by Gowdy Cannon
If there is anything that testifies to how different men and women are, it’s our choice in movies. The fact there is the term “chick flick” that describes movies that women prefer and that men often do not, is a loud endorsement that some genres appeal to the fairer sex. And men for decades have sat through Richard Gere and Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock and Anybody, just to defer to their wives and girlfriends. But we at Rambling Ever On believe that there are often different things that attract men and women to movies. Women are more often drawn to the romance genre. Men usually are not. However, we also believe there can be romantic movies that both enjoy–if done in the right context and with the right storyline. Some of the ones we think are classics may not seem like they are romantic movies at heart, but the content proves otherwise. They prove it is possible to find real love outside of Nicholas Sparks or two superstars with great chemistry. Here are five we believe fit that criteria.
The Last of the Mohicans
by Ben Plunkett
It is true that the 1992 movie The Last of the Mohicans is quite a bit different than the classic by James Fenimore Cooper. It is also true that I run the risk of being branded a literary heretic by saying I loved the movie vastly more than the book it is loosely based upon. (To tell the truth, at present I don’t remember a single thing about the book.) I was very honored to see this in the theater right before I went off to college. Greatest theater experience of my life! What Michael Mann created is astounding—at least to me. Every scene, every shot, every word of dialogue in this film is a complete masterpiece.
And it is also clearly a movie designed to appeal to both men and women. There are two primary women in the film—Cora and Alice Munro—and they both experience love in different ways. Early on in the film the two sisters catch the eyes of adopted brothers, Hawkeye and Uncas. The film with its spectacular historical action backdrop, is a story of romance between Hawkeye and Cora and Uncas and Alice. The centerpiece of the story is the blossoming romance between Hawkeye and Cora. After harsh circumstances begin to force the two apart, you believe Hawkeye completely when he tells Cora, “You be strong. You survive. You stay alive. No matter what occurs. I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.” And they do, both brothers. They do whatever it takes to find their lost true loves. Hawkeye even plans to die in Cora’s stead. That is where Major Duncan Heyward, a spurned, almost unredeemable romantic antihero comes into full view. As a last act of love and devotion to his Cora, he instead dies in her place so that her heart might go on with Hawkeye. Meanwhile, Uncas speeds up the mountainside to rescue his beloved Alice from the evil Magua. The sad fate of Uncas and Alice is a true lover’s leap.
All of this is only to mention the romantic elements and not to mention a million other amazing things about this cinematic classic. I know that women will love this movie. And if you’re a guy but don’t like it, well, you may need counseling.
by Gowdy Cannon
Bill Murray as Phill Conners gives a legendary comedic performance. But as much as it makes me laugh, every time I watch this movie it blows me away with its heart. Murray makes romantic dialogue look effortless without changing facial expression or tone of voice. At the same time, he elicits powerful emotion from just about anyone with scenes like this one, where Phil is trying to convince Rita that he’s experiencing the same day over and over again by telling her how he’s observed her:
Phil: You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There’s a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You’re very generous. You’re kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.
Rita [in wonder]: How are you doing this?
Phil: I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Perhaps nothing I can tell you about that scene captures it better than one of the toughest, most masculine, native Chicagoan men in my church once placing Phil’s quote about boats on his wife’s Facebook wall. It’s that good. In a later scene Phil is talking to Rita about how he doesn’t deserve her as she is nodding off to sleep, in a moment that makes you feel both sympathy and respect for him. Murray makes you adore Phil, and takes you on a wild ride of character transformation and discovery and ends with a man learning that love is a selfless, humble, and beautiful thing when time–as it stands still–allows him to truly learn about the other person.
Mission Impossible III
by Phill Lytle
When one thinks about the Mission Impossible film series, there are a few obvious elements that come to mind: Action. Suspense. Tom Cruise. Cool gadgets. Unpredictable twists. Rarely, do we think of romance. There are a few reasons for that: First, there is a different leading lady in each of the five Mission Impossible films. It’s hard to develop a solid romance if no woman sticks around for very long. Second, Mission Impossible II had an absolutely atrocious romantic plot that in some ways did it’s best to kill the idea of any future romance actually working or making any sense. Let’s be honest, when your main characters fall in love while trying to drive each other off a cliff, you know your film has problems understanding the concept of love.
Lucky for us viewers, Mission Impossible III fixed all of that. The story, at its most basic, is a love story. At the beginning of the film, we find that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise’s spy character from the series) has stepped away from active participation in the spy world. He is now involved in training new recruits. He does not go out in the field any more. The reason for that is simple: He met a woman and fell in love.
What follows is a movie that is as invested in making the love story real as it is in making the action sequences incredible. If you are a man, this film has all the elements of a great action/spy film, plus it has a romantic hook for your lady friend. Tom Cruise still gets to run, jump, fight, and shoot his way out of trouble. But he also gets to be a part of a romantic storyline that feels real. (Hint: they don’t try to kill each other while driving cars really fast.) It is a win-win for everyone.
by Phill Lytle
Let’s get a few things out of the way: Yes, Wall-E is a cartoon. Yes, the two characters that fall in love in the film are robots. Yes, it is amazing.
Now that we have that taken care of, let’s talk about why this cartoon about robots is so amazing. This is an emotionally powerful film. It digs into themes of relationships, consumerism, selflessness and most importantly, love. This movie packs an emotional punch but it never stoops to cheap sentimentalism. It earns every single reaction because it establishes its reality and characters so well. The titular character is a hardworking, if lonely little robot, left on earth to clean up humanity’s many messes. He does this job with humor and zeal. Then he meets Eve. Eve is a much more advanced robot sent to earth to search for signs of biological life. Wall-E is mesmerized. It’s love at first sight. What follows, is a beautiful story of sacrifice and connection. Their love is tested, and at times, seems doomed to fail. But perseverance and an admirable commitment to each other save the day. We could do worse than learning a little bit about love from these two robots.
by Gowdy Cannon and Joshua Crowe
“Who knows what the tide could bring?” We were roommates for 13 glorious months in Chicago. When one of us was experiencing significant emotional pain from a break up, the other knew which movie would be the medicine for the heart. You cannot really understand the full scope of the beauty of romance until you understand what it is like to have loved and lost. That is what this movie is about more than anything. Yes, it’s in part about a man who was overly concerned with time who had to live four years in a place where time didn’t matter at all. Yes, it’s about survival on a deserted island and overcoming desperation and despair and having only a volleyball as a friend.
But the most powerful moment of the movie is not any of the typical tropes (plane crash, losing Wilson, leaving the island). We believe it’s when we realize Kelly isn’t coming to the airport. From the time when the husband shows up until the rainy road, it’s pure agony in the best possible way. And it doesn’t let up for several scenes. You get to see Kelly’s reaction to Chuck showing up, Chuck knowing he can’t stay, Kelly running after him in the rain and Chuck saying back to her, in a chill bump inducing, heart wrenching movie moment, “You have to go home now.” The original music score that plays at this part and then again at the end is perfect for romantic heartbreak. It is among the best scores ever.
So when your friend thinks he’s lost the love of his life, you have to remind him of what Chuck eventually came to realize: “The tide came in and brought me a sail.” Life is like a long train ride with people getting on and off and you never know who’ll get on at the next stop. You never really know what the ride could bring. Castaway is more than two people falling in love. It’s a powerful, timeless account of how to deal with life when your heart is shattered by losing that love. It’s something anyone – any man – can relate to.
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