By George Rose
June 30, 2009
Notting Hill (1999)
I love Julia Roberts. How can you not, she's got a gorgeous smile and an agent that rarely steers her in the wrong direction. While Pretty Woman is her claim to fame and one of her best movies, I give the top honor to one of her many other wonderful romantic comedies, Notting Hill. She plays a movie star (quite the acting stretch) who is in England promoting her latest movie. While there, she meets a local book store owner (played by fellow romantic comedy vet, Hugh Grant) and finds him to be too charming to resist. The real lesson here, ladies, is that famous men aren't as good as home-grown men. Would you rather be arm candy or truly worshiped? The film follows the difficulties these two opposites face as lovers and has plenty of scenes of true romance and humor to keep it entertaining throughout.
The reasons I love this movie so much is because these two lovebirds are so opposite. It's like Romeo and Juliet, except it's the rich movie star and the poor book store owner. I've always enjoyed it for that fairy tale aspect, until the day I needed it to stop myself from falling into a deep, dark depression. I always considered me and the bartender to be a fairy tale in the making. We were from opposite sides of the tracks. I was the goody-goody who left home after years of servitude to my high school's anti-fun clubs and my Greek Orthodox church. The bartender was a college drop-out and a serial-slut before we met. I thought we would be the fitting puzzle pieces to bring us both a bit closer to normalcy and reality. Instead, I got cheated on with a stripper. Right after I found out, I spent the entire day alone in my room with Notting Hill on repeat, crying my naïve little eyes out. After watching it three times, Julia Roberts gave me enough strength to get up off my bed. I immediately went to the liquor store, bought a handle of vodka, and went right back to bed to watch the movie two more times. After I polished off the bottle, I was ready to rejoin the human race. I also planned to make my ex suffer. I had officially become one of those...
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
I like romantic comedies in all their forms, whether they be films of two beautiful young people trying love out (Notting Hill) or movies about older people giving it yet another chance. When they have romantic comedies that cast older stars, they aren't usually newcomers. They turn to the heavy hitters to bring in the audience, since nobody really wants to see two old people making out unless they're super famous (like Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give, another great romantic comedy with old-timers at the wheel). For Grumpy Old Men, we are given the acclaimed talent of the comedy duo known as Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the still stunning Ann-Margret. The films follows two lifelong neighbors whose "friendship" consists mostly of bickering and pointless rivalries. It's all harmless fun until a pretty woman moves onto their street and give them something really worth fighting over. Also starring Daryl Hannah and Kevin Pollack, the film is a great watch because of the three leads and their wonderful comedic timing and on screen chemistry. Lemmon and Matthau have worked on several projects together and it shows in Grumpy Old Men. It shows so well that they made an equally successful sequel, Grumpier Old Men.