In the early 1990’s Macaulay Culkin was the child star of the moment. His face was everywhere. His movies stayed on the list of box office top ten lists for weeks. There were even product lines from his movies (Does anyone else remember the Talkboy?).
In 1991, Culkin starred in one of the most heartbreaking movies of my generation’s early years, My Girl. Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) is on the verge of her teenage years. Her mother is dead and her father Harry (Dan Aykroyd) runs a funeral home. In love with her much older English teacher, Vada joins his poetry class to try to catch his eye. Vada’s best friend, Thomas (Culkin), is allergic to everything. Adding to the mix is that her father is starting to fall for Shelly DeVoto (Jamie Lee Curtis), the makeup artist at Harry’s funeral home.
This movie, despite being set in the 1960’s, speaks to the preteen in all of us. Vada’s journey through this film is recognizable to anyone who lived through the emotionally and physically turbulent preteen and early teenage years.
Three years later, Culkin starred in Richie Rich, a live action film based on the comic of the same name. Richie Rich (Culkin) is the wealthiest child in the world. But what he really wants is friends. Representing his father at a factory opening, Richie sees some kids playing baseball. But they prefer to play without him. Then Richie’s parents disappear and Lawrence Van Dough, the #2 man at Rich Industries is the main suspect. Richie must gain control of the company and find his parents, with the help of his new friends.
This movie is a bit over the top, but so is the premise of the comic book. What I like about the movie is the underlying message is that money cannot buy happiness and is never the replacement for the ones who love you most.
I recommend them both.
Every decade has it’s rom-com queen. In the early 2000’s, that actress was Reese Witherspoon.
During the early 2000’s, she played in a variety of rom-comish roles.
One of the films she starred in was 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama. Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon) has made it big in New York City. Her career as a fashion designer is extremely successful. Her relationship with Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), has taken a new turn. Melanie has just accepted Andrew’s marriage proposal. Life cannot get any better. But before Melanie can move forward with her new life, she has to get rid of the old life.
Born and raised in the South, Melanie married Jake Perry (Josh Lucas) years ago. Now Melanie must divorce Jake before she can marry Andrew. The trip home is supposed to be quick. But it is not as quick as Melanie intended and now she must choose the life and the man she wants.
This movie is a standard rom-com with the standard tropes and characters of the genre. But it is the film’s lead actress and the idea of facing your past before moving onto your present that makes it stand out.
The second film is 2005’s Just Like Heaven. Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon) has a successful career, but she has no social life. On the way to a date, she is seriously injured in a car accident and lies dormant in a coma. Meanwhile David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) now lives in Elizabeth’s apartment. While Elizabeth’s body is in the coma, her spirit remains in her home. She remembers nothing, except her home and knows nothing except the new tenant. Can David and Elizabeth figure out who is and return her to her body or will she spend the rest of her life in a coma?
This is another movie that moves beyond the standard rom-com film. It takes a slightly darker turn while retaining the qualities that make a rom-com a rom-com.
I recommend both.
Some might say that Romeo and Juliet is William Shakespeare’s most romantic play.
In the film, Letters to Juliet (2010) Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) wants to be a writer. On vacation in Verona, Italy with her boyfriend Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), Sophie discovers the “Secretaries Of Juliet”. These women have taken it upon themselves to read the thousands of letters that visitors leave to the fictional Juliet.
One of the letters stands out. When she was a young woman, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) briefly dated an Italian boy. While the relationship ended decades ago, Claire has not yet given up on the Italian boy she fell in love with. Roped into the journey of finding Claire’s teenage sweetheart is her reluctant grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan).
I liked this movie. What this movie proves is that romantic love is not just the exclusive property of the young. It also proves that an older female performer has bring in an audience as much as her younger counterpart can. This movie is sweet and romantic without being too sappy or predictable.
I recommend it.