Tuesday, 16 February 2010

2009 in Review: Romantic Excursions

I don’t have an issue with romance in films, but films that depend solely on romance are usually just a bit too bland. Even the stories that are called the greatest love stories (Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Titanic) are not really about the romance. I wonder if Obsessed really is a romantic foray. It was not a good film, (D) obviously, strangely though the weakest of the film – Idris Elba – is the only one not up for a Razzie. I’m actually a bit surprised that Beyonce is up, not because her performance is good – but it’s really the best of  all the horrid acting in the film. Obsessed just has one of the least eventful scripts of the year, and the direction is not much better. But the genre does get better as the year continues…
I gave you my reassessed thoughts on He’s Not That Into You. Still, I really didn’t appreciate the subplot of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Connelly – she really has a knack for playing shrill  and it was unfortunate that the lovely Scarlett ended up lonely, but I guess they were going for a realistic approach, which was fine for the most part. Ginnifer Goodwin just may have found her niche and she and Justin Long were charming together. I’m not quite sure of Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All Myself tries to function as a romance, the film is very faulty but it’s grounded by a great performance from Taraji P. Henson, who single-handedly saves it from being drivel – a talented actress she most definitely is.
It seemed that almost everyone was bowled over by 500 Days of Summer, and I did find it to be endearing, I won’t rehash my problems with it – you can read my review – but Joseph Gordon – Levitt was obviously the star of it all. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Personal Effects (C) came and went with no noise, and it was not very inventive. Still, she managed to sell a relationship with Ashton Kutcher, which was quite tremendous. I didn’t care for Bullock or Reynolds in The Proposal; I know it made a lot of money and I like Bullock in the genre...but it really did not do much for me. And I remain uncertain as to whether or not I should call Antichrist a love story, it is a story about man and woman, and sometimes sex…but love…definitely not. Bright Star is an obvious contender here, even if I’ve already mentioned it in another category. It is quite surprising that the year was so low on romance, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On to 2010, we’ll see what they have for us – although the dubious beginning of Leap Year is not inviting…
Which love stories tickled your fancy last year?


Jude said...

I loved (500) Days of Summer. Andd, after reading your review, I see where you're coming from when you talk about Summer not being a real person. But that's part of what I love: she's a fantasy, a dream girl. She's what Tom wants her to be (up until the end...)

Mike Lippert said...

Andrew, another good recap, these things are beginning to get addicting. Your'e getting quite transgressive putting Obsessed and Antichrist in the romance category, but I applaud you regardless.

The thing that makes me sad about modern romance, and I touched upon this when I wrote about The Propsal, is that no one just falls in love out of genuine attraction anymore. There are no Bridges of Madison Counties or An Officer and a Gentleman's where the character fall in love because they are attracted to each other. Instead they have to be tricked and conned and lied to on their way to realizing, hey, we're actually in love and that bothers me.

Otherwise, I doubt fault you for barely being able to find enough romances to mention in this post, so few of which are even good to begin with. It's a shame how something Hollywood used to do so well they now do with such laziness. Therefore, although I loved 500 Days of Summer, for best romance of the year is Avatar.

Luke said...

My favorite screen romance of the year -- hands down Julia and Paul Child in Julie & Julia. Definitely the most adorable, at the very least. And another one of my favorites (you're going to hate me, but...) Victoria and Albert in The Young Victoria!

Marcy said...

Obsessed is one of the most crazy, ridiculous movies I've ever seen in my life! I actually liked Beyonce and Ali Larter's performances. They knew how to camp it up because it was appropriate to do so.

I really enjoyed The Proposal. It was a fun, though absurd, movie. Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, and Betty White were lovely to watch. I don't know, it's nothing special, but I liked it.

I don't know if Funny People would be considered a romance. I know some people were disappointed by it (and the long runtime didn't help), but it just felt that...people are like that sometimes. They make selfish, stupid decisions, even in love, and they can't just go back and change it.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jude i suppose you're right. tom was a poor sop though, i wish levitt had more to work with.

mike you're spot on now that i think of it, no one just "falls in love" anymore. i'd pick bright star but it's soooooooo very depressing.

luke damn, totally spaced on the young victoria. i liked the film fine, it was just REALLY light. that was a good romance indeed.

marcy i did not like funny people. i wished that leslie man got more to do, than be a plot point. you're spot on (i believe) about larter and beyonce.

Nigel said...

"Bright Star" stole my heart. I just love Jane Campion's poetic film-making....Everything she shoots is emblematic.

I especially love this shot:

All that sprouting color, symbolizing the affections that have begun taking over her world.

rtm said...

(500) Days tops the list, I couldn't agree more about your assessment about Summer, I just couldn't warm up to her at all, but Gordon-Levitt + Marc Webb's direction makes it up for me.

I'm with Luke about the sweet-but-not-mushy love story between Victoria & Albert, and again the movie's not all about romance. Sorry, but I don't have much love for Bright Star, and believe me I wanted to.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

nigel that shot is lovely, like most of the film.

rtm gordon levitt truly is what makes the film work. i hope to see more from him.

Heather said...

@Mike.......that's why Dear John actually felt refreshing to me this year. It was way over-sentimental and dramatic, but it was about two people that just liked each other from the start......and then the movie puts them through hell, but there's not happily ever after.

Last year I felt the same way about Australia. Just a simple old fashioned romance.

Everything feels contrived, manipulative, and falsie false now. Romantic comedies in particular are the worst of the bunch.