This Valentine's Day, you may find yourself in a movie theater. There is nothing wrong with this. Many first (or second, or third, or nth) dates take place in movie theaters. Some people propose in movie theaters. Some people get married in movie theaters. Then again, some people are only there for the popcorn. Whatever your story is, here is your guide to selecting the perfect film for your Valentine's Day adventure. After this quick run-through of current popular films, you'll know exactly what you're getting into as you hold hands, play footsie, or fit your entire head into a carton of freshly buttered popcorn.
Before we move to the listings, however, we should take a moment to thank St. Valentine himself. You, sir, stood up to Roman Emperor Claudius II when, in the third century, he decreed that marriage was illegal for young men. He wanted better soldiers, but you saw them for what they were: potential lovers. You married people in secret, and you died for your trespasses. Your spirit lives on in every cheap box of chocolates, every overstuffed teddy bear stapled to a heart pillow, and every wilting rose. If you are personally against Valentine's Day, dear reader, remember that it's not about commercialism and exaggerated public displays of affection. It's about dying for your beliefs after you stand up to the Roman emperor. And now, with that fresh perspective, here are some ways you can celebrate St. Valentine's life and death within your local theater.
Ride Along: Take Your Third Wheel
Kevin Hart plays James, a cop who takes his future brother-in-law, Ben (Ice Cube) on a 24-hour ride along in Atlanta so Ben can prove that he's worthy of marrying James' sister. This would be a great film to watch with your current significant other and his or her disapproving sibling. While the sibling may not take you to the shooting range afterwards in a show of solidarity, they may think to themselves, "At least you're not Ice Cube." Ride Along looks like a decently funny film, and the trailer actually made me laugh out loud when Ben, a school security guard, breaks up a scuffle by yelling, "You're white! You're white! You don't fight."
The Lego Movie: Take the Kids
This film is tearing up the box office. Go if you enjoy laughing with and at superhero film tropes, or if you have a gaggle of children to entertain. There should be enough self-referential humor, visual punning, and cross-franchise banter to entertain your adult sensibilities, as well. Not only is this film currently ranked above American Hustle on Rotten Tomatoes, it has Morgan Freeman playing Lego God.
The Monuments Men: Take The Untested Lover
This film is like Ocean's 11 meets Inglorious Bastards with a cerebral twist. The drive to rescue high art is decidedly less sexy than the drive to rob a casino or revenge oneself on Nazis. Nonetheless, George Clooney puts the silver fox in everyone's Valentine's Day. As you watch this film, use it as a relationship litmus test: ask yourself if you would sneak into Nazi Germany to rescue your loved one from annihilation. If the answer is yes, your overblown romanticism is what makes your relationship so strong. If the answer is no, your honesty is what makes your relationship so strong.
Vampire Academy: Take The Peanut Gallery
Every so often, a film comes along that looks so bad, it's good again. Watch this with your girlfriends, your guy friends, or anyone able to form quick and snarky opinions. Will the good vampires defeat the bad vampires? Will the best friends remain best friends? Will high school be high school? Does Edward Cullen sparkle in the sun like a freshly cut diamond?
That Awkward Moment: Take The Whole Gang
This movie is the awkward moment when Miles Teller steals the show. In this film, three male friends pledge to remain single, thereby guaranteeing that they all find intelligent, funny, attractive females within the next ten seconds of their existence (I pledge to never win the lottery, and to not find a fresh cheesecake sitting at the foot of my bed). This would be a great film to watch with a group of friends if you are celebrating Singles Awareness Day, or if you are going on an awkward first date with a Tinder interest. Declare, "We pledge our singleness!" within ten feet of the theater exit, and within ten seconds you will feel the rumble of thousands of desperate, attractive, ready-for-love feet. This film is like the new Axe Body Spray.
Frozen: Take Your Sister
As princess Anna (Kristen Bell) tracks down her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel) to end the curse of winter in their kingdom, she leaves her plotting fiancé behind and throws her lot in with Kristoff, his reindeer, and Olaf the snowman. This is the ultimate "you don't need a man" experience, because (spoiler alert), the redemptive act of love doesn't involve puckering up for a total stranger. FAMILY IS THE BEST. Watch this with your sister.
Of course, if none of these appeal to your situation, there's always the predictable Feb. 14 fare: the mercilessly romantic flicks like About Last Night, Endless Love (which makes absolutely no sense from what we can tell), and Winter's Tale (which makes even less sense). But hey, at least you'll get to cuddle.
Images: Warner Bros., The Weinstein Company, Disney