Romantic Video 2004

Valentine’s Day Videos Movies
That Get to the Heart of The Matter

Ah, Valentine’s Day, when romance is in the air and Hallmark and See’s Candy take another chunk out of my check. An expensive dinner, Janet Jackson nipple jewelry, candy and a card, what do you have to do around here to guarantee an evening of poke and tickle?

What better way to cap off that perfect romantic evening than with the perfect romantic movie? Okay, sex would be better, but if you pick just the right movie, you can have your cake and eat it too. Just don’t get crumbs on the sheet, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

This year I decided to go with some personal favorites and a couple offbeat choices. After all, even three-legged, humped-backed, 475 pound Eskimo/Irishmen with four teeth need love too. Take my word, you don’t want details. However, here are some brief, almost edible (edible briefs, get it?) details on some films you can rent or buy to impress that certain someone.

The Tall Guy (R)
Miramax Home Entertainment

A deliciously nasty take on “The Goodbye Girl” courtesy of director Mel Smith (Bean) and writer Richard Curtis (Notting Hill). Jeff Goldblum stars as an American actor involved in a wacky relationship with a British nurse (Emma Thompson) and suffering the indignity of playing second banana to a popular comedian (Rowan Atkinson). One of the funniest sex scenes ever (you can’t bake a cake unless you break couple of yokes), and the “Elephant Man” musical is a triumph of British wit.

The Butcher’s Wife (PG-13)
Paramount Home Entertainment

Demi Moore’s “other” paranormal film, this one about a pretty clairvoyant who follows a vision and marries a New York butcher (George Dzundza), who becomes the luckiest dog living in his small neighborhood. Whether or not Marina (Moore) is clairvoyant is inconsequential. What is she doing with the butcher when her heart clearly belongs to a psychiatrist (Jeff Daniels) who falls under her spell? Love affirming, “The Butcher’s Wife” cuts the mustard.

The Sweetest Thing (NR)
Columbia-TriStar Home Entertainment

This dirty little romantic comedy with a big heart came and went in theaters faster than speeding bullet, so here’s you’re opportunity to catch it in “Bullet Time.” Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair are wet-your-pants funny as three women on the make. Then Diaz meets Mr. Right (Thomas Jane, with a winning smile) and pursues him with a vengeance. I was shocked (yeah, right) by the unadulterated antics of the three women as they seek romance, but then I saw the Unrated version and couldn’t believe how accommodating these three actresses are. I laughed so hard milk came out of my nose, and I haven’t had milk in years.

Never Been Kissed (PG-13)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

After “The Wedding Singer,” my favorite Drew Barrymore movie. She plays an undercover reporter who goes back to high school to learn what makes teenagers tick. What she finds is that teenagers haven’t changed, she has, which creates a real problem: she develops a crush on her teacher (Michael Vartan). The moment where Barrymore stands on the pitcher’s mound at the end of the film, waiting for a reply to her open heart letter, is a joyous, hopeful moment. Bring on the tissue.

Dave (PG-13)
Warner Home Video

Hired to impersonate the President of the United States (while he fulfills a romantic indiscretion), Dave (Kevin Kline) finds himself playing the role of his life when a stroke incapacitates the Commander in Chief. That leaves idealistic Dave to run the nation, battling unscrupulous advisors (Frank Langella), an inquisitive press, and dealing with a First Lady (Sigourney Weaver) who knows the wool is being pulled over her eyes. The flirtation between Kline and Weaver pays off handsomely in a promising finale.

Murphy’s Romance (PG-13)
Columbia-TriStar Home Entertainment

Charm just drips from this winning character study about a small town pharmacist (James Garner) who falls for Sally Field, a single mom looking to get on with her life after a separation from her handsome but reckless husband (Brian Kerwin). There’s chemistry to spare when Garner and Field share the screen, a May-December romance that is timeless. It’s no surprise that they eventually get together, but there are plenty of surprises along the way.

Summer Lovers (R)
MGM Home Entertainment

Before he took up residence in “O.C.,” Peter Gallagher took it all off in this picture postcard drama about two Americans (Gallagher and Daryl Hannah) vacationing in Greece who welcome a local woman (Valerie Quennessen) into their bedroom. Director Randal Kleiser (“The Blue Lagoon”) is no stranger to getting his young, good looking cast out of their clothes, but he also instills the film with a sense of bawdy fun, some great insights about love and commitment, and a terrific soundtrack.

Return to Me (PG-13)
MGM Home Entertainment

Bonnie Hunt directed this swell tale about an architect (David Duchovny) who loses his wife, and then meets and falls in love with Minnie Driver, who owes her life to a heart transplant. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know where “Return to Me” is headed, but it’s Hunt’s quiet, unassuming direction, a smart screenplay and a winning cast who make the trip worth the time. Old-fashioned romance that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, as if you swallowed a flaming Pomeranian.

Cat People (R)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Here, kitty, kitty. You can take the woman out of the litter box, but you can’t take the litter box out of the woman. That’s what animal expert John Heard learns when he starts dating a dark and mysterious woman (Nastassja Kinski) with feline tendencies. Is she a killer, or just a pussycat? Malcolm McDowell plays Kinski’s protective brother, who like most cats, shares an incestuous relationship with his kin. Keep an arm’s length from this beauty, or she’ll take yours.

Guys & Dolls (NR)
MGM Home Entertainment

Brando sings! Well, not very well, but that doesn’t detract from the many pleasures to be found in this rousing rendition of the Broadway musical. Gamblers looking for a place to toss dice, the Salvation Army looking for sinners, and a city filled with Damon Runyon characters, “Guys & Dolls” endures thanks to great songs, lively performances, fanciful sets, and a real Hollywood musical look and feel.

Groundhog Day (PG)
Columbia-TriStar Home Entertainment

Long before he got “Lost in Translation,” Bill Murray conquered the romantic leading man precipice with this warm, funny and spirited romantic comedy. Murray plays a weatherman who is trapped in the worst day of his life. Same thing, every day. As Murray goes through the motions, he begins to understand how to turn his disadvantage to his advantage, sweeping doubting co- worker Andie McDowell off her feet in the process. One of those great films for people who always wondered what would happen if they could do it all over again.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Hey, he may be just a sweet transvestite from outer space, but even mad scientists need love. Go beyond the glitz, the glam, the musical numbers and sexual innuendo and you’ll find a great romance at the heart of the cult classic of all time. Brad and Janet represent uptight America, left over Eisenhower idealists who learn that love isn’t all sunshine and roses, unless you’re the kind of person who appreciates a thorn bush shoved where the sun don’t shine. For Brad and Janet, one night over at the Frank “N” Furter place is the equivalent of two semesters of sex education. Live and learn.

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