“I can’t remember the last time I saw two people really falling in love in a movie…. Romantic comedies, the good ones, taught me how to love, or at least instructed me on how to try… Culturally, emotionally, the whole idea of romance is gone, gone, gone. I don’t care how good the novelist, I’ve never read anything that touches Kate Hepburn and Cary Grant in ‘Bringing Up Baby.’... When ‘Up in the Air’ (which I actually liked) came out last year, people were calling Jason Reitman the new Preston Sturges... If the bar were any lower, they’d be calling James Cameron the next Sturges. As for Lubitsch, there will never, ever, ever be another. Ever. A guy like that comes around once in a universe. Proof is that even Billy Wilder, whose motto was ‘What would Lubitsch do?,’ tried but never came close.” — Maureen Dowd, NY TimesI'm no fan of Up In the Air which I thought terribly over-praised and I bow to no-one in my love of Cary Grant, but this is just soppy platitudinizing. The stock of much-loved classics is like the price of milk: it's always going up. You get more nostalgic for things, the further into the past they recede, not less. To say that nothing touches Bringing up Baby is like saying today's bargain prices will never beat the bargain prices of 1939. Of course they won't. They are 1939 prices. Hence the dizzying over-emphases (gone, gone, gone, never, ever ever), as the writer says, again and again, what didn't require saying in the first place. I get that romantic comedies are in a bad way — the cycle that began with When Harry Met Sally in 1989 is now firmly on rinse/repeat — but romance, dead? Gone? Dusted? Huh? I spent much of the nineties being tempted by the fashionable conviction that movie-making was in terminal decline; I even wrote a few anguished, hand-to-brow ubi sunts about the lack of romance/comedy/great scripts/stars in today's Hollywood. Now I think them one of the best decades in American movies, up there with the seventies and fifties. The Bridges of Madison County, I'm not ashamed to say, once ellicited an audible honk from me in a crowded screening room of London's most caustic critics. In Before Sunrise, we got to see a couple fall in love, in real time — a first. The sizzle between Daniel Day Lewis and Madeline Stowe in Last of the Mohicans singed my eyebrows. As for this decade, what about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Brokeback Mountain, Sideways, In The Mood For Love, or WALL-E.? You can't detect a heartbeat in that lot?