You know how it is on Valentine's Day, if you're not involved with (or married to) anyone. You try to avoid those annoying radio and TV commercials about how the men need to show their love by buying the women in their lives all kinds of fancy things. You attempt to make plans with friends, but they're all hoping for something romantic or planning to mope about their lack of romance. Maybe you join the Anti-Valentine's League, maybe you just try to ignore it all until the hype is over.
But there you are on Valentine's Day night with no plans, and naturally you gravitate toward the time-tested entertainment method of sitting in front of the TV with a good movie. Pizza and/or ice cream might also be part of the viewing process. For years, I liked to curl up with a thin-crust pizza from the local pizza joint, a pint of that Ben and Jerry's ice cream with the chunks of brownies in it, some Dr. Pepper (to be tres Agnes Gooch about it) and my favorite Valentine's movie, Some Like It Hot. After all, it is set around the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, so it's a delightfully sideways hat tip to the holiday. Plus, that glorious last line. But maybe you're in a different mindset on February 14. Here's a list of movies to cover whatever kind of mood might strike you that night, as you ponder which movie you want to spend St. Valentine's Day with.
If you need a non-romantic comedy: Young Frankenstein
Comedy is a wonderful distraction on a lonely evening. Young Frankenstein does have a few romantic scenes -- Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn each provide their own special allure for Gene Wilder's title character. But these aren't the types of scenes where you tear up and think, "Oh, this reminds me so much of Pookie!" unless you and Pookie used to dress up in some mighty odd costumes. But if you're dead set against any romance diluting your comedy, go for one of Mel Brooks' other early funny films: The Producers or Blazing Saddles. That campfire scene will knock any grains of wistful sentimentality right out of you.
If you want to regress to your inner child: Time Bandits
Sometimes when you're feeling a bit vulnerable due to irritating and underhand holiday marketing, you need to indulge in the comfort food of movies, your childhood favorites. If Time Bandits wasn't a childhood favorite, it's never too late to start. Terry Gilliam's movie about a young boy who inadvertently steps into an adventure involving time travel, a map stolen from the Supreme Being, and the schemes of pure unadulterated Evil. Did I mention Sean Connery as Agamemnon and John Cleese as Robin Hood? The Muppet Movie is also good for your inner child although you do have to deal with a lovey-dovey subplot.
If you're feeling masochistic: The Princess Bride
Sometimes you can't help it, you've got to put on that one movie that makes you think about True Love and just cry your eyes out. The Princess Bride is the obvious choice here. This may be even more masochistic than watching The Apartment on New Year's Eve. Make sure you have a giant box of tissues close at hand before you subject yourself to the sweet yet adventurous tale of Westley and Buttercup, although at least the supporting characters may provide you with respite.
If you don't want to think about romance at all: The Wild Bunch
Who can think about hearts and flowers when William Holden and his gang are on the loose? Sure, the movie has a few women in it, and a few scenes of romance, but that's not the focus of this Sam Peckinpah film. Besides, look at the trouble that happens when these guys get distracted by love and/or sex. Warning: You will get sucked up into this movie so thoroughly that you may neglect your pint of ice cream. If you're not a fan of Peckinpah, The Warriors is also a good non-romantic film. And if both these films are too violent, try The Great Escape.
If you want to feel better about your unromantic life: In a Lonely Place
After you watch what happens with Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart in this 1950 film from Nicholas Ray, you may never want to start a relationship again. (Especially not with a writer.) This is an excellent film and the leads are perfect, but boy can it be depressing. On the other hand, at least you'll feel better that it's not happening to you. (Keep ice cream at hand in case you realize that this is in fact what happened to you in a recent relationship.) Other films that will make you feel happy to be single include The War of the Roses, Raging Bull, and American Beauty. Jessica has a whole list of these types of films.
If you're in a mood for non-porn escapist fare: Pirates of the Caribbean
Seriously, the first movie in the Pirates trilogy is a good choice if you find the menfolk sexy -- you can lust after Johnny Depp as Captain Jack, but his character never gets entangled in anything remotely romantic in this film. Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush offer alternatives if they're more your type. If you require a different sort of pirate adventure, try Kevin Kline looking very hot (and singing) as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, although that movie is hard to find these days. If pirates don't suit you, you've got tons of other options, including Ocean's 11 (Clooney ...) and the ever-popular Evil Dead trilogy starring Bruce Campbell. Monika also has some suggestions for The Sexy. [Note: I asked my husband about similar escapist fare featuring alluring females, but he rolled his eyes and said, "Showgirls," then asked why I wasn't including porn. Suggestions in the comments section are welcome.]
If you don't object to a little romance in a sweet film: Waitress
For some reason, I feel like Waitress would be a great Valentine's Day choice if I were alone at home this year. It's just so darn sweet. Women can vent any potential cranky feelings about men on the nasty character of Earl, and wistfully sigh at the romantic scenes, and feel happy about the scenes that show non-romantic affectionate or loving relationships. Also, there's pie. If nothing else, this movie will remind you of your love for pie, which is never unfaithful and rarely disappointing. If this all sounds too sappy for you, go rent Terminator instead, which has a little romance in a killer robot film.