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E.C. Henry

LOVE the new award category, "The Jen: for squandered potential in the romantic comedy genre." Jennifer Aniston is the embodyment of squandered potential. Made famous from her role in "Friends" I thought she was talor made to dominate the rom-com field. Yet it's never happened, though she's been in more than her fair share of female leads in romantic comedy vehicles over the years. Sorry to read that this year's "Jen" goes to Katherine Heigl. I just thought Katherine Heigl was someone I could believe in take that post-Meg-Ryan mantle and bring the romantic comedy genre to new hights never achieved before. Like Aniston, Heigl is very photogenic, but she still lacks that signature role that cements her in rom-com lore to be remembered favoribly, forever.

Still, solid 6th edition of the Astas, Billy. Thanks for reminding me of so many films that bear watching. For my money I see 2010 as being, "The Year Hollywood Forgot How to Love." Hopefully 2011 will be better.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

J

I really wish Paul Rudd would marry me. Or at least star in one of my movies a then get the bright idea to marry me.

It's not a rom com, but "Role Models" has got to be one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. He's so damn LIKABLE. Someone needs to write him a meaty, oscar worthy part.

I'll do my best.

mernitman

EC: I'm pretty hopeful that Ms. Heigl will bounce back (maybe two tankers in a row will make her choose her next roles more carefully). Meanwhile, I love your title for the year.

J: Hey, go ahead and do that, will you? I'd love to see Mr. Rudd's acceptance speech.

Rob in L.A.

Not only is Living the Romantic Comedy a crisply, crackly written blog that’s tons o’ fun to read, but it also reminds me how I totally turn off my hard-won critical faculties when I watch romcoms, one of my favorite Hollywood genres.

While many movie mavens regard “Valentine’s Day” as a cinematic atrocity, I can just plunk down my box-office money, nestle in my cushy chair, and put my mind on hold for two hours. So, it’s nice to have someone like Mr. Mernit to remind me what I’m turning my mind off to. Perhaps one of these days, I’ll become just as critical of something like VD (insert joke here) as I am of the latest overblown comic-book or sci-fi franchise.

In the meantime, I’d like to say: I thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s animated romcom hybrid “Tangled” and think it deserves some kind of mention in LTRC’s year-end wrap-up. Also, I’d like to give kudos to “Love and Other Drugs” specifically for coming up with a new twist on the Best Friend figure: Josh Gad as Jake Gyllenhall’s annoying brother, not so much a “best friend” as a whiny one-man Greek chorus that the male lead can’t shake out of family loyalty. Nice touch.

Judith Duncan

Hey Billy,
Thanks for the Asta's and great to see a post again :)
I saw Love and Other Drugs during the week and (I'll try not to vent here) I thought it was awful,a love story without any heart. Yes,Jake and Ann have a wonderful chemistry and I could dive into Jake's beautiful blue eyes and swim around for a while,but they seemed to hit every paint by numbers structural beat of a rom/com without any triggers or believable set ups.

The obligatory masterbation scene (why are they in so many American films???) by his brother who was supposed to be comedic relief,but apart from the fact that he looked nothing like Jake was truly annoying. There were so many opportunities to go into the reality of what Parkinson's could do to a relationship,but it seemed that Ann only had to deal with an occassional handshake. The show don't tell maxim in screenwriting was thrown out the window. A great opportunity to to give us a hit to the gut was lost at the convention when the husband of the Parkinson's sufferer told Jake what it was like. Why not have the wife there in a wheel chair in front of Jake and Ann so they both see the decay that's in store,that would have been a reason to give them 2nd thoughts. As it was it became repetitious that Ann kept telling him to go.
Okay so this has turned into a rant,I should stop.Can't help it.

Miss you Billy.
Cheers,
Judith

mernitman

Rob in L.A.: Aurgh! You've busted me - I saw that TANGLED got surprisingly good reviews and was clearly a rom-com hybrid, but it was the one pic on my list that I didn't get to see in time for the Astas; my (bogus) rationalization for leaving it out was "animation." I hope to see it soon, and hope this lapse can be forgiven. Meanwhile, yes, the brother bit in LAOD was a nice tweak to justify the old "why does this guy have a roommate? (so he can have a buddy)" ploy so often used in such romantic comedies.

p.s. I took a gander at your blog and very much enjoyed the CITY LIGHTS post (for not only narcissistic reasons). Good, smart writing.

Judith: My favorite ranter! Yes, I agree with your rant, except the lack of heart accusation - those guys (Zwick and Herskovitz) are actually very heart-full; I think in this case they were taking on much more than they could deal with, so instead of doing one thing well, they did two out of three things superficially. Frustrating, but at least they tried? Anyway, good to hear from you. I hope you have an exceptional New Year!

Annie

Although I can give Emma Stone an A for effort in Easy A, I found her performance borderline annoying and the film to be unoriginal, often times boring, and out of touch. I think with a different director and script tweaks it could have entered the pantheon of teen movie royalty - Clueless, Mean Girls, etc. but instead is something to pass the time on a plane or on a lazy Saturday when there are no reruns of your favorite show to lazily watch over breakfast. Missed opportunity for all.

Rob in L.A.

Mr. Mernit, thank you for your kind words about my blog. All is greatly appreciated.

If you ever get around to seeing “Tangled,” I hope that you will take a hiatus from taking a hiatus and write a review of it on LTRC.

P.S. Shouldn’t the Astas also have a category for Best Bellamy? If so, I would nominate — despite the film’s other shortcomings — Owen Wilson in “How Do You Know[?]” Few other Mr. (or Ms.) Wrongs are so full of beans or seem so dangerously able (in an inept way) of stealing the female lead away from the male lead. Rare is the Bellamy who gets billing over Mr. Right.

mernitman

Annie: Fair enough. As they say, that's what makes horse racing.

Rob: There have been Bellamy Astas awarded in the past, and I did enjoy Wilson's work in HDYK... just not That Much. But I do look forward to seeing TANGLED, at any rate - thanks for the suggestion.

Daniel Smith

Great to hear some insight into the industry again from you.

I'm sorry to say I actually bought the DVD for that d*** Valentine's Day. Awful tripe. The best part was Queen Latifah on the phone and that took all of 30 seconds. We also saw Leap Year and Date Night. Neither deserves a second viewing but at least they weren't Valentine's Day. I hope Steve and Tina meet up again with a better script.

mernitman

Daniel: Tripe, indeed. Meanwhile, it's interesting to me that some of the best comedy writing today is happening on Fey and Carell's native turf - TV (see MODERN FAMILY, 30 ROCK when it's great, etc.). Maybe they can cherry-pick some top TV scribes for a feature project...

Patty

I checked every now and again each month to see if you had posted. So glad to read from you again! I don't have any comment on your picks, since I haven't seen any of them. I did see, belatedly, the Shakespeare Retold version of Much Ado About Nothing and found that to be funny and endearing. Haven't seen Sarah Parish in anything else and feel I have been missing something. Now would those two ever really ever get together? Doubt it. And that is the ultimate test, right?

Rob in L.A.

Patty, I'm glad that you saw Shakespeare Retold's low-profile updating of "Much Ado." I saw it a month or two ago (in fact, it was the last day it was streaming on Netflix — just in time), and it has to be my favorite rom-com that I've seen this past year.

I've just come from seeing "The Tourist," another hybrid rom-com worth mentioning. I enjoyed my time in the theatre but think the story went a twist too far.

MaryAn

Valentine's Day. Walked out. The only other time I remember leaving mid-flick was Interview with the Vampire and that was only because of my musophobic inability to watch anyone -- even a vampire -- suck a rat.

mernitman

Patty: Good to hear from you - I'll keep an eye out for Sarah Parish, and yes, that IS the ultimate test.

Rob: I think The Tourist is bogus.

MaryAn: You have an issue with rat-sucking? What's up with that?

I think your movie walkout association makes sense, given that VD's cast was a parade of quick-payday stars baring exceptional teeth...

jenny

"Valentine's Day" was awful, but the highlight was Anne Hathaway.- she is incredibly charming and has knack for accents.

Anne blew me away when she hosted SNL last year- wonderful comedic timing & killer impressions of Judy Garland from "Wizard of Oz" , Cate Middleton, and Katie Holmes. This is why she got the Oscar co-hosting gig. Hathaway needs to stop doing rom-coms and pursue quality comedies because she has the talent.

I have been hearing great things about Focus Feature's " One Day" ( July 2011) . Apparently, Anne Hathaway & Jim Sturgess are very good in this rom-com . The script to this movie was included on the recent "Black List" .

mernitman

Jenny: I, too, am a Hathaway fan, and having read the "One Day" novel, I'm way looking forward to seeing what they've done with it. Release got pushed up to July from its original Fall date, which is an indicator that Focus has high hopes...

Rob in L.A.

Happy GROUNDHOG DAY, everybody!

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