Holiday: All You Need Is Love

ONCEAnother holiday, another list of holiday recommendations.

So, we’re going to start with the movies, ’cause apparently I have quite a few romantic comedies in my cherished DVD collection. In no particular order, and with no real weeding:

  • Once (2006). One of my all-time faves, but sort of anti-romantic, as far as that goes. Can life conquer love? Who cares, as long as Glen Hansard is singing the soundtrack. (Absolute best scene: when Marketa walks the streets of Dublin singing to her Walkman.)
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995). Another all-time fave. Probably my most-viewed movie of all time, as well. The acting, costumes, and timing are a great pairing for an already complex, compelling romantic story. And Ang Lee!
  • ROMEO AND JULIETRomeo + Juliet (1996). Believe it or not, I saw this movie five times at the theater, in high school. It was one of those main-stream movies that really opens your eyes up to cinematic possibilities. We all know the story. This is the story on steroids.
  • RUBY SPARKSRuby Sparks (2012). A new one. We just saw this a handful of months ago, but I really enjoy quirky or off-beat romances that also deliver on the laughs and drama. This one is quirky, all right. I laughed out loud.
  • Eagle Vs Shark (2007). Another of those anti-romantic comedies. Painfully awkward. But God bless ’em.
  • SAFETY NOT GUARANTEEDSafety Not Guaranteed (2012). And another new one. Saw this in the same week as Ruby Sparks and that made for a real winner of a week. At times I thought I was bored… and then the ending happened. The ending is so worth it.
  • Princess Bride (1987). Just thought I would throw an oldie in here, to give you some options. To be honest, I could never sit through it before, but when we recently watched it with the family, I found it pretty awesome.
  • Amelie (2001). More quirk. More anti-romance. And yet, a classic. Everyone falls in love with Amelie. If you like subtitles. And French movies.
  • Wayne’s World (1992). Sort of an oldie, too. Not strictly romantic, of course, but for you if you just wanted to find something to make you laugh this Valentine’s Day.
  • SCOTT PILGRIMScott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010). Kung fu meets comics meets nerdy-hipster teens. Equals Scott Pilgrim. And it’s all one big get-the-girl flick.
  • STRANGER THAN FICTIONStranger Than Fiction (2006). This movie is great. And I say that because it’s about a writer and about writing. And I say that because of the actors. And I say that because of everything. Like the dozen flours.
  • Bend It Like Beckham (2002). This is one of the few movies we have in our collection because anyone can watch them and everyone likes them. Romance. Soccer. England. Indian culture. Yay!
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). I would usually list this with martial arts movies, but this is also romantic in nature. Visually stunning.
  • ANGUS THONGSAngus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (2008). If you are more the single type, perhaps this would be your speed on Valentines? One of my friends is way in to odd-duckling-girl coming-of-age movies. Wonder if she own this?
  • Garden State (2004). Another quirky comedy, with a little romantic. This movie always makes me smile. And great soundtrack, too.
  • My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding (2002). For more of the conventional romantic comedy crowd. Love that it is set in a slightly older crowd. It deserves to have been a run-away hit.
  • MUCH ADOMuch Ado About Nothing (1993). I love this movie! This movie would be perfect for Valentines Day! Everywhere! For everyone! And especially for Shakespeare buffs and fans of Emma Thompson or Kenneth Branaugh!
  • MOULIN ROUGEMoulin Rouge! (2001). If you want to pump up your Valentines day with musical numbers and Bohemian French grit, go no further. I often dislike Kidman’s acting, but in this, with Ewan McGregor, she more than makes up for it. I can’t even decide on my favorite number.
  • Monsoon Wedding (2001). For a little ethnic flair on your date night, go with Monsoon. There is a thought-provoking romance as well as so much more than romance.
  • MIDSUMMER NIGHTSA Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999). Another Shakespearean boon. This movie is awesome without being in the least overdone. See it again for the first time.
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011). Called a dramedy, this is a whole lot about love. I truly enjoy a movie with multiple plots lines that weave together so seamlessly (like Magnolia or Love, Actually).
  • Now we’re getting into more of the clearly romantic comedies. First, let’s list the maybe-a-little-off-beat ones: Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), (500) Days of Summer (2009), Penelope (2006), Ghost Town (2008), Yes Man (2008), and Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998).
  • Now we’ll list the straight-up romantic comedies; the ones I return to when I need to remember good, old-fashioned film-making at it’s most sentimental: Notting Hill (1999), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), While You Were Sleeping (1995), All About Steve (2009), Return to Me (2000), 50 First Dates (2004), and The Wedding Singer (1998).

Now for my much shorter list of books. Turns out I don’t read a ton of romance. And maybe I don’t like those that I have? These are my scrape-together suggestions:

  • Emma (Jane Austen). One of my top books, on any list. So we can stick it here. Best of the genre, as far as I am concerned.
  • As for similar, classic romance: Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen),  Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), and Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell).
  • LES MISERABLESLes Miserables (Victor Hugo). I love this book, anyhow, but it’s the gut-wrenching romances that I especially love.
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). I have long loved the poetry of Browning, so this is a no-brainer for Valentines.
  • A Severe Mercy (Sheldon Van Auken). I haven’t had the opportunity to revisit this book for many years, but it was simply a sweet read the first time. And all about love. Except for when it’s about literature or God.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel (Arthur Golden). One of the only modern books I could think of to recommend.
  • SONNETSRomeo and Juliet, Sonnets, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare). For when the movie won’t do? Well, it’s just a totally different experience. But if you want your Shakespeare in small doses, the sonnets won’t fail, especially 116.
  • Anne of Green Gables, up through at least the third book (L. M. Montgomery). I know it gets old me mentioning it when it’s not even cool to do, but I just can’t top the romance between Gilbert and his Anne. Then you have more romance in Rilla of Ingleside.

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