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Taylor Watches Rom-Coms Vol. 4
The good, the bad, and the beautiful (because there's never any ugly in these movies)
What makes a romantic comedy?
What’s the definition of “middle-class?”
Is love really blind?
Questions that will be answered in this edition of Taylor Watches Rom-Coms!
Two teenage girls, both named Marie, decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them. This freewheeling, madcap feminist farce was immediately banned by the government.
Daisies has been on my watchlist for a long time, and I was eager to attend my local revival house’s screening recently. This movie, originally banned in its home country of Czechoslovakia, is not a typical pick for this column which regularly features movies in the vein of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or Maid in Manhattan. It’s also not something I would have normally picked for this column, but I feel as though it could be considered an atypical rom-com. For those of you in need of a breather from the new-age classics, there are few films as atypical a rom-com as this.
This zany, eccentric romp focuses on two women, both named Marie, played by the truly captivating Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová. While at times the film can be disturbingly gluttonous (don’t eat a big meal before watching) and overstimulating sensorially, Cerhová and Karbanová bring a distinct luminescence and freshness to each scene, playing brilliantly off one another with palpable chemistry.
For fans of Wes Anderson-esque directors, Chytilová and cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera masterfully create a colorful, whimsical world of pure, unadulterated indulgence that fills the appetite of those hungry for beautiful pictures.
At its core, it is a comedy— romantic and natural and filled with the love of friendship. Who says this genre can’t include platonic love, anyways?
For those feeling adventurous, I highly recommend getting your hands on this film and diving into the wild, wonderful world of 1966’s Daisies.
Father of the Bride (1991)
George Banks is an ordinary, middle-class man whose 22 year-old daughter Annie has decided to marry a man from an upper-class family, but George can’t think of what life would be like without his daughter. His wife tries to make him happy for Annie, but when the wedding takes place at their home and a foreign wedding planner takes over the ceremony, he becomes slightly insane.
My mom, who I affectionately refer to in almost every edition of this column because of our shared love of rom-coms, recently came to town and I told her to pick anything she wanted. I felt as though, given her tremendous impact on my film taste (for better or for worse), she should have her own place in this column. She wanted to watch a Diane Keaton movie and after throwing around titles like 1987’s Baby Boom and 2007’s Because I Said So, we eventually decided to do a double feature - Father of the Bride Parts I and II.
I have to admit, I may have led her in this direction a bit, not only because I remember these movies fondly but because I’m currently watching Succession for the first time and wanted to see Kieran Culkin not be a total weirdo for a little bit (We also recently revisited Sky High on Y2Kidz to see a pre-Cousin Greg Nicholas Braun for you Succession fans out there).
Part I was not my favorite of the two growing up, so it was much less familiar and nostalgic for me, and I quickly remembered why.
While the movie has a lot of lovable parts to it, which I’ll get to in a second, the basic thesis of the movie is to not get caught up in dollars and cents when it comes to making life-long memory, which is a complex topic for a kid with a piggy bank, but still continued to fly right over my head today as a young adult when I realized the dollars and cents being referred to amounted to OVER 125 THOUSAND DOLLARS. The Letterboxd synopsis says, “George is an ordinary, middle-class man” WHO CAN SOMEHOW AFFORD A 125 THOUSAND DOLLAR WEDDING????????
I digress. This glaringly obvious display of unbelievable wealth and privilege aside…
Nancy Meyers knows how to write a damn script. Perhaps she needed to come down to earth a little (a lot), but she has such a gift when it comes to making you feel. That’s right, even I teared up at this ridiculous premise! Whether I was crying at my lack of money or their happiness is still out for debate, however.
Her movies are never hyperrealistic. They’re always perfectly kismet scenarios with perfectly crafted lines, but she still manages to make that honest and real. This movie (and Part II, for that matter) begins with a monologue. A straight-up, Steve Martin in a chair, monologue. (OKAY THEATRE! Purrrrrrrr!) And it totally works!
The cast is superb and really nails it in every way possible. Great chemistry, wonderful presence and sense of self, and good comedic timing (though I can’t say every joke lands, to no fault of those delivering. Maybe I’d laugh more if I was rich.)
While Nancy Meyers wrote this movie, it was actually directed by Charles Shyer (same as Part II), who totally understands the assignment. It’s not a Nancy Meyers direction rip-off per se, but he honors her unwavering vision. We have the Nancy Meyers Kitchen™️ and the picturesque moments, just as she would want.
This movie is good. It’s feel good. It’s a classic with classic actors who give classic performances.
But damn, is it hard to empathize with these people…
Father of the Bride Part II (1995)
Just when George Banks has recovered from his daughter’s wedding, he receives the news that she’s pregnant … and that George’s wife is expecting too. He was planning on selling their home, but that’s a plan that—like George—will have to change with the arrival of both a grandchild and a kid of his own.
Part II is really where we get into the nostalgia of it all. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the idea of pregnancy. I didn’t know anyone in my personal life who was pregnant until I was well into high school, so it was a mystical world to me. I used to ask my mom to watch “pregnant movies,” to which she would respond “Okay, do you want Father of the Bride Part II or Look Who’s Talking?”
My niche and slightly bizarre interest aside, this movie is, in my humble opinion, far more lovable than its predecessor, albeit even more far-fetched in reality. Regardless of my personal beef with their definition of "middle class", expensive weddings are something people actually deal with all the time. Being pregnant at the same time as your mother is something people… do not deal with… really ever.
I’m gonna be brutally honest and say they do Miss Diane Keaton so dirty with the production design of this movie. It’s the Golden Girls effect— we would never dress Blanche like that if the show was airing today because it ages her tenfold. Keaton is made to look like a grandmother. In reality, she’s supposed to be roughly 44. Still older than usual to have a child, sure, but you don’t have to resort to wearing unflattering pleated pants and grandma sweaters! With this already unrealistic premise, that is actually my only qualm.
I really love this movie. I think it’s completely adorable in every way. I fall for everything. The homages to the first movie, the easter eggs, the wacky premise— I love it all.
It’s similar to the first in every way, except I think the script is stronger and more honest and heartfelt. For haters who get caught up in the logistics, to you I say, and what about the masterpiece that is The Parent Trap, huh?
It was a treat revisiting this movie, and the only question I’m left asking is, what the hell happened to Kieran Culkin?
Love Is Blind Season 4 (2023)
Singles who want to be loved for who they are, rather than what they look like, have signed up for a less conventional approach to modern dating. (IMDB)
The following contains spoilers.
It is well documented at this point that I am not above using this series as a way to feed my insatiable hunger for shitty reality television. With a brand new season of Love Is Blind wrapping up just in time for this to come out, you know I had to include it.
This season saw some record highs (another Lauren and Cameron (S1)-esque romance in fan favorites Brett and Tiffany) and record lows (Jackie dumping Marshall for Josh or Irina bullying everyone around her for every moment she had airtime.)
Another record low would have to be the absolute shit show that was the “Live” reunion, which eventually was semi-canned after an hour+ delay, but resulted in some pretty hysterical online discourse (my favorite being AOC’s shout-out to Lucia the seamstress).
This season was rough. As is par for the course when it comes to reality shows that become viral sensations, as time passes, you begin to get more and more contestants that are on for the wrong reasons. We see this in Irina for sure, and even Kwame can be found in the background of an episode of Married at First Sight, showing that he has always been on the hunt for love in the most public of places.
I found this cast to be almost entirely unlikable and also found Nick and Vanessa Lachey to be as unprepared as ever when it came to navigating the “tea” they were so eager to spill. That’s not to say I was uninterested or wasn’t rooting for people - trust me when I say that I was still glued to my television and am prepared to watch 100 seasons of this dumpster fire (which might not totally be an exaggeration given how many cities they’re currently casting in.)
Brett and Tiffany were cute and ticked all of the boxes on paper, but I found them a little dull. Bliss deserves an award for being able to look past the fact that Zack chose a whole ass other woman before going back to her. Zack annoyed me by speaking on behalf of people at the reunion. Irina is just as awful live as she is in post. Kwame and Chelsea are… a bizarre couple that calls each other baby too much. Jackie and Josh shockingly seem to be one of the most stable couples now. Marshall is a king (Baltimore, represent!). And my hottest take of all is that Micah is a good person that means well and has consistently surrounded herself with shitty, toxic friends who bring her to be her worst. She might have been one of my favorites by the end. I think it’s shitty that she opened up and communicated opportunities for Paul to work on things in their relationship, but he didn’t give her that same chance.
But the biggest question to come out of this...
ARE COLLEEN AND MATT LIVING TOGETHER YET?
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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