Notes from the back row 

Valentine’s Day. Again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fellas, forget flowers and chocolates. They’re both played out and only really impress when they’re unexpected. What every girl really wants for Valentine’s Day is for a hot guy she met the night before to take her heli-boarding all day (somewhere with snow), then have a quiet dinner in an alpine hut full of fine wine, chocolate roses and a steaming gourmet meal, followed by incredible, triple orgasmic sex as moonbeams filter through the gossamer curtains.

After that, she wants him to leave and never come back.

Since you guys probably make minimum wage washing dishes for a boss who won’t pay you overtime, and I spend all my money on popcorn, peach juice and video late charges, I guess we only have one choice for Valentine’s Day – take our dates to the movies, sit in the dark and don’t talk to each other. She can perve out on whatever cute guy is in the romantic comedy you’re forced to watch, and since Angelina Jolie doesn’t have any movies out this week, well we’re shit out of luck.

But Will Smith saves the day. He always does, right? He stars in Hitch , a movie about a suave date-doctor who can teach you how to land any chick in three dates. But guess what? He falls in love and turns into a chump. It all works out in the end, of course, because that’s what happens in romantic comedies.

Actually, Will Smith is cool (I mean c’mon, he’s the Fresh Prince) and he’s incredibly charismatic so Hitch isn’t as bad as it could be. It’s a hell of a lot better than Wedding Date, about a woman who hires a male escort (i.e., hooker) to accompany her to her sister’s wedding and pretend to love her because her ex-boyfriend is the best man and her parents expect her to have her shit together by now. It’s like American Gigolo meets Pretty Woman meets every crappy wedding cliché in the book. Dermot Mulroney stars as the hooker with a heart of gold and Deborah Messing (TV’s Will and Grace ) hacks her way through as the leading lady. Remember when Dermott Mulroney played Dirty Steve in Young Guns and they ate all that peyote and fired shotguns at imaginary giant chickens? That was way cooler than Wedding Date and now that I think about it, Young Guns is the DVD of the week.

Speaking of DVDs and Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of crappy romantic comedies you can rent for an evening with the little lady. Hopefully, you’ll nab one that’s so romantic she’ll have your pants off by the end of the first act and you won’t have to finish watching the damn thing. This is where endurance comes into play, and those months at the gym start to really pay off. Anyhow, here’s a list of chick flicks you’ll hate but she might not. Sleepless in Seattle, While you were Sleeping, Notting Hill (more like nodding off), Shakespeare in Love (not bad actually, thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow), EverAfter, Roxanne (again, more tolerable than most. Steve Martin with a huge nose.) For your money though, you can’t go wrong with The Princess Bride. Great story, funny, has that dorky kid from The Wonder Years in it, and it’s all about love. This one has worked for me over the years and I hope it works for you too.

Honestly though, and I hate to say it, you shouldn’t be renting videos on Valentine’s Day, but if you do, hopefully your girlfriend is cool enough to want to get The Exorcist, Shark Attack 3: Megladon or anything with Angelina Jolie.

AT VILLAGE 8 Feb. 11-17: Pooh’s Heffalump; Hitch; Sideways; Boogeyman; Hide and Seek; Wedding Date; Meet the Fockers; Million Dollar Baby.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE Feb. 11-17: Closer.

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