Looking for love in all the wrong places

Like many, I have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. However, I don’t have a love-hate relationship with romance. And there’s all kinds of films I wind up watching and re-watching just because I love their (textually or subtextually) romantic content. They may not be great movies or deep movies, they may be comedies or action films, but something about the interpersonal relationships in these films never fails to get to me.

In fact, flipping channels and finding Romeo Must Die is what inspired this post. I love martial arts films and I love Jet Li, but it’s Han and Trish’s relationship that makes the film so memorable for me.

So, in no particular order, here are 10 films that hit the spot. (In two cases, the actors noted in parentheses are not those headlining the film but rather the ones whose onscreen relationship intrigues me.)

1. Terminator (1984, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn)
2. Chasing Liberty (2004, Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode)
3. Romeo Must Die (2000, Jet Li, Aaliyah)
4. The Replacement Killers (1998, Chow Yun Fat, Mira Sorvino)
5. Spaceballs (1987, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga)
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992, Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry)
7. Stigmata (1999, Gabriel Byrne, Patricia Arquette)
8. Clueless (1995, Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd)
9. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998, Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose)
10. Saved! (2004, Macauley Culkin, Eva Amurri)

3 thoughts on “Looking for love in all the wrong places

  1. Aww, I love Chasing Liberty! I need to see more movies with Matthew Goode in them. :)

    I am amused that I have only seen half of the movies on your list.

    Of course, I had to go ahead and make my own, which was harder than I expected. Apparently when it comes to romance, I like movies that really aren’t very good.

    In no particular order, except for #1…

    1. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987, Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson): My favorite of all John Hughes’s films, and the movie that made me realize I have a soft spot for redheads.
    2. While You Were Sleeping (1995, Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman): Bill Pullman! I love Bill Pullman.
    3. Anne of Green Gables (and the sequel) (1985 & 1987, Megan Follows, Jonathan Crombie): A beautiful adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books series, and how can I not love the push-pull between Anne and Gilbert?
    4. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999, Julie Stiles, Heath Ledger): Oh, Heath. You’re just too good to be true.
    5. In the Good Old Summertime (1949, Judy Garland, Van Johnson): A remake of The Shop Around the Corner, which was, of course, also remade into You’ve Got Mail. But sorry Tom Hanks, Van Johnson is hotter than you.
    6. Sweet Home Alabama (2002, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas): One of the rare rom-coms where the third leg of the triangle isn’t a jackass or a bitch. Patrick Dempsey’s character was a decent guy, but he just couldn’t compete with the dirtybadwrongbutultimatelyredeemed-ness of Josh Lucas. :)
    7. Chances Are (1989, Cybill Shepherd, Ryan O’Neal): Sure, it also stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Mary Stuart Masterson, but I adored Ryan O’Neal as the long-suffering, ever faithful best friend.
    8. Someone Like You (2001, Ashley Judd, Hugh Jackman): Okay, Ashely Judd is sort of annoying, but dude, HUGH JACKMAN.
    9. Sabrina (1995, Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford): One of the few movies, it seems, in which Harrison Ford is not a swashbuckler. Or a ladies man. It’s just fun seeing him all buttoned up and kind of a pill, and then watching him fall in love in spite of himself.
    10. Simply Irresistible (1999, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery): This is really not a good movie, what with magical floating food and a weird little crab (as in the shellfish) apparently orchestrating the action. But I do not care.


    1. It’s a tough thing to do, making a list like this! I deliberately tried to stay away from romantic comedies, but a LOT of what’s on your list would’ve been on mine had I stretched it out to 15 or 20. 10 Things I Hate About You was actually on it when I was shooting for 15.

      I love the original Sabrina because Bogey is just such a grouch and yet oddly appealing. The remake, probably because of Julia Ormand, just didn’t do it for me. Chances Are, Sweet Home Alabama, Some Kind of Wonderful and While You Were Sleeping are also films I look upon with great amounts of fondness. SHA was probably the pinnacle of Josh Lucas’ hotness. What HAPPENED to him?

      I also had Jurassic Park III and Live Free or Die Hard on the longer list, because, I will not lie, I totally watch them for the Billy/Alan and McClane/Farrell subtext.

      I am such a weirdo.


      1. Ack! I forgot The Cutting Edge!

        I also really, really love A Far Off Place, which stars a very young Reese Witherspoon, as well as Ethan Embry. Definitely not a traditional romantic movie, but I found it quite lovely.

        I feel like I’m missing some really obvious ones, but my brain isn’t past Monday morning mode yet.


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