Thursday is Valentine’s Day, and my favorite activity on the day devoted to love is watching movies. Every year, people in love try to do everything for their significant other to show him or her that they care. However, sometimes that extreme activity can be taxing on the wallet. This year, why not just cook a nice dinner and enjoy a classic love story by snuggling up with the one you love? Provided the film is at your local chain video store, it shouldn’t cost you more than a few bucks.
In assembling this year’s list of romance-themed films to suggest, I turned to some of my fellow editors at The Oracle to see what does it for them when it comes to Hollywood stars puckering up for our enjoyment. While classics, such as Say Anything and Sleepless In Seattle, were thrown into the mix, surprises came in some of the newer releases, such as Chocolat and For Love of The Game. Game wasn’t the only Costner flick tossed around; Tin Cup was mentioned as a possibility. Also, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were popular choices for leading romantic couple, with Seattle making the grade after You’ve Got Mail got passed up. Here are The Oracle’s top ten 2002 Valentine movies:
Annie Hall, 1977
(recommended by Wade Tatangelo, Off Limits Editor)
The last comedy to win the Best Picture Oscar (before Shakespeare in Love in 1998), Hall is Woody Allen’s social commentary on the awkwardness of dating. Allen broke the mold by using rare techniques, such as talking directly to the camera and subtle observationist humor, to tell his quirky tale of a relationship as it drifts apart. Not necessarily the film that puts you in the mood, but one that makes you laugh nonetheless.
The Princess Bride, 1987
(recommended by William Albritton, Movies Editor)
True love is at the core of one of the greatest pieces of entertainment of all time. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright play Wesley and Buttercup in Rob Reiner’s classic tale of murder, revenge, mystery and love. Fred Savage is the boy whom we relate to as his grandfather, played by Peter Falk, reads him the fairy tale. Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin and Andre The Giant co-star in a film that will make you laugh, cry and hold your loved one close as you attempt to surpass “the five greatest kisses in all the world.”
When Harry Met Sally, 1989
(recommended by Michelle Demeter, Opinion Editor)
Rob Reiner directs Billy Crystal here again and introduces Meg Ryan as the future America’s Sweetheart in a film that hilariously asks, “Can a man and woman simply be friends?” In the decade-spanning, non-linear story, Reiner attempts to answer that question as Crystal and Ryan get dangerously close to becoming more than friends. Harry is a classic, and Ryan’s orgasm scene at the diner will go down in cinematic history.
Say Anything, 1989
(recommended by Steve Gregg, Copy Chief)
Who can forget John Cusack standing outside his love’s driveway with boombox lifted over head as he attempts to win back the girl of his dreams? Cameron Crowe directed this classic romantic comedy about a dork whose high school relationship with the beautiful brain sends him crazy in love. Almost every girl wants her guy to be as romantic as Cusack is here, and it was this movie that made him a star.
Sleepless In Seattle, 1993
(recommended by Stefanie Green, News Editor)
Meg Ryan made a career out of these films, and this marked the first real grown-up role for Hanks. Playing a widower who must raise a son on his own, Hanks tells his tale of sorrow on a late-night national radio show. When Ryan hears his voice, it is enough to leave her fiancÃ©, played by Bill Pullman, and meet him at the top of the Empire State Building. I’m not ashamed to say this movie brought me to tears at age 13.
True Romance, 1993
(recommended by Brandon Wright, Senior Staff Writer)
The most violent love story ever told – but what do you expect from Quentin Tarantino? Christian Slater, in the role of his career, plays a comic-bookstore worker who falls for a call girl after a romantic evening of watching a kung-fu movie marathon. When he goes to settle his new wife Alabama’s (Patricia Arquette) account with her pimp (Gary Oldman), he takes the wrong bag and mayhem ensues. Co-starring Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken and Brad Pitt, True Romance is, at its core, a sweet love story, even though it is drenched in blood, thanks to gunplay galore.
A Walk In the Clouds, 1995
(recommended by Kevin Graham, Editor In Chief)
Although it stars Keanu Reeves, there are some positive aspects of this romantic drama. Directed by Alfonso Arau (Like Water For Chocolate), this beautifully shot film tells the unlikely love tale of a soldier and a pregnant daughter of a hostile vineyard owner. As their love for each other grows, their cultural differences make it difficult for her family to accept their union. Eventually, conflict gives way to unrequited passion, and everyone is happy at the end.
(recommended by Khari Williams, Sports Editor)
While it seems strange for a sports guy to recommend a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic did tell a great love story, and as Khari puts it, “You’re completely wrapped up in the story for three hours.” James Cameron’s epic went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time and win 11 Oscars. Set on the fateful maiden voyage of the Titanic, the tragic film follows the path of star-crossed lovers Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslett) as they spend their first and last days together before their cruise-liner hits an iceberg. Even Khari got choked up after seeing this film.
For Love Of The Game, 1999
(recommended by Sam Taylor, Photo Editor)
Never has a film successfully walked the fine line between the sports genre and romance drama as well as Game. Told through mental flashbacks during a perfect game being pitched by Kevin Costner, the film chronicles the relationship of an aging baseball pitcher and his writer girlfriend (Kelly Preston). Costner and Preston both show acting chops during their dramatic scenes and yet make a convincing pair as two people in love that the audience can relate to.
(recommended by Ryan Meehan, Managing Editor)
Juliette Binoche’s mystical chocolate shop brings life to a town in rural France that is bored and dreary. Not everyone comes around at the beginning, but soon her secret recipe aphrodisiac warms over even the coolest of hearts. But how could a woman who brings love to so many people not have a love of her own? Enter Johnny Depp as a river gypsy, and love is in the air. Director Lasse Hallstrom’s dreamy images of Binoche swirling her chocolate leave the audience craving the sugary treat – how apropos on Valentine’s Day.