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View Full Version : Do guys appreciate romantic elements in stories?



Haruspex_Pariah
2012-02-28, 06:05 AM
Just wondering, all. I've always assumed that the answer was no, associating love stories with females, but as time passed I've decided to just ask.

Do any guys here (anyone who identifies as male) sit down and watch/read love stories and enjoy them. Or alternatively, enjoy romantic elements that are added to stories not primarily about love.

As for me, well I don't really mind. Maybe I'm just getting older, but if the circumstances regarding the characters are correct I'm more likely to ask "why not?". As for full-blown love stories, I think I enjoyed City of Angels and the Break-Up (does it count?).

P.S. I hope I haven't offended anyone with the phrasing of my question.

The_Admiral
2012-02-28, 06:10 AM
Nope. Proof? My mom dragged the entire extended family to watch Twilight. All the guys were for watching Quantum Of Solace. We were outvoted so we ignored the movie and ate all the popcorn.

Haruspex_Pariah
2012-02-28, 06:16 AM
Nope. Proof? My mom dragged the entire extended family to watch Twilight. All the guys were for watching Quantum Of Solace. We were outvoted so we ignored the movie and ate all the popcorn.

I tried to watch Twilight, just to see what all the fuss was about, but it didn't do anything for me. I couldn't connect at all with the two leads. But I'm pretty sure Twilight was targeted at teens or something?

Elder Tsofu
2012-02-28, 06:17 AM
if the circumstances regarding the characters are correct I'm more likely to ask "why not?".

I have no problem with love occurring in my stories, a nice way to change the pace and see other sides of the characters.

Comet
2012-02-28, 06:20 AM
Love is awesome. It's a strong emotion, maybe the strongest in many senses, and can lead into practically anything: happiness ever after, bitter drama, amazing determination, you name it. All that makes for an exciting story.

Then again, it can all go horribly wrong. You can have the Hollywood-mandated 'necessary' love subplot where the female lead always just happens to kiss the male lead before the final action scene and we're supposed to believe theyr'e sharing a strong bond. Or you can have thoroughly unromantic romances, like in Twilight where I'm apparently supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy for miss Blank Slate and her vampire stalker but in the end I just feel thoroughly awkward for everyone involved.

You can do it right and you can do it wrong, that much applies to anything in fiction. If you have strong, relatable characters, though, I don't mind a bit of well-built romance between them. Or even a lot, depends on the story. Practically all my favourite stories have some elements or romance in them, so I suppose I do like it. As said, it's a powerful emotion and as such leads into all kinds of intense shenanigans.

Best love story? G Gundam I joke, probably

Devonix
2012-02-28, 06:30 AM
I tried to watch Twilight, just to see what all the fuss was about, but it didn't do anything for me. I couldn't connect at all with the two leads. But I'm pretty sure Twilight was targeted at teens or something?

Twilight would need to HAVE romantic elements for that to be a valid argument.

Mauve Shirt
2012-02-28, 06:31 AM
Twilight isn't a romantic story, it's just silly. The leads aren't relatable at all. Leaving out the criticism about its writing, the story is more like girl porn than anything, and while girl porn is called "romance", it's silly and unrealistic and shallow I just can't get behind it.
Forced romances because a guy needs a girl I also don't like. A romance that works, that is convincing enough, I like in a story.
Oh wait, I'm female? Guess I'll leave. :smalltongue:

Edit: Forgot! I'm totally a dude! My avatar is not a disguise!

Aotrs Commander
2012-02-28, 06:38 AM
If it's an element, i.e. a part of the greater whole, I have no particular objection. I am, not, overall a fan of romance of any sort by inclination, fictional or otherwise, but I don't strenuously object to it's presence, so long at it doesn't dominate. There are a couple of corrolaries to that.

One: First and formost, if I have to be subjected to romance all the time, for crying out loud, at least give me some variety, and not always the same subset cliches (two particular bugbears or mine, because the inverse is so uncommon, are older guy/younger girl, short girl/tall guy; if 99% of everyone didn't do that ALL THE TIME I wouldn't care about something so trivial, but they do so I find it annoyingly cliche).

Two: I will forgive a lot of sins if it makes me laugh. Romance is potentially a comedy goldmine if done right (i.e. not always and overly- reliant on the by-now unfunny Comedic Miscommunication so beloved by romantic "comedies".)

Three: Characters designated as Love Interests are almost always pretty uninteresting; a romance I think, works for better if you take some established characters in their own right first. (For example, I - contraversially - really like the dymanic between Cyclops and Emma Frost, and I find it much more entertaining than between him and Jean. By the same token, in Doctor Who, I found Rose to be an unconvincing love interest for the Doctor, but River Song I thought was much better. (Possibly because, if nothing else, it made me laugh more, and River seemed much more on the level of the Doctor.))

Three a): Chop and change love interests are usually bad and banal - especially in movies - as it means they're not proper characters.

Brother Oni
2012-02-28, 07:04 AM
Then again, it can all go horribly wrong. You can have the Hollywood-mandated 'necessary' love subplot where the female lead always just happens to kiss the male lead before the final action scene and we're supposed to believe theyr'e sharing a strong bond.

A lot of the time, it can be simply excused for Stockholm Syndrome/attachment, but sometimes Hollywood can do it right - Mira Sorvino and Chow Yuen-Fat in The Replacement Killers.

Final scene where you expect the protagonist and the love interest to kiss, all he does is tenderly touch her cheek and states "I will miss you" in a soft voice before disappearing into the crowd. :smallsmile:


In general though, there's nothing wrong with adding a love subplot in a movie, since it can contrast dramatically to the main plot of the film. Take Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - without either of the two love subplots, the film wouldn't have anywhere near the dramatic impact of the final two scenes.

HearTheRequiem
2012-02-28, 07:09 AM
I'm male, and I absolutely adore romantic storylines and movies, when done right. :smallsmile:

Eldan
2012-02-28, 07:13 AM
No, no I don't.

At worst, they distract from more interesting elements of a story. Even worse when they are sappy and uninteresting by themselves: most of the time, I don't want to hear about it.

In some cases, they are just neutral. They are there, but they don't get in the way. I can tolerate that. Just don't spend to much time on it, if you have to have them.

At best, they serve as motivation for a character to do something more interesting. Go on a quest to find their love again. Free them from a hostage situation. Try and improve themselves. Going out to battle evil to defend their loved one.

Yora
2012-02-28, 07:16 AM
I think it's a lot more about presentation than content. Most guys probably have no use for cheesy flower and pink hearts stuffs with lots of drama and crying. Sorry, if women feel offended, but that's how it appears to men.

But on principle: Why not?
If it's interesting characters you can relate to, and it's not the only thing the whole story is about.

My guess would be that to make a romance plot interesting for men, it would have to be about a man coming to respect and appreciate a woman as an equal. A damsel in distress is just annoying and a liability.

Take Shrek for example. The plot really is basically a love story, but the kind where two difficult people come to respect each other and build a relationship based on mutual understanding. I think that's a story guys can cheer for.

In general though, there's nothing wrong with adding a love subplot in a movie, since it can contrast dramatically to the main plot of the film. Take Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - without either of the two love subplots, the film wouldn't have anywhere near the dramatic impact of the final two scenes.
Oh yes, forgot about that one. And in both cases it's exactly the thing I mentioned.

HFool
2012-02-28, 07:18 AM
Definitely. Even a poor romance can be kind of interesting if you look at it from the person trying to weave it in to the story.

Surfing HalfOrc
2012-02-28, 07:36 AM
It... depends. If the story is worth a crap, and if I can relate to the actors/actresses. My favorite Romantic movie was The Goodbye Girl. I liked all three main characters (Richard Dryfuss/Marsha Mason/Quinn Cummings). Three people: a mother and daughter, and the actor that had sublet their apartment from Marsha Mason's character's ex-boyfriend, all forced to live together. A romance blooms... blah, blah, blah. Good Stuff.

Others can be... odd. Awkward. One that leaps to mind is Leon, the Professional. Leon is a professional hitman in is late 30's to mid 40's. Mathilda is a 12 year old girl whose family is killed by a crooked DEA agent.
Both revenge and romance bloom.

And many others are just plain boring. :smallsigh:

Strangely enough, I am a fan of Korean Romance/Dramas and Romance/Comedies. They tend to follow the same plot (Rich Playboy meets Down to Earth Girl, hijinks ensue, marriage in the final episode), but they are enjoyable if you understand Asian Culture. I've been married to a Korean for 20 years, so I'm good there.

Omergideon
2012-02-28, 07:51 AM
I do, and I am a guy.

But it depends on the quality of the romance story. I like it when it is either the whole and original point of the story AND is well written, or it is an element of the characters that helps drive events in an intelligent way.

Or more simply, I like romance when it is interesting (i.e. not predictable) and includes characters I care about.

I do not enjoy it when the characters become blank slates with no discernable remnants of who they were the moment the romance occurs. Or if it is fanfiction where romance is the ONLY thing that happens, and destroys the normal characterisations. Or adds nothing to the plot and is just there because we need to have one.

So yeah, good believable romance in a non romantic film, or romance with realistically interesting characters in one that is, is fine. Anything else I find unenjoyable.

Ricky S
2012-02-28, 07:55 AM
In stories like How I met your mother it is good because it doesnt distract from the comedy and isnt too full on.

Things like the notebook bore me to death. Every girl I have met says they love it and it was so romantic. I nearly fell asleep watching it.

I hate the cliche romantic love that hollywood portrays. Life is nothing like that. Real romance is simple and usually awkward.

pffh
2012-02-28, 08:03 AM
I know I do. I don't like stories that are only about sappy romance or have a tacked on romance subplot/love interest but I like romance in stories.

Boring romance: The notebook
Good romance: The girl who leapt through time

Brother Oni
2012-02-28, 08:12 AM
Oh yes, forgot about that one. And in both cases it's exactly the thing I mentioned.

The Jen/Lo romance is definitely that - two awkward people finding mutual understanding and respecting each other as equals.

The Li Mui Bai/Shu Lien one is significantly more complicated, since they are most certainly not equal either in physical prowess or social status, plus the understanding they have is severely constrained by the memory of Shu Lien's deceased husband/Li's brother-in-arms.

I suppose a tragic love story does have more universal appeal than a typically sappy romantic one and the fact that both romance subplots here end in tragedy (both caused by duty, with one unfulfilled and the other unable to last), does add a layer of complexity into the film.

Zevox
2012-02-28, 08:20 AM
Personally? Not really. I'm frankly sick of romance sub-plots being practically required in every single work of fiction nowadays. And I can't imagine enjoying a straight-up romance story, with nothing else going for it. That would just not be my thing at all.

Zevox

Serpentine
2012-02-28, 08:25 AM
Nope. Proof? My mom dragged the entire extended family to watch Twilight. All the guys were for watching Quantum Of Solace. We were outvoted so we ignored the movie and ate all the popcorn.That's uh... That's REALLY no proof of anything. I'm pretty sure most PEOPLE would rather go to Quantum of Solace. I know I would. And anyway, isn't there a romantic subplot in that movie too?
Personally, I like romance just fine. I just wish that every action heroinne didn't have to fall for a dude just because she couldn't possibly be alone. It's not just the inverse of "the hero gets the girl", it's usally more along the lines of "hard-arse woman learns she does need a man after all". Exhibit A: the GI Joe movie. *shudder*

Yora
2012-02-28, 08:27 AM
I suppose a tragic love story does have more universal appeal than a typically sappy romantic one and the fact that both romance subplots here end in tragedy (both caused by duty, with one unfulfilled and the other unable to last), does add a layer of complexity into the film.

But it's unfortunate tragic, not drama tragic. Things ended poorly because of unfortunate circumstances beyond their control, and not because everyone was stupid and constantly working to maintain their own missery.

MLai
2012-02-28, 08:40 AM
The only pure-romance novels I've ever read are... Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. I enjoyed the stuffings out of both. That's dramatic and interesting romance. Not sappy romance or sterile action-movie romance.

As for romantic movies... there are bunches of great ones out there. A Streetcar Named Desire was awesome; I hung on every spoken word. Yeah I've never disliked anything from Tennessee Williams. Cold Mountain was great, but maybe it's more a character study than a true romance.

Foreign films usually tackle romance much MUCH better than Hollywood. But sorry I can't remember their titles.

Solaris
2012-02-28, 08:45 AM
Nope. Proof? My mom dragged the entire extended family to watch Twilight. All the guys were for watching Quantum Of Solace. We were outvoted so we ignored the movie and ate all the popcorn.

Twilight is as much a love story as James Bond is.
Shoot, less so. Bond might've actually fallen in love with one of the gals at one point or another.

I'm not averse to romance in stories, but chick flicks are a good insomnia cure. They tend to be as shallow and vapid as most action movies, only without the special effect budget.

Lifeson
2012-02-28, 08:55 AM
Personally, I like a good romantic element in my fiction. It provides more depth to the characters involved, and when it works, the development deepens and it makes for a little more enjoyable experience.

Keyword: Good. If it's not, especially if it's forced, then it falls flat on its face and looks like crap. That's not enjoyable, that's almost painful to read.

Also, yes, Bond did fall in love once. Once. It's why he's the womanizer that he is. Isn't that shown in Casino Royale?

Story Time
2012-02-28, 08:55 AM
Do any guys here (anyone who identifies as male) sit down and watch/read love stories and enjoy them. Or alternatively, enjoy romantic elements that are added to stories not primarily about love.

The very best thing that I can think of to help you with your question is: Define romance. Really, define it. Once you have an answer for what romance is you will have a much better understanding of not only what you are looking for, but also what elements in romance will attract males to it.

I am certain that there are persons of the male persuasion out there that like romance. Whether they're members of this site or not...well, that's a bit more difficult. :smallbiggrin:

Sanguine
2012-02-28, 08:57 AM
Yes, assuming it's done well.

If the romantic elements are done well I will giddily cheer for the couple and it will fit seamlessly into the strory. A good example is Danny Phantom, the Danny/Sam subplot is cute and awkward and just sweet. The two character's just fit well together. It helps that Sam is strong and independent.

For an example of a good love story. Stardust. That book was beautiful. If you haven't read it march right on down to your local library and get busy.

Serpentine
2012-02-28, 08:59 AM
Oh, yeah, more relevant to the actual subject than my opinions: my ex has a favourite romantic comedy - Breakfast At Tiffany's - and his favourite book is Wuthering Heights (think it was that one...).

Armand
2012-02-28, 09:28 AM
Guys like(and should like) sports, cars and sticking each others with sharp (or blunt sometimes) objects outlook is little cliché, like women from venus and men from mars thing. Its one of our old human legacy for seperating genders from each other with many possible way for unknown reasons or logics (we might safely say there is no logic at all of course), and almost universal (or earthversal at least) I presume.

I like love stories of course (tough like many said before I really wounldnt count Twilight as romance based story or something like that: its more like marvel's what if series but in a more funny sense; 'what if a teenage girl starts thinking she is in love with a immortal due to Stockholm Syndrome who also acting and looking like a teenager' based story), yet not all love stories, or all intended to be love stories. Its an element that must be placed carefully in a story. Of course, a good story must be build well and written carefully at every base. If you're not a freakin genius about story telling =D

Short version; yes, I realy like romantic elements in a story, but I dont specially want to see romantic elements in every story or seeing the worlds beyond pink hearth shaped windows or something =)

Julian84
2012-02-28, 09:29 AM
As a guy, I can definitely say I enjoy a romantic subplot when done right. I have even been known to tear up a bit. I usually find deep stuff that I enjoy in stuff like anime and some other mediums.

Frozen_Feet
2012-02-28, 09:37 AM
I can appreciate romance - even relatively sappy ones, I read Nana after all. :smalltongue:

But - there's a load of romantic cliches and tropes I just can't stand. For example, love triangle where everyone goes back and forth without taking action to resolve things; extreme "Tsundere" and "Ice Queen" characters, where the romantic interest is a horrible abusive jerk and definitely not deserving of attention; the pervasive "violence is fine when it's girl hitting a guy" in romantic comedies; so on and so forth.

Dienekes
2012-02-28, 09:45 AM
For me, no. Romance is defined as that boring section between the interesting bits of a piece of entertainment. Generally as a way of forcing the most unoriginal means of character development, and introducing bland unnecessary love interests in a work that has no need for them and that do not do anything.

The example that sticks clearest in my mind: Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Very good and enjoyable movie about a chimpanzee turned general. There is also a female romantic interest to the human lead. Her entire purpose in the movie is to provide a half a second distraction that could have been done by any of the random bystanders in the hectic scene in question.

I'm completely bored that every movie seems to have to have a romantic sub-plot, even when it is detrimental to the presented character (Sherlock Holmes, looking at you). Believe it or not, I don't really care whether the main character is getting laid.

Mind you, I think I'm a weird example. I once watched Princess Bride by fast forwarding through all the sections that developed the Wesley/Buttercup romance. There are also only 3 fictional romances I actually enjoy as a couple, and none of them came from any of the classic romance books and movies I've read or watched.

Yora
2012-02-28, 09:47 AM
The only case were a love triangle and violence against the guy worked out in an entertaining way was School Days. :smallbiggrin:

Though that ended in a way that would dominate the news for two weeks and only be tragically sad if it happened.

Terraoblivion
2012-02-28, 09:55 AM
I think the real problem is that a lot of romance is just plain bad. A lot of everything is, of course, but Hollywood and most tv writers seem exceedingly bad at romance specifically. Even most women I know find mainstream romance hard to stomach even though they've been raised on it being for them, so it's no wonder that men can't stand it. Good romance on the other hand is, well, good and as such likely to appeal to people regardless of gender.

Really, I imagine that men would be more open to romance if it wasn't limited hamfisted additions to movies about something else or the scourge that is mass-produced romantic comedies to most people. I think that might be why male anime nerds and fans of indie movies are more open to romance than the average man, they actually watch something where decent romance can happen.

Dienekes
2012-02-28, 10:03 AM
Really, I imagine that men would be more open to romance if it wasn't limited hamfisted additions to movies about something else or the scourge that is mass-produced romantic comedies to most people. I think that might be why male anime nerds and fans of indie movies are more open to romance than the average man, they actually watch something where decent romance can happen.

For the record, I've watched a few animes and pure romantic movies that are supposed to be good. And still, no. They're still a waste of time.

Terraoblivion
2012-02-28, 10:05 AM
I'm not saying that everyone is the same, just that I think the divide is wider than it would be if good romance was more mainstream. Just out of curiosity, though, what did you watch?

Thufir
2012-02-28, 10:12 AM
Yes, so long as it's done well.


Nope. Proof? My mom dragged the entire extended family to watch Twilight. All the guys were for watching Quantum Of Solace. We were outvoted so we ignored the movie and ate all the popcorn.

Rejecting an entire genre based on a single alleged example of it is unreasonable.
Rejecting an entire genre based on disliking Twilight? Ridiculous.
I mean, would you say you dislike all instances of vampires because you hate Twilight? Same principle.


One: First and formost, if I have to be subjected to romance all the time, for crying out loud, at least give me some variety, and not always the same subset cliches (two particular bugbears or mine, because the inverse is so uncommon, are older guy/younger girl, short girl/tall guy;

How are those even cliches? They're just attributes of the actors playing the roles, or of the characters. The former should be expected roughly 50% of the time anyway, the latter more often because I believe men are on average generally taller than women.
And again, they're attributes of the people. If the story makes a big point of the contrast, that's probably going to be pretty stupid, but if the characters simply happen to havethose traits, how is it a cliche?


I'm frankly sick of romance sub-plots being practically required in every single work of fiction nowadays.

This I agree with, and it's a definite element of my "if it's done well" criterion. Not saying you can't have a romantic sub-plot in any work of fiction (Though, there probably are some where it really wouldn't work - sadly, some of them probably have one anyway), but don't shoehorn it in because it's such a standard thing now. Include it if it's genuinely part of the story.

Jade_Tarem
2012-02-28, 10:12 AM
I'm going to echo what some others have stated, directly or indirectly - 'guys' is too wide a term for a single, cohesive yes/no answer. Equally bad is holding up a single work of fiction as an example of a 'romance' - Twilight, for instance, is not a romance, but rather a tragedy about a girl with no personality having to choose whether she wants to spend her time with an undead stalker the age of her great grandfather or a giant cartoon dog.

Ultimately, it probably will be about presentation. Conflict and Drama are what make stories interesting, and a well-written and moving plot keeps a story from stagnating. If a romance is getting in the way of the story then the romance is being 'done wrong' even if all of the right elements are there. The romance needs to have something to do with the plot, and to intersect it in some meaningful way even if it isn't the main focus.

Take, for instance, the first of Michael Bay's Transformers movies. These films are ostensibly about giant robots fighting an interstellar war, but for some reason we have a random romance subplot between Megan Fox and the world's most boring dude (to say nothing of the dozen other unnecessary humans). What Fox's character (can't remember the name) thinks about Sam is completely irrelevant. Sure, it generates drama, but that's useless since I don't care about Sam or anything he does except as it relates to the giant robots, which were the reason I came to see the movie in the first place. I might have made more of an effort to care if this were a romantic comedy from the get-go, but it isn't, so the alleged 'romance' is just a distraction.

For contrast, let's look at... oh... Othello. It features romantic gestures and themes up front, which all tie directly into the plot. They provide some unspoken exposition and build tension and drama as Iago slowly corrupts the romance between Othello and Desdemona until it turns into a proper Shakespeare Tragedy (meaning everyone is dead at the end). The play isn't even about the romance, unlike Romeo and Juliet - it's about a petty guy taking disproportionate revenge on his boss, but the romance is all a part of it and advances the plot.

Jumping farther forward in time, and hunting for a movie, there's the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol. Romantic gestures and elements exist too - in the past between Ebenezer Scrooge and his fiance, and in the present for Scrooge's nephew Fred, and also Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit - always one step removed from Scrooge, to show how wretched the present Scrooge really is. Again, it's not the main focus, just a few minor subplots, but it advances the story and adds to it.

So there you have it. I like a good romance, and the romantic elements that go with it, if they are presented well.

Tyndmyr
2012-02-28, 10:16 AM
Romance is fine, if done well. However, "romance movie" isn't going to sell me all by itself. There's a LOT of drek in there.

Seriously, the whole guy meets girl, something happens, they break up, have hijinks, then end up realizing they really love each other all along, and the one who left the other works to get back with them....

I'm sick of this plot. Please find another one.

Surrealistik
2012-02-28, 10:18 AM
I'm not sure; does Dear Esther count?

GolemsVoice
2012-02-28, 10:24 AM
Romance is fine, if it's not the main element of the story and is done well. I like seing my characters get happy, I admit. Though of course love in general, and in all it's shades, from flowery-happy to miserable beyond belief is a source of strong emotions, which can be used to great effect.

But I think because it is such a monumental emotion, it's very easy to do wrong.

TL,DR: Love is ok, if done well, but it must fit the story. No romantic elements are totally fine.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-02-28, 10:32 AM
As a guy I do enjoy romance, just that most of it I find terribly stereotypical. I am feminist (yes a guy can be a feminist) enough that I feel romantic pairs should be equal partners. Which most modern stories only grasp at the surface level.

Oh women can do anything men can... so now our shallow love interests are action girls or get to do actiony things or have feistier attitudes, but somehow still need to be bailed out by the lead males. Real progressive there thanks.

I'd first like to correct it doesn't have to be about physical ability but about character, which is harder to describe but I know it when I see it. Nor is it even prominence in the plot, you don't need dual-protagonists but you should always feel that both characters are still 3-dimensional characters.

A romance that occurs to me that I enjoyed was Helo and Athena from Battlestar Galactica. Far more interesting then watching Apollo and Starbuck go round and around, the former was interesting exactly never and the latter was more interesting the more 'casual' she was being. I also think it a significant statement that one relationship was planned from the beginning and the other meta-evolved into existence.

Only creator I can think of off hand that seems to reliably get it is Hayao Miyazaki. Who almost always writes a boy-girl pair that actually compliment each other. (Exception for Nausicaa who's an asexual Marian saint figure)

Saph
2012-02-28, 11:14 AM
I'd say that most guys do appreciate it, but not as much as women. So it stands or falls much more on the quality of the writing.

The problem is that an awful lot of romances tend to fall into one of two categories:

Marketed to Guys: In this case the focus of the story's the action and the adventure and the romance is tacked on. The female lead is there to be eye candy and not much else and you can usually fast-forward through the romance scenes without missing anything important. The guys generally come for the action and skip over the romance. Examples: Transformers, Green Lantern, Attack of the Clones.

Marketed to Girls: In these stories the focus is on the female lead and her feelings, and it's the male character who's the Shallow Love Interest. The romance is the focus of the plot, but it's all from the woman's point of view. Usually the male lead doesn't seem to have any life beyond the girl and it's not clear what he does when he's not obsessing over her. Example: Angel from Buffy seasons 1-3. What does he do when he's not with Buffy? For those seasons, nothing. Once he left and got his own show he started to develop his own personality.

So you can see why most guys aren't keen on romance. In the first case it's shallow and unnecessary, and in the second case it's necessary but just as shallow and there's not much else to carry the story.

MLai
2012-02-28, 12:19 PM
For an example of a good love story. Stardust. That book was beautiful. If you haven't read it march right on down to your local library and get busy.
Oh, hell no. That was the most trite and bland movie I have ever seen. It tops Princess Bride in triteness and blandness.
The main characters in that movie have about as much chemistry as Padme and Anakin. Yes, it was that bad.
I've seen the movie, and due to having seen that awful movie, I will never ever go near the book.


Mind you, I think I'm a weird example. I once watched Princess Bride by fast forwarding through all the sections that developed the Wesley/Buttercup romance.
That's not weird. Wesley/Buttercup was not a romance; it was a plot device. I've said this to PB fans, and they admitted as such. They said that the movie is great not because it's a good romance.

Aotrs Commander
2012-02-28, 12:26 PM
How are those even cliches? They're just attributes of the actors playing the roles, or of the characters. The former should be expected roughly 50% of the time anyway, the latter more often because I believe men are on average generally taller than women.
And again, they're attributes of the people. If the story makes a big point of the contrast, that's probably going to be pretty stupid, but if the characters simply happen to havethose traits, how is it a cliche?

If it was just actors and live action, in the latter case alone, the general laws of averages says that human males are taller, which you would make a reasonable allowance for.

(But even then, average doesn't mean "all the flippin' time", and there are short actors and tall actresses, so unless you're deliberately supporting the trope, i.e. doing a John Wayne (or whoever it was possibly apocraphally they did it with in the old Westerns) and making the dude stand on a box off-screen, it ought to occur that sometimes the roles will put them together, for reasons other then entirely unfunny "jokes" about the disparity. (Which I think actually, is getting kind of close to bigotry, to be honest1. Mayhaps my chosen watching field (i.e. not romantic [subgenere], but Stuff with lasers/fireballs/starships/explosions/SCIENCE (i.e. CSI...) is internally biased and outside it it's not as uncommon, I dunno.)



And it isn't just live-action, and if anything it's even more noticable in literature, where the descriptions bring it to higher prominance (because they nearly always bring height into it somewhere, unless they're intentionally vague like Terry Pratchett). But look around in media, and tell me how often you see the inverse of the afore-mentioned things. Not very, unless I've missed a giant subset of fantasy literature. Heck, in the super-hero comics, more or less the only inversions of the height thing I can think of off the top of my head are Wolverine ('cos he's short), Big Barda and Mister Miracle (and the cartoon versions of Robin and Starfire). It bugs me that the height thing will often be brought up (some female is described as being tall and therefore (she thinks) unattractive, and inevitable ends up with someone/thing even taller.

For the age thing, Eragon (yes, I went there) and Aragorn and Arwen (and arguably Galadriel and Celeborn) are about the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.

It's the prevalence that annoys me, being an equalist, because I think the distribution should be a lot more even that it is. ESPECIALY in fantasy and sci-fi, wherein people are sleeping with dragons, dieties and aliens it would be nice to occasionaly give the human culturally-wired romantic "norms" the smack around the head with the spade they deserve.



I suspect equally part of it is the fact that far too many people treat age gaps some sort of mystical romance barrier, which drives the equallist in me to excessive violence in the first place. And then on top of that, it's nearly always an uni-directional bias. It's generally fine to have Angel/Wolverine/insert [x] hundred years old guy to have a relationship with a younger female (you know, provided they don't actually look too old or something, though they are allowed to be Sean Connery grizzled, apparently); but you virtually never see the reverse, and even if you do, it's vanishingly in the minority by comparison.

And when people claim "it would never work, he's taller than her" as if that one fact was in any way remotely relevant to the preportedly complex relationship dynamics, I literally spit fire. To claim that such a meanlingless thing as height has some inherent value, and then to claim that the bias only works one way, that it is apparently accepted as a virtually-universal view across one whole gender (i.e. that virtually all females require their potential mate to be physically larger than them; and even if it's a common tendancy it's not a universal truism) makes me furious with the sheer mind-cripplingly stupidity.

It never bothered me until the realisation hit me (and until I read the afore-quoted phrase), and now I can't not see it, and it's like an itch you can't scratch because you don't have skin anymore but it still itches and it makes you so mad you want pull someone's soul out through their nostrils!!!!

...

...

Ahem.



Anyway, the point is, it does happen, and far, far too often for my liking; and as I said, if I have to be subjected to romance, the least the writers/people can do it is show some more creativity and not mindlessly follow the culturally-established norms all the fraking time and through the odd inversion in, y'know, occasionally.



In fact, that's a general rule, speaking narratively. Never do any one thing to excess, always through a few inversions into anything, be it romance, the now-tired screwing-the-heroes-over, or then used-to-be-tired heroes-win-effortlessly, plots, running gags etc etc.



Except starships. It is a physical impossibility to have too much starships.



1I've also never understood why blonde (and to a much lesser extent redhead) jokes came to be so prevalent...

Dienekes
2012-02-28, 12:26 PM
I'm not saying that everyone is the same, just that I think the divide is wider than it would be if good romance was more mainstream. Just out of curiosity, though, what did you watch?

That's a fair assessment I think.

For what I've watched:
Western romantic movies that are supposedly good I've seen are Titanic (most overrated movie ever), Notebook (fell asleep during it), numerous Romeo and Juliet clones (I've already ranted how much I hate them once this week, I think that's enough), Gone With the Wind (oddly, my feelings toward the movies romantic elements are best described by the last words of said movie), Casablanca (there are 3 legitimately good scenes in the whole flick), and Moulin Rouge (sucks).

For anime's, honestly I couldn't tell you which romantic anime's I've seen. Not for lack of watching them, one of my college roommates was an anime fanatic I've seen a lot. But the only ones that stick with me is that I thought Cowboy Bebop was fantastic (how can a show that has animate food try and kill the protagonists not be good?), and I remember being disappointingly bored with Death Note, which with such a great premise should not have been as dull as it was. There has to be couple dozen more I've seen but those two are the only ones I really remember.

Tengu_temp
2012-02-28, 01:25 PM
I can enjoy romance both as the driving force of the story and as a side element, as long as it's done well. Trite romantic comedies and action movies with a mandatory love interest thrown in do not count as romance done well. And yes, from my experience anime tends to do romance better than Hollywood does. Here are just some animus I've seen where romance is a important plot element, and which I enjoyed a lot:
Spice and Wolf
Eden of the East
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
G Gundam
Macross Frontier
Diebuster
Full Metal Panic

An Enemy Spy
2012-02-28, 01:36 PM
Well wouldn't anime have a much better opportunity to flesh out those romances because they are a long running series rather than a two hour movie that the studio decided to shoehorn an eye candy actress into?

Tengu_temp
2012-02-28, 01:40 PM
Not all anime is long-running, most shows only have 13-26 episodes and some are even shorter: Diebuster has only 6 episodes, which adds to a bit over 2 hours total.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-02-28, 01:54 PM
@Tengu_temp:

I don't know that I'd classify anime as better on the whole there. For example I dare say the entire harem comedy genre tends to be an inversion of good romance for example. Not without its charms of course, but as anything about an actual relationship even when there is an at least quasi-official couple... yeah.

Mikhailangelo
2012-02-28, 02:00 PM
It depends on the context. Unrequited love stories always get me - Hence why I loved the arc with Eponine in Les Miserables.

Further, the elements of Gideon's love for Elsie in the Testament of Gideon Mack, followed by the 'one chance', that he takes, to sleep with her were just so wonderfully characterised that I cannot possibly claim to not enjoy such elements.

Of course, both of these might simply be put down to wonderful writing and great characterisation, making me seem a bit like Elan, but hey-ho :P

dehro
2012-02-28, 02:27 PM
I have been known to watch reruns of pretty woman, nothing hill, love actually or similar movies..movies I quite like... (Well..pretty woman maybe not as much, but usually I don't get to choose) ...and I even bought the dvd of Grease, if that counts
a guilty pleasure of my younger years was the wonder years...yay for Danica Mckellar.

the princess bride is one of my all time favourites.

that said, I will usually choose to watch something else.
if I get to choose and there's something better, romance and romantic comedies are fairly low on the list... by better I mean, in random order, a decent action movie, a spy story, an epic/historical theme, a drama, a fantasy flick or similar..hell, even most of the disney classics beat Pretty Woman in my tastes.
romantic elements as a subplot to a different kind of story don't disturb me at all, provided it's done with taste, common sense and purpose. pointless plugging of the hot actress off the moment don't do it for me at all if they're just there to add a female angle to the cast/plot. (Arwen in MOTR, anyone?)

I've read the Louisa May Alcott books, in a distant past.. and a few more of the classics..shakespeare etc etc.. .if they qualify for romantic.. and that's as far as I'll go. I don't ever read books centered on romantic stories as main plots...just not interested enough.

SlyGuyMcFly
2012-02-28, 02:47 PM
Sure do. I do hate tacked-on romance sub-plots, but if it's well handled, yeah.

Yora
2012-02-28, 02:52 PM
Tacked on romances usually show up only in the last 30 seconds of the movie after the plot has finished, so they are not too distracting.

dehro
2012-02-28, 04:20 PM
Tacked on romances usually show up only in the last 30 seconds of the movie after the plot has finished, so they are not too distracting.

still hate it

Sanguine
2012-02-28, 04:44 PM
Oh, hell no. That was the most trite and bland movie I have ever seen. It tops Princess Bride in triteness and blandness.
The main characters in that movie have about as much chemistry as Padme and Anakin. Yes, it was that bad.
I've seen the movie, and due to having seen that awful movie, I will never ever go near the book.

Oh, I agree the movie was atrocious; except for the gay pirate. Which is why I specified the book.

Tengu_temp
2012-02-28, 05:21 PM
@Tengu_temp:

I don't know that I'd classify anime as better on the whole there. For example I dare say the entire harem comedy genre tends to be an inversion of good romance for example. Not without its charms of course, but as anything about an actual relationship even when there is an at least quasi-official couple... yeah.

Well yeah, Sturgeon's Law applies to everything. It's just that I have seen much more well-handled romance in anime than in western movies and TV shows. Maybe I just haven't watched the right stuff.

kamikasei
2012-02-28, 06:47 PM
I can enjoy romance both as the driving force of the story and as a side element, as long as it's done well. Trite romantic comedies and action movies with a mandatory love interest thrown in do not count as romance done well.
Yeah, pretty much this. Also, aside from being tacked on in a lot of cases, romantic pairings in too much media come off as by-the-numbers rather than an actual, sincere portrayal of two or more people in love.

Scarlet Knight
2012-02-28, 07:01 PM
Romantic Comedies are so popular because both men & women can enjoy them together. Of course the ratio of romance to comedy may vary.

Also, in the romantic sections, it's better if there's nakkedness...

Seerow
2012-02-28, 07:02 PM
I'm a guy, and enjoy a good romance story once in a while. I can appreciate it if done right, and have no problem going with a girlfriend to see a cheesy romance movie. On my own initiative will I go out of my way to watch a romance movie? Probably not. And I'll probably never read one of the romance novels that are obviously geared towards women (I made that mistake once when I was younger, never again). But I do tend to like romantic plots, especially that are a part of tv series rather than movies, as they have more time to develop and have a tendency to feel less forced.

Anarion
2012-02-28, 07:23 PM
I think the category might be too broad here. I'll say that I'm okay with it, but it depends on genre.

There's tacked on romance for movies that don't actually care about the romance at all, which is nearly universally terrible (and I think most people agree on this, I've never heard any say "I love the extra romance in those actions movies.")

There's romance movies, which tend to get made to appeal to a particular audience segment and are really boring for everyone else. I don't want to universally dismiss these though since there are some good ones. Usually comedies or family movies that have a focus on creating a relationship and therefore end up being pretty funny as well.

Then there are stories about people that may or may not include romance. I actually think these are some of the best done, and probably lead to the most shipping from fans. You have a cast, they're doing various things, and oh by the way there's some romantic tension that slowly develops over the course of the movie and it finally works out in the end, to which the idea breathes a sigh of relief.

Also, there's James Bond.

Yora
2012-02-28, 07:30 PM
Well yeah, Sturgeon's Law applies to everything. It's just that I have seen much more well-handled romance in anime than in western movies and TV shows. Maybe I just haven't watched the right stuff.
Most stuff that reaches us over here has already passed the test of becomming popular in Japan. There's lots of stuff that makes you ask how that ever could become popular, but the worst things we never get to see. :smallbiggrin:

Knaight
2012-02-28, 07:33 PM
It depends. There are stories where the romantic elements are central and handled quite well (Honey and Clover, Under Heaven*), and I can like these. Then there are stories where the "romance" is patently absurd, everyone involved is immensely creepy, some characters we are supposed to root for clearly need to be removed from contact with the rest of humanity, so on and so forth. My appreciation for those doesn't exist.

In general, there are a few signs that things are about to go downhill, where I won't appreciate the story. The biggest of them is emphasizing the romance to the point where all other kinds of love (such as that between family and friends) is trampled upon. If this is presented as a bad thing, and the characters suffer for it I might well like the story, but anything that puts it in as a positive message is probably going to be terrible.

*This actually isn't a religious text, but historical fiction.

Rasman
2012-02-28, 07:36 PM
Men actually appreciate romance in stories. It's just that the 'male stereotype' doesn't make it 'cool' to voice opinions on the matter because it's not considered masculine. Most men don't exactly read Romance Novels, but that sort of thing in a story isn't exactly shunned.

Because I know it so well, I'll use the anime industry as an example. Even in Shounen Manga, manga aimed at males, there are a lot of Romantic plot points. Fairy Tail is a good example because there are a lot of ships, couples who people like as a pair and want to be in a Relation'ship'. Naruto has a LOT of them, as does Bleach with a few. One Piece also has them to an extent. Those are 4 of the biggest Shounen manga that are out and popular right now and men eat it up for the obviously male driven aspects of the stories, but the relationships are definitely something they are interested in and want to develop and know more about.

dehro
2012-02-28, 07:46 PM
Oh, I agree the movie was atrocious; except for the gay pirate. Which is why I specified the book.

pffft it was funny.
I liked it
decent entertainment, and I would argue, the princess bride of this millenium.
nobody ever said either of them is a masterpiece...they're just those movies that you hate to love and cannot refrain from quoting or smirking at.
well..that's true for me at least.

DvsV
2012-02-28, 07:51 PM
I am a dude, I am a romantic. I do it better than the books/movies imo. So why would I want to watch / read about people who get it WRONG?

If it is done well, then I love it. If it is, well, stuffed up, then I ignore the romance section entirely.

Then again, I also like anime due to the unrealism factor, in which I am ok with romance being unrealistic... CAUSE IT FITS THE GENRE

Terraoblivion
2012-02-28, 07:56 PM
Under Heaven*

*This actually isn't a religious text, but historical fiction.

So I'd imagine it's set in China, am I right?

Knaight
2012-02-28, 08:06 PM
So I'd imagine it's set in China, am I right?

Yep. It's blatantly and obviously Au Lushan's rebellion, at the end of the High Tang period of the Tang dynasty. Though I will admit that the renaming makes it hard to peg exactly what cultures are what regarding the borders, even though many of the characters have clear analogs.

Dienekes
2012-02-28, 08:07 PM
Men actually appreciate romance in stories.

Do I now? I must admit this is news to me. I thought I actually did find it boring, glad to know I'm just following male stereotypes to appear cool.

dehro
2012-02-28, 08:16 PM
Do I now? I must admit this is news to me. I thought I actually did find it boring, glad to know I'm just following male stereotypes to appear cool.
I don't think he was talking about people who genuinely don't like the romance bits..
I'm thinking he refers to those men who do appreciate it but won't say, on account of silly fear of losing cool points.
which admittedly is silly per se.

Curious
2012-02-28, 08:25 PM
Do guys appreciate romantic elements in stories?

Yes, of course. And-
No, of course not. And-
Yes, but only where it fits. And-
No, it distracts from the story. And-
Yes, I love romance. And-

Well, you get the idea. Men are just as emotionally complex and varied as women, and they may like or dislike romance entirely independent of their status as men. Myself? I think love can create a powerful and deeply relatable motive for characters, but just like everything else, needs to be done well to be appreciated.

Knaight
2012-02-28, 10:29 PM
I don't think he was talking about people who genuinely don't like the romance bits..
I'm thinking he refers to those men who do appreciate it but won't say, on account of silly fear of losing cool points.
which admittedly is silly per se.

The statement said "men", which puts it in the categorization of an incorrect generalization. Had it said "some men", it would be a non issue.

erikun
2012-02-29, 12:04 AM
I have no problems with romance or love stories, although I frequently prefer a bit of something else (generally comedy) to keep it from getting too monotonous.

Please note that there is a difference between romance and Hollywood Romance. The first is a romantic interaction between two characters. The second is overblown emotional drama that generally becomes overly sappy and melodramatic.


And reading through the thread, Hollywood Romance Sub-Plots can just die as well. That's not romance, that's the female lead being given an excuse to wear skimpy clothing for a scene. Sometimes the guy, too.


And I'll probably never read one of the romance novels that are obviously geared towards women (I made that mistake once when I was younger, never again).
Oh good lord, I did this myself. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. "Horse ranching set in southern Georgia? I don't think I've read a book like that. I wonder what it's like?"

I think I got about three pages before the talk about sweaty bare chests and horse loins made me put it down and never touch the genre again.

dehro
2012-02-29, 03:46 AM
The statement said "men", which puts it in the categorization of an incorrect generalization. Had it said "some men", it would be a non issue.

you're nitpicking :smallsmile:


eww.. rpg and romance!!!!!!!!! don't get me started on that.
actually, I'll have a go anyway.
in italy we have a kind of free/amateur online rpg that is quite peculiar to our nation and basically chat-based.. i.e. you go on a site, create a character, log in, there's a map with several locations and when you get into one of them you find a chat and a small optional nr of buttons to do various things. chats are all INGAME and you have to describe what your character does and says before you push any of the fancy buttons, interacting with other characters who are already in play when you get there)

no matter what kind of setting or scenario, I'm sad to say that half the time, what the .. I call them "lesser players" (when I feel like being polite towards them) do is to try and get into the virtual panties of the other characters...often at the instigation of the female players.
said lesser players seem to miss the point that the traditional main focus of playing in a d&d based fantasy setting is to hack your way through throngs of goblins and dragons on a path towards glory and godhood (that's right, ..right?). and not finding ways for your dwarven warrior character to hook up with tinkerbel-sized fairies and pixies.
also, women characters are invariably femmes fatales with either an atletic build or massive knockers..or both.
men are all decatlethes who look like catwalk models.
both are liable to look like emo-goths version of Conan.. whose hair pretty much pull a Supersayan whenever they feel in an odd mood..and whose eyes change colour along with what they're wearing, apparently.
there are of course less fantasy-based settings too, where people go and play other themes..but for a too large chunk of players for it to be healthy, the main purpose still is to get into the other's panties.. and if it's the real panties, all the better... which also causes emotional backlashes totally disproportionate to the game that they're supposed to be playing.
I've actually witnessed couples breaking up a la TBBT over characters getting frisky with the local version of Glissinda the Troll.

then of course there's the druid in my latest d&d group. armed with an absurdly high charisma, he'd use it invariably at every opportunity

DM: you're sitting at a table in a tavern, talking amongst yourselves.. the barmaid comes over to take your orders
Druid: I SEDUCE THE BARMAID!!
DM:...
everybody else:...

also...I'm ashamed to say that my very own sister does occasionally enjoy reading one of those romances geared towards romantically inclined women. were it not that I have photographic evidence, I'd ask for DNA tests to be performed.

Brother Oni
2012-02-29, 03:53 AM
Oh good lord, I did this myself. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. "Horse ranching set in southern Georgia? I don't think I've read a book like that. I wonder what it's like?"

I think I got about three pages before the talk about sweaty bare chests and horse loins made me put it down and never touch the genre again.

I must have been exposed to too much internet. 'Sweaty bare chests and horse loins' made me think of an entirely different type of romance. :smallsigh:

Serpentine
2012-02-29, 09:04 AM
Ah, don't be too harsh on Mills & Boone. There were hundreds of them at my library, and they were among the most borrowed items. They're trashy, and the vast majority of women who read them KNOW they're trashy... But how many of you guys complaining about them have a hidden - or not so hidden - folder on their computer they wouldn't want their mother to see? Some naughty websites in their browser history? Has drooled over some scandalous pictures?
Trashy romance novels are just porn for women. I don't really think it's any more fair to discuss them here than regular porn.

Avilan the Grey
2012-02-29, 09:16 AM
I definitely appreciate a degree of romance, I always romance someone in RPGs if I can, for example, and I enjoy a number of romantic comedies. I even appreciate most "romantic plot tumors".

Pure romantic stories on the other hand... :smallsigh:

dehro
2012-02-29, 09:24 AM
Ah, don't be too harsh on Mills & Boone. There were hundreds of them at my library, and they were among the most borrowed items. They're trashy, and the vast majority of women who read them KNOW they're trashy... But how many of you guys complaining about them have a hidden - or not so hidden - folder on their computer they wouldn't want their mother to see? Some naughty websites in their browser history? Has drooled over some scandalous pictures?
Trashy romance novels are just porn for women. I don't really think it's any more fair to discuss them here than regular porn.

Danielle Steel gets paid a lot more than Jenna Jameson
and yes, I'm kinda ashamed that I even know who Danielle Steel is.

Surrealistik
2012-02-29, 10:05 AM
Ah, don't be too harsh on Mills & Boone. There were hundreds of them at my library, and they were among the most borrowed items. They're trashy, and the vast majority of women who read them KNOW they're trashy... But how many of you guys complaining about them have a hidden - or not so hidden - folder on their computer they wouldn't want their mother to see? Some naughty websites in their browser history? Has drooled over some scandalous pictures?
Trashy romance novels are just porn for women. I don't really think it's any more fair to discuss them here than regular porn.

There's also _actual_ porn for women; you don't get to have two kinds of embarrassing/semi-embarrassing vices and say it's equivalent to our one and only in this respect.

Seerow
2012-02-29, 10:15 AM
There's also _actual_ porn for women; you don't get to have two kinds of embarrassing/semi-embarrassing vices and say it's equivalent to our one and only in this respect.

:shh: Us guys aren't supposed to know about that.

Serpentine
2012-02-29, 11:00 AM
There's also _actual_ porn for women; you don't get to have two kinds of embarrassing/semi-embarrassing vices and say it's equivalent to our one and only in this respect.And men have Conan *shrug*
:smalltongue:

In any case, I don't know if it's "equivalent", but I do think it's comparable. I think trashy romances are consumed by women far more than Porn for Women - more specifically, I think the consumption of trashy romances by women is more comparable to the use of porn by men in volume than the use of porn for women. And I maintain my ultimate point: that it is no more fair to discuss Mills and Boone type novels in this context than it would be to bring up porn. Because if we bring in porn, we can pretty definitely say that most - or at least a lot - of men are very much into romance, inasmuch as romance can incorporate sex.

Also I'm not sure what the point here was:
Danielle Steel gets paid a lot more than Jenna Jameson
and yes, I'm kinda ashamed that I even know who Danielle Steel is.

Yora
2012-02-29, 11:17 AM
Now I am again in this twisted situation of wanting to google something, and really not wanting to google somthing! :smallbiggrin:

Edit: Funny how the one whose name sounds more like cheap porn isn't the one who does it. But I don't trust people who write 3 novels per year, every year, for the past 15 years.

Fiery Diamond
2012-02-29, 11:25 AM
Just wondering, all. I've always assumed that the answer was no, associating love stories with females, but as time passed I've decided to just ask.

Do any guys here (anyone who identifies as male) sit down and watch/read love stories and enjoy them. Or alternatively, enjoy romantic elements that are added to stories not primarily about love.

As for me, well I don't really mind. Maybe I'm just getting older, but if the circumstances regarding the characters are correct I'm more likely to ask "why not?". As for full-blown love stories, I think I enjoyed City of Angels and the Break-Up (does it count?).

P.S. I hope I haven't offended anyone with the phrasing of my question.

Absolutely. I generally don't like stories that are SOLELY about love, but I definitely appreciate (and very much enjoy) romantic elements in stories not primarily about love. In fact, I prefer to read/watch stories that have romantic elements to ones that don't. And occasionally I do read stories that are primarily about romance and enjoy them.

So anyone who claims that guys don't like romance stories or romance in stories is either A) making gross stereotypical generalizations based on 1) preconceived notions or 2) extremely limited anecdotal evidence OR B) completely delusional.

Yora
2012-02-29, 11:34 AM
I wonder what movies and other things have romntic sub-plots that men genuinely enjoy. It's not something that usually gets discussed. :smallbiggrin:

The Mad Hatter
2012-02-29, 11:38 AM
Hmm...Have to say yes here. I do appreciate a good romance in a movie. Generally it helps the characters change and develop. Sadly, Twilight really isn't much of a romance as much as a movie about a creepy sparkly guy, and an obsessive compulsive teen...

dehro
2012-02-29, 11:46 AM
Also I'm not sure what the point here was:


Now I am again in this twisted situation of wanting to google something, and really not wanting to google somthing! :smallbiggrin:

this is kind of what I was going for :smalltongue:

Makensha
2012-02-29, 11:50 AM
Pride and Prejudice is pretty awesome. But mostly it just comes down to how the relationship interacts for me.

Boci
2012-02-29, 11:52 AM
I can appreciate romantic elements in a story, but when they are the main focus I think I'll skip the whole thing.

Drascin
2012-02-29, 12:00 PM
Oh, I don't mind it, and in many cases I like it. But it has to be something that is... what would be the word... I dunno, shown. It has to be developed on screen, and be believable. And I need both people involved in the romance to not be blithering idiots about it, which disqualifies most of the romance in media :smalltongue:

Eden of the East's romance is great, for example. Weird, but great.

MLai
2012-02-29, 01:19 PM
But most people are blithering idiots when they become personally involved in a romance.

Brother Oni
2012-02-29, 02:19 PM
I wonder what movies and other things have romntic sub-plots that men genuinely enjoy. It's not something that usually gets discussed. :smallbiggrin:

If we exclude all the tragic ones, I don't think there are that many.

Since we mentioned anime earlier, most Macross series have a love subplot, or more specifically, a love triangle. I haven't seen Frontier, but Plus probably has my favourite depiction of it (ends in the brave death of the second male lead though... hmm, I think I'm seeing a theme here in the romance elements I like :smalltongue:).

Fiery Diamond
2012-02-29, 02:37 PM
I wonder what movies and other things have romntic sub-plots that men genuinely enjoy. It's not something that usually gets discussed. :smallbiggrin:

Generally fantasy adventure stories, for me. Comedy included is good, but not absolutely necessary. Many of the manga I read/anime I watch include romantic elements.

Two comedic adventure stories with romance that I think a lot of guys liked are The Princess Bride and Stardust.

I just recently discovered Arata Kangatari, a manga fantasy adventure story that has minor romantic elements in it (that I kind of wish were more major). I like that a lot.

Dr. Roboto
2012-02-29, 09:13 PM
I'd just like to echo the sentiments expressed earlier in the thread; some (many?) men do enjoy romance, provided that it is executed well.

At the moment, I'm having trouble remembering romances that I really enjoyed, but that's probably because my recent movie-watching habits have been based around action movies. That genre certainly seems to have an endemic of badly-done romance.

Serpentine
2012-02-29, 09:20 PM
Let's try another tack: what action movie has a good romantic subplot?

Seerow
2012-02-29, 09:30 PM
Let's try another tack: what action movie has a good romantic subplot?

Not sure offhand about movies, but I considered the subplot between Shawn and Jules in Psych to be well done.

Madara
2012-02-29, 10:03 PM
I like violence more, but the actual "romantic element", I can live with. I won't go looking for a "romance" novel, but if it has some in it, I don't mind.
Example: Full Metal Alchemist Ending, Totally "'aww"ed it :smallsmile:

McStabbington
2012-02-29, 11:18 PM
Let's try another tack: what action movie has a good romantic subplot?

Back to the Future. The story of Marty McFly teaching his father George McFly how to win the heart of Lorraine Bates the right way is still one of the most heartwarming things I've ever watched.

To answer the main: romantic comedy actually shares a great many similarities with the Western. Both Westerns and romantic comedies are very formula-specific, and while occasionally they go in unexpected directions at the end, the how they get there is usually very structured and organized. There's the past relationship, the meet cute, the introduction of the thing that keeps them apart, the sudden reveal, and then the final resolution. Doing romantic comedy well is more about pulling off the elements and integrating them into a coherent whole than it is about being really innovative. And like Westerns, romantic comedies done well is something I really enjoy.

The problem is that most romantic comedies really don't pull their constituent parts together all that well. I think part of this is just that most romantic comedies have always been bad, and I just haven't seen Cary Grant's clunkers. But I also think that part of the problem is that writers have a very hard time writing a convincing reason for people to stay apart after the meet cute phase. So they unfortunately rely on a huge number of tired and hackneyed problems: she's a free spirit and he's a nebbish dork! she's a manic pixie dream girl and he's an angsting wanker! her inability to avoid water fountains gives her self-esteem issues!

I actually think that this explains part of why Hollywood keeps trotting out Jane Austen every few years: because back in Jane's day, it was really really easy for two people to have a meet cute and still never get together because of class, religion, social demarcations, etc. While there's still possible to build a convincing reason why these two don't just get drunk at a bar one night before knocking boots in a one-night stand today, it really seems to throw writers.

Brother Oni
2012-03-01, 03:10 AM
Back to the Future. The story of Marty McFly teaching his father George McFly how to win the heart of Lorraine Bates the right way is still one of the most heartwarming things I've ever watched.

Back to the Future 3 also has quite a nice one between Doc Brown and Clara, but it pales somewhat to the friendship between Marty and Doc. The Brokeback to the Future parody was hilarious though. :smallbiggrin:

Hmmm, action movies with a decent romance subplot that doesn't end in the death of at least one of the members...

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with Han and Leia?

The Mummy Returns, the way that Imhoteph just looks at Rick and Evelyn at the end after Anck-Su-Namun leaves him? Oh dammit, that's another one where they die... :smallsigh:

I'm going to have to think about this...

Haruspex_Pariah
2012-03-01, 03:13 AM
I actually liked Moulin Rouge. But that may have been for the tragic aspect of it. And also the anachronistic music.

MLai
2012-03-01, 05:43 AM
Let's try another tack: what action movie has a good romantic subplot?
Conan?

Wait, wait. Bear with me for a second. Think about it.

(1) The couple is actually believable. They're compatible, they have the same jobs, the same interests. None of this "dorky guy and supermodel girl fall in love" or "super-rich guy and normal not-celebrity not-model girl" unbelievable BS.

(2) She actually does a lot of stuff in the film, both independently and for the man. When they met, she was out doing a dangerous heist by herself, for herself. Later, she drags his soul away from spirits of the Underworld and back into his cold body.

(3) Ok, she does die. But only really late in the end. It's not as if she dies in the first 30 minutes of the movie, and then is just a placeholder for the protag to wangst on.

(4) As much as Ahnold had chemistry with any actress, I think he kind of had it with her. Cuz when I was watching Conan 2 as a kid, I believed it. I could believe that he would go thru all that crap just to resurrect her.

Dienekes
2012-03-01, 07:23 AM
I actually liked Moulin Rouge. But that may have been for the tragic aspect of it. And also the anachronistic music.

If you say so. I remember finding the tragedy fairly hilarious myself. Though mostly I was yelling that tuberculosis doesn't work like that, and found it completely confusing why they didn't just let the annoying villain guy kill her, as that would bring the story to the exact same conclusion, without the insta-death thing.

MLai
2012-03-01, 07:30 AM
Someone insta-died from TB? :smallsmile:

TB is funny in Asian media, actually. It's the most overused ailment in anime, movies, manga, etc.

Fri
2012-03-01, 09:36 AM
Nah, I think vague incurable bloody cough of death is prevalent in almost every culture. It's almost never specifically called TB though, I think.

Serpentine
2012-03-01, 10:04 AM
I think my main problem with romcoms is this: the problem is almost always really easily solved. All it takes is a few seconds to apologise, and/or five minutes to explain the situation. And absolutely no one ever apologises for anything. You ever noticed that? No matter how much they screwed up, they never say "I screwed up. I'm really sorry." The most you get is an angry non-apology of "I'm sorry, okay! Geeze!" or similar. And while I'm at it, no one ever says goodbye when they hang up the phone! RARGH!

Brother Oni
2012-03-01, 10:42 AM
I think my main problem with romcoms is this: the problem is almost always really easily solved. All it takes is a few seconds to apologise, and/or five minutes to explain the situation. And absolutely no one ever apologises for anything. You ever noticed that? No matter how much they screwed up, they never say "I screwed up. I'm really sorry." The most you get is an angry non-apology of "I'm sorry, okay! Geeze!" or similar. And while I'm at it, no one ever says goodbye when they hang up the phone! RARGH!

Have you seen Sliding Doors then? The problem isn't really her fault and the communication error gets solved as soon as he gets an opportunity to explain it to her.
(Of course she dies in one timeline, but she's alive in another, so a no-score draw there).

I think I found another set of action films with a decent romance subplot - the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films with Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan. Their romantic ups and downs get solved neatly and the obstacles get resolved in a sensible manner - Norrington nobly steps aside for Will and Elizabeth, Jack gets killed (he gets better) and Will gets brought back after being killed, so with one technical exception (he removes himself from the romance subplot so he's not really part of it anymore), the boy gets the girl and nobody dies. :smallbiggrin:

*Puts his fingers in his ears* LALALA-I can't hear you talking about Davy Jones and Calypso-LALALA

Edit: spoilered on request

Serpentine
2012-03-01, 10:45 AM
I really like Sliding Doors, actually. Wouldn't mind seeing it again...

That's a pretty huge spoiler you've got there, though. Would you mind removing/hiding it?

nooblade
2012-03-01, 10:47 AM
I hate when romantic movies teach romance badly. This is the problem I have with romantic movies as a more mature male; the situations developing in them are intended to make women melt instead of teaching me how to handle myself in strange and important situations. Lovemaking or kissing aren't difficult, but the social parts (meeting a stranger and presenting yourself, developing a relationship) of it are, and they're glossed over. Romcoms are worse because they try to lighten these situations ("it was so funny how awkward/stupid that guy was!") when I'm still struggling with them.

In movies that I recall with love triangles, for example, the one male will sulk around until that woman changes her mind. People might call this romance but in real life this is a terrible idea and hardly anyone will sympathize. I bitterly resent movies that feature a man who is "in love" and can't do anything about it if the woman doesn't favor him. I think this is actually learned, failing behavior.

Producers tend to think of the strong male figure as a macho man, but I think a male who can deal with rejection and manage his own emotion, particularly love he feels for any women, would be a more useful role model. But no, everyone has an ideal for love being an uncontrollable force. You might not stop love, but yes you can avoid hurting feelings.

Saph
2012-03-01, 11:15 AM
I really like Sliding Doors, actually. Wouldn't mind seeing it again...

Heh, weird coincidence. I actually thought about using that as an example, then thought "Nah, that's too obscure. No-one's likely to have seen it." :smallbiggrin:

More seriously, I think that film's a pretty good example of why most guys aren't likely to enjoy romance movies. The female lead is good and even several years after having seen it, I can still remember what she was like. But the two love interests were thin as all heck. Both were defined solely by their relationship to the heroine and didn't have any characterisation outside of that. And the cheating boyfriend's conversations with his best mate were so hilariously bad that I can still remember them as examples of how not to write male dialogue. :smallbiggrin:

Flickerdart
2012-03-01, 11:18 AM
I absolutely loathe romance. It amounts to taking a wonderful fictional world and then sticking something so mundane and ordinary and common into it, which is, I feel, missing the whole point of fiction to begin with. If you want a story about people snogging, it doesn't need to have anything to do with my story about space dragon explosions.

Tengu_temp
2012-03-01, 11:55 AM
Yeah, because one of the most beautiful emotions humans can feel absolutely doesn't belong in high fiction. Only explosions anbd chainsaws and guts and RIP AND TEAR GRRRRR!

Radar
2012-03-01, 11:55 AM
I immensly enjoyed Lost In Translation and considering that man/women relation with a bit of romantic subtext is what the movie is about, I'd say yes, I appreciate romantic elements if well executed.

I'll have to second Conan as an action movie with a good romance subplot: apart from the arguments already mentioned, this was not an add-on the movie could do without (as it is with many action movies) - it was integral to the plot in a way that made sense.

I think my main problem with romcoms is this: the problem is almost always really easily solved. All it takes is a few seconds to apologise, and/or five minutes to explain the situation. And absolutely no one ever apologises for anything. You ever noticed that? No matter how much they screwed up, they never say "I screwed up. I'm really sorry." The most you get is an angry non-apology of "I'm sorry, okay! Geeze!" or similar. And while I'm at it, no one ever says goodbye when they hang up the phone! RARGH!
Yes, people acting as if their frontal lobe was surgicaly removed right at the occiput is the main problem with bad romantic comedies and frankly most other genres of fiction. It is more visible here, since romcoms have nothing more to pull the load.

As it is, I like good romantic comedies. One of the better ones I know of are L.A. Story and Groundhog Day (if the second one counts). The first one because the dynamic between the two leads is believable (and there's this great scene with Enya's piece), the second, because the guy get's the girl only after he stops being that much of an egocentric and genuinly tries to improve himself.

Eldan
2012-03-01, 12:01 PM
Yeah, because one of the most beautiful emotions humans can feel absolutely doesn't belong in high fiction. Only explosions anbd chainsaws and guts and RIP AND TEAR GRRRRR!

Not that, really, but there's plenty of emotions besides RAGE! and love. And I think love is really just about the most boring emotion to show in a story. Can't really think of any case where it added much that couldn't have been done without it.

Serpentine
2012-03-01, 12:06 PM
Another change of tack! (but doesn't have to replace the other)
Romcoms that work.

Aside from Sliding Doors, which I quite liked but it's been so long I can't say why, I was pleasantly surprised by Legally Blonde (although, does it actually count as a romcom?). It even helped shift some of my feminist philosophy. But what I most liked about it was that it wasn't ultimately about a love story, it was about a girl realising that there's more important things than love, specifically self-development (and as an extra bonus, seeing what an actually healthy relationship with someone who respects and supports you is like).

What else have I liked? Hrm. I'm stumped... Someone list a bunch of romcoms.
Oh! An Australian one, Dating the Enemy. Uh... dunno if I have any profound insight in it though. I just think it's funny and heartwarming...
(for people who don't know it: two people meet, fall in love, have a relationship, it falls apart, and they break up - just happening to (iirc) saying "I wish you could spend some time in my shoes!" at midnight or somesuch, and then waking up the next morning in each other's bodies. Hijinks ensue)

Terraoblivion
2012-03-01, 12:13 PM
I absolutely loathe romance. It amounts to taking a wonderful fictional world and then sticking something so mundane and ordinary and common into it, which is, I feel, missing the whole point of fiction to begin with. If you want a story about people snogging, it doesn't need to have anything to do with my story about space dragon explosions.

Because common, easily identifiable human desires that influence just about everyone for much of their lives are uninteresting and devoid of dramatic potential, but physical danger is novel, unique and never trite at all?

Surrealistik
2012-03-01, 12:27 PM
Yeah, because one of the most beautiful emotions humans can feel absolutely doesn't belong in high fiction. Only explosions anbd chainsaws and guts and RIP AND TEAR GRRRRR!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8yc5bnOrSc

Das Platyvark
2012-03-01, 12:39 PM
I like romance when it happens between characters we've seen built up and genuinely care about. If it's just from the start, the people being introduced through the romance, then less so.

Tengu_temp
2012-03-01, 12:41 PM
Not that, really, but there's plenty of emotions besides RAGE! and love. And I think love is really just about the most boring emotion to show in a story. Can't really think of any case where it added much that couldn't have been done without it.

I, on the other hand, can think of many examples where romantic elements give the story more weight, put more important things at stake and/or make certain scenes carry much more emotional impact. The anime examples I gave before are a good start, and they're nowhere near a comprehensive list.

There's a lot of bad love stories too, yeah, but there's a lot of bad anything stories. Except Cave Stories, those are always excellent.

Mando Knight
2012-03-01, 12:48 PM
I like romantic elements... when it's done right. I love to see the guy to save the day and get the girl. (Or the girl to get the guy, whatever.) I get upset when my personal favorite ships end up getting sunk by canon fire. I am amused by romantic hijinks, and often either frustrated or amused by people who can't spit it out, especially when it's mutual.

But then again, my life's primary role model has, for almost 30 years now, been in love with the same woman, and my early childhood involved many of the Disney classics...

Yora
2012-03-01, 12:58 PM
I hate when romantic movies teach romance badly.
I think Cracked had a couple of articles only on the subject of romantic movies setting very bad examples about relationships.

Mewtarthio
2012-03-01, 01:08 PM
Let's try another tack: what action movie has a good romantic subplot?

Inception!

Surrealistik
2012-03-01, 01:09 PM
I was pleasantly surprised by Legally Blonde (although, does it actually count as a romcom?). It even helped shift some of my feminist philosophy. But what I most liked about it was that it wasn't ultimately about a love story, it was about a girl realising that there's more important things than love, specifically self-development (and as an extra bonus, seeing what an actually healthy relationship with someone who respects and supports you is like).

I honestly can't stand Legally Blonde for the same reason I can't stand hamfisted Aesops and patronizing propaganda/agenda pieces; this film is both. It is just a thoroughly obnoxious story of 'righteous' comeuppance, 'girl power' and fairy tale romance shot through with stupid tropes and an idealized progression and resolution so sugar-coated, predictable, ridiculous and plastic as to demand contempt and induce nausea; my eyes rolled so hard and so often over its painful run that their pupils just about stuck in my head.

Simply put, it is an awful, terrible movie. Some people (mostly women I imagine) might find it inspiring, but to me, it is just absolutely silly and repugnant as it attempts to ram feminism down the viewer's throat in some of most unbalanced, artless, naive and overbearing ways I've ever seen.

McStabbington
2012-03-01, 01:14 PM
For some reason I can't link it, but the Onion put out a story about a decade ago titled "Romantic-Comedy Behavior Gets Real-Life Man Arrested". The extended punchline of the joke was that the typical behaviors of earnestly doggedly pursuing a woman get you a conviction for stalking in real-life, rather than convincing her that you really, sincerely do love her.

Fortunately, that particular kind of romantic comedy has fallen by the wayside as people gamed out the implications and John Cusack grew older.

Philistine
2012-03-01, 02:38 PM
On the one hand, romance is part of the human condition - and a pretty major part, at that. And since most media is about humans (or stand-ins which act like humans), portrayals that simply ignore this aspect of life risk coming off as poorly-characterized, flat, and/or unrelatable. And when handled well, romance can be an extremely effective "hook" to engage both characters and audience, and/or provide additional insight into a character. Not that every story needs to be a romance, or even needs to "have romantic elements" (actually, I'm not entirely sure what's meant by that - full-on romance subplots, or something as simple as acknowledging that, yes, this is an element of the characters' lives even if it's not given any screentime?), because somtimes it really isn't relevant. But it can be a good thing, even when not strictly necessary to the plot.

On the other hand, because it is so powerful, some no-talent hack writers try to use it as a crutch when they can't get audiences engaged any other way - just like some no-talent ham actors use tears when they don't have the chops to play strong emotion well.

What's more, and worse, I would arrgue that the emphasis placed on romance in modern Western culture is beyond excessive - many media portrayals would have us believe that romantic love is not merely an important part of life, but the most (or indeed the only) important part. Pop music is especially bad about the latter. Combined with a thoroughly unrealistic portrayal of the subject, as several others have already discussed here - I prefer to call it "Fairy Tale Romance" because it's hardly exclusive to Hollywood - and we have a recipe for all sorts of destructive behavior when real life cannot measure up to "how it's supposed to be." So I'm extremely unsympathetic to media that have the protagonists abandoning all former connections and values in pursuit of a mush-brained happily-ever-after, especially when the creator tries to convince me that this is somehow a Good Thing.

So to answer the OP's question: Yes. Sometimes. Within limits. If it's done well. And if it's not trying to peddle the same tired old "love conquers all, Happily Ever After" drek that pervades our culture.

Serpentine
2012-03-01, 09:46 PM
I honestly can't stand Legally Blonde for the same reason I can't stand hamfisted Aesops and patronizing propaganda/agenda pieces; this film is both. It is just a thoroughly obnoxious story of 'righteous' comeuppance, 'girl power' and fairy tale romance shot through with stupid tropes and an idealized progression and resolution so sugar-coated, predictable, ridiculous and plastic as to demand contempt and induce nausea; my eyes rolled so hard and so often over its painful run that their pupils just about stuck in my head.

Simply put, it is an awful, terrible movie. Some people (mostly women I imagine) might find it inspiring, but to me, it is just absolutely silly and repugnant as it attempts to ram feminism down the viewer's throat in some of most unbalanced, artless, naive and overbearing ways I've ever seen.http://good2know.richpnifong.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/your_opinion.jpg

I liked it. You are welcome to not.

Fri
2012-03-02, 03:57 AM
Yeah, Philistine. I also wish to see more things like, people getting paired together by their parents, for example, and finding out that they're happy with it. It's not like, love have to be love at first sight and then do everything you can to pursue that single love. Also people realizing that their have important obligation that's more important than single minded love, and actually finding out that they're right (and happy with it). Basically, an acknowledgement that ... I don't know what to call it. Modern western/hollywood love? (I'm just pulling out words out of my ass since I don't know what to call it) is not the only kind of love.

Brother Oni
2012-03-02, 07:30 AM
Yeah, Philistine. I also wish to see more things like, people getting paired together by their parents, for example, and finding out that they're happy with it.

As someone who's had friends and acquaintances set up on arranged marriages and parental matchmaking, that's a very idealistic view of it.

My wife's grandmother tried to set her up with formal match while we were still dating and both my wife and her mother came down very hard on it.

My wife's friend wasn't as lucky and had to choose between a number of suitors to marry (which she did), breaking up with her then boyfriend in the process, because they were of two different castes.

So yes, arranged marriages are nice in stories, not so nice in reality, especially in cultures with stricter rules on gender roles.



Modern western/hollywood love? (I'm just pulling out words out of my ass since I don't know what to call it) is not the only kind of love.

I think it's called romantic love or marrying for love, something that happens a lot in older stories (medieval times), since girls were more political collateral and tools, rather than individuals in their own right.

Fri
2012-03-02, 10:43 AM
Well yes. Obviously, not all arranged marriage works, as with not all love at first sight works. I want, as I said, to acknowledge that there are other ways to meet your 'love'.

Story Time
2012-03-02, 11:25 AM
Having...a little bit of knowledge about marriage arrangement systems I can say that every-thing in the arranging hinges on the parent. If the parent or arranger cares about the child or the arrangee it will probably end with an agreeable result. Some arrangers just don't care about who they're arranging for. Instead, they care about their own opinion ( some-times the stars or some other garbage ) or what favors that they can trade a marriage for. These types of arrangements are disasters.

The tragedy of arranged marriages is not that the systems exist. It's that some people who are trusted to be above reproach act in selfish ways and so those who are arranged for suffer.

I still personally believe that listening to one's elders about life-partners is wise. I believe that wisdom can help guide real marriage and real romance. I just also think that those elders should never cast any doubt...and if they do, that they should be ignored to the Inth.

1
...and I said all that to say... :smallredface:

That I think what Fri is getting at is a good idea. A romance story or plot where the characters are reinforced by their elders is a good one. It would probably set a good example.

Serpentine
2012-03-02, 11:33 AM
At least a couple Bollywood films cover that topic, I believe. There was one in particular I saw once... I can't remember what it was called, so there's probably not much point spoilering it, but I'll do it anyway just in case.
Been a long time since I saw it, but I believe it went something like this:
A young Indian woman had an arranged marriage to a young, boring, Indian man. She fell in love with another young, much more exciting and romantic, man. The latter had to leave to study in the UK. The arranged marriage went through.
They were together for some time, she being all listless and sad because she was in love with someone else. Her husband, who really loved her, knew this, and took her all the way to the UK to let her be with her lover. They saw each other, they had their reunion, much happiness...
And then she realised just how devoted to her her husband was, and that she loved him too, and so she returned with him and stayed his wife.It was a strange shift from the love stories I'm used to.

The Succubus
2012-03-02, 11:43 AM
Hmmm...

For me, it has to be tastfully done and with real emotion. At the first hint of being saccharine or cheesy I instantly switch off. I class "Never Been Kissed" with Drew Barrymore as being one of the worst films to plague mankind, just behind M Night Shylaman's entire body of work.

"So Succubus, what would you consider a good romantic story?" I hear you ask. Bizarrely enough, Bram Stoker's Dracula for one - it shows how time, beliefs and even the grave can't stop two souls who were clearly meant to be together. It is what Twilight wishes it was before going back to being sparkly.

Another one is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the relationship between Li Mu Bai and (nuts I've forgotten her name). They've been friends for a long time and have deep unspoken feelings for each other. The scene where he reaches out and touches her hand for the first time does a better job of showing his love for her than a hundred Hollywood snogfests.

Telonius
2012-03-02, 12:01 PM
Let's try another tack: what action movie has a good romantic subplot?

Willow.

People's minds will immediately flip to Madmartigan and Sorsha. But I'm thinking of the other romantic subplot.

Willow and Kaiya. The scene of his homecoming is terrific.

Flickerdart
2012-03-02, 01:21 PM
Because common, easily identifiable human desires that influence just about everyone for much of their lives are uninteresting and devoid of dramatic potential, but physical danger is novel, unique and never trite at all?
Don't put words in my mouth. It's quite possible to write interesting and dramatic romance. The very fact that is is common is what makes me want it out of my fiction. What's the point of travelling a million light years away from Earth if you're going to find the same thing as you can have on a cheap motel bed?

Serpentine
2012-03-02, 01:41 PM
What's the point of travelling a million light years away from Earth if you're going to find the same thing as you can have on a cheap motel bed?Are you saying you think explorers of new and exciting planets will - or should - suddenly become asexual and aromantic? :smallconfused: A genuine question, what is it that you're saying here?
For the vast majority of humanity, love - sex/romance/lust/drive to reproduce/whatever - is a (maybe even the) major driving force. That's not going to just go away just because they're a million light years away.

Now, I'm not saying I disagree with the idea that it would be nice to see some more stories without romantic elements - I would particularly like to see it disconnected from stories with female protaganists, instead of it being more "a woman? BRING OUT THE LOVE INTEREST!" But the idea that a story being in space is a reason to remove any romantic element really puzzles me :smallconfused:

Traab
2012-03-02, 02:23 PM
Just wondering, all. I've always assumed that the answer was no, associating love stories with females, but as time passed I've decided to just ask.

Do any guys here (anyone who identifies as male) sit down and watch/read love stories and enjoy them. Or alternatively, enjoy romantic elements that are added to stories not primarily about love.

As for me, well I don't really mind. Maybe I'm just getting older, but if the circumstances regarding the characters are correct I'm more likely to ask "why not?". As for full-blown love stories, I think I enjoyed City of Angels and the Break-Up (does it count?).

P.S. I hope I haven't offended anyone with the phrasing of my question.

As long as its just an element of the story and not its main focus. Take the belgariad. A nice 5 book series by david eddings, there are a couple of romances going on there, but they dont blot out the sun with its sheer mass, or become the plot, so its just fine. if I want a story about romance, ill read a romance novel.

Philistine
2012-03-02, 02:29 PM
Don't put words in my mouth. It's quite possible to write interesting and dramatic romance. The very fact that is is common is what makes me want it out of my fiction. What's the point of travelling a million light years away from Earth if you're going to find the same thing as you can have on a cheap motel bed?
Wow. As jaundiced as my views on the topic are, that's just... Wow.

To answer the question, though: stories still need relatable protagonists no matter where they're set - whether on Earth or a million light years from Earth. Since most of the audience are, in fact, human beings, "relatable" translates roughly as "behaves the way human beings do." And whether you like it or not, those "things you can have on a cheap motel bed" are very much part of human behavior. As before, I'm most definitely not saying every story needs to be a romance or even to have a romance subplot involving one or more main characters; but some token acknowledgment of the matter, just as an indication that the characters in the story are still recognizably people, will improve more stories than it harms.

Terraoblivion
2012-03-02, 03:12 PM
Don't put words in my mouth. It's quite possible to write interesting and dramatic romance. The very fact that is is common is what makes me want it out of my fiction. What's the point of travelling a million light years away from Earth if you're going to find the same thing as you can have on a cheap motel bed?

And things other than the primary goal of a journey can happen while on it? I mean, going one million light years for a romantic getaway seems kinda extravagant, but people doing research or going off to war or whatever are generally known for having the same drives as anybody else. Also just because something is in space doesn't mean it doesn't need plot and characters and how those behave is depended on the story you want to tell, not on how far away or close by it is set.

Tengu_temp
2012-03-02, 03:21 PM
Don't put words in my mouth. It's quite possible to write interesting and dramatic romance. The very fact that is is common is what makes me want it out of my fiction. What's the point of travelling a million light years away from Earth if you're going to find the same thing as you can have on a cheap motel bed?

So, you don't want any common real life elements to appear in your fiction? I'm afraid that means all that's left are stories about explorers wandering through some alien landscape and commenting on whatever they see dryly (emotional responses would be too common after all). Hope you like Lovecraft!

1dominator
2012-03-02, 03:37 PM
Nope. Proof? My mom dragged the entire extended family to watch Twilight. All the guys were for watching Quantum Of Solace. We were outvoted so we ignored the movie and ate all the popcorn.

Twilight is an insult to all things Romantic.

@OP Yes, if they are well done.


I absolutely loathe romance. It amounts to taking a wonderful fictional world and then sticking something so mundane and ordinary and common into it, which is, I feel, missing the whole point of fiction to begin with. If you want a story about people snogging, it doesn't need to have anything to do with my story about space dragon explosions.

If you think that all there is to romance, or that even the most integral part of it is people "snogging" you have my sincere pity. You are missing out on so much.

Mewtarthio
2012-03-02, 03:54 PM
At least a couple Bollywood films cover that topic, I believe. There was one in particular I saw once... I can't remember what it was called, so there's probably not much point spoilering it, but I'll do it anyway just in case.
Been a long time since I saw it, but I believe it went something like this:
A young Indian woman had an arranged marriage to a young, boring, Indian man. She fell in love with another young, much more exciting and romantic, man. The latter had to leave to study in the UK. The arranged marriage went through.
They were together for some time, she being all listless and sad because she was in love with someone else. Her husband, who really loved her, knew this, and took her all the way to the UK to let her be with her lover. They saw each other, they had their reunion, much happiness...
And then she realised just how devoted to her her husband was, and that she loved him too, and so she returned with him and stayed his wife.It was a strange shift from the love stories I'm used to.

I think I saw that exact same film, except the lover was Italian. I get the impression this sort of thing happens a lot in Bollywood.

Plus you get colorful musical numbers! What's not to love?

Dragosai
2012-03-02, 04:03 PM
I'll throw my 2 cents in the ring. For me a story be it film, book, tv, play must be about something else not just the romance or I don't care.

I find romantic comedies to be awful, I know millions of people like them so please understand this not a personal attack on anyone.

The reason I as a guy do not like rom coms is that you know 100% of the time how they will end so they are nothing more then masturbation.

Most woman like them the same way that most guys like action movies, this is not a flaw in either sex it's just that they play to our inner lizard brain hard wired emotions. Most women dream about that perfect romantic happening or relationship or what have you, and most men dream of being a big damn hero.

The other big issue especially with Hollywood and romance in any form is the "ugly for Hollywood" phenomena.

Penny Arcade did a great strip about this and the movie "Beastly" that came out maybe a year and a half ago or so? Twilight is lousy with this theme, and is the single reason I have not seen more then the first 15 - 20 minutes of the first film as I was laughing to hard to keep watching when they showed the vamp dude sparkling in sunlight and he was all "look away I am a hideous monster". Yeah I wish I could have teleported Quasimodo into the movie to kick his ass right then and there.

Fiery Diamond
2012-03-02, 04:18 PM
So, you don't want any common real life elements to appear in your fiction? I'm afraid that means all that's left are stories about explorers wandering through some alien landscape and commenting on whatever they see dryly (emotional responses would be too common after all). Hope you like Lovecraft!

*snicker*

Well said.


Most woman like them the same way that most guys like action movies, this is not a flaw in either sex it's just that they play to our inner lizard brain hard wired emotions. Most women dream about that perfect romantic happening or relationship or what have you, and most men dream of being a big damn hero.

I suppose I must be an anomaly, since I don't think those two dreams are mutually exclusive. "Perfect romantic relationship" and "big damn hero" are both equally appealing for me to dream/fantasize about/watch. Explain to me what's wrong with Mr. Big Damn Hero and Miss Big Damn Heroine having a thoughtful, considerate, compassionate, loving romance. Because that is where it is at. (If anyone has any examples of movies/books/shows/whatever of this, please tell me so I can go watch/read them immediately. :smallsmile:)

Terraoblivion
2012-03-02, 04:20 PM
Most woman like them the same way that most guys like action movies, this is not a flaw in either sex it's just that they play to our inner lizard brain hard wired emotions. Most women dream about that perfect romantic happening or relationship or what have you, and most men dream of being a big damn hero.

This isn't biological, it's a cultural thing with people being trained to like some things and receiving positive feedback for showing appreciation of it. Not just that, quite a large number of women hate romantic comedies, just like a large number of women, both ones who like romcoms and ones who don't, like action movies. There are even people of either gender who hates both, my father for example, and watch something else entirely.

Personally I think both romance and action is good if it is actually properly made and not just paint by the numbers or actively offensive in how it portrays race, gender, sexuality or something else. Sadly, most stuff fails all of this, especially among the offerings from Hollywood and mainstream tv.

Fiery Diamond
2012-03-02, 04:25 PM
This isn't biological, it's a cultural thing with people being trained to like some things and receiving positive feedback for showing appreciation of it. Not just that, quite a large number of women hate romantic comedies, just like a large number of women, both ones who like romcoms and ones who don't, like action movies. There are even people of either gender who hates both, my father for example, and watch something else entirely.

Personally I think both romance and action is good if it is actually properly made and not just paint by the numbers or actively offensive in how it portrays race, gender sexuality or something else. Sadly, most stuff fails all of this, especially among the offerings from Hollywood and mainstream tv.

Well said. Also, I posted an edit to my post above. And also also, where is the first picture in your sig from? If that's from an actual manga, I totally want to read it.

Terraoblivion
2012-03-02, 04:42 PM
The girl complaining about the lack of foreshadowing? That's from Mahou Sensei Negima, a good manga pulled down by excessive amounts of fanservice. Doesn't make a ton of the characters any less awesome, even if it has been kinda fraying and losing focus for the last year or so.

And, yes, Chisame the girl in question is awesome, even if she doesn't appear that way in the beginning.

Alabenson
2012-03-02, 06:22 PM
Personally, I see romance in stories as being similar to garlic in food.

By itself, its terribly overpowering, and when used improperly it greatly detracts from the rest of the meal. However, when used properly, it can greatly improve a dish, bringing out depth and flavor.

In other words, as has been said before, romance is a wonderful component in stories, provided it is used correctly.

Dienekes
2012-03-02, 06:48 PM
Well yes. Obviously, not all arranged marriage works, as with not all love at first sight works. I want, as I said, to acknowledge that there are other ways to meet your 'love'.

You have Golde and Tevye what else do you need? That those two have one of the most realistic romances I've seen in fiction is just icing on the cake, and made them a bit more interesting than any of the overblown romantic elements shown by their children.


If you think that all there is to romance, or that even the most integral part of it is people "snogging" you have my sincere pity. You are missing out on so much.

Actually sorta, yeah. I believe the last experiment on the matter indicated that long term romance seemed far more determined by both participants recognizing that they were in the part of their life where they wished to settle down far more than any notable personality traits. From what I've seen of the subject it seems to be randomly finding someone who's willing to have intercourse with you, and doesn't annoy you too much and develops into a sedentary life of bickering over meaningless details, some financial support, and trying to get the other partner to make dinner on any given day. And that's assuming that the romance lasts and is functional and doesn't end like 50% do and quite a lot more should.

Remmirath
2012-03-03, 12:46 AM
I imagine that men in general like romance in fiction about as much as women in general do - which is to say, some do and some don't. I don't think you can effectively generalise that much about people's opinions.

I can, on occasion, appreciate romantic elements in stories - if they're fairly background, make sense, and are mostly another layer of character building. That just means that I'll like them as much as any other background character development thing, though (and less than some).

Mostly, though, I just skip past romance parts, get up to get a drink, or do whatever else is appropriate to the type of media for ignoring the scene. I can't think of any story based entirely or even largely around romance which I enjoy; I tend to find it somewhere between boring and tedious and outright annoying.

MLai
2012-03-03, 02:06 AM
Willow.
Willow and Kaiya. The scene of his homecoming is terrific.
Oh shoot, now that you mention it I remember that. My dad was saying that those little people (specifically meaning this pair, but also the village in general) were really great actors and believable. I agreed. The wife was really really good in her part.

Wait. Lucas didn't direct this movie, did he? He couldn't have.

Fri
2012-03-03, 02:26 AM
I remember now. I have one exact media where romance is the main premise, and I absolutely love it.

It's School Rumble, the manga/anime :smallbiggrin:.

It's a comedy manga. About romance. So I guess it's romantic comedy? It's mostly gag manga, the easiest way I can describe it is... Azumanga Daioh with heterogender cast and romance? But really, romance is the main premise of the series, it's about a bunch of high school students and their wacky relationship web. But it's published in a shonen (boys) magazine, and for most part of the publication, I kid you not, it might be the single most favourite manga of my college's male manga-reading community, and unlike in US, manga is as much read as weekly news magazine here. It even got character communities between the readers similar to 'team edward' and 'team jacob' phenomena.

It's one of the thing that kept me afloat at my worst part of clinical depression back then

Brother Oni
2012-03-03, 03:32 AM
Another one is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the relationship between Li Mu Bai and (nuts I've forgotten her name). They've been friends for a long time and have deep unspoken feelings for each other. The scene where he reaches out and touches her hand for the first time does a better job of showing his love for her than a hundred Hollywood snogfests.

Shu Lien. :smalltongue:

As I mentioned earlier, it's more complicated than just simple inability to speak their feelings, since doing so would dishonour the memory of Shu Lien's deceased husband, who was also Li's brother in arms.

The moment where he just holds her hand to his face is a very powerful moment (and had my sister going 'squeee!', saying they HAD to get together. I said nothing as I had already seen the film :smalltongue:).


Wait. Lucas didn't direct this movie, did he? He couldn't have.

According to IMDB, Ron Howard directed, Bob Dolman wrote the screenplay and Lucas was the original writer, so the script had two steps to get away from Lucas' inability to write dialogue.

_Zoot_
2012-03-03, 08:32 AM
Personally, I've seen some very effective shows and films with romantic sub-plots, I've even enjoyed some films shows where the main plot is a romantic one. But on the whole I do tend to find that it is a special occasion that I really enjoy it.

McStabbington
2012-03-03, 04:16 PM
The Terminator also has one of the most believable and plot-appropriate romances I've seen. One might find either Kyle Reese falling in love with John Connor's mother before meeting her, or Sarah falling so readily for Kyle to be a bit hokey, but I always thought that the actors involved really made it work.

Juggling Goth
2012-03-03, 04:21 PM
Sure. My friend Lloyd goes to see 'chick flicks' all the time. The only romance films I can stand are But I'm A Cheerleader, Shortbus and Secretary.

dehro
2012-03-03, 05:59 PM
ooh...Secretary...nice call.
funny how that movie seems to be in the favourite movies list of most of the people I know who share a certain inclination.

Knaight
2012-03-04, 03:04 AM
Sure. My friend Lloyd goes to see 'chick flicks' all the time. The only romance films I can stand are But I'm A Cheerleader, Shortbus and Secretary.

I'm reasonably sure that Secretary is less "romance film" and more "softcore pornography".

dehro
2012-03-04, 08:46 AM
not so..the most you get to see is a bumcheek..from the side. I can't remember even seeing as much as a kiss.

that said, it's a big hit in the BDSM comunity because its main theme is very much a glimpse on at least a part of that world

Juggling Goth
2012-03-04, 12:30 PM
I'm reasonably sure that Secretary is less "romance film" and more "softcore pornography".

Softest core this side of Mr Whippy ice-cream, then.

... although it's pretty funny you picked that one out of a list that included Shortbus.

Knaight
2012-03-04, 02:10 PM
Softest core this side of Mr Whippy ice-cream, then.

... although it's pretty funny you picked that one out of a list that included Shortbus.

I have no familiarity with Shortbus, and can't comment.

Juggling Goth
2012-03-04, 05:10 PM
Shortbus has actual sex in it. Lots of it. Though I wouldn't call that porn, either, though that might be because I didn't realise the sex was real till a few hours after I'd stopped watching it. Which sort of raises the question of whether it matters.

Coidzor
2012-03-05, 02:48 AM
Some romantic comedies can be good, I suppose, though my mind is a complete blank as to which ones I'd consider good. The only thing I can think of right now is the Princess Bride... :smallconfused:

I'll admit there have been times where I've wanted to yell at an idiot male protagonist to kiss de girl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXmLRHnoSAs), though I'm never quite sure if that's because I'm annoyed at the author portraying men as stupid and wanting the character to stop being stupid or because I actually enjoyed watched relationships bloom.

Dragosai
2012-03-05, 09:04 AM
This isn't biological, it's a cultural thing with people being trained to like some things and receiving positive feedback for showing appreciation of it.

Going to disagree here. Sure culture can play a role and I am at least talking in broad terms here so as not to drag down the conversation into semantics, but I think you would be hard pressed to look at any culture present or past where most females/males don't fail into the ideas of romance/hero.

I say lizard brain because romance = stable relationship so able to raise children safer/better, hero = same thing protection and food for children.

Cultural things tend to be much more fiddly and less basic.

JediSoth
2012-03-05, 12:52 PM
Romantic elements in stories don't bother me. Most of what I write have strong romantic element.

BUT, I have to like both the protagonist and his/her love interest. While I cannot current think of an example, I know there have been cases where I've mentally screamed at a book because I didn't like one or the other and I was yelling at the character I liked that they were TOO GOOD for the other person. I mean, I get that love/lust can make someone stupid (goodness knows I've made some really poor choices in my life that I can attribute to either thinking with a part of my anatomy that isn't my brain or because I thought I was "in love), but I don't want to escape into fictional worlds and read about people I'm trying to project myself onto making the same stupid mistakes I might.

I can just troll my memories for that junk. :p

MLai
2012-03-06, 12:49 AM
Yes but frustration of 1 type or another with a written/cinematic romance is often perfect fuel for the reader to keep on reading. Admit it, the more you hated it, the more you kept reading.

And if you actually stopped reading it, it's because the author failed. Same way he failed if the romance was so optimal it was boring.

Psyren
2012-03-06, 01:17 PM
I love it when it's part of the story without overshadowing the story. And I hate tacked-on Hollywood "love-interests" where the girl (or less often, guy) has no purpose there but to be an objective or get kidnapped.


I felt Inception was a romance done very well. So well in fact, that very few people could tell it was a romance.

Shrek was also a fantastic romance.

dehro
2012-03-06, 03:28 PM
yah..the dragon was kinda cute too

Axolotl
2012-03-06, 03:34 PM
I felt Inception was a romance done very well. So well in fact, that very few people could tell it was a romance.How was it a romance (in the normal usage of the word)?

Psyren
2012-03-06, 05:05 PM
How was it a romance (in the normal usage of the word)?

It's a love story at heart. Check the Limbo scene.

Axolotl
2012-03-06, 05:18 PM
It's a love story at heart. Check the Limbo scene.A couple of scenes does not make something a love story especially sinceThe main purpose of those scenes is to underline the tragedy of Cobb killing his wife. Also it's not a love story when one of the lovers died before the story began and only exists in flashbacks/as a figment of the imagination. There's certainly romantic elements in it but they're only there as part of Cobb's past, they aren't the heart of the story, the heist is.

Mewtarthio
2012-03-06, 05:46 PM
A couple of scenes does not make something a love story especially sinceThe main purpose of those scenes is to underline the tragedy of Cobb killing his wife. Also it's not a love story when one of the lovers died before the story began and only exists in flashbacks/as a figment of the imagination. There's certainly romantic elements in it but they're only there as part of Cobb's past, they aren't the heart of the story, the heist is.

Actually, I'd argue that the conflict between Cobb and Mal--or between Cobb and the manifestation of Cobb's guilt over Mal--is the real heart of the story. The heist is just a background, only there to force Cobb deeper into the dreams and eventually back into Limbo.

Axolotl
2012-03-06, 06:28 PM
Actually, I'd argue that the conflict between Cobb and Mal--or between Cobb and the manifestation of Cobb's guilt over Mal--is the real heart of the story. The heist is just a background, only there to force Cobb deeper into the dreams and eventually back into Limbo.But even then it's not a love story is it? It's a guy dealing with his guilt. That his guilt takes the form of his wofe doesn't change that.

JediSoth
2012-03-07, 09:28 AM
Yes but frustration of 1 type or another with a written/cinematic romance is often perfect fuel for the reader to keep on reading. Admit it, the more you hated it, the more you kept reading.

And if you actually stopped reading it, it's because the author failed. Same way he failed if the romance was so optimal it was boring.

There have been books where that was the case. There were also a few times where the protagonists self-destructive behavior cause character derailment for me and I just could not go on. I actually grew to hate the protagonist I previously rooted for (*cough*ANITA BLAKE*cough*).

Serpentine
2012-03-07, 09:39 AM
It can, and often does, result in a simply pretty awful film/book.
Exhibit A: How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. They were both horrible people. I didn't like either of them, I had no interest in either of them, and I didn't care a bit whether they had a happy ending - hell, I might even've been barracking for them to fail miserably and live terrible dreary lives all alone. I definitely wouldn't recommend that movie to anyone, and (iirc) I only saw it because it was on TV when nothing else was.

Dr.Epic
2012-03-07, 01:55 PM
Well, if it's done right, I like it. Though like all things, it can be done in a poor manner: it can seem forced, the characters could have no romantic chemistry, they have no reason to be together or love/like each other.

Winter_Wolf
2012-03-08, 09:13 AM
I enjoy certain kinds of stories which may incidentally have romance/elements of romance. But I flat out will not spend the time, let alone the money, to specifically watch a love story/romance/pretty much anything that tries to bill itself as a "romantic comedy".

For example I liked the romance in Fifth Element because it was just as cheesy as the rest of the film. Likewise the romantic elements of RED I enjoyed. But that might be because Bruce Willis is one of my all time favorite actors. Ghost? I'd really rather become an undead spirit than watch that movie. Stephen Chow's King of Comedy on the other hand is quite watchable.
If you haven't seen it: Basically: a failed/never-was actor and a prostitute/hostess club hooker somehow make things work.

I can't say for sure, but it's within the realm of possibility that Hollywood and mainstream television have been forcing half assed romances into places where they just don't belong for so long and so often that I just want them all to Go Away.

thubby
2012-03-08, 05:28 PM
i generally find things that are sold as "romance" to be insufferable.

that said, most stories contain some element of romance, and i can appreciate them.

at least as far as tv and movies go. with books, "romance" seems to be something akin to soft core porn -,-

Harry
2012-03-13, 02:33 PM
Hate them they are annoying and meaningless for me and make any movie worst but that is just my opinion

cleric_of_BANJO
2012-03-15, 03:34 PM
Definitely think they can be done well, although usually aren't. That may just be because all movies (almost all, anyway) have a love story. And, let's face it, the majority of what hollywood puts out is pure crap. So, by extension, most movies with love stories are bad. Still, it's been done well. I find most of Joss Whedon's love stories to be pretty good, and felt that, especially in Buffy, they helped drive the plot and characters.

Also, I think Up is perfect proof that a love story can be done well. And, in general, it's easy to get distracted by the sheer quantity of terrible and/or generic love stories, and forget that they can and have been done extremely well in the past.

Mewtarthio
2012-03-15, 04:12 PM
I find most of Joss Whedon's love stories to be pretty good, and felt that, especially in Buffy, they helped drive the plot and characters.

Well, except for the endings, anyway.

Daer
2012-03-15, 05:29 PM
as long as romance is spicing the movie instead being the movie i think its good to have. But romance movies and romantic comedies are just awful imho.

CGforever!
2012-03-18, 10:08 PM
Replying to the original post, I haven't read all the rest.

I'm a guy, and I do, unless it's forced and what not. In movies, not so much, because they can't capture it in a way that I really appreciate (that said, the new John Carter movie kinda got me towards the end). Mostly its books for me. Elminster: The Making of a Mage is probably my favorite book, and it's pretty romantic. A Deepness in the Sky is another high on my list that has romance that I really appreciated.

Also, I went to see twilight when it came out (also to see what the fuss was about). Honestly? Didn't hate it, didn't really like it. I did love the scenery, however. That's my favorite part of the world outside New Zealand. The vamps had a cool house as well. Fun fact: I've been to Forks, and I've seen the high school - they did not film in Forks. I also love Muse, which had a song or two in the movie.