The perfect watchlist to stay home to
What's Valentine's Day for if not for movies?
Lest you forget: We're still in a pandemic. So you're saving the world by not going out and trying to get a seat at an Italian restaurant or a bar or whatever else you might have done and hated doing pre-pandemic. Whether you're celebrating the holiday with a significant other or a body pillow, there's never been a better year to stay in, break out the heart shaped chocolates, and watch a movie.
Whether your plans are to Netflix and Chill or actually watch the films, there's no shortage of sickening love stories and odd-couple comedies wherein, no matter what, everyone ends up together and everything is good.
And however you feel about Valentine's day, I think we all need a little bit of that.
Cinderella (1997) Teaser (VHS Capture) www.youtube.com
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Disney+)
Ask, and you shall receive.
After an onslaught of messages from fans (including us!) begging Disney+ to add the iconic Cinderella live-action adaptation starring Brandy and Whitney Houston to their platform, our prayers were finally answered. Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella hit Disney+ on February 12th and is now ready for us to feast our eyes on and revel in the magic and nostalgia.
10 Things I Hate About You 1999 Trailer | Heath Ledger | Julia Stiles www.youtube.com
10 Things I Hate About You (Disney+)
Also on Disney+: the best high school rom-com of all time. Is it Julia Stiles blasting Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" down the streets of sunny suburbia in the opening scene? Is it Heath Ledger's iconic bleacher rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"?? Is it Daryl Mitchell as Mr. Morgan, the English teacher who just wants to "read a book by a Black man?" Or Gabrielle Union, queen of the '90s, saying "I know you didn't think you were the only sophomore at the prom?"
Trick question: It's all of the above. Simply put, 10 Things I Hate About You just doesn't miss and it never gets old.
Love & Basketball (2000) Official Trailer - Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps Basketball Movie HD www.youtube.com
Love & Basketball (Hulu)
The zenith of love stories and also the zenith of sports movies (sorry, Friday Night Lights, I said what I said), Love & Basketball is a four-chapter love story that follows Sanaa Lathan and Omarr Epp's characters from childhood to adulthood as they play ball and fall in and out of love. If you haven't seen it, where have you been? If you have, you know it's the kind of movie to watch on loop, forever.
To All The Boys: Always and Forever | Official Trailer | Netflix www.youtube.com
To All The Boys: Always and Forever (Netflix)
The final iteration of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series landed on Netflix on February 12th, just in time for Valentine's Day. The franchise that gave us Lana Condor and made Netflix inundate us with Noah Centineo content for a year is admittedly a heartwarming adaptation of the Jenny Han YA novel series, which has amassed a cult-like following. It's pure sugar-sweet romance at its best, without the empty melodramatics of some of its peer Netflix films … *cough* The Kissing Booth.
The Half of It | Official Trailer | Netflix www.youtube.com
The Half of It (Netflix)
The Half of It is another example of YA romances done right. It's the opposite of every formulaic teen movie with a predictable plot and stock characters. The premise: boy asks girl to write letters for his crush. The story resists the temptation to go where you'd expect it to, focusing instead on the characters and how they grow. Yes, it's a high school romance, but it's worth the watch for its complex characters, buoyant light-filled cinematography, and storytelling that almost makes you want to go back to high school so you can do it over with more grace.
Love Jones - Original Theatrical Trailer www.youtube.com
Love Jones (HBO)
Love Jones feels like it was shot in black and white or should be played on 35mm film. In it, Larenz Tate and Nia Long, young aspiring artists, try and fail to have a casual relationship, falling in love without wanting to admit it. It's the blueprint for Issa Rae's The Photograph, sitting in the hall of fame of Black romance films for its understated intimacy and complex, but relatable characters.
Always Be My Maybe | Trailer | Netflix www.youtube.com
Always Be My Maybe (Netflix)
Comedians Ali Wong and Randall Park make the childhood-sweethearts-reconnecting narrative new and exciting in Always Be My Maybe. Between the jokes and the Keanu Reeves cameo, which appears to the tune of the song "Sail" by AWOLNATION, is an unexpectedly earnest storyline about family, home, and of course, love.
Dirty Dancing (1987) Official Trailer - Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey Movie HD www.youtube.com
Dirty Dancing (HBO)
Dirty Dancing is one of those films for which the mythology undermines the substance. Yes, the ending scene with the line "nobody puts Baby in a corner" and the famous Big Lift to "(I've Had the) Time of My Life" are all worth their canonization in the in-love lexicon, but the film is so much more than that. It's a film about class, about idealism, about how perception can seem like everything but doesn't have to be. It's an ode to the end of '80s, the Reagan values that faded away with them, and Patrick Swayze's perfect hair.
Queen & Slim - Official Trailer www.youtube.com
Queen and Slim (HBO)
There have been many iterations of Bonnie and Clyde, and Lena Waithe's Queen and Slim made the story urgent and tragic and beautiful. Following a tinder date that ends with a murder, Jodie Turner Smith and Daniel Kaluuya's journey is a trip through the American psyche and an encyclopedia of Black characters who never feel alike or derivative. The film is a cinematographic masterpiece and the quintessential ride-or-die film that asks: Who do you want to be? What will be your legacy?
BOOKSMART Trailer (2019) Lisa Kudrow, Olivia Wild, Teen Movie www.youtube.com
Booksmart is, more than anything, a film about friendship. Yes, there's the pursuit of romance — so many stumbling attempts and heartbreak that all take place over a night — but it's a journey that you want to watch if you're spending Valentine's with your friends reminiscing about your glory days and want to immerse yourself in the sun-drenched optimism of a world of a classic party movie, where no matter what goes wrong, everything is good in the morning.
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