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The Top 12 Dos And Don'ts Of Valentine's Day Movies

Kelly Hanelt |
February 14, 2013 | 11:57 a.m. PST

TV Editor

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Have you heard that question 50 times in the past week? Have you been stuttering, stammering, and changing the subject to avoid your uncertainty on the topic? I don’t blame you; it’s a loaded question. So here’s an equally loaded answer: movie night. Despite your relationship status and attitude towards the holiday in general, there is a right choice.  And a wrong one. But unlike the pressure of picking out the right gift, or deciding on the right restaurant, this choice is laid out for you below. This is your one stop shop for Valentine’s Day entertainment, so get to it! 

If you’re single:

WATCH: “500 Days of Summer” 3 minutes into the film, the narrator lays it out flat – “This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.” This movie, starring the ever-charming Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is everything a singleton could hope for on Valentine’s Day. You still get the coquettish charm of a pop-indie courtship, but none of the “I wish that was my life” longing that usually accompanies it. “500 Days of Summer’s” resounding message is that sometimes love doesn’t work, and sometimes you end up alone, but that’s okay. For a single guy/gal on Valentine’s Day, there’s nothing better.

DON’T WATCH: “He’s Just Not That Into You” Because if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, you really don’t need the reminder.

If you’re with your boyfriend/girlfriend:

WATCH: “Crazy Stupid Love” For the ladies, some shirtless Ryan Gosling. For the fellas, some dripping wet Emma Stone. “Crazy Stupid Love” is a rom-com done right. The plot is legitimate, 80% believable, and has some unexpected reveals to keep the energy going. Guys, if you’re a little apprehensive consider this – in the span of 20 minutes Ryan Gosling transforms Steve Carell from a frumpy soccer dad to a total lady-killer. Imagine what sitting through these 118 minutes could do for you. But be warned – you’ll never be allowed to shop at The Gap again.

DON’T WATCH: “Blue Valentine” Another Ryan Gosling film! It has the word Valentine in the title! Perfect for a night with the lady/fella right?! No. Stop right there. Do not even approach “Blue Valentine” unless you feel like giving up all hopes of love in under two hours. What starts off as romance quickly descends to anger, resentment, violence, and unspeakable acts. It will leave you and your significant other speechless in the wake of its intense and searing portrait of miserable love. 

If you’ve just broken up:

WATCH: “John Tucker Must Die” One word – Revenge. Take note ladies/fellas. Best Valentine’s Day gift to yourself? Takng that motherchucker down.

DON’T WATCH: “Titanic” If you’ve just broken up with someone, you’re going to be crying anyways. Don’t “Titanic” yourself. It’s just not healthy. Don’t take the chances of being so bitter that you’re actually glad Jack dies, and essentially ruin your relationship with the film for the rest of eternity. He/she’s not worth it. Not when it comes to Jack Dawson.

If you’re with the girls/ guys:

WATCH:  “Bridesmaids” / “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” Repeat after me: Laughs over Love. When you’re spending Valentine’s Day night alone with your friends, this is your new mantra. Your best friend, really. “Bridesmaids” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” are both side-splittingly hilarious films that have just the slightest bitter edge to satisfy a room full of dateless people, but still enough of a loved-up subplot to satisfy the token hopeless romantic in the group. Who wants to get dressed up, go to a busy restaurant, and try and impress when you can sit at home in your sweatpants and laugh your ass off about how much Kristen Wiig and Jason Segel really do understand your life.

DON’T WATCH: “Valentine’s Day” This goofy bulk-cast rom-com may seem apropos, but steer clear. “Valentine’s Day’s” plot is weak, bordering on non-existent and its only true claim to anyone’s attention is its star studded ensemble. But again, this is deceitful. The casting directors found what is possibly the most random and uncoordinated group of celebrities to grab people’s viewership. It is a classic example of quantity versus quality gone wrong. Julia Roberts is far too good of an actress to be in that movie. But Taylor Swift? Somehow you end the film thinking it was too good for her. Bottom line - if you’re looking for laughs instead of love on Valentine’s Day, look elsewhere because this film is lacking in both.

If you’re trying to take it to the next level:

WATCH: “Twilight” It may seem like a divisive choice, but the effect is intentional. If you’re planning on taking it to the next level, you should know if your guy/ girl likes “Twilight”. If they do, bonus points for selecting their favorite romance film. Now prepare yourself for the high expectations of a fully committed relationship with good morning texts, good night texts, and twice-weekly date nights. Extra bonus points if you wear shimmer powder to the dates. If he/she doesn’t like “Twilight” you can still enjoy the night counting Kristin Stewart’s facial expressions (My highest count right now is 4) or the way Taylor Lautner seems to speak three syllables at a time and then pauses (mid-word or mid-sentence. He’s nondiscriminatory in that manner.) Pure campy fun. This can’t be said of “Twilight” in many scenarios, but on Valentine’s Day it’s a win-win.

DON’T WATCH: “Pretty Woman” If you’re a guy trying to impress a girl with a movie about a businessman and a prostitute, she’s going to read it as a proposition. If she sleeps with you, you’ll be her sugar daddy. Guys, on the other hand, will interpret their girl’s decision as a promise of sex in exchange for gifts. “Pretty Woman” will always be a classic, but if you’re trying to get a relationship off the ground, best not start with your signals crossed.

If you just plain hate Valentine’s Day:

WATCH: “Fatal Attraction” Because this film is literally where love goes to die. There is no better rebellion against cupid’s day than watching a movie where a woman interprets courting as killing and cooking her man’s family pet.

DON’T WATCH: “The Notebook” Why? Because Nicholas Sparks is a monster. I chose his most famous creation for this article but feel free to substitute any into this DON’T category. They’re all basically synonymous. Start with two attractive white people. Both are minorly emotionally flawed, though one is more apprehensive than the other (maybe because of cancer, maybe because of a secret past). They fall in love. Someone disapproves. Something horrible and tragic happens. Someone probably dies. Romance is either restored, or declared to be “like the wind. [you] can’t see it, but [you] sure can feel it.” And that is, in 64 words, the plot to all eight of Nicholas Sparks’s creations. Once you’ve seen one, you know why you don’t need to see the rest. Especially on Valentine’s Day. (Read: Disillusionment and heartbreakingly false romantic hopes.)

Reach TV Editor Kelly Hanelt here. Find her on Twitter here.



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