Monday, February 14, 2011

Obligatory Valentine's Day Post/Movie Reviews!

Unless you live under a rock and/or have never been to my blog before, you know that my husband isn’t around for awhile.  I gave up caring about whether he was here for holidays or other important occasions a long time ago, so his missing Valentine’s Day was a big, fat WHATEVER.  
I feel pretty ambivalent toward the holiday in general, and it’s been really interesting to watch Facebook all day to see how other people feel about it.  Here are some sample status messages from my friends (verbatim, except in instances where I changed names--all misspellings and grammar errors should be attributed to original author):
  • Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone except homophobes, misogynists, racists, sociopaths, pedophiles and the like as you suck, so while others may blanketly wish happiness upon you, I do not.
  • Bought myself Tulips, I loved them by the way (How did I know they were my favorite?). Dad (and the kids) got me a bear, balloon and chocolate, B brought Reese's.... All in all a great Valentines Day. :-)
  • To all my single lades all my single ladies,all my single ladies, all my single ladies,... "How You 'Doin?" (wink).
  • Got flowers at work for the first time.
  • I’m so grateful to have a wonderful husband that loves me and spoils me all day, every day.
  • Cupid brought me a valentine...his name is pneumonia. Fail.
  • ‎"A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short" Andre Maurois
  • [My] dog brought in what can only be described as an inside-out animal of somekind. It's the weirdest creature-thing/valentine I've ever seen.
  • Okay so people are really hating on V-Day! If you don't like it for whatever reason then don't comment on it. Those of us who are enjoying the day can do without the negativity.
  • how does one give up on someone that your mind knows will not work, but your heart hasn't figured it out yet.
  • Happy overly commercialized Hallmark holiday! Anybody want to work for me? Anyone? Bueller?
  • I know it's V-day and people are changing their profile pics to their significant other blah blah blah but I just want to make it clear that I am NOT in a 3-way relationship with G and M...BUT this month is out 2-year friend anniversary so I guess that's something to celebrate!!! Eeeeeeeee!!!
  • hearts and flowers and singing cards and shit.
  • already getting after the chocolate. the day is young- lots more to tackle :)
  • As we think of the ones we love remember love shouldn't hurt. Every 15 seconds a women is being abused by a loved one and evey 38 seconds a man is. Weather it's physical or emotional LOVE SHOULD NOT HURT!
  • wishing cupid was a little house cleaner that deep cleaned my bathroom, folded all my laundry AND put it away, and went to the grocery store for me today. just sayin;)
  • Is valentines day over yet?
  • Valentines Day is not romantic. Im at work. Whats sexy about that? Just sayin.
  • I'm missing my Valentine today
  • Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day. Nicholas Sparks
I’m not endorsing any of the statements as my own feelings.  Just thought the variety was interesting.  I just think it’s more of a kids holiday and would actually be kind of pissed if all of a sudden my husband turned into a romantic idiot after not having done anything romantic all year so far.  Just saying.  
In fact, I spent the day at the gynecologist’s office (accompanied by both of my children because Will was home from school sick).  So, super special.
Anyway, I felt like I needed to write an obligatory Valentine’s Day post, but I’ve actually been anti-motivated to write the last few days.  Just feeling really blah.  I decided the best way to write about love on this love-filled day was to make a few movie recommendations.  It makes just as much sense as anything, right?
To be clear, I am NOT recommending this movie.  Keep reading for the actual recommendations.
So, I’ve mentioned before that one of the pros of having an absent husband is that I get to load up my Netflix queue with romantic comedies.  Now, I will watch just about any shallow J. Lo movie in which she’s a bumbling, fumbling aw-shucks kind of girl who has been unlucky in love (despite the fact that she has a quirky, fun job, is obviously one of the mostgorgeouswomentowalkthefaceoftheearth, loves old people, and has a genuine heart of gold).  Mindless, fun, and hopelessly romantic?  Sure, why not?  
But there are some movies out there--some that might even be considered “romantic comedies” that are genuinely worth watching for real.  Not just for the mindlessness, but for the entertainment because they are really, really good.
So, here are my favorite movie love stories in no particular order.  I have watched all of these movies more times than is healthy probably, sometimes with multiple viewings in a single day.  And don’t worry--these are spoiler-free because there’s nothing I hate more than when someone tells me too much about a movie after recommending I see it:
Philadelphia Story: I am officially in love with both Carey Grant and Jimmy Stewart, and if they were still alive, they’d both make my freebie five.  And Katharine Hepburn?  Don’t even get me started.  She’s my absolute hero.  So, when you tell me I can get all three in one sitting--SOLD!  I remember watching this when I was about five years old and thinking I wanted to be just like Tracy Lord.  Of course, as an adult, I watch Hepburn’s neurotic, stubborn character and think...Oh, God!  I AM Tracy Lord!  And for heaven’s sake, Carey Grant’s character is named C. K. Dexter Haven.  (If I had another dog, this would be his name.)  Without giving too much away, there are a lot of men in Tracy Lord’s life (wait...I just compared myself to her...oops), which makes for some pretty splendid 1940s witty banter.  Here are just a couple of really great examples of best ever dialogue:
George Kittredge: You’re like some marvelous, distant, well...queen, I guess.  You’re so cool and fine and always so much your own.  There’s a kind of beautiful purity about you, Tracy, like, like a statue.
Tracy Lord: George...
George Kittredge: Oh, it’s grand, Tracy.  It’s what everybody feels about you.  It’s what I first worshipped you for from afar.
Tracy Lord: I don’t want to be worshipped.  I want to be loved.
Macaulay Connor: A magnificence that comes out of your eyes, in your voice, in the way you stand there, in the way you walk.  You’re lit from within, Tracy.  You’ve got fires banked down in you, hearth-fires and holocausts.
Tracy Lord: I don’t seem to you made of bronze?
Macaulay Connor: No, you’re made out of flesh and blood.  That’s the blank, unholy surprise of it.  You’re the golden girl, Tracy.  Full of life and warmth and delight.  What goes on?  You’ve got tears in your eyes?
Tracy Lord: Shut up, shut up!  Oh, Mike.  Keep talking, keep talking.  Talk, will you?
That, right there, people is PURE ROMANCE in the awfulest way.  SWOONABLE romance--the kind with all the anticipation without gratification that’s missing in movies today.
Once: This movie was billed as a modern-day musical, which is maybe why virtually no one I know saw it, but whatever it is, it’s effing spectacular.  The best part is that the soundtrack is PHENOMENAL, so even if you can’t sit down and watch it every day, you can ride around in the car pretending you’re watching it by listening to the soundtrack.  In my alternate universe/bizarro world, this love story is what my life would look like--complete with piano skills and living in Dublin.
High Fidelity: This is one of a handful of movies adapted from books that succeed.  Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (and any other book by Nick Hornby really) changed my life as a writer.  He’s a genius.  And this movie?  Well, it’s pretty genius, too.  I am simultaneously sad and glad that I never dated John Cusack’s character, Rob Gordon.  I thought about quoting this movie, but I thought inserting the entire script would make this post too long.  Iconic--all of it.
Conversations with Other Women: First of all, I love Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter, so I went into this movie expecting to be blown away, but I HAD NO IDEA.  It walks the fine line of art house cinema, but I don’t really care about the cinematography.  This is a real love story about real people--not really, but it totally could be.  It’s happy and tragic and uncomfortable and comfortable all at the same time.  And it has resolution without a necessarily happy ending, which is the best way for a movie to end in my opinion.  Most Americans (the fat, pink, boisterous kind) will hate it.
Away We Go:  This one got a lot of mixed reviews, but I freaking loved it.  It’s one of the most honest portrayals of what it’s like to be thirty-something and navigating parenthood/marriage/etc.  I mean, sure, some of the characters are over-the-top quirky on some level, but anyone who is real with himself will admit that real life people really are super weird.  John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are two of my personal faves, anyway, but they shine in their roles as Burt and Verona.  Add Maggie Gyllenhaal in a role where she’s weird but (finally!) not tragic, and you’ve got perfection in my books.
500 Days of Summer:  I feel like nothing I write will sufficiently explain how good this movie is.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel will break your heart in both good and bad ways at every turn.  I still cry when it gets to the part with the split screen.  Just watch it.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Unless you’re stupid.
When it comes to love, I am a romantic realist.  I believe in obsession and lust and passion and all that good stuff that comes in the beginning, but when it comes down to it, I like a man who pays attention to the details and can remain steady without being stale.  Love should be easy without being simple, and I want no part of a love that doesn’t purposefully challenge me.  I don’t want a fairytale or glamour.  I want grit.  I want sweat.  I want to run headlong toward the one I love with our eyes shut tight and come to a grinding halt right before we bloody each other’s noses.  And I want to kiss.  A lot.  And then go furniture shopping.  These movies are, in my mind at least, about that kind of love.
Happy Valentine’s Day, all!  And happy movie watching!


  1. Great post! I enjoyed Valentine's Day because a very sweet lady at work gave out heart-shaped peppermint patties. I LOVE peppermint patties, so I was very excited.

    However, I did not feel obligated to drag Dave off to a romantic dinner on a night we normally don't see each other (Monday is yoga night - ain't nobody messin' with my yoga night!), or demand that he buy me a bunch of crap.

    However, there was an adorable little teddy bear wearing a red sweater that I saw in Target when we were there Friday, and I HAD to have it, so I did make Dave cough up $5.99 and informed him that this was my Valentine's gift.

    However, I didn't want the candy hearts that came with the bear, so those were Dave's Valentine's gift from him to me to him.

    So, really, it was a toss-up.

  2. Wow, Leia, you have great taste in movies. Way to go!

  3. I lovelovelove your movie reviews. The Philadelphia Story, High Fidelity and 500 Days of Summer are on my "frequently watched" shelf. Classics.

    I'll have to check out your other recommendations! :)

  4. Loved the quotes from Facebook! People crack me up.
    I'm one who thinks romance is a crock. A total illusion.
    I've always loved, Philadelphia Story. A great movie.
    I'm not one for romance movies though; I haven't seen any of the others and I probably won't. (No Offence intended!) I always picture the two people in the future, married and hating each other.

  5. @Riss, thanks! I am confident you will appreciate the other movies, too!

    @Belle, you really should give the other movies a chance--none of them really encourage the traditional sense of romance. I think romance is a crock, too--at least the kind that Hallmark promotes. =)