Perspectives from both sexez on the perfect movies for Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day is swiftly approaching, and you know what that means. There's a naked bow-hunting baby on the loose and it's time to change the batteries in the smoke detector. So, if you're looking for a good romantic movie to snuggle up to on the sofa with your sweetie, or if you're single and you're looking for something to plunge you further into misery, then try one of these love-inspired picks.
Bridget Jones's Diary
Renée Zellweger stunned even the most diehard Bridget Jones fans (i.e. me) when she so perfectly captured the spirit of this beloved British Calamity Jane. A little naughty and a lot funny, Bridget makes the heart of every singleton melt as Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fight over her. Not only is this an excellent adaptation of the book, but it is perhaps romantic comedy at its peak. Whatever you do, though, stay away from the sequel (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason)--it's as disappointing as this one is good.
When Harry Met Sally
Written by heavy-hitting romantic comedy screen scribe Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail), When Harry Met Sally is the definitive piece on why men and women can't be friends. And even if it does put unrealistic hopes in your head about how sleeping with Ted in Accounting might be the key to living happily ever after, it's sweet, funny, and the writing is absolutely spot-on tight. If you haven't seen this one, you're depriving yourself.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
I first saw Four Weddings in the theater when I was 19, and have watched it innumerable times since. A little British flick about, well, exactly what the title says, Four Weddings put Hugh Grant on the map as the reigning king of romantic comedies. I still haven't figured out how to get my hair to look as good as Andie MacDowel's or how to make a wedding speech as good as Grant's, but it's a great early work by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, About A Boy). Just give him a pass on the "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed," line.
The English Patient
You wouldn't think a movie about the deathbed ramblings of burned man in the midst of WWII Italy would be such a formula for love. Maybe it's just because I first saw it coming off a bad breakup, but this sweeping epic took my heart in its hands and squeezed. It's adapted from Michael Ondaatje's book of the same name, but I actually liked the movie better. I mean, really, can anyone match Ralph Fiennes for this sort of thing? Ralph, you sexy beast, you had me at "Herodotus."
Shakespeare in Love
They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice, but those Fiennes people sure produce hot sons. Ralph's younger brother Joseph Fiennes (Running With Scissors, Enemy at the Gates) stars opposite Gwyneth Paltrow as the bard himself in this excellent romantic comedy about a romance that inspired the writing of Romeo and Juliet. Even though the story is fictional, co-writers Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard peppered the script with lots of historically accurate in-jokes for Shakespeare dorks like me--and won the Oscar® for best original screenplay for it. Even so, all of that pales in comparison to longing looks delivered by Joseph Fiennes in tights. Oh, those blue eyes. Oh those full lips. Oh that codpiece.
Amélie (or Le fabuluex destin d' Amélie Poulain for if you want to get technical about it) is a charming, inventive, and visually stunning little French ditty by unlikely writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien: Resurrection). It is about an impish, good-hearted loner (Audrey Tatou) who decides her calling may be to be a do-gooder. But does she have the guts to go after what her own heart really desires? It doesn't sound like much, and yes--I know--it has subtitles. But trust me, this sweet little dream will make your heart absolutely soar.
There's more than one kind of love, and The Natural, more than anything, is about a love affair between a man and his baseball bat. Forged from the tree that felled his father and christened "Wonderboy," the bat becomes Roy Hobbs's most cherished companion. Women come and go in Roy's life, but Wonderboy never leaves his side.
At its core, James Cameron's futuristic sci-fi masterpiece is really a chick flick. Strip away the explosions and special effects and The Terminator is essentially a story about a very, very persistent stalker. Replace Linda Hamilton with Tori Spelling and you've got a dynamite Lifetime "woman in peril" movie.
In Mel Gibson's Oscar®-winning epic, William Wallace slaughters half the English army to avenge the murder of the woman he loved. Every impaling, every decapitation, every limb Wallace hacks off is a tribute to her. Even in his final moments, as torturers dutifully remove his intestines, Wallace's thoughts turn to his wife. What's more romantic than that?
What better way to reignite an old flame than to foil a terrorist attack? Estranged from his wife, tough-as-nails New York City cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes to extraordinary lengths in order to win back the respect of his woman, dodging bullets, walking on glass and facing down countless Teutonic thugs as he attempts to diffuse a potentially disastrous hostage situation.
Every James Bond movie
Despite recent efforts to tone down the character's perceived sexism, 007 remains the definitive cinematic ladies' man. His relationships may be short-lived (and typically result in his partner's death), but they never lack for passion. Ultimately, isn't that what women are looking for?
Showgirls is a moving story about a woman who ventures to Las Vegas to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer. In her journey to the top, she'll have to sacrifice a lot along the way, including her friends, her dignity and most of her clothes, in order to achieve her goals. With her breakout performance, Saved by the Bell's Elizabeth Berkley signaled to the world that she was all grown up -- and utterly talentless.
Do you have a favorite Valentine's Day movie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with your suggestions.