If you’re going to be watching the obligatory romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day, it might as well be a good one.
The Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail
This is kind of cheating, but I put both of them in the same category because the “classic” Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan flick was based off of the more classic Jimmy Stewart romance. Both of them are incredibly fun and heart-warming stories about two people that hate each other, but accidentally fall in love by being anonymous pen pals with each other. I happen to think the older is the better of the two, but if for some reason you’re one of those strange people that can’t stand to watch black and white movies, you can’t go wrong with the Hanks/Ryan film.
A Walk to Remember
I may get some flack for this one, but this is one of the best romances I’ve ever seen. It’s based on a Nicholas Sparks book, but unlike many of his other stories, this does not depict a relationship that relies on premarital sex to make its point. It involves some pretty deep character development and is one of the few secular love stories that unequivocally espouses a love that is entirely focused on the other person and not just making yourself feel good. That said, a fair warning: if you can’t stomach less than happy endings, this probably isn’t a film for you. If you can, however, it’s more than worth your time.
Sweet Home Alabama
There are several Reese Witherspoon rom-coms to choose from, but this one tops the list. It doesn’t just top the list because it has good acting (which it does) or lots of funny moments (which it also has). It beats out the others because it’s not your typical “boy meets girl” story. The story starts with the boy having already met the girl, and even married the girl . . . but they’re separated and she wants a divorce. The story is about them learning to fall in love again. I like this for several reasons, not the least of which is Hollywood finally showing a man as capable of true commitment. Most of all, though, I like it because it goes against the “we don’t love each other anymore, so we should call it quits” mantra that pervades the subjective American love culture.
The Princess Bride
This is really the perfect film for a couple where one of the two doesn’t care for mushy stuff that much. There’s romance, to be sure, but you don’t have to like romance to like the movie. It’s one of the funniest movies ever made, which has garnered a significant cult following, not to mention approximately half of all Internet memes. And if you don’t find yourself laughing at Inigo Montoya, that’s fine, because the love story really is great.
Before Amy Adams was Lois Lane or Margaret Keane, she was That Redheaded Chick in Leap Year. She plays Anna, who travels to Dublin, Ireland, to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, because of an old Irish tradition. Like any great romantic comedy, however, things don’t work out like they’re supposed to. It’s both funny and sweet, and it reeled me in before I was willing to admit that I was a man who liked romantic comedies, so that’s saying something.
You can follow Logan Judy on Twitter at @loganrjudy.