If you love romantic movies, there are about ten million possibilities if you want to watch a film on Valentine's Day, most of which are helpfully packaged in pink and red at WalMart to help menfolk who are out shopping for their ladies. Romantic movies run the gamut from tearjerking same-sex epics (a la Brokeback Mountain ) to wholesome teen musicals (of the High School Musical subset) in an attempt to hit every possible demographic.
But what about the rest of us, who do not like romantic movies? We who gag at the mention of Nicholas Sparks and have had our eyesball surgically removed from the backs of our heads after watching Another Cinderella Story ? What is there for us to watch on Valentine's Day? Believe it or not, whether you're a misanthrope or a serial killer, there's a love story out there for you.
For Action Movie Aficionados and People With Short Attention Spans
A resistance fighter is sent back in time from an era where the world is controlled by machines in order to protect the future mother of mankind's last hope from a robot assassin.
Starring: Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton
I have a love / hate relationship with James Cameron movies, but this one is firmly located at the "love" end of the spectrum. The Terminator wave birth to several popular phrases and spawned four sequels. There's a lot of action: explosions, vehicle chases, gunfights, even a futuristic war, but it's essentially a love story, which helps it stand the test of time even now that the impressioniveness of 1980s special effects has worn off.
For Lord of the Rings Fans, Dungeon Masters, and Fantasy Lovers
A lovestruck young man ventures into the magical kingdom of Stormhold to fetch a fallen star for the girl of his dreams, only to find the real girl of his dreams is the star.
Starring: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes
If you're into fantasy at all, you know that Neil Gaiman is a genius. Anyone looking to get into writing fantasy or science fiction should be required to take lessons from Neil Gaiman on balancing familiarity and imagination. This is a star-studded (pun intended) adaptation of its novel that evolves, flying pirate ships, witches, sword fights, castles, and one of the most impressive examples of acting I've ever seen (hint: it involves Mark Strong and a voodoo doll).
For World War II History Buffs and War Movie Enthusiasts
ENEMY AT THE GATES
Famed Soviet sniper Vassili Zaitsev dukes it out with his German offensive number as Nazi bombers turn the city of Stalingrad to rubble. At stake: the outcome of the war.
Starring: Jude Law, Rachel Weiss
One of the things I like about this movie is that the British / American actors do not try to fake Russian or German accents (if you've seen K-19 you know why this is not a good idea). The love story here is a triangle involving Vassili, the commisar publicizing his feats, and a female soldier (yes, Russia had female soldiers back then). Tragic yet uplifting, this is one of the best war movies I've ever seen.
For Science Fiction Fans and Comic Book Nerds
An assassin, one of the last few hundred survivors of a deadly epidemic, is sent to kill the dictator of their futuristic society only to discover that everything is not what it looks.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas
This movie, which is based on a comic book, has it all: futuristic technology, martial arts, gun battles, skintight outfits, and a love story that's organic to the plot rather than jammed in to appease the girlfriends of male nerds. I can not tell you much about it without spoilers, but it does have a happy ending.
For Adventurers and People Who Love Irony
ROMANCING THE STONE
A lonely romance novelist with no travel experience enlists the aid of a jaded mercenary to help her find the treasure that will allow her to rescue her kidnapped sister from a Colombian drug lord.
Starring: Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas
The irony here is that this comedy pokes fun at the absurd plots of romance novels from within the framework of a plot that could have come from a romance novel. Ms Romance and Mr Uncouth naturally fall in love through the course of the film, but there are enough crocodiles, motor vehicle stunts, and jungle survival tips to please even the largest Indiana Jones fanatic. As a bonus, you can turn it into a 4-hour movie marathon by screening it back-to-back with its sequel, Jewel of the Nile .
For Fans of The Godfather and Members of Organized Crime
An Australian soldier returning home from Vietnam joins his uncle in organized crime just as members of the American mafia make their first inroads into the country.
Starring: Sam Worthington, Kestie Morassi, Bryan Brown, Toni Collette
This is not your typical mafia story. It's unexpectedly hilarious and actually kind of heartwarming. Bryan Brown, Toni Collette, John Goodman and Sam Neill get top billing in all the promotional materials, but Sam Worthington's character is actually the center of the film. There's the requisite murder, car chases, shootings, and destruction of private property, but there's also a subplot involving the introduction of pizza into Australia and two love stories: between the soldier and his uncle's mistress and between his uncle and aunt.
For Serial Killers and Horror Film Fans
A woman, her boyfriend, and her husband find their lives interwoven in the aftermath of a mysterious signal that makes everyone who watches it crazy.
Starring: Anessa Ramsey, AJ Bowen, Justin Welborn
The story is told in three parts from three different perspectives by three different managers, but make no mistake, it all fits together. This movie is simultaneously scary, hilarious, and uplifting, with a love story that sets it apart from the usual "Let's have sex as murder happens around us" horror movie fare. Relatively unknown, this movie is worth every second you have to put into finding it.
For Martial Arts Enthusiasts and Asian Cinema Lovers
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
A great warrior in Qing China must outwit a deadly assassin to regain possession of a magical sword.
Starring: Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh
Despite the furious Kung Fu battles, mystical elements, and incredible special effects that have actors dancing through the treetops during fisticuffs, this is essentially a love story between two warriors. There's also a princess, a female assassin, and some smashing cinematography, so it holds appeal for both romantics and karate kids alike so long as they do not mind reading subtitles.
For Misanthropes and Inanimate Objects
A trash compacting robot abandoned on a garbage-strewn Earth for 700 years teams up with a sleek vegetation-seeking robot to help a ship full of spoiled humans return to the home they've forgotten.
Starring: voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, and a MacIntosh computer
Yes, there are even love stories for people who hate other people. In fact, EVE and WALL-E's romance may be one of the cutest in film even though (or because because of) the fact that they only know about four words apiece. Show it to your lovestruck toaster and inspire it to propose to the blender. Great CGI animation and a timely message also make this a great film for Environmentalists and sci-fi buffs.
For People Whose Major Relationship is With a Computer
A teenage computer hacker whose childhood exploits are famous moves to New York and becomes embroiled in a plot to frame hackers for ransoming an oil company.
Starring: Johnny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie
Anyone who's owned a computer made after 1996 will find the "cutting edge" technology employed by the hackers laughable, but people who play World of Warcraft 24/7 and dream of beautiful women coming on them will relate to main character, who manages to land a hot girlfriend since spending most of his time in a dark room with his computer.