It’s Valentines Day and Thursday night isn’t exactly the most ideal day to celebrate being struck by Cupid’s arrow; it is a school/work day after all. But if you need an impromptu movie for the night, we’ve dialed up a handful of films that should help you out. Dinner and dessert? Well, that’s up to you. In no particular order:
Amores Perros (2000)
This was once touted as the Mexican “Pulp Fiction” but this is a story about three stories connected by a tragic car accident and the theme of love. It’s gritty and unforgiving but there is so much going on and that you’ll never tire of any of them.
Type of Love Story: Love Anthology
Love Jones (1999)
Remember back when Larenz Tate was going to be the leading man for years to come? Well he was for Generation X up until the early 2000s. But before he faded off into TV obscurity before landing on Rescue Me, Tate starred in this righteous love story about a self-centered guy who loses a meets a girl (Nia Long) and then loses her. The movie still holds up and stands as a rare love story featuring African-Americans that doesn’t have some social agenda or some bigger statement. A classic by any definition.
Type of Love Story: The one that got away
In the Mood For Love (2000)
When it comes to stories of unrequited love, there is no match for Wong Kar-Wai’s dizzying lush masterpiece about a cheating couple starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Maggie Cheung Man-yuk who play new neighbors in a Hong Kong apartment, who suspect their spouses are cheating on them. The love here is about the ache of not being able to indulge in true love, to pace around it and wishing life were different, holding in secrets and lies, and seeing them play act how they’ll break their bad news to their spouses.
Type of Love Story: Unrequited and forbidden love
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
What would you do if you found out your ex-girlfriend had her mind wiped of all of her memories of you? Would you go and do the same? If so, what if you suddenly realized that in the middle of the procedure that you want to hold onto those memories but witness them fading away. Jim Carrey was on the top of his game, Kate Winslet was saturating the big screen and this was a magic collaboration between Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman.
Type of Love Story: Memories of Love
The Notebook (2004)
The romance film that catapulted Ryan Goslin’s career and put Nicholas Sparks, the king of cornball romance on every boyfriend’s shit list. Still sometimes being a great boyfriend is taking one for the team and if you can find enough tender in your heart to sit through this film, you’ll see a battle tested love of Allie Nelson (Rachel McAdams/Gena Rowlands) and Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling/James Garner) as it perseveres through Alzheimer’s, social class, and is directed by Nick Cassavetes. Bonus points if you come bearing a box of tissues.
Type of Love Story: Love conquers all
Love and Basketball (2000)
It’s rare when romance and sports films can be memorable. So it’s saying a lot when this film was able to mix both genres and not have either component suffer. L&B charts the paths of two friends Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps), both high school basketball players that are heavily recruited by USC and move onto become professional athletes. It’s got a little something for everyone, reminiscent of this year’s Oscar nominee for Best Picture, Silver Linings Playbook.
Type of Love Story: Jocks in love
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
As one of the few people who thought this film deserved to beat out Saving Private Ryan for best picture in 1998, I’ll defend this one to my grave. It was a fun piece of fiction that was made even more clever if you knew the history of Shakespeare and his fellow contemporaries such as Christopher Marlowe. It found a slick window in the history books to fit in something completely original and romantic, using of course, Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.
Type of Love Story: The unofficial history of love
Chasing Amy (1997)
15 years since its small theatrical release and it remains as my favorite Kevin Smith movie. 1) It’s about the private lives of indy comics book artists. 2) a mature and realistic screenplay is carried out by Joey Adams, Ben Affleck, and Jason Lee. 3) It’s message of “How you love, not who you love.” is as relevant today as gay marriage is being championed.
Type of Love Story: Alternative Love
The Widow of St. Pierre (2001)
Some may prefer Juliette Binoche in The English Patient, a commendable contender, or even the saccharine-rich Chocolat, but this French Canadian film also starring Daniel Auteuil and Yugoslavian director Emir Kusturica is set in the 1850’s and is about a murderer named Neel (Kusturica) sentenced to death and must wait for a guillotine to travel from France to Newfoundland. While he waits his death, he repents for his heinous acts by helping the townspeople and assisting the local captain (Auteuil) and his wife (Binoche), whose lives are changed dramatically when they come across Neel. No matter how strongly you think your love is for your significant other, it’s nothing compared to the love shared between the captain and his wife.
Type of Love Story: Love and Devotion
Chungking Express (1994)
Another Wong Kar-Wai entry makes it into this list and there are two stories, both featuring cops. He Qiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is pining over a bad breakup and gives himself a hard deadline of 30 days to find a new woman. The other is about a cop (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) who has a stalker in his life when he misplaces his keys. Faye Wong plays a waitress who obtains the keys and sneaks into his home to clean and change things as if she were changing his life like they were dating. It’s more a love story about style and popular culture, but there’s a romantic fog over this movie that puts you in a trance.
Type of Love Story: Hypnotic love
Those are some of our favorite love stories. What are yours?