by NATALIE PENRY
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Feb. 2020) - Hello, and welcome to your regularly scheduled programming, “Natalie Rates Movies for Fun.” Today’s episode centers around everyone’s ~favorite~ holiday honoring St. Valentine. Some clarifications about this list: it’s not the 10 best rom-coms or rom-drams I could think of--this is the top 10 best movies centered around Valentine’s Day. So while The Vow and The Notebook are oozing romance, they don’t fit the criteria. With that being said, grab ya boo or ya girls and get ready to celebrate Valentine’s AND Galentine’s Day with some movies.
10. Dater’s Handbook - 1/5 Hearts
To start this list, we go to the most obvious low-quality movie in the list, Dater’s Handbook. It is a Hallmark movie, so the standards are automatically lowered, but even so. Cassie has a history of picking the ~wrong guys~, so she does what any logical, love-deprived young adult does and consults a self-help book written by Dr. Susie. (What kind of name is Dr. Susie, Hallmark Channel?) Dr. Susie has written a literal Dater’s Handbook, which Cassie consults in order to choose between two Hallmark Hot Guys, Robert and George. To be honest, the only reason this film made the list is that Meghan Markle is Cassie, and I think it’s kinda inspirational to see the former Duchess of Sussex in a Hallmark movie. Things can get better kids.
9. Isn’t It Romantic - 1.5/5 Hearts
Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Andy Devine and THE QUEEN Priyanka Chopra come together to poke fun at the traditional romantic comedy. Without spoiling anything, this movie goes through the traditional rom-com steps of falling in love, and then realizing you were actually in love with the dorky friend, BUT there is the added bonus of a dance number with all four leads. Honestly, the best part of this movie for me is seeing Rebel Wilson and Andy Devine together because it seems like a mini Pitch Perfect reunion (Amy and Bumper 4eva). A fun movie to see once on an airplane, probably not the best choice for a night in.
8. I Hate Valentine’s Day - 1/5 Hearts
This movie is truly rough. Like really rough. Like in Rotten Tomato’s bottom 200 films of all time low. But it’s a My Big Fat Greek Wedding reunion with both Nina Vardalos and John Corbett. Genevieve is a florist who believes she can only find ~romantic achievement~ by going on 5 or less dates with a guy. Enter Greg (John Corbett), who forces her to re-evaluate her whack philosophy. I mean, honestly, this movie just seems weird. I have never met anyone who remotely resembles Genevieve, so it just seems forced and not very romantic at all. Maybe if you hate Valentine’s Day and you want to watch sucky movies, give this one a shot.
7. How to be Single - 2/5 Hearts
On that anti-Valentine’s vibe, we come to How to Be Single, again starring Rebel Wilson. (Are you doing okay sis, you seem to be going through it??) Dakota Johnson is the actual lead, playing Alice, an aspiring paralegal. Through a series of hijinx, Alice, her sister Meg (Leslie Mann), Robin (Rebel Wilson), and Lucy (Alison Brie) explore being single in the city (Carrie Bradshaw anyone?) whilst being ~promiscuous~ with certain coworkers or bartenders. I honestly think the best part of this movie is the ending, which I don’t want to give away, so I’ll shut up. It’s a good movie for Galentine’s Day, because it celebrates being single in a way that isn’t hating on couples. It’s more of a female empowerment movie, and Lord knows we need more of those in the world.
6. A Charlie Brown Valentine - 3/5 Hearts
Awww, aren’t we all out there looking for our Little Red-Haired Girl? Charlie Brown goes through a comedy of errors trying to get his crush, Little Red-Haired Girl, to go to the Valentine’s Day Dance with him, whilst fending off Peppermint Patty and Marcie (both of whom are ~in love~ with him). Meanwhile, Lucy… well to be honest, she really doesn’t do anything in this movie except cause issues, but she’s a queen, and we love her for it. Sally dogs after Linus again, but the security blanket reigns supreme, and Linus escapes unharmed. Amidst all this chaos, Snoopy is being a real Don JuanTM, annoying Charlie Brown to no end. Is it not really a movie because it’s only like 30 minutes? Yes. Should it really be on this list? No. Am I going to put it at #6 because I have an inexplicable love for the Peanuts? Yes. Should you watch it and see the heartwarming ending? *winks aggressively*
5. Obvious Child - 3/5 Hearts
CONTROVERSY WARNING: Abortion. Yes, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. This entire movie is about Donna (Jenny Slate) scheduling her abortion after having a one night stand with Max (Jake Lacy - you’ll recognize him as Pete from The Office). The only opening Planned Parenthood has is on Valentine’s Day, so Donna has to deal with all that ~pregnancy drama~. There’s a really cute rapport between Donna and Max, and the ending warms your heart in a very love-withstands-all-sorts-of-unknowns kind of way. The movie was highly praised by critics, and I agree with them. It’s not a silly, light-hearted rom-com, but it’s a real, heartwarming film about love, both with partners and children.
4. An Affair to Remember - 3.5/5 Hearts
Love. Boats. The Empire State Building. Classic elements to the Classic Love StoryTM. Something tells me the majority of high schoolers are not going to watch this for the sole reason that it’s from 1957 and in black and white; however, that’s dumb and they should get over their bias of old movies. Two strangers meet on a cruise, and they fall madly in love (despite each having a significant other), promising to rendezvous at the Empire State Building in six months if they still want a relationship. Because this is a movie and nothing can ever go right, something obviously stops this from happening. I won’t spoil the rest, but it does end on one of those happy, 1950s life-is-simple-and-uncomplicated notes.
3. Valentine’s Day - 4/5 Hearts
You should want to see this movie for the cast alone. Bradley Cooper (Rocket Racoon), Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy), Eric Dane (McSteamy), Taylor Lautner (Wolf Boy), Anne Hathaway (Princess Mia), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman), Emma Roberts (Chanelle #1), Queen Latifah (the literal Queen) and so many more. You may ask, “How can so many talented actors be in one single film, Natalie?” and I will answer, “This Gary Marshall rom-com follows a ‘Love Actually’ vibe, with an ensemble vibe that focuses on several smaller stories connecting together.” Intrigued yet? I literally could not give a small synopsis of this film because every story is intertwined, creating an intricate web of cinematic greatness. I will leave you with this: Valentine’s Day tells every sort of love story, from romantic to parental to friendship. It passes the vibe check, and that’s that on that.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 4/5 Hearts
Any movie with Mark Ruffalo is going to be great, and that’s just the law of the land. This is actually kind of a sad vibes movie, but the ending is happy. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet meet on a train to Montauk, and they discover that they had actually dated each other for two years, but had undergone a memory wipe after the relationship ended bitter. A love story ensues. Separately, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood are all working for the memory-erasing company, and there are plenty of subplots there. I mean, my takeaway from this movie is that technology is bad and you should just tough it out with your own memories, but the ending is cute, and I just really like Mark Ruffalo.
1. Sleepless in Seattle - 5/5 Hearts
Our winner tonight is none other than Mr. Tom Hanks, our Lord and Savior. And Meg Ryan, I guess. Her too. This is hands down the best romantic Valentine’s Day movie, and I absolutely adore it. Tom Hanks is left taking care of Jonah, his eight year old son, after his wife dies. Mr. Hanks does some ~therapeutic talking~ on a late night radio talk show broadcast around the country. Enter Meg Ryan, who listens to Tom’s story and realizes that there’s something missing from her current engagement. Shades of An Affair to Remember pop-up (literally, Meg Ryan watches the movie), and she writes a letter asking Tom Hanks to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building BUT she doesn’t send it because she is ~weak.~ Naturally, fate intervenes and life happens, culminating in one of the best final scenes to any Hollywood rom-com. I refuse to talk about anymore of this movie in hopes that you will go watch it yourself and find the ending. I cannot recommend a better Valentine’s Day movie (I mean obviously, I ranked this #1), but seriously y’all, do not sleep on “Sleepless in Seattle.” Your life will be better off for it.
Thank you for coming to my TedTalk, I hope you find at least one movie here to watch on your Valentine’s and/or Galentine’s Day. If you’re anything like me, a box of chocolates, a jar of peanut butter and a comically large bucket of popcorn will accompany you to see these cinematic greats.