Dear Coffee Time Romance Friends,

Where can you find a heartfelt true love story, some yummy recipes and over 20 reviews of favorite romantic movies – all in one package? Only in the Amazon KINDLE version of IT HAD TO BE US by Harry & Elizabeth Lawrence, the pen names my hubby and I used in writing this award-winning romantic memoir.

About those romantic films, I know many can be highly predictable and not very entertaining, but my husband and I have a lot of favorites, and in our book we've  included my reviews of several excellent ones. It was fun compiling our list of favorites, even though we frequently disagreed while making the selections!

Below are 13 romantic movies chosen from the ones we included in IT HAD TO BE US. If you would like to find out which additional films we selected, I hope you will check out our memoir. You can find out more information about our book here

I hope you will let me know your reaction to these romantic movies as well as your own favorites. Here’s my “Thursday 13” for today:

BEYOND BORDERS. I’m a sucker for epic love stories like “Gone with the Wind” and “Dr. Zhivago,” so I was fascinated watching Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen try to carry on a romance over many years amid tumultuous international events.

KATE & LEOPOLD. A perky Meg Ryan and an elegant Hugh Jackman play lovers who break the time barrier in this terrific romantic comedy. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

LOVE ACTUALLY. I absolutely adore this fast-paced movie about the agony and ecstasy of love — as experienced by several colorful characters during the five weeks before Christmas.

MOULIN ROUGE! This Baz Luhrmann musical about two doomed lovers who meet in a decadent Paris nightclub during the late 1800s is sheer cinematic artistry. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor sing their hearts out in a memorable sequence featuring great love songs like “All You Need Is Love” and “I Will Always Love You.”

PRIDE & PREJUDICE. Jane Austen’s most popular Victorian romance novel has never graced the screen with such cinematic flair as this one co-starring Keira Knightley.and Matthew MacFayden . Although I also enjoyed the other film versions, this most recent screen adaptation emerges as the most entertaining for me.

RETURN TO ME. This enchanting movie co-stars David Duchovny as a grieving widower and Minnie Driver as the woman who receives his dead wife’s heart. Don’t worry. It’s not a tearjerker – just touching, funny and one of the best romantic comedies ever filmed.

SERENDIPITY. I admit being an incurable romantic who needs a “soul mates” film-fix every once in a while, so this movie worked for me. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, playing two people who are kept apart by a series of missed connections, won me over completely.

TWO WEEKS NOTICE. Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock are fun to watch in their first on-screen pairing. Reminiscent of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in “Woman of the Year,” they start out antagonizing each other because of their differences but end up realizing how much they need and love each other.

THE FOUNTAIN. This stunning, elegant movie co-stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz as characters representing eternal love and the battle between death and immortality. I found it hypnotic and almost painfully beautiful.

TRISTAN & ISOLDE. Set in England, this tragic story concerns the forbidden love between a courageous English knight and a beautiful Irish princess. James Franco and Sophia Myles generate considerable chemistry together in the leading roles, and the impressive painterly look of the film also adds to its appeal.

LAST CHANCE HARVEY. Playing two lonely middle-aged people who find each other during some tough times in their lives, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson may look ill-suited for each other here, but they deliver the goods with believability and charm. I fell in love with them as a couple.

ORIGINAL SIN. Overblown and implausible it may be, but Original Sin wins my vote as one of the most watchable movies ever made. Most of the credit goes to Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie. They sizzle on screen as a man obsessed and the femme fatale he desires.

MUSIC AND LYRICS. Helping someone discover his or her hidden talents ranks as one of the most satisfying things a person can do for another, and that’s probably why I fell in love with this delightful film right away. It’s such a treat to watch Drew Barrymore’s character discover she can write brilliant lyrics while roped into a panicky relationship with Hugh Grant’s has-been composer/performer, a role he plays to the hilt.

Finally, I wanted to remind everyone about our IT HAD TO BE US Screenplay Contest. Here are the details:

Write a movie scene incorporating information from the “Harry Remembers Excerpt” found at this link: Send your entry pasted into an e-mail (no attachments) to Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence at by July 1, 2012. Winner will receive a Kindle edition of the award-winning romantic memoir, IT HAD TO BE US, plus an autographed copy of CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, my amusing life story with everything but the movie stuff edited out. Good luck!

Thanks for reading my “Thursday 13” blog. I hope to hear from you!

Betty Jo Tucker (aka Elizabeth Lawrence)

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