If relationship guru John Gray had ever decided to tackle a truly divisive male-female issue -- which video to rent -- he might have written "He Rents, She Rents" (St. Martin's Press), a new book about why men and women like different movies.
Along with summaries and reviews of the 50 best chick flicks and guy movies, "He Rents, She Rents" includes gender-specific ratings ("his" based on fights, nudity, car chases, gunplay and explosions; "hers" on romance, smart- talking women, heartthrob men, great clothes and tears).
Authors Richard Roeper, a Chicago Sun Times columnist, and Laurie Viera, a Hollywood screenwriter, offered these insights into their findings:
* Roeper on telltale signs you are watching a guy movie: "If there's a gratuitous scene in a strip bar, that's a guy movie. They could go anywhere for the conversation, but they always go to the strip bar."
* Viera on how you know you are watching a woman's film: "If a movie has credits that look like handwritten wedding invitations, that's a woman's movie. ... And there has to be at least one male character in the movie you could imagine yourself having lunch with. If you could imagine yourself kissing him, that's good, too."
* Strategies to get around the rental dilemma:
"Here's my trick," says Roeper. "I'll come over with 'My Best Friend's Wedding' and 'Armageddon.' I know she's already seen 'My Best Friend's Wedding' because I took her to see it. ... I'll say, 'Well, let's try "Armageddon." I think it's a love story with Ben Affleck.' ... [That] won't work with a guy. Guys are morons. They would watch the same movie a million times."
* Roeper's top three movies for guys:
"The Godfather" ("Guys recite lines from that and get a lot of their philosophy of life from that movie"), "Caddyshack" and "The Magnificent Seven."
* Viera's top three movies for women:
"All About Eve" ("It is about the best and the worst in women. It's about the kind of women other women can spot a mile away but men get fooled by"), "When Harry Met Sally" and "Next Stop Wonderland."
* So are there any movies men and women can agree to rent? Says Viera: "There are a few movies men and women both like to watch, but men and women are so different, it's a miracle we get together at all." Says Roeper: "The only answer is for all relationships to have two TVs and two VCRs. No one ever says, 'Why can't men and women wear the same shoes?' Same thing with movies."