Dr. Feelgood and I (finally) watched The Lost City (6.1 rating at IMDB) and enjoyed it. I, of course, beamed through all the love for romance novels. If you’ve not seen it, Sandra Bullock stars as Loretta Sage, a romance novelist who has lost her mojo–she’s the author of a wildly popular series featuring an adventurous female archeologist, Dr. Lovemore, and her studly perfect lover, Dash. Channing Tatum plays the cover model for Dash–whose real name is Allan–and the two of them, in real life, get embroiled in a wild, adventure. The movie steals from–with respect–Romancing the Stone (6.9 at IMDB), Raiders of the Lost Ark (8.4 at IMDB) , Mr. and Mrs. Smith (6.5 at IMDB), and makes great use of the tropes romance readers love.
Unlike most pop culture which, historically, has belittled romance, The Lost City makes it clear that romance novels are THE BOMB. Channing Tatum is actually moving as he talks about how he was so embarrassed to be on the cover of Loretta’s first novel until one day a fan stopped him on the streets to thank him–the books he stars in had given her so much joy. Again and again, the movie slips in plugs for the genre–it was lovely to see.
That said, the movie is fun but not great, very much worth a watch but unlikely to be a film I’d see again. (Although every scene with Brad Pitt is worth a rewatch!) That is in part because I love romance adventure films and have several others I do rewatch with some regularity.
For me, there is not greater romance adventure than Raiders of the Lost Ark, truly the best of that series and the best film of 1981–Chariots of Fire (7.1 at IMDB) be damned! The love story between Indy and Marion is one between equals–I could never really love any of the sequels because Indy let Marion–again–get away. (I never saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (6.1 at IMDB) in which they reunited however.) It just doesn’t get any better than Indy and Marion running around Egypt, escaping bad guys, exchanging quips, and saving the world.
Then, The Princess Bride (8.0 at IMDB). A flawless film and one with so many perfect quotes.
Next up for me is a tie between Romancing the Stone and The Mummy (7.1 at IMDB). Over the years, the latter has risen in stature–Weiss and Fraser were perfectly cast and the adventure backstory in the film is actually interesting. Romancing the Stone is a classic in its own right. Michael Douglass infused Jack Colton with just enough bad boy that it isn’t until the last minute of the film that Kathleen Turner’s Joan Wilder knows his heart–and that boat–really are hers.
I also love The Mask of Zorro (6.8 at IMDB), the film that introduced the movie going world to Catherine Zeta Jones. Like all the other films I’ve mentioned, the casting here is superb–Banderas is at peak sexy, Hopkins is as great as always, and Jones exudes charm and strength. The sword fight scene between Banderas and Jones is one of the all time great seduction scenes–the two can’t resist each other and neither can we.
Other contenders are The African Queen (7.7 at IMBD) and the first Pirates of the Caribbean (8.1 at IMDB) film. The first just isn’t my cup of tea—-I know. I know. I’m a terrible person.–and in the second the romance is completely eclipsed by Depp’s and Rush’s performances. Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a good time but a little too full of malice for me.
What have I missed? What is your favorite romantic adventure film?