It's true: they're not making rom-coms the way they used to. The ones hitting theaters today aren't like those from the good old Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan days. But I have good news for you! From the '80s through the early 2000s, they were churning those suckers OUT; it was almost hard to keep up with the romantic comedies coming out on VHS.
I know you've all seen You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, but what about The Green Card? Crossing Delancey? No? Well, good - you're about to get some solid rom-com goodness in your life once again.
Brontë Mitchell (Andie MacDowell) is but a mere urban horticulturist (as women in rom-coms often are) but wants a swaggy new apartment - to which the board will only give to a married woman. (How terribly unfeminist?!). Georges Fauré (Gérard Depardieu) is a waiter from France, but his visa is expiring. Thus, the green card marriage. To make it seem legit to the immigration service, they must live together. How will it ever work? They are total opposites! (Hint: they fall in love). It's kind of like the Sandra Bullocks/Ryan Reynolds classic The Proposal but even better.
Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is an Eastern European man simply trying to visit New York. But when he arrives at JFK, he finds his country has broken out in war - and neither the United States nor his country will let him in. So he is INDEFINITELY trapped in the airport. Uh oh! We all know that sleeping in the airport is no good. Meanwhile, he forms a relationship with a flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who's only in the airport sporadically. Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta?! Count us in.
Izzy Grossman (Amy Irving) works at a bookstore (as women in rom coms often do) and visits her grandmother on ~Delancey~ in the Lower East Side in her free time. Said Grandma wants Izzy to find a nice man - and she does. In fact, she meets two: the successful (but married) Anton, and the "lesser" catch, Sam, who works as a pickle vendor. Who will she choose? Guess you'll have to cross Delancey to find out. (Side note - this movie depicts New York culture pretty accurately - no movie glossiness here!).
This Meg Ryan rom-com is one you might not have seen! It also stars Hugh Jackman! And it involves time travel! Kate (played by Meg Ryan) is just a New Yorker in 2001 going along her early-aughts way when her ex (Liev Schreiber) discovers time travel and inadvertantly pushes Leopold, third Duke of Albany, from 1876 New York to 2001 New York, where he meets Kate. She teaches him how to be modern, he brings chivalry into her life - it's a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a plot hole that suggests Kate and Leopold are distantly in related, but it's a movie about time travel, so let's not take it all too seriously.
Obviously we had to get at least one Julia Roberts movie on this one! It's not Pretty Woman, which we know you've seen, but it's just as good. Flashy NYC journalist Ike Graham (Richard Gere) meets a man in a bar who tells him about Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts), a woman who has left three men at the altar. Ike writes a story about her, but then gets fired for not getting his facts completely right. So, he marches to Middle-of-Nowhere, USA to restore his reputation. There, he meets the spunky Maggie - and the sparks fly. Obviously.
New Line Cinema
Ah, the ultimate Cold War comedy. It's the mid-sixties and Dr. Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken) is sure that it's the apocalypse, so he and his wife spend a lot of time in their state-of-the-art bunker. An unrelated explosion makes Webber think the nuclear bomb has hit - so he presses the button that locks them down there for 35 years. Underground, he and his wife have a baby, Adam, who grows up stuck in a '60s culture time warp. Fast forward 35 years, and Adam is Brenden Fraser and leaves the bunker to find himself in the late 90s. He's scared, he's culture-shocked, and he meets a girl named Eve (Alicia Silverstone). Cue the romance.
NYC bachelors Peter (Tom Selleck), Michael (Steve Guttenberg) and Jack (Ted Danson) love their life - until a woman abandons an infant girl, who appears to be Jack's child, on their doorstep. Jack is out of town, so Peter and Michael try to take care of her until he returns. Clueless-men-taking-care-of-baby hilarity ensues. Warning: there might be tears - this turns out to be a shockingly heartfelt movie. How could it not be, with three leading men like these?
Tom Hanks was the king of rom-coms long before his Meg Ryan days. In this one, a mermaid saves a young boy who grows up to be Tom Hanks. She seeks him out, he falls in love, and he must decide whether or not to be alone on dry land or be a merman underseas (ah, the common problem). Of course, as with any fantastical romp, there are a few bump (i.e. an evil scientist, mwahahaha) along the way.
20th Century Fox
A lowly 12-year-old, tired of being bullied for his small stature, wishes to be "big." But, as we all know, you need to be ~really~ specific while wishing. Thus, Josh wakes up to be Tom Hanks (and 30 years old). So, as any grown-up does, he goes to NYC and accidentally lands a job in the field he knows best: toys. In his lovable Tom Hanks way, Josh both learns from the adults and teaches them a little something (about being young at heart) along the way. He'll even fall in love and (gasp!) even have sex - which, yes, is pretty weird when you think about it.
Star Partners Ltd
Real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell star in this film (that's recently gotten a Anna Faris remake!). Joanna Stayton (Hawn) is a snobby society lady who falls overboard a yacht and suffers amnesia; Dean (Russell) once worked for her and decides to teach her a lesson - so he claims that she is his wife. Suddenly, this do-nothing gal is in charge of four kids in a working-class home. Uh-oh! Yes, the concept is fairly problematic in modern times, but it was the late '80s and things were just different then!
In this '80s retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, Steve Martin plays a long-nosed man who has a way with words. He's in love with the lovely Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) but nonetheless helps his friend catch her by writing poetry - and signing it with his friend's name. Will she figure out that it's really C.D., the long-nosed man, who has captured her heart? Will he come to terms with his looks? You've gotta watch to find out!
Castle Rock Entertainment
The widowed POTUS Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) is looking towards a likely reelection. Then, he meets lobbyist Ellen Wade (Annette Bening) and falls in love. The public grows suspicious of fishy insider deals, his ratings drop, and other candidates start to swoop in. The Prez must decide between being the most powerful man in the free world or finding love. It's like Sophie's choice!
Columbia Pictures and Touchstone Pictures
This one isn't quite in the rom-com genre (it's more of an "everything" movie, based on the story of Isaac Asimov) but it's too good not to include. It's the future, and Robin Williams is an AI robot, Andrew, who aids the family for generations. It's a sad life, though - everyone he loves eventually dies. Will he be able to find someone to love that will last as long as he will? This movie will have you laughing, it'll have you crying, and it'll have you thinking about the morality of AI - which could not be more timely. Not bad for a 1999 flick.
American Zoetrope and Tristar
At her 25-year-high school reunion, Peggy Sue Bodell (Kathleen Turner) faints and reawakens in the past as her 16-year-old self. She can live her whole life again! But changing the past isn't as easy as it seems, and Peggy Sue's gotta decide how she'll do things differently the second time again. Her decision to date Charlie, played by Nicolas Cage BTW, who she now knows will get her pregnant and become her cheating husband, is called into question - as is her career. It's all up to her - which you can bet brings up some profound questions of fate. Honestly, this is probably Nic Cage at his youngest and most charming - watch and see.
Fox 2000 Pictures
Working single mom Melanie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and irresponsible single dad Jack (George Clooney) accidentally miss the drop-off for their small kids' field trip and are forced to take care of both during the work day. Each faces losing their jobs, losing their children, and losing their minds in this 1996 rom-com. They just might find love though!
One fine Christmas season, two people in relationships (John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale) meet in Bloomingdales, hit it off, and share dessert in the hip NYC restaurant Serendipity. As a sign of fate, they write each other's numbers down - one on an unsold book, one on a five-dollar bill - and if they come across these items out in the real world one day, they'll know they're meant to be together. You can see where this is going, but that doesn't mean the journey is any less fun.
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