"One is very crazy when in love."
-- Sigmund Freud
Having split the difference between two previous American Film Institute lists (100 Laughs in 2000 and 100 Passions in 2002), the potent combination of love and laughter that is the cinematic art of the romantic comedy gets the spotlight in the next step of our countdown to AFI's 10 Top 10. And with the two prior lists serving as a jumping off point, it should come as no surprise that, out of all ten genres, this one includes the most previous listings out of its 50 nominees, with 35 movies previously honored by the AFI.
Two films lead the pack with six prior listings each: the talkative Annie Hall and the wordless City Lights (the oldest film among the nominees). And while the former could very well land in the number one spot here (it redefined the genre upon its release, becoming a touchstone for all rom coms that followed), the latter, while it does have romance and comedy, is not so much a "romantic comedy" as we've come to know them. The following five films, each with four prior mentions, should easily fill out the upper slots of the top ten here: The Apartment, Bringing Up Baby, It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story and When Harry Met Sally ...
The competition doesn't end there, though, with three-peaters (Harold and Maude, Moonstruck, Working Girl), two-timers (The Awful Truth, Jerry Maguire, The Lady Eve, Ninotchka, Woman of the Year) and single placers galore (Adam's Rib, The American President, Ball of Fire, Barefoot in the Park, Born Yesterday, Bull Durham, The Goodbye Girl, His Girl Friday, My Man Godfrey, The Palm Beach Story, Pillow Talk, Pretty Woman, Roman Holiday, Roxanne, Sabrina, Shakespeare in Love, The Shop Around the Corner, Sleepless in Seattle, There's Something About Mary and What's Up, Doc?). That doesn't leave much room for newcomers, although AFI Award winner The 40-Year-Old Virgin (the newest film among the nominees, see the comments section below for the full list) could break through.
The results will be revealed June 17 during the three-hour CBS television event, AFI's 10 Top 10. In the meantime, the ten celebrities who will host each segment have been revealed: Jessica Alba (romantic comedy), Sean Astin (fantasy), Gabriel Byrne (mystery), Kirk Douglas (epic), Clint Eastwood (western), Cuba Gooding Jr. (sports), Jennifer Love Hewitt (animation), Quentin Tarantino (gangster), Sigourney Weaver (sci fi) and James Woods (courtroom drama).