Guest Blog by M.J. Pullen: My Top Ten Romantic Comedy Movies
Writers often blog about their favorite books or authors, and I do enjoy looking back my literary influences. But I grew up on movies and TV as well as books, and if I’m honest I should say that they influence my writing as well. I thought it would be fun to list the top ten from my favorite genre, the romantic comedy:
1. Say Anything – lovely, low-key version of the high school romance. I adore Ione Skye in this film, and the complexity of John Cusack’s character. Their relationships with others (she with her dad, he with his girlfriends and sister) directly impact their relationship, which is realistic and cool. And, like everyone else born between 1973 and 1979, Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” is total make-out music for me.
2. When Harry Met Sally – truly, a classic. I think I can quote almost every line in this film, and my friends and I did exactly that from about 1992 until… um, well, we haven’t really stopped. Friendship turning to romance with Harry Connick, Jr. singing the soundtrack? Sold.
3. His Girl Friday – When it comes to my favorite black & white romances, this one just edges out Philadelphia Story and Casablanca. I have to say it influenced my writing more, because the female lead is so complex and interesting – torn between her old life as a wizened journalist in a man’s world (and her old flame Cary Grant), and the domestic bliss of her upcoming marriage. Rosalind Russell isn’t as well known as Ingrid Bergman or Katherine Hepburn, but she holds her own in this funny movie and it’s a winner.
4. An Affair to Remember – Nora Ephron chose well when she paid homage to this film in Sleepless in Seattle (see next entry). I love everything about it, so you’ll just have to go watch for yourself.
5. Sleepless in Seattle – Again, the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, and everything timeless. Who wouldn’t want to reunite/meet with the love of their life that way?
6. Knocked Up – A hilarious, pee-your-pants funny twist on the unconventional love story. Somewhere amidst the wackiness and raunchy humor there’s actually a really touching love story.
7. Pretty in Pink – I could choose any of a number of John Hughes movies to fill this slot, since they were the quintessential love and angst stories of my teenage years. But my husband looks enough like John Cryer that people sometimes call him “Duckie,” so that broke the tie.
8. Love Actually – I had an argument with a friend a few weeks ago about whether this is acceptable as a ‘favorite holiday movie’ or if it’s simply a romantic comedy that happens to be set at Christmas. I believe I won the argument with, “Shut up. It’s Love Actually.”
9. Chasing Amy – When I saw this for the first time in college, I felt very edgy and grown up. It’s not what I’d call a classic love story, but for its time it certainly helped redefine what a romantic comedy could do, and I think opened up the field for other rom-coms geared as much toward men as women.
10. Clueless – I didn’t want to like it, but of all the teeny-bop remakes of classic literature, it’s the best. The characters are great and the themes timeless, even though the setting is as relevant to most people as Jane Austen’s original Emma. Still, it’s almost 20 years old now, and I still find it embarrassingly watchable. Plus, I have a weakness for Paul Rudd.
The Marriage Pact (2011), Regrets Only (2012), and Baggage Check (2013)
RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY AT THE END OF THIS POST - one set of autographed paperback copies of the Marriage Pact trilogy (winner can choose a custom inscription for the first book).
M.J. Pullen's Bio:
M.J. (Manda) Pullen studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later Professional Counseling at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She practiced psychotherapy for five years before taking time off for writing and raising her two young boys. Since high school, she has also been an executive assistant, cashier, telemarketer, professional fundraiser, marketing guru, magazine writer, grant-writer, waitress, box-packer, HR person, and casual drifter.
She reads and writes across many genres, and learns something from everything she does. No matter what she’s writing, M.J. believes that love is the greatest adventure there is, and that hopeless romantics are never really hopeless.
She loves to hear from readers and other writers – so drop her a line!
Author Links -
MJ will be giving away one set of autographed paperback copies of the Marriage Pact trilogy (winner can choose a custom inscription for the first book).
The Marriage Pact
Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Flourish Publications (Self)
Release Date: June 2011
· Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/The-Marriage-Pact-M-J-Pullen/dp/1463600682/
· Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Pact-M-J-Pullen-ebook/dp/B0055LH79Q
· Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-marriage-pact-mj-pullen/110385125
· Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/x/id723193295
· Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/362781
· Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-marriage-pact-2
Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A large but cozy suburban home shared with a charming husband and two brilliant children. A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour. A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side.
Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months. And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she’s had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.
Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn’t seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci’s life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.
Excerpt One (300-500 or so Words):
In her mind, she had ended it a thousand times. She would spend hours rehearsing three versions of the parting speech:
“Doug, I can’t do this anymore. Neither of us intended this to happen, but it has to stop. I love you [should she say that?], but I can’t be responsible for breaking up a marriage, however unhappy it might be. I deserve better than this. I need someone free to make a life with me, and you are not. I know in my heart that part of you still loves Cathy, and I think you should return to her and really invest in your marriage.”
Magnanimous and melodramatic:
“Listen, Doug. This has been wonderful; it really has. But it’s wrong and it’s been wrong from the start. It’s tearing me apart. I am not an adulteress; I deserve to be more than ‘the other woman.’ I can’t live with myself for another day this way, and I can’t let you do it, either. Go back to your wife, your home, the life that you chose all those years ago. I will treasure our time together and you have my word that I will never tell anyone about us.”
Jealous and generally pissed off:
“Doug, your little weekend getaway with your wife gave me time to get clarity and realize that I am better than this situation, and better than you. If you loved me, you would no longer be married. If you loved your wife, you would not be with me. You act like this is torture for you, but really you’re just a typical cheating sleazebag who wants to have his cake and eat it, too. I want you out of my life forever. If you try to speak to me again, I will call Cathy and tell her everything. Get out.”
This last version was the most emotionally satisfying. She would march into work armed with these words, confident, resolute and ready to take back her life.
Until she saw him. She’d find a sticky note on her keyboard: “It was awful. I missed you.” Or he would pick her up at lunch, and instead of going back to her place, they would drive to the top of Mount Bonnell and look over the Texas hill country and talk. She would feebly threaten to end it, crying pathetically and remembering none of her kickass speeches.
So they limped along in a relationship netherworld—not together, not apart, each day full of the twin possibilities of limitless passion or goodbye forever. With stacks of invoices and mindless tasks in front of her each day, Marci had entirely too much time to contemplate both ends of the spectrum.
Today was no different, except for the fact that she was officially no longer wasting her late twenties in a hopeless relationship. Thirty had arrived, and a new decade was waiting. And there was an e-mail from Jake.
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Flourish Publications (Self)
Release Date: July 2012
· Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Regrets-Only-Sequel-Marriage-Pact/dp/1478362111/
· Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Regrets-Only-ebook/dp/B008QD09P4/
· Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/regrets-only-mj-pullen/1113648443
· Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/x/id722559258
· Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/362801
· Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/regrets-only-1
At thirty-three, Suzanne Hamilton has it all. A successful party-planning business with an elite client list. A swank condo in a hot Atlanta neighborhood and a close group of friends – especially her longtime best friend Marci. A list of men a mile long who have tried to win her heart and failed. Plus, she’s just landed the event that will take her career and social status to the next level. What could she possibly have to regret?
Then a freak accident changes everything, and Suzanne discovers that her near-perfect life is just a few steps away from total disaster. She is humiliated and at risk of losing it all… except the surprising support of her newest celebrity client. With nothing else to go on, Suzanne follows him into an unexpected job and unfamiliar territory. Soon she will question everything – her career, her past, her friendships, and even her own dating rules.
But when her catalog of past relationships turns into a list of criminal suspects, she is faced with the horrifying possibility that she may not live to regret any of it…
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance
Publisher: Flourish Publications (Self)
Release Date: November 2013
· Amazon Paperback: www.amazon.com/Baggage-Check-Marriage-Pact-Volume/dp/1493697439/
· Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Baggage-Check-The-Marriage-Pact-ebook/dp/B00GS8HSSA
· Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baggage-check-mj-pullen/1117442130
· Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/377701
At thirty-five, Rebecca Williamson is surrounded by happy endings. Her friends Suzanne and Marci are living out their own personal fairy tales in Atlanta, Georgia. But despite Rebecca’s best efforts four years ago, her adorable college friend Jake Stillwell has officially slipped through her fingers and broken her heart. Even though her job as a flight attendant fits perfectly with her orderly nature, and brings her into contact with lots of eligible men, she can’t seem to find a man who is Jake’s equal.
Then a frantic phone call from her mother in Oreville, Alabama turns Rebecca’s structured life on its ear. She will find herself back in the tiny town she worked so hard to leave behind, and thrown together with Deputy Alex Chen, a face from the past who’s made it clear he thinks of Rebecca as more than just an old friend’s kid sister.
But Alex is nothing like what Rebecca had in mind; and in the meantime, she has other battles to fight, including her painful family history. Can she navigate the chaos and get her life back to normal? Will Alex prove himself to be the friend she's always needed? Or will she discover that the door to Jake is not as tightly closed as she thought?