An Affair to Remember: I Met Joe Black in Australia and he became my Bodyguard

If you haven’t guessed from the blog’s title, I’m a movie nut.

Okay, let me start over. (Remember, confession is good for the soul.) I’m a movie fanatic. I’m a movie fanatic. I’m a movie fanatic.

Ahh …just breathe. But hold on, there’s more.

This condition has been perfected over the years. When I was a pre-teen, I kept a notebook (five one-subject brown notebooks to be exact) of all the movies I’d ever watched, rated them and noted (with stars, in ink) whether or not I would watch them again.  My records were so meticulous that Siskel and Ebert, now Roeper, would be jealous. Yeah, I know no life. (Hmmm …I wish I knew where my old notebooks were.) 

But later on, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. For most of us, movies—like books—are a means of escape. Movies often deliver messages, influence behavior, spark reflection and literally change lives.  

Now, that’s a powerful medium.

I also find that movies serve as a vital and (wonderful) source of information and research. I recently blogged about my favorite fictional heroes and heroines of the silver screen who influence my writing. However, there are a few movies that also get me in the mood to write romance. They have a way of continuing to make me believe in happily ever after. (I also have to keep a box of tissues nearby.)

I tried to limit my list to the top 27 movies for writing romance and I can’t tell you how difficult that was.  Why 27 movies?  Because everyone always does the top 25, and I wanted to stay below 30. 🙂

So, here’s my list of favorite romantic movies. Each are special and have had an influence on my writing, and in some respects, my life. Perhaps there’s a few here on your list of favorites. If so, tell me about a favorite scene or line or why you could watch it over and over again.

  1. The Way We Were, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand
  2. Somewhere in Time, Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour,
  3. Australia, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman
  4. An Affair to Remember, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr
  5. Bridges of Madison County, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep
  6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton
  7. The Mask of Zorro, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta Jones
  8. Sabrina (remake) Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear
  9. Someone Like You, Hugh Jackman, Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear
  10. Legends of the Fall, Brad Pitt, Julia Ormond, Aiden Quinn
  11. Meet Joe Black, Brad Pitt, Claire Forlani
  12. Love Jones, Larenz Tate, Nia Long
  13. The Notebook, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
  14. The Bodyguard, Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston
  15. The Wedding Date, Dermot Mulroney, Debra Messing
  16. Romancing the Stone, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner
  17. A Walk in the Clouds, Keanu Reeves,Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
  18. The American President, Michael Douglas, Anette Bening
  19. Message in a Bottle, Kevin Costner, Robin Wright
  20. The Wedding Planner, Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez
  21. Pretty Woman, Richard Gere, Julia Roberts
  22. Sweet Home Alabama, Josh Lucas, Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey
  23. You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan
  24. City of Angels, Nicholas Cage, Meg Ryan
  25. Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Dougray Scott, Drew Barrymore
  26. Hitch, Will Smith, Eva Mendes
  27. Out of Africa, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep

Uh oh it’s only the beginning of the week and I feel a movie weekend coming on. Better go stock up on popcorn. 😉


Hollywood: Lights! Camera! Your Novel!

With the literary successes of novels turned movies as of late,  “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Help” and yes, I daresay, even “Fifty Shades of Grey,” it’s evident that Hollywood is always on the lookout for what they can tout as the next best thing.

Which is why, it’s completely normal, and IMHO, highly recommended that we, as writers, dream of the day when a movie director/producer contacts us to say the studio wants to make our novel or WIP into a motion picture. 

We would squee with delight when they offered us a job as the film’s technical/script adviser, and gave us a say on who will play our characters.(Now that is dreaming!)

I admit. There are times when I’m writing that I pause to fantasize about who would play my characters. (I even made a trailer for my book. My very first. And it shows. 😉 That’s why I’m not sharing it just yet! )

My critiquing partner is very close to seeing his dreams fulfilled. He has an agent who is in the process of trying to sell his book, which is set in Burma 570 AD, to a major publisher. When we’re discussing marketing strategies for his book, we even go so far as to act as though we’re the casting directors, picking and choosing which actor or actress would do his work justice!

It’s fun to let your mind wander with the “what ifs” and not so much, “the why not me.” Writing is tough enough. Who needs to tack on negativity to an already taunting endeavor? We can’t let someone else’s success muddy our own ambitions. Positive thinking and a little fun in between chapters, scenes and lines is good for a writer’s soul and well-being.

So, what about you?

When that day comes …when Hollywood comes a knockin’ …will you be ready?  Do you know which actor or actress could pull off playing your hero and/or heroine? Or even better, your villian? Would they be a well-known actor or someone struggling to get into the business? Lots of choices, huh?

As for me, I think Antonio Banderas and Gabrielle Union would make a wonderful Marcus and Octavia, in my book.

Come on. It’s okay. Dream with me for a little while. Because, hey, you never know!

The Irreplaceables: bad boys with nice asses (and other attributes)

You knew it was coming, right? How could I blog about bad ass heroines and not pay homage to their counterparts? Why would I give up the opportunity to blog about two of my favorite subjects? 🙂 Men and movies.

My romantic heroes/characters range in their level of bad assness (New word! Take notes, Mr. Webster). Since I love Alpha males, it’s surprising that my heroes aren’t all Alpha types. They’re actually a mix of Alpha, Beta and Omega traits, who adamantly refuse to be lumped into one category. It goes against their grain.

However, they’re all smart, sexy, attractive, down to earth, and compassionate. And guess what? Not perfect.

My characters are real estate tycoons, chief financial officers, journalists, police officers, and hot shot cowboy-like entrepreneurs from Nevada. For good measure, I have an ex NavySeal turned chef and a moody, talented musician to keep things interesting. Each have gripes, pet peeves, and unresolved issues like bad tempers, problems with authority, and playing the field. See? Nothing too major.

My heroes also have the innate ability to admit, (after fierce denial) when they’ve been outsmarted or outdone by that special woman who has finally captured their heart.

Now, I’ve been informed (by my heroes) that they’re no pushovers, and they will never lose themselves in a woman or let her have complete control over their feelings. (Yeah, right if they say so.) However, they admit that if the woman is worth it, they do learn to compromise. (Okay … compromise, I’ll buy that for a dollar.)

Some of my favorite bad ass heroes who have graced the silver screen often inspire me, and just out and out make me drool:

Hugh Jackman, X-men, “Wolverine.” When that eyebrow goes up, and he bites down on that cigar, it’s all over. Back up, and head for the hills.

Jason Statham, “The Transporter” is too cool for words. He fights, loves and drives like a madman. But he still has a touch of compassion for those in need of help.

Denzel Washington’s portrayal of a former assassin turned bodyguard in “Man on Fire” had me in tears. He was scary as all get out going after the bad guys, but a real “Creesy Bear” to Dakota Fanning’s kidnapped character.

Bruce Willis in “Die Hard” is always a winner. John McClain is as Alpha as you can get, but he loves his family and his job. And he’s a smart ass! Love that!

Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry,” always makes my day, Wesley Snipes takes charge on “Passenger 57”, and Antonio Banderas in “Desperado,” is a smooth and sexy bad ass with a guitar. Whoa.

Mel Gibson’s, “Mad Max” on his motorcycle—fierce. Sylvester Stallone as “Rambo” and his bow and arrow—all that. Will Smith’s Mike Lowery in “Bad Boys” makes me want to go to Miami. Right now.

And we can never forget classic bad asses, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner, and Bruce Lee.

Of course, I have to name literary bad boys that just knock my socks off. A Linda Howard classic, “Mackenzie’s Mountain” with Wolf, as its patriarch, is the beginning of a family of bad asses. His sons, Joe, Zane, and Chance all have books of their own and all are to die for.

:::Fanning:::: Let me stop. It’s getting a little warm at the computer. Anyway, the Mackenzie series is a serious must read.

Last year, I watched (and purchased) the “Expendables” starring a sweet collection of some of the toughest, sexiness bad asses around. Of course, I was in heaven. By the way, “The Expendables 2” starts in theatres on August 17. Check out the trailer. Guess who will be there taking mental notes. 😉

Oftentimes, I get inspired by a movie I love, and my fingers won’t leave the keyboard. On occasion, some of my favorite movie characters may be seen talking to my romantic heroes. It’s okay if they chat, I just don’t want John McClain or “The Desperado” taking over the pages. Let my guys do their own stunts. 🙂