DVD Patrol: Romantic Movie Roundup

By: Todd Campbell

DVD Patrol: Romantic movie roundup

There may have been a time when we’ve gone to the movie theater to enjoy some kind of romantic movie with our special someone or that person that will become our significant other. It’s a time when people come together for some purpose and slowly find out that there are things about each other they find appealing. My team of crack patrollers have come back with some of their favorite romantic movies as well as your pal, the Toddster, for our Valentines’ Day Special. Let’s take a look and see what movie makes them feel romantic or makes them feel good inside.

JEFF GENUNG

“Far and Away” 1992

It’s hard to believe there was a time I once considered Tom Cruise to be cool, but ‘92 was certainly the apex of it. Long before “Titanic” caused millions of teenage girls to swoon, director Ron Howard capitalized on the real-life chemistry of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (long before the crazy intrusion of Katie Holmes) to do the same. 

For those looking for a historically accurate, ethnic-correct tale, “Far and Away” probably isn’t it. This is a movie that fully acknowledges every period cliché in the book and embraces them, yet still manages to be endearing. Set first in Ireland and then in America in the 1890s, this film tells the tale of hard-scrabble Joseph Donnelly (Cruise) and his fight to leave his native Ireland and pursue the American dream – to get a piece of the Oklahoma land rush. His journey is complicated by an upstart stowaway, the beautiful Shannon Christie (Kidman, never more luminous). In contrast to the dirt-poor Joseph, Shannon’s rich and spoiled – but she’s grown tired of the traditional restraints imposed by her parents (the marvelous Robert Prosky and Barbara Babcock) and longs to be “modern” in America. 

The chemistry between Cruise and Kidman is palpable and stirring, even if their faux Irish accents aren’t entirely convincing. Fresh off the boat, the unlikely pair lands themselves in Boston, and struggle in a life of poverty. Joseph turns to boxing, Shannon to burlesque – all in hopes of one day becoming landowners. Which they do, of course, but it’s the journey that makes “Far and Away” so captivating. Gorgeously filmed, its scenery evokes epics of a bygone era, backed by an Enya soundtrack. How can you go wrong? 

Admittedly, I’m not much of a romantic – but even I was moved when Joseph finally hints at his own feelings. “You’re a corker, Shannon. What a corker you are.” They don’t make ‘em like this any more.

TYLER MURPHY

“Titanic” 1997

The $200 million 1997 flick captured 11 Oscars and was the number one grossing movie of all time until director James Cameron trumped himself this past year with his new record-breaker, “Avatar.” Sitting in the theater with my high school sweetheart, I didn’t really know what I was in for the first time I watched the film.When it was over, I found myself so emotionally touched that I spent the next few days on a history binge of the Titanic’s real story. It was the movie that convinced me that Leonardo Dicaprio, who played Jack, was indeed a talented actor and one where Kate Winselt, who played Rose, reaffirmed my own personal belief that porcelain-skinned redheads are the most beautiful creations on Earth. 

Nothing beats a love story that defies all the social expectations and places the characters in a setting of impending doom.

Who could not relate? Your last moments are approaching yet you can’t recalling ever living except in the few you’ve recently held with this special person, so to hell with all of life’s conventions – just follow your heart. As death begins to approach, our two lovers’ passion and attraction outpaces even the constant unraveling of the world around them up until the very end, when Jack slips into oblivion and Rose fights to live. Being a fan of Shakespeare’s interpretation of love, no romantic tale can be told without a sense of loss. Again who could not relate to the harshness of romance and love? 

If you believe in passion moving a person beyond reason, if you believe that when touched by genuine love it can motivate a person for a life time, if you believe that our tears are just as an important as our joys, then “Titanic” is a film for you.

MELISSA STAGNARO

“You’ve Got Mail” 1998

I remember the first time I ever watched “You’ve Got Mail,” the 1998 film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan which - like the Judy Garland/Van Johnson classic “In the Good Old Summertime” - is based on the play, She Loves Me.

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