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It’s covered in red. It instills fear in nearly everyone’s hearts. It’s coming, whether you want it to or not. It’s Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is the cruelest of holidays among those both bitter and alone. Some use this day to express their love for their friends and family, but others—-the more normal among us—-typically find ourselves spending Feb. 14 with a box of tissues and zero company, watching romantically depressing movies that spin us even deeper into disconsolation. After the jump, suggestions for fun films from the past two decades to watch while downing, alone, in chocolate and wine.
Good Will Hunting: Sure, Valentine’s is a weird time for a movie that’s essentially about 1)how Matt Damon’s a genius and 2) the wonders of therapy, but there’s also a strong subplot about how much Robin William‘s character loves his deceased wife—-his understated tale about missing his wife’s gas is one of the most heartfelt, genuine, and quote-worthy romantic parables in recent memory.
Best Valentine’s-y quote: “Those are the things I miss the most, the little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That’s what made her my wife…people call those imperfections, oh, but they’re not—-that’s the good stuff.”
Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Arguably the best movie to come out of the Apatow coterie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall hits a note of realism that eludes many romantic comedies. Here, no character is the outright villain; they’re multidimensional human beings falling apart and coming together. The film, at its best, captures the vulnerability we feel following a breakup but before we’ve regained our sanity. Or, if that’s not your thing, it contains the puppet Dracula musical to end all puppet Dracula musicals.
Best Valentine’s-y quote: “You don’t need to put your P in a V right now.” “No, I need to B my L on someone’s Ts.”
While You Were Sleeping: This movie has never gotten the recognition it deserves, point blank. It’s a Sandra Bullock romantic comedy from before there were “Sandra Bullock romantic comedies.” Though it’s essentially about a woman who falls for the brother of the man whom she thinks she loves (who is in a coma; it’s complicated), it’s also about making a family of your own out of the people who grow to love you. Though it’s about a complicated love story with a man, it’s also about finding home again, even with a family crazier than your own.
Best Valentine’s-y quote: “I’d say that she gets under your skin as soon as you meet her. She drives you so nuts you don’t know whether to hug her or, or just really arm wrestle her. She would go all the way to Europe just to get a stamp in her passport. I don’t know if that amounts to insanity, or just being really, really… likable.”
He’s Just Not That Into You: Watching this movie on Valentine’s Day is slightly akin to sadomasochism (though some would argue that watching this movie on any day of the year is sadomasochism). The truth is, as much as this is an all-star vehicle based on a best-selling book that essentially has “cash cow” stamped all over it, it does have its high points. While the film’s message is contrived and retrograde—-it essentially says, “Hang in there, he’ll propose to you eventually”—-it also contains parts that suggest sometimes you need to be alone before you can let someone else into your life, a lesson that seems all too real halfway into your second bottle of red wine.
Best Valentine’s-y quote: “And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is just moving on.”