Lindsay Grossman
May 06, 2015 6:00 am

So I’ve made what I believe to be a big discovery. I was browsing around Netflix when a flick under the just added section caught my: The Thing Called Love. It was made in 1993, it stars River Phoenix, Samantha Mathis, Sandra Bullock, and Dermot Mulroney, and it’s about country music. What is this beautiful, beautiful sorcery?

Of course I watched it, of course I loved it, and it actually reminded me a whole lot of one of my very favorite TV shows, Nashville. If you are a Nashville lover like I am, I can almost guarantee you will feel good feelings for The Thing Called Love. Here are a few reasons (Nashville-related and otherwise) you should get it into your queue stat and probably watch it tonight after you tune into Rayna and Deacon.

It stars River Phoenix in his last role, EVER. 

River Phoenix was an intense, brilliant actor who tragically died before his time. The Thing Called Love was his last role before his death. He plays James, a country singer with confidence — kind of similar to Avery Barkley on Nashville. He decides right off the bat he’s going to date Samantha Mathis’ character Miranda Presley, who we could equate to Scarlett. Of course, there’s another boy in the picture. Drama ensues.

Dermot Mulroney is there too, looking heartthrob-y as ever. 

Dermot Mulroney has always been a heartthrob. We’ve loved him for literally decades; from his role on New Girl to his turn in The Thing Called Love. In this movie he’s a much gentler, quieter Dermot than we’re used to seeing today. He plays Kyle Davidson, a part equatable to Gunner on Nashville. He’s the timid, sweet songwriter who really loves the girl but doesn’t quite know how to show it yet.

The Bluebird Cafe plays a big role.

I have never been to Nashville, nor am I an expert on the scene but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Callie Khouri wouldn’t lie and The Bluebird Cafe is the single most important destination in the metropolis. No? Well either way, it plays as big of a role in The Thing Called Love as it does on Nashville. Miranda Presley ends up waitressing there, much like Scarlett does.

You will spot a young Sandra Bullock. 

This may be my favorite thing about this movie. Obviously it’s Sandra before she was SANDRA. It’s Sandra before she made While You Were Sleeping and the whole slew of romantic comedies with Hugh Grant. Bonus points: In this flick the character she plays, Linda Lue Linden, is a lot like the girls she, as Gracie Hart, makes fun of in Miss Congeniality. She even enters to be Miss Nashville. It’s also just straight up fun to see her before she was a star.

Peter Bogdonavich directed it!

Alright, so if you have no idea who Peter Bogdonavich, that’s ok. I’m about to change your life. Peter, in his long distinguished career, has collaborated with Orson Welles, Ryan O’Neal, Barbra Streisand, Cybill Shepard — you get the idea! He’s known for classics like The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, and What’s Up Doc? If you haven’t seen them, I recommend looking them up ASAP. He’s a huge film buff himself (actually he started as a film critic) and almost all of his movies harken back to the golden age of cinema. At the age of 75, he’s still working and has a film hitting theaters in August called She’s Funny that Way starring Owen Wilson and Imogen Poots. No better way to gear up for that film than by going back to his ’90s work with this one.

The Thing Called Love is a gem. It sadly didn’t do so well at the box office back in ’93 but hopefully now we can really show it the love it deserves. So, what are you waiting for? Watch it. Watch it now!

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