Rom-coms: masterpieces or waste of time?

The Precedent staff gives their opinion on some of the most popular- and least popular- romantic comedies.

Rom-coms+fit+in+perfectly+with+the+theme+of+Valentine%27s+Day.+The+staff+of+the+Precedent%2C+torn+over+which+to+choose%2C+picked+five+of+each+category+to+share+with+readers.+

Anna Myers

Rom-coms fit in perfectly with the theme of Valentine’s Day. The staff of the Precedent, torn over which to choose, picked five of each category to share with readers.

In preparation for a Hallmark holiday that is both hated and adored, the staff of The Precedent put together a list of the top five best- and worst- rom-coms to spice up your Valentine’s Day.

Top five best:

10 Things I Hate About You (1999, PG-13): I have watched this at least a dozen times in the past years, so when I say it’s my favorite it’s my absolute number one favorite. Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Larisa Oleynik star in this modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew. I love the smart dialogue,the 90s/Y2K vibe, and how the main females don’t lose their sense of self for their respective love interests. At the end of the movie, there’s no guy sweeping in to save the day (she saves herself!), nobody’s sacrificing their future for the significant other, and that’s magical.–Lindsey Harrison

Crazy Rich Asians (2018, PG-13): Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, and her boyfriend Nick Young, played by Henry Golding, head to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Simple, right? Wrong. Crazy Rich Asians follows multiple couples and their struggles to navigate their own personal relationships with significant others and the spotlight. Astrid, played by Gemma Chan, struggles with her relationship with her husband and learns how to put herself  above what others may think of her. Meanwhile, Rachel faces off against Nick’s mother, who believes that Rachel is below their family as she is Chinese-American and not just Chinese. The strong female characters in this movie show how self-love and respect are both crucial to any significant relationship, making it an important lesson for all. –Lauren Ludwig

Set it Up (2018, TV14): If there is one rom-com filled with the perfect balance of humor, romance, and future goals, it is Set It Up. The two main characters, Harper and Charlie, are two lovable characters with amusing quirks that the audience cannot help but love. The movie follows the two in their journey to get their bosses together so that they will finally be able to have a break after various nights spent in the office. Of course, like any rom-com, conflict strikes. This movie in particular has an incredibly satisfying ending with a good build-up. If you are in the mood for a more humor orientated rom-com, this is the perfect one for you.–Nadine Loureiro

La La Land (2016, PG-13): Not all rom-coms end with “and they lived happily ever after.” This 2016 romantic musical film is unlike any other stereotypical rom-com; La La Land sets up what seems to be a successful love story between an aspiring actress, Mia, and Jazz musician Sebastian, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The two lovers have this gravitational pull to one another by their common desire to do what they love. Mia and Sebastian must learn whether or not they should pursue their dreams with or without each other. The ending catches it’s viewers by surprise and leaves them crying. Personally, the ending is why I find this musical film to be such a cinematic masterpiece.– Derek Fernandez

Love, Simon (2018, PG-13): Love, Simon is a heartwarming and tear jerking love story that follows the life of 17 year-old Simon Spier, portrayed by Nick Robinson. On the outside, he appears to be a normal high school student, but he has a secret that is becoming increasingly difficult to hide: he’s gay. Although there are romantic aspects throughout the film, it is more than just a typical love story. Love, Simon has several comedic scenes and portrays a journey of self-acceptance. It was really easy to become drawn into the life and perspective of the protagonist. With an assortment of both humorous moments and moving scenes, Love, Simon is an emotional roller coaster, and is definitely a movie that deserves to be watched more than once.–Nate Andrew

Top five worst:

The Kissing Booth (2018, TV-14): The Kissing Booth is what not to do when trying to create a rom-com. The Kissing Booth has a basic plot line that has been overused, but that is not even the biggest red flag. The main character Elle, played by Joey King, is very unrelatable, and is surrounded by an annoying “pick me” girl energy that no one can relate to. And if the main character was not already making you cringe with her attitude, the dialog sure will. The dialog is so awkwardly written it makes viewers uncomfortable. Lastly the acting in the movie brings this already cringey movie to the next level. Interactions between Elle and any character are just weird, but especially between her and the love interest, Noah, played by Jacob Elordi. Elle and Noah’s relationship was weird and uncomfortable from the beginning but King’s and Elordi’s acting in the scene just makes it worse (not to mention their foot height difference making it even weirder). Overall everything in the movie is so cringey and awkward, it makes the movie hard to watch and definitely not enjoyable.–Meghan McGowan 

How to Build a Better Boy (2014, G): Just like the typical high-school love story, How to Build a Better Boy features the token best friend, high school heart throb, and popular mean girl. This movie’s particular twist presents the nerdy main character, Mae, to create her dream boy with her dad’s video game company software which turns out to be development for a government soldier robot. While the basic idea of a hijacked military weapon could be interesting, it is executed in a completely romanticized way which leads the plot to be predictable and surface-level. In the end, the storyline lacks any real character development besides the predicted main character morality lesson and leaves the storyline other than the love interest unresolved. Although the idea was slightly unique and even mature to the Disney Channel, it was based around the wrong focus. The real fault was that because it was geared to younger children, the film resisted any genuine success.--Madeleine Nseir

The Bee Movie (2007, PG): With Jerry Seinfield as Berry B. Benson and Renée Zellweger playing Vanessa Bloome, this romantic comedy is about a bee fighting the human legal system because in his eyes, taking a bee’s honey is stealing. Throughout the movie, Benson (who is the bee) slowly falls in love with Vanessa who just so happens to be human. Due to the fact that this “love” is so far stretched, this may be the worst rom-com that has ever been produced. Just a fun fact- bees are unable to talk. It is impossible for them to communicate with humans. This is the biggest reason why The Bee Movie failed as a rom-com. While the memes may be spectacular, taking this movie seriously is impossible. It just isn’t realistic enough.–Kyler Allred

Tall Girl (2019, family): “You think your life is hard? Try being a junior in size thirteens” is possibly the worst opening line ever written for the silver screen. Jodi, the main character, has one constant problem: she is 6’ 1” and apparently this is going to prevent her from ever finding love. The main issue with this? She has a great guy interested in her from the start, but he’s too short for her! The movie is yet another over exaggerated take on high school romance that is not at all grounded in reality. The movie also features a quirky best friend character that has a fight with the main character but they make up at the end AKA the most predictable trope of any high school movie. It is a contrived and unoriginal movie that stars a character full of self pity. The only redeeming quality about the movie is that it ends with a wholesome message about self acceptance. –Tyler Blandin

Valentine’s Day (2010, PG-13): Nothing beats watching a movie that wanted to be the next Love, Actually but ended up being about as high quality as just about every soap opera ever. The movie is most prominently remembered for Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift’s attempted portrayal of romance. With the likes of Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, and Anne Hathaway in the cast, you would think the movie would at least be somewhat engaging. Unfortunately, the best part of the movie is the nap it induces in the audience members. –-Lydia Hampton