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Couch Sabbatical: Valentine’s Day edition

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 01:02



1. “Francis Ha” (2012): Greta Gerwig stars as Frances, an aspiring dancer in New York. Think HBO’s hit show “Girls,” Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and early Jean-luc Godard, and what you get is a funny, often maddening protagonist at the crossroads between a post-graduate psyche and the slow ascent into adulthood in Noah Baumbach’s ode to the French New Wave.  

Where to find it: Netflix

2. “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002): For those seeking out the oeuvre of Philip Seymour Hoffman after his tragic death, this romance from America’s great auteur P.T. Anderson is a fine way to pay your respects to the late actor. But with this film you can also surmise the nuances of Adam Sandler’s acting dexterity as Barry — a delicate man on the exterior, but inside, he faces a brutal, raging storm as he slowly falls in love with his sister’s co-worker, Lena, played by the beautiful Emily Watson.  

Where to find it: Netflix

3. “It Happened One Night” (1934): This pioneering film from director Frank Capra practically invented what we know today as the “romantic comedy.” Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable both won Oscars for their roles, and the film won one for best picture.

Where to find it: iTunes.

4. “West Side Story” (1961): If you ever wondered from where the Jets and Sharks originate, then look no further than this classic musical from Robert Wise. Funny, sad and damn right fun to watch, “West Side Story” is a fantastic introduction to what the Hollywood Musical is capable of achieving.

  Where to find it: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu

5. “Harold and Maude” (1971): Perhaps the most unconventional comedy between man and woman on this list, however the late Hal Ashby created an endearing and profound message about pathos, and how transformation through love is something we all desire while alive. 

Where to find it: Netflix



1. “My Bloody Valentine” (1981): The title says it all, doesn’t it? This slasher film is one of the best in the genre, and has an ending that still leaves me in awe. This horror gem is for those who like their romance films with a sprinkle of gore. 

Where to find it: Amazon Prime

2. “In The Realm of the Senses” (1976): A graphic and unequivocal portrayal of sexual desire in one of the most controversial films of all time. Director Naghisa Oshima’s film is still unseen to this day by most Japanese people. This is “50 Shades of Grey” before there was “50 Shades of Grey.” Warning to the gentlemen: Do not watch it with any knives in the peripherals of your date.  

Where to find it: Hulu

3. “Weekend” (2011): This romantic drama about two gay men in England is a contemporary meditation on promiscuous sex and the effects of one-night stands. It is vicious and melancholic, but nonetheless a rewarding experience from director Andrew Haigh

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