February 14th is upon us. It’s the day you’re either cuddled up with your partner after a night of eating fancy food at your favorite restaurant and exchanging the sweetest (literally) presents, or the day you’re on your phone living vicariously through them, wondering when it’ll be you. That said, we mustn’t forget the reason for the season—love. And lucky for you, I’m an advocate of celebrating love in all its forms. Love for your partner, your friend, and of course, yourself. With this in mind, I put together a list of films to see with any of these people, in honor of this special day. Valentine’s falls on a Monday this year, but thankfully we have a whole weekend before that, and the whole of Monday night. So whether you’re with the love of your life, friend(s) with benefits, friend(s) with no(t those kinds of) benefits or you’re by yourself, there’s something for you.
Adam Sandler may not be many people’s favorite but he certainly has a number of noteworthy performances, and high up the list is Punch-Drunk Love (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination), where he played the role of socially awkward Barry Egan who falls victim to a gang of extortionists and falls in love with Lena Leonard (Emily Watson). While this may be an unconventional choice for a Valentine’s Day film, it sends a powerful message of how uplifting love can feel. Paul Thomas Anderson mesmerizes us with his otherworldly directing skills and puts us in Barry’s shoes such that we experience, from his perspective, the happiness and excitement that love brings. Quietly funny, and immensely
brilliant, Punch-Drunk Love sends a sweet message that life is a lot better when you feel less alone. We see Barry’s entire life change when Lena steps into it, and understand that love isn’t something you see but something you experience, and completely too. “I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine,” pretty much sums it up.
How would you feel about being stuck in a time loop with someone you like? Palm Springs tells the story of Niles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) who end up stuck with each other on a never-ending day. When the movie kicks off, Niles is already living in the time loop and a few minutes in, Sarah who is technically meeting him for the first time accidentally joins him there. The experience forces them to self-evaluate, and we see the development of their relationship from thereon. This movie is highly refreshing in that it takes somewhat common tropes, fuses them together, and gives us something charmingly different. It’s a heartwarming, comfortable movie that can be seen with anyone or no one at all, in any season. The chemistry between the lead cast humor and charms you at the same time. At a point in the movie, Sarah asks Nyles, “What if we get sick of each other?” to which he responds, “We’re already sick of each other, it’s the best!” Yup, we can definitely relate.
3.Sleeping With Other People
“We’re not a couple but we act like one.”
Although it’s set in Christmas, Sleeping With Other People is a great choice for Valentine’s Day. It’s a rom-com about two college students, Jake and Lainey (Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie) who randomly lose their virginities to each other. About 12 years later, they meet again at a sex addiction meeting and discover they both have the same problem—all their relationships have been failing because they’re unable to stay faithful. Although they acknowledge their mutual sexual attraction, they decide to keep things platonic between them, in order not to ruin their friendship— now, we all know how hard this is. The movie chronicles how these two navigate this difficult task. Sudeikis is his usual humorous, witty self, and Alison Brie as always, is a solid performer and together, they’re magic. It’s funny, a little steamy, and extremely entertaining. Personally, my favorite scene in this movie is when Jake teaches Lainey how to have an orgasm. Shoutout to Leslye Headland (I love it when women direct
4.Forgetting Sarah Marshall
We’ve probably all heard of this one. Contrary to what you might believe, Forgetting Sarah Marshall isn’t just for people dealing with a breakup or trying to get over an ex, it’s for anyone. I’ve seen this movie twice. Once with a group of friends, and another time with a partner, and both times were equally enjoyable. Peter (Jason Segel), has just been dumped by his rising star actress girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), leaving him completely wrecked. In a bid to get over her, he takes a trip to Hawaii and soon discovers that she is also there…with her new boyfriend. An important thing about this film is its use of humor to
explore what it’s like to rebuild after a heartbreak. Considering this is a 2008 comedy, which was the era of “find a funny premise, cast some funny guys, add a bit of sex appeal, and pack as many jokes into a 90-minute, three-act arc as possible,” Forgetting Sarah Marshall does a good job standing out by not toeing that line. Hawaii, Mila Kunis, raunch and Jason Segel’s full frontal—this film puts these all together and gives you something heartfelt
5.The Spectacular Now
“This is our night. This is the youngest that we’re ever gonna be.” Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber— the same writers of 500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now tells the story of popular, the life of the party high school student, Stutter (Miles Teller) and shy, unassuming Aimee (Shailene Woodley) who develop an unlikely romance after she finds him passed out on a lawn after a drunk night. This is an incredible coming-of-age film and Woodley is phenomenal in her role, with undeniable chemistry with her co-lead. Unlike the typical teenage romcoms packed with sex, slurs, drugs, and alcohol, The Spectacular Now explores themes such as love, uncertainty, childhood trauma, and ambition. It takes a look back at young love and the transition to adulthood while dealing with personal relationships. It is indeed spectacular with organic and honest storytelling. It’s a wrap-yourselves-up-in-a-blanket type of film that evokes an intimate feeling, and a deep connection with the characters.
Grab some food, wine, or whatever does it for you and treat yourself to a beautiful
Valentine’s Day celebration in front of your screen this year—alone or not. You’re