Romance in film is something I don't always enjoy. That is mainly because what I find romantic is not basted with cliches (well, not entirely true) but is more the romance of the quirky kind. What makes something romantic? To me, it's the innocence of love, whether it be the folly of youth or the unknown pleasures to come that make something romantic. This is the first of a running series I will be working on mapping the scenes of romance that have shaped myself to becoming the young romantic I am.
1. Heaven Help Us- "I've Been Loving You"
Social Worker: [the police and social welfare people have arrived to close the store, arrest Danni's father and put her in foster care... a crowd outside has gathered] We'll make arrangements with your mother to have the inventory accounted for.
Michael Dunn: [rushing in] They made this happen, didn't they?
Danni: [crying] Nobody made this happen. [Dunn embraces her]
Danni: I just don't want you to be sad... 'cause I'm not. Promise?
Michael Dunn: [fighting tears] No.
Social Worker: We have to go.
Michael Dunn: [running up to car Danni has just been loaded in] Well, hey listen, I'm glad I got to dance with you [car speeds off, leaving a dazed Dunn in the street]
Rooney: Don't worry, Dunn... we'll find her.
Constantly played on Comedy Central in the mid-90s, Heaven Help Us isn't your typical 80s teen comedy. Much like other 80s teen flicks, this is filled with rebeling teens with raging hormones. But unlike others in its time period, this is a retro flick about parochial kids in the 60s. Beyond that, this movie has dueling personalities. Half of the movie is about the group of trouble maker boys who dream of sex, rock and roll music and getting around the brothers who teach and discipline them. The other half is a heartbreaking romance of teen passion.
The romance is between Michael Dunn (Andrew McCarthy) and Danni (Mary Stuart Masterson). The two come from different backgrounds. Dunn lives with his grandparents and sister in your typical Irish Catholic family. Danni lives with her father, who is mentally ill, and takes care of herself and the store that she runs to keep her and her father alive and well. The two cross when Dunn enters her diner and in his innocence shows her the side of life that she never had. They both have their family problems which are reflected in their melancholy outlooks on life, however the innocence of youth is still there and strong. This is why this makes Heaven Help Us a unique love story and one of my favorite film romances.
The peek of the beauty of young love is in the boardwalk scene. Dunn and Danni are walking the beach on a cloudy day and it starts to pour. The two hide beneath the cover of the boardwalk soaked by the rain. Otis Redding's powerful love ballad "I've Been Loving You Too Long" starts to play as the two passionately kiss. It's moments like this in cinema that are truly romantic.