I’ve seen enough romantic comedies — and written about them before, particularly from the ’80s and the ’00s — to know that some rom coms are simply better than others. As I have discussed, these are typically not the films you will see represented at the Oscars, but they resonate with many millennials nonetheless.
In these films we see pieces of ourselves and parts of the people we wish we were in their characters. We will likely find secret, unrealistic fantasies — like meeting a perfect stranger who won’t stalk you or say bizarre things at the dinner table — in these movies and those dreams are sometimes the best medicine when we’ve had a bad breakup or a horrible day at work.
Give in to those “guilty pleasures,” but first let #NAMB bestow upon you a list of the greatest romantic comedies ever to hit the silver screen — the ones that make you laugh about some poor sap’s love life or dream about a pre-destined match…and read just why millennials should watch them.
If Cher as an impassioned and sometimes cynical widowed woman trying to reconcile her fiancé with his estranged (and strange) brother doesn’t sound like a great way to spend a couple hours, perhaps an affair with said brother will get you to see Cher as more than just an iconic popstar. Thanks to this film, she also became an Oscar winner.
Why millennials should watch Moonstruck: Many of us will recognize the emotional roller-coaster Cher’s character goes through — is she getting married again to please her family (whom she lives with)? Herself? Or the man that’s has been good to her but she sees a safe choice for a husband?
Wedding off, wedding on:
The Princess Bride (1987)
This is my favorite movie. Ever. Where else can you find a movie that combines so many genres (and their clichés) and does it so well, with such tenderness and wit? It’s as romantic as it is quotable and with a unforgettable cast that is sure to delight people of all ages (I’ve been watching it since I was about four and I’m still not tired of it)!
Why millennials should watch The Princess Bride: You can feel free to laugh with Christopher Guest, cry with Mandy Patinkin and swoon over Cary Elwes. You’re welcome. This movie will remind you of the fairy tales from your childhood and a time when kissing scenes were the absolute worst part of any story.
As you wish:
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
Tale as old as time: a girl-guy friendship seemingly unblemished by romantic feelings and a nearly-forgotten promise that if they were still single they would marry each other. All seems lost when Michael announces his engagement, but Julianne refuses to let a little thing like his fiancé get in the way of true love.
Why millennials should watch My Best Friend’s Wedding: It’s filled with sing-alongs and a bridezilla. And it’s funny. My Best Friend’s Wedding is unrealistic (normally we wouldn’t root for the homewrecker) but sweeping and sweet.
If you believe in fate, the possibility of love-at-first-glance or second chances and want to laugh your way through it, this movie is for you. Be warned: the near-misses will frustrate you! But the ending is sweet (kinda like the restaurant in NYC…)!
Why millennials should watch Serendipity: This is the chance meeting many of us dream about! It’s full of perfect dates, love lost and most romantic of all — love found again!
A strange and interesting woman:
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
This movie is for all the daughters and sons of overbearing, impossibly close families and what happens when you add to that crazy clan. This movie aims to teach us the many uses of Windex, that lamb is indeed a vegetarian option and that we should embrace who we are.
Why millennials should watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding: It reinforces the idea that your crazy family just may be the loving family you need to support you in times of change — like a wedding.
Meet the family:
Love Actually (2003)
Sure, it’s a Christmas movie, but this film — with it’s many intertwining stories — a Prime Minister in love with an aid, a woman hopelessly in love with a co-worker, a man secretly pining for his best friend’s new wife (whom he pretends to hate) and many more, has a become a classic and one that can be enjoyed the whole year round.
Why millennials should watch Love Actually: Before other holiday-based movies with a large cast and multiple story lines that converge in the final moments (namely, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve) this film set the standard with its dry humor, a great soundtrack and moments of surprising heartache with an all-star cast. And it’s relatable for millennials and truly anyone who has been in love.
To me, you are perfect:
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Being 13 is rough…especially when you make a wish and wake up to find you have skipped the last 17 years of your life! Jenna quickly discovers the only person who can help her adapt to her new life is the best friend she abandoned all those years ago, Matt. This movie will also make you fall in love with Mark Ruffalo (if you haven’t already).
Why millennials should watch 13 Going on 30: It’ll make you want to re-learn all the choreography to Thriller…and break it out whenever you need it.
Matty, it’s Thriller!:
Unlike the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, clingy mother Viola cannot stand the thought of her talented son settling for free-spirited Charlie, so she sets up one ridiculous plot after the other to sabotage their wedding. Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda are the perfect battling in-laws, while Wanda Sykes steals just about every scene she is in.
Why millennials should watch Monster-in-Law: We have all been in a situation where there is simply no pleasing people — everything we say and do is wrong — and we just don’t feel good enough. If we stand firm and know our worth, that person cannot destroy our happiness no matter what the situation.
Popping the question:
What Happens in Vegas (2008)
Too bad what happens in Vegas…comes back to bite you for this accidental couple who find out they got married on a wild night at a casino. When reluctant bride Joy wins big at a slot machine, a judge rules they must remain married in order to keep the pay-out. When attempting to get the other party to ask for a divorce…comedy ensues.
Why millennials should watch What Happens in Vegas: Sure, winning a large sum of money would erase our student loan debt and allow us to travel freely — but do you think you could put up with staying married to a total stranger for six long months before you could be guaranteed your winnings?
The first dance:
It’s Complicated (2009)
Being divorced is complicated. Having to attend functions where your ex will be present is complicated. Dating is complicated. Affairs are complicated. Love triangles are complicated. But that doesn’t mean these things can’t be funny!
Why millennials should watch It’s Complicated: Embarrassing, romantic and ultimately heart-warming, It’s Complicated is a film that appeals to different age groups despite the (awesome) key players edging towards retirement age. So, it’s relatable to us as it just may remind us of our parents.
Wouldn’t it be nice…:
The Proposal (2009)
Another fake wedding… but this time it will result in a green card for the bride and a big promotion for the groom. Blackmail has never been funnier with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds playing an uptight boss and her under-appreciated, over-worked assistant who feels nothing but hatred towards his superior.
Why millennials should watch The Proposal: We have all hated a boss, teacher or other superior — it would be helpful for those who belittle the people working under them to remember they may need a favor someday. It sure makes a difference when a kind, hardworking, team player asks for something rather than someone who is all too quick to take the credit for things, or is just downright cruel. And it also involves Betty White dancing in the woods.
Who’s getting married?: