Top 10 Romantic Films to Watch for Valentine’s Day
Posted by Kevin Hunter
Whether you’re single, dating, in a relationship or simply unsure, there’s no doubt that love is something that crosses everyone’s mind. These romantic flicks are good enough to not make you nauseous. You can even watch them with your alpha male guy bud and he probably won’t notice the romantic undertones as he’s so caught up in the story and dialog. The key to a good guy romantic film is by having a good respectable male lead alongside.
Top Romantic Films to Watch!
50 FIRST DATES
“A lighthearted romantic comedy that provides Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore with a sweet story. They work well together and have the same tone of smiling, coy sincerity. Adam plays a guy who moonlights as an expert in one night stands until he meets Lucy played by Drew, a woman whose memory slate is wiped clean every night that she remembers nothing the next day. Adam falls head over heels with her and is so much in love he’s willing to start over with her every morning. As entertainment this is satisfying and lovable.”
“Romantic adventures of neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and his equally neurotic girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). The film traces the course of their relationship from their first meeting, and serves as an interesting historical document about love in the 1970s. ‘Annie Hall” contains more intellectual wit and cultural references than any other movie ever to win the Oscar for best picture. The film is a brutally honest assessment of the prospects of a relationship between two very different people. Woody Allen’s Alvy is (like the filmmaker himself) an introverted, neurotic intellectual and a complete mismatch for Diane Keaton’s vivacious, flaky Annie Hall. What carries their romance in the picture is desperate insecurity, an unspoken belief that they had better cling to each other because no one else will take the trouble to find the virtues lurking beneath their rumpled psychological surfaces. The arc of their love affair is a conventional one—first meeting and wary attraction, a fairly smooth sail into bed (art movies and paperbacks are the food of love), a mutual discovery of annoying foibles, which predicts the big breakup.”
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
“When Sarah (Kristen Bell) dumps goofy nice-guy Peter (Jason Segal) for a ridiculous, slithery, pop singer (Russell Brand), he tries everything to get over her: drinking to excess, reckless rebound sex, television reality shows. None of it makes him feel better. So he escapes to a Hawaiian island resort where, as nightmares would have it, Sarah and this pop singer have also come to get away from it all. Luckily, Hotel hospitality clerk Rachel Jenson (Mila Kunis who has become stunningly gorgeous since “That 70’s Show”) takes pity on Peter’s pain, but where will it lead? You know exactly where, and the pleasure of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is in how it gets there, which is not to undervalue the good and plentiful jokes, no doubt enlivened by spontaneous invention on the set. Luckily, the beautiful and more genuine Rachel has a soft spot for Peter’s misery. When Rachel witnesses the uncomfortable exchange between Peter and Sarah who is frolicking with a new man, she immediately becomes attracted to him and promotes him to the best suite for free. “She’s here with a new guy already, that’s kind of messed up.” She tells him and you know this girl will be Peter’s saving grace and he’ll soon learn there are those far more worthy of his attention. At its heart, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is about heartbreak, heartache, and all the other emotions that most men spend the majority of their energy trying to repress in an effort to appear strong. At the end of the day the film gives us the Hollywood male fantasy that, when a someone beautiful dumps you, there’s another beautiful (and this time sensitive, caring, and understanding) person waiting to take their place, but the story’s pleasure is in wading through the agony to get there.”
FRANKIE & JOHNNY
“Johnny (Al Pacino) discovers the joys of cooking and classical literature while in jail. Upon his release, he is hired by gruff but good-hearted New York diner owner Nick. Also working for Nick is a waitress named Frankie (Michelle Pfeiffer). When Johnny expresses interest in Frankie, she keeps him at arm’s length, her mistrust of men stemming from an unmentioned but obviously traumatic experience in her past. Walking on the street one night, Johnny kisses Frankie just as a truck opens behind them, revealing flowers that flood the screen with color. It’s an old-fashioned Hollywood moment given full play with Cinematography. The scene has a special poignancy because the movie has painstakingly built a world with little room for such flights of fancy. And yet it keeps sending out flickers of hope between these two star crossed lovers. Frankie and Johnny do get together, their curious relationship setting the stage for a dramatic finale wherein both lovers bare their souls.“
GROSS POINTE BLANK
“John Cusack plays Martin Blank, a professional assassin who is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time. Blank is a guy who is more articulate while discussing his kills with a shrink than while explaining to his high school sweetheart Debi (Minnie Driver) why he stood her up at the prom. I enjoyed the exchanges between Cusack and Driver as the couple on a long-delayed date. Affection still smolders between them, and it was sexy the way Driver casually put an arm around Cusack’s shoulders, her hand resting possessively on the back of his neck. I liked the dialogue, too, and the assortment of classmates they encounter.”
LEAVING LAS VEGAS
“What moves me the most in movies is not when something bad happens, but when characters act unselfishly. In “Leaving Las Vegas,” a man loses his family and begins to drink himself to death. He goes to Vegas, and there on the street he meets a prostitute, who takes him in and cares for him, and he calls her his angel. But he doesn’t stop drinking. Nicholas Cage (Ben) and Elisabeth Shue (Sera) give you two daring performances in a film simply about the story of two people. The movie is not really about alcoholism. It is about great sad passion, of the sort celebrated in operas like “La Boheme.” It takes place in bars and dreary rented rooms and the kind of Vegas poverty that includes a parking space and the use of the pool. The movie works as a love story, but really romance is not the point here, any more than sex is. The story is about two wounded, desperate, marginal people, and how they create for each other a measure of grace. One scene after another finds the right note. If there are two unplayable roles in the stock repertory, they are the drunk and the whore with a heart of gold. Cage and Shue make these cliches into unforgettable people.
“Love Actually” is a belly-flop into the sea of romantic comedy. It contains about a dozen couples who are in love; that’s an approximate figure because some of them fall out of love and others double up or change partners. This movie is jammed with characters, stories, warmth and laughs. I could attempt to summarize the dozen (or so) love stories, but that way madness lies. Maybe I can back into the movie by observing the all-star gallery of dependable romantic comedy stars like Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Keira Knightly, Liam Neeson even Billy Bob Thornton turns up. The movie has such inevitable situations as a school holiday concert, an office party, a family dinner, a teenage boy who has a crush on a girl who doesn’t know he exists, and all sorts of accidental meetings, both fortunate and not.”
“Loretta (Cher) agrees to marry a man she doesn’t love, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), simply because he knows how to propose properly. Before the wedding can take place, Cammareri must visit his dying mother in Sicily. In his absence, Loretta is supposed to try to patch up the differences between Johnny and his brother, bakery operator Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage). Having never forgiven Johnny for indirectly causing the accident that crippled him, Ronny flies into a rage whenever his brother’s name is mentioned. He does, however, fall for Loretta like a ton of bricks. After a torrid affair, Loretta tries to avoid Ronny out of respect to Johnny, but he’s just too fascinating to resist. Fine performances and in its warmth and in its enchantment, as well as in its laughs, this is the best romantic comedy in a long time.”
MR. & MRS. SMITH
“There is a kind of movie that consists of watching two people together on the screen. The plot is immaterial. What matters is the “chemistry,” a term that once referred to a science but now refers to the heat we sense, or think we sense, between two movie stars. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have it, or I think they have it, in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” and because they do, the movie works. If they did not, there’d be nothing to work with. They play a bored married couple who are surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other and this is when the heat and the passion in their marriage is ignited. What makes the movie work is that Pitt and Jolie have fun together on the screen, and they’re able to find a rhythm that allows them to be understated and amused even during the most alarming developments. There are many ways that John and Jane Smith could have been played awkwardly, or out of synch, but the actors understand the material and hold themselves at just the right distance from it; we understand this is not really an action picture, but a movie star romance in which the action picture serves as a location.”
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
“The story a Grandfather tells his Grandson in the opening of this film is about Buttercup, a beautiful princess (Robin Wright) who scornfully orders around a farm boy (Cary Elwes) until the day when she realizes, thunderstruck, that she loves him. She wants to live happily ever after with him, but then evil forces intervene, and she is kidnapped and taken far away across the lost lands, while he is killed. Or is he really? You didn’t expect the princess’s loved one to stay dead indefinitely, did you? This film looks and feels like any of those other quasi-heroic epic fantasies – and then it goes for the laughs.”
ROMANCING THE STONE
“The movie’s about a New York woman (Kathleen Turner) who writes romantic thrillers in which the hungry lips of lovers devour each other as the sun sinks over the dead bodies of their enemies. Then she gets involved in a real-life thriller, which is filled with cliff-hanging predicaments just like the ones she writes about. Turner lands in Colombia to find her sister who has been captured by drug lords, and almost instantly becomes part of the plans of a whole lineup of desperadoes. There are the local police, the local thugs, the local mountain bandits, and the local hero, a guy named Jack Colton, who is played by Michael Douglas. This film begins by being entirely about the woman, and although Douglas takes charge after they meet, that’s basically because he knows the local territory. Their relationship is on an equal footing, and so is their love affair. We get the feeling they really care about each other, and so the romance isn’t just a distraction from the action.”
SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE
“Harry (Jack Nicholson) is a swinger on the cusp of being a senior citizen with a taste for young women until he falls in love for the first time with Erica (Diane Keaton) an accomplished woman closer to his age. The movie is true enough to its characters that at one point, when Harry and Erica both find themselves crying at the same time, we find ourselves surprisingly moved by this recognition of their humanity. And when Harry goes back to his old ways, as we know he must, we’re moved again, this time by how lonely he feels, and how sad it is when he plays his old tapes. Harry and Erica are convincing characters, at least in the world of romantic comedy.”
“This IS a romantic comedy, technically, but the romance and the comedy don’t arrive easily, and along the way the movie truly is something new: A touching story about Kenya, a black professional woman (Sanaa Lathan) facing problems in the workplace and the marriage market. I found myself unexpectedly moved. Sanaa Lathan makes Kenya wary, protective, cautious. It’s a performance that could have skated the surface but goes more deeply. She doesn’t date. She doesn’t do much of anything except work, although recently she bought a new house. That’s how she meets the perfect charming man, a true catch, Brian Kelly (Simon Baker), who is single, attracted to her, and a landscape architect. And uhhh also, he’s white. They’re fixed up on a blind date, but she makes awkward apologies and leaves. She doesn’t date white guys. She does hire Brian to landscape her backyard though, and gradually finds herself drawn to him, against her will. You probably think the cards are stacked in favor of these two people falling in love. But it isn’t that simple. The movie is, astonishingly, told from a point of view hardly ever visible in movies: African-American professionals. How the movie finally ends will not be difficult to guess. It’s how it gets there that’s compelling. It doesn’t settle for formulas or easy answers. Like its heroine, it knows good reasons for dating within one’s race. It knows about social pressure, and how it works both ways. It’s able to observe Kenya and Brian in a mostly black social situation, where Brian calls her, correctly, on making “black” comments as a way of holding her white date at arm’s length. Interesting, how it gives a fair hearing to both characters. But the movie knows that if two people truly connect, that is a rare and precious thing and must be respected. By the end, “Something New” delivers all the usual pleasures of a love story, and something more. The movie respects its subject and characters, and is more complex about race than we could possibly expect. With this film, black women are being paid a kind of attention they deserve but rarely get in the movies. Yes, and it’s fun, too: You’ll laugh and maybe you’ll have a few tears, that kind of stuff.”
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
It’s about two people who could be characters in a Woody Allen movie, if they weren’t so sunny, and about how it takes them 12 years to fall in love. We’re with them, or maybe a little ahead of them, every step of the way. But what makes this gem so special, apart from the screenplay, is the chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. She is an open-faced, bright-eyed blond; he’s a gentle, skinny man with a lot of smart one-liners. What they both have (to repeat) is warmth.
About Kevin HunterAuthor
Posted on February 7, 2012, in Dating (Social Customs), Dude Lit, Kevin Hunter Author Writer, Love and Relationships, Romance, Sex and tagged 50 first dates, guy bud, intellectual wit, Romantic films, Valentine's Day. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
Comments are closed.