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Clooney and Lopez in Out of Sight. He's consistently good, I haven't been very impressed with much else that she's done, but I think their chemistry in that film is straight out of old Hollywood.


I am worse than you. Susan and Jeremy. Or "Love Story". The last good movie romances!

I am much more tolerant of mush in books than in movies. Funny, I was just going to read "Skinny Dip" - I should NOT have read this post. I will never be able to shake off your take on it.


it's not, NOT a love story. it's two bleakly
amusing stories of redemption via finding another who is in one way or another, in a fix so bad that it makes you rethink the deadend you fell into.
what's mushy about that?


It's not you. It's the work. Or lack thereof.


"Clooney and Lopez in Out of Sight."

Wait a second -- that's my super-secret movie to rave about on these kinds of posts. And that's my name you've got there, buddy!

Very fishy. I wonder if this has anything to do with the orange handles on the coffee pots . . .

Well, as my second choice, I'll go with Bill Murry and Scarlett Johansson in "Lost in Translation." (ahem).

I was just in a store today, looking over some DVDs. Came across Brief Encounter, which I haven't seen in about ten years. But talk about a romantic movie -- that's pretty much the definition of the genre right there.


Good affairs?

Read? John and Paul in The Beatles by Bob Spitz -- but the affair ends poorly.

Seen? Secretary - Spader and Gyllenhaal -- "I don't want to talk about it."

Kevin Wolf

Speaking of Bill Murray, "Groundhog Day" is the last movie with a romance that I liked.

Exiled in NJ

You hit on something there, Lance. Hiaasen's works became cartoons, or worse, written with movie rights in mind. They are like eating marshmallows, but I think that is me.

My film theory is turn it off when the piano noodling gets loud. I liked Andie MdDowell and William Hurt in Michael, but it wasn't really a romance.

Last night I tried out our new DVD of Random Harvest. Housemate Pam is in a recovery unit after having a knee replaced, so she could not see me captivated by a great mushy romance, but god, I love that film.....or Wayne and O'Hara in The Quiet Man. Is there a more romantic kiss than the Duke and Redhead in the rain?

Romance, or love? The Unbearable Lightness of Being surely is the best definition I know of the latter, but has little of the former.

blue girl

Lance! Don't hate all mush. You must differeniate between the great mush, the average mush and the horrifying mush.

For example, I just watched "You've Got Mail" for the first time. Horrifying mush in my opinion.

A little above average mush was "The Notebook." Sweet and sad.

Way above average mush to me was "Bridges of Madison County." I know people seem to hate that movie, but I loved it.

I also love the one scene in "Love Actually" where Colin Furth is proposing, totally messing up the language. And the other story line where the guy is secretly in love with Keira Knightley's character.

My favorite mush will always be "Annie Hall." And it's really not even all that mushy.

Lance, even as you get on in years, as you say, you must still try to embrace your inner mush.

Click here:

Then enter the site and listen to the music. Maybe it'll help as you keep reading...

Exiled in NJ

blue girl: find Shop Around the Corner and watch what a master can do with the same awful mush in 'mail.'

I had your 'mail' reaction to the Springtime for Jack Nicholson duo, As Good As It Gets and Somethings Gotta Give. It should have been illegal to take Jonathan Fuerst from Carnal Knowledge and make him a loveable teddy bear.

Mush content, huh? Must have been created for Richard Curtis films. My Pam has converted me over to Notting Hill and I watched Love Actually all alone the other night and enjoyed it.

Perhaps it's now time to compare the various versions of An Affair To Remember.


Speaking of "Shop Around the Corner", I loved Jimmy Stewart (in anything) and Grace Kelly in "Rear Window". That slow motion, close-up kiss was fabulous. And even though it has been overplayed and I have seen it literally a hundred times, I love Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in "It's a Wonderful Life". You can feel the heat build to the breaking point when they're both talking on the same phone to Sam "Hee-Haw!" Wainwright.


To me Casablanca is bad movie. Its hard to watch as an adult. For this adult anyway. Its hard for me to take Rick as a serious character. And Bogie and Bacall in To Have and Have Not is hard to watch without cracking up. Its ok as parody. On the other hand they are excellent together, in the Big Sleep. IMHO anyway

blue girl

I feel a mushfest coming on. I'm going to have to go out and rent these movies everyone's talking about. I hate to admit this, but I've never seen "An Affair To Remember" or "The Philadelphia Story," which I've heard is really romantic.


blue girl- "The Philadephia Story" is a MUST! You won't be disappointed.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Gets me every time.

Kit Stolz

Aren't you asking two different questions? Brad and Jolie vs. Bogart and Bacall? And a question about your adult hatred for mush?

(I think it's interesting that you admit to liking mush as a younger that like liking pop music, and then, after growing up, losing all interest in pop music?)

Here's a suggestion: Try "Brokeback Mountain." If it doesn't work for, I dare suggest that you've lost that lovin' feeling. But don't be so sure that it won't.


Okay, I'll embarrass my self by revealing my top 3 romantic movies of all time:

1. "An Affair to Remember" with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant. When he walks into her bedroom and sees his painting over her bed....gets me every time!

2. I'm with you Blue Girl..."The Bridges of Madison County". I want her to run off with Robert Kinkade so badly! When she has her hand on the car door handle, I want to shout, "Open the door!! Run!!"

3. "Same Time Next Year" with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.

Tom W.

It's you.


Lance, I think the older movies had more heat just because it was allowed to be there and it didn't need to move directly to the fire or show the ashes. Maybe this connects with your Listerine post... things might have been more interesting when they weren't so overt. And maybe now that you are older you aren't as into mush as much because you're not as much of a horn-dog as you were in your 20's!

I have been trying to think of current movies that had that tension... how about Lady Tottingham and Wallace in "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"! Someone mentioned Colin Firth. He is good at smoldering underneath the calm exterior.

For some reason this all made me think of people you are attracted to who aren't necessarily attractive. There is a line in the movie, "Kissing Jessica Stein" about people who are sexy-ugly. Being a female, I can think of many sexy-ugly men, but I was wondering, does it work the other way? Are there women whom men find attractive who aren't necessarily attractive or does this fall along the lines of a man can dress up like a woman and it's funny, but if a woman dresses up like a man, it won't get the same laugh?

blue girl

Chrys, I loooooove "Same Time Next Year." I forgot all about it! Haven't seen it in ages, but the one scene that sticks is when he tells her his son was killed in Vietnam. Oooh, total heartbreak. I've got to go get it and watch it this weekend.

Jennifer: .."maybe now that you are're not as much of a horn-dog as you were in your 20's!"


And you're 100% right about Colin Furth: Total smolder.

Holdie Lewie

That slow motion, close-up kiss was fabulous. Oh my god! That scene in Rear Window -- just a few seconds -- is the most erotic few feet of footage I've seen in a movie -- ever.

Cryptic Ned

Are there women whom men find attractive who aren't necessarily attractive...

Yes, in real life, but not in pop culture. It generally has something to do with having a forceful, magnetic personality. Since all famous women are put forth as having the exact same personality, there isn't really a case of a famous woman being "sexy-ugly" to men instead of simply being sexy-beautiful.

There are some famous females from history who would fit your description - Clare Boothe Luce...Cleopatra?


I second Eternal Sunshine. I adore that movie.

AMC has been replaying An Affair to Remember a lot recently, which always gets me stuck in front of the tv for longer than I meant. And I've been known to not turn off When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle. I blame Nora Ephron for my warped views on romance.

Bluegirl-- check out Bringing Up Baby as well. Hepburn and Grant are wonderful together, though that is more screwball than standard mush.

I know everyone seemed to like Love Actually, but I remember despising when I saw it.


Thirded on Eternal Sunshine. And also Truly Madly Deeply, which, if you haven't seen it, is like Ghost, only done well. And Alan Rickman is the male lead, and he's great.

For sexy-ugly, or at least sexy-plain, I'd nominate Toni Collette, who isn't plain at all when she's smiling and her whole face lights up, but otherwise is not terribly good-looking, and yet still quite desirable. I'd put Kathy Bates in that category, as well.

Mike Schilling

Mick Stranahan falls in love early and often; that's part of his character. He fell in love with the faux-Geraldo's pretty assistant in _Skin Tight_, but we learn in _Skinny Dip_ that it didn't last. (Though, unlike at least one of his ex-wives, she didn't try to have him killed.)

harry near indy

tom, i agree with you -- i think toni collette is an attractive actress.

and as for romances ... how can any body forget nick and nora charles in the thin man movies? love between equals and friends.

not romance, mind you, which goes too often for me into liebestodt (love-death) territory -- tristan and isolde, the brontes' work.

but love.

hey -- when i was growing up, i wished my parents were as cool as nick and nora charles.

they weren't. they never will be.

but i learned to love them.


Matt's right about "Out of Sight." It boosted Soderbergh into my great-directors basket, because he got a fine, subtle performance out of Jennifer Lopez, who doesn't know what either word means ("fine" and "subtle").

And yeah, they had great chemistry. She also had great clothes. And that was before she exercised her ass away. She had such a fine, fine booty.

My favorite line: "You wanted to tussle. We tussled." Elmore Leonard wrote that.

Exiled in NJ

Before admitting Affair to Remember to the Pantheon, find Love Affair with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. Same story, same director but without the padding. Without downing Cary Grant, my feeling is Boyer is better when the going gets tough.

Funny but after all the talk of Scarlett, Rhett and Ashley, not one mention of them here.


For a single scene, there isn't a moment in movies that I can think of that's more passionate than the scene where Daniel Day Lewis unbuttoned Michelle Pfeiffer's glove in The Age of Innocence.

But most of that movie is an exercise in tragic, frustrating, repression. It's like Remains of the Day with less comfortable clothing.

For an entire movie, my favorites usually have Sandra Bullock or Hugh Grant in them, or are based on a Jane Austen book. And to me, the best of any of these, and the most purely romantic, is Persuasion.


For an entire movie, my favorites usually have Sandra Bullock or Hugh Grant in them, or are based on a Jane Austen book. And to me, the best of any of these, and the most purely romantic, is Persuasion.

I so agree -- that great, great moment at the end of Persuasion when Anne is desperately rushing out to catch up with Captain Wentworth and suddenly there he is, standing there waiting for her. Sigh. And they don't show their feelings even then - they just stand there smiling at each other while her brother-in-law babbles on with no idea of the momentous event that has just taken place. Now that's romantic.

Ronzoni Rigatoni

Hiaason's been novelizing cartoonies since his first solo act in "Tourist Season" (He wrote a couple in partnership with a co-worker, Wm. Montalbano, before this). I mean, a villian who attaches a weed eater to the stump of his severed arm? Pure "Road Runner." BTW, his vision of Florida is NOT exaggerated. I live here (Katherine Harris country). I know.


Holy, Moley - I can't believe that I forgot, or that I'm the first to mention:


(Still think Persuasion is the more romantic, but Moonstruck is a close second.)


I agree with Moonstruck and Groundhog Day, but the archetypical movie romance moment is the stretch of Woman of the Year (the Hepburn-Tracy version) between "Even when you're brilliant" and Spencer Tracy sneaking out of her apartment while she's changing into something a little more comfortable.


Anne Laurie

"Sexy-ugly" women in deeply romantic scenes? How about Mercedes Ruehl in THE FISHER KING? The scene where she tells Jeff Bridges "If you're looking for your stuff, it all got burned. Accidentally!" and he realizes that he's been 17 kinds of a damned fool, and if he doesn't immediately do his best to get her back, he's never going to be a happy man again...


Gus McCrae and Clara Allen, in the book or the movie. I thought Shakespeare in Love truly sucked, but Judy Dench was pretty good.

Hiassen is a great writer, because he created Skink. I love Skink. I always thought Rip Torn would make a great on-screen Skink, but he may be too old now.


Laaaaaaance! Where are you??? Are you buried under 10 feet of snow! Or maybe, mushy snow???


One more voice for Eternal Sunshine, which is one of the best movies about a relationship I've ever seen.

I recently screened John Sayles Lone Star, which is marvelous for all kinds of reasons. I defy anyone to watch that movie and not really want Sam and Pilar to be happy.


I can't believe no one's mentioned Dawn and Tim from BBC's The Office. It's TV and not film, but that just gave us more time to get to know them and wish for them to get together. Their kiss at the office Christmas party is one of the greatest moments in TV, I think, ever.

mac macgillicuddy

I hate mush, too. I'm not sure if I always have, or not. But I hate it now.

I don't know why. Might be because acting has changed. Or maybe it's the directing styles. But the love stories seem to be too pushy. We're not invited into the couple's issues (which are usually too big for us to think they won't overcome them, as opposed to real-life, tiny issues that they may never get over - now there's suspense), we are thrust (sorry about the pun - well, not really) into their relationship. It's demanded that we care, even though there isn't a reason to care. We should just care because they are the main characters. Maybe I'm not enough of a voyeur for modern plots.

It could be that I'm too much of a cynic to fall for love as a plot device. In Romeo and Juliet, I rooted for the nurse.

Night Bird

Lance, the last "mush" (as you like to call them) that I saw was "The Count of Monte Cristo"...If you ever loved me, don't rob me of my hate. It's all I have left.


Terry and Denny in The Upside of Anger. Sure, it starts over alcohol and pain, unlike, say 14% of relationships, but it gets better because Joan Allen gets close to sexy-ugly as Terry in some scenes. Then, as you sit there wondering how small her liver must be getting, the story lines follow what happens to real-life adults with real-life kids and you get a little thirsty for your own vodka and whatever. She pulls out of her grief and sobers up, while Kevin Kostner's former baseball playing also kind of lost character has observed enough to have figured out how to not to screw up in a houseful of potential stepdaughters, and actually start to help. (It doesn't hurt that he oozes Bull Durham here.) The two leading characters connect, but they never meld or merge into a single unit because that's not what ever really happens. So, this was a couple I routed for in a film that avoided Julia Robert's teeth, the ten to thirty-year age gap crap, or any other tired or trite device that writers and directors will substitute for romance.

And yes to Dawn and Tim from The Office, Lady Trottingham and Wallace, and the Colin Firth character from Love Actually.


Recently, "In the Mood for Love" is the only one that comes to mind. For the most part, if you want romance, you gotta turn to the black-and-white.

Aside to Exiled - bless you for bringing up "The Shop Around the Corner" and "Love Affair."


i hate mushy stuff, but can't do without it otherwise i won't be getting any, :)


I'm late to the party, but let me cast a vote for Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". They need to do many, many more movies together: the chemistry leaped off the screen at me.

As I told my wife, they'd make an excellent Bogart/Bacall for this generation.

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