Just because a film is classified as a “chick flick” or romantic comedy doesn’t mean a guy can’t watch it, so don’t be afraid when it’s her turn to choose movie night.
It might be a scary moment for many of you guys, but fear not. This is a chance to open your horizons, and for a movie buff like me, some of the best moments in film come from rom-coms. Also, if you read this list, it can be your opportunity to show off your film knowledge and perhaps even start a conversation about things she is interested in. I know “Hitch” might be your favorite rom-com, after all Will Smith is the man and it’s pre-Paul Blart Kevin James, however, this is the time to make you stand out from all the other guys.
And for women, these movies, in my opinion, are films that you and your boyfriend can watch without feeling guilty at all, which you shouldn’t because, even though “Lord of the Rings” is awesome, it’s still around 12 hours long and you should’ve built up enough goodwill that a guy should watch a rom-com without complaint, even if it’s not on this list.
Before we get started, don’t get offended that “Trainwreck” or “Bridesmaids” isn’t on here because, though they are great films and technically rom-coms, they’re more comedy than romance in my opinion. Most films on here have a perfect mix of both.
“When Harry Met Sally” (1989)
The movie that popularized the term “chick flick” is also what I believe to be one of the best films of all time. You know the way “Master of None” epitomizes the problems of a millennial in a way no other show can do and also gives an insight of how modern romance works? WHMS is a 27-year-old version of it. Yes, some jokes most younger people won’t get, i.e. the Teddy Kennedy one. but most of the romantic elements of it stand true.
Rob Reiner, who was in his directing prime when he made this, (after “Stand by Me” and before “Misery”) gets everything perfect in this film. From Billy Crystal’s comedic bite to Carrie Fisher’s deadpan humor and, of course, Meg Ryan’s hair (the curly, long look just does it for her). Yes, WHMS, not “Sleepless in Seattle” or “You’ve got Mail,” is the rom-com Ryan should be known for. Not saying anything against her in those movies, but they lack the perfection this film does. For instance, “Sleepless” is a good romantic tale and Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks, but I never got why Ryan left Bill Pullman. I mean, what the hell did Pullman do wrong? He is awesome in that movie and it’s never explained why she leaves him and it just ends ambiguously.
In WHMS, Ryan is at the top of her game. The movie connects on so many feelings, it gets so many things right. The interludes filled with elder couples telling their love stories are heartwarming and sentimental. The ending will leave you close to tears with joy and it will cause you to think about life for hours after.
Also, FYI, the famous “I’ll have what she’s having scene” does live up to all the hype.
“The Notebook” (2004)
Yes, the go-to-movie for “chick flicks.” Rachel McAdams is what, I believe, the perfect woman for romantic comedies because she is someone I believe that can connect with women but also be a leading lady who men can find believable. Not fake like you see in most “chick flicks,” but a woman who seems real and can embody real emotion. She’s on this list three times and she deserves each of them.
To the movie, Ryan Gosling’s beard is on-point, James Marsden is probably the most unlikeable nice guy of all time, if that’s possible. I guess you could compare Marsden to Pullman because he didn’t do anything, but at least McAdams had a prior connection to Gosling. Ryan didn’t know anything about Hanks! She had only heard him on the damn radio! Sorry, that plot hole just really gets to me.
“The Notebook” is a movie that gets the southern 1940s look right. Sam Shepard is great in the few scenes he’s in. The story might seem a little sappy at times but that’s just Nicholas Sparks seeping through, which the book the movie is based on is outstanding and the only book from Sparks that I recommend. The cinematography is great, your girlfriend will love the scenes with James Garner and the man in you will love seeing Ryan Gosling channel his inner Bob Vila to restore an amazing house.
Yes, the movie gets a lot of flack because it seems overrated but it actually is praiseworthy and a solid movie for any season.
“Before Sunrise” (1995)
Oh, Richard Linklater, how you know me so well.
Have you ever watched a movie and saw a scene where a man and a woman are walking down a street and just talk about life and all the things it entails? Whether it be work, family or even thinking out loud, a scene where people can do that is one of the most enchanting things one can witness. Not because it evokes memories of a better time, or yearning for a stroll through life like that, but also because it’s something that is possible.
“Before Sunrise” is a film all about that. Although I haven’t seen the sequels to this movie, I can assure you this first one is fantastic. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy seem as if they have known each other their entire lives in this movie, and that’s part of it’s magic. Watching this one with your significant other will be beneficial to your relationship because it answers so many questions people want to ask of their boyfriend or girlfriend but never do.
The background scenery of Vienna is just breathtaking (another Linklater trope of making the scenery a character of the story) and the dialogue is fantastic. There’s not enough good things I can say about this movie, and to be honest, it will probably be a movie that a guy will want to watch more than once.
“Say Anything” (1989)
“Say Anything” is the movie that John Hughes meant to direct but never did. In what I think is Cameron Crowe’s best movie, which isn’t saying much since Almost Famous is horribly overrated and Jerry McGuire is oversaturated, the strange period after high school and before the real world is encapsulated in this film.
Ione Skye might be the perfect woman in film history, John Cusack has a career-defining performance and for any “Frasier” fans (it’s OK, I’m probably the only one left) John Mahoney is a friendly face, though he won’t be friendly for long in the plot of the movie.
This movie also includes one of the walk and talks down an empty street and includes some real issues that high schoolers deal with. Yes, Hughes is the king of teen comedies but he always had an unrealistic character, i.e. Long Duk Dong, and Ferris Buehler.
The only rip I have on this movie is not the famous boom box scene, that is actually a plus, but rather the fact Skye might be too perfect. Yes, she is the perfect woman in this movie but the truth is we don’t need perfection. The imperfections are what we are drawn too. I might sound a little like John Legend here, but conflict is needed. Adding the Mahoney subplot helps take care of the conflict factor and overall makes it a good well-rounded film and something any guy would appreciate watching.
“About Time” (2013)
This movie might be liked more by the men out there.
McAdams is the love interest in this film, marking her second venture as a romantic lead in a time-traveling movie, but the big star is Domnhall Gleeson. For those wondering who that is, Gleeson had a huge 2015 with roles in “Ex Machina,” “The Revenant,” “Brooklyn” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He was only the good guy in “The Revenant,” which, yes, means he was bad in “Ex Machina,” and if you don’t agree with me, I will fight you. I mean he helped kill his friggin’ awesome boss! There is no way he is a good guy!
Anyway, onto the movie since now you know the actors. Gleeson finds out he’s inherited a trait from the males in his family that allows him to travel back in time. While a lot of it at first is Gleeson trying to woo Margot Robbie, and later McAdams, near the end Gleeson spends a lot of time talking to his dying father.
These are the moments that will connect with the guys out there because that’s a sentimental feeling a lot of guys have, whether your dad was or wasn’t around. It’s a movie that will leave you close to tears, or maybe even in tears, because of the memories it invokes. Picking this film is a solid choice because, while a guy will be skeptical at first, afterward, he will love it.
“500 Days of Summer” (2009)
Another “chick flick” that means more for guys but is labeled as a movie for women.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel star in this story about all the stages of a relationship from the beginning all the way to the horrible end, and even beyond into the soul-searching stage. JGL epitomizes how a lot of men feel after a breakup and the movie does capture that feeling of loss.
Although it doesn’t help anyone trying to understand that feeling because the audience sees it from JGL’s perspective and only that perspective, the movie does a wonderful job of showing how men recover from such breakups. It isn’t all sad, there are a lot of comedic gems thrown in here, especially with JGL’s boss, but there are some depressing moments.
Deschanel plays the warm, offbeat girlfiend role well and the cold, distant role even better, which helps keep your heart involved in a story and a movie that could have been terrible to watch if not for the great acting from the leads and the amazing soundtrack. Despite it not being for every night, the movie is definitely worth a watch for couples.
Editor’s Note: Bishop will release six more ‘chick flicks’ during next week’s ‘Bishop’s Babbles.’