romancing the stone

Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner star in "Romancing the Stone."

Every week when I write my column, I think to myself, "Does anyone read this? Is there anybody out there? Hello?"

Even if my editor and I are the only two people reading this, I'm having the time of my life writing about all the movies and TV shows I love.

Not too long ago, though, I got a message from a reader! Looks like there are some people out there who check in with my suggestions.

Bakersfield resident Steven Bradshaw and I spoke last week about some classic films I was finally getting around to, such as "Gone With the Wind" and "All About Eve," and he suggested I add two movies from the 1980s to my list: "Romancing the Stone" and "A Room With a View."

I heard of these two before — my parents really love "Romancing the Stone" — but like a lot of other movies, I just haven't gotten around to them. Well, I finally crossed two more movies off my list, and I have to say even readers have great suggestions! 

For whatever reason, "Romancing the Stone," starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, was always on television when I was growing up. And whenever my parents saw it was on TV, they had to watch it, even if they had seen it a bunch of times already. Yet somehow I completely missed watching this movie in its entirety before last weekend. 

In this action-packed rom-com, Turner plays romance novelist Joan Wilder who, unlike her characters, needs a little adventure in her life. She gets a little more than what she probably bargained for shortly thereafter.

One day she receives a map in the mail from her recently murdered brother-in-law, and soon everyone seems to be on a wild goose chase to find it. Wilder later learns her sister has been kidnapped and needs to go to Colombia to save her.

This novelist knows how to write a grand adventure herself, but she starts her own a bit rocky. Enter the rugged Jack T. Colton, an American exotic bird smuggler, played by Douglas. The two take on the jungle, their foes and even a little bit of romance.

I can see why my parents love watching this movie: It's exciting from start to finish, the leads are charismatic and at their best, and it's something anyone would enjoy. The comedy is so effortless, too. If you want something that blends several genres, I can't recommend this movie enough.

My second viewing on Saturday was filled with gorgeous views from Florence, Italy, and much less action and adventure. Bradshaw told me "A Room With a View" stars a very, very young Helena Bonham Carter, and without that I don't think I would have recognized her. 

Set in the early 1900s, viewers meet Lucy Honeychurch (Carter) and her chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith), in ever-gorgeous Florence. The two women were expecting, you guessed it, a room with a view of the Arno, but instead have one looking at the back of buildings.

They meet Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and his quite handsome son, George (Julian Sands), who offer to exchange rooms. Little do these characters know what this one exchange leads to later on.

Many have hailed "A Room With a View" as one of the best romantic films of all time. Honeychurch finds herself torn between two men — George and Cecil Vyse (played by a very, very young Daniel Day-Lewis). One is what I would describe as the early 1900s "bad boy," while the other is a little too proper and snobbish. I think she picked the right one in the end.

Other than this being a very romantic tale, it has some stunning English and Italian scenery that made my wanderlust come out in full force. Hopefully soon I can visit these gorgeous places and demand a room with a view of my own.

Thank you again, Steven, for the great movie recommendations. And to any other readers out there, if you have a movie and TV show I should check out, send them my way. 

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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