His & Her Valentines Day Picks

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day is here! And for those looking to stay in with wine and chocolates, here are a few His & Her Heart Day picks from PFS bloggers Alexander Goodlive and Kim Scott! Of course, if you’re looking to go out for the holiday, Winter’s Tale at the PFS Theater at the Roxy is perfect for any couple!

  • HIM: Alexander Goodlive

    Valentine’s Day is almost here, and for everyone, that means something different. Some are anticipating their wrapped packages with all the things they didn’t get six weeks ago at Christmas, and others are dreading hearing all about the love everyone else is in while they sit at home alone. Sorry to tear open some painful scars there. But then, there are also those of us in between, who take the day and either disregard it, or take it as an opportunity to do something special with the ones we love. And hey, what better for a low-key Valentine’s Day evening than catching a movie at home? As a guy, here are five movies I love to watch on Valentine’s Day.

  • Definitely, Maybe

    This is one of the few romantic comedies in recent memory that doesn’t overdo it. There’s enough clever writing and snark for the guys to enjoy, and the romantic storyline isn’t the ever-typical cliché “guy meets girl, she hates him, but he’s gonna get her, and eventually does.” Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) tells his daughter (Abigail Breslin) the story of his relationships with three women, (Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher.) It’s a clever time piece, taking place in the mid-90s, playing into that very well. Reynolds is his sarcastic, charming self while having good writing to back it up, and the romantic stories are not overdone and tired. The ending is a surprising one, but it doesn’t ruin the story or make you roll your eyes.

     

    Definitely, Maybe is a movie where the women are strong but flawed. So often in these types of movies, they’re either the quirky girl who needs rescued, or the independent bookworm stuck in her shell just begging to be taken out. The three love interests aren’t any of those things, and do a great job of subverting the usual tropes that come along with the territory in these kinds of movies. It’s entertaining and realistic, and the parts that need to be subtle are. 

  • The Princess Bride

    How can this masterpiece not be on your list for a movie to watch any night, let alone Valentine’s Day? This is one of those movies that, on paper, should’ve been ridiculous and silly. The sets are ridiculously fake, the story is silly, and the characters are really over-the-top. However, lightning in a bottle doesn’t even begin to describe what this timeless masterpiece accomplished. The dialogue with all the characters is brilliant, especially Cary Elwes. The villains are so ridiculous that they’re actually funny to watch. Manny Patinkin, Andre the Giant, and Wallace Shawn all have their classic moments, and Robin Wright performs a scene where she dreams of being the princess and a peasant constantly jeers her. Fun fact: She also plays the peasant lady, so in reality, she’s booing herself. And, on top of it, the story is read to Fred Savage by Peter Falk. If you removed everything you knew about this movie and just wrote the concept on paper, you’d think it was absurd.
     
    It is. But it’s perfect.
     
    The love story brings us through a fantastical world set in the long, long ago, and there’s just enough fantasy to make it a genre movie, but not too much as to make it exclusive. Billy Crystal’s cameo steals the show, without any doubt. The men-sized rat costumes are so unbelievably fake, but no one cares. The wedding minister with the speech impediment is so silly that you can’t help yourself but quote it at weddings. You know how the story is going to end, but it’s told and written so well that it takes your mind off all the things that you would normally find cheesy and fake. It’s a timeless classic that is perfect for any romantic night. 
  • Chaos Theory

    Here’s one that’s a little more unfamiliar. This is the second Ryan Reynolds movie on the list, but they couldn’t be any more different, especially the character Reynolds portrays. In Chaos Theory, Frank Allen (Reynolds) is obsessed with having everything in his life rigidly planned down to the minute. His wife Susan (Emily Mortimer) tries to throw him off of this by changing the clocks, and this puts a whole series of events into motion that turn his life upside down. Because of this, Frank decides to start leaving everything up to chance, and follows whatever random written cards tell him to do.

    Stuart Townsend plays his best friend, and has that sly, rich guy down pat. Emily Mortimer is adorable as always, though she’s not fooling anyone with her American accent. The story between the father and the little girl is incredibly touching, especially after the events that unfold throughout the movie. The conclusion of the movie brings about one of the best written lines about love that I’ve ever heard. The humor in the movie is very subtle, to the point that you might miss a lot of it if you’re not paying attention. It’s another very good, realistic love story that doesn’t drive it into the ground.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    This one can be tough to watch, especially if you’ve had problems in your relationship. I, however, find it very cathartic, and it reminds me just how important your relationships with those closest to you are. Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) finds out that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has undergone a process to erase him from her memory, so he decides to have the same procedure done. Most of the movie takes place within Joel’s mind as he loses every memory of Clementine in reverse, and regrets the decision as it’s happening.
     
    This movie can be confusing at first, and you definitely have to pay attention. Winslet (unlike Mortimer) has a great American accent and it’s not distracting, nor is her varying hair colors. The visuals are astounding, and even people who aren’t fans of Carrey’s typical HAM platitudes can take pleasure in his performance as the meek, passive Joel Barish. The resolution is satisfying, and plays true to how people interact. It’s a good story for dealing with pain and reminding yourself of just how important those memories can be, even when they’re hard to work through. The supporting cast is top notch, featuring Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Elijah Wood as a creepy, obsessive stalker-type. It’s hard at times, but definitely worth the experience.
  • Saving Private Ryan

    Not what you expected on this list, eh? Hear me out.
     
    Saving Private Ryan is a movie I recommend for this day for someone who wants to watch a movie with absolutely no love story in it whatsoever. My best friend found that comforting when he went through the worst break-up of his life, and I’m passing that along for the benefit of those who may want to see the day go by without even the association of love. This is the award-winning story about the Normandy Invasion, and the rescue mission led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) to find the last surviving brother of a family in the war (Matt Damon).

    The opening scene at Normandy is as intense as any war scene you will ever see. The effects and the hard realities of war are driven home without the usual whimsy of a Spielberg flick, and it does its best to just tell the story of the mission as opposed to just, “Hey, did you know Hitler was bad?!” It’s a wonderful complement to Band of Brothers, but unless you have work off the entire day, you’re not getting through that entire series, though attempting to do so is never a wasted effort.
  • HER: Kim Scott

    Ah, Valentine’s Day. It’s a time for heartwarming cards, pink decorations, and celebrations with your loved ones. Better yet, it’s a perfect time to eat a bunch of discounted chocolate and watch some romantic movies. Cue up your Netflix, Hulu, on Demand, and snuggle up! Below are my top five movies to watch this Valentine’s Day.

  • The Philadelphia Story
    The Philadelphia Story Picture

    What’s better than Katherine Hepburn playing icy, rich socialite and recent divorcee Tracy Lord while wearing a pair of pants? Cary Grant plays Tracy’s ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven, and Jimmy Stewart plays the journalist, Mike Connor, secretly reporting on her impending nuptials. And they’re both vying for her attention, creating a tricky web of romantic engagements. Sparks fly between Hepburn, Grant, and Stewart, both in performance and natural chemistry. For those with valentines who aren’t a fan of classic films, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to The Philadelphia Story. It’s an extremely approachable film for non-cinephiles in its romance and humor. It uses the racy subject of marriage, divorce, and remarrying in a bright, humorous tone, a common theme in the 1930s and 1940s to keep the storyline light. The film is filled with hilarious and sarcastic dialogue, especially when delivered by the stunning Hepburn herself or the film’s two star actors, Grant and Stewart. Even the photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) packs a quiet comedic punch from behind a camera lens. Yet amidst the comedy, Tracy is challenged by her own prejudices to realize truths about class, romance, and herself. The Philadelphia Story is an alluring romantic comedy sure to captivate and entertain.

  • Pretty in Pink
    Pretty In Pink Picture

    Although Pretty in Pink is directed by Howard Deutch, you’re likely more familiar with the film’s writer associated with the Brat Pack, John Hughes. Like many of Hughes’s other works, the film is a coming-of-age story involving high school teens, but Pretty in Pink handles the heartbreaking conflict of romance between two very different classes. When the stylish, but working-class Andie (Molly Ringwald) falls for the preppy, very wealthy Blane (Andrew McCarthy), they face a wave of harsh criticism. As a girl from literally ‘the other side of the tracks’, Andie is a complete outsider from the world of the upper class and often shamed by snobby, upper class teens. Exemplifying the 80s villain archetype is the sleazy, blazer-wearing Steff (fantastically captured James Spader), who has been rejected by Andie and therefore, seeks to make her miserable. Did I mention that he’s also Blane’s BFF?. You should be able to recognize some of the film’s most iconic images, such as Andie’s pink prom dress or her eccentric friend, Ducky (Jon Cryer), donned in a quintessential 80s wardrobe. However, Pretty in Pink’s new wave soundtrack has been hailed for decades as one of the best movie soundtracks of all time. Memorable songs like “If You Leave” take on a heartbreaking second meaning in the climax of the film and make you wish for a John Hughes themed prom of your own.

  • Love & Basketball

    Love and Basketball (Young) Picture

    Is it about sports? Or is it about love? (Hint: it’s about both! Hence the title, go figure.) Love and Basketball is perfect for anyone who wants to watch a remarkable film with a sports-obsessed valentine. I’m all about the romance, but sports films are not my usual for go-to favorites. I get distracted by the sports lingo and end up thinking about how unrealistic it would be if they won the “championship” at the end, then every character’s plotline is neatly wrapped up before the credits roll. Thankfully, Love and Basketball subverts all of these tropes to a degree. Within the film’s central romance, topics such as family relations and gender roles create a strong social background for the high stakes sports drama. The plot follows childhood friends Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) while they pursue their dreams of playing in the NBA. With thoughtful choice in wardrobe and music, the audience is pulled into Monica and Quincy’s relationship which spans from 1980s Los Angeles and lasts more than a decade. While their friendship develops throughout the course of the film, they struggle to support each other’s dreams while both fully committing themselves to the pursuit of their own. Love and Basketball delivers the hard life choices involved with being a professional athlete or simply, a person in love, but maintains an optimism by the end of the film. When it comes to true love, things have a way of working out.

  • Monsoon Wedding

    Monsoon Wedding is an ensemble piece centered on a family in Delhi, India, while they prepare for the traditional wedding of Lalit Verma’s (Naseeruddin Shah) daughter, Aditi (Tillotama Shome). The film juggles multiple characters’ involvements in love and drama with ease. The audience is equally invested in all of the romantic and personal trials, whether it involves Aditi, the soon-to-be bride with a secret to hide, or P.K. Dubey, the wedding contractor who falls for the house’s maid. The drama ranges from light to darker fare, so be warned! The issues of marriage, gender, and family dynamics are cycled through the film and propel the plot forward with poise. Screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan is skillful in keeping pace with the multiple relationships between the characters. While characters often speak more than one language in a scene, the audience follows along with ease; we are intent on unraveling the various mysteries and secrets surrounding the family.  The multilingual aspect of the film also displays the cosmopolitan influence involved with contemporary Indian society. For example, Aditi’s fiancé is Indian, but lives in Texas, Aditi’s cousin, Rahul, is from Australia, and Ria, Aditi’s cousin, ponders about studying abroad in America. The Verma family and their familial problems stretch beyond the borders of India to invoke a global feeling. Monsoon Wedding is an examination not only of family drama, but also of ideas of tradition and the non-traditional, of family and love.

  • Pride & Prejudice

    Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice uses the famed Jane Austen novel of the same name as the core of his film, but bravely takes its own path with the classic. With combined elements of romanticism and realism, cinematography, and score, the film crafts a new atmosphere to distinguish it from its lofty predecessors. Wright’s world of Pride and Prejudice is all encompassing; the methodical use of on-location filming, dirty and grimy scenes of rural life, and the sense of reality involved with the character’s various relationships allows the audience to be completely immersed in this brilliant version of a classic Austen tale. Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) are a duo that are sure to enthrall; Knightley plays a fascinating and clever Elizabeth, and is balanced by Macfadyen, who plays the handsome, affluent, general grump-about-town Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth’s first impression of Mr. Darcy is one of hate, yet as the film goes on, her feelings begin to shift and form something else. Notable faces Carey Mulligan and Jena Malone are cast in early supporting roles as Elizabeth’s younger sisters, Kitty and Lydia, marking their ascension to the Hollywood A-list. With its wonderful score, vision, and accomplished performances by its cast, Pride and Prejudice always succeeds on making me tear up. Oh, Mr. Darcy!


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Alexander Goodlive is an English/cinema double major at the University of Pennsylvania, commuting from Harrisburg. He has five published books, hosts the snarky Internet show “Jaded Hope,” and writes weekly for lordsofpain.net under the alias Al Laiman. In his spare time, he’s a stand-up guru, and recently placed well in the championship round of International Underwater Basket-Weaving

Kim Scott is pursuing a BA in Film and Media Arts at Temple University. She has completed various studies on film analysis and film history with a focus on feminist theory. In her spare time, she can be found reading (anything and everything) or binge-watching TV series on Netflix.

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