Monday, January 20, 2014

Grace NOT in Love... by Grace Burrowes

There's something wrong with me.

"Yes," you say, "we've long suspected this Grace," but the specific proof this time is that a movie that won seven academy awards left me wanting to throw my computer across the room (I watched it on the small screen so I could use the treadmill desk at the same time). "Shakespeare in Love," is a pretty movie--lots of cool period costumes, almost too many, in fact. It also has some nice scenery, a peek at Colin Firth in the role of Dastardly Buffoon, plenty of good acting and competent delivery.

I HATE this movie. (Brace yourself for a hint of a spoiler as to why.) The ending was so unsatisfying, such a complete unimaginative fizzle, such a betrayal of my investment of two hours, I'm incredulous that it received any acclaim at all. In two hours, a couple of good looking people had a fling and put on a play. That's it--except for some pretty costumes, the occasional slapstick moment, and liberal declamations of Shakespeare.

Oh, I could rant and stomp and carry on at great length...What I take from this experience is that for me, NOTHING will compensate for a misfire at the end of a romance.

Not clever dialogue; not handsome, witty actors; not somebody's nakey-nakey flesh; not distractingly accurate costumes; not lines of Shakespeare professionally rendered; not NOTHING.

Fail, fail, irredeemable, most grievous fail (as a romance)... and all because of the last twelve minutes. 
So... two questions: First, what are your go-to feel good romantic movies (and I know some of you have already responded to my Facebook rant on this same topic, so...) Second, what are the mortal sins that for you render a romance an absolute betrayal of you as a reader?

You don't have to name names, and it can be something small. For example, I cannot abide a modern hero referring to a female over the age of eighteen (and under the age of, let's say, seventy-nine) as a girl. She's a woman, a lady, a female, but if she's no longer a minor, she's not a girl.

Says me.
What says you?

To one commenter, I'll send a $50 Amazon gift card, and you can get you some GOOD movies for chasing off the winter blahs (and anybody who wants my copy of "Shakespeare" is welcome to it).

115 comments:

  1. Prince of Persia! Yes, tons of others, Romancing the Stone, Princess Bride and lots of others. I love the adventure and wit and humor and the way the romance develops. :) In Prince of Persia, it's that aggravatingly almost kiss. I loved it! It was "almost" so many times and the suspense was just building and building and... loved the end. :)

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    1. Hitchkock said "Suspense is better than surprise," and he knew a thing or two about pacing. The entire Indian film industry does a booming business without having the hero and heroine EVER do more than kiss on screen... So, I'll add "Prince of Persia" to my list!

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  2. My go-to feel good romantic movie is definitely the Northanger Abbey adaptation with Felicity Jones. I just love it.

    But my pet hate with romance movies is similar to you - it's all about the ending. I don't like fizzled endings, I don't like sad endings, or break up endings, and I *hate* endings where one of the characters die. I just want my happily ever after, ok??? If I sound a little impassioned, you should know that my sister's favorite film as a teen was "Shakespeare in Love" and she insisted that we watched it over and over, despite my pleas.

    xx Helena.

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    1. I think maybe if I was a seamstress, "Shakespeare" might have some appeal, but in addition to the ending, I object to a long movie where NOBODY grows up. At the end, they're all pretty much right back where they started, older, not necessarily wiser, and the Queen, our obvious deus ex machina, hasn't really solved the problems that count. Blech, Phooey, Meh-and-a-half...

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  3. Shakespeare in Love isn't a romance. Couldn't be, because he was a historical figure and we know he was married. Therefore, there couldn't be a traditional HEA with his lady love. It's sort of like going to see Titanic and complaining that the boat sinks. If you're dealing with historical people & events, you can't expect the fairy tale ending. Sorry, Grace, but there it is. ;-)

    That said, I absolutely despise Nicholas Sparks novels because while dealing with totally fictional characters, he writes books that purport to be romances until the very tragic end.

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    1. Mia, I GET that Shakespeare in Love was historical, but he had been separated from Anne by that point and had been for years. As many, many, MANY liberties as they took with history, they could have EASILY taken one more--Master Kent could have continued to act with the players, Colin could have sailed off without his missus, we might have seen The Tempest with Master Kent in a secondary role... even ambiguity would have been more creative than that horrendous fizzle. I absolutely 400 percent agree it wasn't a romance.It also fails the definition of tragedy AND the definition of comedy, which is some kind of achievement right there. The person who insisted I watch this tale assured me it was a romantic comedy--as far as I'm concerned, we're zero for two with that definition.

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    2. Arguably, however, it fit the definition of "let's do a movie with top quality actors that will make us a ton of money and only 1% of our viewers will hate" pretty well...

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  4. I love to watch The Wedding Date (the male hooker reformed - remind you of anyone? ahem, Darius) and Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget is such a screw-up that she reminds me of me, but she does get her happy ending, at least in THIS movie. Adultery never works for me, and a happy ending that isn't doesn't work for me either. P.S. I also hated Shakespeare in Love. Bonnie (bonnieblue at wowway dot com)

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    1. I've heard other readers draw the same line with adultery. It's an absolute no-no, even when it's historically entirely credible (the Georgians were not the most romantic crowd). I liked Diary well enough, though I thought the devices over done, and I'm told the sequel--she's a widow--isn't going over quite as well.

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  5. I second the dislike of Nicholas Sparks, but you do know what you're getting up front. My feel good movies are Moonstruck and You've Got Mail. Too bad they don't make movies like that anymore. :(

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    1. Some of my readers have said the same thing: They don't make 'em like that any more, which is why they read our books!

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  6. The movie I can't stand is Love Actually. I never quite got it. I have not seen Shakespeare in Love though.

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    1. Love Actually wasn't entirely satisfying to me, either. The stunt double couple was completely irrelevant except for some skin, the "enough" guy was kinda pointless, and the gal with the mentally ill brother went nowhere. I guess you can stick Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson and Colin Firth in a movie, and as long as they're happy at the end, the audience ought to be.

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  7. Ok, I'm going to have to agree to disagree on this one, I didn't mention anything on FB but now I feel I have to defend my feelings a little ;) Maybe it's because I first watched this movie on the big screen in my very early 20's and I LOVED it - the costumes, the scenery, the music - it was a feast for the senses. And Tom Stoppard's dialogue is great fun. Also, as a Shakespeare geek and Thespian, so many of the little "inside" jokes and bits of stage history sprinkled throughout were cat nip for me. I think it's like Mia says - this is based on an historical figure, and not a romance. I liked it, I admit it!
    I do have to agree with the Sparks commentary though - can't watch/read his stuff. One was enough for me.

    On to happier things - I mentioned Much Ado on FB, but I think 2 of my all time favorite romantic movies are oldies but goodies: Bringing Up Baby (Hepburn & Grant) and It Happened One Night (Gable & Colbert)

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    1. Melonie, I'm glad you liked it! The movie won award after award, and yes, there was some terrific dialogue, some great bouncing off the Bard's work, and sumptuous costumes. Clearly, a lot of work went into the production, but I'm about story and characters, so.... different strokes.

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  8. I hear the sirens of the grammar police on my tail... "a historic" ;)

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  9. Romanicng the Stone will always be my favourite -- it's still my fix-a-bad-day film. I'm old enough to have seen it at the movie theatre when it first came out, and I remember desperately wanting Joan Wilder's apartment (and her typewriter!).

    But my second fav -- and it's a pretty close second -- is Crossing Delancey, with Amy Irving and Peter Riegert. Love, love, love that film.

    As a reader I need my happy endings -- if they're not handed to me, I need to at least be left with enough material to be able to fill in the blanks and imagine one (like I do with the end of the film Dear Frankie, in which of course Gerard Butler comes back and they meet him at the docks and they all live happily ever after).

    But I also feel betrayed if the happy ending only comes about because the heroine makes an unreasonable sacrifice -- if she gives up a dream or a part of herself for the sake of the hero, who doesn't have to give up anything. Or if she wins the guy by becoming what HE wants her to be, not what she truly is inside (I'm looking at you, Grease!) I hate that.

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    1. To transform a character is hard work, to contrive an ending like Grease... I don't watch it, despite the fun score.

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  10. Oh, I so agree about Nicholas Sparks! Years ago hubbie and I went to see Message in a Bottle without knowing about the ending. What a betrayal of our emotions! I seriously thought about asking for our money back.

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    1. I watched ONE of his movies to see what the fuss was all about, and my reaction was like yours: Never again. Sorrow is not entertainment (for me).

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  11. I liked the movie, even though the ending was not what I wanted. If we assume Shakespeare stayed married to Anne Hathaway (and his will would suggest so), there's no other way to end it. That is, if we believe the Shakespeare authorship story. In any case, Hollywood doesn't care as much for HEAs as we do, so it won awards. I dislike books touted as romance when they're really not. Take Danielle Steele. She is not a romance writer. Bookstores and booksellers need to stop saying she is!

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    1. Agree. Maybe she wrote women's fiction before the term was coined? And as for marriage being an impediment to a permanent union... um, not. Ireland still had no functional divorce laws well into my life time, and all manner of irregular unions were commonplace. If you can contort history enough to put a very wealthy woman on stage, and to have the queen "sneak" into a performance (in that get up?!), then you can certainly come up with enough creativity for one more tweak that at least allows the couple some hope.

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    2. I'm glad to hear someone else express their opinion about Danielle Steel. I was discussing her yesterday with a fellow blogger. She's writes perfect little stories where everyone is super rich, super beautiful and super perfect in every way. Many people like to read this fluff to escape from their own not-so-super world. While I have read many of her books, I have stopped doing so because I want to read novels about real people and real situations. Sorry, Danielle Steel.

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    3. I have to agree with you, Danielle was one of my favorite authors 15 years ago, but the same story told time after time gets boring and nit worth the $8+ I was spending well because I had no Kindle back then so paperback it was. You want a Fantasy to develop when your reading, in my case I want to find something in common with the character you want to 'click' and her characters and books just stopped giving and I stopped reading.

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    4. I have a whole collection of Danielle Steel's books but haven't read any lol. I bought them for my mother to read and even she has said enough is enough. She liked her older books but none of the new ones.

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  12. My go-to movie is always the Princess Bride. It has everything- laughter, intrigue, danger, Wesley, adorable fairy tale romance and an ending of riding your horse off into the sunset. :) I don't like when the heroine is made out to be this feminist/over strong character type of not needing a man. It makes me feel like the romance or movie was wasted then - I want a little bit of needing going on. LOL
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. And a DREAD PIRATE at that. I'm not keen on heroines whose strength is simply that they can out-guy the guys. That doesn't make for much of a character arc for her, and might leave him with much of a job, either.

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  13. I didn't care for this movie either. Too light and fluffy. In addition, I felt like Gwyneth Paltrow's acting was just too silly.

    Another thing I don't care for in books or movies is reading slang is "today's slang." I'm always taken aback by that. In other words, I like for everything in a storyline to stay true to the time period.

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    1. And today's slang varies by the month, at least, if not the day. Fortunately, I know next to none of it, and what I do know of current slang I learn from the Dictionary of Urban Slang (wonder site!).

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  14. I enjoyed Shakespeare in a love, actually. My go to romance movie is When Harry Met Sally. And Ghost was pretty good

    Wha loses me as a reader is when facts in a book are wrong. I will give that book a 1 or 2 stars- NOTHING turns me off more

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    1. I have made factual errors in several of my books (that I know about), and it's bad news all around. As much research as you do, as careful as you try to be, in a 100,000 word book, you might use a word that didn't exist then (cheeky isn't Regency, for example), or you'll just not think to question when a certain flower was first cultivated in England. ARGH.

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  15. I just watched "Remains Of The Day" with sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and spent almost 3 hours rooting for them and crying hoping and waiting for the end just to fizzle out....really, it was supposed to be a highly emotional, romantic film. I saw very little romance and the only emotion I felt was anger at myself for wasting almost 3 hours. My feel good movies are "Sleepless In Seattle", "The Goodbye Girl".

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    1. OK, thanks. You've spared me from having to watch "Remains of the Day," even if it does have Anthony Hopkins in it.

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  16. Winter viewing? I love the Christmas classics: National Lampoos Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, Panes, Trains, and Automobiles, A Christmas Story, Home Alone ( I, II, III), Jingle All The Way, White Christmas, and many others (I have about 30!)

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    1. But I notice you don't include Love Actually, which isn't real heavy on the Christmas theme, but does use the Christmas holidays to set its clock.

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  17. Like you, Grace, I'm pretty selfish with my time and if I decide to watch something, it had better entertain me from beginning to END. The same with a book. I want a story that keeps me turning pages and something at the end that makes me turn one more page...just in case there's an epilogue or maybe a peek into the author's next work. Same with a movie. I want to come away from devoting my precious time with some sense of growth or at least a simple sigh. One of my favorite all time movies is Steel Magnolias. It has a touch of sadness (yes, ma'am I cried all three times I watched it in one day) but I also laughed until my sides hurt and at the end there was closure for the story line as well the lady watching it...that would be me!

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    1. I agree, that's a fine movie, Carolyn, and I can see why it would appeal to you.

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  18. I have two "go to" romantic movies, "Four Weddings and a Funeral" is a dear favorite, as well as "The Princess Bride." "Nottinghill" and "You've Got Mail" are close seconds.

    The biggest supposedly romantic movie that was a huge and terrible disappointment was "City of Angels." It looked so good from the trailer, but I wasn't prepared for the ending. I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but boy, years later I'm still upset by the ending.

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    1. Exactly the kind of movie I want to avoid. Life provides us with enough upset that we don't need extra helpings from our entertainment.

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  19. She laughed, she cried, she kissed X number of dollars goodbye.
    Back when I was a bookstore manager (not as much fun as it sounds) I read a book by Rona Jaffe. Spoiler alert--though I'm not sure any of her stuff is still in print. It had great characters, but one in particular was built so you would fall in love with her. What did the author do? The bitch killed her off at the end. I was furious. While it took courage, it was a cheap way to manipulate emotions. I thought, okay, I'll give her another try and started a second book by her. Sure enough, I'm reading along until I think...hey.... I looked at the end and the bitch did it again! Fool me once--well, you know the rest.
    The other I remember throwing across the room had a woman working on the technical side (not an engineer) of a TV station making as much money as she did as an anchor. Not happening. Hubby works as a tech director, so I know.
    I do have my hero call the heroine "my best girl" but he's a medically retired Marine and she's an Indiana State Trooper he respects and knows can kick ass. It's almost a shared joke.

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    1. Oh, Julee, tell us what you really think--though I absolutely agree. There's no kicking kittens in romance, and no messing with our heads, either.

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  20. I love Serendipity and Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen). Those are my go to romantic movies. I agree with you on the referring to women as girls, or worse treating them like little girls. Yuck. That's a mood killer for sure.

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    1. Way back a thousand years ago, there were heroes written who'd refer to the heroine as "Little one," and that skeeved me out even when I was still a kid. Is she supposed to call him, "Big one?"

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  21. I read a book last week that is the first one in a trilogy, the others are not out yet and it was in the historical romance category. This book did not have an ending at all and it really got to me. It didn't end with a big cliff hanger, which I might have been able to deal with, but two of the characters were just out in a field at big estate waiting for her father to return and that was that. Also the characters did not have a defining role to me. I am still not sure if the bad guy is actually bad and the supposed hero of the book is anything but. Being the person that I am, I suppose I will read the next one, or at least skim through it, because I want to know about this supposed bad guy.

    As for go to movies, I don't watch a lot of TV or movies anymore, but back when I used to some of my favorites were "While You Were Sleeping" I could relate to Lucy back then on so many levels, "Bed of Roses", there was just something about this movie that really touched me and one I have watched many, many times. "The Last of the Mohicans" one of the few movies that is actually better than the book. "Persuasion" with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. "Much Ado About Nothing". I am also a big fan of some of the old black & white movies, especially Cary Grant ones. I know I mentioned "I Was a Male War Bride" it was such a fun movie for me to watch and Eric and I still have a laugh over some parts of that movie, especially the scene were Cary Grant has to sleep in a chair so the lady can have the bed and he can't quite figure out what to do with his arms. Then of course the scene where he dresses up like a lady is just hilarious and it's based on a true story.

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    1. You have to wonder, with the historical, if somebody didn't write a book they really liked, then realized it was 240,000 words. Hey! That's like THREE books worth, so why not get three titles out of??? JR Ward's books are being published in German as two books, with a cliffhanger at the end of the first book.... except the production schedule calls for SIX MONTHS between the halves of the book. Hmm.

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  22. I love Bridget Jones' Diary. Bridget is a likeable character that I can relate to. On the other hand, I can't stand those romantic comedies that get way too silly that I have to roll my eyes.

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    1. I also think Colin Firth is well cast in that one. A hero isn't always the handsome swain with the killer smile, is he?

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  23. My favorite movie is The Notebook! Loved that movie.
    What turns me off in a book or movie is cheating/adultery.

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    1. You'd get a lot of Amen's on the cheating, Jen. Not so sure about The Notebook....

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  24. I just watched one of my all time fav movies yesterday... Sleepless in Seattle.. I just adore this movie and could watch it a million times.. What is not to like about his movie... It has Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks and refers to another all time fav movie An Affair to Remember... Two for the price of one...
    I agree that Shakespeare in Love was not the greatest movies, and it had Gywenth Paltrow in it and I am sorry but I am just not a fan. She does nothing for me. I find her what I term an insipid actress. But it did have Colin Firth... so there was some good to it. It's not the era or the time it was set in, I don't mind a little bit of misconception in a movie, but it is how the actors bring the words to life that makes me want more.. There can be a little fict to the facts, but not if the acting is bland and that is what I thought of Shakespeare in Love.. I have only saw it the one time and never again..

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    1. Sleepless is often cited as real romance, not a romantic comedy, but a romance, and films do that so rarely. And I've never found Tom Hanks a convincing romantic lead, but he's a convincing ACTOR. And yeah, Gywn seemed to do a lot of reciting Shakespeare and wearing fancy clothes... or no clothes at all.

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  25. One of my go to movies is Dirty Dancing. I love that movie. Three things that turn me off in a book are an extremely cruel hero or heroine, infidelity or characters who act dumb.

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    1. But Dirty Dancing doesn't have the right ending! And yet, that ending, where Baby grows up, and leaves the hero a better man, is far more acceptable to me than what transpired in Shakespeare. Then too, Patrick Swayze could cut the heck out of the rug.

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  26. I watched twenty minutes of it and gave up... I completely sympathize with the sentiment. My favorite romantic movies are The Princess Bride, The Saint, and Dangerous Beauty...

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    1. OK, when I have movie night sleepover, YOU can bring the chocolate cupcakes. No Viola's allowed. I kept expecting the movie to pull out of its tailspin, but... nope. (And so far, The Princess Bride seems to be the front runner...)

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  27. I know I am really dating myself....but my go to movies are oldies, especially those with Cary Grant (love Arsenic and Old Lace, His Gal Friday, etc). I love the humor that went along with the love story. My more present-day one would be Pretty Woman.

    In the books I read, I expect them to stay true to the era they are set in....no modern-day slang language in a Regency-era book, please!

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    1. I can recite a lot of dialogue from Pretty Woman line for line. I wish they'd make the sequel, but Richard's got some age on him...

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  28. I despise the use of a certain word in the storylines..the dreaded 'c-word' used to describe a woman's body part. I know it is just a word but it is the meaning or the intent with which it is used. There is no place in a romance storyline for such a word-and in my opinion-there is nothing romantic about the word. It may be just me, but the c-word is a word I can read without.... ;)

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    1. Sandy, I think a lot of readers would agree. I've managed to write about twenty books without using that one, though I've had my guys drop an f-bomb or two in male company.

      Other readers have cut me loose because of taking the Lord's name in vain. I try to watch that one, but it's period-appropriate, and sometimes it's more of a prayer than a curse.

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  29. My mother's favorite movies were Laura and Now, Voyager. For silly romance I love the classic musicals.

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    2. Forty Second Street is my first, best, most fave production musical. LOVE it.

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  30. I personally own a 400 book strong romance collection and bunches of sappy movies and romance travesties are the worst in any movie. I watch and read this mess to feel good and sappy and want to have that kind of mush injected into my less than perfect romantic life. apparen tly book style romance is not bred into men but oh well hence my book consumption. I personally hate the storyof Romeo and Juliet and as a theatre major I get tons of Shakespeare exposure. Myfavorie romantic comedy is the Gerard butler Katherine higel flick the ugly truth. so funny and it happens accidentally. and then when they realize it it is so sweet!

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    1. You said the Gerard Butler word. Hadn't heard of this one will have to check it out. Funny is good!

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  31. LOL! I saw your rant on FB & totally agree with the need for a HEA. In books, as in movies, I need the romance to be finalized in that book & no loose ends. To be continued does not work for me. I also don't like when the hero & heroine end up living separately, even for part of the year. This has happened in a couple of books I have read. And if you don't want a real downer of a movie ending, never watch City of Angels. The worst!

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    1. Two thumbs down for City of Angels. Will avoid like the plague.

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  32. I think I remember watching Shakespeare in Love but it was such a boring movie. Maybe that's why I am not sure if I watched it or not. I don't have any romance movies that I like. As much as I love reading romance, I prefer fantasy books so I end up watching more action and adventure movies. I don't need a HEA. One of my favorite movies actually doesn't have one, at least not the first film.

    One thing I can't stand is a lot of swearing. I don't care if the character has led a hard life, was raised in the slums of the city, etc... Those aren't good enough reasons for them to drop the F-bomb in every other sentence.

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    1. Many would agree with you. I like the way it was used in Love Actually--as a really big boo-boo, that allowed the hero of the vignette to put the heroine at ease with his own OOPS bad language. Cute, and done.

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  33. Thank you so much for your first question! It's been a long time since I have thought of what my 'go to' romance movie would be. I had a movie pop in my head but it was such a random sweet long ago picture it took some time to find the correct title and actors! With the help of IMDB and working backwards I found it! The title is" The MatchMaker" with Janeane Garofalo and David O'Hara made in (1997) .

    Garofalo plays a campaign manager for an annoying American Senator. He wants to pump up his Irish votes and sends Garofalo to Ireland to pull something of use from a town he thinks his ancestors came from. She, of course, is a cynical, brash, smart, lonely woman entering a beautiful quaint village in the midst of their Match Making season! Sparks fly between her and another lonely Irishman ( played by a not very well known actor David O'Hara) and a beautiful story unfolds of how sometimes taking a chance is the only thing you can do to let love unfold. I will now have to find it to watch again, that sort of story never gets old, thank you for asking!

    Second question: Most annoying thing that could ruin a good romance novel? As many have said, modern language and attitude in a Historical Romance. I will give a book one mistake (maybe), after that that author is on my black list, there is just no forgiving that sort of writing.

    Now I'm off to find that movie, bet Amazon will be the best place to start,* hint hint* :)

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    1. Subtle, Cathy. I usually watch The Quiet Man on St. Patrick's Day, might have to change it up this year.

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    2. LOL thought you'd like that ;) Please do give this a go, just found out it is available on Netflix the disc program. What fun this whole conversation was, I brought my hard work to another book group where we all wound up sharing favorite Romantic movies. Thanks!

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  34. The movie would be "Man In The Moon".

    Sin would be a guy cheating with the girls sister or friend. I mean, how can you get over that when you have to live with that person all the time. So uncool on both their parts. How can you be happy for either when it is in your face all the time???

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    1. Sabrina, very interesting that you should mention that. I just judged a contest entry where a lady is a bit tipsy and kisses her fiance's best friend, and he kisses her back. They're horrified, and years later, when they're both single again, that one kiss has left them with a ton baggage around betraying their fiance/friend. I thought it was a clever set up, but TRICKY.

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  35. I adored this movie. When I saw it in the theater, I knew it was a winner. The acting, the colors, the pageantry, Dame Dench. And it ended the way it was supposed to end. There was never going to be a happy ending; she was betrothed to Colin and in that time, happy endings seldom happened. Women were chattel and sold to the highest bidder. Did I hate that they didn't end up together? Yes, but throughout the movie you could see the writers were giving us what 'might' have been the muse to Romeo and Juliet. Their own lives paralleled R&J except for the death scene (which was wonderfully done in the play). Adored it.

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    1. I did get the sense we were supposed to dread that Viola and Will might fall into the I'm-too-tricky-for-my-shirt ending that got Romeo and Juliet into such tragic trouble (though of course, they were united in death, which at the time was a kind of score!). And if I hadn't been expecting a romantic comedy, I might have been better able to appreciate the movie. MANY people loved it, or at least, many critics and actors did.

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    2. If you'll email me your snail mail addy at graceburrowes@yahoo.com, I'll send my copy of Shakespeare to you--happily!

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  36. Oh YES, Grace!!! My mom and I watched this together and ended up shrieking at the screen for the duration of the ending, then ranted for nearly an hour. THEN we had to heal our trauma by rewatching EVER AFTER. :)

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    1. YES! THAT is a good movie. THAT is a romance that knows how to romance. None of this historical accuracy at the end baloney. I mean, were we supposed to believe that Queen Elizabeth sneaked into the theater in that get up with all those handsome swainly dudes and six black horses, fer cryin' inna bucket?!

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    2. Just saw EVER AFTER on the plane back from Germany to Australia. My choices were action movie, zombie movie, animated movie (fell asleep during most of those) or a fairy tale with happy ending. I have it on DVD and yes, it is a lovely movie that I have watched many a time. When in doubt, fall back to the well tested movies. LOL

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  37. I don't want your copy of the movie, I hate movies that don't have a good ending or leaves you hanging. My all time favorite movies are Dirty Dancing and The Holiday. I would love it now if someone called me a girl right now because I am way beyond the age of a girl but I see where you are coming from.

    quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

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    1. That's why I put an upper age limit on it. When some of my clients who are quite old refer to themselves or their friends as girls, I figure it's an endearment, and at that age, they can call each other anything they please.

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  38. I don't know if this was advertised as romance, but I hated Moulin Rogue. I hate romances where the leads have no chemistry and that applies to non-romances where the couple's relationship has some part in the story line.
    mlreed1982 AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Not sure how it was billed, other than as a period piece, and kinda hard to watch. Such lovely art, such a trying story.

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  39. Someone mentioned Message in a Bottle, the worst movie I've ever seen! I will never watch or have anything to do with anything from Nicholas Sparks again. I like fun romances, especially if there's a bit of action in them, like Kate and Leopold, Romancing the Stone, and my favorite old movie, The Quiet Man.

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    1. And NO PATTY FINGERS!!! Will think of you in March, Barbara, when I'm watching John and Maureen, and waiting for everybody to "Cheer like Protestants!"

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  40. I'm glad you have enjoyed Forever Young, it's one of my favorites and has that HEA that I thought wasn't going to happen. I agree with "girl." When I worked, I had to call all the men "Mr." but I was HIS GIRL. I was a married women so I was not his girl. I think it is very demeaning. I don't even like it when other women call each other girls. Right now I am trying to figure out why everyone is raving about American Hustler - it put me to sleep lol.

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    1. Sorry, that was American Hustle lol.

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    2. I'll shuffle it to the bottom of the stack, but you're right--it's getting a lot of hype.

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  41. 1. pride and prejudice
    2. don't like cheating, no HEA

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. But you have to tell us WHICH P&P.

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    2. the one with Colin Firth

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  42. I watch Sixteen Candles and Princess Bride over and over again. Colin Firth's P & P is another pleasure. A mortal sin (don't want to wreck it for anyone) for me is Message in a Bottle. HATED it, threw the book across the room and won't read the author.

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    1. We've put Message in a Bottle in the same category as City of Angels. Nope, NOT EVER.

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  43. I love The Princess Bride, Sweet Home Alabama, The Proposal, and Romancing the Stone to name a few. I will always watch these when they are on. I find that I don't care for Nicolas Sparks movies. I will watch some musicals, but the Phantom of the Opera is by far my favorite.

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    1. What I love about Phantom is that in its way, it has a happy ending. Even the Phantom learns how to love, not merely possess. And Nicholas Sparks, well, that guy better not show his face around here.

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  44. I agreed with you on FB about Shakespeare in Love, especially the ending and why, history nut that I am. I like a lot of the movies mentioned too but I no longer go to the movies much anymore. However, I do watch them on TV. I've watched both the original and new versions of "The Thomas Crowne Affair" now and the newer one is better. Not only did the original not have a HEA but the new one starred Pierce Bronsan who is really sexy! I also liked the plot better and Renee Ruso makes all of us older women proud!

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    1. OH Trudy, I am so with you on the Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce and Renee!! Oh my gosh, so hot...incredible.

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    2. What I recall of Thomas Crowne is the theme, which was ear-worm sticky. Will take a peek at the newer version.

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  45. Oh, Grace, you crack me up! What a great, bracing rant.

    Shakespeare in Love wasn't a favorite and I agree wit you. Aside from pretty costumes and people, there's not much of a muchness there.

    My go to romantic filmick experiences are:
    North & South (with--wait for it--Richard Armitage)
    Jane Eyre (with Fassbender)
    Princess Bride (what's not to love?)

    I will put some of these recommendations on my list. Winter's not just coming, it's already here.

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    1. North and South works well for me, though I find there are scenes I skip... and yet, it's also one of those "each time I watch it I see something I missed before," tales, and it makes me want to check out the rest of Mrs. Gaskell's work.

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  46. I love Ever After and Chocolat (they are my happy movies). But I also love the tragic romances of Romeo and Juliet and Tristan and Isolde.

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    1. Chocolat worked for me, or maybe it was Johnny Depp that worked for me. Sometimes, I'm not very discerning.

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  47. Hi, Grace! I thought Geoffrey Rush was great in Shakespeare in Love. ^_^

    My go-to feel good movies? Jane Austen adaptations! Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Emma --

    Also, Hayao Miyazaki always puts me in a happy mood after I watch his animated movies, especially Howl's Moving Castle (based on Diane Wynne Jones's book).

    Finally, 300. Yes, they all die in the end. But, all those half-naked men always makes me smile. ^_^

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    1. Tin, I fear you might be easily amused, though 300 is a LOT of nakey-nakey fighter mans.

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  48. I have not seen this movie, but I enjoy reading historical romances!

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  49. when it comes to feel good movies, particularly in romance, I tend to prefer the old classics. but I can understand the frustration of watching (or reading) something that everyone seems to love and rave over only to end up wondering what the deal was as it just didn't work (at least not better than ok) for you. :( haven't seen that particular film but will admit the previews/clips didn't appeal to me. I say go find some good old classics to "wipe the taste" out of your mouth & perk you back up :) John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara, Cary Grant rom coms, Spenser Tracy & Katherine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, or for more recent Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan. Enjoy :)

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    1. I had occasion to reflect: the first movie that had me laughing to hard it hurt was "McClintock," the mud slide scene at the end. As a kid, that just 'bout killed it, it struck me so funny.

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  50. I am with you, Grace. A bad ending can ruin the whole book or movie for me. It can also render that author on my ''do not buy'' list.
    Favorite romance movie? Return to Me. Hope Floats. PS I love you. I can go on. ;-)

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    1. Others have mentioned, PS, and I recall Hope Floats, but will have to check out Return to Me.

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  51. Hi Grace! I have to agree, a bad ending makes me hate a movie. I refuse to have anything to do with anything Nicholas Sparks! I adore Princess Bride and it is one that I'll watch anytime.

    I've gotten so fed up with what I consider bad endings that I gave up on most feel good movies a long time ago. I stick to books for my romantic HEAs. :-) For my viewing pleasure I stick to action, superhero (mmmm Avengers), fantasy (LoTR and Hobbit) and comedies mostly. My husband and kids love that I don't want to watch most chick flicks even though they tease me about my reading choices.

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    1. I wonder if Thor makes your list... or Loki?

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  52. After reading all of these comments, I feel like maybe I am too easily entertained. I haven't seen Shakespeare in Love yet but most of the other movies mentioned I have seen and enjoyed! I love the old romantic movies and the older actors. I love many of the newer romantic movies also such as Sleepless in Seattle, Ghost, Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias etc. But I loved Notebook and The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks. I don't have to have a HEA to enjoy the book or the movie. Life situations don't always end with with HEA so I take it in stride if the book is written well and the characters rounded out...

    I have loved reading your Lonely Lords books and have read every one of them. Only one thing bothers me about them. Some of the earlier ones have the same later lords in them and they are already married so that takes the surprise out of the later books as to how they turn out. Still can't wait for them to come out though...David will be here soon and I am interested in your "Lonelier Lords" trio too. Any more information about those Lords?

    Thank you for the opportunity to give my opinion for what it's worth...also any movie with Colin Firth is a good one to me! LOL
    Joy

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  53. I've seen SiL and loved it. But then I didn't expect a HEA either. From this side I have to admit you are right and it isn't a feel good movie. I laughed a lot though. As already mentioned on FB "Much ado about nothing" (1993) is probably a better Shakespeare feel good movie and you have two HEAs, although I think that in Beatrice's relationship there would be a lot of witty arguments.
    My alltime favourite movie is "Ladyhawke" (1985). It has adventure, sword fighting, a hero and a beautiful heroine (Hauer and Pfeiffer), two funny guys (Broderick and McKern), who still can do serious, magic and a spell, my fav animals (wolf and hawke), a despicable villain (Wood) and a HEA. It is just a suggestion.
    On the HEA with historical persons (someone mentioned Titanic and oh, how I wished only once they would have rammed that iceberg frontally and had a slight chance of survival of ship and 1517 people), it is a literary freedom to give your characters a different ending than in real life. The "what if..." idea can sometimes lead to the most amazing stories. Ok, she may not be a real person but my favourite example for this would be "the little mermaid". Only Disney could give that tragic piece of fiction (fairy tale by Hans-Christian Andersen) a happy ending. Till Arielle it was my least fav story, because the ending was too sad for my romance loving mind.

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  54. I watched this movie while I was sick a few years ago-- I was so charmed. But then it ended the way it did and I was like what?!?! No HEA= me never watching it again. I don't like investing my time and emotions into characters who don't get together in the end.

    My go to feel good movies are (and all end in HEA...) : Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightley), Emma (Romola Garai), The Princess Bride, The Holiday, Northanger Abbey (Felicity Jones), Lost in Austen, How to Steal a Million... Happy sigh.

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  55. I LOVE reading all of these answers. I turned off of Nicholas Sparks when I saw Message in a Bottle as well...I ranted around the house for hours after watching it, much to my hubby's entertainment. It is rare that I sit through a movie and I was infuriated at having wasted my time on it, lol. I think that Pretty Woman and Ladyhawke are two of my all time favorite movie romances and I agree, adultery pretty much turns me off...probably due to a childhood destroyed by it!

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