Girl, you’re wonderful, but no one is standing underneath your bedroom window blasting Peter Gabriel in a trench coat… Because Lloyd Dobler is not real. As much as we’d all love for him to be, real life love is different; it’s messy and fucked up and sad and awesome, but it’s not like the movies.
Most romantic movies make you want to barf, die, come back as a ghost and haunt Garry Marshall. If the Katherine Heigl brand rom-com makes you wish you were dead, there are still some excellent romances for you to enjoy. Here are some non-nauseating ones for your V-Day pleasure.
The Baxter – Elliott Sherman is a guy who is a great placeholder until the real love of your life comes along and sweeps you off of your feet. He’s sweet, smart, and the best guy to settle for. Then he meets Cecil and thinks maybe he might finally get to be the leading man; Except she has a boyfriend and he’s engaged. Although this film is pretty goddamn adorable, it’s still a Michael Showalter joint (one of the comedic geniuses behind Wet Hot American Summer) and stars Michelle Williams, Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black, Justin Theroux, and Elizabeth Banks.
Chasing Amy – I will admit this film fills the male fantasy of “converting” a lesbian, but it’s also about unrequited love and how tough it is to be perfect for someone who can’t see it. Which we can ALL relate to, no? It’s some of Ben Affleck’s best work (and Joey Lauren Adams in all her ridiculous-voiced glory) from back in the day, when he had a little pompadour and didn’t seem like too much of a tool. Plus, the end is satisfying without making you feel like you just ate 14 pounds of gummy bears.
Harold and Maude – The greatest love story – involving multiple fake suicides and one real one – ever made. I think we all need a Maude. Someone who will remind you to live while you’re alive and to not be afraid of all the horrible things…not when there is organic champagne and sunflowers in the world. Even if you’re a cynic, this movie will still manage to make you feel like love & magic are real.
The Before Trilogy – Celine & Jesse meet on a train when they’re both in their early 20’s. They converse easily and get along well, (and, of course, they’re both adorable) so he convinces her to get off the train and walk around Vienna with him for the night. They talk about everything from the mundane to the deeply meaningful. This is what a beautiful love story – one that’s really real – feels like. In the sequels we see Celine and Jesse reconnect and continue their dialogue. Watching two people just talk sounds really boring, but in Richard Linklater’s deft hands it’s an absolute delight.
Obvious Child – Donna’s having a “bad time” – her boss just told her the bookstore she’s working at is closing and her cheating boyfriend just dumped her in a bathroom, so when she meets Max she’s certainly game for a drunken one-night stand with a cute, fun guy…then she learns she’s pregnant (and she has to tell him she’s going to abort his baby).
Just trust me, it’s actually the perfect Valentine’s Day movie.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Min – Everyone has an Ex who they would love to forget. This film posits a world in which we can hire a team to come in and do just that – erase a person from our consciousnesses. But does it even help? Are we just going to make the same mistake again? Yes. Yes, we are.
Lars and the Real Girl – This film is about Ryan Gosling falling in love with a sex doll, but one of those ones that is hella real-looking and costs a lot of money. He’s a socially awkward mustachioed man who just wants to find someone to love…so he orders himself someone to love. Everyone eventually just kind of goes with it -even though they all think it’s mad weird – until an actual, real woman becomes interested in him and throws a wrench in his latex love.