Thanks to The Fault in Our Stars, opening this weekend, cancer is the sexy new obstacle between star-crossed lovers. Well, it’s not REALLY new. Love Story did it nearly 40 years ago and A Walk to Remember shoe-horned Shane West into a cancer story, as if it weren’t hard enough. While I’m sure The Fault in Our Stars does for cancer what The Perks of Being a Wallflower did for Biploar disorder (or PTSD, I was never sure which one), teen romance movies need to break off to some unexplored territory. Here are some ideas that are sure to tug at the heart strings and give kids everywhere that love conquers all. Even terminal disease.
Working Title: A Wheelchair Ramp Built For Two
The Pitch: He’s a high school athlete and one of the most popular guys in school. She has polio, thanks to her parents’ ignorant belief in pseudoscience. Will their love blossom in a world that’s not wheelchair accessible? And will her parents other dodgy beliefs, including chemtrails and the Illuminati, prevent them from being together and having a normal relationship void of conspiracy theories?
Think: Franklin Roosevelt Meets Your Embarrassing Uncle That Listens to AM Radio at night. And She’s All That!
Starring: Channing Tatum, Shailene Woodley
Inappropriate Critic Quote on the Poster: “It’s the movie Jonas Salk has deprived us of for far too many years!” -Richard Roeper, Chicago-Sun Times
Heart String Rating: 7/10
Not only does this movie get you on the whole polio thing, but try not to cry during Woodley’s speech to her father (Randy Quaid) about the dubious nature of his beliefs on fluoride.
4. Being Just a Head
Working Title: Mind Over Matter
The Pitch: She’s got killer looks and a model body. He’s, literally, just a head. In a world where image is everything and having a fully functional torso goes a really long way, will these two star-crossed lovers break free of the social restraints and learn that, sometimes, all you need are two heads?
Think: That one scene in Re-Animator meets The Notebook
Starring: Bella Thorne, Michael B. Jordan
Inappropriate Critic Quote on the Poster: “Your head will roll with laughter” -David Edelstein, CBS Sunday Morning
Heart Strings Rating: 7/10
Bold move to show a woman receiving oral sex, but the true heart-wrenching comes when the male character realizes she can’t return the favor.
3. Militant Racism
Working Title: Sieg Heil, Mein Heart! The Musical
The Pitch: She’s the straight-laced daughter of the head of a black Baptist congregation. He’s the misunderstood bad boy and neo-Nazi that is torn between the girl he loves and the hatred for the color of her skin. Can he settle the differences between his heart and his ignorant upbringing? Or will his desire to see a master race win out?
Think: West Side Story meets Triumph of the Will
Starring: Zoe Kravitz, Josh Peck
Inappropriate Critic Quote on the Poster: “Love is Blind! Both in Color and Intense Character Flaws!” -Armond White, New York Observer
Heart Strings Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Josh Peck deserves award recognition for his breakdown in the last half-hour. You truly believe he’s battling within himself over his sexual attraction to a girl whose family he wants to savagely murder.
Working Title: Til Death Parts Us
The Pitch: He’s the Ivy League-bound valedictorian, son of a successful mortician. She’s a free-spirited wild child that killed her and three other people in a drunk-driving accident on prom night. When her corpse is wheeled into the mortuary, it’s love at first sight, but will the fact that he’s got a future in law ahead of him get in the way of what’s meant to be? Or will love blossom, despite rigor mortis?
Think: Weekend at Bernie’s meets Lars and the Real Girl and any local newspaper during the summer.
Alternate Title: Over, Underneath, and Deep Inside Her Dead Body
Starring: Miles Teller, Ashley Benson
Inappropriate Critic Quote on the Poster: “Some may construe this film as a bit “rapey”, but I didn’t hear a ‘No’. Of course, Ashley Benson does not have a line of dialogue, but still.” -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Heart Strings Rating: 8 out of 10
Ladies, get ready to fall in love with Miles Teller, especially when he marries the girl of his dreams and carries her over the threshold, then goes back and carries her lower half over, as well. Swoon.
Working Title: Love Cures a Flaming Heart
The Pitch: She’s a modern-day Juliet, the affluent daughter of a junior senator from the south. He’s so very gay. Will his sexual preference keep them apart forever? Or will her gaydar finally kick in to tell her that she’s been barking up the wrong tree?
Think: Endless Love meets Glee and Fabulousness
Starring: Lucy Hale, Chris Colfer
Inappropriate Critic Quote on the Poster: “If you can’t look past your own sexuality to fall for Lucy Hale in Love Cures a Flaming Heart, then you deserve to burn in Hell!” -AO Scott, New York Times
Heart Strings Rating: 11/10
Laugh and cry as you watch Lucy Hale just not get that he’s not into her. Watch as she threatens to harm herself until he loves her and cry when he gives in (oops, spoilers) and suppresses his true nature until it boils up and makes them both miserable ten years later, when they’re older and feel trapped.
All of these ideas are copyrighted, so I better not see any of them pop up in the next coming summers. But you have to admit, it would be an exciting time to be a teen that believes in the all-consuming power of a love that you’re far too young to completely understand.