It is the most romantic day of the year, or so advertisers with flowers, chocolate, cards and lingerie would like us to believe. Since I am a proud purveyor of all things romance, I thought we'd have a little fun to honor this auspicious day.
It probably goes without saying that I put the "chick" in chick flick. I love movies that make me feel something, whether it steals my heart or kicks me right in the gut. This means a plethora of romantic titles litter my list of favorite movies. In today's blog I'll share my Top 5 Romantic Scenes OF ALL TIME (or at least this week.) If you share yours in the comments, I'll pick a winner by Sunday night (2/16/14) to get ALL THREE BOOKS of my new Fullerton Family Saga series. (That's right, even the not-yet-released ENRAPTURED.)
How's that for a Valentine's Day Gift? All the romance, none of the sugar rush!
Here we go:
Disney knocked it out of the park with its live-action/animated fairy tale romance, "Enchanted." This movie poked fun at Disney's long history of pretty princesses and insta-love, using New York City and its modern cynicism as a surprising backdrop.
The juxtaposition worked very well.
It stars the charming Amy Adams, who took the saccharin sweet Giselle and made her palatable. I, myself, developed a girlcrush on her over the course of the movie, so naturally I felt her pain when she was faced with a very unique conundrum for a Disney princess. Does she stick with her dreamy, sing-y, one-dimensional Prince Edward and her equally one-dimensional concept of true love? Or does she follow her heart where it leads, to a cynical divorce lawyer/single dad who long ago gave up the idea of "Happily Ever After"?
In this scene, she arrives at a ball to make her choice at last. It is a scene that is deeply layered, with everyone else dressed in their fairy tale garb while Giselle embraces her new world in "reality." The pain of this reality drives the emotion in this scene. We can see just how close - and how far - she is from the man of her dreams. Makes me cry *every* single time, and also inspired a pivotal scene in Entangled.
There's a lot to like about the 2007 musical based on a John Waters cult classic. It stars an atypical heroine who dares to be plus-sized and simply not give a damn. She's not about to let her size, or more specifically what others think about her size, stop her from chasing, and catching, her dreams. It also tackles a serious topic like segregation and racism in 1960s Baltimore, but with biting wit and a killer, cheerful, empowering soundtrack for every single person who has ever felt like an outcast. Queen Latifah is regal. James Marsden and Zac Efron are dreamy. Nikki Blonsky is resplendent and John Travolta nails it as Edna Turnblad, the larger-than-life character who has no idea just how awesome she is.
There's so much awesome in this movie, it is hard to narrow it down to any one scene. Edging ahead of the rest is the scene where Christopher Walken in his weird brilliance romances his wife, Edna, with the kind of painfully funny honesty you can only master after years of marriage. "You're fat and old, but honey - boring, you ain't!"
The scene is an homage to grand musicals set amidst the mundane of married life. It is a love song for all of us who have lasted beyond the flush of new love and are in it for the long haul.
Best of all, two men managed to steal away with one of the sweetest scenes - ever - on screen.
3.) "Sixteen Candles"
When it comes to epic, romantic endings, three movies tie for my personal #1: "Sleepless in Seattle," "Where the Heart Is" and the John Hughes teen classic, "Sixteen Candles." Each ended on the perfect romantic high note, but the nod for this list goes to the incomparable John Hughes for his awkward 1980s fairy tale where the shy girl finally gets the boy of her dreams.
If you were that kind of shy girl mostly ignored by the boys you mooned over day after day in class, then it was the perfect dream come true, which John nailed with just the right amount of subtlety.
Sigh. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.
2.) "Dirty Dancing"
One that lands on both the "sexiest" and "most romantic" lists is the pivotal scene in "Dirty Dancing," where young ingenue Baby dares to act on her growing attraction for the epic hotness that was Johnny Castle/Patrick Swayze. One of the things that makes this scene so hot is that there is the underlying romance growing between them, which turns up the sexual tension even more. It was sweet, wonderful, delicious payoff.
I'm not sure they make love stories like this anymore either.
I'm a grown-ass woman and I'm not ashamed to say that I love Pixar. Like, passionately. I will opt to watch one of their movies rather than anything created for my particular age group, and I don't need a child to accompany me to do it. Of any production company, they consistently knock it out of the park with movies that appeal to all four quadrants, young and old, male and female. This has almost everything to do with the strength of their storytelling. They have genuine heart, and I have found myself reaching for tissue on more than one occasion over stories about lost fish, outgrown toys and the tender relationship between a child and her monster.
That being said, I didn't really know what to make of "Up" before we went to see it at the local drive-in in 2009. The trailer didn't necessarily turn me on. I was resigned to see it because that's what you do as a fan, you give every single thing your favorite creators create a shot, even if you're not completely sold on the concept. If your faith has been rewarded enough by your idols, it's a calculated risk at best... even if it is a fantastical story about an old man and a floating house.
Little did I know it was about much, much more than that. "Up" is possibly the most perfect love story of all time, and we all knew it less than 10 minutes into it. As the story unfolded about Carl and Ellie, I found myself *weeping* over a montage that had no dialogue at all. This is the epitome of "show, don't tell," a concept I often struggle with personally. Because of this, it is quite possibly the most beautiful montage ever created, and reminds me once again that I have so far to go to reach this level of excellence.
(Special nod also to the score, which uses the same tune at different tempos to match the mood.)
This collection of scenes encapsulates "till death do us part," with the ups and downs, humor, joy and sadness, that entails. I ask you, what could possibly be more romantic than a lifetime of love?
When I grow up, I want to write something as poignant and as lovely as this.
So I've shown you mine, now you show me yours. What are some of your favorite romance scenes/movies? Comment below and be entered to win ALL THREE BOOKS of the Fullerton Family Saga.