Love is in the air everywhere you look around. You’ve got the best of my love. I just can’t get enough of your love, babe. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love me. I don’t care what they say I’m in love with you. All you need is love. Might as well face it you’re addicted to love. Come and get your love. Can you feel the love tonight?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And there’s nothing wrong with that even if all the giant displays of red hearts and fluffy things and greeting cards and hand holding couples all over the mall are trying to tell you otherwise. There’s a lot of love in the world that doesn’t fit into cardboard boxes or perfectly co-ordinate with an arbitrary date in February.
Contrary to the current array of movies playing on television (AMC is playing Titanic back-to-back for 18 hours straight. The boat sank in 3.) there are also a lot of love stories in film. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight but don’t feel like crying alone while watching the Notebook (the tired stereotype of single women on this day), let me recommend some alternatives.
1. Secretary (2002)
Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader and S&M. Gyllenhaal plays a woman who self harms just released from a mental hospital who applies for a job with a lawyer (Spader) as his secretary. Spanking ensues. For those who don’t want to see Fifty Shades of Grey but are interested in kinkier fare.
2. Step Up (2006)
Who doesn’t love a good dance movie? Especially one that features Channing Tatum post-stripper pre-fame in the role where he fell in love with his wife Jenna Dewan. Even better news, it’s a franchise of dance movies if you really want to binge-watch something that (eventually) stars Twitch, one of Tatum’s co-stars in Magic Mike XXL.
3. Hit & Run (2012)
Another real life couple Dax Shepard & Kristen Bell star in this vehicle (pun intended) written and directed by Dax. What happens when a boy and a girl fall in love but the boy has a secret past? Bradley Cooper in blonde dreadlocks, car chases and a motel room of naked old people. Naturally.
4. the Dreamers (2003)
For those who are into being young during the revolutionary time of France in the 60s. And naked Eva Green. And threesomes. But, you know, arty because it’s directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
5. Le Divorce (2003)
Are you getting divorced? Having an illicit affair? Enjoy the idea of doing either in Paris? Voila! C’est le film.
6. Amélie (2001)
Enjoy the idea of being in Paris without getting divorced or having an illicit affair? May I introduce you to Amélie and her band of strange café copains. It covers all different types of love, from love at first sight to the love of a parent, the love of friends and neighbours, and even the love of a gnome.
7. the Rules of Attraction (2002)
Looking for a dark comedy slash drama slash college sex romp? Featuring one character’s obsession with STDs, the unrequited love of a gay guy for a straight character, an insane drug dealer, a naked party, a creepy professor and Ian Somerhalder dancing on a bed in his underwear to George Michael’s Faith.
8. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Based on Shakespeare’s the Taming of the Shrew with Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles & Joseph Gordon-Levitt. One of my favourite movies of all time.
9. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Speaking of Shakespeare if you’re really in the mood for a classic love story make it this one. Leonardo DiCaprio walking on the beach writing tragic poetry to the sounds of Radiohead is everything perfect about film. Too bad about the terrible mix up with the messenger.
10. Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie did not fall in love while making this movie. So says the official statement. Still one of the most fun action movies of all time. Who doesn’t like a good house destroying fight to soul music?
11. Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight (1995, 2004, 2013)
I think it was Richard Linklater himself who described this as the lowest grossing trilogy of all time. Long conversations about life and walks through Europe. A great movie in or out of love.
12. the Heat (2013)
Loving your friends (or your partner) is just as important as romantic love. Some might even say more important.
13. Endless Love (2014)
Okay, okay… I couldn’t make this list without a straight up romance film. All about first love being forever love. Beautifully shot.
14. The Art of the Steal (2013)
And if you’re really not into Valentine’s Day at all may I recommend this excellent heist movie that takes place in Canada and involves smuggling things in a large vagina sculpture.