Idol Chatter

untamedheart.jpgI am an unabashed romance junkie, be they novels or films. Given that Valentine’s Day is almost here, and it takes place over the weekend (cue the movie marathon), I thought I’d tempt your hearts with some of my favorites in the genre, with one caveat: these are movies I love because they are so bad they are good and I just can’t help myself. These are the cheesy, feel good, inspirational, tear-jerker films that I watch over and over again when I happen to catch them on cable and I can’t tear myself away. FYI: these are in no particular order as I feel committed to all of them (sniff, sniff).
“The Lake House” (2006): Put Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock together and you always have a winning combination of cheesy inspiration and tear-jerker romance (unless, of course, they are on a bus). This is the “romance across time” plot, where Keanu and Sandra fall in love through letters left in the mailbox of the same house that they occupy, but two years apart. Will they finally meet up in real time? I’m sure you can guess the answer. I’ve probably watched this one twenty times. I can’t help but love it. I know. Pathetic.
“The Cutting Edge” (1992): Who doesn’t love a good ice skating movie? Seriously. Blue collar hockey player meets Olympic hopeful, rich girl ice princess hoping to make a comeback. If you have not seen this one, it is a must! (And yes people: there are made for TV movies of The Cutting Edge 2 and 3!)
“Untamed Heart” (1993): This was a favorite for me all the way back in college and it might win the cheesiest of all time award. I think I still have the VHS tape from when it showed on TV once, commercials and all. This is a Marisa Tomei-Christian Slater classic. She’s a waitress, he’s a janitor at the restaurant. He has some sort of strange heart problem that also makes him, I don’t know, a little bashful for some reason. They fall for each other. Tragedy ensues. I cry every time.

“Titanic” (1997): Could it be that Titanic is the only movie in history that allowed us to put the words “blockbuster” and romance” in the same sentence, coming together to make a “blockbuster romance” of a film? I know that “Titanic” received great critical acclaim and all, but let’s face it: it’s high class cheese on a sinking ship. And with a scene like the one where Leo famously shouts “I’m the king of the world” with Kate at his side, it’s hard to be beat on this list.
“Dirty Dancing” (1987): While this might be one of my favorite movies of all time (yes, I admit it), and it is beloved among people of my generation, we all have to face up to the fact that though classic, it’s full of clichéd, romantic melodrama, complete with that famous lift in the dancing scene at the very end. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” says Patrick Swayze, when he pulls Jennifer Grey onto the floor (sigh), and I couldn’t let Baby stand neglected on this list either.
“The Prince & Me” (2004): For the teen in all of us and for that hope we still harbor to meet our prince one day (or princess), this Julia Stiles classic (according to me) is a must-watch. She plays a studious, successful, aspiring doctor, who gets courted by a handsome, undercover, playboy prince, come to college in the US to escape the paparazzi. Will their tender, new love be able to withstand his royal obligations once she discovers them? I can’t quite believe I’ve just admitted to loving this one, but there you go.
“The Wedding Planner” (2001): Talk about predictable and contrived yet it gets me every time: Jennifer Lopez is a lonely (very upscale) wedding planner who falls for the husband of one of her brides–after he rescues her one day. We’re talking movies in the park, slow-dancing in the rain, a tortured yet humorous courtship. And Matthew McConaughey is the guy. What more do you want? (Though full confession: I debated between this Jennifer Lopez movie and “Maid in Manhattan”–it was tough competition between the two but I like Matthew better as a love interest.)
“Runaway Bride” (1999): Like Ms. Ryan, Julia Roberts has some classic romances under her belt, not least of which include “Pretty Woman” (another Gere flick) and “Notting Hill” which I happen to love. But “Runaway Bride,” a reprise of Gere and Roberts falling in love on screen, falls squarely on the “this is so bad it’s good” scale. Roberts plays a small town girl who can’t commit, Gere is a big city reporter who takes her to task in an article. Hate turns to love. Cue the wedding bells and running shoes.
“Kate & Leopold” (2001): There had to be a Meg Ryan film on this list. She holds the title of starring in my most favorite romances of all time, which include “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “You’ve Got Mail,” but this one is a little much. (Yet I still love it!) It’s another “falling in love across time” flick, starring Hugh Jackman as the 19th century nobleman (yes, I’m not kidding) who gets pulled through a time portal into Kate’s boyfriend’s apartment. Cue the antics and the sparks.
“A Walk to Remember” (2002): Ohmigosh: cry me a river with this one. Based on one of Nicholas Sparks’s really, really, really badly written bestsellers and starring Mandy Moore, this is a bad boy meets good girl, good girl transforms bad boy into good boy movie, yet, of course, the good girl is dying. This is so so so so cheesy, yet I somehow manage to enjoy it anyway.
(And just so you know: many of these you can play instantly on Netflix!).
What are your favorite, so-bad-it’s-good romantic films? Post your thoughts below.
Christian Slater at

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