Good films for Valentine’s Day (how to trick your lover into watching one)

Wandering into HMV on The Valentine’s Day Search your eyes are bound to flick hopefully, oh-so-briefly towards the sections that don’t involve films about a lovely shirt and/or gentle, poignant rain. But it’s not going to be long before you give up and follow your loved one inevitably into the velvet abyss. They pick up a title, you pick up a title, you stare at each-other with thinly masked hatred (just me?) and and then comes the inevitable question – “so, what’s it about then?”. This, my friends, is your opportunity. We’ve put together a list of 10 films that can easily get away with being called a romance (and arguably should be re-classified as such), along with a fail-safe description you can use to win them over, no matter how dubious they seem at first. Hurrah! You get to watch a fantastic film, and he/she has no choice but to grin and bear it – hey, it is Valentine’s day, after all…

The Fugitive

Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones face off in this absolutely classic tale of a man on the run. Dr Richard Kimble (Ford) is framed for the murder of his wife and is about to be locked away till the end of his days. After the van transporting him to prison crashes Kimble finds himself unexpectedly free, and his only option being to take off and find the man who did the crime. Tommy Lee Jones is the hard-nut policeman determined to put him back behind bars. High tension, high action, high-Valentine’s-day-fives all round.

How to pitch it:
“It’s about the lengths a man will go to for his wife; a touching tale of love and sacrifice. And he almost certainly doesn’t kill her.

Kill Bill

Uma Thurman stars in this Samurai extravaganza about one woman’s death-based quest for revenge. Showing off Quentin Tarantino’s trademark style to perfection, this galloping-paced action flick brings together great music, fantastic swordplay, spiky humour and oh-so-delicious graphic novel stylings. Worth it for the Crazy 88 slice-o-rama scene alone.

How to pitch it:
“I think it’s the story of a quirky, ballsy girl who ain’t afraid to shake up a man’s world. Something to do with taming an bad boy. Lucy Liu has a great cameo, I hear – I think she and Uma Thurman go shopping (for swords)”

Ocean’s Eleven

Steven Soderbergh’s lesson in ultimate cool; this deeply satisfying and thoroughly smug crime-comedy can’t help but make you wish you lived in a more dashing, safe-cracking world. A team of brilliant criminals plot to take down three Vegas casinos at the same time – wise-cracking and poker playing their way through never-ending potential dangers. With an impeccable cast and brilliant script, it’s a twisty yet perfectly ironed tale.

How to pitch it:
“Who’s in it? From what I remember, just Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Andy Garcia and Matt Damon. Wearing lots of lovely suits. Why?”

The Deer Hunter

OK. Admittedly this might be a slightly trickier sell. But hell, all relationships are based on trust, and if she/he doesn’t trust you that a film that claims to be a horrifying yet absolutely vital portrayal of the Vietnam War with arguably the most harrowing Russian Roulette scene ever created is actually a loveable rom-com, then frankly, you deserve better.

How to pitch it:
Well, it definitely starts with a great wedding. And no deers actually get killed, I’m certain about that. I think it’s a bit like Dear John; you know, that weepy war romance with the lass out of Mamma Mia?”


One of the great action-thrillers of the ’90s; Keanu Reeves and a fresh-faced Sandra Bullock star in a high-energy tale of explosives, ransom and sub-par public transportation. Trapped on a bus that must keep its speed above 50kph or it will explode, innocent passanger Annie (Bullock) finds herself at the wheel as explosive expert Jack (Reeves) tries to figure out how to get them and the (helpfully expendable) other passengers to safety. Sparky Bullock plays brilliantly against Reeves’ trademark wooden-osity, creating a brilliantly breathless romp across LA.

How to pitch it:

“A romance blossoms between Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves – something to do with a impromptu road-trip that takes them on a journey. Probably the emotional kind.”

High Fidelity

We thought we’d chuck in a far easier sell, for those who can’t quite face cuddling up to The Deer Hunter (wimps). High Fidelity is a good choice, in that it really is a tale of love – it just happens to be about a complete waster who just can’t decide whether he can be bothered with it or not. John Cusack, Jack Black and Todd Louiso play a cynical record store team who spend their lives berating customers and bitterly wondering where it all went wrong. Owner Rob (Cusack) decides to look back over his failed relationships to solve the mystery of his unhappiness, and we join him on his journey of self-discovery. A genuis soundtrack and a story that everyone – everyone – will witness with a painful sense of recognition, it really is the most realistic rom-com we’ve ever seen. It’s just, well, pretty damn unromantic.

How to pitch it:

“Nick Hornby, the guy who wrote About A Boy. You loved About A Boy, right? This one has Hugh Grant in too, probably.”

Sin City

Hold onto your body-juice-splattered leather pants. Sin City is the explosively brilliant Noir-eqsue action thriller by the dream team that is Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. With a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Britney Murphy and Michey Rourke – this is one graphic novel adaptation that absolutely blasted its source material with guns made of breasts, teeth and guns. Intertwining stories set in one god-damned-sinful city, you can barely breath for bullets, bodies, snarls and ominious looking coats. Sleek, bloody and brilliant.

How to pitch it:
“It’s lots of different characters’ tales all meshed together, a bit like Love, Actually.”

The Silence Of The Lambs

A locked-up cannibal is an innocent girl’s only hope when a murderous type by the name of “buffalo bill” kidnaps her. Dr Hannibal Lecter, a man imprisoned for life for rather needlessly eating lots of people, is the only one who can possibly figure out Bill’s location. But will he tell the authorities what he knows? Only if young FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, is willing to tell him whatever he desires. An utterly brilliant and mesmerising tale of an unlikely and uncomfortable bond, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster firmly grabbed their places in cinematic history with their staggering lead performances.

How to pitch it:
“It’s about a dark relationship that develops between an innocent girl and a man who’s far, far too dangerous for her. It’s basically the original Twilight.”


Based on the Steven King novel of the same name, Misery explores what can happen when a mad fan is let loose with the subject of their adoration. James Caan plays an acclaimed novelist who finds himself incapacitated when his biggest fan (Cathy Bates) traps him in her remote home after a car accident. Upon learning that he plans to kill off her favourite character in his next novel she forces him to re-write the book, lovingly breaking his ankles with a sledge-hammer when he tries to escape.

How to pitch it:
“You think you know all-consuming love? Put THIS dedication scarf round that flighty neck of yours!”

and, if all else fails…

That’s right Julia, you rescue him right back. What? What are you, heartless?

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