I still remember the worst movie experience I ever had. My two best friends, Caroline and Katharine (they’re twin sisters and they’re great) convinced me to go see The Holiday with them in theaters and what followed was over two hours of pure, unrelenting torture. See, just like every guy out there, I’ve got my own chick flick horror story. However, even though The Holiday did its best to liquefy my eyeballs like something out of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I survived and still ended up watching romance movies with my girlfriends or my sister from time to time. Eventually, I discovered that not all romance movies are like The Holiday (no Jude Law crying or over-acting from Cameron Diaz), and that there are actually some good ones out there. Here are 10 romance movies even guys will enjoy. (Disclaimer: I tried to make this a list of romance films with comedic elements in them instead of comedies that feature romances. Therefore, I had to exclude some of my favorite films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Girl Next Door, and that’s why you won’t find anything by the Apatow crew on this list.)
Love Actually isn’t just one of my favorite romance movies. It’s one of my favorite movies, period. What makes it something that both guys and girls can watch together is the fact that it’s not bogged down with sappy, melodramatic love triangles or dull, stilted performances. There are 10 various love stories that play over the course of the film (depicting romantic love, familial love, and love between friends), and each one provides both humor and heart for a winning combination. You add in the fact that you’ve got an all-star cast of British actors, and this a romance movie that you pretty much have to be heartless not to enjoy.
“You complete me.” This line has been mocked numerous times throughout the years since Jerry Maguire came out in 1996, but it’s just one of the numerous memorable quotes from this fantastic film that combines romance with sports. The cast is absolutely electric, especially Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. (who won an Oscar for the role), and what Jerry Maguire impressively does is not simply tell a relationship story but a story about the growth and change of one man, thanks in large part due to the love that has been brought into his life.
There’s a reason that Say Anything… is the second Cameron Crowe film on this list (Crowe also directed Jerry Maguire) – the dude just gets honest, real, and relatable relationships. Many call Say Anything… the best teen romance movie of all time, but that’s selling it short. Say Anything… isn’t simply solely about the fire and wonder of first falling in love. It’s a coming-of-age tell that shows the importance of recognition in one’s life – of recognizing who’s important and what isn’t. Like Lloyd says in the clip below, sometimes you just want to be with someone, and the understanding and maturity it takes to acquire that knowledge is far greater than anything anyone could ever learn from a job they’ve chosen.
Silver Linings Playbook
Confession time: I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for this movie because I love the Philadelphia Eagles and I love Jennifer Lawrence. Football preferences aside, this is another wonderful film that blends sports and romance together. However, the story that Silver Linings is telling is greater than the result of any Eagles/Cowboys game. At its heart, this is a movie about two damaged people who find a way to love and heal themselves by loving and helping to heal one another. Like Lloyd and Diane in Say Anything…, Bradley Cooper’s Pat and Lawrence’s Tiffany recognize something stirring in each other souls – it’s just takes them a little while to figure out how to act on that feeling.
Oh, Garden State. What a beautiful film. What I love so much about Garden State and what makes it such a great romance movie for both guys and girls is that it’s really a story about waking up – it’s a film about identity. Zach Braff’s Andrew Largeman is numbed by his past and all the medication he takes that he can’t even define who he is. He’s an actor whose only form of identity is in the roles that people recognize him from. That all changes, though, when he meets Natalie Portman’s Sam, who reawakens him to life. Whether you’re a guy who likes to see two people fall in love or not, Garden State isn’t about that. It’s a personal film, it’s a spiritual film, and it says something different to each person who watches it.
(500) Days of Summer
Funnily enough, this is the last movie my girlfriend from high school and I saw together before she dumped me. I guess it gave her some ideas. See, (500) Days of Summer isn’t your typical love story (as the movie’s narrator announces to viewers at the beginning of the film). It’s a story about how we fall in love, how we fall out of love, and if it’s possible to stay in love with a person. Ultimately, what makes (500) Days of Summer so great isn’t its whimsical charm, or its unique filmmaking style. No, what allows this romance movie to be so compelling is its authenticity in its quest to discover what being in love truly means, and the honesty of the film to end by saying, in its own way, no one really knows.
Out of all my picks on this list, Definitely, Maybe is most certainly the most chick-flickish. But don’t let it’s more traditional romantic comedy qualities dissuade you from giving it a shot. What makes this film so special is the genuineness of the emotion. Ryan Reynolds give, what I believe to be, the best performance of his career as the father of Abigail Breslin’s Maya. The real, vibrant emotional honesty between this pair is pure pleasure to watch, and the same connection and chemistry is found between Reynolds’ Will and the gorgeous woman he ends up with at the end of the film, but why would I spoil who that is for you? Watch and find out for yourself.
In Good Company
Coincidentally, while I was making this list yesterday, In Good Company, a movie I had never seen before came on HBO, and I actually stopped what I was doing because I found it to be so entertaining. In Good Company is filled with great performances from Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johannson (who plays Quaid’s gorgeous 18-year-old daughter, Alex). However, it’s the writing in this film that makes me think that both men and women would enjoy it. In Good Company is a romance movie that’s not about rediscovering love through a relationship. Rather, it’s a film about uncovering what (or whom) you truly love in life and ensuring their importance within it.
Safety Not Guaranteed
No one would ever call Safety Not Guaranteed a traditional romance movie, and that’s what’s so great about it. The relationship between the two main characters in the film feels natural and genuine, unlike so many meet-cute scenes you say in typical rom-coms. Furthermore, there’s such a beauty in the simplicity of Safety Not Guaranteed. Its scenes work not because they’re big, speech-filled declarations of love, but instead they are simple gestures, actions, and words that realistic portray that amazing feeling that fills one’s entire body when he or she has found a deep connection with someone truly special.
The Wedding Singer
Back in the days before Jack and Jill and Grown Ups, Adam Sandler used to do some really good movies, and none was better than The Wedding Singer, the charming, funny, and touching romantic comedy that illustrated that Sandler could be a great leading man in a romance movie if given the right material. If the trailer below doesn’t convince you of the movie’s sensational fun and charm, YouTube “I Wanna Grow Old With You,” the heartfelt and humorous tune that Sandler’s Robbie croons for Drew Barrymore’s Julia as she’s about rashly marry the wrong man. It’s such a special and important moment that Sandler even gets some help from Mr. Billy Idol himself, and yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Photo via YouTube