Like a lot of people, I enjoy romcoms (romantic comedy movies, for anyone who lives under a rock). I think they’re great and fun and cute. Some are so iconic and everyone knows them, or parts of them at least, to the point where they’re sometimes more relevant in pop culture than big blockbuster movies that made twice as much money in theaters.
But I think romcoms and their popularity and purpose has changed a bit over the years. There certainly still are romcoms being made in recent years that are well done and overall enjoyed by their viewers, but I think that compared to the romcoms of yesteryears, they may not have that longevity and popularity years down the line.
It seems to me that romcoms really took off in the 90’s. There of course were some in the 80’s that checked the boxes of having romance and comedy, but a lot were the iconic teenage coming of age movies, and as much as they’re in many ways great in their own right, I don’t know if anyone’s calling Pretty In Pink a classic romcom, ya know? But in the late 80’s and leading right into the 90’s, that’s when romcoms really took off and made lasting marks on the genre. People like Huge Grant, Julia Roberts, and Meg Ryan became legends.
And then in the 2000s we got a wide mix of content. Romcoms may have kickstarted in the previous decade, but there were so many that were made in the 2000s, with old and new names joining in and contributing. Ones that stand out to me are Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, and Ryan Reynolds. Not all of the movies are worth talking about today still, but they were entertaining, and it is always fun nowadays to turn on the TV to find some old forgotten mid-2000’s romcom and recognize the whole cast (this happened recently with the movie View From The Top).
Off the backend of the 2000’s and going into the early 2010’s, I noticed that the number of romcoms started to dwindle and there was a shift in the kind of comedy (more hokey and dumb) as well as in the leads for the romcoms. I feel like they went from some big-name staples in the genre to being comprised of mostly people who, for some reason, either had or later did have a deep association with an NBC show (eg. Kristin Wig, Paul Rudd, Tina Fey, Steve Carell…).
Once in the 2010s, I don’t know if it was because of the 2000’s romcom overload or if the better movie technology just lead to more action movies being made instead, but there are not a lot of romcoms in this decade. There are some, and luckily for us all, some of the some are really good and favourites of mine, but I find that overall, the genre kind of died out. A lot of the ‘top romcoms’ listed in articles online are ones that I don’t find to be that memorable in terms of a movie and especially not in terms of a romance, like Easy A, Trainwreck, Silver Linings Playbook, or Sleeping With Other People. It’s too bad. The dozens of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies made every year prove that people aren’t opposed to watching simple romance in movies still.
What will the romcom genre look like in the 2020’s? I don’t know and based on the trend, I don’t expect too much. A lot of the romcoms released in the last several years came from streaming services rather than theaters, and maybe that’s for the best as romcoms are best enjoyed at home rather than in a large theater. I also think a reason for a lack of recent romcoms is because there aren’t a lot of mid-20’s/early 30’s aged actors who are a) super popular and b) want to be the romcom legends of the era. There’s a good chunk of early 20’s people (Timothee Chalamet, Tom Holland, Zendaya, Noah Centineo, Hailee Steinfeld) who largely have already jumped into more edgy, action-packed big paycheque projects.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I don’t think the genre will die out at all, but I don’t know if anything made any time soon will be able to match some of the purity and quality of older romcoms and lines like “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her,” (even though I kind of find that line very cringe).
What are your thoughts on romcoms over the years? Do you enjoy modern ones just as much as 90’s classics? Do you think the genre is dead or dying?
That’s all for now!