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.

Top 10 Action-Comedy Movies (Duo)

Lethal Weapon

I love Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in all of the four movie series, which were all blockbusters. Gibson’s funny way of being a mad cop complemented Glover’s fears of getting old and retirement. I think it’s the addition of Jet Lee in the final sequel that made it the best among them.

Rush Hour

This three-movie mega hit series of action superstar Jacky Chan with Chris Tucker is all funny from start to finish. Chan’s comical side in making stunts was equally paired by Tucker, without “hurting” each other. With their misadventures as police detectives, I think both actors were perfectly fit for their roles.

Shanghai Knights

This 2003 action-comedy film sequel to “Shanghai Noon” proved again that Jacky Chan is fine with a partner. Owen Wilson was at his best in his funny acts in the 19th century set-up. The romance between Wilson and Fann Wong, who played the role of Chan’s sister, is cute and entertaining.

Bad Boys II

This Michael Bay’s action-packed comedy film has placed Martin Lawrence and Will Smith into the next level. It was released in 2003 as a sequel to the 1995 movie Bad Boys. It received negative reviews for its violent sense of humor, but I think Lawrence has successfully portrayed his funny moments.

Men in Black II

Released in 2002, this second sequel of the three-movie series MIB starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith can be categorized as a comedy film. While some alien creatures and dialogues may not be suited for young kids, there are a lot of funny scenes. The special visual effects are good enough.

21 Jumpstreet

Based on the 1987 television series of the same name, this 2012 Hollywood comedy movie revealed the comic side of hunk Channing Tatum. His tandem with Jonah Hill as two unlikely weird cops resulted to a perfect combination. Its upcoming sequel “22 Jump Street” is likely to be hit too.

The Other Guys

Both Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg did well in sharing hilarious moments in this 2010 action-comedy film. No wonder, the movie won the “Best Comedy Film” award at the first annual Comedy Awards that year. I believed Director Adam McKay has successfully applied his skills in his earlier comedy films.

Another 48 Hrs

This 1990 action-comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte is a sequel to the 1982 film 48 Hrs. It was more successful than the first one in terms of box-office, and funnier. Murphy, who was then successful for his “Beverly Hills Cop,” once more proved that his funny face really works.

Knight and Day

This 2010 action film starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz is funny more being than a romance movie. For me, Diaz is charming and funny with her innocence of the mission of Cruise. If you love Cameron in Charles Angels, then you will also love her humorous role in this movie.

Starsky & Hutch

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson played as David Starsky and Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson, respectively. This is the 2004 American film adaptation of the 70s TV series with the same title. Born comedians, I think both actors have justified their talents in mixing action with comedy as the iconic street smart undercover cops.

16 Bollywood Comedies That Are Best Avoided!

Every year, Bollywood churns out a large number of supposedly ‘laugh-out-loud’ comedies. However, genuinely amusing flicks like ‘Hera Pheri’ (2000), ‘Lagey Raho Munnabhai’ (2006) and ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ (1994) are becoming increasingly rare – as directors are focusing more on including slapstick situations in their films. The best that we have received in terms of a decent comedy movie in recent times is ‘Chashme Baddoor’ (2013), although the Ali Zafar-starrer was nothing really exceptional. Let us here take a look at some of the most pathetic attempts at making Hindi comedy films in the post-2000 era:

  1. Daddy Cool (2009) – With ‘Daddy Cool’, K. Murli Mohan Rao achieves the near-impossible task of transforming 2007’s sleeper hit ‘Death At A Funeral’ into an unfunny, overlong film. Its star cast included either actors who were well-past their sell-by-date, like Suniel Shetty and Aftab Shivdasani – or those whose careers never really got off, like Aarti Chhabria, Ashish Chowdhury and Tulip Joshi. The entire farce over a dead body left a bad taste in the mouth – for the handful of people who ventured to watch ‘Daddy Cool’ at a theater.
  2. Rascals (2011) – Much like Ram Gopal Verma, David Dhawan is another filmmaker who has lost his mojo many years back. If you need any confirmation for that, try watching ‘Rascals’ on television or DVD. It’s plain irritating to watch two senior (age-wise and looks-wise!) actors like Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn grappling for the attentions of a much younger Kangna Ranaut. A wooden Arjun Rampal played the role of the baddie in ‘Rascals’, which, understandably, sank without a trace.
  3. It’s Rocking… Dard-E-Disco (2012) – You may or may not be a Bappi Lahiri fan, but you have to admit that the ‘disco king of India’ deserved a better tribute than this monstrosity. Sneha Ullal, the Aishwarya Rai clone who made her debut in ‘Lucky: No Time For Love’ (2005) proves yet again that she has no acting skills whatsoever, while Akshay Kapoor engages himself in inexplicable antics in the film. Bappi Lahiri himself has an extended cameo in the movie – although why he agreed to it will forever remain a mystery. Watch the man’s songs on TV, listen to them on music-streaming mobile apps, but avoid this film. Nothing’s rocking about it!
  4. Chatur Singh Two Star (2011) – Don’t be misled by the name – this sorry excuse of a comedy film does not deserve two (or any, for that matter) stars. Sanjay Dutt, with a hideous wig, essays the title character, with Ameesha Patel (whose career had started moving downwards) as his lady love. A steamy number and a couple of gags from Suresh Menon were not able to save this film.
  5. Kambakkht Ishq (2009) – Akshay Kumar gave four clean hits in 2007, but his magic began to flounder soon afterwards. Sabbir Khan’s hugely-hyped ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ was expected to revive Akki’s career – but it did just the opposite. With a central idea of a wristwatch getting accidentally planted in a patient’s stomach and which has the ‘Om Mangalam’ chant set as its alarm tone, the movie was panned by general cinegoers and critics alike. Kareena Kapoor played her part in the nonsensical going-ons, while Denise Richards and Sylvester Stallone had friendly appearances. We are almost sure that the last two had no idea how bad the film was shaping up to be!
  6. O Teri (2014) – Very recent, and jaw-droppingly bad. Salman Khan and buddy Atul Agnihotri produced this film (the former even appeared for a song during the end credits). Pulkit Samrat, who charmed everyone with 2013’s ‘Fukrey’, was paired with debutant Bilal Amrohi – and the two portrayed one of the worst bromances in the history of Hindi cinema. Sarah Jane Dias was miscast as the boss of a media house. Mandira ‘noodle strap’ Bedi had a role, but no one was interested to pay big bucks to watch ‘O Teri’. Chances are high that you won’t be able to sit through a television re-run of the movie either.
  7. God Tussi Great Ho (2008) – If you are a fan of Jim Carrey’s ‘Bruce Almighty’, watch it again or try finding a Hindi-dubbed version of the movie. Don’t bother to check out ‘God Tussi Great Ho’ – Rumi Jaffrey’s uniformly howlarious retelling of that iconic film. Those were the days when Salman Khan had not started doing remakes of South Indian movies, and this was among his fairly long list of failures. One feels sorry for Priyanka Chopra though – the heroine of this buffoonery. Oh, and Amitabh Bachhan had a bit role as God. What ‘Players’ did to ‘The Italian Job’, ‘God Tussi Great Ho’ did to ‘Bruce Almighty’ – much earlier.
  8. What’s Your Raashee? (2009) – A masterclass from Piggy Chops this time (she essayed 12 different roles!) was not enough to shore up this overlong borefest from Ashutosh Gowariker. Harman Baweja, who already had an unsuccessful sci-fi film (‘Love Story 2050’) and a sports film (‘Victory’) delivered yet another dud with ‘What’s Your Raashee?’ His Gujarati boy-act was sadly unconvincing, the screenplay was all over the place and although there were a couple of nice songs, it never lived up to its billing as a ‘social comedy’.
  9. No Problem (2010) – If you feel that no director could mess up a film that had so many A-list actors (from Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna, to Sushmita Sen, Kangna Ranaut and Bipasha Basu) – you would be underestimating the powers of Anees Bazmee. To make sure that the slew of big stars in the film got ample screen time, Bazmee probably forgot the importance of having a coherent storyline too. A hamming Suniel Shetty did not help matters either.
  10. Buddha Mar Gaya (2007) – The best of comic actors from the previous and the current generations starred in probably the worst movie on this list. Anupam Kher enacted the role of a dead body (if that makes any sense to you!), while otherwise reliable stars like Om Puri and Paresh Rawal pranced around the corpse in an utterly senseless manner. The idea that Kher’s character died while trying to have some ‘under-the-sheets’ fun with Rakhi Sawant was plain repulsive. If you have a deep-seated hatred on someone, you can consider gifting a DVD copy of ‘Buddha Mar Gaya’ to him/her!
  11. Shortkut: The Con Is On (2009) – Neeraj Vora tasted box-office success with ‘Phir Hera Pheri’ (2006), and that probably gave him the confidence to come up with this bland fare three years later. The attempts at humor by Arshad Warsi and Akshaye Khanna were crude, and Amrita Rao’s much-publicized glamorous avatar found next to no appreciation. The inane dialogs added to the irritability of the already convoluted plot. The only interesting thing about the movie was the way in which the makers had played around with the word ‘Shortcut’ in its title.
  12. Pyar Impossible (2010) – For an actress of her calibre, Priyanka Chopra has delivered an amazing number of unwatchable duds. In ‘Pyar Impossible’ – she paired up with Uday Chopra, whose sole claim to fame in the last decade and a half has been the sidekick-role in the ‘Dhoom’ franchise. The movie tried, and abysmally failed, to capture the fresh romantic feel of ‘Notting Hill’ (1999). Director Jugal Hansraj had a miserable acting career, and with ‘Pyar Impossible’, he proved that filmmaking skills were not his forte either.
  13. Pyare Mohan (2006) – It released just before ‘Tom Dick and Harry’ – and both the films poked fun at handicapped people in the name of comedy. However, the latter at least had Himesh Reshammiya’s chartbusters going for it, while the Fardeen Khan-Viveik Oberoi starrer came up short on that count too. Laughs were scarce during the movie, it is hardly ever aired on television, and the two leading ladies (Amrita Rao and Esha Deol) have reached dead-ends in their respective acting careers. We are not surprised!
  14. Bin Bulaye Baraati (2011) – In his first couple of movies, Aftab Shivdasani looked cute. Then, he started putting on weight, his acting prowess deteriorated remarkably, and he fell out of favor with one-time mentor Ram Gopal Verma. ‘Bin Bulaye Baraati’ presents Aftab in the most pathetic performance of his entire (albeit brief!) career. Giving him company in this thoroughly rotten movie were RGV’s former muse Priyanka/Nisha Kothari, Rajpal Yadav, Gulshan Grover and Shakti Kapoor. Shweta Tiwari’s raunchy item number added a dollop of vulgarity in this already doomed film.
  15. Tees Maar Khan (2010) – Farah Khan fell out with best buddy Shah Rukh Khan when the latter (sensibly) opted out of this film, and Akshay Kumar was picked as his replacement. A fairly successful music album, with Katrina Kaif’s moves in the ‘Sheila Ki Jawaani’ track as the highlight, gave the movie a fair amount of pre-release hype. Then, the movie released, and people discovered how outrageous the plot was (robbing a treasure-laden train by fooling an entire village, in case you were wondering) and gave it a unanimous thumbs-down. Akshaye Khanna’s filmstar act did evoke a couple of chuckles – but that was it. Farah patched up with Shah Rukh later – and hopefully her future movies will be enjoyable again.
  16. Housefull 2 (2012) – If sis Farah can feature on this list, can bro Sajid be far behind? Certainly not! The latter had not won over critics with ‘Heyy Baby’ and ‘Housefull’ – and he made it a hat-trick of poorly crafted comedies with ‘Housefull 2’. The movie had plenty of star power, from Akshay Kumar and Asin, to Riteish Deshmukh, Mithun Chakraborty and Boman Irani. The tale of mistaken identities – in ‘Housefull 2’, all the three lead actors pose as ‘Jolly’ was done-to-death though, and viewers were left as confused as the other people onscreen. Old-timers Rishi and Randhir Kapoor pitched in with matching bad performances, and someone should have told Sajid to not cast John Abraham in a comic role. The movie was a huge winner at the box-office though, but destiny finally caught up with Sajid Khan with his next release.

Govinda, the king of Bollywood comedies in the late ’90s, tried his luck with ‘Chal Chalein’ (2009) and ‘Do Knot Disturb’ (2009) – both of which were equally cringeworthy. The recent South remakes that Salman Khan has starred in have not wowed critics, but ‘Ready’ (2011) can be singled out as the most shockingly bad attempt at making a fun film. Rohit Shetty’s ‘Golmaal’ series might not be National Award-winning material, but it seems like an absolute masterpiece in comparison with these films.

If you have not watched any of the above movies, you are a lucky person!