Relive all the best bits from the finest romantic comedies from the 90's 'till today. You can sit with us
By Hayley Doyle
If you’re anything like me, you’re a sucker for a good old fashioned love story. There’s just something about the will-they-won’t-they that gives us first date butterflies from the comfort of our own sofa. The golden age of the rom-com seemed to shine particularly brightly between the 80s and 00s. There was something about watching real movie stars - mysterious, untouchable - falling in love on the big screen with an upcoming starlet. Something about the hazy picture. The big hair.
Today, we have the spoilt luxury of being able to access any movie ever made whenever we want it. More and more movies are being made, too. We’ll never get through all the films we fancy in our lifetime, the volume is just too high. However, there are some rom-coms from that very special era that we will watch not once, not twice, but again and again and again. Yes, they’ll trump taking a chance on something new because we know how they make us feel; warm and fuzzy. It can be incredibly comforting to rewatch loveable characters and iconic scenes. With so much unrest in the real world, we need to indulge in moments that hold us tight and sprinkle hope.
Here’s my top pics…how do they compare to yours?!
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
I remember seeing this at the cinema with my best friend and we held hands, uncontrollably crying by the end! This prickly and witty comedy showcased Julia Roberts in a new light and solidified the rising star of Cameron Diaz. It’s utterly effervescent with anti-romance, meaningful friendships and a bit of Burt Bacharach. This film can do no wrong. The story centres around Julianne and Michael, two best friends who make a pact that if neither of them are married by the age of 28, they will marry each other. Remember, this was 1997, back when being 28 was ancient. It sparked many friends all over the world to “agree” to say “I do” if they felt a bit left on the shelf approaching the dreaded 3-0. While I’m glad that age prejudice has softened over time, I still love the message in this adorable, beige-suited, big-haired, crazy-camp frenzy; sometimes it’s friendship, not romance, that rescues and redeems us.
Coming to America (1988)
Hello fairy tales and shoulder pads! Is there a better combination? Eddie Murphy traded his Beverly Hills Cop badge for a golden crown when he stepped into the jewel encrusted shoes of Akeem, the Prince of Zamunda, a fictional African country. Disillusioned with privileged palace life, he sets off on a quest to find his wife… and where does he look? Well, Queens…in New York! Murphy and co-star Arsenio Hall take on multiple supporting roles in the film, thanks to clever prosthetics from makeup artist Rick Baker. With a banging 80s soundtrack, this film is a typical fish-out-of-water tale with a unique twists, filled with humour, heart and the wish for a woman to be a man’s equal, not beneath them.
Notting Hill (1999)
A bumbling, fumbling Hugh Grant was perhaps one of the sexiest things to come out of the 90s, right? Stick him in a quaint London bookshop with a quirky, weird flat mate and a gang of self-deprecating British pals, all it took was a touch of Hollywood gloss to make this movie a timeless classic. We’ve all wondered what would happen if we just bumped into an A-list celeb and suddenly… wow… fell in love. This film answers all of these questions and unravels our wildest fantasies when normal-kinda-broke Will bumps into rich-famous-superstar Anna. Yes, its ultimate escapism but encompassed with an overall sense of “it could happen to you”. Written by Richard Curtis, whose other credits could have easily made this list (Four Weddings and a Funeral, About Time and Love, Actually) and starring Julia Roberts - of course - as Anna Scott, who again, can put no foot wrong in a rom-com of this era. Or, ever.
…Yes, we fell head over heels for Mr Rudd as Josh, the do-gooder ex-step brother of Alicia Silverstone’s, Cher. As if!! Oh, how we loved Cher, too. She had everything a gal could ever want: status, money, beauty, loyal friends, a dad who adores her, tartan mini skirts and a brick for a mobile phone. Using her power, the story unravels as Cher takes the new kid under her wing and teaches her how to become popular. The only big problem in Cher’s life is Josh, of course. Why can’t he get off her case? Ooh, this oozes of strong scented roses, doesn’t it? In fact, this movie was based on Jane Austen’s Emma, and Silverstone perfectly toes that line between lovable ditz and destructive diva, with a heroine that might be a bit more naïve and likeable than Austen's creation.