My Favorite Love Stories

February 14, Valentine’s Day. No matter how many times you complain that it’s too commercialized now, people will still go out and celebrate with their significant someone. My husband and I don’t go anywhere because the restaurants and other public places are too crowded (and also because we couldn’t afford to spend too much). Most of the time, we just spend the day together – and it doesn’t matter where we are. We usually just stay home and watch some movies or our favorite TV shows. In my case, this means re-watching some of my favorite love stories.

I don’t watch (or read) a lot of love stories. I prefer horror and suspense thrillers. But there’s something about love stories, especially when you’re feeling a bit uninspired, sad, or unimportant. For me, they inspire people to feel good, to dwell on the positive, and to hope. That’s why there are times when I’d find myself binge-watching some of my favorite love stories.

And since it’s the month of love, I thought it would be a good time to share with you some of my favorites. These aren’t necessarily award-winning films, but they’re the ones that inspire me and make me feel good right after watching.

Movie Love Stories I Love to Watch Over and Over

So, here are some of the love stories I like to watch again and again.

1.The Bridges of Madison County – Meryl Streep & Clint Eastwood

Based on the novel by Robert James Waller, this is one story I will never get tired of. It is about Francesca Johnson and Robert Kincaid and their unique love story. Kincaid is a free spirit and National Geographic photographer who came upon Francesca while looking for the bridges of Madison County. As the wife of a farmer and a woman secretly longing for the fulfillment of a childhood dream, Meryl Streep was superb. Clint Eastwood, who played the role of Kincaid, gave one of his best performances in this film.

I love the quiet moments, the dialogues, the cinematography, and the story. I love it that both Streep and Eastwood did not resort to make-believe makeup that made them look younger. Because, yes, in the book, they were described as 40- and 50-somethings when they met.

One of my favorite lines: “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

Francesca and Robert spent only four days together yet their love lasted more than their lifetimes.

2. Running on Empty – Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, River Phoenix, & Martha Plimpton

This is one of my favorite River Phoenix films.

Although the story doesn’t focus solely on the relationship of Danny (Phoenix) and Lorna (Plimpton), I included this in the list because it features a unique situation. Ever since he was two years old, Danny and his family have moved from one place to another in a matter of months. At the start of the movie, Danny, already in his teens, and his family are again getting ready to move. All four of them – he now had a younger brother.

A gifted pianist, Danny attracts the attention of his music school teacher who encourages him to apply for Juilliard. This is where the problem begins as his teacher couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to secure records from his previous schools. Further complicating the situation is Danny’s blossoming relationship with Lorna, his teacher’s daughter.

Running on Empty
Running on Empty (Photo from http://bigscreen-smallscreen.blogspot.com/2012/08/river-phoenix-filmography.html)

Eventually, Danny decides to reveal his family’s story to Lorna, who sticks to his side as he tries to figure out how to set out on his own, especially since he had a good chance of getting into Juilliard.

I loved how the director, Sidney Lumet, showed the development of Danny and Lorna’s relationship. There were no overly cheesy lines or scenes, and he used a lot of good music.

Running on Empty is both a love story between a son and his family and a story two people’s pure attraction and love for each other.

3. What If /The F Word –  Daniel Radcliffe & Zoe Kazan

Based on the play Toothpaste and Cigars, What If (originally known as The F Word) is a simple story of two friends who gradually fall for each other.

In the movie, Wallace (Radcliffe) and Chantry (Kazan) meet at a party. Wallace, who caught his girlfriend having sex with her teacher, hasn’t been in the social scene for over a year. The two leave the party together and although Chantry gave Wallace her phone number, he doesn’t call her. After bumping into each other soon after, the two finally decide to go to dinner together. That was how their relationship started.

The two eventually become good friends and Chantry even introduced Wallace to her long-time boyfriend. After her boyfriend moves to Dublin for work, Chantry begins to spend more time with Wallace. This is when the complications – mostly kept from each other – happen.

What If is the perfect story for the romantic and for those who believe in chance encounters and happy endings. I love it because it’s so raw; it doesn’t pretend to be anything except a genuine love story of two people who slowly develop feelings for each other.

4. Four Weddings and a Funeral – Hugh Grant, Andie McDowell, et. al.

This is a personal all-time favorite. I can watch this movie over and over in just one day!

Four Weddings and a Funeral is a story of a tight-knit group of friends and the love stories that unfold as they attend several social events. Grant plays the role of socially awkward Charles, who meets and falls in love with Carrie. For some reason, the two meet each other in four weddings and a funeral that happens over a particular time frame.

In one of the weddings where they meet, Charles sees Carrie with a man named Hamish and feels bad about it. But like what happened the first time he and Carrie met, the two of them end up spending the night together.

Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral

The situation gets a bit complicated when Charles receives an invitation to Carrie and Hamish’s wedding – and he begins to get depressed.

Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of those movies that you do not expect to affect you in more ways than one. True, it has a lot of funny moments (i.e. Rowan Atkinson, a.ka. Mr. Bean, officiating his first wedding mass) and witty dialogues, but it also shows a lot of realities when it comes to relationships. For example, every time a single person attends a friend’s wedding, what’s usually on her mind? Does she wonder when she’ll get married? Or, how well do you know your friends? Also, what will happen to people like Charles and Carrie, who keep meeting in social events and spending the night together? This critically-acclaimed movie will help you come up with a lot of realizations.

The nice thing about this movie is that it doesn’t only focus on Charles and Carrie; it also features the love stories of their friends.

One of my all-time favorite songs, “Love is All Around” by Wet Wet Wet, is featured in this movie.

5. Sixteen Candles – Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, & Michael Schoeffling

This John Hughes classic is an 80s favorite.

Sam Baker is turning 16, but her family seems to have forgotten her birthday. Everyone is busy preparing for her sister Ginny’s wedding, which is set for the following day. To top it all off, she is desperately in love with Jake Ryan, a senior in the school she goes to. Needless to say, one of her birthday wishes was for Jake to notice her. But how can this happen when he has a girlfriend?

Sixteen Candles is not just about wishing your loved ones remember your birthday. It is also about being brave enough to face the truth. It is about friendship and family. It is about believing that wishes can come true – whether you successfully blow all your 16 candles or not.

6. Some Kind of Wonderful – Mary Stuart Masterson, Eric Stoltz, & Lea Thompson

Some Kind of Wonderful is one of those films that has practically everything: good-looking actors & actresses, a cool story, and awesome music. Also written by the late John Hughes, this 1987 movie is all about tomboyish Watts and her friend Keith. The two work hard so they can improve their social (financial) status. Both of them attend a Los Angeles public high school.

Watts, who is rumored to be a lesbian, finds out she is secretly in love with Keith when he scores a date with the most popular girl in school, Amanda. Instead of confronting him, Watts helps Keith make sure that his date turns out well.

If you’re familiar with Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, you’ll have an idea of what happens next. Some sources say that Some Kind of Wonderful is a better version of the said Molly Ringwald movie, especially because it has the ending that Hughes originally wanted.

Anyway, what I love about this movie (more than Pretty in Pink) is its simplicity. It has a simple storyline. Its characters are not complicated. And the ending is awesome. Best of all, its lead character (Watts) is a badass drummer! I actually wanted to learn how to play the drums after watching this movie!

You’ll love Some Kind of Wonderful if you believe in friendship and love.

My favorite line:  “You look good wearing my future.”

(P.S. This movie made me fall in love with Flesh for Lulu’s “I Go Crazy”.)

So, these are all the love story movies I can watch over and over – Valentine’s Day or not. What are yours?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Keep the love burning! <3

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