With the recession in full effect, and Valentine's Day dinner reservations at a premium, plenty of couples will be staying in to snuggle over a movie on February 14. But what film to choose?
There are thousands of lists of romantic films floating around in cyberspace, and most of them are a recycling of the same trite plots. Before you gag yourself with a heart-shaped spoon, check out our list of alternative Valentine's Day films for alternative couples. Because almost none of them are sickeningly sappy, they're also safe to view during the remaining 364 days of the year during which being retardedly in love is not mandatory. Enjoy!
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
countless dramatic films have shown through the ages, nothing brings
people together like the end of the world. What this film lacks in the
romance department, it makes up for in apocalyptic hilarity that will
make you and your dorky mate wanna make babies before the world comes to
its hilarious demise.
It's about insane Brigadier General Jack Ripper and his plan to launch nuclear holocaust on the Soviet Union based on his suspicion that the fluoridation of the U.S. water supply is in fact a Soviet plot to poison Americans. Despite the fact that only Ripper himself knows the code to recall the B-52 bombers on the mission, a war room full of world politicians and generals try frantically to stop the attack. The incomparable Peter Sellers plays three roles in this black and white cult classic.
For cross-generational couples:
Harold and Maude
Whether you're a cougar running your tongue across the washboard abs of your 24-year-old boy toy or a sugar baby wincing as your aging Daddy Warbucks involuntarily drools on you, this odd love story is bound to make you feel like your unorthodox romance is as predictable as the sunrise.
Morose over-privileged teen Harold meets eccentric octogenarian Maude while both are crashing a funeral. Grand theft auto, gruesomely staged suicides, and a soundtrack by Cat Stevens with a relatively heavy-handed sunny message (to contrast the rather morbid undertones of the film) make this one-of-a-kind flick a great way to remind yourselves that love comes in all forms.
For the sappy couple:
As though they were sweet, gushy caramels, people tend to overdose on romantic films and then never wish to see them again. The Notebook, Titanic, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, Pretty Woman... the list goes on. But Dirty Dancing is one romance flick that we can stomach again and again. Maybe it's the combination of Romeo and Juliet-style forbidden romance, eye-catching choreography, and the tight, sexy bodies of Jennifer Grey (before the nose job that ruined her career) and Patrick Swayze (before, well, you know) moving to nostalgia-inducing '80s grooves. In any case, after cuddling to this flick, you and your Valentine are sure to feel like doing the horizontal tango all night. (We know, it's hardly alternative, but we had to include one uber-sweet title -- it is Valentines's Day, after all.)
For gay guys:
Dudes who love dudes deserve some cinematic V-Day romance, and this little-known love story is sure to do the trick. The Trip is about a sexually repressed gay republican named Tommy and his eventual lover, a swaggering liberated gay activist named Alan. The two draw together, only to be separated by a blast from Tommy's past that creates a perilous rift between the two young men. A decade later, they get another shot. This indie never achieved the fame that Brokeback Mountain did, but it was critically revered and won three Sundance Film Festival Awards. You and your boyfriend are gonna love it.
For lesbian lovers:
This German-language power chick flick may not have any explicit girl-on-girl sex scenes (sorry, horny straight guys), but it's full of female sex appeal minus the kowtowing to male sex ideals.
Four beautiful convict musicians break out of a women's prison for the chance to play at a police ball far outside the institution's walls. As news of their escape -- and their music -- spreads, they gain notoriety and enjoy commercial success along their eventful escape route. This quasi-rock musical isn't a love story, per se, but it is driven by passion for music and life in general, and there's certainly some romance in that.
For polyamorous pals:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Do you have more than one Valentine this year? Then find a roomy couch and watch this sexy existential film with them all.
This is the American screen adaptation of the book of the same name from Czech novelist Milan Kundera. It tells the story of humans' struggle to choose between lives of limitless freedom, autonomy, and detachment (lightness) and lives of companionship, attachment, and the responsibility that accompanies (heaviness). That's a fancy way of saying that it's about a ménage à trois. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Tomas, a brain surgeon who's carried out an extended and open love affair with bohemian artist Sabina (Lena Olin) before he encounters Tereza (Juliette Binoche), a waitress from a small town, who latches onto him and suffers as a consequence of his continuously airy lifestyle. A top hat and a mirror make for some mighty sexy scenes in this beautiful and complicated love story set in Prague in the late 1960s.
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For long-time married couples who think they've seen it all:
Eyes Wide Shut
Okay, so maybe two Kubrick films on a Valentine's Day movie list is a bit excessive.
Regardless, this twisted, dangerous, and undeniably sexy piece of cinematic ass is just what Cupid ordered for those married couples stuck in the doldrums of lackluster sex land. When Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) finds out his curator wife (Nicole Kidman) fantasizes about other potential partners and scoffs at his denial of doing the same, the doctor prescribes himself some extra-marital sexual healing. Soon he ends up in the grips of a decadent secret sex society, and realizes that he may have taken a deadly dose of taboo lovin'. After watching this dark and lusty classic, you'll both be excited to do insane things to each other... in the safety of your own bedroom, of course.