it’s still presents a good ‘coming of age’ film for teenagers.
Why I Like It: For one thing, Ronald Miller played by Patrick Dempsey is a plus. Seeing Dempsey portrayed as the awkward, teenage nerd instead of the dreamy doctor is an interesting change in plot if one is used to seeing Dempsey as the handsome, career-driven man. As for Ronald and Cindy’s relationship, I felt a spark between them within the first couple scenes. It didn’t have to take until the last 15 minutes of the movie for either of them to fully realize they should be with each other.
4. Better Off Dead (1985)
Directed and written by Savage Steve Holland, this goofy movie tells the troubles of Lane Meyer (John Cusack) on his frustrating yet entertaining life. In the very beginning of the film, Meyer’s getting ready to try out for the high-school skiing team but of course gets his chance shut down by pretty boy and captain of the ski team, Roy Stalin (played by Aaron Dozier). What’s next is that Meyer’s girlfriend of six-months, Beth (played by Amanda Wyss) dumps him for Stalin. Heart-broken, Meyer attempts to kill himself but gets a grip when his friend, Charles De Mar (played by Curtis Armstrong) convinces him to challenge Stalin to race down the K-12. Without being aware of how dangerous the slope is, Meyer struggles trying to amp up his ski skills while balancing humiliating moments from his high school, his out-of touch parents, the newspaper “Two Dollars!” boy, and confusing exchanges between the new French foreign exchange student next door, Monique (played by Diane Franklin). The battle of love comes into play when triangles form between Meyer-Monique-and Ricky Smith, Meyer’s neighbor, and Meyer-Stalin-and Beth.
What I Like It: Since I grew up with this movie, there’s already a bias. This movie is filled with absurd scenes-the kind that are so dumb they’re hilarious-type of scenes. It goes to show too the crazy things people will do or sacrifice just to keep a relationship between someone who sometimes isn’t worth it.
5. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
Directed by Marc Webb and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, this is one of the films that bends the expectations of what a romantic-comedy is about. It tells a complicated story between Tom Hansen (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) who meet at work when Finn is assigned as Hansen’s boss’s new assistant. The film doesn’t go in chronological order when it shares different memories and moments between Finn and Hansen. Despite love being expressed in the film, the purpose lies more with dissecting the two’s personalities and realizing that just because love seems present, it doesn’t mean it’s meant to be. It’s a film that’s meant to be watched more than once as viewers are more likely to spot something they may have missed before. The film also can turn into a big debate on how Hansen approached the situation between him and Finn.
Why I Like It: My feelings were all over the place when I watched this movie. At first I was distraught then I was annoyed and then finally I understood things. To grasp the point of the movie, viewers need to point out any piece of symbolism and connect them. I felt the movie did an excellent job to drag out a variety of emotions and make viewers question Summer and Tom’s status.