If you don’t know yet, Rom-Com Problems has moved over to Total Tropes.

totaltropes:

[*ed note: Rom-Com Problems is a tumblr I started a few months ago, but in the spirit of creating an all-purpose pop culture site, it’s being absorbed in Total Tropes]

Head Over Heels (2001)

by Ryan Pangilinan

For all intents and purposes, Head Over Heels is probably the best…

Rom-Com Problems will now be a part of Total Tropes. I will keep the current ones on this site, but in the future, feel free to check the new blog. 

(500) Days of Summer

[“Have  you ever heard that cover of Love will Tear Us Apart by Fall Out Boy? Better than the original!”]

*I haven’t written anything in a hot minute because, well, life and junk, but enjoy this!

My favorite passing comment about this movie comes courtesy of a blog (I can’t remember where it came from, sorry) that posted the trailer months of before it got a theatrical release with the doe-eyed emo remark, “This movie is going to ruin me.” I can wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.

With its idiotic parenthetical title, “(500) Days of Summer” is both the most enjoyable and irritating movie I’ve ever seen (and this is coming from someone who owns a DVD copy of “3 Ninjas: Kick Back”). It simultaneously romanticizes chasing a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, while vilifying her. Ostensibly, it’s PG-13 porn for people who shop at Urban Outfitters. 

"(500) Days of Summer" centers around Tom, a greeting card writer who has given up on his dream of being an architect for living an easy, yet supremely, unsatisfying life. He’s flanked by his best friends, Matthew Gray Gubler and Geoffrey Arend (that’s Mr. Christina Hendrix or Upchuck from Daria to you) and his moppet, wise-beyond-her-years teenage sister, who fills the role typically reserved for a Magical Negro. When Summer, a role filled out by MPDG archetype Zooey Deschanel, enters his life, he goes from being a tepid white dude to being an annoyingly happy guy. When she dumps him, his world crashes and burns and he fights to get her back on his road to self-discovery. 

What I initially liked about “(500) Days of Summer” was that, like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” before it, it did a good, if not slightly ham-fisted job of capturing the somewhat darker sides of modern breakups, without the sexual fantasies that enter your mind. But there’s more to this movie that I dislike and which is why it’s one of the most irritating movies I’ve seen.

For one thing, Tom is kind of an idiot. Millions of girls will no doubt disagree with me. “I would date someone like Tom in a heartbeat!” the would shoot back. No, you wouldn’t. Tom is a clingy guy who filters out what Summer wants for the basis of their relationship simply because he gets to sleep with her. It’s stupid. Hell, even Joseph Gordon-Levitt recognizes this in interviews. Also, he doesn’t have a beard and is thin as fuck, so he’s not ready for the Tumblr set. Just sayin’.

Like all Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Summer is a one-note presence, whose Pitchfork-approved music tastes and neo-mod aesthetic makes her the kind of girl that guys would want to marry, kill, AND fuck. It’s quite the feat, let me tell you. Most disappointingly, the movie spends the first two acts (have you tried to watch this shit in chronological order?) building her up as a carefree pixie who cannot be tied down to the institution of marriage, only to vilify her when she turns around and marries the next guy she dates. Tom learns of this and is completely broken for the entire third act before saying “Fuck the world” and gets his life together.

The movie’s darkest moments, which typically feature a semi-suicidal Tom, is what a lot of guys cling to, so as to validate their sad-sack behavior. Real life isn’t that simple and while those moments are my favorite parts of the movie, the fact that broken hearted guys who listen to nothing but Elliott Smith all day cherish it makes it creepy to me.

In my circle of friends, my polarizing opinion of this movie is understandably unpopular. Most of my friends, who are women, tend to look at the lengths that Tom goes through to court Summer and puts her on this sorely unreasonable pedestal. Most people want to feel that way, which is what they probably connect with it. I, on the other hand, have found that the movie’s moodiest moments (which includes a rather strange ode to Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”) to be the ones I have the most perverse fascination with, though don’t get it twisted, I don’t necessarily enjoy it.

The biggest reason why a movie like this still continues to enter my psyche from time to time is based on how people have changed their dating habits BECAUSE of it. Seriously, think about when you saw this movie and how you altered your journey to romance as a result (if you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it), whether you wanted to date a clingy guy who doesn’t listen or you approach love through cynical lenses.

Love Actually

[Hail to the king (of terrible rom-coms)]

Movie farce like “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve” can all be traced back to this 2003 holiday film in which a bunch of wacky stories about love happen concurrently of each other and then come together at the end. Of the films that I mentioned thus far, this one is probably the most tolerable, but that’s kind of like saying “Oh, getting shot in the arm isn’t as bad as getting shot in the stomach, but you’re still getting shot.”

In short, “Love Actually” is a British movie where a bunch of white people (and two black dudes) British it up and get all neurotic about romance and shit. The cast is lead by Hugh Grant, of course. The skinny chick from the Pirates movies is in this and Billy Bob Thornton plays a slimy version of George W. Bush.

I kinda waffle back and forth on whether I truly loathe this movie. On the one hand, the Emma Thompson/Alan Rickman storyline is pretty sad and, therefore, true to form. On the other hand, the rest of the movie sucks. Oh, except for the goofy dorky kid who goes to America to fuck college girls. That part is awesome and is (at least) cinematic proof that most girls will fuck some snaggle toothed douche because he talks funny (my fellow Asians need not apply, sorry).

Then there’s that shitty storyline where there’s that dude, who falls for Skinny Pirate chick (no, I will never learn her name) and does that thing with the sign that everybody on Tumblr reblogs, which is just lame as shit. Here’s what’s wrong with that plot point:

1. Homeboy is still making moves on his BFF’s wife. WIFE! Has he no scruples?

2. She kisses him back, thus putting an eventual end to their marriage. Sidenote: I wonder if the divorce rates in the UK are as bad as they are here in the US. Last I checked, we’re rocking 75 percent! USA! USA! USA!

3. This shit is a total dirtbag move. That dude isn’t being sensitive and lovelorn or anything. He’s trying to fuck his BFF’s wife. That’s some fowl shit. If this were an American movie, he’d be played by Josh Duhamel. That’s gotta mean something.

Actually, after writing out that last bit, this movie might totally be on my shit list, or at least be one of those movies that I can only watch while completely obliterated on booze and chocolate Frostys.  Yeah, okay, fuck this movie.

High Fidelity
I will no doubt catch a lot of heat for this, but fuck it, I don’t care — High Fidelity is basically the dude version of Bridge Jones Diary (and we all know what I thought of that masterpiece). This movie — based on the book by Nick Hornby — has reached cult-like status among guys who suffer from Peter Pan syndrome and can’t keep a girlfriend (or even date anyone) and love Pavement.
As a film, particularly as a book adaptation, it’s remarkably good and well-cast, though looking at it now, as an adult, there are lots of fucking things wrong with this movie in general.
A little background: when I was a freshman in college, this movie had just come out and so I used the movie/book as the basis of my sociology thesis. A puppet show may have been involved during the presentation. Okay, there was a puppet show. This is a difficult thing to admit that I foolishly thought that at 18, I’d hit the peak of my dating prowess and decided to share my stories of being a broken young man with a class of 40 other people. Don’t worry, I would also go back and punch the teenage version of myself — not just for this, but also WALLET CHAINS?
John Cusack’s character, Rob Gordon (and Rob Englishpants in the book), is a total dillweed. But because he’s playing to the record store set, he’s truly the lesser of two evils. The most poignant scene in the movie is when their token Black friend, played so brilliantly by Swingers/Boy Meets World’s Alex Desert, calls them out for being assholes, they (Cusack, Jack Black, and non-Moby) all quietly agree with him. 
This is one of the first movies that I can think of that puts assholes on a pedestal and rewards them for barely changing. Yes, once his girlfriend (ex-gf?) starts banging a hippiefied Tim Robbins (again, another great role!), he accelerates his attempts to win her back, but even after they get back together (spoiler alert!), he still tries to hit on fine ass Natasha Gregson Wagner. Because he’s a douche.
The moral of the story: aging hipsters are narcissists and will only want what/who they can’t have. Also, Bruce Springsteen is still very surprisingly fit 11 years after this movie’s release. Bravo, boss.

High Fidelity

I will no doubt catch a lot of heat for this, but fuck it, I don’t care — High Fidelity is basically the dude version of Bridge Jones Diary (and we all know what I thought of that masterpiece). This movie — based on the book by Nick Hornby — has reached cult-like status among guys who suffer from Peter Pan syndrome and can’t keep a girlfriend (or even date anyone) and love Pavement.

As a film, particularly as a book adaptation, it’s remarkably good and well-cast, though looking at it now, as an adult, there are lots of fucking things wrong with this movie in general.

A little background: when I was a freshman in college, this movie had just come out and so I used the movie/book as the basis of my sociology thesis. A puppet show may have been involved during the presentation. Okay, there was a puppet show. This is a difficult thing to admit that I foolishly thought that at 18, I’d hit the peak of my dating prowess and decided to share my stories of being a broken young man with a class of 40 other people. Don’t worry, I would also go back and punch the teenage version of myself — not just for this, but also WALLET CHAINS?

John Cusack’s character, Rob Gordon (and Rob Englishpants in the book), is a total dillweed. But because he’s playing to the record store set, he’s truly the lesser of two evils. The most poignant scene in the movie is when their token Black friend, played so brilliantly by Swingers/Boy Meets World’s Alex Desert, calls them out for being assholes, they (Cusack, Jack Black, and non-Moby) all quietly agree with him. 

This is one of the first movies that I can think of that puts assholes on a pedestal and rewards them for barely changing. Yes, once his girlfriend (ex-gf?) starts banging a hippiefied Tim Robbins (again, another great role!), he accelerates his attempts to win her back, but even after they get back together (spoiler alert!), he still tries to hit on fine ass Natasha Gregson Wagner. Because he’s a douche.

The moral of the story: aging hipsters are narcissists and will only want what/who they can’t have. Also, Bruce Springsteen is still very surprisingly fit 11 years after this movie’s release. Bravo, boss.

Coming soon to Rom Com Problems…..

(Source: amajor7, via tawny)

Return to Me
See Minnie Driver’s face up there? It’s part-confusion, part-anger, part-tepid uncertainty. That’s exactly how I feel about her 2000 rom-com with Fox Mulder, “Return to Me.”
In this terrible ass movie, David Duchovny plays a smug architect whose wife dies in a car accident. Minnie Driver plays a lady who needs a heart transplant. She gets one. From guess where? That’s right, a baboon. ROFLcopter. Or Mulder’s wife. Whichever is plausible to the story. They fall in love, he finds out that she’s the recipient, he’s freaked by it, but they end up together anyway.
What a stupid fucking premise. You know, this is like a shittier/less cool version of that Denzel Washington/Bob Hoskins movie, “Heart Condition,” where a racist white cop gets the heart of a black lawyer. Good shit.
To be completely honest, I’ve seen this movie in bits and pieces back when I used to work at Suncoast Video and we could only watch PG movies before 5 pm, which this movie qualifies as such. So while I’ve “seen” the movie in its entirety, it was over a week or two. It’s still insufferable and it’s a little sad that both Mulder and Minnie Driver had to shill for this crappy movie just because they needed a legitimate hit that wasn’t related to “X-Files”/”Red Shoe Diaries” or “Good Will Hunting” respectively.
The only bright spots is that this was directed by Bonnie Hunt and it’s Carroll O’Connor’s last movie. If you don’t know who those people are, I’m very sorry for you and your mothers.
So to summarize: Heart Condition > Return to Me

Return to Me

See Minnie Driver’s face up there? It’s part-confusion, part-anger, part-tepid uncertainty. That’s exactly how I feel about her 2000 rom-com with Fox Mulder, “Return to Me.”

In this terrible ass movie, David Duchovny plays a smug architect whose wife dies in a car accident. Minnie Driver plays a lady who needs a heart transplant. She gets one. From guess where? That’s right, a baboon. ROFLcopter. Or Mulder’s wife. Whichever is plausible to the story. They fall in love, he finds out that she’s the recipient, he’s freaked by it, but they end up together anyway.

What a stupid fucking premise. You know, this is like a shittier/less cool version of that Denzel Washington/Bob Hoskins movie, “Heart Condition,” where a racist white cop gets the heart of a black lawyer. Good shit.

To be completely honest, I’ve seen this movie in bits and pieces back when I used to work at Suncoast Video and we could only watch PG movies before 5 pm, which this movie qualifies as such. So while I’ve “seen” the movie in its entirety, it was over a week or two. It’s still insufferable and it’s a little sad that both Mulder and Minnie Driver had to shill for this crappy movie just because they needed a legitimate hit that wasn’t related to “X-Files”/”Red Shoe Diaries” or “Good Will Hunting” respectively.

The only bright spots is that this was directed by Bonnie Hunt and it’s Carroll O’Connor’s last movie. If you don’t know who those people are, I’m very sorry for you and your mothers.

So to summarize: Heart Condition > Return to Me

WHY IS LUDACRIS IN THE SAME MOVIE AS JON BON JOVI? (And Ashton Kutcher, for that matter)

Thanks to @lovechristine for pointing this out.

The Break-Up


I used to love this movie. Jenny A, as I like to call her, is my homegirl. As a single girl just looking for love, I could relate to her so much. I even liked Rumor Has It… even when she didn’t even like it. It seemed like Jenny A and I had been through some rough times. I’ve been with her through Ross, Brad Pitt, John Mayer…That’s why I ate this movie up. But as my best friend and I talked it over one day, he was able to sum this movie it perfectly: “If I had wanted to watch an annoying couple break-up for two hours, I would have gone to the mall. At least I could have chosen a sketchy mall and seen them fight or something.” Physical violence aside, this was perfect. It was true. It was an eye-opener.

The Break-Up is set in Chicago. I say that first because it’s the only good thing this movie has going for it. That and maybe that Raphie from A Christmas Story is in it. The movie follows Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn as a couple hitting a rough patch and letting a little fight over lemons evolve into a full blown break up. They share a condo and neither decides to leave after the initial “I’m done!” gaunlet is thrown. That’s the first mistake this movie makes. I’m sorry, but if I break up with someone you better believe their ass is out on the street. As each character tries to manipulate the other into taking them back, things just progress in a downward spiral. She prances around naked and goes on dates. Yeah, that’ll get him back. And he has skantily clad women over for some sort of party. Because, that’s the kind of guy I want to be in a long term committed and loving relationship with. Ugh, SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH THIS MOVIE. ALL CAPS.

It’s biggest fault is that it does not give us a reason to like these characters. Besides the first five minutes, there is no exposition. How did these two people even end up together? Or fall in love enough to move in together? We have no reason to like her or him. We have no reason to want them to survive or make it through this. Jenny A’s character claims that she takes care of everything for him. She sets out his clothes like he was a little boy. To me, that’s an overbearing mother type. That doesn’t make me want to relate to her. Vine Vaughn’s character is essentially a toned down version of every other character he’s ever played. He’s only played jack ass type roles. Who wants to be that guy? No one would ever like these two people in real life. And no one cares about their break-up.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
I think Matthew McConaughey is the bees fucking knees. The guy makes every piece of shit movie THAT much better. Maybe it’s his sleazy/charming aesthetic or maybe it’s his hillbilly ass accent, but damn, I can’t think of a McConaughey movie that I hated. Okay, lie. I can think of two and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is one of them.
Starring fellow rom-com staple, Reese Witherspoon Kate Hudson, “How to Lose a Guy” is about an intrepid reporter (Hudson) who finds the biggest douche in New York (McConaughey) and tries to get him to break up with her for the sake of her article. Likewise, ad exec McConaughey takes a bet with his boss that he can make any chica fall in love with him and there we have our flimsy ass storyline. They drag each other through the mud and do all kinds of crazy shit. Hudson actually gets the balls to get super pissed when she finds out that their relationship is built on a bet, even though she dates douche Matt to try to get him to break up with her for her story. Gender roles be goddamned.
This is the kind of flick that I place in a rom-com subcategory called “white people be doin’ crazy shit.” It’s kind of a mixed bag of slapstick, screwball comedy, and persistent idiocy — all of which is utilized to fill in plot holes and poor writing.
This movie is annoying, primarily because I find Kate Hudson to be a terrible leading lady. She’s got nothing on Christina Applegate, Rashida Jones, Tina Fey, Resse Witherspoon, etc. etc. She’s in one good movie (“Almost Famous”) and that’s pretty much it. Blerg.
Anyway, even the pec-tastic McConaughey is not enough to save this movie by himself. Most of the film is largely forgettable and it’s the kind of thing that is on cable from time to time, so I guess if you need white noise while making a sandwich, you can watch white people doin’ some crazy shit.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

I think Matthew McConaughey is the bees fucking knees. The guy makes every piece of shit movie THAT much better. Maybe it’s his sleazy/charming aesthetic or maybe it’s his hillbilly ass accent, but damn, I can’t think of a McConaughey movie that I hated. Okay, lie. I can think of two and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is one of them.

Starring fellow rom-com staple, Reese Witherspoon Kate Hudson, “How to Lose a Guy” is about an intrepid reporter (Hudson) who finds the biggest douche in New York (McConaughey) and tries to get him to break up with her for the sake of her article. Likewise, ad exec McConaughey takes a bet with his boss that he can make any chica fall in love with him and there we have our flimsy ass storyline. They drag each other through the mud and do all kinds of crazy shit. Hudson actually gets the balls to get super pissed when she finds out that their relationship is built on a bet, even though she dates douche Matt to try to get him to break up with her for her story. Gender roles be goddamned.

This is the kind of flick that I place in a rom-com subcategory called “white people be doin’ crazy shit.” It’s kind of a mixed bag of slapstick, screwball comedy, and persistent idiocy — all of which is utilized to fill in plot holes and poor writing.

This movie is annoying, primarily because I find Kate Hudson to be a terrible leading lady. She’s got nothing on Christina Applegate, Rashida Jones, Tina Fey, Resse Witherspoon, etc. etc. She’s in one good movie (“Almost Famous”) and that’s pretty much it. Blerg.

Anyway, even the pec-tastic McConaughey is not enough to save this movie by himself. Most of the film is largely forgettable and it’s the kind of thing that is on cable from time to time, so I guess if you need white noise while making a sandwich, you can watch white people doin’ some crazy shit.