I am not a person plagued with guilt or shame. If anything, I would say I am burdened with too much unapologetic confidence—really, it is equal parts curse and blessing. I probably should consider many things I do daily or weekly guilty pleasures. Singing terrible karaoke to an audience of innocent bystanders? That’s Thursday. Going to the grocery store in my pajama bottoms? Hello, Sunday night. I’m not one to feel shame about feeling comfort or joy, even if I should.
Still, there is one thing I enjoy immensely, yet hesitate to say so. I have a profound love for sappy romantic comedies. Although this guilty pleasure may seem fairly innocuous, many of my closest friends are cinephiles, which is to say, they have impeccable taste in films. Together, we know more about the independently funded film scene than anyone from an old cow town should. We aren’t film snobs, but we are picky…except for my guilty pleasure.
Does my love of romantic comedies make me feel an ounce of shame? Yes. I do not openly admit that I have seen Kate & Leopold four times. This terrible film is about a time-traveling man from 1876 who steals the heart of Meg Ryan. Another classic rom-com is Legally Blonde, which I have seen countless times (thanks TNT), and follows a woman who fizzes her way into Harvard Law School like uncorked pink champagne. Let’s not forget (or forgive) the 90s, which brought us the classic rom-coms Clueless, Never Been Kissed, and Pretty Woman.
I know what a good cinephile-approved love story looks like—hello, Amelie—so it’s hard for me to understand exactly why I love these naive, sap-filled movies so much. Bottom line, I find their simplistic take on the complex interactions between two people in love just pleasurable to watch. I can laugh at their silliness while remaining fully invested in the story. I don’t care that their saccharin-sweet characters live out absurd plotlines. It’s cinematic joy: pure, sweet, and short-lived.
If nothing else, I can think of worse ways to spend an hour and twenty minutes than letting something a little stupid give me a little joy. If you’re wondering which terrible rom-com is my favorite, I cannot decide between Ever After and Bridget Jones’s Diary.