Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

The 14 greatest romantic dramas, or, get a box of Kleenex ready…Part I

And finally we get to the 14 greatest romantic dramas. When compiling this list I found that of the 14 films that I put in the top 14, 9 of them have the death of a loved one—in only 3 of those was the death not of one of our romantic couples, and that’s an arguable number as one of those Death himself is involved as the romantic lead in one of those 3. (Of the honorable mentions 6 of the 8 involve death). Of the five films where no one dies, two involve a major character being seriously injured (and also in one of the honorable mentions). It is not safe to be in a romantic drama. With only two exceptions can I say there is not a major amount of tragedy.

(Due to the fact that I started tearing up while writing this, this will be split into two blogs).

You might want to ask why would such a beautiful topic be so littered with suffering? Actually there is a reason. As overused as it may seem, it will always be true that “’Tis better to have loved and lost: Than never to have loved at all.”
There movies are here to remind us that all the pain and hurt and feeling like your life is over is all worth it, because love is worth it.

So let’s start out with something that doesn’t have a major body count…

#14 The Cutting Edge

“Toe pick”

Obviously this is one of the happier ones on this list, of course that might have something to do with the fact that I couldn’t quite decide whether to put this in the comedy or drama list. Obviously drama won out by the slightest of edges. You know you love it. Our star-crossed lovers are endlessly screwed up but together they find the balance and success they were looking for.

“Remember, I said it first.”

#13 The Lake House

“She’s more real to me than anything I’ve ever known.”

Long distance relationships are usually a problem…more so when it’s time not distance separating you. For a movie where the two main characters hardly have any screen time together, and spend most of it in voiced over conversations between letters, it has more passion and romance than most of what Hollywood churns out. It’s never explained how or why they’re able to communicate through a magical mailbox…but who cares. What matters is that Reeves and Bullock make their romance come alive without even being in the same shot.

If ever there was a movie that showed that a lot of times it’s type-casting and directing that conspire to make or break an actor, it’s this film. I’m not going to say that Keanu deserved an Oscar for this performance, but it is not the lifeless and hollow performance that we have come to expect from him in every other film.

“Don’t look for me. Don’t try to find me. I love you.”

#12 Portrait of Jennie

“I know we were meant to be together. The strands of our lives are woven together and neither the world nor time can tear them apart.”

Okay, I promise this is the last love story on the list that involves odd time travel plot lines…at least until the honorable mentions. Artist Eben Adams (Joseph Cotton) and Jennie (Jennifer Jones). Eben a man in his 30’s is being beaten down by life and is about to just give up when he meets Jennie, a young girl about 12. While not attracted to her in any way, he finds her personality magnetic…and her mention of historical events 30 years out of date as if they were yesterday was odd. It gets stranger when he sees her a week later and she’s aged five years. Through a little research he find that Jennie is from the past and is somehow coming into his time at different points in her life, and the magic of it all begins to reinvigorate his life. As she starts popping in closer to his age he does begin to fall in love with her and it becomes clear that they were meant for each other, even if they’re in different times. And when he learns that she died in the past he desperately tries to save her.

Now this movie has its flaws. Namely that Joseph Cotton is in 90% of the scenes and Joseph Cotton couldn’t act to save his life; the man deserved a lifetime achievement award from the Razzies. Now, given how much I hate Cotton’s acting and still love this movie should tell you the quality of Jones’ acting and the script. I would love to see this remade, despite the perfect performance of Jones, simply because Cotton was incredibly miscast as a romantic lead…however I know that will never happen because while we might forgive the innocence of a movie made in the 1940’s, to make a movie nowadays where a 30 year old man falls in love with a 9 year old (even if he really didn’t start falling in love with her until she was of a legal age) would just come off as disturbingly pedophilic, and rightly so. So unless a genius scriptwriter and director can figure out a way around this, I will have to settle for Cotton in a movie that even he couldn’t ruin.

“There is no life, my darling, until you love and have been loved. And then there is no death.”








#11 Bed of Roses
Bed of Roses

“Every now and then, um, everybody’s entitled to too much perfection.”

Two people who have lost finding joy in life because of various tragedies in their lives. Oh the tragedies Lewis (Christian Slater) and Lisa (Mary Stuart Masterson) have endured. But together, eventually, we hope, they work everything out and have each other to lean on.

This is the part where you’re supposed to say “Wait!” I’m supposed to leave, and that’s where you forgive me for being such a coward, and for being the last one to figure out what everyone already knew. Then you call “Wait! Don’t go! Stop!” and we hold each other and we know everything’s going to be okay.

I guess I’m not familiar with the procedure.

Yeah…I guess not…. …Um… I’ll see you around.

Wait don’t go.

P.S. I love you.
“Dear Gerry, you said you wanted me to fall in love again, and maybe one day I will. But there are all kinds of love out there. This is my one and only life and it’s a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive.”

A love story after the fact, about a man who loved his wife so much that when faced with imminent death he is more concerned with how she will be able to get past the loss. Now that’s love.

Pride and Prejudice
“Perhaps I didn’t always love him as well as I do now, but in such cases as these a good memory is unpardonable.”

The BBC version with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy! There exists no other version!

Besides the more than obvious reasons why this makes it onto the list (It’s Pride and Prejudice do I really have to justify why it’s here?) I love this film because I share many a personality trait with Darcy (if you stop to think about it that’s not really a compliment, we both seem to embrace our inner arrogant jerk).

#8 Jane Eyre

Again the BBC version with Timothy Dalton as Rochester. Like the Pride and Prejudice version I like this one because it doesn’t cut anything from the story. I know this is one of the most dysfunctional relationships in all of literature (with the possible exception of Wuthering Heights, what is it with the Brontes?) but I can’t help root for Jane and Rochester.

…Tomorrow…the top 7…and honorable mentions.


Filed under Art, Love, Movies, Valentine's Day

My Favorite Romantic Couples for Valentine’s Day

Having done romantic comedies I thought we would take a quick look at my favorite cinema couples before heading into the high body count of Romantic Dramas.

I have some simple rules here. First they must be married (or as close as you can get, I have some couples from Lost in here and there wasn’t exactly a church on that island) and have a healthy relationship (so my beloved Buffy & Angel, Michale & Fionna, and Mal & Innara, are out on both counts)…and no matter how much I love them Sherlock and Irene, no matter what incarnation, have never had anything resembling a healthy relationship. Second that the characters must be together and married for the majority of the work (either movie or TV show) that they are in…yes we all love this or that couple but be it Booth & Bones, Mulder & Scully, or a thousand couples in sitcoms, they didn’t really get together until the very end… (my number 1 couple hasn’t been married for the majority of the show, but they have been married from the moment the female half showed up). Third they have to be fictional (as much as I love Giamatti and Linney as John and Abigail Adams, they have nothing on the passion and romance of the original…read their letters if you don’t believe me). Finally the relationship has to be a central point of the film (Jack Ryan seems to have a good marriage, but it’s always tangential to the story). Granted this leaves only a few examples as most examples of married couples in film are one of not so healthy relationships, either for dramatic or comedy purposes, but there are a few.

#6 Any married couple of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

From Adam’s Rib and State of the Union all the way to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner these two have always been a wonderful and adorable couple on screen and off.

Spencer Tracy on the importance of love:

#5 Lord & Lady Blakely from The Scarlet Pimpernel Now I have always loved the original book The Scarlet Pimpernel and while some may like older versions I have always loved Richard E. Grant’s interpretation of the original hero pretending to be a worthless playboy (yes, the character predates Bruce Wayne and Don Diego de la Vega). I prefer the A&E/BBC from the 1990’s version with Grant as Percy Blakely and Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Marguerite Blakely because the miniseries focuses a little more on their relationship after Marguerite learns who her husband really is. The constant fighting between the two (both for show and for real) is endlessly adorable and only out done by their moments of tenderness. This might seem an odd inclusion, but if you know the story you know the relationship of Lord & Lady Blakely is always taking center stage with the swashbuckling as the secondary plot point.

(There are not many good short clips of The Scarlet Pimpernel on YouTube…sorry this is the best I can find…trust me they’re a wonderful couple).

#4Nick & Nora Charles from The Thin Man movies

How can you not love a pair or married smartasses who solve crimes for fun? Such is the genius of The Thin Man movies. William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora are always a delightful pair who seem to overcome any problem and any mystery with grace and wit… Although the hilarity might have something to with the truly obscene amounts of alcohol they consume in between solving crimes.

(I usually don’t like remakes…but I am curious what they’re going to do with the proposed remake of the Thin Man stories.)

#3 Zoe & Wash from Firefly
Granted everything about Firefly is more or less perfect…but one of the true touches of genius from Joss Whedon is having two of the crew members be in a stable and loving relationship. In this wonderful cast of highly dysfunctional misfits you have two people who provide an ideal and enviable relationship.

Zoe Wash

…Yeah, Whedon did what Whedon does to happy couples (anybody bother to check if Pepper or Jane are surviving to make it to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2?…cause you know he’ll do it if he can) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t enviable while it lasted. Curse once Whedon! Once, just once, I’d like to see true love win out! (And why do I know I would regret getting everything I ever wanted.)

#2 The Couples of Lost
(Sawyer & Juliet, Sun & Jin, Bernard & Rose, Penny & Desmond)

I love Lost, (I think in part because I only watched it after it was all on DVD…it I had to wait weeks and summers for more episodes I probably would have given up or gone mad), but besides the deep spiritual themes, the most unexpected joy of the show was how, unlike most drama on TV it showed not just one but several happy and successful couples. Yeah there were also a few that had to deal with serious issues, but I think the couples I listed above highlight how this show demonstrated that love and happiness were actually the natural state of human existence not the exception.

Yes this clip is a spoiler…but if you don’t know the context it won’t tell you much.

Now if you’ve seen the show and want to see all the happy couples again click here …fair warning I always cry seeing this scene.

And my favorite couple in all of cinematic fiction is a recent addition…

#1 The Doctor & River Song

Since she showed up (apparently already the Doctor’s wife) there has been nothing but a stream of flirting…

…And more flirting…

…And wonderful romance. Both were more than willing to die for the other, both actually died to save the other. Ah the confusing relationship of two witty super intelligent time travelers who keep meeting each other out of order. It’s tragic and beautiful and funny and terrible. How can you not love it? (Some might want me to include Amy and Rory in here too, as this video seems to suggest they also belong on here…

…but even with as badass as Rory has become, I just have problem calling their relationship healthy given the fact that Amy tried to jump her son-in-law the night before her wedding)

I could go into far more detail on their relationship, but that would be, as River would say, spoilers. Just suffice to know that they are a perfect couple even early in their relationship when at least one of them could still say “I just haven’t met you yet”

And I open up the floor for healthy, married, fictional and together for the majority of their story, who did I miss?


Filed under Art, Happiness, Love, Movies, Valentine's Day