I’ve been down for the past week recovering from jaw surgery. What a doozy, I tell you.
Someone texted me last week, “Was it as bad as you thought it would be?”
It wasn’t the right moment for such a question. I was on strong meds, barely able to squeeze a condiment bottle of tomato soup between my numb and dysfunctional lips. My jaw bone throbbed, resulting in an excruciating headache, and my neck and lower back were aching from the anesthetic and surgery. It might sound like I’m being a tad bit dramatic. But I’m not.
It took every ounce of restraint to respond rationally. It was a concerned family member, for goodness sake. But I couldn’t help add a touch of snarky. “Well, the doctor cut off half my face and screwed it back together, and it feels like it.”
Anyways…back to what this post is about. NETFLIX.
Netflix has really come through for me during this time. It’s been my shoulder to cry on, so to speak. I have spent more hours than I could count binging on series and such. And I’ve come to understand a fundamental truth– Romance movies, or rather romance stories, are not created equally.
Romance stories (at least the ones I’m going to discuss) fall in 1 of 2 categories:
- Whole Wheat Romance- these are the stories that uplift, leave you thinking. These stories have realistic characters, ones you become invested in. These romantic tales leave you feeling satisfied. Real romance stories are like a homemade chocolate chip cookie (the good kind, like my friend Becca makes). They are perfectly delicious, made of the real stuff… and no matter how many I eat, I NEVER regret it. I just want more. (Becca… if you are reading this… I can eat milk-soaked chocolate chip cookies in my current state… just saying).
- White Bread Romance- these are the stories made for binging, made for an occasional viewing– the type that usually leave viewers feeling indulged… and slightly disappointed with themselves. The iconic example is any movie made by Hallmark. Like cheap Little Debbie snacks or a cheap Chinese-American buffet, these stories seem like a good choice in the moment. So many trans fats and sugars, so much oil… five bites and the choice is regretted…
So, in an ode to all that is good in the Real Romances, I’ve compiled a list of my TOP 10 WHOLE WHEAT ROMANCES, accompanied by their less worthy, less effort-watching partner, the WHITE BREAD ROMANCES… Let me know if you agree, and heaven forbid, I hope I don’t misplace one of your beloved stories….But remember, we all have weaknesses (one Little Debbie type snack). I’m only telling you what is and what is NOT good for your romantic souls. Remember, I’m an expert now, thanks to my broken jaw and countless hours of binging.
DRUM ROLL… in no particular order…and with clips for your enjoyment…Whole Wheat vs. White Bread…
Far and Away vs. P.S. I love you
Like most girls, Ireland holds a piece of my heart… and so it would seem any romance with Ireland would be the real deal. Not the case, not the case. While P.S. I Love You brings the waterworks, it isn’t in a good hormonal-cleanse sort of way. Nope, it’s in a cry ‘til your sick way. And nobody needs to do that. Watch a real love story– not the heartbreak of one. Also, it’s one of the actually good Tom Cruise films.
Pride and Prejudice vs. Lost in Austen
Not all Austen adaptations are created equal, but I’m wise enough to avoid that debate. *cough, cough* That aside, there are numerous spinoffs of Austen’s work. Don’t fall for it, don’t go for the lazy attempts. Go for the real thing, the real stories with real characters and real lessons vs. the fantasies of a fourteen year old girl who RUINS everything about this beloved tale. Darcy was made for Elizabeth.
While You were Sleeping vs. ANYTHING on Hallmark during the Holidays
If you need to go for a lighthearted romance, that’s fine. There can still be merit in romcoms. But at least spare yourself the Hallmark channel during the holidays. I know… I know… I KNOW. I do it, too. Every holiday I find myself fall prey to the promise of lighthearted Christmas miracles and romance heroes (usually some retired baseball player or beyond handsome small town homeboy). But it always ends up the same. At the end of the show, I feel like I just binged on a cheap Chinese buffet. It was delicious, but I never quite feel well afterward. Opt for a more substantial romcom– perhaps While You were Sleeping. It even has Christmas. And it has REAL characters.
Anne of Green Gables vs. When Calls the Heart series
Historical series have my heart. I, too, have watched When Calls the Heart. It felt so harmless at first… but then the series kept going on and on and on and on… until the plot got forced and the real romance was lost. It only took one watch of Anne of Green Gables to remind me of why it trumps all others… hopefully this clip will convince you, too.
Age of Adaline vs. The Lake House
Age of Adaline surprised me. It shouldn’t have. I adore Blake Lively. But anyways… if you happen to be in a mood for time-defying romance, please, I’m asking you to choose Age of Adaline over The Lake House. Please.
You’ve Got Mail vs. She’s All That
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are classic. Their on-screen chemistry is so real, and I can’t help but love them. Any of the 90s romcoms– She’s All That, Never Been Kissed, etc, they have NOTHING on the classic Ryan-Hanks stories. They resembled fast food. Don’t do it. There’s a better choice.
Tangled vs. Snow White
I had to put a Disney in here, because I love Disney. If you want your children to think love is about a chance meeting at a wishing well, followed by true love’s kiss… be my guest. But, I’d opt for the real kind of love– the type Flynn Rider offers Rapunzel by sacrificing himself to free her. Mmmmhmm.
Sweet Home Alabama vs. Twilight
If you are craving a love triangle, there are a plethora of options. If you need something that transcends reality also, you’ve still got options (Just Like Heaven). Reese Witherspoon brings a realness to her characters that’s absent from any character of Twilight. And, you won’t have an indulgent hangover the next morning.
How to lose a guy in 10 days vs. Anything Nicholas Sparks
I know this one is controversial. But with the exception of The Notebook (and even that one is debatable…I’m not a huge fan), Sparks’ stories are indulgent, weak love stories. They almost all seem to deal with infidelity or affairs and infatuation. It’s rarely worth your time. If you’re looking for contemporary, opt for a Kate Hudson or, dare I say it, Matthew McConaughey flick. My husband would die of he heard that (he can’t stand these type of rom coms). But it’s true. You’ll get more of the real thing than you will with Sparks.
Under The Greenwood Tree vs. Titanic
A privileged lady with different options… will she choose the rich one or the poor one? It’s a classic quandary. But, if you want one that is based on real love and in real life time, choose this period piece Under the Greenwood Tree. You won’t regret it, and you won’t be covering your youngen’s eyes.