Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
It's not too late to pick out a movie for Valentine's Day. Besides, it doesn't have to be February fourteenth to enjoy a romantic movie.
My choices aren't contemporary because I made them for a newspaper column in 2001.
10. Sabrina, 1954, stars Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden. Although it was made before many of us were born, it's one of the finest romances I've seen, and I loved it from the start. The chauffeur's daughter, lovely Sabrina Fairchild, falls in love with the younger son of the family for whom her father drives. But perhaps the older son is the better man for Sabrina.
9. Peggy Sue Got Married , 1986, stars Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. Peggy Sue faints at her high school reunion and comes to--back in high school. Will she do things differently the second time around?
8. Say Anything, 1989, stars John Cusack and Ione Skye. This film has my all-time favorite answer to a stupid question parents always ask. Diane Court's father asks Lloyd Dobler, a recent high school graduate, what he wants to do. Lloyd answers: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."
7. As Good As It Gets, 1997, stars Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. This film brought Nicholson his third Oscar, while Hunt received her first as Carol, who gradually learns to love Nicholson's obnoxious Melvin Udall.
6. Moonstruck, 1987, stars Nicolas Cage and Cher. When the moon hits her eye like a big pizza pie, Loretta Castorini finds romance with her fiance's brother. And there's nothing halfhearted about the love between Ronny and Loretta. They're carried away by the lunacy of love.
5. An Affair to Remember, 1957, stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. It's sweet and sentimental to the point of being maudlin, and I love it. Will Nicky become a successful painter? Why doesn't beautiful nightclub singer Terry McKay meet him at the Empire State Building?
4. Sleepless in Seattle, 1993, stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Based on An Affair to Remember, but with far more humor, will this couple manage to meet at the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day?
3. Annie Hall (shut up, Pickleope, 1977) stars Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. At the height of the romance between Alvy Singer and Annie Hall, Alvy tells Annie that "love is too weak a word for what I feel--I luuuuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you."
2. When Harry Met Sally, 1982, stars Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. Harry and Sally are the best of friends--until they realize they're in love. Love almost ruins a beautiful relationship. I still repeat my favorite line delivered in the restaurant by an actress who happens to be director Rob Reiner's mother: "I'll have what she's having." You know what I mean.
1. Casablanca, 1942, stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. "Play it." Sam plays the piano and sings, "You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh . . . "
As we fade to black, I hope you can rely on love this Valentine's Day, and as times goes by.
Infinities of love,
P.S. Wow! I didn't realize how dated this list was until I got it out of its hiding place with other articles I wrote. I've seen a lot of great movies since 2001. Maybe I'll come up with a new list next year, but I can't imagine any movie taking the #1 spot from Casablanca.