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Eight sweets for you
and your sweetie

By Claire Wolfe


Issue #109 • January/February, 2008

The harvest is in. Fresh-canned veggies line your pantry walls. The wood is chopped. The roof on the chicken coop got repaired just in time for winter.

Now darkness falls at 5:00 p.m. and you've earned a little rest. It's DVD season, time to sit by the fire, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your backwoods labors. Since this is also the season of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd devote this edition of "Claire Goes to the Movies" to romance. Specifically to romantic comedies.

Hey guys! Wait! Don't run off! Hear me out before you decide something in a far corner of the barn simply must have your immediate attention.

The truth is, guys, I hate romantic comedies. Just as much as you might.

But there are exceptions, really. There are romances with adventure, excitement, lessons about humanity, and maybe even a little charming weirdness.

So here, with more than a little help from Oliver Del Signore (BHM's hot-blooded Italian webmaster, a fan of all things romantic) are eight romances so lovable that both you and your sweetie might be able to snuggle down and enjoy them.

Most are suitable for family viewing. Two others are rated R. But in each case that rating is for a few scenes or a few words; you're not going to be assaulted with 90 minutes of vulgarity.

With that caveat, here they are (in no particular order):

Shirley Valentine (R—for some sex and language)

A dowdy, middle-aged housewife has always lived for the sake of her unappreciative husband and kids. Her kitchen wall is about the only friend she can tell her troubles to. Then she gets an unexpected chance to take a trip to the Greek Isles. She almost backs out, feeling there's no point, feeling her life is doomed to be without adventure. But she goes and finds...well, not quite what you'd expect.

Shirley Valentine
Moonstruck (PG)

An independent widow (Cher) and a wild beast of a young baker (Nic Cage) find love despite the tugs and pulls of family, duty, and being Italian. A marvelous, unconventional romance in which the moon over New York City is as much a character as the human actors. ("Moonstruck" can be heart-rending to watch because the twin towers of the World Trade Center are as prominent in this 1987 film as the night sky.)

It Could Happen to You (PG)

When an honest cop (Nic Cage again!) doesn't have enough cash to pay a tip, he promises a waitress (Bridget Fonda) that he'll share half his lottery ticket with her. He hits a $4 million jackpot. His furious wife can't believe he's actually going to keep his promise to give half a fortune to the waitress. The tale is based (very loosely) on real events and will boost your faith in human nature.

It Could Happen to You
Roxanne (PG)

C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) is a brave firefighter. He falls in love with beautiful Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah). Unfortunately, he believes his big ugly nose will keep her from loving him. (Is this starting to sound familiar?) So when he learns that his handsome but inarticulate pal Chris is also smitten with Roxanne, he helps Chris woo her with poetry and beautiful sentiments. One of the sweetest of all romances, with a noble message you might want to share with your teenagers.

Romancing the Stone (PG)

Kathleen Turner is a successful romance writer whose real life is bland and unadventurous. She's swept into a life-threatening real-world adventure in the Columbian jungles with modern-day swashbuckler Michael Douglas. There's enough "Indiana Jones" here to please the guys, and enough romance for the ladies.

Romancing the Stone
Don Juan DeMarco (PG-13)

Johnny Depp plays a mysterious young man who ardently believes he's the historic lover Don Juan. He's clearly crazy, but his ardor is so charming and so eloquent that the shrink assigned to cure him (Marlon Brando, in a role very unlike his usual) finds his own marriage being revitalized by "Don Juan's" influence.

Don Juan DeMarco
The Tao of Steve (R—for language and some drug use)

Dex may be overweight and under-achieving. But he has the awesome, carefully cultured ability to charm and win any woman he wants—except, of course, the one woman he discovers he really wants. For her, he has to learn to be a better, more genuine person.

The Tao of Steve
Return to Me (PG)

When his young wife dies tragically, Bob (David Duchovny) donates her heart to an unknown recipient. He seems to be psychically attuned with that living part of his beloved, and when a year later he meets Grace (Minnie Driver), he falls instantly head over heels—not realizing his wife's heart is beating in her chest. Yep, it's sappy. But wonderfully acted and sweet as apple pie.

Return to Me

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