For fans of unconventional romantic comedies, 2012 was an excellent year.
Not only did David O. Russell's “Silver Linings Playbook” earn eight Oscar nominations, but films like “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Safety Not Guaranteed” and “Ruby Sparks” challenged or elevated the standard tropes of the genre, one that Hollywood all too often abuses.
While “Silver Linings Playbook” is still playing in theaters, the others are available on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming video, which is good news for couples who want to celebrate this year's midweek Valentine's Day with cinematic romance.
My sixth annual list of my favorite films appropriate for Valentine's Day home viewing is conveniently categorized so that lovebirds of every feather can find the ideal movie treat for Valentine's Day. For an extended list, check out my BAM's Blog Thursday at blog.newsok.com/bamsblog.
Both men and women can appreciate a movie that tugs the heartstrings and tickles the funny bone:
“The Philadelphia Story” (1940): Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant get entangled in a love pentagon in this unforgettable screwball comedy.
“Moonrise Kingdom” (2012): One of Wes Anderson's best films chronicles the romantic angst of preteen eccentrics Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), who decide to run away together. Anderson and Roman Coppola will contend for the best original screenplay Oscar when the Academy Awards are handed out Feb. 24.
“Safety Not Guaranteed” (2012): One of my top 10 films of last year follows a cynical aspiring journalist (Aubrey Plaza) assigned to investigate a would-be time traveler (Mark Duplass) who has published a classified ad seeking a companion for his adventure.
Some of them end happily, others teeter on tragic, but love is what makes the world go ‘round in these emotional mixed bags:
“Casablanca” (1942): Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman give up their passionate love affair to save the world from the Nazis. Sigh. A classic.
“Once” (2007): An Irish street musician (Glen Hansard) and talented Eastern European immigrant (Marketa Irglova) make beautiful music together, but she has a husband and he has a girlfriend.
Not only did the movie win a best original song Oscar for the gorgeous theme “Falling Slowly,” the new stage adaptation has earned Tony, Grammy and Drama Desk honors in the past year.
“Ruby Sparks” (2012): Paul Dano stars as an emotionally arrested novelist who writes a story about his free-spirited dream girl (his real-life girlfriend Zoe Kazan, who wrote the script) and is shocked when she magically appears in his kitchen.
If you and your sweetie are snuggled on the couch with youngster or two, you can still enjoy a romantic movie that's appropriate for the whole family:
Most of the Disney “princess” movies: The ones with my favorite heroines include “Mulan,” “Aladdin” and “Tangled.”
“The Princess Bride” (1987): Westley (Cary Elwes) refuses to let pirates, a prince or even death come between him and his Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright).
“Shrek” (2001) and “Shrek 2” (2004): Grumpy ogre Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) and his Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) discover that their love isn't based on society's rules of beauty. And that's OK.
If you enjoy your romance mingled with a hefty dose of adrenaline, consider yourself locked and loaded with these films:
“The Terminator” (1984): Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) travels across time to save Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) from the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). He travels across time for her! Now that's romantic.
“Desperado” (1995): It's got Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek falling in love between all the flying bullets, so this actioner offers everyone someone quite nice to look at.
“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010): Based on the popular video game, this swords-and-sandals epic hearkens back to the Saturday matinee romps of old, pairing Jake Gyllenhaal as an orphaned boy who is adopted by a king and becomes his father's fiercest warrior and Gemma Arterton as a spirited princess entrusted with a magical dagger that can alter time.