Tologs Try: Rom-coms


Graciela Tiu '23

Siena Urquiza ‘23 (left), Sara Green ‘23 (middle), and Julia Krider ‘23 (right) get into the rom-com spirit — and a tragic news-room love triangle ensues.

Romantic comedies — we all know them. But do we all love them? Here at the Veritas Shield, Siena Urquiza (Editor-in-Chief), Julia Krider (Managing Editor), and Sara Green (Social Media Manager) have mixed opinions. In an attempt to get to the bottom of our true feelings, we decided to each watch some of the most beloved rom-coms and report back on our experiences. So, here we are. Just three girls, standing in front of our readers, asking you to love our movie reviews. P.S.: spoilers ahead!

Clueless (1995): For the few that haven’t watched this classic 1995 romantic comedy, it’s about Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a rich girl who seems to have the perfect life. After being dethroned as the most popular girl in school, Cher decides to turn over a new leaf and volunteers to become head of a disaster relief program. Yes! According to the film, deciding to do one good, unselfish, deed frees you from the guilt you feel after being not such a great person your whole life!!! She eventually realizes that she is falling for Josh (Paul Rudd), a socially conscious and philosophical college student who also happens to be her ex-stepbrother. 

Although this movie will always have a special place in my heart, I seem to have more negative than positive feedback. “Clueless” is a love story with many of the classic tropes seen in rom-coms: setting up teachers, giving some ‘poor’ girl that they deemed in great need of help a makeover, character lapse then character development. I suppose most of my distaste for the movie stems from the age and nature of Josh and Cher’s relationship. First of all, let’s talk about how strange it is that Josh had to be her step-brother. I personally think a close family friend would have made a perfectly acceptable love interest. Not to mention that he’s dating a 16-year old??? Although he’s probably closer to 18 than 20, I don’t love the idea of a college student dating a SOPHOMORE in high school. Something else that irked me is the constant use of now-outdated and offensive terminology, which I guess many pass this off as a “product of its time,” but it’s still very uncomfortable. 

Despite all of my criticism, I actually enjoy watching this movie and have probably seen it five times. I, too, am just a teenage girl who can’t help but love Paul Rudd, 1990’s fashion and absurd love stories. So, I’ll rate this movie a 6/10.  – Siena

500 Days of Summer (2009): Too sad. 10/10. 

“500 Days of Summer” tells the story of Summer (Zoey Deschanel) and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the ups and downs of their love story. As the opening monologue warns, however, this is not exactly a love story with a happy ending. I cried. Twice. 

I love how this movie doesn’t paint Summer and Tom’s relationship as black and white. Summer leads Tom on, but she’s up front about it. Tom is obsessed with Summer, cares about her, but demands what Summer doesn’t want to give him. I’m simultaneously for and against both of them. Summer frustrates me a little bit but at the same time I feel the need to defend her against my own brain. Tom is understandably frustrated, but he can’t expect Summer to give into what he wants — a committed relationship. This movie is excellently written. Although the non-linear timeline is a bit confusing and haphazard, I honestly didn’t mind it. It gave the story a sense of reality; everyone replays moments of their past in their mind over and over, and the movie’s editing replicated that feeling. 

Overall, I absolutely 100% loved this movie. HIGHLY highly recommend — even if you don’t love the Smiths. – Julia

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018): “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” has everything a hit 2018 teen rom-com should have: painfully inaccurate on-screen texting, a fake-boyfriend-and-girlfriend to real-boyfriend-and-girlfriend scheme, a cringeworthy “nice guy” character, an underdeveloped yet tragic main character backstory, and 20-something actors playing characters barely halfway into their teens. This movie, following the love story of high schoolers Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), is a melting pot of all things late 2010’s — the type that you would watch to remember the good old days when we were all on Snapchat with the flower crown filter, posing with peace signs and duck lips. While this film certainly didn’t capture my attention by its half-baked plot or characters (I admit I fell asleep at the end), the nostalgia-bait for a time that is so close yet so far made it worthwhile. Woke up the next morning thinking Fortnite was cool again. 3/10. – Sara

Crazy Stupid Love (2011): “Crazy Stupid Love” is a rom com that stars Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer, Steve Carell as Cal Weaver and Emma Stone as Hannah. Cal and his wife separate, which absolutely devastates Cal because he adored his wife. Jacob sees Cal in a bar and decides to give him a makeover. Cal becomes a typical ‘player’, mirroring the actions of Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob enters a serious relationship with Hannah (SPOILER!) who is actually Cal’s daughter. When Cal discovers this, he tells Hannah how ‘terrible’ Jacob is. When she refuses to end their relationship, Cal cuts her off. Of course, everything ends well. Cal ends up back with his wife, Jacob and Hannah stay together and their son gets, in my opinion, very uncomfortable closure from being in love with his babysitter. Aside from the ending with the babysitter and son, this was a great movie that had me laughing and on the verge of tears. 8/10 – Siena

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003): “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” follows the adventures of Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson), a frustrated journalist stuck at ditzy magazine Composure writing “How To” articles. As a journalist myself, I can tell you firsthand that Andie’s dedication to her craft is admirable! She is challenged to get into a relationship with a guy and purposefully do all the wrong things to see if she can write an article on how to lose a guy in 10 days — hence the movie title. This guy in question is Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey), an ambitious advertising and marketing specialist. 

I am fully aware that this movie is made for easy laughs and a cute relationship — and believe me, it fulfills its promises — but I couldn’t help but ask more questions about their relationship. They exchange “I love you”s at the end of the movie, as expected, but if they’re both pretending to be someone else, how can they say that truthfully? A whole other can of worms is the moral implications of Andie’s actions. She’s likable, but shallow. 

However, I digress. I’m not trying to make this movie into a deep character study and commentary on the human psyche. “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is simply a light-hearted story of two funny, ambitious, attractive people, and I’ll admit: I did like it. Kate Hudson may have her mother’s eyes and agent, but she can do no wrong in my eyes. 8/10 for the unexplored philosophical implications. – Julia

She’s All That (1999): I knew how this movie was going to end before it finished. That being said, I loved every second of it. In “She’s All That,” which stars Freddie Prinze Jr. as Zack Siler and Rachael Leigh Cook as Laney Boggs, the most popular boy in school is challenged to make the geekiest girl in the class Prom Queen. Hold on to your hats for this one: they end up actually liking each other. I know. I am floored (kidding, we all knew this would happen from the first sentence of the premise). This movie is a period piece, and very clearly a product of the 90’s. Not just in the sense that fax machines were mentioned, but also in its perpetuation of the “suddenly pretty when she takes off her glasses” stereotype that feels misogynistic in the present day. Although these uncomfortable moments exist, and warrant an eye roll from the modern viewer, this movie is still a fun watch. Also, the chemistry between Zack and Laney is to die for. Plus who doesn’t love the “Surprise! I’m going to the same college as you,” rom-com twist. I suppose good things never end. 9/10. – Sara

Set it Up (2018): “Set It Up” is the absolute perfect rom-com to have ever graced the film industry. Sure, I may be a tad bit biased, which is typically poor journalism, but I deem it excusable in this case! “Set It Up” stars Zoey Deutch as Harper, Glen Powell as Charlie, Lucy Liu as Kirsten and Taye Diggs as Richard. Harper is a personal assistant and aspiring journalist and Charlie is a personal assistant who works tireless hours in the same building. They conspire to, hence the title, set up their bosses to get some free time. Their bosses begin to date, and Harper and Charlie pull strings as their assistants to make their relationship work.

Kirtsen is, according to Harper, a “stunningly beautiful woman with a fierceness that’s both scary and inspiring.” Richard is just “a guy” who’s a bit conceited and – might I say – a jerk! He later cheats on Kirsten with his ex-wife. Of course there is no rom-com without a character fault and resolution. Charlie slips up and spoiler alert (!!!) he resolves the problem and he and Harper get together in the end. This movie follows the typical rom-com formula but does not only focus on them during the whole movie. The viewers get to see the beginning of a friendship before a purely romantic one, which I absolutely love. Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell have amazing chemistry and I would sell my soul to see another romcom starring them two: 10/10. – Siena

Let it Snow (2019): “Let It Snow” showcases the lives of seven characters and their troubles on a snowy Christmas Eve. This movie is quite complicated with its 4.5 story lines, but somehow manages to pull it off. Tobin (Mitchell Hope) and Angie (Kiernan Shipka), are childhood best friends and *gasp!* secretly in love – but neither of them know it?! Dorrie (Liv Hewson) and Addie (Odeya Rush), another set of childhood best friends who are obsessed with pigs for some reason, are both dealing with their own respective love problems as well (surprise, surprise). Stuart Bale (Shameik Moore) is an ultra-famous R&B popstar, and Julie (Isabela Merced) wants nothing to do with him. After opening up about personal struggles, they, too, fall in love. And lastly, Keon (Jacob Batalon), struggles to throw a party so he can jumpstart his DJ career. 

After reading all that, I’m sure you can get a glance into how repetitive this movie is. Although it came out in 2019 — which is pretty much the most recent golden year for cinema with “Knives Out”, “Ford v. Ferrari”, “Little Women”, “Parasite”, “Avengers: Endgame”, “Jojo Rabbit” (I could literally go on for paragraphs, 2019 was amazing) — “Let It Snow” is just kind of… eh. It was comfy and cozy, just as promised. I actually really appreciated this aspect; today’s movies are just so jam-packed with social commentary that escapism isn’t really possible with movies made in the past two years. The cheesy storylines and endings of “Let It Snow” create this blissful, pre-quarantine wonderland that doesn’t try and go beyond the rom-com boundaries and seriously address real-world issues. However, I’d probably only watch this again to make fun of it with my friends. All the storylines were overbearingly Wattpad-esque. 5/10 is generous. – Julia

10 Things I Hate About You (1999): More like “10 things I love about this movie!” “10 Things I Hate About You,” a teen classic that tells the story of sisters Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and Kat (Julia Stiles), is sure to be beloved for the rest of movie-eternity. Some would say it is a cliche rom-com, but I would say this movie established what a cliche rom-com even entails. Between the betrayal and shock I felt when Kat found out about the paid-to-date-her arrangement Patrick (her love interest, played by Heath Ledger) was coerced into, the gut-wrenching sadness that gripped my heart during the infamous poetry scene and the revolutionary feeling of triumph at the end of the movie when the beautiful Fender guitar appeared on screen, this movie never failed to be beyond amusing. For the 1 hour and 37 minutes I sat in front of my TV screen, I was transfixed in the world of late 90’s goodness. It was me who was serenaded during my soccer practice by a marching band, not the character on the screen. Overall, “10 Things I Hate About You” is an iconic movie with no shortage of iconic moments, all of which have had an equally profound impact on the modern-day romantic comedy. Oh, and not only that, it includes a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. 10/10. –Sara

So, what have we learned? 10 is a strangely romantic number. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is possibly the unoffical king of fantastic rom-coms. Forced proximity is soooo last decade. And, if you’re a spunky girl with a quirky sense of humor and happen to run into a stupidly hot guy with a slightly condescending manner of speaking, look out for cameras hidden in bushes. You may be on a rom-com-ified Truman Show.