Thursday Movie Picks: Romance Tropes Edition – Friends to Lovers

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday! It’s TMP time! The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… Romance Tropes Edition: Friends to Lovers.

It’s no surprise there’s a ROMANCE theme this month given Valentine’s Day falls in February. I didn’t participate last time as I don’t really care for movies about fake relationships, but I do love movies about friends-turned-lovers as that’s how my hubby and I started out. We were good friends for a year in college and we’ve been married for 18 years now [I guess I just dated myself, ha!]

In any case, here are my picks:

EMMA (1996)

This is the first film I thought of right away and though I’m actually not a huge fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, I still like this version better than the one with Anya Taylor-Joy as the title role. I certainly prefer Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley than Johnny Flynn who looks more like a rock star than a refined gentleman.

As with many friends-to-lovers relationships, there’s usually one who is more besotted than the other. The gentle and wise Knightley has always known his feelings for Emma while she remains clueless while she keeps on meddling in other people’s affairs. There’s a 16-year age difference in the book which is reflected pretty accurately in this film.

 

 

Fun Trivia:
Rachel Portman became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The following year, Anne Dudley won the same award for The Full Monty (1997), followed by Hildur Gudnadottir for Joker. As of 2020, the three remain the only women to win an Oscar in that category.


Mansfield Park (1999)

Yes I have another Jane Austen movie, well la dee da! I know that many Austen purists dislike this movie as it doesn’t portray the protagonist Fanny Price accurately. But I actually like the more spirited version of Patricia Rozema, played beautifully by Frances O’Connor.

Fanny’s friendship with Edmund Bertram (Jonny Lee Miller) started when they’re just kids and they’ve always had deep mutual respect for each other. Somehow it takes a set of new neighbors for them to realize (well, mostly Edmund) how much they actually love one another. I LOVE Edmund’s confession to Fanny at the end, it was so overdue, yet the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Fun Trivia:
Mansfield Park was Jane Austen’s most successful novel in her lifetime, earning her in excess of £300.


Somekind of Wonderful

80s teen rom-coms are practically defined by John Hughes. He wrote this one and the movie was directed by Howard Deutsch and it’s one of the few 80s rom-coms I actually still remember and love to this day.

Keith (Eric Stoltz) and tomboy drummer Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) are besties but Watts is secretly in love with him. Keith somehow got a chance to go on a date with the girl of his dreams, Amanda (Lea Thompson), while her ex tries to get her back.

Ahhh… the agony & ecstasy of unrequited love… who can’t relate to someone like Watts? We’ve all been there at some point in our lives.

I always remember the Keith-Watts kissing scene that Watts framed as ‘practice’ before his date. This article written to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary calls it the ‘kiss that kills’ scene and it’s truly wonderful and practically iconic.

Fun Trivia:
Howard Deutsch and Lea Thompson fell in love during filming and they’re still married to this day.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

I know everyone is all about that Keanu Reeves’ cameo but the story between childhood friends Sasha and Marcus are so awesome. Ali Wong and Randall Park make for such a dynamic duo that’s so delightful to watch.

Despite being separated for 15 years and their careers gone on opposite directions, sparks still fly when they meet. I love the hilarious scene when they first meet after being apart for so many years, with Marcus’ dad (James Saito) candidly recalling their old times together.

Fun Trivia:
Ali Wong and Randall Park said that Keanu Reeves was their first choice for the film. The script was sent to him, but Wong and Park never thought they would get him. Reeves had watched Wong’s Netflix special ‘Baby Cobra’ and read the script to ‘Always Be My Maybe’ and said yes. Wong said he wrote “I would be honored to be part of your love story.” Park said that Reeves was quoting lines from Wong’s special.


So who are YOUR favorite movies about Friends turned Lovers?

Some Kind of Wonderful – my fave John Hughes movie

SKOW80s iconic director John Hughes died Thursday of a heart attack whilst taking a walk in New York City. He was only 59. I can’t help feeling nostalgic as growing up in the 80s, I watched a lot of his films: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink. He was a visionary who has an uncanny ability to appeal to teens, offering a slice of that tumultuous years of our lives. His wasn’t 90210 or Gossip Girl kind of high school, it was a realistic and riveting portrayal with real teen angst and awkwardness.  Yet he made the awkward and the outcasts ‘cool’ and endearing, and threw the ‘Norman Rockwell’ style of a perfect family that was prevalent at the time out the window. He made quite an impact in the span of a decade, not only did he pretty much invented his own genre of teen malaise, he also made stars out of his actors—The Brat Pack: Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson and Andrew McCarthy were all household names to his credit. His tremendous success with that specific genre still have an impact on how movies are marketed today, with the film industry targeting specific age groups in their campaigns.

But out of all of his movies I’ve seen, the one that made a lasting impression on me is Some Kind of Wonderful, which was written by him but directed by Howard Deutch. I must have seen this gazillion times, but I’d turn to mush every time I watch it. As I didn’t go to an American high school, this movie gave me a glimpse of how it’s like living it, whether it was accurate or not is beside the point. The story of a tomboy who secretly has a crush on her own BFF Keith. Now who hasn’t felt that in high school, college or any other time in life? It’s a classic love dilemma all of us can relate. But of course, the boy in question has a crush in someone else, and not just anyone, she’s the prettiest, most popular girl in school, complete with her dirtbag rich boyfriend. The story of unrequited love always appeals to the hopeless-romantic side of me, especially when it’s your first. Eric Stoltz as the destitute but charming boy Keith made me wish I had a best friend like him (which was kind of impossible since I went to an all-girl school) and I could see the appeal he had on Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson).

The kiss training scene is arguably the best scene of the whole film. Watts’ been helping Keith land the date of his dreams with his crush, even though she secretly despised it. As the date looms, she offers to ‘train’ him on how to properly woo his date. It’s such a funny and toe-curling-ly moving scene, funny how clueless guys often are even when the signs are smack dab in front of them, and how resourceful some of us can be when it comes to love. I love Watt’s line, “Lesson’s over. You’re cool,” to which Keith reply, “You’re blushing… that was very nice, you’re pretty.” Ha.. ha! I absolutely adore this scene!

Of course, the second best part is the ending — “You look good wearing my future.” Hughes has a gift for one liners, and this one gets me every time. See this if you haven’t already, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

RIP Mr. Hughes. Thanks for the memories.