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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #1 Brian Slade and Curt Wylde

Also one of my favorite cinematic kisses.

Also one of my favorite cinematic kisses.

Yes, the rock’n’roll Citizen Kane… a dark horse for a romantic award if I ever saw one!

But that’s not why I chose it.  I really, really love Bryan and Curt’s big moment doing the interview.  It’s a moment of visual poetry about the phoniness of stardom (Bryan reading his answers off cue-cards) and the intrusiveness of the paparazzo (the way the flashbulbs burst in on their genuine moment).  And it’s romantic as all hell– for Oscar Wilde’s beautiful words as much as anything else in the scene.

Brian is being interviewed at the height of his Maxwell Demon-mania, and even though director Todd Haynes isn’t very good at putting believable estranged couples in his movies, the wedge between Brian and Mandy is actually pretty seamless, but you know that the wedge is firmly driven in here.  And yet it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the scene.  Anyway, Curt Wylde interrupts the interview with champagne for him and Brian.  Brian gives the press one flippant line, and then turns all his attention to Curt.

Curt quotes Oscar Wilde and says, “The world has changed because you are ivory and gold.  The curves of your lips rewrite history.”

They kiss.  And then flashbulbs jolt them out of their moment.  You can see in their faces that they’re startled and annoyed by this intrusion.

What makes the scene so romantic, at least to me, is that all the showbiz phoniness, which is the two characters’ lives at the moment, is forgotten.  Utterly and completely.  And the Curt Wylde plot of the movie is one spot where Brian Slade comes out looking better than Charles Foster Kane.  Brian definitely loved Curt.  It’s foggy whether Kane really loved Susan, or if he was just tired of Emily.

But back to Velvet Goldmine… it’s a genuine moment with beautiful (if somewhat inappropriate, considering they were describing The Picture of Dorian Gray) words.  And it’s sad when the moment ends (not to mention the imagery is gorgeous in all its glitter), even with the kickass soundtrack following the moment’s end.  So, it stands at the top of my list of Romantic Movie Moments.  Check it out here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETC5CG4tpAI).

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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #2 Edward and Sandra Bloom (older)

"I don't think I'll ever dry out."

“I don’t think I’ll ever dry out.”

If it’s one thing this list has shown me, it’s that I have a soft-spot for older couples. That’s probably why I was the only one in my family not horrified to hear that my 95-year-old great-grandmother had a boyfriend.

And before I get into the details of my favorite scene, can I just praise Albert Finney’s Southern accent?  I think his accent was better than Ewan McGregor ‘s.  But, to the point.

The bathtub scene is my favorite part of the whole movie.  After the son is an ass to Sandra when they’re going through paperwork in the shed,  she finds the old telegram from when Edward went missing overseas and goes upstairs to see him.  He was in the bathtub, in his pajamas, underwater, holding his breath.  When he sees her smiling, he sits up, and explains that he was drying out.

She suggests that they get some sort of misting tool and spray him like a fern, takes off her shoes, and gets into the tub with him, nice dress and all.  They splash, and laugh, and suddenly she gets teary.  Edward comforts her, and they just lie in the tub and cuddle as the scene ends.

It’s a very sweet, fun scene.  In it, you understand why these two are together… they love each other, obviously, and they have a lot of whimsy.  She probably keeps him down-to-earth, and he lets her loosen up.  They find humor, even in sad moments, and accept each other’s little quirks.  They also comfort each other.  It’s funny.  It’s romantic.  It’s sad.  And it’s surprisingly relate-able.

Couples do all kinds of things that only make sense to themselves, but I think everyone knows someone who has done something like this, whether the occasion is happy or sad.  And next to Cathy and Heathcliff, this part of Edward and Sandra’s love story is a pretty damn good “relationship goal” to have.

Fortunately, this video is available on YouTube, so I’ll leave it here.  I’m sorry if it makes some of you sad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fgTSa9ViWY).

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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #3 Mr. Heathcliff and Catherine Linton

"Cathy, why did you do it?"

“Cathy, why did you do it?”

I know when most people think of movie adaptations of Wuthering Heights, the 1970 oddity starring Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff isn’t what most people think of.  And admittedly, there are two more versions of the film I need to see… but while this one is not my favorite adaptation of my favorite novel (why the hell would Wuthering Heights focus on Hindley instead of Heathcliff), it does have the best moment between the two lovers.

The moment I speak of comes on Cathy’s deathbed.  Edgar Linton is at church, and Heathcliff has sneaked into the house.  Nelly, against her better judgement, lets him into Cathy’s boudoir, and the two lovers, crying, meet in a crushing embrace.  It’s a genuinely touching moment, and I don’t know much about the production of this movie, but Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall are perfect at portraying the doomed-protagonists’ passion and pathological need for each other.  It’s never more perfect than at this moment.

No other characters intrude, and they can be wrapped up in each other.  It’s romantic.  It’s scary.  And it’s sad.  Everyone who has read the book (or even watched the movie up to this point) know that all Cathy and Heathcliff can do is torment each other, but they will never be happy without each other.  That’s their tragedy.  They’re too much… too angry, too jealous, too conscious of the society, too greedy.  But for all the times they do hurt each other, they really love each other.

And I think that’s what makes them compelling.  We want passion in our relationships, without all the drama that ruined Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationships and lives.

It’s never more apparent than this moment.  I can’t find it on YouTube anymore, but if you get a chance to see the whole movie, give it a try.  It’s a perfectly adequate way to spend 70 minutes.

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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #4 Nick Chambers and Cora Papadakis

Such a scene!

A quiet moment.

Christ, no.  Not that scene.  Pardon the blasphemy.

Anyway, Jack Nicholson again.  This was a movie I wasn’t supposed to see, but I was a resourceful YouTube lurker, and after I’d read the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, and experienced the disappointment of the original movie, I knew I had to do better.  And in the remake, I did do better.  I wouldn’t say it’s the best adaptation of the book that could be done, but it is good.

And the movie that relies heavily on shock value from the damn kitchen table scene immediately follows it up with a very quiet, and surprisingly sweet scene that quickly became one of my favorites.  It’s even better than the scene in the book.

In the book, after Nick and Cora have sex for the first time, Nick’s conscience gets to him, so he slugs her in the arm.  And runs away.  Remind me why she wants to kill her husband for this guy, please?  Anyway, in the movie, they play the whole scene as very playful.  Nick is sitting at the counter, having breakfast, while Cora is cleaning up in the kitchen.  Then you see him get an idea, and he goes up to Cora and whacks her on the backside.  It’s a pretty good wallop, but it’s very obvious that he’s playing.  And Cora is only mad for a moment.

And they share a couple of kisses.  It’s very quiet.  It’s playful– very free of drama or anything too shocking and gratuitous.  And it feels genuine, but in a non-intrusive way.  The actors had great chemistry, I think from being a real life couple at the time, and it shows here.  You buy this couple.  You buy that they’re not just about sex, even though they are all about that aspect of the relationship, too.  I think when so many movies tend to divide relationships between being passionate and being tender, it’s nice to see a movie where both things are not only touched on but appreciated and explored.

So, for all my making fun of the kitchen table (and it deserves the making fun of and the criticism), it did lead to one of my favorite cinematic moments.  I can deal with that.  I’d include the link to it, but The Postman Always Rings Twice never stays on YouTube for very long.  Just be resourceful, whether you’re a lurker or not!

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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #5 Aurora Greenway and Garrett Breedlove

 

Not the still I wanted, but  a lovely moment anyway!

Not the still I wanted, but a lovely moment anyway!

When I was fifteen I had a crush on Jack Nicholson.  My mother has hated him ever since, even making disparaging comments about the book “Jack’s Life” that she bought for my dad when I was a baby.  In about forty years, I’m sure she’ll be giving the harp-playing Roger Corman an earful about him casting the young actor with funny eyebrows and a weird backstory.

Anyway, about the time I developed that crush, someone gave me a copy of “Terms of Endearment” on DVD

for Christmas, and it is my favorite sick movie to this day (when I have colds or sinus infections, I watch it, cry, and then feel better because my sinuses are clean).  But my favorite part of the movie is, however, the romance between Aurora Greenway and Garrett Breedlove, the astronaut.  And it’s better than the book.

I like watching their characters develop– Aurora become less selfish and less uptight, and Garrett become less of an asshole.  In fact, he’s a pretty good guy by the end (I guess he needed to have his ego deflated?).  But the best scene, I think, is when she sees him off at the airport when he visits her when she’s seeing Emma at the hospital.  It’s not particularly epic, in fact it might not be all that romantic (I couldn’t even find stills or clips from it), but it’s a great scene just the same.

They hug goodbye at the drop-off, and Aurora realizes that Garrett has his hand on her ass.  She kind of rolls her eyes, but puts her hand on his.  They separate and she says, “Thank you, I love you, have a good flight.”

He waves goodbye and starts to go into the airport, when she calls him back and asks if he had any sort of reaction to her telling him that she loves him.  Garrett says, “Damn… just inches from a clean getaway!”

“Well?”

And he looks at her with probably the sweetest version of the Nicholson shark grin and says, “I got nothing but my usual answer… I love you, too, kid.”  And you can tell he means it.  It’s a great reprieve before Emma dies and that mysterious person suddenly starts cutting onions in your living room.

It also strikes me, as a true-to-life declaration of love.  When my fiance first told me he loved me, I tried to wiggle out of saying anything, because I was shy about admitting that I’d been in love with him since he first expressed an interest in me.  But, like Aurora, he didn’t let me off the hook.  And I told him.

And once I got off the phone, I had a good laugh.  Who knew I’d channel a movie like this?

But the personal connection is only a part of why this scene is a favorite of mine.  I love the “this is my moment” and the Garrett-turns-out-the-light scenes as much as anyone, but they’re a bit more melodramatic and stagey.  This one is very quiet, and very genuine.  Not bad for a tearjerker, right?

 

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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #6 Raymond and Rita Cappomaggi

All I can say is awww.

All I can say is awww.

I know… I’ve put Moonstruck on a Romantic Movie list and I’m not talking about Cher and Nicholas Cage.  Honestly, I found the older couples more interesting.  And Grandpa.  Grandpa is awesome.

But my favorite are her aunt and uncle, Raymond and Rita, and to me the best scene in the movie is “Cosmo’s Moon.”  Grandpa telling his pack of hounds to howl, and then showing them how to howl is hilarious, Loretta and Ronnie’s moment is nice, but before that there’s Raymond and Rita.

All through dinner, Raymond had been going on about how the last time there had been a moon like this one, Cosmo (Cher’s dad) was courting his sister, Rose.  He looked out the window, and there was Cosmo looking up at the house with the big, full moon above him.  It was a good omen.

That night, he wakes up his wife, Rita, to show her the moon.  She’s skeptical about it, asking, “How could Cosmo own the moon?”

Raymond says, “I dunno.”

Then she smiles.  “You know something?  Standing there, like that, with that look on your face… you look about 25-years-old.”  (She’s sort of right.)

He stands there for a moment, smiles, nearly smirking, and then goes back to bed….

It’s a beautiful, quiet scene.  And it’s something you don’t see very often.  A romantic moment between two elderly characters that’s not meant to be gross, or played for laughs.  You don’t doubt that this couple really loves each other, and still has some spark.  Like Geraldine and Stern Headmistress, it’s a kind of relationship one would really like to have.  See your partner’s glamour after 40 years.

See for yourselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAU4pf0uhoY.

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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #7 Jareth and Sarah

As the world falls down....

As the world falls down….

Hear me out.

This is a bit of a cheat, I know.  It’s technically not a love scene, and yes, the implications are creepy beyond belief, but damn if the setting isn’t romantic.

A quick recap of the plot.  Sarah, a dreamy fifteen-year-old is upset at having to babysit her infant half-brother, Toby, yet again while her dad and stepmother go out (as they do every Friday).  Angry at Toby for crying, she accidentally wishes him into her favorite fairy tale… The Labyrinth.

Jareth the Goblin King (with a form like mortal sin) allows her to win her brother back through a challenge.  She attempts to cross the labyrinth and make it to the castle beyond the Goblin City, with the reluctant help of Hoggle the dwarf, and the more enthusiastic help of Sir Didymus and Ludo.  The wicked king, however, bullies Hoggle into giving Sarah an enchanted peach when she complains of hunger, which sends her to the magic ballroom (I guess).

The ballroom setting is very Baroque and very dreamy.  It’s also just a tiny bit sleazy.  And the Goblin King is there, catching Sarah’s eye from across the misty room.  He makes his way across the multitude of flirting courtiers to her and they dance.  Over all of it is David Bowie’s amazing song “As the World Falls Down (catch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjLgazajjqg).”

One has to give Jim Henson credit here… the scene is like an enchanted peach for the audience.  It totally sucks you in, and Sarah came to her senses well before I did.  I’m still sorry she goes home at the end of the movie, even though I know full well that she has to.

But if one has to pick an archetype of a romantic ballroom scene, and has seen Labyrinth, I’m sure this moment has to come up.

And if you don’t think it’s romantic, you belong in the Bog of Eternal Stench.

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