For as long as I can remember, I have always been drawn to romantic comedies. Ya know, rom-coms. There is something very human about the stories and people portrayed in rom-coms, despite how outrageous they can get. Failure to Launch is a perfect example. Come on McConaughey, get with the program!
Rom-coms help us cope in a break-up. We lay on the sofa – wrapped in a blanket with popcorn and a bottle of wine – and cry through the duration of the film while screaming when they mess up and silently cheering when they get together at the end. They help us remember why we fall in love in the first place. Ultimately, these films help us believe in love – that there is someone out there for everyone.
In film school, rom-coms are frowned upon. Not real artistic endeavors. They are not directed by auteurs like Tarantino, Scorsese, Hitchcock, Lucas, Spielberg, Soderbergh, Kubrick, Coppola…get the ‘white male narrative’ I’m getting at?
So, when I sat down in my Directing II class, the teacher walked around the room asking what our favorite genre of film was. It was the snobby film school answers from every. single. person – snooze fest. “Drama. I love dramas. They really explore the human condition.” Next!
Finally, I’m tossed the topic the topic and without missing a beat I exclaim, “Rom-Coms!” The silence was deafening…uneasy. The stares – a true social experiment.
The girls all looked as though cupid had shot his biggest arrow in their pure hearts. I swear hearts were flowing out of their eyes like Pepé Le Pew.
Literally…you would have sworn I was speaking Latin. The guys were dumbfounded. Anish sat with mouth agape. I finally told him to close his mouth or he will catch flies.
Nils – our teacher and still to this day the one person who I think has more talent in his thumb, he never got the break he deserves. He had that pleasantly surprised/relief look. It’s forever burned into my memory.
After the girls stopped swooning and the guys settled on rom-coms are stupid chick flicks and Kubrick is the best of all time, Nils spoke. “Of all the answers, his is the best because it is the most marketable.” Gasp. You could hear pens across the room drop – I reveled. It was the first time in my life I felt like I was good at something…I was right. I went to the mattresses and won. Suck it Kubrick, Ephron all the way! (Sorry K-dawg, I love you but…)
As I worked to perfect my craft, I began to realize why I love the genre so much. There is a true art form to crafting a great rom-com. It starts with the meet cute and snowballs from there. There are hurdles and hoopes to jump but our lovers are in it together. Then, the ‘all is lost’ moment at the end of Act II – our heroes have hit rock bottom. However, beginning Act III, they rise up and conquer the obstacles – slay the dragon. Get the girl, or guy. (It’s 2019)
Another reason I love them? I’m a total hopeless romantic. Always have been. It’s sappy and not a male archetype portrayed much, but hey Tom Hanks made it cool. Hopeless romantics help the world move forward. Perhaps it’s how I was raised, but much like my mom, I see love in everything.
It’s hard though to believe in love in today’s society. Between The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and Love Island – it’s hard to believe in love when all you see are beautiful people in bikinis and luxury clothes competing for love in. Also, the online curated image that has swept the land in the last decade. (That is a whole blog by itself!)
Well, there you have it – that’s why I love rom-coms. That’s why I believe that I will walk into a grocery store, bump into the girl of my dreams in the dairy aisle, and we will look at each other, smile, and say the most overused word in rom-coms…”Hi!”