I remember stories of the olden days that carried a depth of romance and drama. “Pride and Prejudice”, “Casablanca”, and “Guys and Dolls” are some of the few classics that can really attract the ladies. So, what happened to the romance movie industry??? There’s been nothing but cheesy PG-13 romantic comedies up the wazoo and NONE of them brings anything new to the table except for really stupid gimmicks that serve only as background or extremely cheap jokes that have been done over and over again. Let’s take a look of where things went wrong.
Romance was all over movies of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. If you name a year, you can easily name a movie that was released that year. But, it wasn’t until the 70s when the romance genre was changed forever. Woody Allen was attempting to create a comedic murder-mystery, but his editor said that the film was absolutely dreadful. Instead, he recommended Woody to focus on the romantic subplot between Woody’s character and the character played by Diane Keaton. Pretty much cutting it in half, Allen took the advice and added extra scenes of dialogue from himself so that he could connect the story properly from scenes that took place at different times. When released, the title became “Annie Hall”, Diane Keaton’s own name. Interestingly enough, many people believe that the romance was based on Allen and Keaton’s real life relationship, though Allen denies it constantly. Safe to say, the movie became a critical and box-office smash hit, winning awards and praise for its arthouse style and real-life depictions of a relationship, both through its positives and negatives. At that point, however, was where things started to become predictable.
Every movie tried to copy “Annie Hall” with their own subtle twists for quite a while, but then came the standard 80s-romantic-comedies. You’ve probably seen them at least once, such as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” or “Real Genius”. 80s movies in general had romance in them, but it became completely unrealistic as far as how the guys get the girls to love them. Cheese is spread over every layer of the 80s, from the style to the dialogue. Nudity was also quite common throughout the 80s, from “Porky’s” to “Animal House”. That said, as predictable as the romance was, the movies themselves weren’t always that bad….until the 90s-00s era that we currently live in.
Let’s think about our current era for a second. Did anyone ever see “Just Friends” and laugh and cry? What about the Lindsay Lohan rom-com “Just My Luck”? No? Why, then? Is it because you already know what they do in the films because you’ve seen it done a hundred times before in better movies? That’s right! It’s so sad that few good romance movies are far between each other. There are a few bright spots among the “Valentine’s Day” and “When in Rome”, however. “(500) Days of Summer” and many Judd Apatow-produced movies give a grand funny side to romance and a realistic mature look at love. “Summer” particularly does rip-off “Annie Hall”, but does it in a way that makes the formula much more appealing to today’s audience and carried genuine humor through the relationship and its future breakup.
But, what is the worst offender of romance movies? Every. Single. Nicholas. Sparks. Movie. “The Notebook”, “Dear John”, “The Last Song”: They all have the EXACT SAME FORMULA. I’m not kidding. Look at just the plot of them all. Here’s the formula they all go by: Boy and girl meet, boy and girl dislike each other at first, boy and girl then start to like each other, other characters try to prevent their love, love prevails and keeps boy and girl together, then one of them dies/is disabled. Doesn’t that just sound like the perfect romance movie ever?
So, what does it look like for the future? Well, the more that romantics pay for crappy romance movies, the more crappy romance movies there will be. It’s encouraging studios to practically pull money out of your pockets when you haven’t even gotten the real bang for your buck. To all readers, please be careful what romantic movies you’ll see in the future or else you’ll decay into a hopeless romantic fool.