Top Romantic Movies, According to Jacey Conrad and Gia Corona

Gia and Jacey have very different ideas of what constitutes a good romantic movie, mostly because of Jacey’s tendency to see romance where there is none and ship ALL OF THE THINGS. So they sat down to list their top five “watch when you’re feeling sappy and need romance in your life” movies. 

Sliding Doors – I’m assuming this is a romance, there’s a romance in it anyway. I adore this movie because of the one liners and because John Hannah is utterly, ridiculously cute in it. Also because of the line, “I’m a woman! We don’t tell you what we want! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don’t get it. It’s what makes us so fascinating. And not a little bit scary.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Beauty and the Beast (Disney) – Seriously, you have to ask? He gives her a LIBRARY. Every book nerd girl had their ovaries explode when the Beast did that. Don’t lie, you know it’s true.

The Quiet Man – Oh Maureen O’Hara. The vibe of this movie is just so perfect. It’s Ireland (which has a special place in my heart because I went there on my honeymoon) and the townspeople are terrifically zany. And the romance between O’Hara and John Wayne is lovely. Also that brawl at the end is epic.

Sense and Sensibility – Alan. Rickman. As Colonel Brandon. Dear God, that man. When he’s staggering across the hills with Kate Winslet in his arms and his absolutely wrecked reading of “Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad”—SWOON! It just cemented my love of Alan Rickman that not even Love Actually could turn aside.

Pride and Prejudice (2005) I will always love the Gold Standard Colin Firth version, but if you don’t have eight hours to devote to watching a move, this is an excellent second choice. The music is absolutely gorgeous. I like the “earthier” interpretation that actually allows for the fact that people were living without running water or paved roads, so occasionally got dirt on their cheeks and clothes. Matthew MacFayden is not as polished as Firth as Mr. Darcy, but he has an aggressive, grumbly charm that I find very approachable and sexy. And he and Keira Knightley have chemistry to spare. I love that you get a little glimpse into their post-married life and the movie ends on a very sweet note. (PS, I’m actually shocked as hell that we both had a Jane Austen movie on our lists.)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Maybe not the most TRADITIONAL choice in romance movies, but SO real in its depiction of a break-up and what happens when a relationship runs out of steam. To the point where it’s kind of uncomfortable. It was really refreshing to see a director/actor let a character be almost unlikeable in his wallowing and attempts to move on with his life (or not.) And when Peter (Jason Siegel) risks getting the crap beat out of him to take down the topless photo, without expecting any sort of “my hero” reward, you know that he’s grown as a person and a potential partner.

The Princess Bride No list would be complete without it. It is an action movie. It’s an adventure. It’s a magical story. But all of those elements are rooted in the belief that true love is worth fighting for, no matter what form it takes. And reading Cary Elwes’ memoir about making the film, AS YOU WISH, makes me want to watch it over and over to see the things that I missed.

Moonstruck “SNAP OUT OF IT!” Being married to someone whose personality is very different from my own, I always love seeing how Loretta’s pragmatic, sensible soul clashes but ultimately melds and merges with Ronnie’s intense but misguided passion. He helps shake off her grumpy old widow persona and her enjoy life’s pleasures. She helps him become less of a drama queen and connect with real life. They change each other for the better and the people around them are better for it.

Ever After It’s nice to see a fairy tale rooted in the tiniest bit of plausible reality. Danielle is spunky and smart, making the best of the hand she’s given. Henry is a prince not-yet-charming, but he’s willing to learn with guidance from the people around him. Yes, magical mice and glass shoes are wonderful, but seeing Leonardo DaVinci stepping in as fairy godmother was a unique take I really enjoyed, plus the costumes are gorgeous. Angela Huston is delicious as the evil Baroness. And the happily ever after features a self-rescuing princess, which is something I loved sharing with my daughter.

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This past week, you may have noticed the absence of Tuesday Reviews Day. It will be back; I haven’t fully committed myself to weekly vs. biweekly, so for right now that may remain a feature that simply occurs somewhat randomly.

I’ve still been reading regularly, and I did recently finish a great book I can’t wait to tell you about. I’ve got a few in the TBR queue and one in the box that I’m working my way through, but it’s a pretty emotionally heavy selection, so I may take awhile to get through it.

But mostly, I’ve been sloughing my way through NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if any of you have signed up, but if you have, scope out my page and add me! (My username should come as no surprise.) I can use some encouragement, to be quite honest. I write at a very weird pace, which is to say I tend to write when I feel motivated. Of course, that’s a very bad plan; motivation is fleeting, like most emotions are, and waiting for it is sometimes as productive as waiting for Godot.

I won’t “win” NaNo this year, I know that already, but honestly I’m already really proud of myself. I’ve written about 4,000 words (please stop rolling your eyes) and that’s actually a personal best for me. I’ve never written a single creative piece of that length before. It’s intimidating. I’m a short story, flash fiction, free-verse poetry type of gal, and novels just don’t come easily to me. But I’ve had this great idea knocking around in my head for quite awhile, and with the help of my amazing sister and frequent visits to Chuck Wendig’s blog, I think I’ve made some great progress toward a novel. I have an actual outline (miracle of miracles!) and a real conflict and an actual idea of the ending and how I want to get there. I know things will change between now and completion, and that’s okay. I’ve already changed a lot, to be honest. But I’m feeling really great about this.

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your story! Are you pursuing some other creative passion? Are you doing something else that scares you?

…………..why not?

Tuesday Reviews Day: Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Even if you know only a little about me, you may expect that my list of completed books is a staggering one, with a host of diverse characters and authors.

It isn’t.

For someone who spent the majority of high school and college on track to become a high school lit teacher and then graduated with an English degree, I’m still floored by the authors I haven’t discovered, the genres I haven’t fallen in love with, and the female/minority leads I’ve been missing.

But I am still trying to keep up with that reading challenge that I told you about awhile back. So when an author I follow on Twitter asked for people to review her debut novel, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been getting more adventurous with my reading choices of late, and the last several risks I’ve taken have really paid off. Signal to Noise is no different.

I am beyond glad I read this novel, even if it was one of the most difficult books I’ve read in a long time. More on that later.

In case you’ve forgotten, the summary section of these posts may feature some heavy spoilers. Skip to the recap if you haven’t read this one yet! Continue reading

Practicing the Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

I may have mentioned before that I’m a writer. And like any good writer, I occasionally have to fall victim to shameless self-promotion. I may have also mentioned that anxiety is a problem for me, so self-promotion isn’t a thing that comes easily to me. However! Nothing is easier to share than good news, and today brought a little of that with it. (Despite my inability to find that one red sweater this morning or my favorite fluffy winter socks, leaving for work when I should have been arriving at work, or having to wait in the freezing wind for a train to pass before I could cross the road to my car after work.)

I am a travel writer. (Slash editor.) It’s certainly an interesting job, though I can guess your first question and the answer is no, I don’t get to travel a lot. But that’s okay, too; having to write on topics like the coolest speakeasies in the country or some new cultural center without actually visiting these places does help flex my research and creative muscles.

Sometimes it’s frustrating, like any job. But sometimes, when I come in to work and see that the top two stories on our homepage have my byline on them, it’s worth it.

The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only

I got published last year!

Additionally, last October I had the interesting experience of being published in an anthology, a collaborative work among eight people spread across the U.S. The collection of shorts features two collabs featuring me and one solo work, all original for the project. It’s called The Midnight Carnival, and I really hope you’ll check it out. I’m pretty proud of it, and I let all the fame go to my head and now frequently compare myself to Suzanne Collins and Percival Everett.

Ok, that last part was a joke and no, it wasn’t very funny, but hey. People gotta have dreams.