also they added DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART and DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART 2 to UK netflix, which i think is where you are? you should put those on the list, they’re both incredible examples of a modern romantic comedy
wow I mean in the most literal way possible. wow. that’s a real movie.
I never thought I would watch Larry Crowne but then FilmCritHulk wrote about how he watches it every year for Crownesgiving and then thecatamites had to also write about how weird it is and I guess I should watch it now.
Romancing in Thin Air is the best Johnnie To movie
Johnnie To Sparrow will umbrella-fight you, since it does not agree, at all!
that’s number 2 and throw down is 3
Johnnie To Can Live With That.
What about the Heroic Trio
what about the one where andy lau wears a weird muscle suit
Yeah Running on Karma’s great
So is A Hero Never Dies
Lord, I need to see more of his romcoms.
Oh jeez I haven’t seen a new Johnnie To movie since Mad Detective. My priorities have fallen apart.
I haven’t seen any of his earlier (pre-milky way image) stuff
the to+wai ka-fai ones all seem kind of weird and this one was the only one I’ve really liked of those so far.
Its one of my fav superhero movies
To bring this topic back on track:
I think i didn’t mention Windstruck, also starring… That actress from My Sassy Girl (kor-version), which should also fit your bill - well, it is rather charming than batshit insane, so be prepared for a normal… good(?) movie.
First Daughter (2004) - a weird thing about using a random number generator to pick which of these I watch is that i guess within the same two weeks you can end up with two different 2004 romantic comedies about a president’s daughter who just wants to be treated like everybody else who falls in love with a stranger who happens to be an undercover member of her security detail and she feels betrayed when she finds out but it turns out his feelings are for real.
I guess this one was actually delayed until 8 months after Chasing Liberty because that one bombed, but the thing is that the undercover-cop reveal… actually happens much later in this movie, and is treated like a real twist, which is kind of strange in context. In fairness I feel like this one does get slightly more into the consequences of having such a twist. There’s a media kerfuffle (Jay Leno making fake / real? Jay Leno jokes) and the cop has to go to a disciplinary hearing about it. IIRC he says something like “if falling in love with the teenage girl i was hired to protect makes me unqualified then by all means let me go” which is maybe not superlative as a defence. it does make it funnier that the college student played by a 32-year-old really is an undercover cop though.
One funny thing about the two movies - at the start of Chasing Liberty, there’s a shot of Mandy Moore in her room and then the camera pulls back through the window and reveals the room is on the left-hand side of the White House. In First Daughter it does almost the exact same shot for Katie Holmes, except her room is on the right-hand side of the White House instead! So it’s probably some kind of CIA disinformation campaign.
This is definitely the ritzier of the two, Michael Keaton is the president this time(!) and it was directed by Forest Whitaker(!?). There’s a voiceover which sort of frames it as a fairy-tale type thing and some really vibrant greenscreening:
at one point the characters escape by hiding in a campus screening of “The Girl Can’t Help It” and i thought maybe the colours were a shout-out to the fabled DeLuxe Colour process in that film. But it isn’t something I really noticed for the rest of the movie so I guess it’s just what they had to do for the White House scenes specifically.
I think being set in college rather than on euro-exodus made this a little less gruelling. There’s a good scene at a frat party where suddenly four bros in stars-and-stripe trunks come out and surround first daughter while doing a patriotic chant:
then the band starts playing rap-rock and they all start skanking in a circle around her. the party is broken up when her bodyguards tackle someone with a water pistol so it’s interesting they consider synchronised group skanking no threat.
It makes it a little weirder when the secret cop kisses first daughter BEFORE the audience is told he’s a secret cop, or are allowed to see him agonize about it, etc. Framing it as a twist means turning him into a much creepier character since he’s not necessarily shown as being especially reserved about the whole thing? At one point he also kisses her forehead while she’s passed out from revenge-drinking, and tells her that “if things were different… i’d still follow you around all the time.” he looks sort of like a buff morrowind npc version of michael cera, like that face just uv-mapped onto a polygon.
what else? the movie does that thing of zooming in real close to something, then zooming out to reveal that same thing in another context, but it does this like 7 different times, which i enjoyed.
at one point she takes her friends on air force one to a fancy political shindig, and it’s implied to be really cool and glamorous but everybody else at the party is like 65! kicking out the jams with some raytheon lobbyists.
At the end of the film it actually leaves the relationship with the cop up in the air and instead calls back to an earlier part of the film, where she talks about just cutting out from all the ceremony of life as first daughter and dreams of just travelling to college by herself in a little car with all her bags inside. So at the end she receives a key, and goes outside, and there actually is a little green Herbie the Love Bug loaded with all her stuff just sitting in the White House driveway, and she gets in and takes off happily while still wearing her ballgown and gloves to I guess drive the 3000 miles back to college in California???
One final note - throughout the movie it uses brightly recoloured skies above the White House to mirror what’s happening in the plot. So when everyone’s mad at each other the sky is a deep, Mortal Kombat red. But then at the end it’s purple! Which is both the traditional colour of royalty and what you get by mixing red and blue, so possibly signifies the desire for a peaceful bipartisan consensus, to emerge from the upcoming 2004 elections.
Yung Caius (Balmora Mix)
Holiday In Handcuffs (2007) - I’ve been visiting my parents for Xmas so wanted to watch one of the seasonally themed romcoms. This one is about Melissa Joan Hart pointing a loaded gun at Mario Lopez (AC Slater from Saved By The Bell!) so that she can force him into her car, tie him up, and drive him to her parents house to pretend to be her boyfriend. This makes the movie sound sort of racy but easily the weirdest thing about it is that the forced abduction plotline is all handled with the general style and tone of a regular romantic comedy, it sort of feels like watching one of those fake trailers which recut Patch Adams to resemble a horror film or similar. Fortunately the strange pliancy of AC Slater means it only takes about a day for him to go from protesting and trying to escape to asking “so what do you do for fun?”, admiring her paintings, standing up for her against her parents, decorating the yard etc, I guess it’s lucky he hadn’t been kidnapped by ISIS instead.
It’s true that I got slightly nervous in a scene where they’re chasing each other around a kitchen table and it suddenly shows MJH’s eyes zooming in on a nearby meat tenderizer. But it turns out she only meant to smash the phone.
This movie is slightly more descriptive about sex than I tend to associate with these things and especially the ones produced for network television, there’s a recurring and always awkward joke where various family members call Melissa Joan Hart a slut as well as ones about the mom’s sex life. The bondage element is played on by an old man running a gas station who gives them a pair of fluffy handcuffs after finding AC blindfolded in the car, and who then grates “lucky little bastard” as he’s driven away screaming.
There’s a scene where the brother announces that he’s gay at dinner and it prompts a spit take from the sassy comedy grandma.
I actually enjoyed this movie, despite the plot it actually felt comparatively grounded for the genre in that the main drama is “my parents think i’m a fuckup” rather than “will i ever meet the one??”. But I also enjoyed it as a film where the big romantic speech at the climax begins with “I just wanted to say thanks for not pressing charges.”
A Boyfriend For Christmas (2004) - firstly, this movie has been uploaded multiple times to youtube, so I encourage everyone greatly to listen to the song that plays during the first few minutes of the film. It’s not available anywhere else I could find, for some reason, it may sound strangely familiar to you all but just listen to the lyrics and you will realize is completely original song.
Secondly, I feel LIED TO and BETRAYED by this advertising:
I think the idea of recieving an actual boyfriend from Santa for Christmas is an engaging one and filled with interesting questions. Is he sentient? Was he conjured fully-grown from magic or built in some kind of factory? Is it ethical to date a robot constructed to please you? If only David Cage were still with us to resolve these issues, or Vivi.
Unfortunately he isn’t created by Santa in the movie, but it’s not as wild a leap as it may seem as the movie does in fact feature the real Santa and endow him with a very mild level of magical power / foresight. The love interest is in fact a rival lawyer to the main character, who falls in love with her at a christmas tree sale and makes a deal with Santa to fulfil her childhood wish for a christmas bf. So, he appears at her door the next morning, wearing a ribbon, and comes into her house and offers to do her bidding. She is much less alarmed by this than you may think but I guess that’s Christmas. I gave up on parsing the morality of pretending to be some kind of escort love elf for a lady to be able to date her. One nice touch in the movie is that there are two seperate moments where characters have to invent plausible names / occupations by looking wildly around until they see a nearby object they can call themselves after. I would rate the Santa 6/10 in that he’s quite twinkly and has a real beard but also a little more threatening-looking at times than you might prefer.
The main character’s dad is played by the principal from Sabrina The Teenage Witch! Continuing the Sabrina connection. His main occupation is watching what look like public domain football games from the 1970s. One other thing these movies have in common - the main character in each used to be a champion figure skater when she was younger, and there’s a scene in each one where she impresses the love interest by suddenly switching to a stunt double who does all kinds of implausible-in-this-context spins and leaps while he looks on admiringly.
The parent’s house is a champion example of Google Sketchup McMansion Architecture.
In the background of one scene, we see a Troll.
At the end of the movie the couple get the “Fireworks” cg ending and it shows a santa snowglobe from earlier in the film, except the plastic santa is greenscreened over with a real, moving santa.