Whether it’s a good action flick that has its leading man shooting a gun while dangling from a helicopter, or it’s a suspenseful drama where the actor completely vanishes into the character, there's something about the silver screen that keeps us coming back, despite today's DVDs, movie-streaming and cable television options.
And when it comes to romantic films there's a host of gems to choose from. Films like "Casablanca" and "Ghost" for example, either speak to our romantic selves or help create that romantic person inside of us.
Whether it’s the black-and-white romance flicks of the 30s, 40s and 50s, or the slick, fast-talking love films of the early thousands, each movie era has its fair share of romantic classics that have stood the test of time and hold a special place in our collective memories.
What's considered a new classic?
The films that aren’t old enough to be on many of the "best-of" lists yet, but they're old enough for consumers to watch repeatedly in order to appreciate all of its qualities.
So we at ConsumerAffairs have taken the liberty to compose a list of what we consider to be the new classics within the romantic film genre.
Of course it's impossible to list all of the newer romantic films, and we won't list the obvious ones like "When Harry Met Sally", or "Pretty Woman."
You’ll also notice all of the listed movies aren’t your usual love stories, as each one avoids the typical Hollywood way of creating plots and endings where the sole purpose is seemingly to appease the audience.
Despite its title, many people wouldn't put this movie on a list of romantic films due to some of its dark and violent content, but that's what makes "True Romance" so special. It borrows ingredients from other movie genres and stirs them together to create a very off-the-wall love story.
Written by "Pulp Fiction’s" Quentin Tarantino, directed by the recently-deceased Tony Scott and starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, the movie is about a lonely video store worker who meets his true love under the most unordinary circumstances.
After they meet, the couple gets entangled in a crime due to not much fault of their own, turning the film into part caper film, part romantic love story.
And the characters are so likable you root for them the entire film, despite some of the questionable things they have to do to escape their circumstances.
The movie is also a who’s-who of current film stars including Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini and Val Kilmer. If you haven’t seen "True Romance" watch it immediately and if you have seen it already give it another spin. It only gets better and better.
Okay here's the scene: A young American male traveler on a train which speeds through different parts of Europe. A beautiful French woman also traveling on that train eventually meets the lone traveler.
From there, they spontaneously get off the locomotive in Vienna, Austria and spend the next 24 hours together walking the city and slowly falling for each other.
Sound good? Not really, right? You may be asking, "Is that all that happens in this movie?" Well, yes and no, meaning that's all that physically happens but beneath the surface of the film lies a very unique and unconventional love story.
I think what turns a lot of men off to some romantic movies is the excessive amount of sappiness or improbable story lines that lead to predictable endings. In fact, plenty of women aren't able to stomach these movies either, but Before Sunrise is anything but.
What makes this romantic flick such a new classic is that it doesn't have an overwhelming amount of romance in it.
The film is simply about two people relating to each other just as people, talking about world events, their personal outlooks and how they grew up. Many films have characters that immediately fall in love upon first glance and too quickly deem each other soul mates. But this film is different.
If you want to see what a realistic courtship is like between two intelligent, funny and likeable characters, this movie is one to check out.
(500) Days of Summer
Released in 2009 this quirky and heartfelt movie is the true meaning of a new romantic classic. For those who despise predictable endings and are experts at determining the ending of a film from the very first scene, this one is definitely for you.
The movie tracks characters Tom and Summer during their very realistic relationship in non-linear fashion. Also, the film ends in a way you never actually see coming, which makes any movie great, but especially a love story.
The connection between the couple, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, is a very believable one, as the film doesn’t manipulate one’s emotions by forcing viewers to witness a sugary formulaic courtship.
"(500) Days of Summer" is beautifully offbeat and has all of the romantic components that moviegoers like, but it's done in a very unique way. The movie is also loaded with generous amounts of clever humor that does a good job of offsetting the film's tenser moments.
Anyone who loves smart writing, clever dialogue and believable acting will love this movie tenfold.
Leaving Las Vegas
Okay, so a love story about an alcoholic and a prostitute doesn’t sound all that romantic off the bat, but "Leaving Las Vegas" shows that a connection between two people can be made in life’s seediest places. This movie certainly wouldn’t be considered a feel-good picture in the traditional sense, as the characters go through their fair share of misfortune.
But how many times have you been to a movie where the characters face no real challenges, and have no hurdles to leap over to get to the films climax?It kind of leaves you feeling cheated as if the writers did nothing to flush out the storyline and simply wanted to hurry towards the ending.
"Leaving Las Vegas" does nothing of the sort, as the movie shows no fear in terms of delving into the dark parts of the human psyche and providing the viewer a glimpse of what a love story looks like with skid row being the backdrop.
Actors Nicholas Cage and Elizabeth Shue do a wonderful job of bringing these two troubled but engaging characters to life.
A scandalous love affair, a rich family and a murder. These are the some of the components to this atypical love story that isn’t really a romance film as much as it is a suspenseful thriller. But it still needed to make this list.
The film is set in London, which at the time was a big departure for New York director Woody Allen. Another thing that’s different about "Match Point" from Allen’s other movies is the serious and dramatic tone he incorporates. "Annie Hall" this film ain't.
Although the dialogue doesn’t have that usual Woody Allen-style banter, the film makes up for it by showing a realistic portrayal of what can happen when a married man’s attraction for a stranger leads him to dark places and extremely bleak-looking circumstances.
Romantic, disturbing, wildly entertaining and beautifully shot, "Match Point" sucks you up within its first scene, holds you hostage throughout, and then frees you back into your seat once it’s finished. It’s definitely one of the new romantic classics in the film world.