Movie Boyfriend Bracket: The Nice Guys

First of all, congratulations to the winners from the first round of the romantics:

  • Noah
  • Jack Dawson
  • Lloyd (by the slimmest of margins – 50.55% to 49.45%!)
  • Daniel (big upset by the #13 seed!)
  • Kevin (and the #12 seed as well!)
  • Jamie (and the #11! Perhaps I’d seeded these guys too low. Also, this one makes me sad. Mark is wonderful.)
  • Guy Patterson
  • Gil

Now, on to the nice guys…

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Mark Darcy – Bridget Jones’s Diary (Colin Firth)
vs. Ben – Fever Pitch (Jimmy Fallon)

Mark Darcy does not make the greatest first impression. Despite being tall, dark and handsome, he’s also reindeer jumper-ed, rude and judgmental (since when is drinking like a fish looked down upon?). However, he’s none of the following: alcoholic, workaholic, commitment phobic, peeping tom, megalomaniac, emotional fuckwit or pervert. So let’s give him a second chance. He apologizes for his bad behavior. As a top human rights barrister, he helps make the world a better place and grants a career-boosting exclusive interview. He has a singleton’s back amid smug marrieds at a dinner party (“1 in 3!”).  He saves a birthday dinner by making omelets. He interrupts a (wonderful, ridiculous) fight to sing “Happy Birthday” to a random restaurant patron. Turns out he is moral and noble and normal and helpful in the kitchen! He’s England’s top person, really. The length of his sideburns is just fine. His walk is SUPER fine. So break out your genuinely tiny knickers for Mark Darcy! Because I haven’t even mentioned the best part…

“I like you very much, just as you are” is literally the nicest thing a person can say to you. This is a universally accepted scientific fact.

Also: Nice boys DO fucking kiss like that.

As for Ben, this adorable, sweet teacher loves just two things in life: his girl and his beloved Red Sox. As long as you’re ok with that (and season tickets!), this is the guy for you. Unless you’re a Yankees fan. Then it would never work.


Josh – Clueless (Paul Rudd)
vs. Matt Flamhoff – 13 Going on 30 (Mark Ruffalo)

Most of us were incredibly jealous of Cher Horowitz in 1995, for reasons including the rotating closet full of designer labels, the cell phone, and the trendy gay friend. Most of us are still jealous of Cher today, for one reason only – Josh. Josh is smart, idealistic, and worldly, and he cares about important issues, studying environmental law. He’s sweet, whether dancing with your shy friend when she’s standing all alone at a party or trying to teach you how to drive. He makes you want to be a better person. And he’s so, so cute – totally a Baldwin, right? Even a girl who is saving herself for Luke Perry can’t resist that!

For a lesson in the dangers of writing off a guy too soon, take a look at Matt Flamhaff. A chubby dork in school–the phrase “I like you as a friend” was made for him–Matt grows up to be a super sexy New York photographer. Truth be told, he wasn’t so bad in middle school either: he built a dream house for his best friend Jenna’s 13th birthday, complete with magic wishing dust. Her wish to be “thirty, flirty and thriving” comes true (sorry, this movie is dumb) but Jenna finds her older self is no longer friends with Matt. And that’s not a very worthwhile life, because Matt is sweet and quiet and kind and forgiving and dependable (and did I mention sexy?). Whether it’s zombie-dancing to Thriller or taking Razzle-fueled late night walks, Matt is the right guy to have at your side.


Graham – The Holiday (Jude Law)
vs. Ferris Bueller – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Matthew Broderick)

Imagine getting cheated on, being depressed, and hiding away in a boring English cottage for the holidays. Worst vacation ever! Then someone who looks, sounds and smiles like Jude Law knocks on your door in the middle of the night. Best one night stand ever!  And then he wants to see you again. And again. He wants to get to know you. Plus he’s charming and smart and a good kisser. Though he initially appears to be a womanizer, Graham is a single father (widower alert!) raising two lovely and impeccably-mannered girls, for whom he learns to sew and builds princess tents and does endearingly dorky dad stuff. He cries at movies, books, birthday cards, and the thought of losing you. He says things like “I finally know what I want…and that is you.” And he says it with that delightful British accent, which makes it about a million times better.

With Ferris Bueller, you know you’re going to have a good time – whether it’s at a ball game, in a museum, or singing Twist and Shout on a float during a random weekday parade through downtown Chicago. He’s mischievous, but not malicious, he’s uncomplicated and likable, and he’ll remind you to stop and look around once in awhile. You can’t go wrong with that combination.


Ian Miller – My Big Fat Greek Wedding (John Corbett)
vs. Peter Bretter – Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Jason Segal)

Ian Miller – which comes from milos, obviously, Greek for apple – is the guy you want if you have a big, crazy family. He’ll smile through it all, no matter how weird or uncomfortable, whether it’s your cousin telling him to say “I have three testicles!” in Greek, your aunt talking about her bobopsy, or your father insisting on a Greek Orthodox wedding. He’ll never get upset or impatient with you or your family, he’ll love you just for you, and soon enough your family will come around too, particularly when he learns the virtues of Windex.

Peter is like a big puppy dog – he’s gone through a bad breakup, so you want to hug him and cuddle with him forever and nurse him back to health. He may seem a little sappy at first, but underneath the sad exterior is a wonderful, sweet guy who will stand up for himself when the time calls for it. AND he’s writing a puppet rock opera about Dracula. No way you can resist that.


Neil – He’s Just Not That Into You (Ben Affleck)
vs. Sam Coulson – Never Been Kissed (Michael Vartan)

Aside from his terrible taste in cargo pants, Neil is exactly the guy you would want to spend your life with. He’s cute, committed, and handy around the house (he’ll snake the drain and hang things on the wall whenever you want! This is a huge plus). He has a boat. Neil doesn’t believe in marriage, which might be a deal-breaker for some. But reconsider. Because he will do anything for you, including showing up to do laundry and go grocery shopping and wash dishes for your sick father–and this is AFTER getting dumped for not putting a ring on it. So give him and his stupid cargo pants another chance. Because he just might get down on one knee and say: “I want to make you happy. I *need* to make you happy for me to even have a shot at being happy.” And you just might find yourself sailing into the sunset together, happily ever after.

(Editor’s note: this description was written by my lovely friend Emily. And while I do admire her point, I personally don’t have a problem with cargo pants. I still own a pair from 2003 that I might be wearing right now. Mila Kunis still owns a pair. And if Mila says it’s ok, it’s ok. That’s just a fact of life.)

Sam is a good guy who prefers fun, spunky girls and uses hockey metaphors to teach Shakespeare. However, Mr. Coulson–the school doesn’t want you calling him Sam–is also a high school teacher who needs a lesson on the proper boundaries of teacher-student relationships. To be fair, the student in question is actually a 25-year-old undercover reporter. But he doesn’t know that. He keeps his behavior mostly above board, only to find that while Ferris wheel rides and slow dances at prom can be good, chaste fun in theory, they can make also make him the target of a Chicago Sun-Times exposé. When the reporter’s secret gets out, Sam feels foolish and betrayed but of course he comes around at the end. And hey, if you’re going to wait 25 years to be really well and truly kissed, you can do a lot worse than Sam.


Officer Rhodes – Bridesmaids (Chris O’Dowd)
vs. Dylan Harper – Friends with Benefits (Justin Timberlake)

Sweet, charming Officer Rhodes is a good man to have around. He’ll challenge you and encourage you to follow your dreams and not to settle. He’ll cheer you up when you’re feeling down. He’ll help you track down your best friend when she goes missing the day of her wedding… even if she’s located at her own apartment. And he’ll do all of that with an adorable Irish accent. Plus, dating a cop can definitely have its perks – you are almost guaranteed to get out of speeding tickets, right?

Take one part style and creativity (he’s the art director at GQ!) + one part goofball (this scene!) + one part family man (though he struggles with it, he adores his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father) + one part amazing Tribeca apartment (important to those of us who have lived in Manhattan) = all around sweet guy Dylan Harper. It may take him awhile to catch on (he is a guy, after all), but once he does, he’s absolutely a keeper. And he’ll even plan a flash mob in the middle of Grand Central to prove it.


Lon Hammond – The Notebook (James Marsden)
vs. Jake Perry – Sweet Home Alabama (Josh Lucas)

Let’s all be realistic here: Lon was the much better choice in The Notebook. Only in a movie starring Ryan Gosling would he be “the other guy.” Wounded war veteran (has anyone ever looked that good in a uniform?!), dashingly handsome and wealthy,  stable career, and above all, surprisingly nice. Instead of kicking his cheating fiancé to the curb, he told her he’d forgive her and still loved her… and then that bitch went back to the poor guy anyway. Silly girl. I like to think Lon ended up with a classy, fabulous, nice girl of his own, and I’d be that girl any day.

Jake is a good Southern guy from a small town, but that doesn’t mean a city girl can’t fall in love with her. He’s the kind of guy who will carry you home when you get too drunk and would never kiss a girl who’s dating another guy – even if that girl is still his wife. And when that wife tries to run away from her “hillbilly” Alabama past, he’ll spend years trying to make something of himself to win her back, building a successful glassblowing business (which is hands down one of the coolest jobs someone can have(.  Small town guys can be the best kind, especially when they’re as sweet and dedicated as Jake.


Sam Baldwin – Sleepless in Seattle (Tom Hanks)
vs. Harry Burns – When Harry Met Sally (Billy Crystal)

They say that people who truly loved once are far more likely to love again. Widowed father Sam did love once, his recently deceased wife, and he can’t imagine ever loving anyone the way he loved her, but we know that anyone who can talk like this has a lot of love to give: “Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.”

If that doesn’t convince you, try this: he’s a successful architect and dedicated father. He’s funny, and he’ll make fun of you for crying at sappy movies. Plus he has a really cool houseboat in Seattle. Those things sell for millions now.

Harry might be a little neurotic and annoying, but the man notices the little things, he loves them, and he will tell you about it:

“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Sigh. That speech is worth your vote.


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


11 thoughts on “Movie Boyfriend Bracket: The Nice Guys

  1. re: Neil’s cargo pants. I also like cargo pants (and own a pair. and surely do not look as good as Mila Kunis does in them)! Neil’s girlfriend hated them in the movie and they are actually a plot point.

    • I stand corrected! I didn’t get to see that part during the half hour I watched it at the gym last weekend. 😉

      Also, nothing will ever look good on anyone as anything does on Mila Kunis.

      • Haha, I can’t believe you missed out on the engrossing cargo pants drama! Neil is only in the movie for about 12 minutes so my source material was quite limited. But it’s quality not quantity, and he is definitely a stellar boyfriend during those entire 12 minutes!

  2. While I do have some problems with Harry Met Sally, it is such a funny story and I love his speech at the end. Also, apparently no matter what if I go with my heart I always end up liking the underdog even when I don’t know who the underdog is. LOL

    • Sam Coulson is definitely cute, but flirting with a student is creepy and inappropriate. And he already had a girlfriend!

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