Culture’s rom-com faves

Grab the candy and some snacks and settle in for a Valentine’s Day movie night. Graphic by Megan Fuller.

Any Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day celebration needs the perfect romantic comedy. Rom-coms are great to watch with friends, significant others or even solo. Watch leading guys and gals stumble through life getting into funny mix-ups and falling in love. Effortlessly mixing swoon-worthy and funny moments, these rom-coms are sure to be the perfect Valentine’s Day watch. 


“Always Be My Maybe” 

“Always Be My Maybe”, co-starring and co-written by Asian American comedians Ali Wong and Randall Park, is a rom-com that takes a candid magnifying glass to modern dating and Asian American culture beyond Hollywood stereotypes — all to the tune of 90s hip-hop. Filipino-Chinese American Michael Golamco adds a co-writing credit, and Iranian American Nahnatchka Khan takes the director’s seat. Wong plays Sasha Tran, a highly successful celebrity chef, opposite Park as Marcus Kim, her childhood best friend and skilled but unsuccessful musician. The two have a falling out as teens but reconnect in their 30s in their hometown of San Francisco, now forced to reconcile the gaps between the two who were once joined at the hip. Chinese Canadian icon Keanu Reeves, portraying Keanu Reeves himself, even makes an appearance. “Always Be My Maybe” — and all the incredible laughs, cries and groovy beats it brings — is available on Netflix


Set it Up” 

Directed by Claire Scanlon, “Set it Up” is a fast-paced and funny rom-com that is perfect for any Valentine’s Day movie night. Harper — portrayed by Zoey Deutch — is an overworked and underappreciated assistant with big dreams of being a writer. Charlie — portrayed by Glen Powell — also works as an assistant in the same building as Harper. Their overbearing bosses’ constant demands often get in the way of their lives. When the two finally meet, they hatch a plan to set their bosses up to keep them distracted. Hoping that a new romance between their employers will make their lives easier, Harper and Charlie get mixed up in all kinds of funny hijinks. As Harper and Charlie grow closer, their unlikely friendship might turn into more. “Set it Up” is a modern rom-com that rivals the classics and is available on Netflix


When Harry Met Sally…” 

This classic rom-com has brought cozy, wholesome romance and witty humor to homes around the world since 1989. Sally Albright — portrayed by Meg Ryan — and Harry Burns — portrayed by Billy Crystal — meet after college while they are both traveling to New York City to start their new lives. Even though they part ways, it seems these two cannot escape each other. They continue to bump into one another and develop a sweet, close friendship — which may or may not turn into something more. Directed by Rob Reiner and written by Nora Ephron, this movie kicked off the rom-com boom of the 1990s and 2000s. With scenery that evokes the warm feelings of fall and plenty of clever observations about life and people, this rom-com is a timeless classic currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.


“10 Things I Hate About You” 

“10 Things I Hate About You”, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, — though far less sexist — continues to establish itself as a timeless gem. The ’90s rom-com opens with new student Cameron James — portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt — becoming enamored with classmate Bianca Stratford — portrayed by Larisa Oleynik — at first sight. The only issue is that Bianca isn’t allowed to date until her antisocial and rebellious older sister — portrayed by Julia Stiles — does as well. Naturally, Cameron devises a plan to pay the notorious Patrick Verona — portrayed by the late Heath Ledger — to charm Kat. Patrick and Kat are genuinely endearing to watch as they bond over their shared high school frustrations and desire for autonomy. This movie is the ultimate romantic comedy, complete with paintball fights, an iconic prom scene in which the younger Stratford throws punches and, of course, some angsty spoken word poetry. “10 Things I Hate About You” is deliciously cliche, perfectly cast and currently available to stream on Hulu — it’s just as good the 10th time. 


“Love, Simon” 

“Love, Simon”, the award-winning film based on the young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”, is the perfect awe-worthy movie for your Valentine’s Day festivities, whether you’re spending the day alone, with some friends or with a significant other. The audience is invited to follow the journey of Simon Spier — played by Nick Robinson — a high school student grappling with his sexuality while navigating the complexities of love, friendship and identity. As Simon continues on his path to self-discovery, he finds himself falling for an anonymous classmate he’s been messaging with online. Dealing with his secret identity along with the everyday challenges of high school life, Robinson does a spectacular job of capturing the essence of young love in all forms and the ongoing quest for authenticity. The relatable characters and universal message of acceptance in “Love, Simon” make it a perfect choice for Valentine’s Day, reminding viewers to celebrate the bonds of friendship, the power of self-acceptance and the beauty of love —- no matter their identities or whom they love. “Love, Simon” is available to stream on Hulu


“Just Like Heaven” 

This 2005 rom-com is sure to capture hearts with its humor and undeniable charm. Elizabeth — played by Reese Witherspoon — is a hardworking medical resident. Driving home after a long shift, she falls asleep at the wheel of her car and is involved in a fatal car accident. Several weeks later, David — played by Mark Ruffalo — moves into Elizabeth’s apartment, but he soon discovers Elizabeth’s spirit still roams around the apartment. David brings in Darryl — played by Jon Heder — who claims to have psychic powers to help get Elizabeth’s spirit out of the apartment. But Elizabeth refuses to leave, knowing deep down that she is not completely dead, despite all evidence that she is. As Elizabeth and David attempt to share the apartment, they slowly begin to develop feelings for each other. “Just Like Heaven” is available to stream on Max


“Anyone but You” 

Looking for a complicated drama-filled romance? “Anyone but You” follows Bea — played by Sydney Sweeney — and her love interest Ben — played by Glen Powell — who have an amazing first date that ends in a mess due to a silly mishap. Bea’s life is falling apart — she drops out of law school and calls off her wedding. On top of that, Bea’s sister is getting married, and it turns out that her fiancé is friends with Ben. Bea and Ben are now stuck going to a wedding in Australia together with no way out. To get through the wedding without ruining it they decide to pretend to be in love. It starts out all fun and games until they actually start to fall for one another. All the guests are trying to push them together in order to ensure the wedding will go as planned. Will Bea and Ben end up together even if it didn’t work the first time? The movie is still in theaters with a Valentine’s special. So give the movie a watch, and maybe even a rewatch. 


Bones and All” 

Tired of roms with too much com? Fortunately, “Bones and All” is a horror romance that features just a bite of comedy along with powerhouse performances and an unforgettable twist. Maren — portrayed by Taylor Russell — has an unnatural disposition for consuming human flesh, and her father can no longer handle her behavior. Therefore, Maren ventures on the open road in search of her mother, hoping to find answers to her lifestyle. Along the way, she encounters two other flesh-eaters, Sully — portrayed by Mark Rylance — and Lee — portrayed by Timothée Chalamet. Lee and Maren form a close relationship throughout the film, but what is stronger: their love for humans or their love for each other? “Bones and All” is currently available to be devoured on Amazon Prime Video


The Princess Bride” 

The 1987 classic “The Princess Bride” is a fantasy adventure comedy film that is filled with action, romance and heartbreak. “The Princess Bride” is a perfect ‘rom-com’ because it has the thrills and wit to entertain everyone. Buttercup — played by Robin Wright — falls in love with a farm boy named Westley — portrayed by Cary Elwes. Buttercup deals with grief as Westley battles to save his love from danger. The biggest question remains: will love prevail? “The Princess Bride” is available to stream on Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video


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