I wanted to take the non-traditional route in approaching this belated Valentine’s Day post by ignoring the standard conglomeration of hearts & love, and photographing nouns that relate to some of my favorite rom-coms/rom-drams/rom-com-drams, because i’m a low-key sucker for sappy things (cheesy). I was out all day hoping to photo some movie thangs and nerds fighting the storm with their umbrellas, but nope, just got wind-slapped all around (stray branches included )–the rain didn’t start pouring until I got home because of course.


**UPDATE (02/22): LOL it’s Wednesday. But this is finally complete. #WhyNotWednesday **


500 Days of Summer ( 2009 )

Rachel Hansen: Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.

Tom and Summer were two separately flawed characters whose bittersweet union was doomed from the start. For the longest time, I saw Summer as the b-word who carelessly wrecked Tom’s heart, when in reality, Tom’s insufferable sense of entitlement and manipulative nice guy complex subtly revealed that he’s actually kind of a jerk. Except for that whole dance number to Hall & Oates You Make My Dreams and showing Summer his favorite spot and drawing painstakingly detailed buildings on her arm. That was cute. Another thing that saved this film for me was presenting the nonlinear “boy meets girl” narrative in the dude’s perspective, forewarning the audience that this is not a love story, and allowing these two imperfect humans to individually see a happy ending: Summer marries someone she truly wants, with whom she shares a genuine connection,  and Tom is refreshingly presented another “season” to start anew, with someone potentially better suited for him. Additionally, a mind-blowing color theory visually demonstrates how these two were simply not made for each other, which can be found here.

cute score: 6 ( eh cute, JGL A 10 tho )

photo: Water Court at California Plaza on the upper level of  Tom’s favorite spot in Angels Knoll, Los Angeles, 2009. 


13 Going On 30 ( 2004 )

Matt: You can’t just turn back time.

Jenna: Why not?

In this essentially female version of Big, Jenna Rink’s 13 year-old self wishes to be thirty, flirty and thriving after some dudes and mean girls (which premiered the same year!) ruined her birthday party. On cue, magic dust spins her into an It’s A Wonderful Life-type alternate reality where she is living the dream as a rich, successful editor for her favorite fashion magazine. She reconnects with her childhood BFF, Matt, and they ultimately catch feelings faster than a winter cold. But aw dip, chocolate chip, Matt is hella engaged and about to be married, and now conflicted because Jenna has finally reciprocated his feels, but you know, commitment and whatever. A string of miscommunication and conflict occurs, then Jenna shows up to Matt’s wedding where he’s like, LOL, look  I’ve always loved you but the past can’t come back yo. Upon hearing this, she cries with intense regret, wishing she could just be 13 again for a do-over. The same magic dust gradually falls (for effect), and the scene reverts to her birthday party where she enthusiastically chooses Matt ( who grows up looking like Mark Ruffalo ) over the 80s cool kids, and their story ends all sweetly with the pair eating their favorite childhood candy on the lawn of a pink house, interestingly designed like her dream house, figuratively implying that her deepest wish has come true (or not).

cute score: 8 ( hecka cute  the Thriller moment is still awkward for me tho and omg look Mark Ruffalo didn’t even want to do it lol click here )

photo: New York Public Library, setting for magazine’s ‘Class of 2004′ photoshoot, NYC, 2012


10 Things I Hate About You ( 1999 )

Patrick: Yeah, and is she worth all this trouble?

Cameron: Well, I thought she was, but you know, I…

Patrick: Well, she is or she isn’t. See first of all, Joey is not half the man you are. Secondly, don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want. Go for it.

A modern take on Shakespeare’s  The Taming of the Shrew ( the numerous Shakespeare references / allusions make sense now )  introduces us to the Stratford sisters, their strict father with the winning punchlines, awkward Cameron with the sidekick BFF,  the “obligatory cool kid slash model” Joey, and resident bad ( bad bad bad ) boy, Patrick Verona doing bad boy things with a bunsen burner. So here’s the thing: Bianca really wants to date Joey but she can’t date anyone until her shrewd AF sister dates, which prompts her to set up the whole “this bet gets outta hand” premise that heavily spawned in 1999. Obvious villain Joey pays Patrick to win Kat’s heart and sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”  on the bleachers to win my heart, then he inevitably falls for her. In a callback to She’s All That, Kat eventually finds out about everything leading to the tearful read  of the eponymous (these are clearly over 10 things ) poem in class, as Patrick looks on like man I done fcuked up yo. But wait, he gets Kat the guitar she’s been wanting, insists that his feels for her are hella real and all is forgiven. Also, Cameron finally gets Bianca, and she punches Joey (whose nose spray ad is now ruined) thrice for herself, her sister and Yung Cameron. Oh yeah, and Cameron’s BFF ends up finding a Shakespeare lover just like him, lol, nerds.

cute score: 9 ( super cute, everyone gets who they want and the real bad boy gets what he deserves! They had a band on the freakin’ roof dude )

photo: Fremont Troll, where Cameron and Bianca talk and stuff, Seattle, 2009


A Case of You / Comet ( 2013 / 2014 )

Birdie: Success is a myth. Love’s the only true currency. After all this is done, all that really matters is how and who you loved.


Dell: Why does it feel so impossible to let you go?

Dell: It’s an addiction, you know. That’s all it is.

Dell: It’s a biochemical addiction. It’s so stupid.

Dell: If you think about it relationships are all totally narcissistic.

Dell: Basically, you’re just looking for someone who’ll love you as much as you love yourself. That’s all it is.



Two Justin Long movies for the price of fun.

I’ve probably checked off so much of this dude’s filmography that I can easily tell you that one of his many underrated roles would be a cameo as George Harrison in the equally underappreciated Walk Hard: A Dewey Cox Story. I know… comedy is understandably the toughest genre to press onto humans, so to each his own. These two films fall in that hit or miss category–on one end, you have Sam, an author who meets a barista and quickly becomes infatuated with her, even more so after creeping reading her Facebook profile and mimicking those interests in order to attract her attention, eventually using her as a muse for his story ( A Case Of You ),  and on the other, you have Dell and Kim caught in a classic case of star-crossed lovers whose rocky relationship is dreamily depicted through a non-linear narrative of parallel universes, reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind  ( Comet ). Despite his ridiculous Facebook faux pas, Birdie admits that she was adding  random items to her profile to see if Sam would change, and to no one’s surprise, she still liked him anyway because if a connection is real then it’s real, and it’s extremely important, to like, just be yourself because there’s more to a person than what they choose to display on the Interwebz. And Dell and Kim continue to sail through different universes, with Dell wishing to live in a permanent world where they end up together 💔.

cute score: 3  ( So much fighting–whether with oneself, another person, or the world, das not dat cute. ).

photo: Light trails, space, and time to represent chaotic nature of the parallel universes in Comet, NYC, 2015 


Begin Again  ( 2013 )

Dan: You can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist.

Greta: I know you can. That’s what’s worrying me.

I’ll throw in Before We Go, Friends With Benefits, or even Lost In Translation into this mix of getting to know a person as you explore a new city together–whether platonically or romantically, it’s still awesome. This particular love story focuses on the protagonists’ mutual love for music rather than feelings towards each other–though their respectable relationships with his estranged wife and her ex-boyfriend still romanticize the plot. Dan Mulligan, a formerly successful record executive drunkenly discovers Gretta James, a newly independent songwriter reluctantly singing in a low-key bar thanks to pre-late late show James Corden. He sees great potential, she doesn’t believe in herself, I mean how could she, her ex-boyfriend slash songwriting partner is none other than recent singing sensation, AdamN Levine Dave Kohl. After Dan’s business partner Yasiin Bae/Yasiin Bey/Mos Def   Saul initially rejects Gretta from their record label, the pair take matters into their own hands and decide to produce their own album together, using local talented musicians backed by the sights and sounds of New York City and the result is pure magic like fireworks in your ears, the visual “wow that’s so glorious” part not the actual “boom boom” noise part, because you would totally go deaf. This is a story about how music can bring people together (production, collaboration, Dan reconciling with his wife ) or tear them apart ( Dave cheating on Greta ), seek forgiveness ( Dave singing Lost Stars, Don Henley singing The Heart of The Matter [not in this movie, that song just popped up in my head as I wrote that lol] ), or drive passion ( Violet dreams of becoming a guitarist/ Gretta’s career kicking off ). Music is love, music is life, and Gretta’s album sells hella copies from its online release, and things are looking up for Dan and his life. Dan in real life. After encountering a series of failures/contemplating suicide, discovering Gretta, producing this album, and making amends with Saul, his wife and daughter, I guess you can say that Dan (as well as Gretta? ) was given another chance to fairly begin…again.

cute score: 7 (  Dan drunkenly composing a song in his head, The headphone splitter scene tho, das kinda cute )

photo: Times Square, the scene stealer of the headphone splitter scene tho, NYC, 2012


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ( 2004 )

Clementine: Meet me in Montauk. 

It’s 3:41 AM and my body hates me. Especially my eyes.  Okay, so two contrasting personalities, Joel and Clementine, meet on a train and immediately connect like 4, only to learn that they are former lovers and Clementine had erased her memories of Joel after some petty argument, and Joel’s like ‘wtf bro’ and decides to erase his memories of her. The familiar surrealistic non-linear narrative that I heart so hard navigates through Joel’s head space, intercut between scenes of sadness and anger,  to happier times until the final memory where everything crumbles to the ground like dust in the wind, as he tries to hold onto his last moment with Clementine, after realizing that he still loves her. Other story lines, connect, Kirsten Dunst finds out she had her memory of the doctor erased and she gets mad upset, like ‘i’m gonna show everyone (who has undergone this procedure) their memory erasure records’ upset.  Elijah Wood is just super devious. COTDAMN MARK RUFFALO IS ALSO IN THIS MOVIE LOL WTF YO. The scene restarts and Joel and Clementine, meet on a train and immediately connect like 4, only to learn that they are former lovers and they’re like “oh whaa” and think that maybe starting over would be a good idea or it might be the same but they go for it anyway and who knows what those two are up to now probably making sure that they don’t forget about each other amirite lol omg it’s already 4.

cute score: 2 ( Comet before comet was comet, not dat cute, but like Comet, beautiful cinematography is a 10)

photo: Imagine this human’s hair is orange, you know, like Clementine, ArtWalk, San Diego, 2014


honorable mentions: Garden State. Ryan Gosling & Ryan Reynolds’ things. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. High Fidelity. Say Anything. John Hughes’ things. 


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