Romance films

11 of the best romance movies and romantic comedies set in SF: SFist


San Francisco, a popular place to leave one’s heart, has been the backdrop for many romantic romances and comedies. Here, an overview of 11 of them which are more or less charming, funny, sweet and good. Obviously, it’s ridiculous that these are straight couples, but let’s put this on Hollywood and not San Francisco.


The wedding planner
Always the wedding planner, never the bride. Deep sigh. Despite being the best in San Francisco weddings, Jennifer Lopez is too busy for her own love in this 2001 romantic comedy. Until muscular pediatrician Matthew McConaughey takes her off the hook. The drama on Nob Hill and the Golden Gate Park dates make this a good San Francisco movie, but come on, it’s just a good movie in every way. McConaughey is pre-McConaissance, and J-Lo was not stopping Drake, who may not have even been born. Fascinating.


Dark passage
Bacall and Bogart, baby. This noir / dark romance thriller set on Frisco is the story of a man escaped from prison who comes to rely on a young artist as he recovers from plastic surgery to hide his identity. The first half of Delmer Daves’ 1947 photo, before Bogey received his new mug, is taken in first person, from his perspective. Stick around to see it unmasked, and for photos of Bacall’s residence, which, as Rain Jokinen, our film critic and San Franciscan-born resident in SFist, points out, is the Malloch Apartments on Telegraph Hill – a very art deco pad. romantic if there ever was one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6oxB257a7Q
When a man loves a woman
In sickness and in health, as they say. Now, Senator Al Franken co-wrote this 1994 drama, directed by Luis Mandoki and starring Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan as a couple from San Francisco whose family is dealing with their alcoholism. The material is somewhat autobiographical, Franken told the New Yorker, and his drama is especially real thanks to Ryan, who plays the part with pathos.


Petulia
A distinctive 1968 trippy through San Francisco settings such as Fort Point, Fisherman’s Wharf Cannery and the old Cala Supermarket on California Street. Julie Christie, a divorcee, seeks solace from the older gentleman doctor type of George C. Scott. I guess romance is a stretch, as it’s more of a cultural commentary, and as much about romance and marriage thwarted as it is found. The Grateful Dead are playing extras!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjK9JoHccBg
Medicine for melancholy
Before his escape film Moonlight last year, director Barry Jenkins lived in San Francisco and staged his romance with Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins here. “I love this city,” says Cenac’s character, wandering around the city with Heggins. “I hate this city, but I love this city. San Francisco is beautiful. You shouldn’t have to be upper middle class to be part of it.” It’s a bit like those movies about couples in New York where the third character is the city itself, except this time it’s San Francisco.


40 days and 40 nights
Josh Hartnett is trying to suppress his sexual desire, but good luck doing it yourself. Michael Lehmann’s 2002 erotic-romance comedy – in a very Miramax vein – stars a sentient type of brogrammer in a dot-com-era sci-fi web startup who tries to abstain from sex for the time period depicted in the title. It’s a good movie.


BedazzledAn admittedly inferior 2000 remake of the classic 1967 British film features Brendan Fraser as a hapless San Francisco lover who strikes a good old Faustian bargain to be with the woman of his dreams. Elizabeth Hurley plays the devil to perfection, and looking back, it seems possible that Fraser had some sort of unsavory deal at one point that he is now paying for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuDpU1vzekE
The five-year commitment
This one is entertainment from the Judd Apatow era, co-written by costar Jason Segel, whose court starring Emily Blunt hits a number of roadblocks on the way to the driveway. Chris Pratt is Segel’s embarrassing best friend, a sous chef with a taco truck that looks like an ambulance called “Taco-Emergency.” Look for it on Off the Grid. The point of the film is that Michigan is bad and that leaving San Francisco for love doesn’t work.


So I married an ax murderer
Woaaaah-man. Mike Myers is a crappy poet from North Beach who meets the woman of his dreams to find out she could be a serial killer. Phil Hartman as Alcatraz tour guide, Ranger John ‘Vicky’ Johnson, is extremely good, and to my embarrassment, I have been delighted with everything about this movie, since its use of the song “There She Goes”.


Harold and Maude
Primarily shot in the Greater Bay Area, although there is a trip to Sutro Baths, Harold and Maude is Hal Ashby’s classic, dark and sweet 1971 film about a 79-year-old woman played by Ruth Gordon and his 18 year old daughter. lover, a death-obsessed Bud Cort. Famous and loved because it’s so funny, sad and weird.


boyfriend joey
Loosely adapted from the musical of the same name, this 1957 musical film features classic songs such as “The Lady is a Tramp” and “I Could Write a Book”. Frank Sinatra plays a failed singer and famous womanizer who calls women mice, sick, and meets naive Kim Novak, a backing singer (whose singing voice is voiced by Trudy Erwin), but he also doubles her with a matron of the company (Rita Hayworth) whose club he wants to finance. Oh good. Musicals are cool again – thank you La La Land – so this one is too.


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