Ah, Valentine’s Day. The one time in the year (along with wedding anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, New Year’s Day etc.) where you get to spend the majority of your 24 hours with your significant other. You can have lunch or dinner at a fancy restaurant, attend a concert, go to a club, or even go on a cruise.

But if you’d much rather stay at home with your boyfriend or girlfriend, might I suggest five movies that will not only help you appreciate and enjoy the day that’s all about love, but will also appeal to both women and men (hence the title)?

 

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992) – Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s influential novel raised the bar so high for Dracula movies that no other one subsequent to it could match its audacity, style and grandiose (“Dracula: Dead and Loving It” gets a pass because it’s a parody).

At its surface, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” tells the tale of Count Dracula (played to near-perfection by Gary Oldman) who, as an end result of renouncing God after the death of his bride centuries ago, is cursed to live an immortal life sustained by human blood. But underneath all that is a compelling love story between Dracula and London socialite Mina (Winona Ryder) who eerily resembles his bride. With excellent performances (Keanu Reeves gets a pass because “John Wick” himself had to get his big break somewhere), beautifully moody cinematography, blood-drenched scares and a dark, haunting musical score that’ll resonate with you days after you’ve heard it, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is a terrifying horror story, a sensual love story and a bonafide masterpiece.

 

TRUE ROMANCE (1993) – Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette play Clarence and Alabama, two lovers on the run from both the police and the mob after coming across a suitcase filled with cocaine. Directed by the late, great Tony Scott (“Top Gun”, “Enemy of the State”) and written by (THE) Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction”, “Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2”), “True Romance” is essentially a crime film with dark humour, brutal violence and an ensemble cast that includes Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Pitt. But the heart of the film – and the reason why it’s on this list – lies in the passionate relationship between Clarence and Alabama.

Both Christian and Patricia have magnetic chemistry on-screen, and seeing them overcome obstacle after obstacle on the way to their goal is nothing short of exhilarating. If you like your romantic films with style, energy and of course, action, then you’re guaranteed to enjoy “True Romance”.

 

TITANIC (1997) – Y’all know the story. Poor guy meets rich girl. They fall in love. They try to survive the sinking of a gigantic passenger liner after it hits an iceberg. It’s a story as old as time itself. James Cameron’s Oscar-winning romantic drama “Titanic” is an easy choice for Valentine’s Day viewing. From the epic scope of the movie and James Horner’s musical score (which, when coupled with Celine Dion’s timeless “My Heart will Go On”, will make even the dryest eyes well up with tears) to the on-screen love affair between Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet that warmed the hearts of millions, this is a classic in every sense of the word.

As an added bonus, if you happen to own this movie on Blu-Ray (which you should, by the way) and you have a home theater system that you can’t wait to show off to your significant other, “Titanic” makes for a grand visual and auditory movie experience.

 

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) – Michel Gondry’s sci-fi romantic comedy-drama centers on Joel (played by Jim Carrey, in one of his best performances) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), a couple who individually undertake a scientific procedure to erase their memories of each other after their relationship failed.  
A staple of Anti-Valentine’s Day movie viewing, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” not only works as an extraordinarily unique look into human memory and emotion, but also as an equally heartwarming and heartbreaking examination of the modern-day relationship. Along with a superbly-written script, excellent performances and a beautiful musical score, this is one of the best break-up and make-up movies ever made.

 

DEADPOOL (2016) – Saving the best for last, I just had to put “Deadpool” on this list. Yes, it’s a superhero origin movie. Yes, it’s a ridiculously violent superhero origin movie. And yes, it’s a insanely funny, ridiculously violent, superhero origin movie.

But the reason why this movie got couples into the movie theater when it came out in time for Valentine’s Day was that at its core, “Deadpool” was a love story involving Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson/Deadpool) and his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Sure, the movie regularly walks a very thin line between explicit yet genuinely sweet romance and bloody ultraviolence, but thanks to the charm and charisma of its two leads (especially Ryan Reynolds who steals EVERY scene he’s in as both Wade and Deadpool) and the self-awareness that yes, this movie is intentionally formulaic (regularly reminded to the viewer by Deadpool’s fourth-wall breaking), “Deadpool” is an action-packed laugh riot from start to finish!

If you’re looking for some cinematic excitement before you get to that….other type of excitement, then pop in “Deadpool” in your Blu-Ray player (Yes, this is another one you should own on Blu-Ray) and have a blast!

 

What are your thoughts on this list? Do you think they make for essential Valentine’s Day viewing or for other days in the year? And what is your favourite Valentine’s Day movie of all time?

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