If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve surely been bombarded by heart decorations everywhere you turn. Every store is draped in pink and red in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, and chocolates and flowers are lining the shelves. The Hallmark holiday can certainly be cringe-worthy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. If you can take it at face value, and look at the day as a day to celebrate love, then it’s not so bad. There is no need for an overabundance of gifts or diamonds, as the television commercials would have you believe. The day offers a nice opportunity to sit back and be grateful for the love you have in your life. So instead of dressing up for a fancy, overpriced prix fixe dinner, put on your pajamas, pop a bag of popcorn, and watch a classic romantic movie next to your favorite person.
Here are 10 that are guaranteed to please. And yes, Patrick Swayze is in two of them…:
10. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to watch two ridiculously pretty people (Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey) on screen for a couple of hours, but this movie actually is a fair bit of fun. The chemistry of the couple is on-point, and it is relatively entertaining to watch Kate Hudson’s character put McConaughey through the ringer as she tries to get him to break up with her.
9. Shakespeare in Love
Say what you will, but this film is actually quite good. It ended up winning 7 Academy Awards — including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay by Tom Stoppard (and was nominated for 6 others). While watching, you actively root for Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow and secretly hope that Shakespeare’s inspiration for Twelfth Night was even a fraction as sweet.
8. 500 Days of Summer
While some of the moments between Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are sweet, this film might be better suited for someone who has recently endured a breakup. If you want to be in good company with your achy heart, then look no further. Gordon-Levitt’s character has your back.
7. The Time Traveler’s Wife
Yes, this is a love story, but it’s so much more. It’s a love story between a couple, it’s a love story about being a parent, it’s a beautiful tale of fate, and it will make you SOB. So be sure to only watch this with someone who isn’t afraid of your ugly-cry face, because that is all you will be doing.
6. Sleepless in Seattle
It’s an oldie, but it’s a goodie. This was chosen specifically because of the date that Meg Ryan has with Bill Pullman in New York at the Rainbow Room toward the end of the movie, only to see the lit-up heart on the Empire State Building. This, of course, prompts her to end her engagement and go find Tom Hanks, her true love, on the observation deck of the iconic building. It’s a Hollywood romance at its best, and it still stands strong.
5. Four Weddings and a Funeral
The lovely thing about this film, aside from its immensely superb British humor (and accents), is the comedy it brings. While Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell come together despite the odds against them, we’re taken on a roller coaster ride as we wait to see if they’re truly meant to be a couple. The fact that this movie keeps you laughing doesn’t mean it’s lacking gravitas; the titular funeral is a doozie, and it will make you weep like a baby.
“A bride without a head! A wolf without a foot!” This love story starring Cher and Nicolas Cage is smart, witty, and sooo steeped in New York that you can practically smell the bread being baked in a local Italian bakery. The cast is a knockout (with Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Vincent Gardenia, and John Mahoney) and it’ll leave you utterly satisfied (even if you are left hungry from watching the characters eat delicious-looking food).
3. Pretty Woman
Rags to riches, fairy tale, poor girl finding her prince — there are several themes that you could discuss when it comes to Pretty Woman. But the only thing that really matters is that it’s such a solid film, and Julia Roberts pulls off her role so well that we are empathizing with her from the very beginning. It is a love story, but the ride toward the final kiss on the balcony is just as much fun as the payoff.
2. Dirty Dancing
It’s a guarantee that you can’t think of this movie without shaking your hips and shoulders a little bit with all of those dances in mind. While we don’t know if Baby and Johnny get to stay together in the end, this film is such a reminder of the yearning of young love, and the feeling that you may never experience something like it again. Oh, and the music is fabulous.
Yes, it’s a bit weird if you think too much about the loving moments occurring between a woman and a ghost (or a woman and a ghost who has taken over another woman’s body), but it doesn’t even matter. We can only hope that deep, true love stays with us after death, the way it does for Molly and Sam. (And let’s face it, we hope to God that if we’re damned to hell, that we’re not dragged off by demons like Tony Goldwyn is…) As for Valentine’s Day, there isn’t a more iconic love scene than the one where Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze are throwing pottery. Come on.