Valentine’s Day Movies to Love and Hate

Happy or heartbroken, this list's for you...

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Valentine's Day Movies
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Focus Features)

    This feature originally ran in February 2015. We’re reposting it ahead of this year’s Valentine’s Day.

    Valentine’s Day, a loved or loathed holiday depending upon one’s relationship status and willingness to succumb to commercialism’s flowers-and-candy paradigm, is nigh. And what better way to celebrate after gift-giving — or throwing a Singles Appreciation party or eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs alone in bed — than by watching a romantic film?

    For options, look no further than the steady march of date movies released on Valentine’s Day weekend in recent years: Gnomeo and Juliet (2011), Just Go with It (2011), The Vow (2012), Safe Haven (2013), Beautiful Creatures (2013), Endless Love (2014), About Last Night (2014), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Fifty Shades Darker (2017), and, of course, Fifty Shades Freed (2018).


    Although celebrations in honor of St. Valentine date back to at least the fifth century AD, Valentine’s Day in the “Hallmark holiday” sense is only a few decades old. As such, films about Valentine’s Day, or those that even include Valentine’s Day as a minor plot point, are surprisingly few and far between.

    With this holiday-specific restriction in mind, we did a little digging and came up with a list of eight feature films ranked from worst to best. The list does not include television movies like the Charlie Brown shorts, as cute as they are, nor any films related to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, in which case Some Like It Hot would have made the cut.

    Do you have a favorite film set around Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments.

    –Leah Pickett
    Staff Writer


    I Hate Valentine’s Day (2009)

    i hate valentines day Valentines Day Movies to Love and Hate

    Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The chemistry between the two leads — then-unknown stage actress Nia Vardalos and Sex and the City’s John Corbett as star-crossed Greek-American and Anglo-Saxon lovers, Toula Portokolos and Ian Miller — coupled with a funny, heartfelt story about ethnic identity and an endearing supporting cast, made it not just the surprise indie hit of 2002, but the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time.

    I Hate Valentine’s Day, which reunites Vardalos and Corbett as onscreen paramours, is not that film. It’s the cracked-out Frankenstein version of that film, as Vardalos’ Genevieve and Corbett’s Greg possess none of the chemistry, not to mention the individual warmth or likability, that made the pairing of Toula and Ian so appealing. Good writing and direction might have saved them, but Vardalos is weak on both counts; as a result, both characters come across as blithering, childish idiots.

    Genevieve, who owns a Brooklyn flower shop called Roses for Romance, has a “five-date rule” that she considers breaking after getting to know Greg, who owns a tapas bar called Get on Tapas (woof). The forced humor drags on for what feels like years, while the few scenes featuring Zoe Kazan as Genevieve’s dreamy friend (so good that her character might as well have wandered in from another, much better film) offer only brief glimpses of hope.


    The moment of truth for Greg and Genevieve arrives on Valentine’s Day, one year to the day after their story begins. But by that point, the will to care is outstripped by the desire to watch something else, anything else, as a form of brain bleach for the painful second-hand embarrassment of watching two actors stumble through a relationship that even they don’t seem to believe in. —Leah Pickett


    Valentine (2001)


    There are so many choices for the nadir of post-Scream slasher flicks. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Urban Legends one and two. Halloween H20. The entire Dimension Films line-up after 1996. But for the sake of bold claims (and outrageous hyperbole), let’s just say that Jamie Blanks’ Valentine is the bottom of the barrel, the very grimmest of Wes Craven rip-offs. It’s heartless, it’s gutless, it’s not scary, and, worst of all, it stars Denise Richards.

    Actually, Katherine Heigl’s in this too. She is the worst of all.

    Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day! Here, yet another lovelorn, love-scorned killer takes on a series of vapid young actors for gore and profit. But see, to drive the Valentine’s theme home, the killer wears a cherub mask. Of course he or she doesn’t wear a cupid diaper – that would just be stupid. Ironic death after death occurs, and oh my God, didn’t America break up with the Scream films already? Do yourself a solid, look at a few clips on YouTube, crack open a box of chocolates, and laugh your heart out. —Blake Goble


    My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

    mybloodyvalentine2009 Valentines Day Movies to Love and Hate

    Movies like My Bloody Valentine 3D make me ashamed of watching horror movies. All base needs are on display: “Let’s give the kids the naughty goods and slap some 3D on it before they realized it was 15 bucks full of nothing.” Not only is it indicative of the modern movie industry’s biggest flaws (nostalgic cash grabbing and 3D for grotesque purposes), but MBV3D is also like cereal comprised entirely of marshmallows.

    This is one of those movies that I saw in 2009 with buddies, and their lust for blood and full frontal nudity left me mortified. Never have I ever wanted to grow up more. Thanks for that, Patrick Lussier. My Bloody Valentine 3D isn’t just an eyesore; it’s a palate-destroyer, a waste of time, and its title is a mouthful.

    Furthermore, the film’s a hacky, showy remake of a middle-tier horror movie, and most criminally, it hardly elicits the necessary thrills required to hold on to one’s lover. You had one job, Patrick Lussier. Way to screw up everyone’s Valentine’s Day. Oh, wait, this was meant to be camp? Eh, 3D still sucks. —Blake Goble



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