Valentine’s Day can instill every emotion from fear and (self) loathing to love and elation.
No matter your current relationship status or feelings, we wanted to share with you some of the best takes on love and romance that geeky movies and TV have to offer. The only groundrule is with television, we’re only going to take a single episode, in hopes you can assemble your own playlist to watch either by yourself. . . or with whomever makes you tingly.
In no particular order:
1. Black Mirror: “San Junipero”
Possibly the only episode of Black Mirror that doesn't make our skin crawl and fear for the fate of humanity, this beautiful tale of two women seperated by . . . well, we won't tell you-- that would be spoilers. . . but seperated from one another who seem to keep running into one another in the beachside city of San Junipero. It's a beautiful romance, and how the tale unfolds is a masterful work of science fiction representing the best of humanity.
2. Chasing Amy
Kevin Smith's tale of comic books and sexual conundrums turns 20 in two months, but it still feels just as relevant and fresh. Silent Bob's speech about relationships lost is still some of his best writing, as are the discussions between Holden and Alyssa as they go through the paces of a very queer friendship and romance. Also not to miss is the diatribe about how Star Wars is all about persecuting the black man and the sexual undertones of the Archie comics.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
This comic-book and 8-bit-video-game inspired romance deals with Scott having to fight each of Ramona Flowers' 7 Evil Exes, but also face himself, his past relationships and the terrible ways he treats younger girlfriend Knives Chao. Boasting an amazing soundtrack and an extended cast that includes both a Superman and a Captain America, this is geek nirvana. And at the end we learn a valuable lesson? Maybe.
4. About Time
Domhnall Gleeson learns from his father Bill Nighy that the men in their family have the ability to travel back in time. And so, of course, what does one do with this, but Groundhog Day your way into the life of Rachel McAdams, the love of your life? But it's so much more than that. As their relationship moves from dating to married to starting a family, he learns about the perils of changing things too much. This will tug at your heartstrings, as it is not only a beautiful love story about a guy and a girl, but fathers and sons and children and family in general. Bring tissues.
5. Scrubs: “My Musical”
This Emmy-winning episode of Scrubs ranks up there because of its explorations of relationships both romantic and platonic. Specifically, this contains the highlight of Carla reminding her husband in a tango-inspired musical number that she is not Puerto Rican, but Dominican. (This is a great metaphor for marriage and ongoing fights.) And, of course, we have "Guy Love."
6. The Princess Bride
Have you seriously not seen this? Stop reading this right now and go watch it. This is the only thing you need to watch. This movie has everything: pirates, adventure, true love, rhyming, and movie quotes that go for days. Probably the quintessential romantic flick, it's also a cute love story about a grandfather reading a story to his sick grandson.
7. The Lego Batman Movie
YES, you read that right. If you're looking for a good date night movie in the theaters right now, do not go see Fifty Shades Darker. Go see something about the best kind of love: one between a hero and his arch-nemesis. Read my full review here, but this is a great date night movie, especially as you get to see Batman watching romantic chick flicks alone. You complete me, Lego Batman.
8. Moulin Rouge
This is the most beautiful movie on this list, and you have singing and dancing led by Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor. The mix between the classic and the modern -- but done to the nines by Baz Luhrman's exceptional eye for detail and production design -- makes this one of the best love stories ever, especially if you like singing along with your honey (or by yourself.) We could be heroes, forever and ever. . .
9. The Empire Strikes Back
Yes, you read that right. First, Han and Leia have the best love story and verbal patter this side of Aaron Sorkin or The Philadelphia Story. Second, where the two of them end up by the end of the film is amazing. "I love you." "I know." is something most Star Wars fans have on their #relationshipgoals. And John Williams' score, especially the piece Han Solo and the Princess is some of the most romantic classical music this side of Schubert. I'd just as soon kiss a wookiee as watch this for Valentines? I can arrange that.
Because not all love stories are between a guy and girl. Sometimes a guy falls in love with his operating system. This film set in the not-too-distant future should feel very prescient, as we're basically on the verge of this now.
Also not a story about a guy and girl, but instead about adorable little robots. I could've picked Up for this list (almost did) but this story about the relationship between Wall-E and Eva is too adorable to ignore. Also, you get the two humans too busy paying attention to their screens to ever actually meet who bump into each other at the end. But this is just pure enjoyment.
12. Let the Right One In
When compiling this list, one of the other Big Shiny Robot writers (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) suggested I write about Twilight. Yeah, no. If I'm going to do a love story between a vampire and a human, let's at least do Buffy (who also almost made the list, but I couldn't find a single episode that really encapsulated the whole Buffy-Angel ship). But for my money, the best vampire love story on film in the last several decades is the Swedish import about young Oskar who falls for his new neighbor Eli, who just happens to be an undead, killing machine of the night. The only acceptable substitutes? The American remake Let Me In, which is almost nearly as good, and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive featuring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.
13. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: “Josh Just Happens To Live Here!”
Rebecca Bunch was working hard at a New York job, making dough but it made her blue. One day she was crying a lot and so decided to move to . . . West Covina, California! Brand new pals and new career! It happens to be where Josh (her summer crush from camp when they were 15 years old) lives, but that's not why she's here!! As great as the Berlanti-verse DC shows, iZombie, etc are, this is the best show on the CW. It's also great in skewering some major problematic elements in gender relations. What it's especially good at is pointing out its own problematic elements, especially as it relates to mental health issues. Also, there's songs. Lots of them. This is a show you can watch the first 15 minutes and if you don't like it, you're never going to. So here's the opening number. Choose and perish:
This is a fantastic movie for Valentine's Day. It destroyed the February box office last year, and there was good reason. There certainly isn't any other satire of superheroes where our anti-hero subjects himself to experiments in order to pursue love. And not just any love-- the one so special you celebrate all year long through all those holidays. Happy International Women's Day!!! This is the official alt-Valentine's Day movie. Because Deadpool loves you.
What did we miss? Are we off the mark? Let us know in the comments!