It's here. Again. Though it feels like it's only a few weeks since we were bombarded with Hallmark ads, reminder e-mails and a Nicholas Sparks movie in theaters, it's been a whole 364 days since the last Valentine's Day, and tomorrow, as ever, will see the world's couples (hopefully) have a special evening, and the world's singles go into something close to crisis mode.
As with most holidays, the Playlist team, whether single or coupled up, tend to see St. Valentine's Day through the prism of movies, and we suspect that, if you're here, you might too. So for this year, we've decided to recommend a whole host of V-Day picks for almost any personality type or occasion. All being well, the perfect solution for your viewing tomorrow night should be below. And if not? Well, you can marathon season two of "House Of Cards" like the rest of us. (And if you're after something a little more risqué, here's last year's Valentine's Day feature, on the best and worst sex scenes in the movies).
If You're In A Couple
You've been together for months, or years, and while, like every couple, you have your ups and downs, things are pretty good. And there's no better choice to celebrate that than Mike Nichols' classic adaptation of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf." Bear with us. Firstly, it lets you feel superior in that way that all couples like to do: you might have your own arguments, but they're not as toxic or destructive as those that George and Martha (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) have. Secondly, by the time you reach the end of the film, you're reminded that, when all's said and done, George and Martha really do love each other deeply, and that whatever your own dysfunctions and basic personality problems might be, it doesn't mean that your relationship is doomed in the slightest. Not as traditional as "The Notebook," but not a choice you're likely to regret. Unless you're closer in dynamic to Nick and Honey, that is…
ALT: “Up” is a great one too, if you can get through the first five minutes without sobbing.
If You're A Single Dude
Look, you’re single, you’re alone on Valentine’s Day, and you’re unhappy. Maybe there’s another dude out there like you. Crap, maybe there isn’t. Whatever the case, you need to channel your rage, and since the government hasn’t okayed the Purge idea they’ve been batting about, you have no choice but to pop the most violent movie ever made in the DVD player. “Bad Boys 2” might not be the goriest film anyone’s ever made, but there hasn’t been an action movie with less regard for human life than this one. At least in slasher films you root for the Final Girl to walk away. But between the first and second films (so unrelated they might as well be standalones), Martin Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett and Will Smith’s Mike Lowery somehow became sociopaths, the type of men that thrust guns in the face of innocent kids and fondle the breasts of dead people. The fact that they walk out of the film alive (spoiler?) is like your id fleeing the scene of the crime after a hit and run. It’s a disgusting film, endlessly violent, vulgar and entertaining, so drunk with excess that it might as well fail a breathalyzer test. Everyone is getting lucky this Valentine’s Day, but damned if you aren’t going to watch Will Smith in his alpha-male prime and Martin Lawrence in his out-of-shape leading man twilight blow up Johnny Tapia’s entire drug empire.
ALT: Anything from the Michael Bay Collection will probably suit.
If You're A Single Lady
Having test-driven “Bright Star” on Valentine’s Day three years ago, this film is a risky pick, but just right for a very particular kind of evening for a single lady (read: the kind of evening that might involve gales of wine-flavored tears). Jane Campion’s gorgeous telling of the love story between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne is anchored by standout performances from Ben Whishaw (swooooon) as Keats and Abbie Cornish as his love (Paul Schneider is also fantastic and unrecognizable as boorish bear Mr. Brown). This film is everything and more you might want in a period romance: sumptuous costumes, near-unbearable romantic tension, lush English countryside, but Campion and her two leads bring so much more than just that to “Bright Star,” creating a film that embodies the heady, cerebral sensuality of Keats’ work. This one is a tear-jerker though, so buyer beware (though that quality is sort of apropos for being single on Valentine’s Day).
ALT: Assuming you're already caught up on Downton, Ang Lee’s “Sense and Sensibility” or Joe Wright’s “Pride and Prejudice.”