How Hollywood Says “I Love You”

I’ve been watching a lot of romantic comedies recently. By “a lot,” I mean “all of them.” Everything from “A” (Adam’s Rib) to “Z” (Zack and Miri Make a Porno). Technically, I started even before “A,” with 10 Things I Hate About You and 27 Dresses. And just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’ve edited together some of the most awww-inducing moments in Hollywood history.

In the 40 Inspirational Speeches montage, those speeches weren’t actually the climaxes of their films. They were what got the characters fired up to take on the opposing army/rival team/preppy frat house. But in a romantic comedy, the big speech is the main event. You have two people who clearly love each other (that much was obvious from the poster). But for some reason, one of them is taking that job in Hong Kong and/or getting back together with Chad (curse you, preppy frat house!). There’s only one thing to do: run across town, show up panting in the nick of time, and pour your heart out. I find it comforting that even in this age of 3D CGI madness, the denouement of a romantic comedy is almost always a big block of dialogue.

You might even say that these climactic speeches are the whole point of a romantic comedy. We want to see someone bridge that gap between “it will never work” and “happily ever after,” armed only with the power of words. And the way you cross that chasm is by not caring if you fall. You have to lose your cool, drop your guard, and swing for the fences. It’s interesting that there’s often an element of public humiliation to these declarations. In Keeping the Faith, Ben Stiller has to woo Jenna Elfman via speakerphone, with her whole office listening. In Hitch, Will Smith stops Eva Mendes from leaving town by jumping in front of her car. In Made of Honor, Patrick Dempsey actually interrupts the girl’s wedding to another man, and does his whole “I’ve loved you forever” monologue right there in the church (he is eventually punched). In Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise arrives home to find his living room full of strange women, but he barely hesitates. “If this is where it has to happen,” he says, “then this is where it has to happen.” And that is exactly the point. These men don’t give speeches like this because it comes naturally to them. They do it because love has left them no other choice.

These people are not just expressing love, they are putting themselves at risk. And it’s that combination of what they say and what it took to say it that lifts us up where we belong.

THE RULES: Characters must be speaking directly to their beloved (no talking to a third party), no actor can speak more than once (but some people did appear more than once), no TV shows (even though Spike had an amazing speech in the finale of Buffy).

NUMBER OF CLIPS I STARTED WITH: 285

CATEGORIES I ORGANIZED THEM INTO: Basic I Love You, Compliments, How I Feel, Forever, Random

CLIP MY GIRLFRIEND REALLY WANTED ME TO INCLUDE THAT I HAD TO CUT: Singles. “You… belong… with… ME!”

CLIP I REALLY WANTED TO INCLUDE THAT I HAD TO CUT: Conan the Barbarian. “If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I’d come back from the darkness, back from the pit of hell to fight at your side.”

EDIT I’M PROUDEST OF: In The Notebook, the two characters are standing right at the edges of the frame. The problem is that I had to cut out the edges of the frame to crop the clip to 16:9. So I used my After Effects kung fu to actually remove the MIDDLE of the frame. See?

Before.

After.

ORIGINAL FINAL CLIP: The Simpsons. Marge: “Best kiss of my life.” Homer: “Best kiss of your life so far!”

UPDATE, 11/13, 12 pm: After I pushed this live, someone pointed out a neat coincidence. The two final clips are the big Titanic kiss, followed by Sam, the little blond kid from Love Actually. This totally didn’t occur to me, but Sam is a huge romantic movie buff. At one point in Love Actually he actually watches and acts out that very scene from Titanic. Things like that happen when you edit.

And thank you Pasteur for reminding me that Patrick Dempsey and Patrick Duffy are two different people.

46 Comments on “How Hollywood Says “I Love You””

  1. Wenyip #

    Great work.

    though I can’t help feeling Groucho and MArgaret Dumont were slightly out of place in there.

     
  2. Darin #

    Well done! Bravo! Bravo!

    Are you Romantic comedied-out? Did you gain any insight about them? I’d love to hear your meta-analysis of the whole genre vis a vis your bender.

     
  3. Jhaas #

    No Wilder! No Lubitsch! You’ve made a wonderful thing, but I have to implore you to at least include something from The Apartment…

     
  4. Genevieve #

    I suppose, due to its status as a pop culture phenomenon, there was no way you could leave out “You had me at ‘Hello’” – but MAN would it have been nice if you had! *hates that movie with more passion than even this montage of intentionally combined moments of passion*

     
  5. Gab #

    <3

     
  6. Rob #

    Can you comment on how many hours of editing and note-taking this required?

     
  7. Pasteur #

    I hate to nitpick a brilliant work, but it’s Patrick Dempsey who was in Made of Honor, not Patrick Duffy (of Dallas fame).

    Great show, though! I only really have one question – when does Li Mu Bai say that in the film?

     
    • Matthew Belinkie #

      Excellent catch about the two Patricks – post is updated.

      Li Mu Bai says it fairly late in the movie, when he and Yu Shu have tea together. The full quote is: “I don’t know what to do. I want to be with you… just like this… it gives me a sense of peace.”

      I checked out the more obvious scene, where he confesses his love as he’s dying, but I wanted to stay away from the real downer moments. That’s why I didn’t use City of Angels.

       
  8. ImNotWorthy #

    My God, Belinkie! You’ve done it again. This is brilliant work! Really brightened this dreary, rainy morning in SoCal.

     
  9. Erik #

    I think you’ve done a fantastic job. Congrats!

     
  10. Chris #

    The Other Sister!

     
  11. cat #

    Do they teach you as a writer or an actor that people are only allowed to say “I love you” when whispering or in a weird, emotionally tense, lowered voice? There was comparatively less loudness/shouting.

     
  12. andonehead #

    Loved the inclusion of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in this, especially given its opening narration. (“Random thoughts for Valentine’s Day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.”)

     
  13. Nadya Petkova #

    Wow! And I really mean it. I can only imagine how much time it takes to watch so many movies and to choose the best moments. This is so great and I hope you did it for someone, who would appreciate it.

    I have just one request. Can you make a list of all the movies you included in the video, so that the rest of us can watch them? :)

    And happy Valentine’s Day!

     
  14. atskooc #

    this is one of the cheesiest things i’ve seen in quite some time. i tried to hate it. really, i did. i failed.

     
  15. David #

    I heard about this from your podcast and half expected it to be the same actors repeating their undying love in movie after movie…however to a different person each time!

    Nice to see this on the MentalFloss site too.

     
  16. Brittney #

    Could you post a list of all of the movies included in this?

     
  17. katrina #

    Would have loved Reality Bites in there. But loved this none the less!

     
  18. Jack #

    What’s the song called?

     
    • Lee #

      It’s an instrumental version of “Sometimes When We Touch” by Dan Hill.

      Speaking of which, here’s an oddly touching version of the song performed by champion boxer/Filipino congressman Manny Pacquiao: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKuIHs1ELQU

       
  19. josh b #

    Was sad not to see Perry’s confession of love to Lydia from the Fisher King. Eminently quotable!

     
  20. The Antichick #

    I’ve figured out part of the list:

    When Harry Met Sally
    Say Anything
    Princess Bride
    The Birdcage
    As Good as it Gets
    Lord of the Rings series
    Pretty Woman
    Shakespeare in Love
    Ghost
    Jerry MacGuire
    West Side Story
    The Kids are Alright
    Forrest Gump
    Moulin Rouge
    Aladdin
    Beauty and the Beast
    Shrek
    Who Killed Roger Rabbit
    Gone with the Wind
    Joe Black
    Twilight Series
    Braveheart
    Moonstruck
    Rocky
    Star Wars series
    Dirty Dancing
    Pretty Woman
    Harry Potter (not sure which one… Hermione&Ron)
    Grease
    16 Candles (I think)
    Lady and the Tramp
    Avatar
    Brokeback Mountain
    True Lies
    Titanic
    Spiderman
    An Officer and a Gentleman
    Wall-E
    The Simpsons
    (the kiss montage was hard to follow)

    … and the few the editor mentions in the accompanying article:
    Adam’s Rib
    Zach & Miri make a Porno
    10 Things I Hate About You
    27 Dresses
    Keeping the Faith
    Hitch
    Made of Honor
    The Notebook
    Love, Actually

    Anyone want to add? Maybe we can come up with the complete list?

     
    • The Antichick #

      andonehead already noted Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

       
    • The Antichick #

      and I missed Love, Actually from the editor’s post above.

       
    • Matthew Belinkie #

      Pretty good! BUT… I never said I USED all the movies I mentioned in the post above, just that I watched them.

      I’ll post the complete list eventually, but I want to give people time to guess. I always like the “How many of these can you name?” game.

       
  21. AJ #

    awesome. The only thing it’s missing is Fools Rush In “You’re everything I never knew I always wanted.”

     
  22. Jessica #

    Here’s what I have in order…I’m clearly missing some. Also, I only caught 94 different movies (not counting some, like Princess Bride, that show up twice).

    1. When Harry Met Sally
    2. Chasing Amy
    3. Annie Hall
    4. Scot Pilgrim vs. the World
    5. The Birdcage
    6. As Good as it Gets
    7. Just Wright
    8. Lord of the Rings
    9. Duck Soup
    10. Bridget Jones Diary
    11. Original Sin
    12. ?? with Harrison Ford “I love you”
    13. Shakespeare in Love
    14. Ghost
    15. Pirates of the Caribbean
    16. Jerry Maguire
    17. West Side Story
    18. The Kids are Alright
    19. Pulp Fiction
    20. Garden State
    21. How Stella Got Her Groove Back
    22. Say Anything
    23. Pride and Prejudice
    24. Casino Royal
    25. The Wedding Singer
    26. Runaway Bride
    27. Forrest Gump
    28. Love Story
    29. Moulin Rouge
    30. Bridges of Madison County
    31. Princess Bride
    32. Wayne’s World
    33. Along Came Polly
    34. It’s a Wonderful Life
    35. Coming to America
    36. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
    37. Crazy Stupid Love
    38. Little Shop of Horrors
    39. Aladdin
    40. Beauty and the Beast
    41. Shrek
    42. Who framed Roger Rabbit
    43. ?? with kid “I love you more than anyone has ever loved”
    44. Spartacus? “I love you more than my life” with Kirk Douglas?
    45. The Other Sister
    46. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
    47. Gone With The Wind
    48. Naked Gun
    49. Meet Joe Black
    50. Twilight Eclipse
    51. Singin’ in the Rain
    52. Sweet November
    53. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    54. The Holiday
    55. ?? Black and white movie “I love you”
    56. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    57. Hitch
    58. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
    59. The Notebook
    60. Braveheart
    61. Moonstruck
    62. Rocky
    63. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
    64. ?? “I always have” guy with face scar
    65. Made of Honor
    66. ?? kissing scene with Alec Baldwin? in the rain
    67. Pretty Woman
    68. ?? black and white movie kissing scene (Casa Balanca?) 3:12 or so
    69. Slumdog Millionairre
    70. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    71. Twilight (possibly another one)
    72. Grease
    73. Sixteen Candles
    74. ?? African American couple kissing around 3:20
    75. Lady and the Tramp
    76. ?? black and white rolling on the beach kissing at around 3:23(I know this is a classic, but this far into it, my brain is fried)
    77. True Lies
    78. 10 Things I Hate About You
    79. Avatar
    80. Good Will Hunting
    81. Brokeback Mountain
    82. ?? shadowy figures kissing in the rain around 3:27 Paltrow? Daniel Craig?
    83. Romeo + Juliet
    84. Spiderman
    85. Four Weddings and a Funeral
    86. Mamma Mia
    87. My Girl
    88. You’ve Got Mail
    89. An Officer and A Gentleman
    90. Wall E
    91. ?? Kevin Costner? kissing a lady in a head scarf around 3:36
    92. The Simpsons
    93. Titanic
    94. Love Actually
    95. and # 95? Not even sure where I missed it.

    If you can help me fill in the blanks or correct any mistakes, that would be awesome. I want to use this as a bridal shower game.

     
    • The Antichick #

      12. with Harrison Ford is Working Girl.
      64. Terminator (finally placed the face)
      66. Not sure that’s Alec. Movie looks older than that…
      66.5 (aka #95) – you missed Dirty Dancing – Swayze & Grey in the final scene
      71. Yes, that’s the prom scene from the first one.
      76. From Here To Eternity
      91. Finally saw a clip that refreshed my memory – The Bodyguard

      That’s still not quite all, but thank you for helping fill in some of the blanks… I need to set up my Netflix queue. :)

       
      • Jessica #

        Thank you! I can’t believe I didn’t include Dirty Dancing. I was SURE it was listed higher in the list.

        68 is Casablanca

        I think # 74 is What’s love Got to Do With It.

        #82 Great Expectations

         
        • Jessica #

          # 66 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

          #43 Little Manhattan

          The only one I still don’t know is # 55 Look like Notorious, but not.

           
          • Matthew Belinkie #

            Very impressive work, Jessica! #55 is indeed Notorious. I figured I had to get an “I love you” from Cary Grant in there!

            And #74 is a personal favorite of mine, Hustle and Flow. It’s been clear for a while that one of Terrence Howard’s prostitutes is hopelessly in love with him, but way too shy to come out and say it. He’s getting ready to pitch his demo to a famous rap star; it’s the moment he’s been dreaming of since the beginning of the movie. He leaves the house and walks towards his car. Suddenly, he stops, reverses, barges past all his confused friends, bursts back into the house, and kisses Shug like she’s the last woman on Earth. Then he leaves without saying a word.

            It is just awesome. Always makes me smile.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGhXqDIU7UM

             
          • Howard #

            #55, maybe Touch of Evil? I want to say the lady is Janet Leigh.

             
          • Howard #

            Haha, just kidding. Didn’t see Belinkie’s reply. -_-;;;

             
  23. Crunch Buttsteak #

    Nice work.

    Many of these same movies could be edited to produce a clip entitled, ‘How Hollywood Says “I Despise You.”‘ Maybe all of them, I don’t know, I’m not a big fan of mush.

    I do like that scene at the end of “Lost in Translation” where Bill Murray whispers something in Scarlett Johansson’s ear.