What We Learned From the PopD RomCom Series

This is a chat that Lani and I did trying to sum up what we learned from last year’s romcom series.  We wander around a bit, but I think we pretty much covered everything.  This is cross-posted on Argh Ink and the Lucy March site, too.

Jenny: So what have we learned from nine months of PopD, Lucy? First: character. Character, character, character.

Lucy: Character is sacred. Always.

Jenny: In a rom com, it’s because it sells why we should want these two characters to be together, and why we care desperately if they’re not. In It Happened One Night, you really want them together, especially after the scene in the motel where they pretend to be married. I think that’s key, making the reader really need for these two people to be together.

Lucy: Absolutely. And how is the humor handled. It should come from character, not from jokes. That’s a comedy with a romance tacked on.

Jenny: A shared sense of humor is one way to show they’re in sync. They’re laughing at the same things. Think It Happened One Night, Desk Set, Two Weeks Notice. That’s one way to keep the reader wanting them together: they’re not just working together, they’re fun to be with, both for each other and for the reader.

Lucy: Laughing at the same things – not at each other. No humiliation (Two Weeks Notice, I’m looking at you.) Continue reading

Ep. 53: Ocean’s 11

George Clooney’s Danny Ocean wants the impossible — to steal $150 million from the three largest casinos in Las Vegas, and to make the audience care about his relationship with Julia Roberts. Spoilers: he’s only half successful.
Get the podcast: [Listen here at PopD] | [Go to iTunes]

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 5 Pops ~ Lucy’s comments are coming soon.
Lucy’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 1, Suspense: 5

Alastair says: 5 Pops ~ A fast, fun movie, featuring the best heist of the series. The character work is deft and insightful, with the sole exception of Tess, but not even the lackluster romance can bring this film down. Excellent.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 1, Suspense: 5

Blog Poll Rating: Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Read the chat transcript here!

Movie Info:

Story: Danny Ocean and his team of eleven plan to rob a Las Vegas casino baron. Release Date: December 7, 2001 Writer: Ted Griffin

Ep. 52: Out of Sight

A spark of romance entwines the stories of a career bank robber and a US Marshal in this beautifully-constructed story.

Get the podcast: [Listen here at PopD] | [Go to iTunes]

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Alastair says: 5 Pops ~ This smart, slick, sexy film attempts to combine an unlikely romance with a fractured structure, and somehow pulls it off. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a must-see for any fan of intelligent storytelling.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Romance: 5, Comedy: 4, Suspense: 4

Lucy says: 5 Pops ~ I really enjoyed this movie while watching it, but loved it even more once I’d had some time to sit back and appreciate how tightly it was told. Some minor squibbles, but the romance sang, the cast was amazing and the structure was beautiful, so I have nothing to complain about.
Lucy’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Romance: 5, Comedy: 4, Suspense: 4

Read the chat transcript here!

Movie Info:

Story: A bank robber escapes from prison and tangles with a beautiful US Marshall. Release Date: June 26, 1998 Writer: Scott Frank from an Elmore Leonard novel

Bonus Episode: Morning Glory

In this bonus episode of PopD, Jenny and Alastair gush about a movie that met with a mixed critical response and general apathy from the public, thanks in part to the truly awful trailers that advertised it. Don’t miss this gem of a film!
Get the podcast: [Listen here at PopD] | [Go to iTunes]

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Alastair says: 5 Pops ~ Rachel McAdams heads a fantastic cast, all of whom shine thanks to the fast, funny script and thoughtful direction. This is no guilty pleasure; this is a fine example of rock-solid craft.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 5

Jenny says: 5 Pops ~ I love this movie. You should watch it.
Jenny’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 5

Read the chat transcript here!

Movie Info:

Story: Mary Tyler Moore meets Broadcast News as a very young go-getter tries to revitalize an early-morning new show.
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2010
Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna

Ep. 49: Gambit

Jenny, Lucy and Alastair talk about wasted potential, a weak protagonist, structural audacity, loving Shirley MacLain and how much they’re looking forward to the remake.

Get the podcast: [Listen here at PopD] | [Go to iTunes]

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 2.5 Pops ~ A charming movie with tremendous potential, but which doesn’t quite live up to it. Funny, cute, and fun enough – I’d watch it again – but I’m really looking forward to the remake.
Lucy’s rating breakdown: Craft: 3, Comedy: 3, Suspense: 2, Romance: 1

Jenny says: 2.5 Pops ~ This is one of those movies that really should be remade. Huge potential, terrific cast, awful pacing and a romance that’s just not there on the screen.
Jenny’s rating breakdown: Craft: 3, Comedy: 3, Suspense: 2, Romance: 1

Alastair says: 3 Pops ~ I give the movie credit for trying something audacious, but the writers weren’t up to the task. Let’s all hope that Cameron Diaz raises her game for the remake, and we get the movie this has the potential to be.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 3, Comedy: 4, Suspense: 2, Romance: 1

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Read the chat transcript here!

Movie Info:

Story: Harry the Thief hires beautiful Nicole to help con his mark, telling her to just keep her mouth shut and let him do the talking. Like that’s going to happen. Release Date: January 7, 1967 Writers: Jack Davies and Alan Sargent

Breaking News: The Coen Brothers have written a remake of this with Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, and Alan Rickman. Unfortunately, they’re not directing.