Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Laughter and Love by Joan Reeves

STILL THE ONE: "Laughed so hard..."
I love romantic comedy which is one of the reasons I write it. When a reader tells me she laughed so hard her family thought she was crazy, that just makes my day.

I guess all those old movies I watched as a child influenced my reading taste and can be blamed for my addiction to humor and romance.

Golden Oldies

In case you’d like to waste invest some time in advancing your appreciation of romantic comedy, allow me to give you a few vintage movie suggestions.

It Happened One Night Made in 1934, it starred Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. Runaway heiress meets a reporter who wants to exploit her story. Key element? The walls of Jericho. Watch the movie and you’ll understand.

Bringing Up Baby Made in 1938 and starred Katherine Hepburn as a zany rich girl who turns uptight Cary Grant’s life into chaos. Key elements? A baby leopard and dinosaur skeleton.

Pillow Talk Made in 1959, it was the first pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Womanizing songwriter and uptight interior designer share a telephone party line, and that’s when the games begin. (Ask the oldest members of your family if you don’t know what that is. We lived in the country and had a party line long after the rest of the world had private lines. A party line was a true test of one’s integrity. *g*)

(My youngest daughter loves this movie so much she bought DVDs of it and the other Doris Day/Rock Hudson films. In several romantic comedies of that era, Tony Randall was the hero’s best friend and was hilarious in his second banana role in each film. He’s the kind of secondary character every romantic comedy needs.)

Lover Come Back Made in 1961 and starred Rock Hudson and Doris Day again. In this flick, Rock and Doris are advertising executives who disdain each other’s client recruitment methods. When Doris decides to exact a little revenge, she gets way more than she bargained for. Oh, my! The scene when Tony Randall is driving a heartbroken Doris back to the city, and they stop at a diner is hysterical!
Women love humor mixed with Romance!

That Touch of Mink Made in 1962 and starred Doris Day and Cary Grant in a movie that confronts the virgin versus the player issue. He’s handsome, rich, and charming. She’s lovely and works though she’s not a career woman. They’re equally captivated, but she wants marriage, and, of course, he wants an affair.

Cactus Flower Made in 1969, this was Goldie Hawn’s film debut. She co-starred with Walter Matthau and the renowned Ingrid Bergman. What a romp this is!

Yes, all of these are outdated in terms of today's culture, but I bet you’ll laugh.

Fast Forward

In more recent years, there have been a lot of romantic comedy films made, but most of them fall short. They depend on crude humor--perhaps because they have no brilliant writers on staff to turn their ideas into something funny and sexy. Often they’re derivative, lesser films with no freshness.

My Fave Contemporary Romantic Comedies

In no particular order, here are some noteworthy contemporary romantic comedy films.
  • Notting Hill (Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts)
  • About a Boy (Hugh Grant and Rachel Wiesz)
  • Love Actually (ensemble cast including Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth)
  • Something New (Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker)
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Nia Vardalos and John Corbett)
  • Sweet Home Alabama (Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas
  • The American President (Michael Douglas and Annette Bening)
  • Groundhog Day (Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell)
  • When Harry Met Sally (Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan)
  • The Princess Bride (Robin Wright and Cary Elwes)
  • Better Off Dead (John Cusack and Diane Franklin)
  • Sixteen Candles (Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Molly Ringwald
  • The Goodbye Girl (Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss)
  • Mickey Blue Eye (Hugh Grant and Jeanne Tripplehorn)
  • Six Days, Seven Nights (Harrison Ford and Anne Heche)
  • Leap Year (Amy Adams and Matthew Goode)
  • Killers (Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie)
  • Wimbledon (Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany)
  • What Women Want (Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt)
  • The Holiday (Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black.)
So, there you have it. A picture of my childhood and all the time I wasted invested and still waste invest in building my knowledge base of romance and humor.

Post Script

Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Contemporary Romance. Everything she writes has the underlying premise: It's never too late to live Happily Ever After.

Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Joan’s books are available at most ebook sellers, with audio editions available at Audible and iTunes.

Readers, sign up for WordPlay, Joan's Mailing List/Free NL. Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan's free NL for authors with tips about the art, craft, and business of writing.

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  1. I love this! I probably haven't seen more than half the newer movies, but I've seen ALL the old ones and could add a few from my own list. The comedy was so smart and so--to solidify my place as a curmudgeon--clean.

    1. I think romantic comedy was more intelligent in the older films. Adults got the sly sexual references which made the film even funnier because it was like having an inside joke that the younger audiences didn't get. My youngest loves these films. She watched them when she was a kid and thought they were so funny. As an adult she re-discovered them and thought they were even funnier because she understood what they were really about.

  2. Apparently I've wasted a lot of time too! Lol. I also love writing romantic comedy and I love your list of movies. I've seen most of them. One of my all time favorites is with Tom Conti about a woman who enters a contest writing romantic suspense. She wins a free trip to Paris but before she can accept the award she hits her head and becomes the character. I'll see if I can remember the name and post it later. It's hilarious.
    What a wonderful blog!

    1. OMG yes! American Dreamer. When I wrote this post, I just listed the ones off the top of my head. There are so many that didn't come readily to mind. Here's another that's showing on HBO this month, What's Up, Doc with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.

  3. My favourite film genre. As for my books? What's life without humour?

  4. Love this post. I think a few of us should offer our services to Hollywood. They don't know what we do about what makes humor and romance work.

    1. I agree, Kathleen. Did you see the Cameron Diaz film The Holiday? When Kate Winslet meets the old-timer who wrote romantic comedy back in the day, and he described "the meet cute" I thought that's what most of today's romcom lacks. Too often "the meet cute" has been replaced by "the meet crude."

  5. American Dreamer is the movie I was trying to think of. Very funny!

    1. *LOL* I should have read all the comments before I replied. Yes, American Dreamer with JoBeth Williams and Tom Conti. I added it to my DVD collection.

  6. Love this post, Joan! I cannot tell you how many times I've watched Bringing up Baby. WE have it on video, and I play it whenever I need a chuckle. Funniest movie ever. Definitely a Top 5 movie. Love your list. Absolutely adore Pillow Talk. When I first started publishing, I was into tortured heroes, but as I've aged, I know myself better. What I like to watch or to read must have humor; therefore, I now try to make all my books lighthearted, and it pleases me enormously when a reader tells me they laughed out loud. I still chuckle when I think of one of your character's lines. I think it was in JANE I'M STILL SINGLE. The comment about trying to fix her up with something like the tractor salesman in the next town. You nailed small-town humor.

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. You and I have a lot in common.

  7. I see quite a few of my faves on your list. Great post, Joan!

    1. Thanks, Maddie. Do you think it gets harder to find really good romantic comedies?

  8. Thanks for the list, Joan. I've seen a few of those favorites, but I'm always looking for more suggestions.

    1. I'm always on the lookout for new ones too. If you know of any, please share.

  9. Definitely the old movies! I'm lucky in that I work in an assisted living and we show a lot of those old movies. There's one where the heroine runs and answering service and the hero is a crotchety writer using the service, but I can't think of the title now. Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movies are so good, also. But all great movies, Joan!

    1. I don't know the movie you described, but it made me think of some Kim Novak movies like BOYS NIGHT OUT. That should have been on my list.


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