It is always nice to snuggle up to a movie with your partner; and if it is around Valentine’s Day it’s usually a romantic one. However, this doesn’t mean that every year men have to be subjected to a mind-numbing Kate Hudson-esque romantic “comedy.” Or maybe you have a deal that for every Notebook, you pull out The Expendables. Listed are ten modern movies ideas celebrating the spirit of love that won’t seem like a sacrifice for anyone.
High Fidelity (2000)
High_FidelityThere is something about John Cusack that makes him relatable to guys and dateable for girls. Cusack, in one of his best performances, plays Rob, a record store owner who knows the art of making a mixed tape and sees the world through “top 5” music lists. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, Rob re-examines his dating history to make sense of his most recent breakup. Rob breaks the fourth wall with amusing monologues ­– his top 5 reasons for missing his ex would make any woman swoon, but somehow avoids from being too maudlin. Jack Black is a comedic standout, playing another music-obsessed record store employee.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
mr-and-mrs-smithIt doesn’t get any hotter than this! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play John and Jane Smith, a couple seemingly stuck in suburban tedium ­– but really have a secret life as assassins. They rekindle their passion in this action thrill ride with a dose of humor (including a very funny Vince Vaughn in a minor role). Stylish action sequences and the couple’s marriage as the focus set this apart from other action movies. For women, it is nice to see Angelina kick some butt; and for men it is just nice to see Angelina.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
forgetting-sarah-marshallJason Segel is Peter, a guy who is trying to get over a bad breakup in beautiful Hawaii. It doesn’t help though that his ex, Sarah, is staying at the same resort! Segel’s script is filled with hilarious moments, and does a good job of blending raunchy and romantic comedy genres. With a casual charisma, he is wonderful as the lead, interpreting a guy’s point of view of dating. The rest of the cast is terrific; Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are funny and gorgeous, and Russell Brand steals every scene he’s in as the rock star Sarah is dating.
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
500-days-of-summerThis movie clearly states from the beginning, this isn’t a love story, but a story about love. The exceptional charm of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tom) and Zooey Deschanel (Summer) alone make this movie worth watching, but the writing is superb as well. The dating situations depicted feels very real, from the crush-from-afar stage to the struggling-to-remain-friends aftermath. The film boasts layered characters; it’s too smart to simply make the “dumper” the bad guy and the “dumpee” the victim (although that has been debated). However you interpret it, the film will have you thinking about relationships with all of its joy and struggles. The details like the music, Summer’s style, clever story telling, and the visual aesthetic are components that make Summer a breath of fresh air.
The Princess Bride (1987)
the-princess-bride_imageDespite the most girlish title in the history of film, don’t let this quirky fairy tale fool you. The adventure, quotable lines, wit, and memorable characters make Princess Bride fun regardless of your gender. While a bit of a storybook parody, it still sweetly honors the power of true love. With plenty of sword fighting and daring escapes, men will find this thoroughly entertaining, and will probably share the sentiment of pre-Wonder-Years-era Fred Savage that the “kissing” parts aren’t too bad after all.
The Wedding Singer (1998)
The-Wedding-SingerThe Wedding Singer has all the zaniness you expect from an Adam Sandler flick, but presents a surprisingly sweet romance and an even more surprisingly sexy Sandler. Drew Barrymore is adorable as Julia, the waitress Sandler falls for. This movie is a good time, poking fun at 80s’ culture and featuring a vibrant soundtrack.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
SLPlaybookAlthough Silver Linings Playbook is a little darker than most romantic films, its optimism will leave you feeling uplifted. Notable performances by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make the stellar script come alive. Cooper plays Pat, a man suffering from bi-polar disorder and trying to get his life together. Lawrence’s Tiffany has issues of her own, but together they form a unique bond amidst football and dance. Because of its many Oscar nominations, it may be playing around you until the February 24th awards show. Silver Linings is a good alternative if you want to go out to the theater on Valentine’s Day and can’t stomach the newest Nicholas Sparks adaption (Safe Haven) being released that day.
Groundhog Day (1993)
Groundhog-DaySet the romantic tone for the whole month of February by celebrating Groundhog’s Day. Who doesn’t love the comedic genius of Bill Murray? Like the weather prognosticator groundhog “Phil,” Murray’s Phil has to determine whether he will live as a cold cynic or warm-hearted optimist. Murray is at the top of his game here, trying to deal with living the same day over and over in the small town of Punxsutawney. The lovely Andie McDowell plays the kind news reporter that he tries to win over. If you are in a more contemplative mood, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, a movie Murray was Oscar-nominated in, is also worth a watch.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Eternal-SunshineIf you are sick of klutzy-cute female leads, makeover montages, and dashes to the airport, you probably will appreciate the originality of the sublime Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This is one film where you can’t guess the plot 10 minutes before it’s coming; but still, this examination of a relationship feels universal. When a breakup occurs, sometimes it seems like it would be easier to forget the person completely, which is what Joel (Jim Carry like you’ve never seen him) tries to do after a bitter breakup with Clementine (Kate Winslet). In writer Charlie Kaufman’s odd world, there is actually technology to do just that. While Joel’s mind goes through the surreal process, you start to wonder if forgetting, even the bad parts of your life, is really such a good idea after all.
Zombieland (2009)
zombielandA movie set in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland doesn’t seem like a wine-and-chocolate film, but Zombieland is truly a horror film with heart. An endearing Jesse Eisenberg tries to survive a world running with zombies, and meets Tallahassee (a cool and comical Woody Harrelson) and savvy sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) along the way. Still thrilling enough to get a girl snuggling close to you, the humor and earnest relationships won’t leave your date feeling traumatized the rest of the night.
More recommendations: True Romance, Annie Hall, Garden State, The Wedding Crashers, Punch Drunk Love, Bridesmaids, Joe Versus the Volcano, Romancing the Stone