There’s a reason they call them “chick flicks.” A list of all of the slight rom-coms that everyone knows guys don’t want to see (lots of them starring Julia Roberts or Matthew McConaughey) could fill a book. Then there are movies that women assume men like, either because some metrosexual critic put them on a list, or because the women just love them so much they can’t fathom why men wouldn’t. Since guys think they are supposed to like these flicks, they say nothing.
But ladies, if a man sits through one of these movies without complaining (and I’ll allow each man one flick from this list, as long as it’s not Love Actually or A Walk to Remember) it’s only for one reason.
8. Annie Hall
Yes, I know, this was recently named the number one comedy screenplay of all time, which led me to re-watch it. I probably laughed out loud twice. But aside from the fact that Woody Allen and Diane Keaton make the least sexy couple ever in a “classic” romantic comedy, this is a movie that basically makes relationships look too doomed to bother with.
It’s got some classic bits and lines, but overall it’s a historical curiosity—with our current knowledge of Woody making it slightly creepy. If you suggest this movie, it pretty much labels you as “of a certain age.”
At least on video, you get bathroom breaks. (Not that in the theater it wasn’t possible to stand in a long concession line and not miss a thing during Titanic.) Watching these two anachronistically modern brats emote for three hours to get to 20 minutes of great special effects is a shipwreck of a night for most men. And by the way, you would freeze to death in the water in the lower deck of the ship, just as fast as you would in the actual ocean.
And we all know that Terminator is director James Cameron’s best romance. The love that saved humanity.
And that song… gag me! My butt pain will go on.
6. My Best Friend’s Wedding
Just say something, dammit!
Because letting someone plan their life while spending a ton of money—only to ruin things at the last minute in front of all their friends and family, who have also spent big bucks on a destination wedding—is the best way to work your way into someone’s heart.
At least this one has a few good laughs; but it also prominently features one of those group song numbers that only happens in the movies.
5. Pretty Woman
I have never been able to figure out the appeal of this film, for women or men. I mean really, the billionaire falls for a street hooker? The original not-happily-ever-after ending made a lot more sense, but it likely would have been a box office bomb.
Seriously, ladies, if you want rags to riches, rent My Fair Lady. (Oh, yeah, that reminds me…that should have been the musical selection for my Best Romantic Date Movie list.)
4. The Notebook
No guy will say this out loud for fear of literal physical retaliation (and I may not tell my wife and daughter that I wrote this) but this is a movie men suffer through. Our tears at the end are tears of joy that it’s finally over, or from finally succumbing to the pain of the last two weeks—I mean hours—that we spent watching this shamelessly manipulative and sappy movie. We already know the love of our lives might end up in a diaper in a nursing home not remembering us—even the ones we fought wars for. No need to try to make a Hallmark card out of that fact.
The sales job for this movie included “It’s a war movie.” No, it’s not.
And by the way, girls, if a guy tries to impress you by hanging from a Ferris wheel or lying down in the middle of the street, he’s not romantic, he’s a psycho. Hope that if he ships out to war, they find an important suicide mission for him. And making out in a rainstorm, or with the girl’s back to jagged rocks in the pounding surf, is for cinematic effect, not for enhancing the actual experience.
3. Dirty Dancing
Guys do not have the time of their lives with this summer romance fantasy.
First, there’s nothing more frustrating than having the antagonist be absolutely right, despite having the small details wrong about the hero (see Con Air). I mean, Dr. Dad is going to be okay with his recent high school graduate daughter running off with the 35-year-old dance instructor just because he did not knock up the girl he was helping get an abortion, or steal from the resort? Groan.
This also is one of those movies where audience applause is supposed to be some kind of life-affirming event that means everything will be okay. Ugh. Have the time of your life—then go on with life, darlin’.
2. A Walk to Remember
Cancer is really romantic if you set it to mellow Switchfoot songs.
Here, I’ll make it easy. If it says, “Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks,” (Dear John, The Notebook) skip it.
This will make any self-respecting man cry out like the captured soldiers in the PC game Quake 2, “Make it stop!”
1. Love Actually
There is not one second of this movie that doesn’t feel completely staged and cut and pasted from the How to Make a Romance Movie 101 Handbook. The actors are so typecast that I suspect the screenwriter actually didn’t assign character names until later, just used the actors’ names in the working document. Constantly cloying, cute, sappy, contrived and artificial, this is the perfect example of why men don’t want to give up the remote.