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Valentine’s Day Flicks vs. Anti-Valentine’s Day Flicks

| Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine’s Day Flicks

“Moulin Rouge”

Freedom, beauty, truth and love are the ideas that animate the colorful and spectacular Bohemian world of Baz Luhrmann’s musical spectacular, “Moulin Rouge!” Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, it tells the story of a lovelorn writer and the courtesan he falls in love with at the world-famous club for which the film is named. Featuring the music of everyone from Madonna and Elton John to Nirvana, this film has something for everyone. It’s not your average period piece. In fact, there’s nothing average about it (other than perhaps Kidman’s singing ability).

“Titanic”

Coming soon to theaters in 3-D, “Titanic” is the ultimate romantic movie. It is the perfect interpretation of love overcoming all obstacles. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet couldn’t have done it any better. Relive Jack and Rose’s love story as part of your Valentine’s date with your special someone, letting him or her know you heart will go on.

“Shakespeare in Love”

A young William Shakespeare struggles to make ends meet while trying to create new and exciting plays so that his theatre is not shut down. Learn how he came up with the idea for his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet. Follow Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow on their entertaining journey through forbidden love, tragedy, comedy and a bit of cross dressing. This movie is sure to leave you laughing, crying or both. And who doesn’t love Renaissance costumes and Colin Firth?

“Dirty Dancing”

This Valentine’s Day (or every day), choose “Dirty Dancing” as the movie you want to watch. It’s the love story every girl wants. Baby, on a family vacation, meets the attractive and dangerous (in terms of “dirty” dancing — get it?) Johnny Castle (played by Patrick Swayze). When circumstances arise that cause her to need to quickly learn to dance like a pro, she spends nearly every moment with Johnny — how could they not fall in love? By the end, you’ll be breathless and teary.

“50 First Dates”

Adam Sandler plays the male lead that is afraid of commitment (what else is new?), until he meets the girl he didn’t think existed in the world, Lucy, played by Drew Barrymore. Everything in their relationship is going swimmingly until he finds out she suffers from short-term memory loss and can’t remember day-to-day who he is. Now, the man that once was afraid of settling down uses every power of his to help her remember and to stay by her through her struggles. This movie is filled with a few tears and quite a few more laughs. The epitome of a romantic comedy, it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.

“10 Things I Hate About You”

It’s a story for every guy who has ever tried, for every girl who has ever hoped and for anyone who has ever been taken completely by surprise. Love comes in all forms in this modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, “Taming of the Shrew.” The film beautifully captures the relationship between Kat (Julia Stiles) and Patrick (Heath Ledger) as it changes from love-hate to love-love. And despite Patrick’s ulterior motives for dating Kat, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Ledger’s disarming smile. And the scene in the stadium is one of the most romantic scenes in film history.

“Step Up”

Yes, it’s cheesy. Yes, it’s formulaic. But isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is about? Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan (now Dewan-Tatum) prove that love can cross all boundaries in this musical flick. Tatum plays a boy from a rough neighborhood that meets Dewan during his community service hours. A love and talent brings them together, with of course the necessary fight that ends up bringing them closer together. This movie won’t leave you with any life-changing perspective on the human condition, but the love story, the fantastic dance numbers and the general attractiveness of the entire cast will leave you with a smile on your face.

“Roman Holiday”

Go classic this Valentine’s Day with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Hepburn plays a crown princess wholly overwhelmed by the demands of her royal duties. And so, she sneaks off for a few days of unscheduled fun. She runs into Peck, an expat American journalist, who doesn’t recognize her at first. He offers to give her a tour of Rome, hoping to eventually end up with an exclusive interview. As they frolic through Rome, they eventually fall in love. Hepburn’s naiveté as Princess Ann is endearing and Peck is heartwarming in his role, making the movie deserving of its classic status.

“Love, Actually”

It may not be Christmastime anymore, but this British rom-com is more than appropriate all year round. While this British comedy is decidedly romantic, it has its tongue firmly in its cheek and presents with stunning accuracy the way love makes people do the cheesiest of things. Charming, funny and all about love, “Love, Actually” is the perfect way to please girlfriend and boyfriend alike with an non-gendered look at what makes humanity crazy for love.

Anti-Valentine’s Day Flicks

“Inglourious Basterds”

Valentine’s Day is all about spending time with the person you love, reveling in each other’s company and being the most romantic you can be all year. Well, there’s none of that in this Tarantino hit. A revisionist approach to World War II, the film finds Brad Pitt (in his best role to date) leading a pack of Nazi-scalpers and a young French-Jewish woman (“Beginners'” Melanie Laurent) plotting to kill the Nazi elite in one fell swoop. It may not seem like it, but “Inglourious Basterds” is one of the most unconventionally funny movies of recent years and is the perfect antidote to V-Day’s heavy romance.

“Heavy Weights”

Sure, there’s a little romance in this ‘90s classic about a weight-loss camp run by the truly mad Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller), but the Perkisizing and anti-authoritarian plotting tend to distract from anything in the way of love. The takeaway of “Heavy Weights” is less about finding true love and more about learning, “Don’t put Twinkies on your pizza.” Don’t let breakfast be cancelled due to lack of hustle ¾ pop “Heavy Weights” in your DVD player instead for a night of raucous entertainment sure to cure even the most love-struck of their googly eyes.

“The Sandlot”

Trying to forget Valentine’s Day and all the cheesiness that comes with it? “The Sandlot” will take you back to your childhood days, when love was the least of your concerns and boys and girls had cooties. Join Scotty Smalls and friends as they laugh, fight and have fun while playing baseball. You will definitely feel good after watching this classic movie.

“Warrior”

Forget romantic love this Valentine’s Day. Celebrate the bond between siblings with “Warrior,” a sports drama film about two estranged brothers. Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) are both mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, entered in the same tournament. And the two haven’t talked in years, driven apart by their alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) and Brendan’s elopement with his girlfriend (Jennifer Morrison) at 16. The movie is a gripping testament to the power of unconditional love, reconciliation and the human spirit. The movie does portray MMA fighting, but it does so very well, and makes sure not to focus too much on the fighting but instead the human drama. Nolte received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in this riveting, don’t-miss drama.

“Saving Private Ryan”

Spend this Valentine’s Day with some great war films instead of love films. Be sure to include the epic war film from Steven Spielberg. The story follows U.S. Army Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and a band of Rangers who are charged with a mission to find PFC James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), the last-surviving brother of four servicemen. The film is gripping, depicting the struggles of the Rangers as they try to locate Ryan and the enemies they find themselves up against. And the movie ends with one of the best lines in movie history, as Miller tells Ryan to earn the sacrifices the Rangers made to ensure he survived. Tears may fall during this film, but not as a result of being loveless on Valentine’s Day.

“The Expendables”

There may or may not be a love story in this film, but there is a definitely a lot of action movie stars doing what they do best, killing a whole lot of dudes. The all-star cast includes Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Willis and more. This movie is definitely a way to vicariously relieve yourself from frustration.

“Louis CK: Hilarious”

While taking a cold, hard look in the mirror and laugh at your own shortcomings, or laugh at Louis CK’s and forget all about how awful you are. Louis CK is the preeminent comedian working today, with a style that is as emotionally rich as it is hysterical. After listening to Louis talk about people and life for an hour, you may forget why you ever wanted a Valentine.