Thursday, February 13, 2014

Staff Picks: Movies for a Valentine's Day

We're back at it again with some staff picks.  We decided to be timely in our picks this month and share movies that you can watch with your sweetheart for an inexpensive Valentine's date. Or movies you can watch in your sweats with a bowl of ice cream on a date that happens to be smack dab in the middle of the month of February.  Or with your kids, whom you love dearly. Or just anytime because movies are great.  There. Bases covered.

Lindsey - My suggestion may seem odd because it is an animated children's movie, but I cannot stress enough how much I want everyone to see this movie.  A Monster in Paris.  My sister happened upon it with her three boys (ages 2, 6, and 8) and they watch it so often, I ended up watching it and falling in love.  I'm not even sure how to explain the plot except to say that a monster is accidentally unleashed on the city of Paris, but it's not what you would expect.  It's funny, well animated, and nicely acted.  The music is beautiful and catchy (we may have recently purchased the soundtrack). It is utterly charming.  Go, watch, and thank me later.

Lis - Hitch is a fun movie with romance that guys seem to like. Will Smith is one of those actors that everyone seems to love. There are different types of couples that get together in the movie, and it gives hope to everyone that love can be possible if you just get the right opportunity.

Paige- My favorite romantic movie, which is saying something since I typically don't enjoy them, is Sense and Sensibility. First because Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman are in the same movie. Second because it's wonderfully witty. Third because it's the only romantic movie that my husband happens to enjoy as well. It's the trifecta. Fun fact: did you know Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay?

Megan - I discovered the French movie He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not at the International Cinema   on campus when I was in college. It's a completely brilliant movie that plays from two different points of view, so for the first half of the movie you think you're watching a completely different kind of movie than you discover you are in the second half. I will just warn you that it is not a romantic comedy, but the surprises are the best part, so don't go reading the plot before hand. Bonus: it stars Audrey Tautou of Amelie fame (which I think it why I watched it in the first place.) If you want something different than the same old sappy chick flick this year, this is your movie. (Even my husband loved it.) (Side note: This movie used to be on Netflix, but appears to only be available on DVD now. If your appetite for Valentine's-appropriate French movies must be appeased and you didn't plan ahead, let me suggest the excellent Romantics Anonymous, which is about two incredibly awkward, shy people attempting to fall in love - and is available on instant watch.)

Jill - Perhaps this one is only coming to mind because I rediscovered it when a friend was going through my DVDs the other day, but I am going to throw Bend it Like Beckham into the mix. It has some romance to make it holiday appropriate, some soccer (erm, it is a British movie, so we should probably say football) to satisfy the part of you that is driven bonkers by Valentine's Day and a good chunk of Punjabi dialogue thrown in to make you feel multi-cultural. When it first came out (more than a decade ago! Yikes I am getting old!), my five sisters and I went through a streak of watching it so much that our then-four-year-old sister could quote it almost entirely. Unfortunately, that included the rare mild swear word (sorry, Mom), but oh the memories. Basically, I offer up this movie with a lot of love in my heart, so go forth and enjoy!

Melissa- I could probably list a hundred movies that I would enjoy to watch with my sweetheart. I envision myself with my legs strewn across his lap as we cuddle to the witty musings of a Nora Ephron movie, but that's not how it ever works out for us. Usually we end up arguing about how often we've watched "Melissa movies" recently or how we've had an influx of "Adam movies." Whatever movie we end up deciding on usually entertains us, even if the other didn't want to watch it. My suggestion is White House Down, staring Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum (Tatum Channing? Chatum Tanning? -- Most confusing name ever). It exceeds every ridiculous expectation you could want. It's about a Secret Service wannabe (Tatum/Chantum/Tanning?) who takes his daughter on a tour of the White House after a failed interview. Good thing he's there, because the White House is suddenly under attack and EVERY SECURITY PERSON WITH ACCESS TO A GUN IS IMMEDIATELY ANNIHILATED. The lines are brilliantly cheesy. There are no less than nine thousand explosions, and Tanning Chatum finds an opportunity to needlessly remove his shirt mid action scene. It's a plethora of twists and cliches all rolled in one. But if it had been my pick, I would have gone with Crazy, Stupid, Love. It's one of my favorite rom/coms  and it stars Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling so you can't lose. Wildly inappropriate for children.

Cara- I think Valentine's Day can be a great day for celebrating romance, but above that I think it's great reminder to share your love--romantic or otherwise--with those you care about.  And so, in no particular order, here are some films that celebrate love of all kinds. Big Fish is a film about a dying father, his skeptical son, and how stories can bring people together (I cry every time with this one...). In Her Shoes tells the story of two sisters struggling to embrace themselves and their past. While this may not necessarily be your typical "snuggle up together" movie, it does make you think about connections, trust, and love. Life is Beautiful brings together romance, laughter, hope, imagination, fatherly love, and sacrifice in the harsh reality of World War II. Last, but not least, the Anne of Green Gables series (and the others in the Anne canon) covers the gamut of love, from her search for a family (despite not being a boy who can help on the farm), to finding kindred spirit friends, to falling in romantic love. But be sure to set aside a weekend...or two...or be able to watch the whole, wonderful, thing!

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