Monday, November 8, 2010

“Don’t You Love New York In the Fall?”

“It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.”

One of my guilty pleasures is my stack of romantic comedies that I watch over and over, some during special times of the year. Each brings a sense of joy to me, each for a different reason. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but when I find one I love, for whatever reason, I may be tempted to purchase it, and it becomes part of my beloved collection.

The first movie that started this collection is You’ve Got Mail. This movie is by no means the best ever made but it’s special to me for a specific reason. After graduating college, I stayed in the area, rented an apartment, and got a job. It was the first time I was truly, truly independent and on my own. After a year at the job I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do. With no idea of what it was that I did want to do, I (shamelessly, in my mind – I wanted to be far from Long Island) moved back home for a while. This actually turned out to be a good decision because I was able to spend the time with my ill father and help my mother care for him. I also went back to school for a career I was interested in and eventually met my future husband. But when I first moved home I was far away from my friends, my then-boyfriend-but-soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, had no job, and felt utterly alone. So one summer afternoon, out of sheer desperation and a need for some entertainment, I popped my mother’s VHS copy of the movie into the VCR. I had seen it once or twice but didn’t really remember any of it. I found that I liked it – it was cute, in that romantic comedy sort of way. And it made me feel hopeful of all that my life could become, as any good romantic comedy will do. I enjoyed it so much that I watched it 3 or 4 times a week.

Over the course of the next year, the movie became more important to me because I found I identified with it more than I ever thought I would:

  • The movie features Starbucks and I love Starbucks and coffee and the café environment. 
  • The movie is about books and reading and I love books and reading (it’s the only movie that makes me want to read). 
  • The movie is about two people who meet online and fall in love and that is exactly how I met my husband (and we had numerous dates at Starbucks). 
  • The movie is about living your life one way and finding that you’re headed in a whole new direction that you never saw coming and that’s pretty much what happened to me (without the glittery cinematic drama). 
  • I identify with Joe’s summary of people and Starbucks: “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” 
  • I identify with Kathleen’s view of her life: “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”
It quickly became one of my favorite movies for these reasons. I’ve watched it so many times I eventually got tired of it. But I still love it. I now watch it only once a year, in October. This movie is a fall-ish movie and fall is my favorite time of the year, October my favorite month. I look forward to it every year.

Some other favorites:

Bridget Jones’ Diary – It was the first book I read when I moved back home and I loved it. Also, I just love Colin Firth.

When Harry Met Sally – “I’ll have what she’s having.” It’s just an 80s classic.

Keeping the Faith – I watch this movie every spring. It’s just a fun, warm movie.

Love Actually – This is my most favorite movie of all time. Not only is it a great movie but it was the first romantic movie that I saw with my husband when we were dating. Awww. We watch it every Thanksgiving night to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season. Also, I love Colin Firth.

White Christmas – Starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, this is a mucho cheesy Christmas movie but my dad loved it and made us watch it as kids. We all have seen it so many times we know the dialog and songs by heart. We even got to the point where we made up quiz questions about it for each other. We’d all race to see who could answer the questions first. Now I watch it in remembrance of my dad. And it’s the cheesiness that makes it so great. I also love the dancing and the idea of clubs where one might go to see such dancing. I watch this one every Thanksgiving morning.

Holiday Inn – Another cheesy Christmas movie, also starring Bing Crosby, this time with Fred Astaire. My dad loved this one too. It’s not my favorite, but again, I watch it in remembrance of him. Trivia fact: this movie originally featured the song "White Christmas," which was made before the movie White Christmas.

Anything Jane Austen – I love watching Jane Austen movies for the language, the properness, the costumes. A few include: Becoming Jane, Emma, Sense and Sensibility. And I can’t forget Pride and Prejudice, mainly because I love Colin Firth.

The American President – Also just a great movie.

Anne of Green Gables – I have also watched this so many times that I can recite almost the whole thing (and that’s a lot of reciting!). I’ve been watching this since I was about 8.

Mama Mia – This is just one of the most fun movies I have ever seen. Of course, with the singing and dancing, it’s also quite cheesy but if you’re looking for something to simply enjoy, this is it. It stars many great actors and actresses, including Colin Firth. Did I mention I love him? And that he sings in this one?

This list of my favorite romantic comedies is just a glimpse into the things I love, which includes, you guessed it, Colin Firth. You can find out more here. =)

14 comments:

  1. I am kinda obsessed with Love Actually. We watch it every year, though usually closer to Christmas... we like to let the anticipation build :)

    And I'm thinking that You've Got Mail is meriting a re-watch. AOL! LOL! I saw (again) parts of When Harry Met Sally on TV a few months ago and almost died laughing at the hair/clothes/etc. The diner scene is amazing.

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  2. Yes, You've got Mail is a great film, we have it on DVD also the bits you mention are also my favourite bits too.

    I also loved Sleepless in Seattle very touching.

    Bridget Jones' Diary is very funny and I worked in London when it was being filmed and would often bump in to the film crews so I often watch the film and spot the locations!

    Yes it's that time of year to start delving through our small collection of DVD's and rewatch some films.

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  3. I loved "You've got Mail" too. Although I love "Sleepless in Seattle" even more. Just like "Four weddings and a funeral" I've seen the movie like a thousand times, but whenever it's on TV, I watch it yet again, because it's all just as much fun as the very first time!

    P.S. I also love Colin Firth! And Love Actually! And Bridget Jones!

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  4. Excellent post! One I'll refer back to. For another good move, have you seen "A Good Life" with Russell Crowe and Marion Coltlliard? (excuse spelling of her name)...

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  5. I love your choices and there are several on your list that I have never seen. Gasp! I watch Love Actually every Christmas as it is such a great movie. I especially love Emma Thompson in it ( I think I cried when I first saw it in the cinema). It is one of the first Christmases I spent away from my family in the Caribbean and I found it really difficult so the airport scenes meant a lot to me too!

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  6. Dasha - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one obsessed with Love Actually. I can't decide which story line is my favorite, though I'm partial to the one with Colin Firth (not surprising, but I do love the story too, but I also love the one with Keira Knightly - ugh, I just can't decide). I usually watch it with my husband on Thanksgiving Day but I watch it a few times by myself too. And WHMS - that scene is classic!

    Steve - I have seen Sleepless in Seattle but not in a while. I might have to watch it again.

    Jojte - I've seen Four Weddings and a Funeral, though only once and it was a long time ago. I might have to watch that one again too. I'm glad to see I'm not the only Firth fan among us.

    Michele - Thanks! I have not seen A Good Life. I'll have to look into that too.

    Caribbean Princess - If you like romantic comedies, I highly suggest all of the above. I love Emma Thompson too - she's so good. I just love the whole movie - I can't say enough about it!

    And the music - don't get me started on that. I listen to the soundtrack often.

    Thanks everyone!!!

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  7. Have you ever seen Persuasion, with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root? Another Jane Austen must see.

    I have never seen You've Got Mail, but I see it is time to move it up in my Netflix queue...

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  8. Roanne - I have not seen that version. I did see one version, but I can't remember who was in it. I don't remember much about it though. I hope you enjoy You've Got Mail.

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  9. So I guess I'm not the only one who absolutely hates the fact that they made a remake of Pride and Prejudice? I just cannot watch it, because Colin Firth is not in it, and there just ISN'T another Mr Darcy than him!!!! Totally and utterly unnecessary remake!!!

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  10. I have not seen any other version of Pride and Prejudice, nor do I want to. I agree completely - anyone else playing Darcy wouldn't be nearly as fun. =)

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  11. Oh, I have such a love-hate relationship with You've Got Mail! I find myself rewatching it every couple of years. I was unhappy with some of the story elements which are, I guess, Romantic Comedy 101 (I'm always disappointed when I see deception used as a mode of courtship), but the movie was also (if not primarily) a sort of love letter to the upper west side, a neighborhood that I've loved dearly.

    Also, I find Kathleen deeply sympathetic. Her way of moving through the world, the respect with which she treated everyone, really resonated. Probably my favorite single line written by Nora Ephron, a line which perfectly captures Kathleen's essential attitude, is, "Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal."

    Happy autumn.

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  12. I agree completely with what you said about Kathleen. I wish I could be more like "whatever you've done to me there's no excuse for my saying anything like that." I wish more people thought like that.

    For as many times as I've been to NYC I've never been to the upper west side. It's because of this movie that I want to go. I'll get there one day!

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  13. You've Got Mail is one of my favourite films of all time! I love it. You posted my favourite quotes too! I also love it when she talks about the butterfly on the subway.

    I now need to watch it again!!

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  14. Hope you enjoyed your movie! Yes, I like the butterfly too, "where it will go to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as all hats are."

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