Warning! This little critique contains huge, massive spoilers for movies you might not have seen. If you notice any movie titles in bold below and still want to see them, or you are a man and your wife WANTS you to see them...read at your own risk!
My theory is that Hollywood's idea of the perfect romantic man is a DEAD man! I recently sat down and watched the film Nights In Rodanthe with my wife and that's when it occurred to me. Every time a woman has a romantic fling with the "man of her dreams", except for Bridges of Madison County where they never see each other again....he DIES! Ok, not "every" time but enough for me. A few obvious examples:
Message In A Bottle- Like Sleepless In Seattle except it's in North Carolina, she falls for him over some longhand scribblins' instead of the radio, and he DIES! By the way, as much as I hate this movie it is light years better than Sleepless In Seattle. And who puts personal messages to their dead wife in bottles and throws them in the ocean where any nosy idiot can read them?
Up Close And Personal- Besides the sickening age difference between Robert Redford and Michele Pfieffer this has another predictable ending where "super-macho-romantic-man" goes off somewhere dangerous to get a story and as expected women everywhere have to grab their hankies. What a guy! You don't have to argue over unfolded laundry or how often the trash gets taken out, cuz he's a corpse!
Cold Mountain- Any guy who would go AWOL in the middle of a war, cross hundreds of miles of wilderness crawling with soldiers for either side who want to kill him, traverse freezing treacherous mountains to be with a woman he met once, give her a passionate love scene and then DIE! Hallelujah! Write songs about that fella! He doesn't even think of having a beer with the boys, playing poker, or watching football! He's a keeper...er, uh guess not.
Titanic- The biggest weepfest of all. It isn't enough to find the only guy who ever treats you like a lady, paint you in the nude, have sex with you in some stranger's car in steerage, but then he becomes a human popsicle to save you! Change your name to his (even though you weren't married to him and only knew him about 24 hours) because no man above room temperature or WAY above freezing will ever do that for you. No wonder half the women of America fell for Leo that year. He'd rather die than complain about your mother! Plus, that's the most I ever cried after a movie other than The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Just kidding, I've never seen Pluto Nash. (I just wanted to put that in bold to confuse those who heeded the warning above. Laugh with me!)
Sure, there are examples of women dying too, but usually after years of marriage and kids, like Terms of Endearment and Steel Magnolias and Stepmom. They never show some guy hook up with Deborah Kerr on a weekend fling on a cruise ship and then when he tries to meet up with her later a cab hits her and cripples her for life before they can meet at the Empire State Building...um, sorry that was An Affair To Remember...but still she aint' dead! Yeah, and Jane Wyman goes blind in Magnificent Obsession , but STILL not bobbing in the North Atlantic like chilled chum!
I just realized that Hollywood love stories in general are very cruel. Most times a little love is followed by Jason Voorhees with a machete! Run! Run from romance like OJ ran from the cops! Men everywhere, cherish your pint nights, poker tourneys, and fantasy sports leagues before its TOO LATE!!
I know what you're thinking, why didn't I come up with this BEFORE Valentine's Day? I wish I knew.