Honor roll: Romantic Comedy films

Each of these Romantic Comedy films has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Film:Shakespeare in Love

Shakespeare in Love

John Madden

One of the most endearing and intelligent romantic comedies of the ‘90s, the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love is filled with such good will, sunny romance, snappy one-liners, and devilish cleverness that it’s absolutely irresistible. With tongue placed firmly in cheek, at its outset the film tracks young Will Shakespeare’s overwrought battle with writer’s block and the efforts of theater owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush, in rare form) to stage Will’s latest comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Jokey comedy, though, soon takes a…

Film:The Artist (2011)

The Artist

Michel Hazanavicius

Hollywood 1927. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), it seems the sky’s the limit—major movie stardom awaits. The Artist tells the story of their interlinked destinies.

Film:Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook

David O. Russell

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything—his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Film:Up in the Air

Up in the Air

Jason Reitman

From Jason Reitman, director of “Juno,” comes a dramatic comedy called “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.

Ryan has long been contented with his unencumbered lifestyle lived out across America in airports, hotels and rental cars. He can carry all he needs in one wheel-away case; he’s a pampered, elite member of every travel loyalty program in existence; and he’s close to attaining his lifetime goal of 10 million frequent flier miles—and yet…Ryan has nothing real to hold onto.

When he falls for a simpatico fellow traveler, Ryan’s boss, inspired by a young, upstart efficiency expert, threatens to permanently call him in from the road. Faced with the prospect, at once terrifying and exhilarating, of being grounded, Ryan begins to contemplate what it might actually mean to have a home.

Film:Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire

Cameron Crowe

One of the best romantic comedies of the 1990s, this box-office hit cemented writer-director Cameron Crowe’s reputation as “the voice of a generation.” Crowe could probably do without that label, but he’s definitely in sync with the times with this savvy story about a sports agent (Tom Cruise) whose fall from grace motivates his quest for professional recovery, and the slow-dawning realization that he needs the love and respect of the single mom (Renée Zellweger in her breakthrough role) who has supported him through the worst of times. This is one of Cruise’s…

Film:A Fish Called Wanda

A Fish Called Wanda

Charles Crichton

Kevin Kline took home an Oscar for his performance as a self-absorbed lothario who prepares for lovemaking by drinking in his own “manly” musk, but it would be hard to single him out as the best thing about the film. The fact is, the entire cast of this hilarious comedy is perfect: John Cleese as the conservative barrister defending a member of sexy Jamie Lee Curtis’s gang, Ms. Curtis as the conniving crook out to grab the haul for herself, and Michael Palin as the stuttering, animal-loving hit man whose attempts to murder a little old lady only decrease the size…

Film:As Good As It Gets

As Good As It Gets

James L. Brooks

For all of its conventional plotting about an obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon (Jack Nicholson) who improves his personality at the urging of his gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) and a waitress (Helen Hunt) who inspires his best behavior, this is one of the sharpest Hollywood comedies of the 1990s. Nicholson could play his role in his sleep (the Oscar he won should have gone to Robert Duvall for The Apostle), but his mischievous persona is precisely necessary to give heart to his seemingly heartless character, who is of all things a successful romance novelist.…

Film:Working Girl

Working Girl

Mike Nichols

Melanie Griffith had a fling with stardom in this Mike Nichols comedy about an executive secretary (Griffith) who can’t get her deserved shot at upward mobility in the brokerage industry. Hardly taken seriously by male bosses, things aren’t really any better for her once she starts working for a female exec (Sigourney Weaver, never more delightful), a narcissist with a boy-toy banker (Harrison Ford) and a tendency to steal the best ideas from her underlings. When Weaver’s character is laid up with a broken leg, Griffith poses as a replacement wheeler-dealer,…

Film:The Purple Rose of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Woody Allen

One of the high points of Woody Allen’s career. Cecilia (Mia Farrow), a depression-era waitress married to a brutish husband (Danny Aiello), finds her only escape at the movies, her current favorite being a light comedy about an explorer among socialites, called The Purple Rose of Cairo. She sees it so many times that the main character, Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels), falls in love with her and steps off the screen to woo her. When news of this gets back to the movie studio, the producers send the actor who played Baxter (also Daniels) to convince Baxter to…

Film:Manhattan

Manhattan

Woody Allen

Manhattan, Woody Allen’s follow-up to Oscar-winning Annie Hall, is a film of many distinctions: its glorious all-Gershwin score, its breathtakingly elegant black-and-white, widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis (best-known for shooting the Godfather movies); its deeply shaded performances; its witty screenplay that marked a new level in Allen’s artistic maturity; and its catalog of Things that Make Life Worth Living. But Manhattan is also distinguished in the realm of home video as the first motion picture to be released…

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