The Quick 10: The American Film Institute's Top 10 Romantic Comedies

With Valentine's Day looming around the corner, I thought this was an appropriate list for today. I'm generally not a fan of romantic comedies "“ at least, not ones from recent years. I love the old ones, but if you want to guarantee that I won't see a movie, put Kate Hudson or Drew Barrymore in it. Except I'm lying, because I sort of have plans to see He's Just Not That Into You this weekend. But you know what I mean.
That being said, I fully support eight of the 10 movies on the American Film Institute's top 10 romance movies of all time. I'll let you guess which two I dislike immensely. First to guess correctly wins Carl Kasell's voice on their home answering machine? That's the second lie I've told in one paragraph. I'd better quit while I'm ahead.

citylights1. City Lights, a 1931 silent film starring Charlie Chaplin and Virginia Cherrill.

2. Annie Hall was nominated for five Oscars and won four of them "“ Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Woody Allen lost the Best Actor award to Richard Dreyfuss for his performance in The Goodbye Girl.

3. It Happened One Night. This one struck Oscar gold too "“ it won in all five categories it was nominated in, including Best Actor and Actress Awards for Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Supposedly, when Clark Gable bucked the trend of wearing an undershirt in this film, undershirt sales dramatically dropped across the country. Snopes calls this one undetermined.
4. Roman Holiday. This 1953 film is the one that won Audrey Hepburn her Academy Award (she also won a Golden Globe for it). And, you know, Gregory Peck was not too shabby in it either.

5. The Philadelphia Story.

With Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, it's kind of hard to go wrong. Stewart won the Best Actor Academy Award for his role as tabloid reporter Mike Connor, but felt that it was sort of a makeup Oscar since the Academy failed to award him one for his part in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

6. When Harry Met Sally. Fun fact: the lady who says, "I'll have what she's having" after Meg Ryan really enjoys her sandwich is Rob Reiner's mother.

7. Adam's Rib. Another classic with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Two married lawyers take opposing sides of a case; hilarity ensues. Ruth Gordon, the star of the #9 film below, was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay.

8. Moonstruck, the 1987 movie starring Cher and Nicolas Cage. It won three of the six Oscars it was nominated for, including Cher and Olympia Dukakis' Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress wins (respectively).

9. Harold and Maude. This one makes all kinds of AFI lists "“ it also comes in at #45 on the 100 Laughs list, #69 on the 100 Passions list, and #89 on the 100 Cheers list. Despite this, it wasn't nominated for any Academy Awards. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon did receive Best Actor and Actress nominations at the Golden Globes, but didn't win.

10. Sleepless in Seattle. This movie could have starred Kim Basinger instead of Meg Ryan, but Basinger turned the role down and has later said she very much regretted it. The movie it was based on, An Affair to Remember, take the top spot #5 spot on AFI's "100 Years ... 100 Passions" list.

What do you think should have made the list? I nominate The Princess Bride.


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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


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