5 Quirky Valentine’s Day Movies To Watch With Your Spouse

February 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm , by 

14 months.

It’s time to put the kids to bed and watch a movie that doesn’t feature a wise-cracking rodent. That’s hard to imagine, actually…

I feel like every time I see a list on a blog that tells the top 5 romantic comedies, it always includes Pretty Woman and When Harry Met Sally. So today I have compiled a list of fun movies to watch with your Valentine; only there’s a good chance you haven’t seen all of these or really heard too much about them.

More importantly, none of these are mushy at all. So even for people who aren’t big fans of V-Day, you will still easily be able to stomach the story lines here.

Something these all have in common is that they’re romantic “dramedies,” fusing together both drama and comedy. They’re not “cute” nor “lighthearted.”

Call me weird, but these are my top 5 favorite Valentine’s Day movies:

1. Garden State. What happens when at 26, you stop taking a cocktail of anti-depressants prescribed by your psychiatrist/dad, which you’ve been taking since you were a child? Then you accidentally become friends with and develop a crush on a well-meaning pathological liar? Not to mention, the soundtrack alone is so good that Zach Braff won a Grammy for compiling it.

2. Elizabethtown. This movie was marketed as a typical romantic comedy, but it was far from it. When a (previously) successful young businessman travels from Oregon to Kentucky to bury his father, he meets a free-spirited flight attendant on the way to Nashville. In the meantime, he has to learn to say goodbye to a father he’s not sure he really actually knew.

3. 500 Days of Summer. In the very opening line of the movie, you learn that they break up in the end. And somehow, it makes things that much more interesting and intriguing. Most importantly, this (un)romantic comedy helps remind you how truly grateful you are to have found the one you actually belong with.

4. About A Boy. Okay, I realize that throwing this movie in with a list of romantic movies may be a bit of a stretch, but I still think it’s a great Valentine’s Day movie. It makes for a perfect “cuddle up on the couch and watch an unexpectedly hilarious and non-annoyingly British movie that was never popular in America” kind of date night.

5. Love Actually. This movie deconstructs the fairy tale version of love and translates it into modern day life stories featuring a network of characters. What takes place after the fluffy romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl ends? What is love, actually?

What movies would you put on your Top 5 Valentine’s Day Movie List? Did you agree with any of mine?

dad from day one: Proud Papa

Twenty weeks.

*Did you hear about this blog from American Baby magazine?  If so, click here to get to the main page (table of contents) for “dad from day one”.  There’s a whole lot more where this come from…

During the closing credits of my favorite movie of all time, I Love You, Man, Barry (Jon Favreau) finds out his wife Denise (Jamie Pressly) is pregnant after she vomits on him at the wedding reception.  With puke on his shirt, he says to her, “Please, try to make it a boy.”  Barry is a Type A jerk, inhabiting every memory and idea of a typical beer-guzzling frat boy.  So of course, having a boy (instead of a girl) would be very important to him.

Being that I’m nothing like that character in the movie, instead being much more like the main character, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), I had just always assumed I would have all daughters.  Here’s the picture I had in my head of my future family: Me, wifey, three daughters, and two Cockapoos (or Labradoodles).

It just makes more sense that a guy who has no interest (or talent whatsoever) in sports or hunting (or anything proving I’m man enough by showing my “game face”), but instead has always been enthralled in everything artistic (drawing, entertaining, acting, singing, songwriting, writing) would somehow automatically make a better father to daughters instead of sons.  So that’s part of the reason I was so authentically surprised to learn that our baby is a boy.  Like somehow I deserved a son less because I’m not a certain macho stereotype I’ve memorized from three decades of watching sitcoms and movies.

And now, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that can’t help but laugh that without any preconceived hopes or crossed fingers, I get what every man secretly hopes for- a son.  There’s an unspoken concept (at least in my mind) that raising a son is a rite of passage for a man.  A coveted elective course, a special honorary badge, an engraved trophy so easily received- to be a father to a son.  A chance not so much to relive my own life, but to enhance another future man with all the life experience and knowledge I’ve learned the hard way.

The movie I Love You, Man is built around the fact that male friendships and bonds don’t often come so easily.  By a man having a son, he is automatically given that opportunity- to nurture a male the way every boy and man craves to be taught and directed.  What I lack in knowledge of fixing cars and football statistics and home repairs, I can make up for in teaching healthy communication skills and anything that falls under that categories of “literary”, “artistic”, “psychological”, and “entertainment”.

In other words, I have a feeling I will be raising  the likeness of a future Jewish comedic actor, maybe the next Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the next Shia LaBeouf, the next James Franco…

A well-rounded people-person who is confident in who he is, that’s who I predict he will become.  Who knows?  Maybe he’ll be a quiet, mild-mannered, studious, future accountant.  But with a dad as quirky and Hawaiian-shirt-wearing as me, I just don’t think he has a chance of being anything like Clark Kent.

Baby Jack's body is the length of a cantaloupe this week.

Here’s what The Bump says about Week 20:

Baby’s digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, speaking of the diaper situation… baby’s genitals are now fully formed!

To return to the “dad from day one” main page, click here.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Movie Guy, at Your Service: My Top Ten Favorites

With great power comes great responsibility.

I have accepted the fact that I am a “movie guy”.  Sure, everyone loves movies.  Just like everyone loves music, and food, and oxygen.  But some people are so intuitive (extremely picky) when it comes to movies, that casual movie watchers learn to go to these “movie guys” to ask about how good a certain movie is that just came out.

I have literally heard this sentence more times than I can remember in recent years: “Hey, you’re a big movie guy.  What did you think of (names a movie)?”

Of course I am always happy to help out a friend or family member in choosing how to spend 90 minutes of their time.  But part of being a Movie Guy is knowing which movies not to watch in the first place. 

Basic “Do Not Watch” Criteria:

1)     The movie is rated G or PG but is not a cartoon.

2)     The word “heartwarming” has been used to describe this movie.  Or the word “movie” is part of the title of the movie.

3)     Stars of the movie include, but are not limited to, any Country Music star, Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, or Larry the Cable Guy.

4)     In the trailer for the movie, the last scene shows a muscular man with an angry and serious look on his face, walking away from a building or car that blows up, while the man just keeps walking towards the camera, unaffected and unconcerned.

5)     Simply by watching the trailer for the movie, you fully understand the plot and possibly the resolution.

However, there is the other side of the token:

Basic “Do Watch” Criteria:

1)     The movie is rated “PG-13” or “R”.

2)     The words “clever”, “groundbreaking”, and “genre defying”, have been used to describe this movie.

3)     Stars of the movie include, but are not limited to, Paul Giamatti, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, or any Jewish comedian (besides Gilbert Gottfried or Pauly Shore).

4)     In the trailer of the movie, the words “Rolling Stone”, “4 stars”, “brilliant”,  and “Peter Traverse” are all flashed on the screen.

5)     After watching the trailer for the movie which includes a song clip by Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra, Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Petty, or Pete Yorn, you don’t fully understand what the movie is about, but are still intrigued.

Of course, no basic formula can absolutely predict whether a movie will be good, or even more importantly, whether or not I will like the movie.  Because who cares what Siskel and Roper say.  The question is, how worth my time was the movie?  Time I’ll never get back.

I know I was supposed to like it, but The Blind Side just really didn’t do it for me.  The previews showed everything that happened in the movie.  It didn’t make me feel all warm inside.  The movie was predictable, familiar, and too long.  The kid annoyed me.  And both the acting (except for Sandra Bullock) and the writing came across to me like a straight-to-DVD Christian movie.  Sorry, rest of the world, The Blind Side wasn’t for me.

It would be an overwhelming, intimidating, and daunting task to officially conjure up which movies are truly my top 10 favorite movies of all time.  And most likely, only a few of them would match most other peoples’ favorites.  But just off the top of my head, just because I’m curious,  I’m surprisingly going to give it a shot…

#1) I Love You, Man

#2) Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

#3) Garden State

#4) Sideways

#5) Vanilla Sky

#6) Fight Club

#7) 500 Days of Summer

#8) Forrest Gump

#9) Castaway

#10) Rocky 3

Yes, it’s true.  In the likeness of how a connoisseur often is with wine, I am a movie snob.  For what it’s worth, I can help others by giving them my self-proclaimed professional opinion about any movie I’ve seen.  But what if I’ve never seen the movie before?

Then, chances are, it’s probably not worth my time to watch it.  Or it hasn’t arrived yet from Netflix.

My Nose Always Gets There Before I Do

I’m curious to know how many people are like me:  I can always see my nose, peripherally.

It’s not that I’m always thinking about it, but my nose is constantly part of my vision.  If I’m watching the movie 500 Days of Summer, my nose is there the whole time.  If I’m having a serious conversation with my wife, my nose has a front row seat for the event.

My nose is not of Dustin Hoffman proportions.  It’s not noticeably big.  But I’m realizing that there are a lot of people out there who can’t see their own nose if they look down.

I guess it’s like the way some cars have a much bigger dashboard than others.  Not better or worse.  Just different.

“Try so hard to stand alone, struggle to see past my nose; always had more dogs than bones.” -“Square One” by Tom Petty