Where Are They Now: Little Boys With Bowl Cuts From 90s RomComs

All of the best movies from the Golden Age Of The RomCom – the 1990s – have one thing in common. No, it’s not Meg Ryan, and it’s not Julia Roberts either. Give up? It’s a little boy with a bowl cut. Sleepless in Seattle: little boy with a bowl cut. Father Of The Bride: LBWBC (that’s our abbreviation for Little Boy With Bowl Cut, but I’m sure you caught that). She’s All That: LBWBC… the same LBWBC as Father Of The Bride. All of these little boys with bowl cuts have grown into men by now, so let’s see what they – and their bowl cuts – are up to today.

Sleepless In Seattle

The little boy with the bowl cut: Jonah (Ross Malinger) is a wise-beyond-his-years tot who calls a radio show to find love for his widowed dad, Sam. Jonah is best pals with Jessica, a miniature Gaby Hoffmann. The most badass bowl cut in the genre, little Jonah flies cross-country to help his Pops meet the lady of his dreams.

Was it a good bowl cut? LOOK at this freaking bowl cut. Perfectly follows his head contours, rich brown coloring, neither too puffy nor too limp: this is the bowl cuts all other bowl cuts aspire to be.

Where is he now? Little Jonah attended three different schools during his fourth grade year, as Sam and his main squeeze Annie tried to decide whether to live in Seattle, Baltimore, or somewhere in the middle (which was short lived, because the middle was Kansas). He and Jessica briefly dated in high school. Jonah now works as a travel agent.

Does he still have a bowl cut? I could see that. That full, tidy helmet of a bowl cut is too beautiful to waste.

One Fine Day

The little boy with the bowl cut: Sammy (Alex D. Linz, the most celebrated Boy With A Bowl Cut of the mid-90s) is the child of harried single mom, Melanie (Michelle Pfeiffer). Melanie has a hectic meet-cute when she accidentally swaps cell phones with the harried single dad (George Clooney) of Maggie (an itty-bitty Mae Whitman, whom we now know and love as Parenthood’s Amber). Sammy is a bit less precocious than Jonah. The Sleepless In Seattle bowl-cut boy meant to help his dad out, but this kiddo just keeps tying up his mom’s schedule so that she keeps running into Clooney. Important thing to remember about this movie: it was long enough ago (1996) that the mere fact that both adults had cell phones that they used outside of emergencies meant that they were very busy and important.

Was it a good bowl cut? It’s a bad bowl cut. Not bad in the “not good” sense but bad like hardass and dripping with danger. Look how ruffled and sun-bleached it is. It’s a bowl cut on the edge, and neither comb nor convention can constrain it.

Where is he now? Like most neglected children, Sammy is a pretty happy kid because nobody’s keeping tabs on him. He’s also a pretty hellish teenager. The adults manage to make their relationship work, and Sammy and Maggie spend high school smoking and drinking and throwing parties during their parents’ frequent business trips. Inspired by his stepdad’s career, Sammy goes to J-school and gets nepotismed into a low-status section of the New York Daily News, before ultimately getting downgraded to a staff blogger.

Does he still have a bowl cut? No way.

You’ve Got Mail

The little boy with the bowl cut: Matthew Fox (Jeffrey Scaperrotta) is the little half-brother of Joe (Tom Hanks), the heir to a book megastore dynasty. Together with Joe’s aunt Annabel (a little girl), Matt serves the purpose of making Joe seem more kind-hearted and appealing to children’s bookstore owner Kathleen (Meg Ryan).

Was it a good bowl cut? Yeah, it’s fine.

Where is he now? After Annabel’s father dies (because he is like 80), she moves in with Matt’s family and becomes his sort-of sister. Then Matt’s father dies too, not because I have a particularly bleak outlook on things but because those virile Fox men fathered children into their 70s. Anyway, they both move in with Joe and Kathleen, and there’s no real family strife. Their fake mom runs a children’s bookstore and Matt wears turtlenecks, for goodness sake. They’re perfect. Matt’s biggest rebellion is choosing the Boxcar Children over The Bobbsey Twins. In the present day, Matt heads up the children’s division of Fox Books. Kathleen maintains an infuriatingly cute mommy blog/ Pinterest account. You saw how cute her shop is.

Does he still have a bowl cut? Oh, he absolutely still has a bowl cut.

As Good As It Gets

The little boy with the bowl cut: Spencer (Jesse James) is our most delicate Little Boy With A Bowl Cut. You can tell because his bowl cut is blond and tousled, not a robust brunette bowl cut like the healthier Sammy or Matt. He has an unnamed, mysterious disease which worries his waitress mom Carol (Helen Hunt), but not enough to keep her from hooking up with an old guy (Jack Nicholson).

Was it a good bowl cut? You know how, when a human dies, even if you were lukewarm on them before, once they’re dead they were your favorite and the very best? Well. This bowl cut was my favorite and the very best.

Where is he now? RIP. That mystery disease was bad news.

Does he still have a bowl cut? No. Because RIP. That bowl cut was a fair flower, not long to blossom in this world.

Father Of The Bride

The little boy with the bowl cut: Matty (because boys from RomComs are named Matthew) is Annie’s kid brother (because women from RomComs are named Annie). When she comes home from Europe and announces her engagement, the whole family falls into a tizzy planning the wedding, as dad George (Steve Martin) struggles to let go of his little girl. In the sequel, Father Of The Bride Part II, Matty’s mom (Diane Keaton) and sister are both expecting babies at the same time

Was it a good bowl cut? No, it was the WORST bowl cut. Lank and flat, like whatever the less-full version of a bowl is (colander maybe?).

Where is he now? After watching his father wax nostalgic about playing basketball with big sis Annie  – seemingly forgetting that he still had a small child at home – Matty realizes he’ll never measure up to his sister. Instead, he focuses on being the best big bro possible to Baby Megan. There was recently a rumor that Steve Martin would be filming a sequel where he plays the father of the groom (an all-grown-up Matty!) in a same-sex wedding. I like that. Let’s go with that.

Does he still have a bowl cut? I have never seen a bowl cut on a gay man, although I’m sure they must exist. So, in a word, no.

She’s All That

The little boy with the bowl cut: Your eyes aren’t fooling you, you’ve seen that bowl cut before! Kieran Culkin, the baby brother from Father Of The Bride, is the baby brother once again. He and his sister Laney are raised by their single dad after the death of their mother. Unlike Laney, Simon realizes that Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is a trashy garbage dude-bro. Simon also has hearing aids, for some reason. On one hand it’s very cool to have a disability that isn’t an issue in a movie, on the other hand WTF just tell us what’s up with his hearing, you know?

Was it a good bowl cut? With all due respect to those great PSAs, it gets worse. It’s PARTED. There’s a tendril on his FOREHEAD. It’s like a limper version of Dorothy HAMILL.

Where is he now? Trudging through every family Christmas with his much-hated brother-in-law Zack, playing with his nephews Brayler and Kylan (because of course that’s what Zack The Bro would call his children), doing something in I.T. probably. He got cochlear implants, not that anyone really noticed or cared about Simon’s hearing anyway. Or Simon in general.

Does he still have a bowl cut? Nah. He only had that to cover his hearing aids.

Bowl Cuts: An Epilog

The craze (?) for Little Boys With Bowl Cuts continued into the romantic comedies of the early 2000s. The golden age was over, but lustrous bowl cuts still made appearances in About A Boy, Love Actually and Raising Helen. With the post-9/11 economy and Great Recession, the cost of maintaining bowl cuts became too much to muster. The bowl cut may have died, but as long as we have Netflix or Cable TV, they will live in our hearts and screens forevermore.

 

 

I’m Just A Girl, Standing In Front Of A Boy…

It’s day one of RomCom Week! We’re kicking things off with one of the most frequent tropes in the RomCom world – the confession of love. Even if you’re not a RomCom fan, you know this scene. It’s the one that you see coming towards the end of the movie, but when the main character does it, it might be in a way you don’t expect, and all of a sudden you’re tearing up and questioning your sanity (No? Just me?). There have been plenty of confessions of love throughout the history of romantic comedies, but here are just a few of our favorites from over the years (in no particular order).

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of my top three romantic comedies of all time. Maybe even one of my favorite films, ever. I was obsessed with it in high school, and basically wore out my VHS tape from rewinding it over and over again. This particular scene is one of the iconic scenes in all of movie history, where Hollywood superstar Anna (Julia Roberts) tries to convince British bookshop owner Will that despite the fact she’s a celebrity, she’s “also just a girl, standing in front of a boy… etc. etc. etc.” There’s a second confession of love in the film that often times gets looked over, but at the end, Will realizes he’s been dumb and chases Anna to a press conference and admits he’s been “a daft prick” in front of all the cameras. He proves that the whole ‘celebrity’ thing is out of his mind now, and he’s ready to be with her. I mean.

When Harry Met Sally

Hey, guys, remember the time I hadn’t seen When Harry Met Sally until last summer, and then I promptly became completely and utterly enamored with it? Yeah, because that happened. How have I been living my life having not seen this amazing film?! I don’t know either. But what I do know is that Harry loves Sally, and it’s apparent the entire time they were ‘just friends’. But they just didn’t realize it. When Harry rushes to the New Year’s Eve party to tell her how he loves how she hates things and she straight out just says she hates him, it’s a romance that you know was just meant to be.

Love Actually

While Love Actually has a bunch of confessions of love sprinkled throughout the last half of the film, this one might be my favorite. Jamie learns Portugese just to propose to Aurelia – and in front of her family, friends and co-workers and all of the restaurant. And while it’s amazing that he spent so much time learning her language, I think it’s even more amazing that they fell in love with each other having barely being able to understand each other when they speak. Love, while all around, knows no barriers.

10 Things I Hate About You

Raise your hand if you can recite any or all lines from Kat’s poem. This was one of those movies that made our particular generation, and especially pulls at the heartstrings because of the brilliance that is Heath Ledger. While his redemption performance of Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You on the stadium stairs is unforgettable, it is this scene where Kat outwardly admits her love for Patrick that makes your dark heart turn a lighter shade of red.

The Wedding Singer

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler are obviously RomCom royalty, and this is one of their best films they’ve done together. The ’80s just work for both Drew and Adam, and they created a wonderful world of the wedding circuit that was the perfect background for two unlikely lovers. In this scene, Robbie (Adam) books a flight to Vegas in hopes of stopping Julia (Drew) from eloping with her boyfriend. They end up on the same flight – as Billy Idol – and wouldn’t you know- Billy Idol helps Robbie orchestrate a special mile-high serenade to Julia. The song is the perfect sentiment and the perfect ending for a couple who meet while working for a wedding.

Jerry Maguire

Speaking of movies I’d never seen until last year – this girl waited a super long time to watch Jerry Maguire. It’s a pretty good movie, y’all. I suggest you see it! Despite the fact Tom Cruise has been ruined to me by XENUscientology, his realization that Dorothy is actually the best thing to happen to him is fantastic. Any time someone confesses their feelings in front of unsuspecting members of society, it’s bound to be good. And while Dorothy was good after he said ‘hello’, I gotta admit the rest of that speech wasn’t half bad, either.

Something Borrowed

I love John Krasinski. He is the reason I even paid to see this movie in the theater. I hadn’t even read the book – but J Kras in a romantic comedy? Yes. I’m available. Despite being more well known for his comedic roles, he’s actually a great dramatic actor, and when he brings that depth to a comedic role unexpectedly, he hits it out of the ball park. He did it with his Jim and Pam scenes and he did it when he confessed his love to BFF Rachel in Something Borrowed. I honestly don’t know how you can say no to this guy after this speech.

Runaway Bride

Okay, don’t X out of the window after you read this, but I’ve only seen like 10 minutes of Pretty WomanI KNOW I KNOW. It’s on the list. I can tell you that during my Notting Hill phase I was just overall obsessed with Julia Roberts, which is why my VHS tape of Runaway Bride is also worn out. Runaway Bride was Julia and Richard Gere’s “sequel” to Pretty Woman, but this time, she plays a far different character who is known for ditching her fiances on their wedding day – hence the Runaway part. Richard plays a reporter who is writing an article about said Runaway Bride and believe it or not, they fall in love. But what makes them a match is that he challenges her in ways she had never been challenged before, particularly egging her on to be her own person, and not just who she thinks her boyfriend/husband thinks she should be. So when she proposes to him – and turns in her running shoes – it’s obviously a big deal

You’ve Got Mail

I recently re-watched You’ve Got Mail for the first time since circa 1995, and let me tell you, it’s quite a different experience. Not only because I am an adult now, but – EMAIL! AOL!! CAN YOU BELIEVE WE HAD TO WAIT FOR A DIAL-UP MODEM TO LOG ONTO THE INTERWEBZ?! I digress. The plot obviously still holds up, and that’s why the basis of the story dates all the way back to 1937. Two anonymous pen pals write each other and fall in love, while in real life, they meet each other and are sworn enemies. The final scene isn’t much a confession of love, but rather a big reveal with very little dialogue. But it doesn’t need it – we know exactly how they feel.