Some Good Valentine’s Day Movies, And What They Say About Love

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d go a-listin’: here are 10 of my favorite movies about love, and what, as far as I can make out, they have to say about the concept. Fair warning—not all of these are frothy romantic comedies. A few are pretty dark—I wouldn’t recommend watching Leaving Las Vegas with your hubby to get in the mood (unless, of course, both of you are turned on by existential despair. Then by all means go ahead.)

(P.S.: Spoiler alert—I give up some plot points, if you haven’t seen some of these yet)

Chasing Amy(1997)

According to this film, love:

Is unmediated by categories like sexual orientation. A lesbian (Joey Laurence Adams) can fall in love with a dude (Ben Affleck) if they both get carried away inside a steamy car, driving through a rain storm late at night. (Someone running inside from pouring rain has always been the default visual metaphor for satisfaction of long-unrequited love–to contrast the warmth of your lover’s hearth with the chaos of the outside world, and also because make-out sessions look hotter when the girl is wet) But we are all hypocrites when it comes to sex—our own passion may destroy those sexual morays which hinder it, but we enforce our own needs on our partners. There is no such thing as free love, because we always make demands on it which satisfy some basic need within ourselves.

Upper or downer?

Downer.

When Harry Met Sally(1989)

According to this film, love:

Is at its best between friends, although it takes a long, long time to figure out. This is not a concept that holds true very often in real life (let us now pour out a forty for every time a brother’s found himself in the friend zone), but in this movie it plays out like the most sensible thing ever.

Upper or downer?

Upper.

Leaving Las Vegas(1995)

According to this film, love:

Realizes its purest form only when both partners have, literally, nothing else in the world to live for. Thus, love between successful preppy attractive twentysomethings is a pale imitation of the stuff of real passion.  Love between an alcoholic loser determined to drink himself to death and a hooker with no friends, in the seedy heart of the most desperately pathetic city in America, is the truest kind.

Upper or downer?

Downer. But—with some consideration, maybe not as bad a downer as you’d think.

The Apartment (1960)

According to this film, love:

Plays games in a pretty inconsiderate and even mean-spirited fashion—occasionally tempting us with glimpses of possibility, and snatching it away twice as quick. The objects of our affection do not come around to us the way we hoped they would, but perseverance, and above all genuine feeling, can win us our heart’s desire.

Upper or downer?

Downer, downer, downer—then big upper. There isn’t a CW Network ingénue or Victoria’s Secret model alive I’d take over a thirty-year old Shirley MacLaine.

The Graduate(1967)

According to this film love:

Will not turn out as well as you hoped. This movie has to have the most surprisingly depressing ending in the history of comedies.

Upper or downer?

Upppe…….what?

Titanic(1998)

According to this film love:

Is not enough for Kate Winslet to scoot her ass over on that piece of drift wood.

Upper or downer:

Upper for love, downer for Whatever Happened to Equitable Suicide Pacts?

Say Anything(1989)

According to this film love:

Can happen between a doofus and a swan, provided the doofus is John Cusack. The title actually refers to a conversation between Cusack’s love interest (Ione Skye, who seemed to disappear off the face of the earth after this movie) and her dad, who raised her as an immense overachiever on his own. This movie encourages devotion to one’s partner, and single-minded pursuit of the prize, even if they are out of your league. We also learned that nothing gets teens hotter than driving lessons, and every one of us should, before we die, run to our significant other’s front yard in a rain storm and lift a stereo over our heads blasting appropriately emotional music. (At no time is it too late to do this. Nursing homes should be running amok with 90-year old would-be Lloyd Doblers, breaking their backs trying to carry around boomboxes.)

Upper or downer:

Upper.

The Palm Beach Story(1942)

According to this film love:

Is probably going to suffer when faced with pragmatic issues like ‘there’s not enough money for rent’ and ‘my husband has proven he’s not a reliable breadwinner.’ We should, when we reach this point, do the sensible thing and just end it, for both of us. But we should then fly off on a cross-country tour wherein we meet and reject billionaire suitors, only to find the appropriate channel whereby we may ensure said husband becomes a successful breadwinner. This film, one of the favorites from the renowned Preston Sturges, offers sane and pragmatic critiques of the romantic way to view things, then dynamites them to reprimand the audience for being so callous.

Upper or downer:

Upper.

Harold and Maude (1971)

According to this film love:

Has no reason to be ashamed of physical or aesthetic deficiencies, nor society’s collective gag reflex. A teenager (Bud Cort) who has an obsession with death meets, and falls in love with, a septuagenarian with similar proclivities. They are soul mates who happened to be born sixty years apart. It’s a sweet movie with an affecting ending, and it also reminds us that love is wrapped up in death in more ways than we realize—sometimes as a vehicle to rage against the dying of the light; sometimes, as here, a paean to the glimpse of existence all of us are afforded; made beautiful, if in nothing else, then in its brevity.

Upper or downer:

Downer, but we get to meditate deeply on the way down.

Annie Hall (1977)

According to this film love:

Is understandable through this joke: Guy goes to a psychiatrist. Says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken.’ Doctor says, ‘Why don’t you turn him in?’ Guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’

Alvy Singer:  (Love) “…..is totally irrational, crazy and absurd, but we keep going through it, because most of us need the eggs.”

 Upper or downer:

You decide.

Advertisements

About hubzbubz

Currently residing in Brooklyn.
This entry was posted in Movies, Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Some Good Valentine’s Day Movies, And What They Say About Love

  1. Sharon says:

    I like your love-themed movie post. I haven’t seen several of those films but maybe I’ll go rent them now!

  2. hubzbubz says:

    Still renting movies? Kind of 2004, isn’t it? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s