Valentine’s Day may be a day filled with romance, but that shouldn’t limit your choice of movie. If you’re gonna shell out for an extravagant dinner, why not go the extra mile to find a movie that you and your boo can call your own. Think Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother. Their Valentine’s Day movie was Predator. Literally everyone and their mother will be watching Dirty Dancing or The Notebook. In case you aren’t seeing Deadpool this weekend, here are 14 guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures you can sink your teeth into on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re gonna go down on your lover, let Amy Schumer be your guide. She knows a thing or two about vaginas. She knows a lot more about relationships. With her signature blend of dry sarcasm and razor sharp wit, Schumer ponders what it means to be in a relationship in the swipe-right mentality of the modern age. Did I mention she gives one hell of a dramatic performance? Also, there’s an insanely funny dance number that is sure to bring the house down.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Want to watch a movie about wives escaping the clutches of a terrifying overlord (which also serves as the perfect metaphor for escaping an abusive relationship)? How about a movie with Charlize Theron in her most badass role, or just a good old-fashioned romp full of jaw-dropping stunts? Fury Road is all three and more, not to mention a Best Picture contender. Besides, who wouldn’t want to swoon over Tom Hardy, AMIRIGHT???
Silver Linings Playbook
I can’t think of anything more un-romantic than the subject of mental illness. But director David O. Russell does not take this subject lightly. He nurtures these characters and mines something that’s as emotional as it is uplifting. Sparks fly between stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence like the Fourth of July, and together they deliver a heartfelt message about the inherent craziness of life: it’s not about eliminating the crazy in your life, but about finding people who can exist in your insanity.
Sure, this movie is a boner-killer on the subject of marriage (then again, marriage IS a boner-killer). At the very least, this movie should spark a debate as far as what you and your partner want out of a relationship. If your answer is literally anything but the shit that happens in this movie, you’re on the right track.
Before Domhnall Gleeson starred in literally everything this past year, he was a time-traveling romantic in this forgotten treasure of yesteryear. What’s truly endearing about Gleeson’s character is how increasingly human he becomes with each subsequent trip back in time. Take, for example, his chance meeting with Rachel McAdams. He’s still wary, still reluctant to approach her despite having met her before. She doesn’t know that they’ve met, so to watch them share the screen is like falling in love over and over again, which is exactly what it’s like to watch this movie.
If dinosaurs don’t get your hormones racing, I don’t know what will. Jurassic World should suit your carnal desires just fine. Chris Pratt is the perfect wingman to get you and your partner lubed up for the main event. You know, for survival and stuff.
Theory of Everything
In the words of Amy Poehler at last year’s Golden Globes, The Theory of Everything “combines the two things that audiences love: a crippling nerve disease and super complicated math.” Who knew that these were the ingredients to one of the most romantic films of the decade. Through the trials of Hawking’s extraordinary journey, we find that life and love aren’t separate variables after all, but instead are two equal parts of a grand equation that involves the universe and everything in it.
Celeste & Jesse Forever
What we often forget during the fallout of a relationship is that we were once friends prior to becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. So when the hand-holding stops, do we automatically go back to being friends? It’s a simple but emotionally difficult question to answer, proven quite poignantly by leads Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. This movie doesn’t sanitize breakups by any means, but it shows us that even though the ending of a relationship may not be worth remembering, the memories of each other are certainly worth keeping.
True cinephiles know that every Tarantino film is a love letter to genre cinema. Django Unchained is no different. It’s also Tarantino at his most, dare I say, romantic. Look no further than the leading man’s journey, that of a man who blasts his way from one bloody plantation to another in search of his wife. Sure, the film is subtextually vile and features Leonardo DiCaprio in his most panty-shriveling role ever, but this is a story about a man who goes through hell to get his wife back. How romantic is that?
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a brave depiction of romance, one that’s not afraid to show characters falling out of love as much as they are in love. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy convey love in its rawest form, a love that stretches and warps in the face of an unspeakable tragedy. But that doesn’t mean they are not meant for each other. Quite the opposite. Both Connor and Eleanor’s lives are hopelessly and tragically intertwined. Something about that is painfully heartwarming. It doesn’t hurt that Chastain’s character is named after a Beatles’ song, or that the film has one of the most romantic soundtracks I’ve ever heard.
Aside from being the funniest movie in Judd Apatow’s oeuvre, which also happens to have a surprising romantic agenda (see Ben’s heartfelt proposal to Allison), Knocked Up also serves as a cautionary tale to exercise precaution in the bedroom. No glove, no love. Dental be-dammed.
The Dark Knight
Perhaps the darkest film you could possibly watch on such a day, but it’s that juxtaposition that makes The Dark Knight so much more interesting as a potential Valentine’s Day pick. Not to mention that the battle between Batman and the Joker is a brutal, torrential love affair. At a pivotal point in the movie, the Joker says, “You complete me.” My thoughts exactly to this modern classic.
Love has taken on many forms in the digital age, and does so quite literally in Spike Jonze’s intimate tale of woe. Samantha might just be the most endearing object of affection in recent memory, made all the more impressive by the fact that she is conveyed sonically rather than visually. She finds a way to our hearts much easier that way. So when she’s gone, we feel Theodore’s heartbreak, his loneliness, and his grief. This is so much more than an imitation of our technologically advanced yet emotionally distant society. This is a thoughtful and slightly unnerving meditation on where we are, and where we’re headed.
Keira Knightley is like Leonardo DiCaprio in the sense that she dies in nearly every movie she’s in. But I’m happy to report that not only does she live, she also falls hopelessly in love with a city as opposed to yet another Mr. Darcy. New York City has a way with making or breaking people, aspiring musicians especially. Both Knightley and Mark Ruffalo discover this for themselves the hard way. This is not your standard musical; the music comes organically rather than overtly. Each song is unbearably catchy. You might find yourself wanting to sync iPods with your partner and skip through the town to the tune of a playlist. Nevertheless, this film is a charming reminder that no matter how broken the world may leave you, there is always a chance to begin again.