Friday, April 27, 2012

All-Time Great Romantic Movies

Some of the greatest movies in cinematic history are romantic in nature. From such classics as "Gone with the Wind" and "Casablanca" to the more recent romantic movies "Ghost," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "Pretty Woman," you can choose from a plethora of movies to move your heart and bring a tear to your eye. Whether you are passionate film buff or an aspiring director, you may have an interest in learning about the qualities of a quality romantic flick.

So what makes a romantic movie great? For one, they are loves stories that the viewer can relate to, something that they can use as a tool of catharsis. Secondly, they help shield the viewer from the harsh realities of the world, providing with an escape. These tales of the heart follow the emotional and passionate encounters between two main characters on a path of courtship. Love is a complicated affair, and this is reflected in the wide variety of themes that romantic movies cover: unrequited love, love at first site, spiritual love, tragic love, forbidden love, sexual love, and sacrificial love. 

In 2002, the American Film Institute (AFI) released a list of the top 100 romantic movies, dubbed
100 Years … 100 Passions.” The top 10 is as follows:

  1. “Casablanca”

  2. “Gone with the Wind”

  3. “West Side Story”

  4. “Roman Holiday”

  5. “An Affair to Remember”

  6. “The Way We Were”

  7. “Doctor Zhivago”

  8. “It's a Wonderful Life”

  9. “Love Story”

  10. “City Lights”

The variety in this list reveals the various subgenres of romantic movies. This includes romantic dramas (“An Affair to Remember,” “Love Story”), which centers primarily on acts of love between the main characters, romantic comedies (“Roman Holiday,” “City Lights”), which are lighthearted in nature with humorous plot lines, romantic musicals (“West Side Story”), in which music is as much of an essential component to the movie as the plot and characters, and romantic thrillers (“Doctor Zhivago,” “Gone With the Wind”), in which elements of suspense and tension are intertwined with the love story.

So for you aspiring love story writers and film directors, do you want to take the next step in furthering your creative career? Online college classes and degree programs are great way to take this career step from the comforts of your own home. Perhaps after gaining the skills to make a great romantic movie, you will create a movie that will make a future AFI list of the top romantic movies.


American Film Institute (2002)

AMC Filmsite (2012)


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook

"Life is the most spectacular show on earth"

There seems to be too much on my plate lately that I hardly have time to watch a full length film, be it at the theaters or in the comfort of my home. Out of town trips, my sister's home visits, household chores and life in general keep me from my fave hobby.

So I have to discern which movies would merit my full attention. "Water for Elephants" has always been on my list to watch films for the sole reason that it features a circus. And who doesn't love a circus, right?

Based on a novel by Sara Gruen, it is set in 1931, an era of the Depression where prohibition was 'strictly' imposed and going to the circus was the only way to be entertained. The story is narrated by an older Jacob (Hal Holbrook) as he reminisces about his 'stint' with the Benzini Brothers Circus.

A flashback to the early 1930s shows us the circumstances how a young(er) Jacob, portrayed by Robert Pattinson gets his life intertwined with freaky characters, animals (lions, horses, elephants) and Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), the star attraction who also happens to be the wife of August (Christoph Waltz), the domineering ringmaster/owner.

The ensuing love triangle between the 3 main characters takes shape around an elephant named Rosie, which August acquires to boost sales for the struggling circus. Rosie becomes the emotional bond that brings Marlena and Jacob together, and the eventual object of August's violent, raging jealousy.

The movie does a good job of capturing the circus atmosphere and immersing the viewer in its uniquely tempting world. A fast-paced adventure tale which doesn't rely on computer generated imagery to awe its audience. Dramatic scenes are prevalent, the costumes look authentic and the story is riveting enough to capture our attention.

Witherspoon is a fine actress, and it is nice to see her in a serious, sensual role which is a far cry from the predictable romantic comedies she likes to star in. Pattinson, best known as Edward Cullen in you.know.those.vampire.movies further proves that he is a one dimensional actor. His performance is flat and wooden for a character that ends up fighting for both his love and his life. He is just as easily outshone by fiery Oscar winner, Christoph Waltz who won for his memorable role as a Nazi officer in "Inglorious Basterds". August can be a charmer, but he rules with an iron fist and treats people and animals with sadistic disdain. You feel your heart skip a bit whenever he is in a volatile scene.

Jacob and Marlena may be the movie's heart, but August provides the high-voltage tension that keeps "Water For Elephants" charging toward its explosive, destructive conclusion!

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