Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

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Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby GraphiteGirl » Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:52 pm UTC

Which romantic movies/movies with a major focus on a romantic plot would you recommend to people who often really dislike the average romantic comedy or big soppy romance drama, because of not really enjoying the sorts of tropes they employ? Such tropes may include things you think are sexist, things you think look like really unhealthy and therefore not very romantic relationship ideals ("If I stalk her and give her lots of pretty things and romantic gestures, eventually she will be won over!"), or things you just find dull and predictable. Or others.

One of my favourites is Love Actually. It covers a number of different kinds of relationships, not all of them get happy endings, and the writing's really tight and humourous, with a cast including Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.
I've been told that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is original and clever, and it's on the 'to be viewed' list.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Malice » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:28 pm UTC

Vertigo.
High Fidelity.
When Harry Met Sally.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
Annie Hall.
Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
Fight Club.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Shortbus (warning: full of the sexings, gay straight and otherwise).
The Fountain.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby LL Cool J » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:22 am UTC

Amelie! And, um, I have no more suggestions that haven't already been said. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is pretty amazing.

But my apparently-more-into-gooey-movies-than-I boyfriend suggests Let the Right One In (which I've seen but hadn't thought of, it's horror and romance), Lost in Translation, and Fucking Åmål (neither of which I've seen).
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby mercuryseven » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:01 am UTC

GraphiteGirl wrote:Which romantic movies/movies with a major focus on a romantic plot would you recommend to people who often really dislike the average romantic comedy or big soppy romance drama, because of not really enjoying the sorts of tropes they employ? Such tropes may include things you think are sexist, things you think look like really unhealthy and therefore not very romantic relationship ideals ("If I stalk her and give her lots of pretty things and romantic gestures, eventually she will be won over!"), or things you just find dull and predictable. Or others.

One of my favourites is Love Actually. It covers a number of different kinds of relationships, not all of them get happy endings, and the writing's really tight and humourous, with a cast including Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.
I've been told that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is original and clever, and it's on the 'to be viewed' list.


Yes! Being a guy who usually indifferent towards soppy love stories, I really liked Love Actually. And I also agree with Eternal Sunshine, you just have to see it to know how great it is. I also saw Before Sunrise / Before Sunset, on the surface nothing much happens in the movie, but I was engrossed by the interaction between the two main characters.

I'm not sure whether these two qualifies as romantic movies, but I really enjoyed the recent Kate Winslet films: Revolutionary Road and The Reader.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Kizyr » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:14 am UTC

Personally, I really like Wristcutters: A Love Story
It's set in the afterlife. It's part love story, part road-trip story, and a few other tired genres, but it manages to subvert a few tropes and wind up really enjoyable by the end.

IMDB summary (not really a spoiler):
Spoiler:
Despondent over his breakup with Desiree, Zia slashes his wrists and goes to an afterlife peopled by suicides, a high-desert landscape dotted by old tires, burned-out cars, and abandoned sofas. He gets a job in a pizza joint. By chance, Zia learns that Desiree offed herself a few months after he did, and she's looking for him. He sets off with Eugene (an electrocuted Russian rocker) to find her, and they pick up a hitchhiker, Mikal, who's looking for the People in Charge, believing she's there by mistake.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:24 am UTC

__jess wrote:But my apparently-more-into-gooey-movies-than-I boyfriend suggests Let the Right One In(which I've seen but hadn't thought of, it's horror and romance), Lost in Translation


I should have thought of those. Let the Right One In is fantastic, and Lost in Translation is a like a wonderful dream, a movie that lives in the lonely hours after midnight.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby LL Cool J » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:00 am UTC

Kizyr wrote:Personally, I really like Wristcutters: A Love Story
It's set in the afterlife. It's part love story, part road-trip story, and a few other tired genres, but it manages to subvert a few tropes and wind up really enjoyable by the end.

IMDB summary (not really a spoiler):
Spoiler:
Despondent over his breakup with Desiree, Zia slashes his wrists and goes to an afterlife peopled by suicides, a high-desert landscape dotted by old tires, burned-out cars, and abandoned sofas. He gets a job in a pizza joint. By chance, Zia learns that Desiree offed herself a few months after he did, and she's looking for him. He sets off with Eugene (an electrocuted Russian rocker) to find her, and they pick up a hitchhiker, Mikal, who's looking for the People in Charge, believing she's there by mistake.
KF
Oh wow, I didn't know they made that into a movie! Have you read the book?
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Zohar » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:59 am UTC

I third Amelie. Chasing Amy is pretty cool.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby modularblues » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:18 am UTC

Amelie gets a fourth :P Bakemonogatari, though it's an anime with episodes and the romance is really oblique.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Zohar » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:24 am UTC

Oh oh! Speaking of stuff in languages you don't know: I'm a Cyborg But That's OK. A really cool Korean love story between two patients at a mental hospital, the girl things she's a cyborg.

And another one! Bin Jip, a.k.a 3-Iron. One of the most touching, beautiful and touching stories I've ever seen. It's also a Korean film by Kim Ki-Duk about a person who breaks into people's houses when they're on vacation and lives there and how one day he accidentally finds a woman there. Almost no words are spoken throughout the entire film, be prepared for a slow (but amazing) experience.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby thecommabandit » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Go watch Adam. It's a film about a man with Asperger's syndrome who's father dies, leaving him alone in his apartment in New York. A young woman moves in to the same building and... well, romance happens. The best thing about it is the guy who plays the titular character does a really good rendition of an autistic person. He's very clearly not like everyone else and a little bit childish but not in-your-face about it. You can see his logic and how he doesn't really understand the unspoken rules of social situations but he doesn't come across as stupid or having a learning difficulty. It's also quite funny. I highly recommend it.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby johnie104 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:23 am UTC

I fifth Amelie (the actual title is "le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain"), and I third Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I second Chasing Amy. I minus one Fucking Amal, because I think the lesbianness was kind of contrived.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby charliepanayi » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:38 am UTC

Annie Hall
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Lost in Translation
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Zohar » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:28 am UTC

Seriously, go watch 3-Iron, it's one of the best movies I've ever seen (only suitable if you're OK with slow movies).
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Kizyr » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:54 pm UTC

__jess wrote:Oh wow, I didn't know they made that into a movie! Have you read the book?

I didn't know there was a book! Checking Wikipedia, it mentions a short story and a graphic novel. Which one were you referring to, or is it something else entirely? KF
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby black rook in rainy weather » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

Spike Jones (who directed Being John Malkovich - which itself is quite an out there romantic film), has done a short film recently called 'I'm here', a short film of about 15 minutes thats free to watch online, and is one of the most achingly beautiful love stories I've ever seen.

Edit: Remembered another one, even above Im here. Su-ki-da. A japanese film that is just sublime. Very very slow moving, just a gorgeous film.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Buddha with a bra on » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

black rook in rainy weather wrote:Spike Jones (who directed Being John Malkovich - which itself is quite an out there romantic film), has done a short film recently called 'I'm here', a short film of about 15 minutes thats free to watch online, and is one of the most achingly beautiful love stories I've ever seen.


I tried watching it, but my net ain't fast enough to watch it without stuttering, and there doesn't seem to be a way to let it pause and buffer. :(
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby black rook in rainy weather » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:15 pm UTC

That actually happened to me too - I ended up watching it at a friends house. I wish I could buy it on DVD.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby TaintedDeity » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

I read this title as 'Romantic films that are not terrible to transvestites'.
I'm seconding High Fidelity because I watched it and liked it.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

black rook in rainy weather wrote:Spike Jones (who directed Being John Malkovich - which itself is quite an out there romantic film), has done a short film recently called 'I'm here', a short film of about 15 minutes thats free to watch online, and is one of the most achingly beautiful love stories I've ever seen.


I'm Here is really good, 30 minutes long, and very very sad. It's more about tragic abusive love, but hides that behind a facade of sweet romance. Beautiful and heartbreaking and strange and scary. And robots! Did I mention the robots?
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby black rook in rainy weather » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

30 minutes - wow, I should check my facts. I guess I was just using memory, it felt much shorter than that. But yeah, even though it's quite heartbreaking it didn't make me sad. Though there's an astonishing amount of stark reality in it. It's about self-destruction and the fragility of human states of emotion and compulsion and impulsion and... well, the multi-facets of love, ugly and frightening. And as Malice mentions the awesome robots, they're incredible. And thematically like an underlining of the human condition, in how a world of feeling can be behind a facade (as being told through something thought of as mechanical - simple, cold and understandable). It's a haunting piece, it lingers, beautifully.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby zombie_monkey » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:49 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:And another one! Bin Jip, a.k.a 3-Iron. One of the most touching, beautiful and touching stories I've ever seen. It's also a Korean film by Kim Ki-Duk


That's very brave of you to recommend a film by Kim Ki-Duk as romantic. But yeah :D Fits with the thread too. Samaritan Girl was pretty freaky too, and as for romantic, I guess SSFWaS qualifies?

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby LL Cool J » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:42 am UTC

Kizyr wrote:
__jess wrote:Oh wow, I didn't know they made that into a movie! Have you read the book?

I didn't know there was a book! Checking Wikipedia, it mentions a short story and a graphic novel. Which one were you referring to, or is it something else entirely? KF
Whoops, yeah, I meant 'short story', not 'book'. I read it in The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories, it was all very interesting and enjoyable.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby apricity » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:07 am UTC

I think RENT counts. It has multiple types of relationships, involving people who are gay and straight, transgender and cisgender. The way Mimi pursues Roger is a little off though.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby dubsola » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:53 am UTC

black rook in rainy weather wrote:Spike Jones

Spike Jonze. I must remember to watch this, he's one of my favourite directors / producers.

TaintedDeity wrote:I read this title as 'Romantic films that are not terrible to transvestites'.
I'm seconding High Fidelity because I watched it and liked it.

About A Boy is also very good.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby novax6 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:17 am UTC

No one has mentioned The Princess Bride yet? For shame.
Also, Rushmore, sort of.
And Away We Go was pretty decent.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Zohar » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:38 am UTC

I love Away We Go! I didn't like Princess Bride so much. It just doesn't compare to the book. And I don't remember Rushmore, I've seen it years ago.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby charliepanayi » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:38 pm UTC

Rushmore is brilliant, but I see it more as an offbeat comedy rather than a romantic film. That said, the final scene is definitely wonderful in a romantic sense.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Malice » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

novax6 wrote:No one has mentioned The Princess Bride yet? For shame.
Also, Rushmore, sort of.
And Away We Go was pretty decent.


The Princess Bride just isn't very good. I've come to the conclusion that it's one of those childhood nostalgia deals.

Rushmore is excellent.

Away We Go is very good, but it's not really a romance so much as it is a movie about a couple.

Off the IMDB top romances list, a few classics:

City Lights.
Rebecca.
The Apartment.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby just-mark » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:38 pm UTC

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Stardust yet (based on the Neil Gaiman novel). I was highly sceptical from the adverts and trailers I saw when it was released (particularly as they didn't even mention Gaiman) but a combination of having it recommended to me and being available on DVD for £3 meant I gave it a go.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby kgirlfae » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:25 pm UTC

I watched "CrazyLove" last night, and was impressed that it didn't have the classic "romance movie" structure. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get away from the standard "Romance/Chick Flick".

A long time favorite is "Crime and Punishment In Suburbia". No matter how many times I watch this movie I find something new and amazing in it, and it flew under the radar, so it isn't something most people have seen.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Box Boy » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:31 pm UTC

I'm also recommending Lost in Translation, Amelie and Wristcutters: A Love Story. (though I've only read the book, the film is supposedly good also and lives up to it in most aspects, meaning it is most likely fantastic)
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby novax6 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:09 pm UTC

Malice wrote:The Princess Bride just isn't very good. I've come to the conclusion that it's one of those childhood nostalgia deals.


That sir, is where you and I disagree. How someone can not like that movie, I won't ever understand.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Malice » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:40 pm UTC

novax6 wrote:
Malice wrote:The Princess Bride just isn't very good. I've come to the conclusion that it's one of those childhood nostalgia deals.


That sir, is where you and I disagree. How someone can not like that movie, I won't ever understand.


It wasn't terrible. Some of the writing is clever. But the story achieves the paper-thin complexity and characterization of a fairy tale, without compensating with the resonant iconic/archetypal stuff that makes fairy tales so good. And the little kid/grandfather frame story was awful, breaking tension and immersion and adding nothing of value. I also found it to be incredibly visually boring; filmed prosaically, without even interesting sets or effects. The best thing about it is the dialog, but that wasn't enough to save it for me.

And its romance is so rote and boring that I don't know why it's in this list. I've seen a few bits of the book, and it seemed to have a lot more emotion behind the romance there than the movie ever did.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby charliepanayi » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

Malice wrote:The Princess Bride just isn't very good. I've come to the conclusion that it's one of those childhood nostalgia deals.


Speak for yourself, I first saw it when I was 26 and really liked it.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby novax6 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

Malice wrote:
novax6 wrote:
Malice wrote:The Princess Bride just isn't very good. I've come to the conclusion that it's one of those childhood nostalgia deals.


That sir, is where you and I disagree. How someone can not like that movie, I won't ever understand.


It wasn't terrible. Some of the writing is clever. But the story achieves the paper-thin complexity and characterization of a fairy tale, without compensating with the resonant iconic/archetypal stuff that makes fairy tales so good. And the little kid/grandfather frame story was awful, breaking tension and immersion and adding nothing of value. I also found it to be incredibly visually boring; filmed prosaically, without even interesting sets or effects. The best thing about it is the dialog, but that wasn't enough to save it for me.

And its romance is so rote and boring that I don't know why it's in this list. I've seen a few bits of the book, and it seemed to have a lot more emotion behind the romance there than the movie ever did.


While i'll admit that the 'present day' story is a little annoying, the dialog and acting in the movie is fantastic. Easily one of the most quotable movies of all time, and it's funny every time I see it.
As far as the visuals go, it's a fantasy movie made in the 80s. I think they did pretty well considering.
Yeah, the romance is a little shallow, and not really the point of the movie, but I felt it should at least be mentioned it in a romantic movie thread.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby GraphiteGirl » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:48 am UTC

As much as I did enjoy certain aspects of Princess Bride a lot, I think that was probably mainly a result of reading the book first, and loving it intensely. The book is definitely better.
Also, thanks for all the suggestions thus far; some I've seen, others are now on the list of films to see.
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Phill » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:16 am UTC

mercuryseven wrote:I'm not sure whether these two qualifies as romantic movies, but I really enjoyed the recent Kate Winslet films: Revolutionary Road and The Reader.


They're both good but I wouldn't say romantic as such. The Reader possibly, but Revolutionary Road is just... well, bleak!

My suggestions would be Mallrats: it's got a very traditional rom-com kind of setup (two guys have to try and win back their respective girlfriends) but the execution is not at all conventional.

The other suggestion is Shaun of the Dead. A romantic comedy... with zombies. 'Nuff said.

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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:52 am UTC

Love Actually I have to disagree with, and mostly because I found the writing really contrived. Like, with Magnolia (ooh! Magnolia is one!), we get enough time and depth to deal with the ensemble cast without taking shortcuts, where LA seemed full of them. And the Prime Minister character? Please. The whole thing just reeked as badly as The Boat That Rocked (and, even, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Death at a Funeral).
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Re: Romantic films that are not terrible awful travesties

Postby davidmarlee » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:04 pm UTC

The Princess Bride is probably my favorite I can think of. Also if you're going for something a little out of the ordinary and like artsy pieces, you could look into The Fountain as well as Mulholland Drive.
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