Another year, another list of movies I watched for Valentine’s Day.
If you spent the most romantic day of the year alone and were wanting to feel emotional, or if you were cuddled up with a significant other on the couch while eating popcorn, watching movies on Feb. 14 is always an enjoyable way to pass the time.
With that said, here’s my latest list of 10 underrated/hidden gem movies that heavily feature romance. Let’s dive in, and be sure to let me know what you think about my list by emailing me.
10. Keeping The Faith (2000)
Keeping The Faith is a lighthearted, religious-themed rom-com starring Ben Stiller, Edward Norton (who also directed it), and Jenna Elfman. The movie’s basically about a priest and a rabbi who are best friends that both end up falling in love with the same woman they knew from childhood. The film has a nice combination of adult humour and emotional moments that make it well worth checking out.
9. Angel Eyes (2001)
Jennifer Lopez stars as a cop whose life is saved one night by a quiet stranger with a dark past (subtly played by Jim Caviezel). The film features terrific performances from Lopez and Caviezel – they have legit chemistry as their characters’ connect over the course of the film – and thanks to a surprisingly deep script that explores the rough realities of love and loss, Angel Eyes makes for an ultimately enriching and rewarding experience.
8. Return Of The Living Dead 3 (1993)
How far would you go for the person you love? Well, in Return Of The Living Dead 3, the main character Curt goes so far as to save his dead girlfriend by “reanimating” her into a zombie. While this underrated horror flick has a compelling, tragic romance at its center, it also has tons of gory scenes as well. ROTLD 3 is primarily for those who want to watch something different on Valentine’s Day. Bonus points, you don’t need to see the first two movies to understand this one.
7. Playing By Heart (1998)
Playing By Heart features 11 characters who are all going through various life affairs in Los Angeles as their parallel stories eventually start to converge. This is a great romance film, it’s also really funny and has a nostalgic late 90’s feel to it that makes it standout amongst the pack. My favourite storyline in the film is the one between Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands, who play a married couple that are going through changes to their marriage later on in life.
6. Out Of Sight (1998)
Out Of Sight is another film starring Jennifer Lopez. This time Lopez is trying to catch bank robber George Clooney who’s broken out of prison and is on the run. Will she catch him, or will she fall in love with him and let him go? Based on a fantastic book by Elmore Leonard, this is one of my all-time favourite films, mainly thanks to the very entertaining script and expert direction by Steven Soderbergh. Also, the romance between Lopez and Clooney is off the charts throughout the entire running time.
5. Two If By Sea (1996)
It’s not a Valentine’s Day movie column without a Sandra Bullock rom-com making the list. This year I chose Two If By Sea, one of her more obscure films that doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, which in my opinion is a real shame. Bullock stars with Dennis Leary as a dysfunctional couple who steal an expensive painting and then go into hiding on an island while waiting to sell it. The script, co-written by Leary, has an undeniable charm to it that lasts from start to finish. You really become invested in the characters as they work through various issues while on the lam.
4. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a Nicolas Cage movie I’d always wanted to check out but had never gotten around to, so this year I specifically went out of my way to give it a watch. Most of the film is basically about Cage (an Italian commander in WW2) falling in love with Pelagia (played by Penelope Cruz) on a remote Greek island untouched by the war. The film not only has beautiful mediterranean scenery and an intriguing love triangle between Cage, Cruz, and a young Christian Bale, but it also features heartwrenching battle scenes during the third act climax.
3. Bound (1996)
Before the Wachowskis became famous for The Matrix, they made Bound starring Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon. Tilly and Gershon play lovers who decide to steal millions of laundered dollars from Tilly’s mafia boyfriend (Joe Pantoliano) in this brilliantly crafted, sexy and intense neo-noir film. Tilly and Gershon have excellent chemistry together, and the script has enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire way.
2. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Ah, young love. Moonrise Kingdom features a pair of teenage lovers in the 1960’s who decide to run away together, which in turn causes a local search party to form and chase after them. This might be my favourite Wes Anderson film, and for good reason. It really made me reminisce on my childhood, my own first love, and ultimately made me feel sad that I’m not a kid anymore. C’est la vie.
1. Raising Victor Vargas (2002)
Victor Vargas is known as something of a ladies man in his Dominican community in New York’s lower east side. When his reputation is shattered one day, he decides to pursue Judy to salvage his name. However, Judy has trust issues and is not won over very easily. Raising Victor Vargas is a great coming of age story about youthful love and growth as a human being.
Tyson Whitney is a devout fan of cinema and the editor of the North Island Gazette in Port Hardy
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