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What makes a great guilty-pleasure romance?

Guilty-pleasure romances are an awfully tricky thing to define. In essence, they should stir up primal emotions (the "pleasure") while making you ashamed to admit you like them (the "guilt"), but shame's a personal thing, isn't it? I suppose there are people out there who would consider "Titanic" a guilty pleasure, but I'm sorry, with 11 Oscars and $2 billion in grosses, the world disagrees.

No, a true guilty-pleasure movie should be indefensible on many if not all levels. Your mother shouldn't know. You should keep it a secret from your friends. And you should still be there in front of the TV at 1 a.m. with a bowl of Chunky Monkey whenever it comes on Starz.

For the fourth annual Romance Rumble, Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein and I have each chosen our favorite guilty-pleasure love stories on film. They'll face off against one another in an online bracket here on Boston.com. Voting begins Monday, Feb. 10, and runs through Friday, Feb. 14. The winner, which will be announced on Monday, Feb. 17, will be screened March 5 in Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel. -- Ty Burr, Globe Staff

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