10 Top Valentine Days Films For The Romantic Couch Potato

“Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it, let’s fall in love!” — Cole Porter

Hollywood does it better Yes, there is something about the formulaic Rom Com plot line that draws us in and makes us wish our lives were as predictable as a Meg Ryan (in her better days) film. Yet with so many variations of basically the same ending, which journey down the path of ‘happily ever after’ is the best?

1. Love Actually

Hardly a surprise really. Great story, great cast. Has the power to restore your faith in love, actually (sorry, couldn’t help it).

2. 10 Things I Hate About You

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways…

This modern day teen movie spin of a Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ is a 10 out of 10 for cast, (who, male or female, can resist Heath Ledger in leather boots?), plot, and Shakespearian references. See below for Kat’s (Julia Stiles) own version of a Shakespearean sonnet in iambic pentameter:

  1. I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair.
  2. I hate the way you drive my car.
  3. I hate it when you stare.
  4. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind.
  5. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme.
  6. I hate the way you’re always right.
  7. I hate it when you lie.
  8. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.
  9. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call.
  10. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

3. When Harry Met Sally

Love comes in many shapes and forms, but in the case of Harry and Sally, we learn that pear shaped encounters can indeed transform into friendship, & even eventually into romantic love. Clever dialogue, brilliant characters, and relevant questions of love and friendship make this film the much loved classic it still is.

Realist or cynical? Here’s Harry Burns’ take on relationships: Harry: Right now everything is great, everyone is happy, everyone is in love and that’s wonderful. But you gotta know that sooner or later you’re gonna be screaming at each other about who’s gonna get this dish. This eight dollar dish will cost you a thousand dollars in phone calls to the legal firm of That’s Mine, This Is Yours. Marie: Harry. Harry: Please, Jess, Marie. Do me a favor, for your own good, put your name in your books right now before they get mixed up and you won’t know whose is whose. Because someday, believe it or not, you’ll go 15 rounds over who’s gonna get this coffee table. This stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale coffee table. Jess: I thought you liked it? Harry: I was being nice!

4. High Fidelity

Rob’s (John Cusack) current girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) has left him for Ian (a pony-tailed Tim Robbins), their spiritual neighbour who specializes in conflict resolution. Rob wallows in self-pity and insecurity and analyses the top five major breakups of his life to glean some pattern on why his relationships are doomed to end in failure.

Why we love it:

We can relate to it: Simply put, Rob is an insecure self-centered jerk who, because of his insecurity, ends up hurting those around him.

From cult pop favourite from bands like The Velvet Underground to mainstream bands like Green Day, there is plenty to keep the music enthusiasts in check and thoroughly satisfied.

The acting is superb: Cusack is incredibly charismatic and pulls off the first-person narrative without being boring. Jack Black and Todd Louiso provide a lot of comic relief when it’s needed.

And finally, it’s probably one of the few romantic comedies a man will actually enjoy watching with you.

5. Punch Drunk Love

Could it really be possible: Adam Sandler in an art film? The movie ends up being genuinely romantic while deviating completely from the very stale paradigm for romantic comedies of the last decade. An absolute must see.

6. My Sassy Girl

A sweet Midwestern guy (Bradford) with his life planned out for himself is wooed, groomed, and ultimately dumped by a complicated, elusive girl (Cuthbert). My Sassy Girl is a South Korean, successful to the proportions of Titanic across Asia. It is partially based on the true story told in a series of love letters written by Kim Ho-sik, a man who posted them online.

Like the best Korean films, “My Sassy Girl” is a genre-bending exercise that throws in elements of the teen comedy, the traditional melodramatic romance, and even some genre parody and mixes them into a unique cinematic experience that defies categorization. The film’s original Korean title, Yeopgi, which means ‘novelty-seeking’, is in reference to the youth craze that was started by Kim Ho-sik’s original Internet postings about his eccentric girlfriend. Though the English title for this film doesn’t mean quite the same thing, it certainly does tell you what to expect.

7. Some Like It Hot

For those who haven’t seen it, “Some Like It Hot” (1959) is one of the greatest comedies ever! In a story of increasingly wild absurdity, it follows the antics of two idiot musicians (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) who, after witnessing the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, struggle to escape the gangsters (including a severely unsmiling George Raft) by dressing up in drag and joining an all-girl band. Comic complications aplenty ensue when Tony Curtis – now a pouting girlie – strives to express his lust for Marilyn, while Jack Lemmon – equally high-voiced and simpering – is being pursued by an amorous Joe E Brown, who has one of the funniest – and most radical – final punch-lines in screen comedy.

8. Pretty Woman

Even prostitutes do it…

If you think about it, this film is about as far removed from reality as a glossy Vogue magazine. And judging by the films success, that’s exactly what we want to see. Any dark hues of harsh reality were bleached out, synthesized and made sleek, much like Vivian’s blonde wig in the beginning of the film. The illusion is flimsy, but we just don’t care. We want to see the transformation, at whatever cost (pardon the pun). At one point, Julia Robert’s character Vivian, speaks for Disney (and audiences) when she tells Edward: “I want the fairy tale.” So do we Julia, so do we…

9. The Wedding Singer

A sentimental and sweet crowd-pleaser that captures the magic and warmth of falling in love. Though it may be predictable and retreads some familiar territory, there are enough hooks in the story to make it something we can’t help but laugh at. And although there is absolutely no reason for the film to be set in the 1980’s, why not squeeze in a few more cheap laughs (if only to distract us from the relatively boring plotline) with some Culture Club and mullets?

10. 50 First Dates

“Imagine having to win over the girl of your dreams… every friggin’ day”.

Okay, so “50 First Dates” is mostly silly, but they do a good job with it. Honolulu veterinarian Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) falls for Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore), only to find out that, due to an accident, her memory only lasts one day, so she won’t remember him the next day! How will Henry cope with this? The movie gravitates between goofy and sensitive, but never gets mind-numbing; Adam Sandler always has something up his sleeve, and he and Barrymore have a great time with the material. As is often the case in Adam Sandler’s movies, one of the characters is an embarrassment to everyone else (in this case, it’s Rob Schneider as Henry’s whacked-out friend Ula). Great fun.

Perhaps the only thing left to be said here is the surprising popularity of Adam Sandler, appearing three times in the top 10 list with ‘Punch Drunk Love’, ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ’50 First Dates’. Have fun with these Romantic Comedies on Valentines Day.