Valentine’s Viewing

Kevin James

It can be tricky to find a movie to watch with your significant other on Valentine’s day.  To be honest, this is the night of the year where men usually “take one for the team” at the local cineplex.

To be fair, women usually take it on the chin for the other 364  available viewing days.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t a lot of options available tonight, it’s just to say that there are so many ideas about what makes a good date movie that you can end up siting through just about every kind of “romantic” disaster imaginable:

Boring (Green With Envy)

Crude (The 5 Year Engagement)

Perverse (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Sappy (I’m not purposefully trying to pick on Jason Segal)

If you aren’t going to plunk down $25 to suffer through something involving a non-threatening actress whom guys aren’t interested in (Rachel McAdams/Zooey Deschanel) who emotionally torments a sensitive actor that your woman IS interested in (Joseph Gordon Levitt/Ryan Gosling) you have two basic options for movie viewing on Valentines Night:

1.) Dude movies masquerading as romantic comedies.
Ever since humanity failed us by purchasing multiple tickets to see “There’s Something About Mary” male-oriented comedies have settled into a predictable formula that revolves around a successful, beautiful woman with virtually no self-esteem succumbing to the charms of a bumbling man-child through his crude, hyper-sexual, and incredibly immature behavior.

We’re expected to believe, through successive movements of shocking “can you top this” shenanigans that an incompetent, yet lovable, goofball with a heart of gold will truly be able to improve a woman’s quality life over a sustained period of time… yes I’m calling you out Judd Apatow.

In the 1960’s guy flicks presented us with fantasy caricatures of all-powerful spies or cowboys who could rescue and possess every woman they laid eyes on.  In the new “bro movies” guys simply get laughs, play guitars & video games, while hoping to be possessed by comely and all-powerful females.

Women may laugh during these movies, but I’ve never really seen two ladies sitting at a coffee shop talking about finding their own Seth Rogen, Steve Carell, or Jonah Hill.

2.) Chick flicks masquerading as action/adventure movies.  
Just about every two minutes someone in Hollywood decides to make a relationship movie about two attractive people fighting to save their unattractive  relationship.  At about a two-year clip, the studios decide that they want to add men to the target audience so they sprinkle in a cache of semi-automatic weapons and the absurd idea that one (or in some cases both) members of the failing union is actually an assassin or a secret agent.

The characters argue, kiss, argue, shoot guns, and stuff blows up while each movie-going gender gets to ogle someone attractive for two hours.  While this sort of thing can work at an adequate level for about 45 minutes, things get dicey around the hour mark when the director has to choose which audience that he’s going to pander to:  Stray far into the candle shop and you get “Knight and Day” and too far into the man cave and we’re all watching somebody’s remake of “True Lies” for the umpteenth time.

I’m  not surprised that suburban moviegoers leave the theaters ready to work on their own troubles, but unless both members of the couple need to pull off a heist, or  have someone they need help killing, they are probably going to have to work on real relationship problems.

It’s because of this Valentines landscape that I have selected 5 movies sure to make the women giggle, swoon, and get misty while the men can laugh, eat popcorn, and still respect themselves in the morning.

Hitch:  Will Smith and Eva Mendes are the couple this movie is about, but Allegra Cole and Albert Brennaman are the couple you’re rooting for.  In a movie about the chemistry between men and women, it’s definitely the chemistry between the films funniest couple (Kevin James and Will Smith) that will keep you in stitches.

Return To Me:  Minnie Driver and David Duchovny give great performances in a surprisingly thoughtful romantic comedy with a painful twist.  Robert Loggia and Carol O’Connor add humor to the proceedings while Bonnie Hunt and Jim Belushi’s middle-aged married couple steal the show every moment they’re on screen.

Groundhog Day:  Bill Murray plays a cynical 1990’s news anchor with a heart of… stone.  Andie MacDowell plays a producer with… standards.  They’ll never get together unless he grows up.  A month of Groundhog Days just might do the trick.

The Princess Bride:  You just can’t go wrong here people.

Ocean’s Eleven:  Lost in all the hype about the cast and the caper is the fact that Danny Ocean is in Vegas to get his girl back.  It’s forgotten because the film only spends about 6 and a half minutes of screen time on the relationship, but in my experience this is the amount of time you can give George Clooney before you realize that he isn’t acting… he’s just nodding his head and talking down to you.  This is that rare man movie that women love , probably because it’s about men being men.

Let me know which movies you watch on Valentines Day, or if there’s a couples movie that you love.

Happy Valentines Day!

3 Responses to “Valentine’s Viewing”

  1. Jeff Patterson February 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    An honest preview of “The Notebook”… » “A movie so generic, yet inexplicably popular, it’s basically the Olive Garden of love stories. And a romance that will make many girlfriend’s ask, ‘Why aren’t you more like Ryan Gosling?’ Prompting all boyfriends to ask, ‘Can we please just watch DIE HARD?'”

    • Jon February 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      Why aren’t you writing this blog?

  2. Ernest February 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    I have watched Groundhog’s Day and discussed with E. Walker, and we determined that it was a few years of groundhog days to enable him to learn piano, French and all the other things he did.

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