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PopWatch Confessional: I don't regret not seeing 'When Harry Met Sally'

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When crafting a romantic comedy, there are a few films that are widely considered to make up the gold standard—and believe it or not, they’re not generally associated with Nicholas Sparks. When people discuss the greatest romantic comedies of all time, they often talk about  Sleepless in Seattle, Annie Hall, and, inevitably, Rob Reiner’s 1989 rom-com When Harry Met Sally. With Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in the title roles, When Harry Met Sally gave viewers a lot more than a catchphrase (“I’ll have what she’s having”). It gave viewers a love story for the ages. And it’s one I have never experienced, because I have never seen When Harry Met Sally.

It’s a fact that I’m reminded of today, on the 25-year anniversary of the film’s limited release, when Vulture claims the film “revolutionized the romantic comedy” and Indiewire says it created a new standard for romantic comedies by being “as close to perfect as a latter-day example of the rom-com can be.” EW gave the collector’s DVD a great review in 2008. And yet here I sit, completely clueless—and honestly, not feeling that bad about it.

Sure, you could claim that my getting through a film minor and writing for Entertainment Weekly without ever having seen When Harry Met Sally is some sort of travesty or mistake. Why didn’t I rent it for my 13th birthday party? Why didn’t I watch it on Netflix in college? Why don’t I watch it right now? The answer is three-fold.

First, I can’t say that I ever felt that I needed to see When Harry Met Sally in order to be able to join a conversation about romantic comedies, or about movies, or about love, or about, you know, life. I’ve only seen the “faking it” scene from the film, but considering that that’s what people reference about 95 percent of the time, I rarely find myself feeling out of the loop.

Of course, I’ll never claim that [insert movie here] is the greatest rom-com of all time without seeing When Harry Met Sally first. I’m not crazy. But until the day comes around that I’m asked to identify the greatest rom-com of all time, I’m perfectly happy with my minimal WHMS experience.

Second, I’m now at that point where not watching it has made me feel like a rebel. So it’s likely I’ll keep not watching it solely because everyone and their mother wants me to.

But mostly, it’s because I’m not sure how I feel about Billy Crystal in a romantic role.

To me, Billy Crystal is a comedic genius and the host of all hosts, but I can’t quite handle the thought of him as a romantic lead. Blame my age, but I’ve only ever really experienced a purely comedic Crystal—and I’m not sure I’m ready to add romance to the equation. It has nothing to do with being attracted to Crystal. It’s more so that I feel that my love for him is so established that making him even the least bit romantic in my mind might throw everything off-balance. Pop-culturally, I kind of look at Crystal as my favorite uncle: I want to go to lunch with him, and I want him to make me laugh, but one thing I never want to do is watch him make out with someone. (And I’ll dare to say it: I’m not the biggest Meg Ryan fan, either.)

So if you add together all the aspects of When Harry Met Sally that I feel less-than-enthusiastic about, you might get a better idea of why I haven’t gone out of my way to spend two hours of my life watching it. Being less-than-enthusiastic about a film, even if it’s a classic, doesn’t make me all that likely to try and track it down on DVD. (And this is partly a side effect of my chosen line of work: As someone who sees a very large quantity of movies and is constantly going to the theater, I need a real reason to watch something that’s 25 years old as opposed to seeing something new.)

All this being said, I do understand that this is a classic film that I will watch one day and maybe fall madly in love with. I could very well look back at this post and think “Who was that person?!” I get it. Truly. But for right now, I’m perfectly fine not having what she’s having.

PopWatch Confessional: 'Summertime' is still my summertime jam

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DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” is a ridiculously obvious choice for a summertime jam, but that’s not really an issue as far as I’m concerned. Summer jams are about sharing moments with the people around you and basking in pure, unexamined pop pleasure. Overthinking things runs counter to the whole concept, as do the kind of status anxieties that often lie behind the desire to show off one’s knowledge of obscure music or ability to think outside the box.

“Summertime” is an obvious choice in the same way that margaritas are an obvious choice for a summertime beverage: because they’re so perfectly designed for it that arguing about it is pointless. You could strip “Summertime” of its title and “summer-summer-summertime” hook and it would still be incredibly well-suited to playing at a backyard barbecue, or poolside, or in a borrowed convertible. The song’s tempo (just a couple BPM slower than it seems like it should be), the lackadaisically ascending synth line lifted from Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness,” and Will Smith’s low-key flow all suggest warm weather that’s just too nice for you to want to waste it on trivial matters like staying on top of the beat. He could have been rapping about the economy or the situation in the Middle East and the song would still read as intensely summery. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: My YA film heartthrobs are the dads

It began with The Twilight Saga and was officially driven home by this weekend’s The Fault in Our Stars: I have hit the age where the hottest guys in YA movies are the dads. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: I didn't cry once during 'Fault in Our Stars'

I promise I’m not a monster.

I have a feeling I’ll be saying that quite a bit over the next few weeks, as more and more people confide, “Oh my God. I cried five or six times during The Fault in Our Stars!” or “I sobbed through the entire final act” or, as a midnight text from my sister declared, “I want to watch TFIOS again, but not right now because I have a headache from crying so much.”

I nodded along when people spilled to me, because it was a very sad movie; one that I quite enjoyed as well. But I’m a bit nervous to admit the truth: I didn’t cry once. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. And with Twitter and Tumblr seemingly becoming Countdowns to Feelings all week long, and people talking about how they’re flat-out excited to let the waterworks run as part of a communal experience in theaters, I’m afraid I’m close to alone. READ FULL STORY

Prom Confessional: Amy Schumer, Theo Rossi, Paul Wesley and more celebs share their stories -- VIDEO

It’s not just finale season, it’s also the month of proms. As celebs visited EW’s video studio, we asked them for memories of their big night. Who thought they’d get lucky and didn’t? Who never actually made it to the prom after imbibing in the limo? Whose date went on to become a congressman? Watch our special PopWatch Prom Confessional below to find out.

Sharing their stories are Inside Amy Schumer‘s Amy Schumer, Sons of Anarchy‘s Theo Rossi, Kyle MacLachlan, Ari Graynor, Donald Faison, Awkward‘s Molly Tarlov, Gillian Anderson, Christopher Meloni, Krysten Ritter, Unusually Thicke‘s Alan Thicke, Veep’s Timothy Simons, and The Vampire Diaries‘ Paul Wesley. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: What show have you unintentionally seen every episode of?

The broadcast Upfronts are coming next week, that time of year when TV fans find out, for certain, which broadcast shows are canceled. A good time to reflect on your own viewing habits.

My confession: I’ll be sad when Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night is inevitably no more and the ABC press site removes the pity “None available. Check back soon” message from where photos, videos, and press releases promoting upcoming episodes should be. Not devastated, but mildly disappointed. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: I quote 'Stomp the Yard' more than any other movie

I’m a sucker for a good dance movie and/or a good movie about dance, and yes, they’re two different things. When I was growing up, Save the Last Dance was my most-watched movie, and in terms of how many times I’ve seen it, it’s probably still in my top five. But my second favorite dance movie is one I came across in my teen years: Stomp the Yard. (And before Gladiators start asking, that is Scandal‘s Harrison, and as much as I like Columbus Short in a good suit, he will always be DJ to me.)

I fell in love with this movie for a number of reasons: READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: I care way too much about onscreen kisses (and here's who does them best)

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I have my mother to thank for a lot of things — my hair, my love of purses, my fear of camel crickets, my existence, and most of all, my judgmental qualities when it comes to on-screen kisses. When I was but a teen, I remember sitting on my couch watching Ryan and Marissa’s first kiss on The O.C. I had no idea my mother was standing in the corner of the room until I heard, “OH MY GOD! That is the best kiss EVER!!” Suddenly, I had to rewind the scene to see what the heck she was talking about.

What made one kiss better than another? Well, for one thing, hand placement is key, according to my mother. And it can’t be too over-the-top. You never want a guy to slobber all over you. Okay, so those weren’t her exact words — but by the third viewing of Ryan and Marissa’s Ferris wheel ride, I started to see what she meant. Man, that was a really good kiss, particularly the part when he puts his right hand behind her head. And the way he holds his mouth… in an instant, I was hooked.

READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: I haven't watched this much MTV since high school

There are currently three different shows that I look forward to on three different nights on MTV. Three. And that’s not including when Catfish is on, or when the tragically though understandably cancelled Buckwild earned a DVR season pass last year.

I am currently watching—and what’s more, I’m eagerly anticipating—as many MTV shows now as I did in high school, when watercooler talk was discussing a Road Rules challenge in first-period bio or raving at lunch about the True Life episode where they go to fat camp. For me, high school was Next and Made, The Osbournes and Newlyweds, afterschool reruns of Singled Out and Undressed and Elimidate and Daria and Celebrity Deathmatch.

Well, those times are now far gone, and truth be told I’ve seen MTV’s programming lineup come and go these past few years with little piquing my interest save for the addictive Catfish. I’ve been unaware of the network for years. This could be because I’m no longer in high school, of course, but I do believe that good material can always be consumed by multiple demographics (hence why your grandma is reading Mockingjay).

That’s not to say that the programs I’m relishing on MTV now are particularly good, per se — but for whatever reason they’re working for me, and I’m digging this random new resurgence.
READ FULL STORY

What was the best entertainment-themed holiday present you received this year?

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It’s back: Our annual post asking which gift made you cheer or cry in complete happiness. (If you don’t believe the latter happens, you should have seen me open up a Dukes of Hazzard TV dinner tray four Christmases ago. It was like the one I had when I was a child. Instant tears.)

The best entertainment-themed present of the 2013 holidays for me was a Sons of Anarchy fleece throw blanket (pictured). Thanks, mom. I enjoy this new tradition — last year, she got me an equally badass George Jones throw. READ FULL STORY

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