There are plenty of philosophical questions that will haunt us for ages, but there is none more important than this: what makes a romantic comedy? The physical chemistry? The light tone? Tom Hanks? I believe the basic element of the genre is a “will they or won’t they” feeling, that plot movement that keeps the audience rooting for the protagonists. Once we stumbled upon this idea, we found scores of movies that you may not have even known were romantic comedies in the first place! When you get tired of rewinding Sweet Home Alabama (or, you know, pressing that little curlicue “Watch Again” on Netflix), maybe give one of the genre-defining pieces a try.
Sure, it’s a 1997 film about radio signals from extraterrestrials, based on the first and only novel by Carl Sagan. But did you know that it is also a romantic comedy? Leads Jodie Foster and Matthew McConnaughey don’t have any real chemistry, but the engaging romance here is really between Foster and the alien life. There’s real sexual tension in their staticky, indiscernible communiqués, and Jodie Foster finally travels through the wormhole and meets up with the alien on that beach? I can’t be the only one that was waiting for them to finally kiss!
2. Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
If you replace “The Bomb” with “My Best Friend” you have the basic plot of 50 percent of romcoms right there.
3. Jurassic Park
Have you ever loved someone so much, you followed them everywhere? And maybe things got kind of more intense than you imagined they would, because you couldn’t seem to communicate your feelings to them? And you end up chasing their car in the rain, because you just can’t let go? And you try to impress them with your hunting skills in the open plains, but they just ignore you? And then you finally save them from a gang of velociraptors as they run screaming from the ill-advised theme park in which you are kept? Yeah, I think we’ve all been there.
Demon-meets-mountain? Pixie-meets-forest-hippo-meets-crocodile? Mouse-meets-hat? Sassy-narrator-meets-silent-silhouette-of-composer? Take your pick, people.
A chance meeting in deep space brings Sigourney Weaver face to face with a terrifying, multi-mouthed alien queen who desires only to consume her and everything she knows as fuel for her brood. Sure, they get off to a rocky start, but so did Harry and Sally! And in the climactic scene, when the alien queen rears up face-to-face with Weaver, I don’t know about you, but I got chills.
Aaron and Josh are two guy friends who have a podcast in which they try to answer questions about dating, romance, relationships, sex, and the vagueries of human interaction. (“If you’re not a straight cismale, then we (may) have the answers you’re searching for.”) They’ll be writing a weekly post on The Date Report expanding on some of the topics covered in their weekly podcast.