David and I never celebrated Valentine’s Day. It isn’t really our thing. We, instead, chose to celebrate the anniversary of when we started dating, which is in March (and on a night that always has plenty of open dinner reservations). Then we had kids and we wanted to do something special for the two of them so in our household, Valentine’s Day is a family celebration. We aren’t big into exchanging candies and stuffed animals or even cards, but we always try to sit down and have a nice dinner as a family and maybe watch a movie or two. Oh, and eat special treats, but we’ll get to that later.
When you think of watching a movie on Valentine’s Day, you often picture frothy chick flicks (The Notebook, anyone?) but getting your special guy to sit down and watch one of these films can be tricky, so David gave me a list of some romantically leaning films that he thinks most guys will like (and I think most girls will too). Some of them are not children friendly, so proceed with caution.
Life as We Know It: It threw me when David said this one. When I think of Katherine Heigl, I don’t exactly picture movies that scores of men will be flocking to see. Plus, the film is about inheriting a baby. Also not exactly something you’d expect a guy to be into. We watch this one at our house a lot, but I thought it was because I liked it so much. It turned out I was wrong. It is one of David’s picks too. He explained that guys like a guy like Messer (Josh Duhamel). He’s cool and he has an awesome job as a television sports director (what guy wouldn’t want to be paid to watch their favorite basketball team play?). If the guys don’t want to be him, they certainly want to be like him (or at least have a cool buddy like him). Plus, the film is genuinely funny and doesn’t ever get overly cheesy. This is one that men and women can both enjoy.
Date Night: Imagine your average (read, boring) married with children suburban couple. They decide to spice things up with a date at a newly opened New York hotspot. When they are mistaken for a couple of dodgy individuals who are being hunted by some scary henchmen, a thrilling and dangerous chase ensues. A lot of married couples might like to spice up their relationship, but most of them wouldn’t want to do it quite like this. My favorite part of the movie (aside from a shirtless Mark Wahlberg) is the fun little game that Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s characters play on their typical dates, imagining what the diners at other tables are saying (a lot of these were adlibbed and there are some insanely funny outtakes).
Wedding Crashers: It is hard to single out the funniest moments in this film because there are so many of them. What isn’t funny about a couple of womanizers who crash other weddings in order to take advantage of lovelorn women? Wow! A lot actually, now that I think about it, but it certainly makes for a funny movie. People either love Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn or they hate them. We happen to love them and we especially love the two of them together. Rachel McAdams is as gorgeous as ever and Isla Fisher steals the film (her comedic chops make you understand how she could be married to Borat’s Sasha Baron Cohen). And did I mention it also has People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Bradley Cooper? This one is worth watching over and over again.
Keeping the Faith: If David and I were to make a list of our all-time favorite movies, this one would be in our top five films, for sure. This one is a divine comedy about a Priest and a Rabbi who fall in love with the same girl (and who wouldn’t fall in love with Jenna Elfman?). And did I mention that said priest and rabbi are best friends, or that the girl also happens to be their childhood best friend? There is a lot of religious humor that manages to not be offensive and loads of funny, sharp-witted dialogue. Edward Norton, Jenna Elfman and Ben Stiller all have such great chemistry that it is easy to believe that they have been friends their entire lives.
Just Go with It: As if the promise of Brooklyn Decker and Jennifer Aniston in a bikini wasn’t enough to lure in your guy, just mention Adam Sandler and most guys will be game to watch. It helps that the film is absolutely hilarious (and heartwarming). If you haven’t seen it, the film is about a plastic surgeon pretends to be in a terrible marriage in order to seduce women. The problem? He finally meets a girl he actually likes and he has to convince his assistant to pretend to be his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Then they all decide to take a big family vacation to Hawaii. What could possibly go wrong? Just like in Pinocchio, the lie keeps growing and growing. Bailee Madison, who plays Jennifer Aniston’s daughter is a standout and I swear she is a sassy 35-year-old trapped in a little girl’s body.
What Happens in Vegas: This movie proves that what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. It also illustrates why heavy drinking and wedding chapels do not mix. The film follows your typical romantic comedy formula, but it still manages to stand out. Is it predictable? Sure, but how many films aren’t? It’s fun and that’s all that matters. And Cameron Diaz does this slick party trick where she cuts the tops off of champagne bottles. It is awesome, and I totally wish I could do it! Rob Corddry and Lake Bell make this movie. Without the two of them it would just be your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy but the two of them together are brilliant.
The Princess Bride: You had me at “Hello My Name is Inigo Montoya.” Sorry… that was cheesy. This charming film has everything you’d want in a classic fairy tale but with satirical humor. It is one of the rare movies that get better every time you watch it, and you’ll want to watch it a lot. It is also insanely romantic. “As you wish,” is one of the simplest, yet one of the finest, most romantic movie lines of all time. The best line in this movie (aside from the whole “Hello my name is Inigo Montoya” thing) is “I’m not a witch! I’m your wife!” (sadly, I say this a lot). My brother and I quote The Princess Bride almost as much as David quotes Dumb and Dumber. I’ve been watching this one since I was a little girl and my older son is already in love with the film.
Now, if you’re celebrating family style like in our home, here are some of our favorite kid’s movies with a little romance.
Rio: My youngest calls this the Angry Birds movie due to the tie in with the popular iPhone app. It is about a domesticated Macaw from Minnesota, who just so happens to be the last male of his species, that travels with his owner to Rio de Janeiro (during Carnival, no less) to meet the last female of his species. This one is well written and has absolutely gorgeous animation. The opening and closing musical numbers are stunning and will get children and their parents up and dancing to the music.
Gnomeo & Juliet: Take your classic Shakespearean romance, Romeo and Juliet, and set it in neighboring, warring gardens, acted out by adorable little garden gnomes. Then set the whole thing to a breathtaking soundtrack provided by Elton John. This movie is cute and thankfully for the kiddos (spoiler alert) does not end in tragedy like the play. It is sweet and has an eclectic assortment of supporting characters. This one makes both of my boys laugh out loud. And if you’re a Shakespeare buff, there are plenty of little shout-outs to the bard (make sure you check out the addresses). You’ll also recognize several of the voices (James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Patrick Stewart, Hulk Hogan, Dolly Parton… the list goes on).
Lady and the Tramp: What romantic can eat spaghetti without thinking of Lady and the Tramp? And the song Bella Notte is one of the most romantic songs ever! This is a classic children’s film about two dogs, from opposite sides of the tracks that fall in love. It is heartwarming, fun, and completely family friendly. Pure Disney Magic!