Coming Attractions . . .

So where do we want to go after the historical survey? We have some ideas below, but we want to hear yours, too. Here are some of the things we’ve talked about, with possible titles underneath each heading. The criteria is “What can we learn about story from this, Dorothy?” but we’ll watch pretty much anything. Oh, and we want each series to be between four to eight movies.

Romantic Adventure:
What can we learn from this:
How to write action, adventure, violence, suspense.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Romancing the Stone
The Mummy

Romantic Mystery/Caper
What can we learn from this?
How to write puzzles, murder mysteries, suspense.
The Thin Man
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
Foul Play

Romantic Paranormal
What can we learn from this?
How to write the supernatural, suspense.
Heaven Can Wait
Truly Madly Deeply
Heart and Souls
Ghost Town
The Frighteners

Anthology/Ensemble Rom Coms
What can we learn from this?
How to handle large casts, multiple story lines.
The Yellow Rolls Royce
Love Actually
He’s Just Not That Into You
Valentine’s Day

Romantic Black Comedy
What can we learn from this?
How to make death funny and romantic.
The Assassination Bureau
Intolerable Cruelty
A New Leaf
How To Murder Your Wife
Heaven Can Wait

British Romantic Comedy
What can we learn from this?
How to write romance and comedy. With class.
1969 The Assassination Bureau (Netflix)
1988 A Fish Called Wanda
1989 Shirley Valentine
1989 The Tall Guy
1991 Truly Madly Deeply
1993 Much Ado About Nothing
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral
1998 Shakespeare in Love
1999 Notting Hill
1999 An Ideal Husband
2001 Bridget Jones Diary
2002 About a Boy
2003 Love Actually
2004 Shaun of the Dead
2008 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

First Three Episodes of a TV Series:
What can we learn from this?
How to establish a world and set up a novel.

Paranormal Series
Dead Like Me
Pushing Daisies

Action-Adventure Series
Burn Notice
In Plain Sight
Magnum PI

Trickster Heroes
Lie to Me
White Collar


Modern Family
Sports Night
The West Wing

Romantic Comedy
Mad About You

Dumb Over-the Top Comedy
What can we learn from this?
How to write comedy without fear or limits/
Hot Tub Time Machine
Tropic Thunder

There are dozens of other possibilities, so we’re opening it up to you: discuss, suggest, refute, whatever. Go for it.

40 responses to “Coming Attractions . . .”

  1. Ok, I don’t know where to fit this, but Love and Basketball is a great love story. Also, it would add some diversity to the mix.

  2. Ok, my suggestions:

    Romantic Adventure:
    The Princess Bride

    TV shows
    For SF
    Quantum Leap

    I’m not sure where it would these would fit but they are really good movies that might be interesting to analyze:
    The Quiet Man
    Dirty Dancing
    The Cooler

  3. Also, from the list: I love Pushing Daises and the Mummy.
    There’s quite a few on movies/shows here that I’m unfamiliar with, which Im excited about. I’d never heard of American Dreamer before PopD & loved that.

    The only “ugh” one on here is Notting Hill, which I hate.

  4. Would love to do Romancing the Stone here, it’s one of my favorites.

    Romantic Paranormal: Dead Again; The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
    TV: Remington Steele (I imagine he would be a trickster hero)
    Black Comedy: Arsenic and Old Lace; The Trouble With Harry (there’s sort of romance but I don’t know if they really qualify as romantic)

    And just because I love it so very much, My Favorite Year, although I don’t think it fits in any of these series.

  5. I love them all. Except the British Romantic Comedy list is a bit one note. Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually are all by the same guy for instance. I’d cut Notting Hill for sure. Is About a Boy really a romantic comedy?

    Also, these are mostly English Romantic Comedy not British. Have we got any suggestions to represent Scotland and Wales? How about Gregory’s Girl for Scotland? 1981. A super film, great characters. I Know Where I’m Going (1942) is also a great film that covers Scotland. All Powell and Pressburger films are special but I especially love the sense of place in this one.

  6. Oh, and do we really need that many BritRomCom films with Hugh Grant in? 5? We didn’t have that many Cary Grant films in the US list! (and Hugh is by no means as good)

  7. When Hugh Grant is in the right role, he’s excellent. It’s that “right role” bit. Also, these aren’t final lists by a long shot, we’re brainstorming, so all suggestions gratefully welcomed.

  8. what about remakes and how they’re handled? Sabrina and Sabrina? Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. [flaws and all] I’m sure there are others. Or maybe that’s just beating a dead horse.

    Actually, now that I’m thinking about Sabrina it does bring up something that could be a good ‘lesson learned’ – how to effectively and sympathetically portray a main character that is supposed to be ’emotionless’.

    re: Hugh Grant – while I agree that there’s a lot of him on the list, he’s figured out what he does well and has made some great/ watchable movies. And you can’t say he plays the same character in Bridget Jones that he plays in Notting Hill or Love Actually.

  9. Ok, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest “The Vampire Diaries” as a “what not to do example” for Paranormal TV Series.

    I know it’s under most people’s radars because it’s called “The Vampire Diaries” and the pilot looks like a bad Twilight knock-off but the show is actually a BEAST when it comes to moving plot, keeping suspense, and having interesting plot twists.

    But the pilot is truly atrocious. Like, evil fog and the heroine tripping in a graveyard bad. The next two episodes make some headway in fixing that mess, though, so I think it could teach something.

    Other suggestions:

    -Paranormal TV: Being Human.
    -SF TV: Doctor Who, Farscape, Eureka
    -Ensemble Cast: Gilmore Girls (or maybe romantic comedy?)
    -Trickster Hero: Veronica Mars

    Man, you’re opening a massive bag of worms with television shows here.

  10. The lists look good. I am looking forward to it.

    Some other suggestions:
    Not sure if this has enough Rom to qualify as enough of a Brit Rom Com but: Waking Ned Devine
    Dumb Over-the Top Comedy: Austin Powers
    Ensemble: The Holiday
    Rom Adventure: Titanic

  11. Romantic Mystery:
    The Big Easy
    Legal Eagles

    Romantic Adventure:
    Prisoner of Zenda (Ronald Colman version)

    I really like the remake idea. Suggestion for that: Dial M For Murder and A Perfect Murder. The 2 Sabrinas would be great. I’d love to hear your take on the original (much as I love Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, that attempted suicide pretty much killed the movie for me, and I actually prefer Harrison Ford’s Linus. Plus, Greg Kinnear).

  12. Lani and I are reading everything and plan to consult Thursday on this, so there’ll be another post next week. Thank you so much for all the input!

  13. Another suggestion for British Romantic Comedy is The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. Yes, it has Hugh Grant in it, but the setting for the film is Wales. It has been a favorite for my friends and me to indulge in, when we’ve had a hard day/week/millennia and want to kick back and decompress.

  14. I want to second Ladyhawke, which can work as romantic adventure or paranormal, Also seconding The Big Easy, Princess Bride, Firefly and Veronica Mars. Could Kiss Kiss Bang Bang fit in the caper/mystery category?

    I also wanted to suggest Assassin in Love and Run Fatboy, Run. Not 100% sure where they’d fit (are they English? I dunno. I just like ’em, and I’m a sucker for Simon Pegg. Fatboy’s one of my favorites)

    We need to lose some of that Hugh Grant weight, I think. he’s good when he does what he’s good at, but do we really need to watch him do it that many times?

    PS, please please please do The Matchmaker. Its one of my deeply flawed favorites, and its been a horrible tease hearing y’all mention it off-hand in some of the podcasts. maybe do a set of deeply flawed, “if only” movies? The Ref, Matchmaker, maybe Knight’s Tale?

    I wish The Abduction Club was available on DVD, because I would suggest it for romantic adventure in a heart beat, but the only way I know of to watch it right now is on youtube, unfortunately.

  15. I second Assassin in Love (UK title: The Baker). Damian Lewis, woman out of Shaun of the Dead AND its a Welsh Rom Com. Its not great but I was really struggling with that category. The only competition was The Man Who Went Up A Hill but we don’t need another Hugh Grant film. Not only because of him but because the films are all quite similar too – there is only so much I can stand of that North London setting/genre (TMD, 4 Weddings, Notting Hill*, Bridget, Love Actually and About a Boy. 4 Weddings is the archetype, Love Actually has a big change in structure, TMD is its own thing entirely. Knock the others on the head if possible)

    [*Notting Hill may as well be in North London for our purposes]

    Otherwise I second everyone elses suggestions. It’d be interesting to do episodes of Dr Who just because I’m not sure the first 3 would be significant – you’d almost have to do the first one, the tv film and the reboot to get any sense out of it (1963, 1996 and 2005).

  16. While I’m here…for the Brit Rom Com pile:

    Blithe Spirit (1945) Sparkling dialogue from Noel Coward. Features Rex Harrison and the divinely dotty Margaret Rutherford. A period piece with a snarky modern outlook.

    A Life Less Ordinary (1997) Kinda overlooked at the time, but it has Ewan Mcgregor, Cameron Diaz and directed by Danny Boyle. One of those angels directing our actions here on earth things that goes a bit nuts.

    Finally Bedazzled (1967). This could also qualify for the remake category, but I wouldn’t really want to make anyone sit through the Brendan Fraser version (2000). The original is funny, has a great soundtrack and Dudley Moore. Swinging London at its height with a dash of Faust.

  17. I love Blithe Spirit, and I think it would be great for PopD, but if I remember correctly that isn’t available on DVD in the US. If it were, I’d buy it in a heartbeat…

  18. Can’t seem to stop commenting on this post, but I’ll manage to soon, I swear. Just wanted to throw Seems Like Old Times out there for consideration. I know Neil Simon is not popular here, but I promise, Goldie Hawn’s character is nothing like Corie and Paula. And it’s just so funny 🙂

  19. On the subject of Scottish films: I love Local Hero (1983). Not so much romance though, apart from Peter Capaldi falling in love with a woman who might or might not be a mermaid. It’s more about falling in love with a place and a way of life.

  20. Oooh, Local Hero. Good film but I know what you mean. Britain just doesn’t seem to have the pure rom com genre before a certain point.

    There was a real surge of popular Scottish films round then. We’re still waiting for the surge of popular Welsh films I guess.

  21. I’m drooling from all of the good stuff listed already. I love the remake idea.

    I’d love to see Prizzi’s Honor in the Black Comedy list. The debate about whether the romance was with Kathleen Turner or Angelica Houston would be interesting.

    Another tv series I push whenever I can is the fabulous Slings & Arrows. There is a very interesting romance throughline to the entire 18 episodes.

    Oh, also, I will watch Firefly at any time on any pretext.

  22. Oh, yes, Slings and Arrows. Awesome show. Really need more than 3 episodes to get the whole romantic arc, but it is FABULOUS.

  23. Okay, okay, I ordered the Slings and Arrows DVD. Thank you for tipping me off, Jane and Valky. Also, Romney, I owe you big. I’ve been trying to find The Baker and couldn’t get it, but the American title did the trick. I’m a HUGE Damian Lewis fan, so I’m very grateful.

  24. I keep knocking around an idea about non-traditional romances, but I’m not sure I can make a case for what will be learned. I’m thinking of gay/lesbian themed movies like In & Out and Jeffrey or platonic love movies like Harold & Maude.

    Also, I forgot to second the idea of Doctor Who. I think the first 3 episodes of the reboot show the Doctor and Rose beginning to fall in love.

    Jenny, I don’t think you’ll be sorry about Slings and Arrows. I like the writing on that show very much. Plus, Paul Gross is gorgeous.

  25. In class yesterday someone mentioned “Slings and Arrows” (Im doing a project on the Stratford Festival) which Ive never heard of before. And now you guys mentioned it literally the next day. Funny.

    Also, Veronica Mars is a kick ass series, so we should do that too.
    For ensemble, maybe Arrested Development, as a sign of (wonderfully) terrible people being awful towards each other- in the best possible way.

  26. Can we do an Action Movie month?

    North by Northwest
    Die Hard
    The Bourne Identity
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
    Predators (I actually quite liked this. Adrien Brody as an action hero, whodda thunk it?)

  27. Oh, and Slings & Arrows is totally awesome! Especially if you’re an English geek/Shakespeare nerd.

  28. Under action films, I’d like to suggest The Terminator even though some might suggest its a little too violent for the list. But, I think its story/plot and the fact that the core of the plot is a love story would make it a fascinating entry. I think people really get blinded by the Arnold and the guns when they think of it, but those aren’t the elements that keep people coming back to the story.

    Other possible entries – Strictly Ballroom, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Practical Magic (echoing Argh Ink suggestion there), The Mask of Zorro

    And I think some Jane Austen entries – Persuasion, Emma or Sense and Sensibility (or Pride and Prejudice, but I only like the miniseries) should be included in the survey as well.

  29. Seconding Katrina G, I love the Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds. And I love the Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. Also love the P&P miniseries (but not the Keira Knightley one)

    And I second The Terminator nomination as well.

  30. Was just reading the comments on The Apartment (I’ve been catching up a little out of order), and someone mentioned Holiday (1938). Love that movie, and want to suggest it here even though it doesn’t fit into any of the categories listed above. Might be interesting to contrast w/ Philadelphia Story, since they’re both Philip Barry, Grant, and Hepburn, but the romance is waaay different in Holiday.

  31. The trickster hero reminded me of Jonathon Creek. One of my favourites from the Uk, though don’t know whether thats classed as that but its really great, and I think the premise is done really well (a magician and a journalist). But it might be really hard to get.