Ladies, gentlemen, and Pajibans (Pajibans are neither ladies nor gentlemen. I know you assholes.): We are in a rut. A rom-com rut. There used to be a time when the world’s best guilty pleasure genre gave us movies good enough that we didn’t actually have to feel guilty about liking them. When Harry Met Sally. My Best Friend’s Wedding. Bridget Jones’s Diary. Love Actually, if you’re one of those people who are wrong about life.
But some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. Rom-com titans Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Hugh Grant, and Julia Roberts passed out of the genre, replaced by everyone’s least favorite wannabe Goop in cheap, lazy nonsense movies. There have been a few good rom-coms over the last few years—Appropriate Behavior, Obvious Child, and Trainwreck come to mind—but there’s no reason that the genre of Ernst Lubitcsh and Billy Wilder can’t churn out quality on a more reliable basis. All it takes is talent. Talented storytellers, sure. I’d kill to see what more “serious” directors like Alfonso Cuaron or George Miller could bring to the genre, though I’m going to have to ask Christopher Nolan to stay far, far away.
But we need actors, too. Actors like the ten below, who are fun, talented, charismatic, and hot. (The actress list is coming next week; feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.)
You know our John Cho feelings.
AKA Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. If you’re one of those people who are scrunching up their noses in confusion as to why everyone’s talking about an American history musical all of a sudden (it’s OK, I won’t judge), you just need to take my word for this one. Or, y’know. Judge for yourself:
Keegan-Michael Key’s filmography up to this point may include mostly out-and-out comedy, but we saw in Don’t Think Twice (SXSW review) that he’s capable of tackling more serious stuff.
I’m including Amell here against my better judgement. The man is on my shit list at the moment. The fact that he’s playing Casey Jones in this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel almost makes me want to see it, and that’s something I cannot forgive.
Jem and the Holograms and The Boy Next Door may not have been good films (Lie. The Boy Next Door was an excellent film. I would stake my first edition copy of The Iliad on it), but Ryan Guzman was incredibly entertaining in both of them. He’s not some great thespian, but what is great is his screen presence. The man knows how to work the camera. He’s fun. He’s baby Channing Tatum, is what I’m saying. They even have the Step Up franchise in common!
With roles in Obvious Child and How To Be Single (and, to a lesser extent, Carol—what a laugh and a half that was!), Jake Lacy has proven himself as an adept comedian who has that cute hangdog thing down. It’s a vaguely Paul Rudd-ish quality. Currently he’s getting that sweet, sweet HBO money from Girls, playing Hannah’s love interest, but if he ever wants to come back to film, the rom-com genre could use him.
Michael B Jordan
I’m not saying that Michael B. Jordan can’t do Oscar-caliber, dramatic work. I saw Fruitvale. I saw Creed. But I also know that he has an engaging screen presence and is sexy as hell, and that starring in a light, fun movie everyone once in a while doesn’t somehow undo all your SRS BSNS actor cred, Leo.
Granted, Pascal might not have room in his schedule to do many non-Marvel films, since Disney made the obvious call of casting him as Doctor Strange. OH WAIT.
Miguel Ángel Silvestre
I was not a huge fan of the Wachowskis’ Sense8, but I would burn the world down for Lito.
Short, scruffy, and capable of wooing women and men alike through the power of dance.