In honor of all the romantics in the world, with Valentine’s Day being last week, we raise our glass to love stories this week, in both wine and on screen, for this week’s “Wine and Film, A perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolver Podcasts.
I have a few more thoughts on each film below. For more on the wines and wine couples we noted, check out Hayley’s post on D Magazine/D SideDish here.
Listen to the show here, and click “Episode 35,” or subscribe via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music or IHeartRadio.
And, we would love for you to join me and Hayley on February 22 at Studio Movie Grill/Royal Lane, Dallas for an evening of wine and film, toasting the 2017 Oscars, and benefiting The Dallas Film Society, tickets available here or via studiomoviegrill.com.
“Love Actually” (2003)
I’m a sucker for a smart, emotional, romantic film and “Love Actually” pushes all the buttons while featuring multiple story lines that make my heart fly. I always wait for the moment when Laura Linney does her “happy dance” on her apartment steps, and there is nothing better than watching Colin Firth profess his love in broken Portuguese. Most high level romantic films also feature a good dose of melancholy and nothing breaks your heart more than watching Emma Thompson cry while sitting on her bed listening to the slowed down version of Joni Mitchell singing, “Both Sides Now.” I can’t get enough of “Love Actually.”
“Shakespeare In Love” (1998)
There is a wonderful romantic moment in the Oscar-winning, “Shakespeare In Love,” when Gwyneth Paltrow opens the door and exclaims with flushed faced joy, “It is a new world.” The story of William Shakespeare writing “Romeo & Juliet” and the chance to light up the screen with it’s first production make the final thirty minutes of John Madden’s film simply breathtaking. Film lovers and theater lovers are equally engaged and Judi Dench lights up the screen along with Miss Paltrow. Both won Academy Awards for acting and the film remains one of Hollywood’s biggest upsets defeating “Saving Private Ryan” that year for Best Picture.”
“The Notebook” (2004)
I reviewed this film for ABC when it was released in theaters against my will and have little to say other than I cried and I don’t want anyone to know. I refer to my wine expert wife on this one. See Ryan Gosling in “La La Land.”
“Sleepless In Seattle” (1993) & “When Harry Met Sally” (1989)
When you talk about romantic movies, Meg Ryan, always arrives near the top of the list and with Tom Hanks and Billy Crystal as leading men these are two of the most iconic romantic comedies ever made. Historical cinematic moments include Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene where the director’s mother (Rob Reiner) says, “I’ll have what she’s having,” and anything to do with Meg Ryan meeting Tom Hanks on top of the Empire State Building in NYC. I worked in television in Seattle for couple years and every time I walked near the famous boathouse on Lake union, there were always a handful of tourists taking photos to the dislike of the boathouse owners. They hated tourists.
This beautiful, stunning French film did not win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but it should have. The charming, Audrey Tatou, plays a lonely single who decides to spice up her own life by performing acts of kindness on others. In return, she finds fulfillment in her own life and fantasies. The scene where she desires to meet a man who makes her swoon yet ends up in a literal “puddle on the floor” is a melancholy romantic classic. It doesn’t get any better than, “Amelie.”
For every ten unwatchable Nicholas Cage movies there is a jewel and “Moonstruck” is one of them. Cher won an Academy Award for playing the outspoken Italian American widow who meets a one handed baker and ends up swooning over a night at The New York Metropolitan Opera. John Patrick Shanley won an Oscar for writing the screenplay and this Norman Jewison directed movie is as funny and odd as the Brooklyn characters created. It’s a comedy drama filled with surprisingly tender moments. “Snap Out Of it.”
“Notting Hill” (1999)
I found myself flying to London for the premiere of “Notting Hill” and spent some time doing interviews across the pond with the cast and director. Julie Roberts is at her finest in this film playing a world famous actress who falls in love with a charming local bookstore owner, played perfectly by, Hugh Grant. I think it’s her most natural performance and we all discovered Rhys Ifans as the under-dressed room mate in a film that makes me smile from beginning to end.
“As Good As It Gets” (1997) & “Something’s Gotta Give” (2003)
Two Jack Nicholson films despite playing difficult desperate characters. The key to making both films work rests on the co female co stars and they are both magnificent. Helen Hunt makes with her complicated honesty in, “As Good As it Gets.” And, then there’s the luminescent Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give,” courting a younger doctor played by Keanu Reaves but falling for an older heart patient, Jack Nicholson. What’s a girl to do other than write, drink, laugh, and love. while looking great in a white bra. Keaton wins the film and should have won another Oscar for this performance.