10 Furious Valentine’s Day Films
Valentines Day is the time when the geekiest of geeks turn to thoughts of romance and matters of the heart. Throughout the years movies have become a big part of that celebration, for instance you may go to dinner then watch a favorite film with the special someone in your life. For our latest list I’ve chosen 10 titles that are a mix of traditional and non traditional “romantic” themed movies. Obviously these picks have more of a furious edge because that’s just how we roll here at FC. In closing, we wish all of you a great V-Day with the ones you love!
Bringing Up Baby (1938, Dir: Howard Hawks) A wealthy heiress Susan (Katherine Hepburn) and a paleontologist David (Cary Grant) find themselves on a rollicking adventure together while taking care of a leopard named “Baby”. Hawks was a true master of the screwball comedy and this is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen.
Vertigo (1958, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock) James Stewart is Scottie Ferguson, a former police detective who had to quit due to suffering from vertigo and depression. He later becomes a private eye who is hired to trail a woman (Kim Novak) that has dual identities. In the psychological thriller genre, this movie is a crown jewel and became a blueprint for filmmakers on how to set up and execute set pieces and use the language of visual storytelling. It is also a deeply moving film about longing for love.
The Apartment (1960, Dir: Billy Wilder) Bachelor C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is looking to get ahead in his job. To help do this he has been offering his apartment to his employers as a love nest for their extra marital flings. Meanwhile at work C.C. has the eye for the cute elevator girl Ms Kubilik (Shirley MacLaine). What he doesnt know is that his main boss Mr Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) has been secretly stringing her along. C.C. gets stuck between doing whats right and giving up his new status in his career. The film is categorized as a romantic comedy but its much more than that.
The War of the Roses (1989, Dir: Danny DeVito) The three lead actors in this film had previously made a little movie called Romancing The Stone together a few years prior, while that would be nifty for this list, I thought I’d throw in a little twist. This sidesplittingly funny film is about what happens when love goes wrong. Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) and his wife Barbara (Kathleen Turner) have it all: a big house, expensive cars and great kids. Somewhere along the way, Barbara lost her love for Ollie and decides she wants out of their marriage. Only its not going to be as easy as that. The two get into a mini war, both fighting to live in their expensive home. This was the movie that introduced me to the “black comedy” and has been a favorite ever since.
Annie Hall (1977, Dir: Woody Allen) Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is a comedian who has just broken up with his latest lover Annie (Diane Keaton) after a lengthy relationship. The story is Alvy’s look back at their time together from beginning to end. It’s a brilliant, hysterical examination of the trials and tribulations of how people fall in and out of love. Woody Allen had a very tough time making this movie and reshot many of the scenes. Yet what he regarded as a mess turned out to be one of his greatest films.
Dracula (1992, Dir: Francis Ford Coppola) I chose to go with this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s story mainly because I feel its one of the most romantic versions of all the films made of the Dracula character. Its also beautifully filmed and acted. Gary Oldman plays the Prince of Vampires with a brilliance, flamboyance and depth that none of the others really delivered.
True Romance (1993, Dir: Tony Scott) Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) works at a comic book shop, and doesnt get out much. When his birthday arrives he goes to see a Sonny Chiba Triple Feature. At the theater he meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette), a blonde haired vixen who he later finds out is a call girl that was paid for by his boss. The twist is Clarence and Alabama actually fall in love while theyre together. After they get hitched, Clarence goes to her pimp to get her belongings. The tense meeting goes very bad and Clarence grabs a suitcase he thinks is Bama’s only to discover it was the wrong one. This case contains a cache of cocaine that is owned by the mob. The two newlyweds go on a wild adventure to the West Coast where they try to sell the drugs to fund their new life together as the mob and the cops give chase. A wild pulp fiction romance classic Tarantino-Scott style!
The Crow (1993, Dir: Alex Proyas) On Devils Night, rock musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancee are murdered by a gang of thugs who work for a Detroit crime boss named Top Dollar (Michael Wincott). A year later Eric comes back from the dead to seek his revenge on the men responsible for his death and set the wrong to right. The now cult classic film was based on James O’Barr’s graphic novel, a gothic themed romantic tragedy.
High Fidelity (2000, Dir: Stephen Frears) Freewheeling bachelor and supreme music geek Rob Gordon (John Cusack) owns a record store called Championship Vinyl where he spends his days with co-workers the “musical moron twins” Dick and Barry. Rob is reaching a point in his life where he wants more than just brief flings with various women. His latest girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) may be the one he wants to spend his life with. Before deciding on his future with her he begins tracking down all his ex’s to find out why they broke up. Along the way he learns about himself while running his store where the most hardcore music lovers hang out. The film combines music geekery with romance and humor in a very cool way.
True Lies (1995, Dir: James Cameron) No folks, I didnt choose James Cameron’s romantic epic Titanic (that would be the obvious choice) instead I went for this espionage-action thriller-comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the film Arnold plays Harry Tasker, to his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) he’s a dull computer salesman. What she doesn’t know is that he really is a secret agent who travels around the world spying and taking down terrorists. When Harry discovers Helen is cheating on him while he’s away with a used car salesman (Bill Paxton) he decides to intervene and take her on a real adventure to rekindle their failing marriage. It’s a great little love story set within a highly charged action packed spy-comedy.