Monday, January 15, 2007


I recently had the pleasure of meeting Billy Mernit, a novelist, composer, professor of romantic comedy, and blogger on the same vast and pleasurable subject. Like a knucklehead I asked him his five favorite romantic comedies and got all trumpy about his neglecting to include Bringing Up Baby. He's since banged his head on the wall of Nettertainment and it only feels right to make good on my end by directing you, valued reader, to Billy's Living the Romantic Comedy.

Treasures include a "The 2nd Annual Asta Awards for the Best in Romantic Comedy," which lists among it's genre-bending categories:
Best Potential Rom-Com Star Debut in a Non-Romantic-Comedy Movie:
Every now and then one comes out of a movie going, “who was that?” and this year everyone I know who saw The Devil Wore Prada was asking about Emily Blunt, playing Meryl Streep's marvelously sarcastic British assistant. Ms. Blunt has the delivery, looks and sensibility to do the Rom-Com proud, so the good news for ’07 is that she’s in one, called Dan in Real Life.

Billy is especially vindicated by Ms. Blunt winning a Golden Globe for a BBC television role tonight.

You also have an opportunity to name Billy's new novel (I went with I'm With Who) and, in my favorite piece, enjoy alongside him working with Diane Keaton circa 1978 on her unreleased singing career:
Keaton was charming self-deprecation incarnate on the phone. She had these songs, y’know, that she liked to sing, sort of, and well, people had been telling her she ought to, y’know, do something, like a record or something, which was a really dumb idea if you asked her, but anyway… We arranged to have her come down to my place the following week with a pile of sheet music.

Thus, to my own disbelief, one day Diane Keaton walked the three flights up to my humble village pad, where I awaited with nice lilies in the vase on the piano, a pot of coffee on the stove, and the songs she'd sung in Annie Hall already committed to my anxious memory.

As charming in print as he is in person, he's forgiven for a little slip of Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Howard Hawks (if screwball doesn't qualify, why bother?). If not for RomCom, as Billy puts it, in our lives, what's the alternative -- RomTrag?

(With less genre investment than I have in, say, sci-fi or noir) I'll go with:

Bringing Up Baby
The Palm Beach Story
Annie Hall
Choose Me
It Happened One Night

Okay, so what's missing...

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