Monthly Movie Challenge: November

With the changing world thanks to the ravaging effects of Coronavirus, I’ve been doing my best to keep up with movies as streaming has become the current normal of the industry. So I have chosen to challenge myself by watching a certain genre during a month.

Beginning last month in October, I focused on the horror genre. Being that it’s not my all-time favorite, I decided to give it a deep dive in response to being the “spooky season”. From classics like Halloween (both versions) and The Shining to new entries like the atmospheric thriller The Lodge and director Mike Flanagan’s Hush, I found that this genre can tell great stories at times while scaring the living daylights out of me.

This month, at least the first half, I decided to go lighter. Softer. Maybe a little comedic as I decided on…

Again, not one of my favorite genres to go into but with the holidays around the corner and Hallmark Network having their romantic Christmas movies already playing, it made the most sense. So here are short reviews of what I’ve already seen as I watch others search for their Happily ever after.

Blue Jay

This 2016 romantic drama is a grounded story about former high school sweethearts Amanda Stone (Sarah Paulson) and Jim Henderson (Mark Duplass) reconnecting in their California hometown. This movie focused completely on these two people, catching up on their lives after they had went their own ways with Amanda becoming married and a stepmom and Jim working on houses. As you watch the story unfold, you wonder what caused these two to separate and the reveal is well-earned drama. You are so invested in both characters that your heart breaks for them. This was indie filmmaking at its best by telling a relatable story.

The Wedding Planner

If there was a genre made for an actor and actress, romantic comedies were made for Jennifer Lopez and a young Matthew McConaughey. Proof is in The Wedding Planner as Lopez’s Mary successful wedding planner who knows all the tricks and rules of everyone’s special day, but breaking the cardinal rule of falling in love with McConaughey’s young man, who was scheduled to be married. This movie isn’t too original and bland, but the chemistry between Lopez and McConaughey is charismatic and enjoyable enough to carry the film. I see the appeal about McConaughey in romantic comedies.

Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding. I really wanted to like this film, especially with two start that I enjoy watching with Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder playing to cynical people who are invited to a destination wedding. However, I couldn’t get behind either character, not fully believing that they would or could form a connection or relationship of sorts. While I don’t mind the change on having weirdos as the main leads in a romantic comedy, it was an unfunny movie that felt way longer.

The Vow

Inspired by a true story, The Vow tells the story of Leo and Paige Collins who fight for their relationship when a car accident causes Paige to lose the memories of the past few years. The two leads were loveable with believable chemistry, but the film felt shallow and familiar despite the fact that it is inspired by a true story. Hollywood probably took some creative liberties to satisfy the casual date-night moviegoer. A decent but forgettable romantic comedy.

Premature

Coming of age romantic dramas are always enjoyable; it’s also rare that you find one with black leads. Premature covers this ground about seventeen-year-old poet Ayanna (Zora Howard) engaging in a summer romance when she meets a charming music producer, Isaiah (Joshua Boone) in her last few months before college. Sharp dialogue, a strong sense of setting in Harlem. The push and pull of Ayanna and Isaiah’s relationship doesn’t feel forced, coming off naturally and this is a credit to the writing of Howard and director, Rashaad Ernesto Green. I came across this film in my Hulu search for new content and I was pleased to find it. I definitely recommend this movie.

While romantic movies have predictability attached to its genre, each tells a different story. Each trope can be used differently or modified, depending on the plot. There is always something very heartwarming and seeing the moment play out on the screen. The moment when the lead characters are falling for one another, even more with actual chemistry between the actors, is heartwarming to watch. You can also feel a tear at the corner of your eye at times.

Thanks for reading! As the search for creativity in my movie watching, what are your thoughts on watching movies from one genre and possibly an actor or director’s filmography?

Any recommendations about what romantic movie I should watch next? what should I go into for the second half of the month if I don’t choose to continue my walk on the romantic side?

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