Every year on Valentine’s Day theaters are filled with numerous romantic film options and patrons. What if you and your significant other merely desire a date night at home? What if you just want to watch a romantic comedy by yourself? Plenty of options exist, but not many will make you continue coming back for more year after year. All these films have caused me to watch them practically on repeat at various stages of my life. Some of them make me cry, but all them have made me laugh at one point or another. Throughout the years I have recognized that all love stories are different. We all want something different and have expectations of how our love story should occur. While sometimes certain people blow those expectations out of the water, sometimes we meet others that meet zero of our expectations. They help us heal or make us realize that our lives can be something more. Sometimes we even realize that the person we really loved was there all along, but we were unwilling to scratch beneath the surface. If you’re looking for a film you’ve seen a thousand times or a new love story, here are ten viewing options for you this Valentine’s Day.
Silver Linings Playbook
Not only an amazing book, Silver Linings Playbook is an amazing adaptation as well. The reason I have included this on my list is it’s an extremely underrated film that ultimately has a love story at its core. A different love story. While Pat (Bradley Cooper) insists he must put himself through the wringer to win his wife back, audiences find themselves yearning for another love story to develop within the feature between him and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence). The story takes on two flawed characters who do not hide their flaws from one another. They’re real people with real issues coming together to understand one another. As viewers watch the continued ups and downs and an alternate ending from the book, fans of both the book and film are okay with the mix up as it brings together two characters that truly belong together.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Ben (Matthew McConaughey) wants to land an account primarily given to women and Andie (Kate Hudston) just wants to write more than a how to column. What could go wrong as they unknowingly put themselves into situations with two ulterior motives? The answer include hilarious scenarios that range from a photo album including future photoshopped images of the pairs children, the death of a love fern, and a horrible rendition of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” before numerous clients, co-workers, and friends. The film reminds us the importance of being oneself. People are going to love you for who you truly are and not the persona we so often are apt to provide to catch someone’s eye. The truth is far more attractive than anything else.
I honestly cannot remember how many times I’ve watched this film. This was the film my mom yelled at me a lot for showing my friends. Dirty Dancing was the greatest film ever when I was younger and is still one I love. Each time I watch there’s something new I take away from this romantic comedy. The quotes one remembers from their youth morphs into something different as we grow older. The film also teaches us that we should stand up for others despite the repercussions. Right is right and wrong is wrong. This is why Johnny and Baby continue to endure the test of time. Plus, they remind audiences that sometimes when you have awkward meetings by merely carrying a watermelon into a party there’s still a chance for love to blossom.
The scene in the forest with Margaret (Sandra Bullock) and Grandma Annie (Betty White) is worth watching The Proposal all on its own. However, audiences will enjoy the hilarious scenes that occur among the entire cast, as well as watching the love story unfold between Margaret and Andrew (Ryan Reynolds). While Margaret is quite the handful to most people, after Andrew virtually learns everything about her as her assistant he knows what Margaret wants before she wants it. In order to escape deportation back to Canada they enter into an agreement to fool immigration into thinking they are getting married. By the end of the film I realized that Andrew loved Margaret far earlier than the film lets the rest of the characters in on inevitably. The love of his life was right there all along even if he could not see it until taking her back home with him. If you disagree, watch the film again and give Ramone’s (Oscar Nunez) strip tease one more chance! I’m determined there’s something there for everyone!
13 Going on 30
I cannot recall the summer this movie became an obsession of mine, but I remember watching 13 Going on 30 every time the film graced a movie channel. Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) becoming a thirteen year old in a thirty year old trapped in a thirty year old woman’s body is nothing short of fantastic. The film serves as quite the wake up call to Jenna. While at first she believes she has achieved everything her younger counterpart yearned for once upon a time, she has lost what is truly important to her. Jenna realized this when she reunites with her childhood friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and ultimately sees the destruction she caused along her way to the top. The film reminds us not to take the simple things for granted and leaves us with a big smile on our faces by the end as we want to watch the end credits to continue listening to Madonna.
Just last week I noticed that this film was on television and knew I had to watch it once more. The film takes a Pygmalion approach as Edward (Richard Gere) transforms Vivian (Julia Roberts) from a street walker into a well respected lady of society. In many ways he reminds her of what she is really worth. Despite the tension throughout the film that has her walking a thin line between the life Edward can provide her and her life before him, ultimately Vivian realizes she can do so much more with her life than standing on a street corner and leaving her apartment via the fire escape. Edward also realizes that there’s more to life than taking over numerous businesses and money. Together the two come together and create their own fairy tale ending for the ages that continues to have ladies desiring to become Vivian by the end of the film minus the whole hooker part as Laney Boggs so eloquently put it in She’s All That.
Wasn’t every woman out there a blubbering mess after this one? I still remember wiping my tears away as I left the theater that evening and ran into an old friend from high school. I still debate if he thought me asking him how he was through tears was weird, but I do not debate the value of this romantic comedy. The love story between Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) is one that will always remain in my heart. The two were a real couple. They fought. They broke up. They came back together until the end. Noah took his vows serious. I do not care that the film sets an unrealistic standard that couples can peacefully pass away together. While Noah did not gain Allie’s attention in the most orthodox way, The Notebook remains a film that viewers cannot resist. We will watch Noah win Allie’s love and devotion time and time again. Plus the man built her the dream home she always wanted! What more could one ask for?
Music & Lyrics
Clowns in my coffee. I have the strange urge to now replace the word clouds with clowns in various love songs thanks to Music & Lyrics. From the opening with a cheesy eighties boyband video to the ending, Music & Lyrics had me wanting to know more about the washed up singer Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant). As the film goes on we become as big of a fan of him as Sophie (Drew Barrymore) and want to help him the same way she does. Part of the appeal of the film is a regular woman meeting a boyband member and living happily ever after. What teenybopper didn’t want this growing up? We stay devoted to this pairing though because despite Sophie and Alex not falling in love at first sight, Sophie deserves better than Sloan Cates (Campbell Scott). Plus Alex deserves to love and devotion that does not come from a crowd of fans.
The saying opposites attract is sometimes true. Something New reminds us that while we might have an ideal person in our head that person might not be who is ultimately the best person for us. While most people do not want to trust blind dates, in Kenya’s case (Sanaa Lathan) meeting Brian (Simon Baker) in the coffee shop that day was the best thing that ever happened to her. The film also delves into the difficulties that can occur within interracial dating. They refuse to shy away from the subject and reminds audiences not to allow social norms control their lives. This even causes tension multiple times throughout the feature. The film reminds us that no outside sources, even family or friends, should dictate someone’s relationship. Instead be happy and know there’s someone willing to put on a mariachi uniform with confidence because it is the only formal attire he can get his hands on and walk into a debutante gala.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Despite Forgetting Sarah Marshall not following the romantic comedy formula the film remains one of my favorites. The film contains so many awkward instances we know we should not witness, or even laugh at, but as we watch Peter (Jason Segal) attempt to get over his ex-girlfriend and television actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) we cannot help but watch the events transpire. All the way we encounter Rachel (Mila Kunis) and begin to hope that Peter wakes up and smells the roses to the potential relationship budding between the two before it is too late. As the various characters on the island help Peter along his way the antidotes as well as the ending including a Dracula musical number with puppets makes Forgetting Sarah Marshall a film that no one can forget.
Ultimately this list was harder for me to compile than I care to admit. At the end of the day I find myself loving these films because even as unrealistic most of them are I’m reminded that love is still out there. I’m reminded that no matter what happens everything eventually does work itself out. Sometimes we just need a reminder that life is okay. We need Matthew McConaughey chasing us down on his motorcycle with a dead love fern. We need Ryan Gosling hanging onto a Ferris Wheel for dear life. We need Patrick Swayze to teach us how to dance. We want to have Hugh Grant making his comeback while professing his love for us. More importantly, sometimes we just need to feel something and that’s never bad.
What romantic comedy do you plan on watching this Valentine’s Day? Is it one from this list? Is there one that you would add to the list as a must watch? Let us know in the comments below.
Michelle Patterson prides herself on her random pop culture knowledge. She finds great joy in all things horror related and tries to enjoy movies on a weekly basis. If she’s not at the theater, she can be found at a convention or a concert. To connect with her more, check out her Instagram page, Twitter Page, Facebook Page, or her website.