Movie Boyfriend Bracket: The Romantics

It’s only appropriate that my 100th post kicks off the Movie Boyfriend Bracket Voting.

The Romantics Bracket is strong from 1-16. There are going to be some close races here, and I’m really excited to see how things turn out. Some of my favorite men from some of my favorite movies are below, and while I don’t think the first round will that painful, it’s going to be really hard to watch some of these guys get eliminated later in the tournament.

First things first – we do have rules around here:

  • I have one veto, to be used in the first round at my discretion. I didn’t use it last year because there weren’t any egregious results, but you never know how things will shake out this year.
  • Polls will remain open for at least 48 hours.
  • While I use the term “boyfriend,” you may think of them as husbands or partners or lovers or however you want to. The only criteria is that we are grading on relationship material, however you define that for yourself. Let’s all agree that we all would like to sleep with Ryan Gosling and not let that cloud your perspective when voting.
  • Campaign away. Post on Facebook, tweet it, comment, and spread the word.
  • Have fun and be nice.

Away we go…

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Noah – The Notebook (Ryan Gosling/James Garner) vs.
Will Hayes – Definitely, Maybe (Ryan Reynolds)

In many ways, Noah is the same character we’ve seen in a hundred different movies: the guy from the wrong side of the tracks who falls in love with the rich girl and sees her for who she really is. But the difference with Noah (and what gives him the #1 seed by the slimmest of margins) is that while we can predict the demise of many other similar movie couples, we know that Noah stays with his girl until the day they die, and he never, ever gives up on his love for her. He writes her 365 letters, he renovates the rundown house she loved so much, and when she develops dementia in old age, he reads their story to her, trying desperately to see just one glimpse of the woman he loved so much. I’m getting teary just writing about it.

Will Hayes is a believer–in soul mates, in perfect plans, in Democratic leadership–who loses his faith along the way. His future was supposed to include marrying his college sweetheart and becoming President, but instead he’s betrayed by girlfriends (not to mention politicians) and disillusioned with life until his young daughter precociously helps him believe in love again. So maybe Will is kind of a man slut but his heart is in the right place. Tell him your favorite song and he’ll buy you every version ever recorded. Tell him you lost a precious copy of Jane Eyre and he’ll spend years checking used bookstores to track it down. He’ll love you even if you need life rehab (don’t we all?). As far as man-boys go, he’s a keeper.


Jack Dawson – Titanic (Leonardo DiCaprio)
vs. Miles – The Holiday (Jack Black)

If you’re anything like me, Jack Dawson ruined all men for you for the rest of your life. At some point, you started to realize that gorgeous, talented, kindhearted, free-spirited artists just don’t exist; that there won’t be a man who will jump when you jump or take you dancing in steerage or teach you to spit like a man or sketch you wearing only a massive diamond necklace. Real men don’t kiss you for the first time as the sun is setting on the bow of the Titanic. And they definitely don’t let you stay on a floating piece of wood while he freezes to death in the Atlantic even if he could have totally fit on there with you! Lucky for us, this bracket isn’t about real men. It’s about fictional ones, and I can’t think of a better way to make each day count than spending it with Jack Dawson.

Miles is an incredibly decent man–that’s always been his problem. Luckily, he’s also straight-up adorable. He’s all smiles and jokes and sweetness and movie soundtrack shenanigans in Blockbuster. But let’s be clear: Miles is not the guy who usually gets the girl. He’s the guy who gets taken for granted and cheated on. He’s the guy who hangs out and eats sushi and lifts your spirits while you’re mooning over another, sexier, but not-nearly-as-good-for-you guy. He’s the guy who wins you over slowly by saying wonderful things like, ‘I’m going to make you fettuccine, pop some bubbly, and we are going to celebrate being young and being alive.” He’s the guy who will cross the Atlantic Ocean to be your date for New Year’s Eve. And his piece de resistance: composing a melody that sounds like you, using only the “good” notes. Who wouldn’t want a guy like that?


Lloyd Dobler – Say Anything (John Cusack)
vs. Jonathan Trager – Serendipity (John Cusack)

Battle of the Cusacks! Let’s start with the quintessential Cusack role, Lloyd Dobler.

“It’s too bad more guys can’t be like Lloyd.”

Truer words, my friends.

But if we have to say something about Jonathan Trager, here it goes… Once upon a time in New York City, Jonathan met a woman. They clicked, they had a wonderful day, and she was an idiot who insisted that fate should bring them together via her number written inside a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera. Despite all of the reasons why this is a stupid idea (what if you change your phone number?), he went along with it, because he too is a romantic at heart, and then he spent years looking for that copy of the book. If you’re looking for him, you can find him at the skating rink in Central Park, just as the snow starts to fall, and you can have your first date over dessert at Serendipity 3.


Tom – (500) Days of Summer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
vs. Daniel – Love Actually (Liam Neeson)

“I Love Us”. How can you not fall in love with a man who has big brown puppy dog eyes, writes greeting cards and asks his little sister for dating advice? Spending a day at Ikea with Tom pretending to make cookies in your durgenphlat and wash your hands under a flogenahcnuter would be the perfect date. He breaks into song as dances with a cartoon bird! And the sequence of how it will be when he sees his ex in his head versus reality could seriously have been lifted right from your life – admit it!

As for Daniel, this is the wise man who once declared: “We need Kate, and we need Leo. And we need them NOW.” Clearly he understands the importance of romance! He is a handsome Irish giant with an equally giant heart. Though grieving his wife’s recent death, Daniel devotes himself to helping stepson Sam win the girl of his dreams. They watch romantic movies for inspiration and find that music (All I Want for Christmas Is…a man this tall and sensitive!) plus a classic rush-to-the-airport-at-the-last-minute grand gesture = success! Daniel teaches Sam, and all of us, that if you love someone, you should say it. Say it every day. You have nothing to lose and you’ll always regret it if you don’t. Sometimes you get the shit kicked out of you, but sometimes you find “the one.” Or Claudia Schiffer. Now let’s excuse ourselves so they can have sex in every room.


Christian – Moulin Rouge (Ewan McGregor)
vs. Kevin – 27 Dresses (James Marsden)

Look up “hopeless romantic” in the dictionary and you’ll see Christian. He is a young, poor writer who moves to bohemian Paris, falls in love with the star of the Moulin Rouge and incurs the wrath of the wealthy man who wants to own her. But Christian has everlasting love – and music – on his side. He will woo you with the words of Elton John and he will love you until his dying day, come what may.

On the other hand, Kevin doesn’t seem to be a romantic when you first meet him; like most of us who have been hurt, he keeps it hidden on the inside. But he’s the author of beautifully written wedding announcements for the NY Times-ish society pages, and he is more than capable of falling head over heels. He even has a soft side – he prefers to watch the groom as the bride is walking down the aisle, and he cried like a baby at the Keller wedding. Plus, he sings too… if you like drunken renditions of “Bennie and the Jets,” that is.


Mark – Love Actually (Andrew Lincoln)
vs. Jamie – Love Actually (Colin Firth)

This is going to be an interesting one. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore Love Actually, and here we are, pitting two of the most wonderful characters against each other…

We don’t really know much about Mark – not much more than his job (managing an art gallery), his hobbies (amateur filmmaker), and the fact that he is absolutely adorable. But we do know that he has a unique talent for romance, starting with surprising his friends with a hidden band at their wedding. And that he sure knows, without hope or agenda, how to make a girl feel special on Christmas. No further words necessary.

Who could hate Uncle Jamie? He’s totally loveable, even with his very slow typing and very bad driving. Not to mention his lovely house in France, perfect for eating croissant, writing novels on an old typewriter and nursing a broken heart. Jamie can be somewhat of a spazz, but he has his shining moments too. He is very generous with Christmas gifts and will love you even when you’re sick and look disgusting. Though hopeless with foreign languages (“bello…uh, bella…montanas”), he learns Portuguese so he can propose to his beloved Aurelia. Propose he does, on Christmas Eve, in charming, stammering, Romeo-and-Juliet-balcony-scene style. Yes, they’ve only known each other for a few weeks and never had a conversation in the same language, but sometimes things are so transparency, they don’t need evidential proof. That the entire village follows him through the streets to witness this impromptu proposal is proof enough of Jamie’s romantic appeal.


Guy Patterson – That Thing You Do! (Tom Everett Scott)
vs. Robbie Hart – The Wedding Singer (Adam Sandler)

Guy “Shades” Patterson is the heart and soul of The Oneders – sorry, The Wonders – and captured the hearts of millions of female fans during their rise to fame. He started out filling in for The Wonders’ drummer back in Erie, PA, but a shot of energy into their signature song and a pair of sunglasses later, they hit the big time. He may be in one of the biggest bands of the day, but his passion is jazz, and he’s got a real talent for it. Being a rock star, he could have his pick of any girl in the country, but he remains sweet and thoughtful – always the perfect gentleman. He just has one question for you: “When was the last time you were decently kissed? I mean, truly, truly, good and kissed?”

Our other adorable musician, Robbie Hart, lives in a basement, he sings at weddings for a living rather than living the rock star lifestyle he always wanted, but that’s ok – because this man believes in true love. He’s goofy and sensitive, and he values honesty and fidelity. Plus, if you have an adorable grandmother who wants to learn to sing, he’ll gladly help her, even if he’s only being paid in meatballs. You definitely want to give this guy a chance, because he’ll even let you hold the remote control.


Gil – Midnight in Paris (Owen Wilson)
vs. Jerry Maguire – Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise)

This is definitely your bracket if you like artists! Here we have another – Gil, the screenwriter by day, who is struggling to complete his first novel, his passion project. His fiance just doesn’t understand, but the artists of the 1920s do – one night, he drunkenly wanders the streets of Paris and is magically transported back to the 1920s to socialize with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dali, Picasso, and more. He’s a romantic, nostalgic soul, and he loves Paris – particularly in the rain. Does it get any more romantic than that?

When we meet Jerry Maguire, he is just another shark in a suit. He’s a smooth-talking, high-powered sports agent who suddenly realizes that he hates his place in the world. And then he actually does something about it. Jerry writes a 25 page mission statement extolling the virtues of fewer clients, less money and more focus on personal relationships. Of course he is fired, because he is an optimist stuck in a cynical, cynical world. He believes in manners, in a way of treating people, and is looking for “something real and fun and inspiring.” Jerry follows his heart rather than his head, and his new philosophy leads to something so much better: love and home and family. It’s easy to love Jerry for the man he wants to be and for the man he almost is. Come on, he had us at hello.


Note: none of the images are mine. They were all sourced via these sites.


16 thoughts on “Movie Boyfriend Bracket: The Romantics

      • that would be a proper use of the veto. And I still do not understand why Rose didnt MOVE OVER on the door. End rant.

      • Wait. Will your veto mean that Miles automatically gets booted even if he wins? Or can you boot someone else in favor of Jack? Because I’m with Emily, I don’t want a dead boyfriend. And Miles is so close to perfect.

      • The veto overrules that specific vote. To do otherwise would screw up the bracket structure.

        Wouldn’t you want a man who is willing to die for you? When you think about it, him dying is all Rose’s fault. She should’ve stayed on the damn life boat and they never would’ve been in that predicament.

        Besides, you should count your blessings. I was very close to using the veto to overrule Josh Lyman last year after he took out my beloved Zack Morris.

  1. Also, the men of New York could stand to take a lesson from Guy Patterson. There is really nothing better than being “truly, truly, good and kissed”

  2. Gordan Levitt and Liam Neeson was tough! I like the former but the latter is supposed to have an “Evian Bootle” in his pants according to Janice Dickinson’s biography. Man that was a tough one!

  3. Is Mark vs. Jamie really a fair fight? With Mark I’d be so worried that he was still in love with his best friend’s wife! The rest were really tough, and I must admit that I let some actor bias slip in (as in I could not possibly date Adam Sandler!) Thanks for bringing the boyfriend bracket back!!!

    • I usually base my decisions on the assumption that the characters would love me as much as their respective love interests in the movies, it doesn’t really work otherwise.

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