Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 Non-Traditional Romantic Movies for Valentine's Day


This weekend is the weekend we wait for all year.  Where we get all gussied up in our best, sexiest outfits and role play our favorite scenarios as our favorite presidents.  That's right, it's President's Day weekend! 

Also, it's Valentine's Day.  The day we all meet our cuties at the local drive-in and make out in cars while simultaneously drinking milkshakes.  Ugh, I wish that was true.

As someone who doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day with more than a basic nod of acknowledgement, I thought I was the perfect person to help you pick something to watch with your guy, girl, friends or pet animal.

Here are 5 Non-Traditional Romantic Movies To Watch This Valentine's Day: 

1. Sleepless in Seattle.  The best romantic comedy of all time or THE BEST romantic comedy of all time?  I don't know what it is about this movie… but I'll TRY to sum up all the things I love about it!  For one, it's Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks who are an undeniable duo with undeniable chemistry.  But the non-traditional part about this movie?  They only have ONE scene together!  Well, if you're not counting the two scenes they were in the same vicinity where he was checking her out and following her (at the airport) where she was literally on her way to stalk him.  And when he eventually saw her across the road while stalking him.  But they only need that one scene together, those few words exchanged, those stares of longing… because that is impressive chemistry.  The other great part about this movie is obviously Rita Wilson and Victor Garber who make a really great couple and it's pretty cute when Rita Wilson cries explaining An Affair to Remember.  

Oh, also, the movie is about a woman who is best friends with Rosie O'Donnell and is marrying Bill Pullman.  He has a bunch of weird allergies.  He's a straight up nerd.  The woman, Meg Ryan, listens to a radio show where a young kid calls in to talk to the host about his dad's depression… because his WIFE DIED.  They used to live in Chicago but then after the wife died, they moved to the most adorable waterfront home in Seattle.  Anyway, the host asks the kid to put the dad on the phone and Tom Hanks is pisssssed.  Meg Ryan obviously becomes deeply obsessed with this man and his story and LEGIT STALKS HIM.  She even looks up his personal information on her 1980's computer.  She finds his address and with the approval of Rosie O, she FLIES TO SEATTLE AND STALKS HIM.  Then there are letters exchanged with the son.  And they make a plan to meet at the top of the Empire State Building (just like An Affair to Remember!) and stuff happens and then they do meet there.  Poor Bill Pullman.  But he's better with Sandra Bullock anyway, right?!

Ugh, it takes EVERYTHING I HAVE not to include While You Were Sleeping on this list.  But I already added it to my non-Christmas Classics list.  But, just know… it's a quality option.

2. Silver Linings Playbook.  This one is a little less "fluffy" than Sleepless in Seattle.  It's a really, really great movie actually.  Possibly one of my favorites.  Bradley Cooper gets out of mental institution that he was in for beating the shit out of a man who was sleeping with his wife in their shower.  He was there because he was delusional and bi-polar.  He gets out and thinks he's going to get his wife back and fix everything.  That seems like a nice, simple statement… but he is a very complicated, delusional human being that you really can't help but love.  His mother is the sweetest and Poppa Robert Deniro is an intense, superstitious gambler/football fan with OCD.  Brad's best friends, Spanish Guy and Julia Stiles, invite him over for dinner even though Julia Stiles hates him.  Julia Stiles' sister is there and it's Jennifer Lawrence who is also a little bit crazy and was fired from work for sleeping with a BUNCH of people. Like, A BUNCH OF PEOPLE.  Her husband died in a car accident while driving home from Victoria's Secret with a box of something something for Jennifer to wear so they could spice up their sex life.  (Less douchey than it sounds.)  Intense, right? Anyway, that's why she became such a whore.  Her words, not mine.

The two strike up a really weird friendship.  Mostly in the sense that she follows him when he goes running and basically harasses him.  She offers to help him get his wife back if he helps her out by entering a dance competition with him.  She took up dance to deal with her issues.  He says hell to the no but eventually comes around because he wants his wife back.

There are so many layers to this movie, it's unreal.  The cast is SO great.  The characters are complex and real and totally fucked up, but the way they get together in the end (spoiler alert!)(that should come before the spoiler, huh?) is really wonderful.  It's also a fact that any movie that culminates in a dance number is A+.  So watch it.

3. The Graduate. This one makes the list for hitting all the right notes: classic, unconventional and featuring Dustin Hoffman.  In a May-December romance where he was the young one!  The year: 1967.  A young D.Hoff had just graduated college and didn't know what to do with his life, hence the soundtrack heavy on Simon & Garfunkle.  Hello Darkness, my old friend is right!  He strikes up a romance with friend of the family, Mrs. Robinson.  Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson is right!  She is cool, calm, collected and decked out in leopard print and black lace and silk.  It's pretty hot.  But then, he falls in love with her daughter.  And Mrs. Robinson is not having it!  She gets very, very mad.  Her daughter is set to marry someone else and then Dustin Hoffman crashes the wedding.  They ride off in a bus together… laughing… smiling… and then DEADPAN faces while The Sound of Silence plays them out.  It's a strange and super interesting classic film.  The fashion and styling of the 1960's alone is good enough to get you through!

4. Mulan.  Is Mulan the best Disney movie?  No.  That would go to Emperor's New Groove or Aladdin, obviously.  But it does hold a special place in my heart.  Mulan is the daughter of a warrior.  She is supposed to be pretty and ladylike and bring honor to her family.  Instead, she is klutzy and tomboyish and hangs out with a dog named "Little Brother".  When the Huns invade China, warriors are called to action… but her father is disabled!  He tries to make it work but there's no way!  Then she becomes a man by taping her boobs down and cutting her hair and speaking in a fake deep voice.  Mushu (the talking dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy) is there.  And so is a cricket.  Donny Osmond sings "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" which is the best Disney song ever performed by an Osmond sibling.  They go to war, shit goes wrong and eventually Mulan gets figured out for being a woman.  But somehow, through all of that, the Head Warrior (I don't know what they're called) is OBVIOUSLY attracted to her.  Which means… he was originally attracted to a man and he's mad about that.  But he so loves Mulan.  She obviously saves the day and saves China from being taken over by the TERRIFYINGLY ANIMATED Huns.  Seriously, they are the scariest Disney villains ever drawn!  There's a party, 98 Degrees sings a song and then Head Warrior comes to Mulan's home to ask her out on a date and the funny grandmother says something funny.  It's cute, empowering and all around GREAT.

5. Good Will Hunting.  Do you like apples?  Then you're going to love Good Will Hunting!  Written and directed by two guys from Cambridge, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  I don't think they've done much since, but man - what a one hit wonder.  We start out at a shitty house in Southie (that's creative slang for South Boston.)  Ben is picking up his best friend, Matt.  The accents are thick, the conversation is gritty and the punches are Hawaiian!  Matt is a janitor with a bad attitude and Ben is the designated driver who is definitely always drunk.  It's obvious these guys are your your average Boston trash (and I mean that in the best way possible.)(I love Boston trash.)(I am Boston trash.)  They go to Kelly's Roast Beef, aka the jewel of Revere Beach and start shit at a park. But there's a twist…

"MY BOY'S WICKED SMAHT" - Casey Affleck (brother of Ben Affleck)

That's right, Matt Damon is smart. A janitor? SMART? I know, that's what I thought! But yes. He's a janitor at MIT and solves a really difficult formula that was written on a blackboard by a really pretentious  professor.  The professor sees him fucking around with the blackboard and assumes he's being a jerk.  But he solved the riddle… eh, problem.  He chases him!  Matt throws him some serious shade and eventually hires him to work with him as long as he gets psychiatric help from a bunch of psychiatrists who can't deal with him until Robin Williams comes along.  Robin Williams works at Bunker Hill Community College, or as I like to lovingly refer to it: Bunks.

He gets Matt Damon.  And Matt has a hard time opening up to him and keeps fooling around and being weird and Robin Williams is like "DON'T FUCK WITH ME, DUDE."

Matt meets Minnie Driver in a bar while she's getting hit on by some Harvard douche.  He wins because he's the smartest and can recite an academic book BY HEART.  He ruins everything with Minnie Driver, fights with Robin Williams and cries when Robin tells him it's not his fault… it's not his fault… it's not his fault… and then he goes to see about a girl.

But really, this quote is why the movie makes it on my list of non-traditional romance movies:

Robin Williams: I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. 

It's a pretty sad movie.  But there is love… and a somewhat happy ending.

Until, of course, Robin Williams dies in the end… 17 years later.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

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