Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on April 18, 2010
I’d like to call your attention to a rather insidious thing that Hollywood has done in regards to romantic comedies. You know what they all have in common? They usually end with a wedding ceremony. And I think this is insidious precisely because most romantic comedies are aimed squarely at younger people who thus grow up with a false sense of marriage as providing that highly sought after “happy ending” that we all want from life. But the stubborn truth is that weddings are not endings, they are beginnings. And it’s not always going to be a romantic comedy, either. Sometimes, it’s going to seem more like an uncomfortable drama full of dysfunctional characters, something like, say, a Wes Anderson film – or a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Maybe sometimes it will turn into an experimental film, the kind where you don’t know which way is up and a backward talking midget suddenly reveals itself from behind a curtain to do a black-and-white dance sequence. Or it might even turn into a horror film. The point is: anything can happen.
That opening statement paraphrases part of my speech from last night’s toast to my sister and her new husband. I could easily have gone on in a longer rant about that subject, but in a moment of rare discretion I managed to bring my toast back to focus on the happy couple under the spotlight that was standing nervously next to me. I say “nervous” because I’ve been there and done that, but in my case the wedding turned into a Takashi Miike film. Specifically; Audition. The first half was surprisingly light-hearted, and aside for a few flags, it had all the makings of a delightful romp like, say, Masayuki Suo’s Shall We Dance? But then, in the last couple reels, things got very ugly and I found myself paralyzed and being stabbed by needles. This traumatizing experience means that I can be a bit of a loose cannon at weddings. I’m now the equivalent of that old-timer in horror films that usually pops up within the first ten minutes to tell the kids driving toward Camp Crystal Lake that “you’re all gonna die!”
I’m happy to report that I kept my inner crazy, drunk ol’ coot locked deep in the back of my mind and, instead, managed to behave appropriately. But it does bring me back to the point I was making about romantic comedies. Do they really all end with a wedding ceremony? I’ll admit to having really enjoyed Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air as a refreshing exception to the rule. An even better example would be Mike Nichols’ The Graduate, but in both cases I’m not even sure if you can really apply the “romantic comedy” moniker to them at all. It’s almost like, by definition, to be a romantic comedy you have to end with a wedding ceremony. But, heck, what do I know? As I recently told a fellow cinephile, the hole in my memory is the size of the Chicxulub Crater.
So… since I still have family in from out of state to entertain, and since anyone reading this is sure to have a better memory than mine, go ahead and send me any exceptions to the rule that you can think of. I’m genuinely curious. In the meantime, here are some stills from some popular romantic comedies that might possibly help jog your memory:
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art Direction Art in Movies Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Black Film Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films About Gambling Films of the 1960s Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movie titles Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Underground Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies