When Harry boned Sally: Ranking the protagonists of top-10 romantic comedies from least to most sexual chemistry
Today is my day to shine. Today is the day that I use the good name of Student Life Independent Newspaper as a soapbox to express my controversial and impassioned views about one of my favorite subjects: Movie Couples and their Levels of Sexual Repression. I consulted multiple sources to compile my list of the generally-agreed-upon “Top 10 Rom-Coms of All Time*” and have ranked them from least to most sexual compatibility.
*Disclaimer: I am excluding rom-coms that focus on a large, ensemble cast (AKA “Love, Actually”) because there isn’t one main couple to rank, and the frustrating lack of LGBT-centric, mainstream romantic comedies means that none of them made it in the top 10.
10. “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”:
There is no genuine emotion or chemistry in this movie, and that’s because Kate Hudson’s character is not a real person. She is, in fact, what Amy in “Gone Girl” calls the “cool girl.” If you haven’t read “Gone Girl” you’re missing out on one of the best crazy-yet-powerful woman rants in all of literary history. Basically, Amy’s “cool girl” is literally Kate Hudson this movie, a “a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football and poker, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer” and also happens to “jam hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth” while “somehow maintaining a size 2” (Gillian Flynn). Not to mention this movie uses a frankly impressive number of sexist stereotypes when Kate Hudson tries to get rid of Matthew McConaughey. I’m bored, 0/10 chemistry because Kate Hudson’s character is nowhere close to any real woman to ever have existed. NEXT.
9. “Notting Hill”:
This movie is not good, and I don’t just say that because I hate Hugh Grant, which I do. This movie has everything I should love: bookstores, fun architecture and plenty of repressed feelings. However, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant simply don’t have chemistry. Their relationship isn’t focused enough on the friendship part of romance that makes a good rom-com work. I watched this movie with my sister and we both think it sucks, please don’t riot, you Julia Roberts fans out there! The chemistry in this movie is maybe 3/10, and I just say that because of that one promising scene at his sister’s birthday party and also the bookstore thing (can you tell I’m a Comparative Literature major?).
This movie is so much fun but mostly because of the weird-fun French indie filmmaking than the love story. Nothing against “Amelie;” I just don’t think it works as a rom-com. Artsy movie chemistry is different from normal movie chemistry, and a lot of what bumps this film up to number 8 is the slowest burn imaginable. Amelie is also a very cute character, and since she’s endearing, she and any good guy instantly have a chemistry rating of at least 4/10.
7. “Sleepless in Seattle”:
Okay, so Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan will appear again later on this list in a movie in which they have pretty iconic chemistry, but this film is not so hot (no pun intended). Sure, the fact that Tom Hanks has an adorable young kid in this movie bumps up his hot-rom-com-lead score by at least two points, and of course, Meg Ryan is wonderful, but I don’t buy this relationship as much as I feel like I should. 5/10, and it only goes this high because of Ryan and the floating house.
6. “10 Things I Hate About You”:
This film is the one good romantic comedy set in high school. High schoolers do not have personalities, and that’s a straight-up fact! This movie works because it plays really hilariously on high school stereotypes. This movie is the opposite of “Notting Hill;” everything about it should make me hate it, but I actually think that Heath Ledger with Shaggy Hair as a bad-boy-turned good works. 7/10.
I know it’s weird because they’re step-siblings, and I promise I’m not ignoring the creepiness of it all, but Josh and Cher really are great, chemistry-wise. That one scene where Cher corrects Josh’s girlfriend on Shakespeare, and he laughs and gets broken up with? The Cher making fun of Josh dressing like an art student? The fact it’s based on “Emma,” the second-best Jane Austen book with the first-best heroine? Solid 7.2/10 because, again, the weird step-sibling debacle. Curse you, marriage!
4. “You’ve Got Mail”:
This movie is what “Sleepless in Seattle” wishes it was. Wouldn’t you know it, having your romantic leads actually meet each other in the first act is…good for the love story? A much better use of bookstores than another title on this list that shall remain nameless. The fact that one kiss alone in the last minute of the movie is everything we need out of the whole film? 8/10.
3. “Bridget Jones’ Diary”:
Colin Firth as the Darcy-figure will get me every time. From the 1995 “Pride & Prejudice” to this masterpiece of a rom-com, Colin Firth shows himself to be the master of subtlety. “I like you. Just as you are.” Hello? Also, Hugh Grant loses out in this movie which is sexy to me. The final kiss gives this movie a well-deserved 9/10.
This movie is so weird, and it’s even weirder that Cher and Nicholas Cage have absolutely explosive sexual chemistry. Probably the most unexpectedly compatible combo ever to have made a movie together, Cher and Nicholas Cage have unfathomably high repression, compatibility and cuteness quotients despite the fact that they are probably the last two people on Earth I would’ve expected to bone/love each other. I love this movie. 9.6/10.
1. “When Harry Met Sally”:
Not to be incredibly cliche, but this is the best rom-com of all time. Yes, it is incredibly problematic in its thesis about male/female friendships. It is also the most beautiful tale of best friends who realize that they’re deeply in love with each other. The beauty of this movie is the friendship of Harry and Sally; they belong together platonically before they ever realize they love each other romantically. Inadvertent, subtle sexual chemistry is the best sexual chemistry. Oodles of repressed emotions. Thank you, Miss Nora Ephron! 10/10 baby!
Honorable mentions go to two films that are literally some of the best rom-coms ever made and are consistently ignored even though their leads have higher sexual chemistry than most of the films on this list: “About Time” and “Leap Year.”