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February 18, 2012

Weekend Reviews: All romance movies aren't mushy and traditional


Daily Star

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Don't you just love love?

Ah, February. It truly is one of the best months out of the year, isn't it? It's the shortest month, entails a week-long break for many of us still in school, and is the month of the best holiday of them all: Valentine's Day.

I'm guessing most of you don't agree with me that Valentine's Day is the end-all be-all holiday, the crème de la crème, if you will. I'm sure you believe that Valentine's Day is just another holiday created by companies to sell products such as unnecessarily large boxes of cheap chocolate and weirdly colored stuffed animals that say seductive things like "You're a wild thing."

Maybe you even hold the opinion that there shouldn't be just one day a year to show your affection to those you love; you should make an effort to portray these feelings every day. And to those of you that feel this way, I have one thing to say: I completely agree.

However, because Valentine's Day unfortunately is acknowledged every year, and did in fact occur this year, I thought I might take the chance to share with you all some of my favorite romance films. And no, they're not films such as "The Notebook" or even "Dirty Dancing," because I feel that they are just too predictable.

The films that I enjoy are unorthodox, because life is not always perfect and predictable, and therefore, neither is love.

And with that, let me share some of my favorite unconventional romance movies:

"When Harry Met Sally" is a film that was written by Nora Ephron and stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Made in 1989, the movie follows two characters, Harry and Sally, from their meeting after college graduation through about 12 years of friendship.

The major conflict is introduced by Harry when he tells Sally on a cross-country road trip to New York City that men and women can never really be friends, because romance always eventually gets in the way. For a while, we watch the slow progression of their relationship develop from mutual dislike to acquaintanceship and then a full-fledged friendship.

However, when Harry and Sally become intimate, it appears that Harry's early warning about the inevitable incompatibility between men and women when it comes to friendship is correct. The aftermath of the film helps the audience decide whether this truly is the case. My favorite parts of the movie are the scene shifts that show different couples rehashing how they wound up together.

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" was in the theaters just last summer, and was recently released on DVD. The movie follows three different storylines that all seem to intertwine: Cal (Steve Carell) finds out that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) has cheated on him and wants a divorce.

The film shows what happens after he moves out and meets a young bachelor, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) who gives him a makeover and helps him gain his confidence back. Cal in return shows Jacob the benefits of a monogamous relationship. as Jacob discovers his feelings for a law student, Hannah, played by Emma Stone.

At the same time, Cal's son, Robbie is trying to win the affection of his 17-year-old babysitter, who sees him as just a little kid. Despite the central theme of love, this film is one of the funniest I've seen in a long time, and the ending isn't necessarily happily ever after, but works for the storyline perfectly.

The 1980s' Brat Pack classic "Pretty in Pink" stars Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer and challenges the seemingly impenetrable social circles in high school, and throughout society. Andie is a working-class girl who has a crush on preppy Blane.

Once they begin dating, the backlash from their two different groups of friends causes conflict within their relationship. Jon Cryer stars as Duckie, Andie's friend and constant shadow who appears to be infatuated with her. The ending, which shows Duckie making the ultimate sacrifice and giving up the girl due to his strong love for her is the ultimate romance to me.

A modern-day classic, "(500) Days of Summer" is a movie that portrays the tumultuous relationship between Tom and Summer, played by Jonathan Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

The two meet while working at a greeting card company, which serves as a very comical background to the sometimes-saddening plot. Tom is an endearing character, and the charming Gordon-Levitt easily wins over the audience's sympathy due to his heartache stemming from the confusing Summer.

The movie teaches the hard-to-learn lesson that sometimes, you just have to accept that no matter how much you love someone, or think you love someone, that you just may not be compatible.

I believe that these movies show that no matter who you are, whether you write greeting cards or are desperately in love with someone who just sees you as a friend, there are all different kinds of love, and they are all just as important as another. Whoever you were with this Valentine's Day, I hope you were able to show them how much they really mean to you.

Maggie McVey is a senior at Oneonta High School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at www. thedailystar.com/teentalk.