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Mock Me if You Must: Great Film Love Stories (Perspectives of a Male Moviegoer)
Chuck Uherske
United States
Rockville
Maryland
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that an American male in possession of his critical faculties must deride all films about romantic love.

The term "chick flick," narrowly construed, refers only to a film that appeals to female viewers but not to males. But more often than not in practice, the term "chick flick" means a love story - a film detailing the twists and turns of dating, engagements, marriage, and/or other emotional/physical entanglements.

Speaking as an American male, I’d like to say that I am not averse to films about male-female relationships -- even though it’s true that, yes, I loathe the vast majority of films described as "chick flicks."

It’s not the subject matter that I abhor; rather, it’s the way that it’s treated in those films. I dislike films that expect me to believe in two characters’ mutual adoration simply because violins well up when they gaze at one another. I dislike films that try to get me to buy into climactic scenes without developing a relationship enough to give those scenes any meaning. I dislike films in which the characters seem to have no guiding purposes in their lives other than contemplating who is involved with whom. I dislike films that treat something as complex and torturous as adult love as worthy of nothing more than the most trite directorial clichés. I dislike films that brazenly sweep aside every complication of real life for the purpose of facilitating the main characters’ convenient union. Personally, I’ve had what I imagine is a pretty typical romantic lifetime ranging from glorious, cherished moments to tragic, heartbreaking disappointments, and I resent it when romantic involvement on film seems so much more banal and trivial even than the real-world experience of a typical guy.

Thus, there are plenty of "chick flicks" I find infuriatingly awful. "Pretty Woman" -- dreck. "The English Patient" -- oh, please. "Sleepless in Seattle" -- ecch. "Jerry Maguire" -- OK at isolated moments, but not at all because of the romance. And these aren’t even the worst offenders. . . there’s "Waitress" (don’t get me started) or that shameless collection of every cinematic banality ever concocted, the criminally cheesy "Love, Actually," the recollection of which still causes me to clench with rage years after having seen it.

As it happens, the other day I was engaged in a conversation about films, in which I was put on the spot: so which films do I consider to be great love stories? That’s actually quite a good question. So here goes.

It takes a lot more guts to praise such films than it does to condemn them. So, come on, you overwhelmingly male BGG denizens. It’s time to step up to the plate and to confess to the cinematic love stories that you like. And, for the benefit of the group, explain what makes them great. (Obviously, I’m hoping that our female BGGers will comment as well.)

The first ten are from me:
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26. Board Game: Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Board Game [Average Rating:4.88 Overall Rank:9879]
Jim Haltom
United States
St. Matthews
South Carolina
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Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Okay, yes, the special effects are primarily camera tricks from most horror movies, and Keanu Reeves was horribly miscast as Jonathan Harker. That being said, both Gary Oldman's Dracula and Winona Rider's Mina Harker have moments so touching together, and some so sensual, that you totally forget that Dracula is a hideous, murdering machine. The whole premise is that of Van Helsing's desire to catch the evil Count, and it really takes a while to get there, but the love story beneath all the death and despair is one that really grabs hold. For Dracula to see the reincarnation of his lost love, and to win her over is done really well.

At its heart, it truly is a great love story, and not some typical monster movie.
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27. Board Game: Disney Pixar WALL-E Treasure Race Game [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Laura Lawson
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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WALL-E

First, let me get the obvious out of the way: I'm not a guy. But I'm also not a girlie-girl, and typically don't go for chick-flicks.

That said, I can also be sentimental. I think this Pixar film, showing romance between two star-crossed robots, is a beautiful depiction of love. When we see that all WALL-E really wants is someone to hold hands with, and share a life with . . . what could be more human? A kids' flick that isn't necessarily for the kids.
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28. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:254]
John Brady
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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Shadowlands

The *worst* chick flick I ever got dragged to in my life. I had an inkling what I was in for, but I didn't really appreciate how completely devoid this movie was of anything even remotely interesting to a guy until I actually sat through it.

But, it was redeemed by one of the best guy moments ever. Near the tear jerking climax of the movie, the GF was sobbing away with her head on my chest. There were about 8 other couples in the theater, and I'm quite positive that *every* woman was sobbing. I had my arm around the GF...leaned back in the seat...there was a couple one row back, and about 8 seats down. I casually looked over...his significant other was in exactly the same mode as mine. I leaned my head back..made eye contact with the guy. I kinda nodded...he nodded back..and at exactly the same moment, we both sorta shook our heads in "what the **** are we doing here" moment. I startled chuckling, and caught a wicked 'bow to the ribs, and heard a commotion from where he was sitting, so I'm sure he got it too. Almost made the whole ordeal worthwhile.

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29. Board Game: Love Tubes n° 1: Romeo + Juliet [Average Rating:5.77 Unranked]
Kevin O'Hare
United States
San Carlos
California
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Romeo and Juliet is love of the purest form and should not have taken until now to be posted. I speak of the 1968 version of course.
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30. Board Game: Rug Amuck [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Erik Tietz
United States
Bloomington
Minnesota
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The Big Lebowski

This movie was really about a man, The Dude, who's love, his rug, was besmirched by Woo.

This movie was about Walter, who loves both bowling and his faith. It also tackles the issues that arise when those two loves come in conflict (spoiler alert: he doesn't roll on Shabbos).

This movie was about da Jesus, who loves winning and trash talk and small children.

Finally, this movie is about Donnie and his love for coming into the middle of a conversation.
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31. Board Game: Sally the Sunflower [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Ingo Ahrens
Germany
Stelle
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When Harry Met Sally (1989)

The two most of many many memorable things in this classic which I can't believe hasn't been mentioned yet:

1. The Deli Scene
2. You made a woman meow?

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32. Board Game: Moulin Rouge [Average Rating:3.81 Unranked]
Apia
Finland
Helsinki
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Moulin Rouge (2001)

Great leading couple, a classic (cliche) story, nice music, and an overall fun feel.

I liked it.
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33. Board Game: Titanic: The Board Game [Average Rating:4.03 Overall Rank:10992]
James Cameron´s TITANIC. I LOVE the love story in this movie, despite the occasional cheesy dialogues. But I also LOVE the sinking...
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34. Board Game: RoboCop and the Ultra Police [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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ROBOCOP.
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35. Board Game: Good Old Houses [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Alonso Alvarez
Mexico
MTY NL
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The House of Mirth (2000)

Based on a novel by Edith Wharton is one of the only romance films that I really enjoyed, I think that this and Casablanca share a lot in common.

It has the added factor of casting Gillian Anderson (From X-Files fame) and Eric Stoltz (to many good movies to name just one).

And it always good to laugh of how many of those old society rules just morphed instead of disapearing.

 
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36. Board Game: Pride and Prejudice: The Game [Average Rating:3.69 Unranked]
August Forrester
United States
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Oh crud, I know that I will be publicly humiliated for this, but I like Pride and Prejudice. blush However, it's not the love story in particular that I like. I just like the movie as a whole. Btw, the version I like is the six hour one, and not the disgusting Keira Knightley one.


Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. Now I am prepared for the legions of shake smilies sure to descend upon me.
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37. Board Game: Das Zauberschloss [Average Rating:6.30 Unranked]
carlos hernandez
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Enchanted April(1992)

One of my favourite chick-flicks. A period piece in which husbands and wives learn to love each other again and everyone refreshes their love of life.

Four English women, bored with their dreary existences, get together to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April. There they learn about love, life and themselves.

It's not for everyone, but if you don't mind the slow, dreamy pacing it's like the happiest of greeting cards. It's all about renewal and how life is better if you just take a vacation once in a while. Also, the scenery is gorgeous.

Favorite line: "I promised myself the first thing to happen in this place would be a kiss."

I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about this film.
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38. Board Game: Duel in the Dark [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1153]
alan beaumont
United Kingdom
LONDON
Unspecified
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A Matter of Life and Death, by Powell and Pressburger.

Peter and June strike up a conversation as he stares death in the face from his burning Lancaster. The opening scene is a mini film in itself and the best opening to any I know.


The rest of the film is his attempt to keep them together once the conveying angel (who missed him in the fog!) arrives to take him to his appointment with heaven.

Edit: just got the hang of posting videos!
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39. Board Game: Garibaldi: The Escape [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2261]
david mackay
United Kingdom
WARWICK
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Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954)

At the height of the Risorgimento, the Italian Contessa Livia Serpieri (Alida Valli) risks all for the dashing Austrian Leutnant Franz Mahler (Farley Grainger). Her treasonable infatuation leads inevitably to a tragic outcome. I was first entranced by this magnificent film when I was about sixteen (and I am older than Coffin Dodger), when it was part of a BBC season of foreign-language films shown at the Witching Hour. Consequently, doomed love affairs (and Italian actresses devil ) have always been a favourite subject.
See also: ‘Double Indemnity’ (Billy Wilder 1944) & ‘ Letter From An Unknown Woman’ (Max Ophuls 1948). No drippy Chick-Flicks these. However, I did quite like ‘Addicted To Love’ and ‘Green Card’ and so I am not entirely immune to the lighter flights of fancy. blush
 
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40. Board Game: Clue [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:6752]
Craig Phillips
United States
Quincy
Illinois
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Rebecca

Love Story, Ghost Story, Hitchcock...You just can't miss...one of the best book to film adaptations I've ever seen.
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41. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [Average Rating:3.76 Overall Rank:10920]
Craig Phillips
United States
Quincy
Illinois
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While not a romantic love story, ROTC is totally about the love Sam has for Frodo. It's makes the movie great.
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42. Board Game: Harold and the Purple Crayon Game [Average Rating:3.75 Unranked]
J.K. Bentley
United States
California
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Harold and Maude


"It's the greatest love story of our time."
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43. Board Game: Run, Hamster, Run! [Average Rating:4.91 Unranked]
Maurits
Netherlands
Capelle aan den IJssel
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Forrest Gump

An amazing story with an seemingly impossible love. Everybody should watch this movie! The love part is not the greatest part in this movie, but it is an important item.
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44. Board Game: Say Anything! [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Junior McSpiffy
United States
Riverton
Utah
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Say Anything

Whenever I talk about this movie, I call this the guy's equivalent of a chick flick. I think I've figured out what my beef is with most of the stereotypical "chick flicks":

* Girl meets boy
* Boy falls in love with girl
* Boy does not change enough to suit girl
* Stupid misunderstanding occurs
* Girl breaks up with boy
* Boy changes his ways
* Girl changes pretty much nothing
* Boy chases after girl
* Girl deigns boy worthy to take back

Basically, any movie that gives a woman an unrealistic expectation of love. (See also: any movie with Julia Roberts.) Say Anything is a beautiful movie to me because boy and girl both change and grow through the movie while staying true to themselves at their core, their relationship still has problems and issues, and they both have to fight and compromise to make it work. Most of all, they both are in love with the other person as they are in that moment, not with who they will be at the end of the film or who they would ideally be. She is a focused academic and that's all most people see. He sees everything else about her almost to the exclusion of her devotion to studying, but when the time comes to make a choice, he supports her going overseas because he loves her. And he remains an aspiring kickboxer with few real prospects, but she loves him. It's the kind of picture where I can picture problems down the road, such as him being a kickboxer with no prospects and why he doesn't get a real job, but I also see the two of them working together to overcome them.

Kind of like a real happily ever after.
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45. Board Game: Time After Time [Average Rating:5.03 Unranked]
Maurits
Netherlands
Capelle aan den IJssel
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Groundhog Day

A genius comedy!
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46. Board Game: The Penny Project [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Junior McSpiffy
United States
Riverton
Utah
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Somewhere In Time


REEEEE - CHAAAAAHD!
REEEEE - CHAAAAAHD!

I always feel guilty every time I watch this about how much I love this film, but if you don't get choked up at some point in the last five minutes (either their reunion, their parting, his mania about getting back to her or revisiting smile in the portrait), I suggest you stop by your nearest Salvation Army thrift store and pick up a second-hand soul.
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47. Board Game: Romans [Average Rating:4.91 Unranked]
Maurits
Netherlands
Capelle aan den IJssel
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True Romance

A love story Quetin-Tarantino-style! You gotta love it!

The first time I saw this movie I told my brother this movie was great.

He wanted to see it, but was surprised to find out it had nothing to do with the enormous Roman legions!?!?

Oops... I should pronunciate the word romance a bit better next time.
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48. Board Game: Amelie, aufgepasst! [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Bob Xyzp
Japan
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Amelie

A typical Hollywood romance seems to consist of the two main characters simultaneously being attracted to each other but also having several (banal) obstacles in the way of their being together, which are surmounted by the end of the story. Amelie is more about life and the search for love in general. The title character is quirky and adorable, and we become so fond of her, and so interested in her life and the lives of those around her, that as a byproduct we find ourselves wanting her to have romance and companionship in her life. And wishing that we could be the ones to share our lives with her.
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49. Board Game: Country Music Triviologies [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Mike Windsor
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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Tender Mercies The Horton Foote screenplay with Robert Duvall and Tess Harper is hard to watch at times, but it reminds me of people I've known and places I've been. (I guess that's not very damned hard since it was filmed in parts of Waxahachie, Texas that look a lot like a whole bunch of other places around here.)
 
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50. Board Game: Fictionary [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Andrew Finke
United States
Des Moines
Iowa
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Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Will Ferrell in a serious role with just the right amount of humor spread throughout the film. He hears his life is being narrated as he falls in love with an indie-bakery owner (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
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