Your Top Three is a series here at Movies.com where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks.
This week is the 25th anniversary of the release of When Harry Met Sally, and to commemorate the occasion, Vulture counted down the 25 best romantic comedies that have arrived in its wake. It’s a pretty surprising list, including a number of fairly dramatic pictures that I wouldn’t necessarily call rom-coms, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (though they make a good effort to toss it into the Screwball subgenre), Punch-Drunk Love and The Silver Linings Playbook. The folks at Vulture also left out a number of favorites, warranting a whole other post explaining the omission of 10 titles, including Love Actually, Pretty Woman and the Before Sunrise trilogy.
Their list may also be surprising to anyone who, like The Playlist, thinks the rom-com genre has been in need of saving these past couple decades. As if we ought to care that Hollywood’s version isn’t doing so well when there are other kinds being made elsewhere. But then, even the indie rom-com has been at a standstill lately, freshness-wise, according to some vocal critics. Whether or not the genre has been fruiting in favorable ways in the past 25 years, there’s no doubt we all can name a few favorites. So let’s do that.
My Top Three Rom-Coms of the Last 25 Years:
1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Edgar Wright started a whole new subgenre with this zom-rom-com (Warm Bodies is at lesat one other example, and an underrated one at that), and the rom and com parts for me are more dominant to the narrative than the zom (that’s zombie). And it’s also a great nod to the classic Screwball variety in its focus on a couple that breaks up at the start and has to be brought back together by the end.
2. Groundhog Day (1993)
Basically, rom-coms in the last 25 years have survived primarily through genre crossovers and other inventive twists. If I don’t count Eternal Sunshine then this is the next best blend with science fiction (Shaun is sci-fi in a way), specifically incorporating a time-travel device that creates a new obstacle for a romantic couple while also finding a new way and reason to get them together. It’s admittedly a pretty one-sided rom-com, though.
3. Amelie (2001)
Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s whimsical French film is also rather one-sided in its romantic element. We never get to know much of Matthieu Kassovitz’s character, but that’s okay because rom-coms are all about fantasy anyway, and fantasies are usually a one-way road. They’re also, like the plot of Amelie, a little creepy if you really think about them. Well, ceepy has never been so cute.
Your Top Three Rom-Coms Since When Harry Met Sally [the top four being Forgetting Sarah Marshall tied with (500) Days of Summer for first followed by Before Sunrise tied with 10 Things I Hate About You] :
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