FILM

Rom-Coms | The Golden Age

Hollywood has a bad reputation for churning out B-rom coms for Valentine's Day. This year, pour yourself a glass of Pinot, crack open a box of Russell Stover, and treat yourself to a classic throwback or two.

Any film buff will tell you that, over the years, the quality of the genre known as the "Romantic Comedy" has steadily declined. It's only recently that the film industry has made a comeback with gems like "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" or "Crazy Rich Asians."

Nevertheless, if you find yourself craving a rom-com this Valentine's Day and you're at a loss for what to watch, consider traveling back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood, where everything currently considered "romantic cliche" was still unexplored territory.

Kay Francis, Miriam Hopkins, and Herbert Marshall m.media-amazon.com


Trouble in Paradise (1932)

Starring: Miriam Hopkins, Herbert Marshall, Kay Francis

This rom-com heist from 1932 stars Hopkins and Marshall as two con artists in love, with Francis playing their latest target. While it's arguably more comedic than romantic, the film centers around a heist, tied together by Hopkins' sheer goofiness, Marshall's wit, and Francis' charm in an uproariously hilarious love triangle.

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert m.media-amazon.com


It Happened One Night (1934)

Starring: Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable

Rarely do romantic comedies win multiple Oscars anymore, but this one took home FIVE major Academy Awards; Colbert won Best Actress for her portrayal of an heiress-turned-runaway bride who seeks the aid of Gable's Peter Warne, a reporter who sees her escapade as the perfect fodder for his next story (the role won him Best Actor). The film also won Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn m.media-amazon.com


Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

Grant stars as David Huxley, a paleontologist dealing with the pressures of the job and his upcoming marriage when he meets Hepburn's Susan Vance, the original "manic pixie dream girl." Their chance encounter leads to a series of hijinks involving a circus leopard, a wealthy donor, a hidden dinosaur bone, and an unexpected love connection.

James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Katherine Hepburn, and Cary Grant m.media-amazon.com


The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

Hepburn stars as Tracy Lord, a judgmental socialite and divorcee who - in the chaos surrounding her wedding weekend - finds herself attracted to three different men: her wealthy fiance George, magazine reporter Mike, and ex-husband Dexter. When her mixed emotions threaten to throw her wedding off the rails, Tracy starts to understand the importance of offering a little grace before passing judgment.

James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan m.media-amazon.com


The Shop Around The Corner (1940)

Starring: Margaret Sullivan, James Stewart

Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart play Klara and Alfred, two coworkers who constantly butt heads with each other, all the while not realizing they've been carrying on an anonymous romantic correspondence via letters for months. If the plot of this film sounds a little familiar, that's probably because it was the inspiration for Norah Ephron's "You've Got Mail."

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn m.media-amazon.com


Woman of the Year (1942)

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy

In this tale of "opposites attract," international affairs journalist Tess and sports writer Sam fall in love against all odds and get married. However, they struggle with the demands of married life - particularly Tess - and argue over whether their careers or their marriage should take precedence. While it sounds somewhat dated, the ending has a surprisingly feminist reconciliation.

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine m.media-amazon.com


The Apartment (1960)

Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon

In yet another multi-Academy Award winner, Lemmon and MacLaine star as Bud - a low-level insurance agent - and Fran - the elevator operator in his building - trying to make more out of their stagnant jobs in New York City. Their lives intertwine when Bud lends his apartment to his boss for a fling in exchange for a promotion, only to discover that the mistress is Fran herself. As their paths continue to cross, Bud and Fran begin to question their current pursuit of happiness.

Peter O'Toole and Audrey Hepburn m.media-amazon.com


How To Steal A Million (1966)

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O'Toole

Nicole - the sweet daughter of a successful art forger - finds herself in cahoots with a mysterious and handsome art thief named Simon after he tries to steal one of their paintings. Determined to protect her father, Nicole teams up with Simon to "reclaim" one of her father's fraudulent antiques from a Parisian museum before it can be tested for its authenticity.

Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard m.media-amazon.com


Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961)

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard

There is a reason why Audrey starred in so many rom-coms in her day; her undeniable, relentless charm makes her the perfect Holly Golightly, and the perfect foil for Peppard's sullen and serious Paul Varjak. Holly's society-chasing, husband-hunting lifestyle shocks and charms Paul, a struggling writer. The unlikely duo finds that they bring out the best in each other, as Holly forces Paul to enjoy the silly things in life while Paul forces her to pull her head from the clouds every now and again.

m.media-amazon.com


Charade (1963)

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant

The chemistry is hot between translator and fabulous widow Regina Lampert and the mysterious-yet-suspicious Peter Joshua. After the sudden death of her wealthy husband and the disappearance of a large chunk of his fortune, Regina enlists Peter's help in eluding her late husband's former partners-in-crime, while struggling with her mistrust of Peter. While the film certainly has edge-of-your-seat action, the banter between Hepburn and Grant keeps it from turning into a gritty mystery.


Katie Skiff is a writer, comedian, and actor based out of Brooklyn, NY. You can check her out on Twitter for bad jokes and on Instagram for gratuitous photos of her cat, Spinach.


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On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com


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Why Snapchat is Changing the Game for Social Media

Because Facebook is for "old people."

In a world where Facebook holds a monopoly on every social interaction we have, it must be hard — to say the least — for other social networks to blossom. But there's one that has only been on the scene about five years, and it's here to stay. And that's Snapchat.

Launched in September 2011 by Stanford grads Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, Snapchat has taken the world by storm. What some thought was a fad that would simply fizzle in a few months has become one of the prime modes of communication.

But for those of you who are still stuck on Facebook, Snapchat is simple — send your friend a pic, and it disappears in 10 seconds or less.

So how has Snapchat become such a giant based on such a simple idea?

Growth

Snapchat has become so much more than that simple idea. In December 2012, users could send videos in addition to photos. In October 2013, the My Story feature was activated, meaning users could share their snaps on their "story," where all their followers could see them. And between then and now, Snapchat has added geofilters; face filters; the ability to slow, speed up and reverse videos, and more. Snapchat also acquired Bitstrips in 2016, which makes the Bitmoji app. So users can also send cute cartoons of themselves in their snaps. And when you thought Snapchat couldn't grow any more, it announced its first piece of hardware, Spectacles, this year. These are Snapchat's Google Glass-like glasses, which allow a user to take a video for up to 10 seconds, through their own eyes! Spectacles are on sale for $130 at mysterious Snapchat Bots.

Creativity

Another feature Snapchat offers is the ability to draw on the photos or videos you create. This feature has spawned countless Snapchat artists, who create cool works of art on their photos (some Snap artists to follow: @Georgio.Copter, @Miologie and @TurbanChino). There are also people who create art using the speed and reverse features, along with the filters, set to music and more (follow @Mcnamurrr to see what I mean).

It's not like other apps.

While Twitter and Instagram were trying to copy Facebook by taking bits and pieces of what Facebook offers, Snapchat came out of nowhere and created its own way of communicating. It's done such an incredible job of doing so that Facebook implemented "stories" for Instagram this year. And now the Facebook Messenger app recently launched what seems to be exactly Snapchat. Users can add festive filters, but on Facebook Messenger, they can also add filters and stickers based on their mood, holidays, etc., which is actually kind of neat. Nevertheless, Snapchat's influence is clear.

It's not just for individuals.

Nowadays, companies, TV shows and news sites are all urging followers to check them out on Snapchat, whether for deals, behind-the-scenes footage or for news. Groupon uses Snapchat to promote daily giveaways and coupon codes. The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon sometimes uses Snapchat to give away free tickets — if you can find their intern first. And almost every news site is integrated into Snapchat's Discover feature, including People, Cosmo and BuzzFeed. Whether or not Snapchat is effectively promoting these organizations is to be seen.

All the cool kids are using it.

There are few people I'm friends with on Facebook who are younger than 18. Do you want to know why? It's for "old people." Nowadays, teens are using Snapchat and Instagram (and god knows what else), and, naturally, teens are a key demographic for social networking sites. More than 100 million people use Snapchat — with their largest demographic being millennials. Good on you, Snap!

It's not exactly replacing anything.

While Snapchat is definitely a competitor for other social networking sites, there are still enough differences between Snapchat and Facebook that Facebook shouldn't have to worry about many users leaving. Snapchat isn't conducive for people to promote big announcements or add large volumes of photos. Meanwhile, people upload hundreds of photos into albums on Facebook. And I don't know about you, but I see most people announcing their engagements and pregnancies quite frequently on Facebook and Instagram.

Maybe Snapchat is peaking now, maybe it'll keep growing or maybe it'll fizzle next year. But no matter what happens, it's here, and it's revolutionizing the way we communicate.

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