Down with Valentine’s Day. Actually, I don’t mean that. What I do mean is down with Valentine’s Day films. Whenever someone asks me what movie they should watch on V-Day, I always feel I’m expected to come up with titles that, in the words of Oscar Wilde, reek of “more than usually revolting sentimentality.”
Come on, a date movie doesn’t have to be Beaches or The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. And guys, a double feature of Hostel movies won’t cut it either.
If you’re looking to go out to a new movie, take a chance on the at least bearable Definitely, Maybe, and not the wretched Fool’s Gold, which only a fool would suffer gladly. With Maybe you get the definite pleasure of watching Ryan Reynolds hit on three gorgeous and intelligent women — Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher and — my fave — Rachel Weisz.
As a lead in to next week’s Oscars, you might want to catch up with one of the five nominees for Best Picture. You’ll get the sweet in Juno and the hot in Atonement. From No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood you’ll gets bubkas in terms of romance.
If you’re looking for a DVD, you could go with Blockbuster’s list of the most popular choices:
1. 50 First Dates
3. When Harry Met Sally
4. Wedding Crashers
5. The Princess Bride
6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
7. Jerry Maguire
8. There’s Something About Mary
9. Bull Durham
10. The Wedding Singer
If it must be an Adam Sandler movie, make it The Wedding Singer and not the sugary 50 First Dates, though Drew Barrymore is adorable in both.
I’d go off the beaten track with lesser known movies that are a good deal spicier.
Hardly anyone saw Out of Sight, and George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez are out of sight sexy in it, especially that scene in the trunk of a car where they discuss the sparks that fly between Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in Three Days of the Condor (catch that one too, why don’t you?)
Nothing against Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, but I’d go with his underrated Say Anything, featuring John Cusack, who holds a boombox over his head outside Ione Skye’s window and lets Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” speak for him. Works every time.
And remember that fun doesn’t kill the mood. I’d rather watch Bill Murray hit on Andie MacDowell over and over in Groundhog Day than watch Ryan Gosling get moony over a sex doll even once in Lars and the Real Girl.
For gay passion, go with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain or vampire Catherine Deneuve sinking her teeth into Susan Sarandon in The Hunger, with David Bowie thrown in for bi-sexuals.
If you must have high-toned British romance, there’s nothing in The English Patient that can touch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice in which Colin Firth — the ladies love him with his shirt dripping wet — finally confesses his feelings to Jennifer Ehle, “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” That Jane Austen was some tease.
Happy Valentine’s Day