Valentine’s Day

Gene Wilder in

When you boil the holidays we celebrate down to their essentials, the vast majority of them all reveal themselves to be about the same exact thing—candy. On Halloween we celebrate ghouls and candy, on Christmas it’s the Baby Jesus and Candy, on Easter it’s Undead Jesus and candy, and on Valentine’s Day it’s romance and candy. Basically, we take a break on Thanksgiving to eat pie, and that’s about the only exception. Sure, Halloween costumes, Christmas lights, and family togetherness all have their attractive qualities, but seeing as we’ve woven the consumption of candy into some level of each of these different holidays, maybe it’s about time we admit to ourselves that they were put together simply as transparent excuses for us to binge on sickly sweet confections in the first place. Of course, for movie geeks, holidays take on an additional purpose than the ones they serve for most other people. For us they serve both as an excuse to eat candy, and as an excuse to have movie marathons. On Halloween we tear through gruesome slashers (and trick or treat candy), on Christmas we stuff ourselves with sappy nostalgia (and stocking candy), and it all feels pretty damned good. There’s a problem with the holiday we’ve got coming up though, Valentine’s Day, in that anyone wanting to keep their movie marathon thematically appropriate is going to have to spend the day watching a bunch of rom-coms, and—let’s be honest—there are only so many of those that are good […]

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Titanic (1997)

Everyone enjoys a good love story, don’t they? They may not be the highest-grossing movies of all time (if James Cameron isn’t directing, that is), but romantic movies can elicit some strong emotional responses when done right. Watching passion overcome adversity, seeing two people connect on a profound level, witnessing a giant ship sinking in icy waters. The heartstrings tremble, they also seem to set up impossible romantic ideals for us mere mortals to live up to. With the potential relationship pitfalls that come from movie expectations, I got to thinking… are romantic movies really the best love stories?

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The To Do List Red Band Trailer

A movie about Aubrey Plaza giving out hand jobs, under any other name, would be just as sweet. So it’s with great anticipation that we’ve been awaiting Funny or Die vet Maggie Carey’s debut directorial effort The To Do List. The good news is, today that wait got a little bit easier, because not only has CBS Films released a red band trailer for the film, but they’ve also revealed that it will be this Valentine’s Day (February 14) when we finally get to take in this story of a virginal nerd who tries to systematically experience all the sex acts she missed out on in high school before entering college. So, based on this first teaser, does it look like The To Do List will live up to the lofty expectations that its premise creates? Maybe. Honestly, it looks a little low rent, like we’re looking at a trailer for a series of web short rather than a feature film, and while there are some amusing moments in this 90 seconds of clips, there aren’t really any of the big belly laughs that one would expect from a raunchy comedy.

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Over Under - Large

Today is Valentine’s Day, and a big part of what that entails is time spent thinking about the one you adore. And, for me, it means thinking about romantic movies. So what has happened is I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my current mancrush Ryan Gosling, what films he’s done that explore the concepts of love and romance, and how I feel about each of them. And surprise, surprise, a column idea sprung forth. Today I’ll be looking at The Notebook, a film that a lot of people respond to very strongly, a film that most every girl you know loves, and a film that’s an instant panty dropper when thrown into casual conversations with hormonal coeds. Also, I’ll be looking at Lars and the Real Girl, a movie that’s well regarded among the people that have seen it, but that was too strange for many moviegoers to take a chance on, or for any mainstream award shows to champion. And also, it’s a movie that can mean instant death if you try to explain it to a girl in a bar.

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Reel Sex

As we approach Valentine’s Day (yes, it’s just a few weeks away) I think it’s only fitting that the topic of romance come into play in anticipation of the day meant to celebrate all things feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a loved one not related to me. Instead I spend the day (or week) loading up on conversational hearts, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, and a collection of melodramas so depressing I become skeptical that love can actually end in anything but death. Regardless of my tendency to eat my feelings while crying over the tragic love found in Douglas Sirk films, I do enjoy happy love stories and tend to pair the sadder movies with some of my must-have romances. In honor of the big V-Day, I’d like to share my favorite 14 romantic scenes and also open it up the floor to hear your suggestions. Today is my bottom seven romantic scenes, and next week we’ll post the remainder. I like to keep you all on tenterhooks.

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Here’s something sort of bizarre – director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate‘s latest star-crammed desecration of random, non-religious holidays is not monumentally or irremediably terrible. It is also not good, but it’s certainly better than its predecessor, the rancid Valentine’s Day (though that’s not saying much). New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a gimmick – tons of stars! lots of plots! all kind of connected! just one day! – and such a gimmick can yield some unexpectedly positive results just as often as it can ending up being simply terrible entertainment not worthy of being called cinema. New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a two-hour piece of wish fulfillment for the sort of people who read US Weekly on, well, a weekly basis. Unlike Valentine’s Day, its very existence is not offensive, but it’s bloated and kind of boring and really, just really, tremendously unnecessary.

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The Reject Report

Like a mic. Drop the ball. Walk off the stage. Oh, I guess you have to say something witty or snarky before that, don’t you? Well how about some box office analysis? We’ve got two big hitters opening up this weekend, both of them reaching for different audiences, and both of them likely to have decent openings here. The star-studded girlie night is probably going to beat the R-rated Adventures in Babysitting remake, though. Okay, it’s not really a remake, but, I mean, come on. Just look at that trailer. That film, by the way, is The Sitter starring Jonah Hill. He’s found moderate success in his newly acquired leading man status. A $17.5m opening for Get Him to the Greek was impressive enough in the summer of 2010 despite the film not having much of a branding behind it. The Sitter is also the new film by David Gordon Green, who had good numbers with Pineapple Express ($23.2m opening weekend), not so much with Your Highness ($9.3m opening weekend). The Sitter has a good chance of coming in somewhere between those two, a little less than what Jonah Hill pulled for Get Him to the Greek. Expect The Sitter to make somewhere between $15-16m, a good showing but not enough to topple the other new release here.

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If the multiple storylines, loose connections, and a total lack of chemistry of Valentine’s Day was simply not enough for you, director Garry Marshall has yet another holiday-themed film for the masses – twice the storylines! twice the loose connections! twice the total lack of chemistry! Wait, that math isn’t right. Even less chemistry! Everyone, meet New Year’s Eve. Like last year’s chillingly empty Valentine’s Day, Marshall’s latest film tracks a group of romantically challenged love losers across the course of one holiday. Will they find love? Will I hiss in the theater again? When is he making Flag Day? New Year’s Eve moves the action to New York City, though it inexplicably features two stars of VD (Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel) who appear to be playing totally different roles than in the previous film. If that hints at some sort of alternate universe, well, that’s still not very interesting to me. The really strange part about this trailer is the sense it gives off that all of its many stars were thrown into a blender, set to “frappe,” and poured out onto the pages of the script. How else can we possibly account for a film that pairs up Katherine Heigl with Jon Bon Jovi, Michelle Pfeiffer with Zac Efron, Lea Michele with Ashton Kutcher, or Jessica Biel with Seth Meyers? And that’s only about a quarter of the cast, everyone else flew by so quickly that my own mother could be in this film, and I wouldn’t […]

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Boiling Point

Today is Valentine’s Day for all of those out there who have no reason to recognize such a holiday. You know, that old holiday dating back to 4 B.C. where we celebrate all the different kinds of candy Jesus gave to his secret crushes. Or something like that, I’m not really into all that religion stuff. But since today is the day we’re forced to celebrate love I thought I’d take a mere moment to shit on the idea. No, not on love itself, but just on how the idea is executed in film and television. Hollywood gets a lot of things wrong when it comes to love – like it lasting forever or being so darn cute and awkward. Whatever. If there is one thing Hollywood really get’s wrong is the ladder dynamic of relationships. That is, most of the time, hot people love hot people and not people love not people – because they have to.

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Adam Sandler lucked out. Instead of having to sell his soul to the Devil to become a top-grossing, leading man, he found a inexplicable role that Hollywood continues to perpetuate and sell to the masses: the smug, amoral love interest. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Sandler returns with Just Go with It, in which he pretends to be a married man as a way of roping in sympathetic woman. His best friend (Jennifer Aniston) strongly disagrees with his practices – think they’ll fall in love? Of course they will, this isn’t a Lars von Trier film. Forgiveness is pushed to its limits in American romantic comedies and Sandler isn’t the only offender. Countless relationships have blossomed from a quick change of heart and a tagged-on apology, and the formula continues to work. When the nice guys finish last, these guys finish first:

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The moment that Ricky Gervais secretly waits for every year is upon us. The nominations for the 31st Golden Raspberry Awards are in. The Razzies is a different kind of awards show, not one that heaps false praise on people that it doesn’t respect, but one that dishonors the worst work of the year. No, their nominees for Worst Picture aren’t quite as bad as the Golden Globe nominees for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical, but it’s still generally considered an insult to earn Razzie recognition, and God forbid you actually win. Looking over this year’s nominees has left me in a confused emotional state. The only film I’ve seen that on here is The Expendables. Does that make me a bad film fan or a smart consumer?  Can one truly appreciate the good if he hasn’t waded through most of the bad? In 2011, I solemnly vow to see more bad movies.

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There are two reasons why looking at the best movie posters is fascinating. The first is the inherent interest that all advertising brings. It’s art that’s meant to sell something that can’t admit it’s trying to sell anything in order to succeed. The second is that rating the best of the best in the poster world has the most potential to showcase films that never end up on lists this time of year. This is a celebration of the beauty and effect that movie posters can have. It’s for the films released in 2010, and it’s the posters from the studios (or else Tyler Stout and Olly Moss would completely dominate). The awards are broken up into five categories in order to recognize the wide array of styles and concepts, and because there were a lot of great posters this year (among the absolutely terrible photoshop jobs that still haunt us). See if your favorite made the cut.

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As the movies of 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to look back and revisit the finer points of cinema. But here at Film School Rejects, we like to turn the spotlight not just on the best, but also on the worst. This year has been a particularly rough year for movies as more films fizzled than we expected. With the year quickly coming to a close, it’s time to look back and realize which films didn’t just disappoint, but caused us the most pain. So with the help of the entire staff here at FSR, our own curator of the wretched Kevin Carr has compiled the list of the year’s most unwatchable, unbearable and unfortunately unforgettable films — may there be mercy on the souls of anyone who endured all of these gems…

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Valentine’s Day was a terrible movie. It was everything that is syrupy and wrong with Hollywood, so of course it’s getting a sequel in New Year’s Eve – a trend that will most likely continue until Flag Day is made. Then it will be rebooted. That follow-up will now possibly see Ashton Kutcher re-enlisting as a brand new character (who doesn’t like New Year’s Eve), and he might also be joined by two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, two-time Academy Award winner Robert DeNiro, and three-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s looking to shoot soon, and will most likely strive for a release close to New Year’s Eve 2011. Until then, the world longs for Flag Day. [THR]

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The romantic comedy is, in many ways, as “pure” as genre as there ever was one, as it requires the strict adherence to owning up on an audience’s specific set of expectations – you know going in that the two central characters are going to end up together, the slight variation (and appeal) of the genre takes place in the journey to that anticipated point.

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Your daily recommended allowance of random movie stuff, stories that fell through the cracks, and news you can’t use.

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thisweekindvd-header1

Only two to BUY this week, and neither of them are a day under twenty years-old. And three to AVOID including two big studio pics and a vampire indie. Which leaves the ones you should RENT… starting with the return of the man, the legend, the stoic face of awesomeness, Kevin Costner.

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This Week in Blu-ray, quality products are a scarce commodity. So for those of you who don’t own Freaks and Geeks on DVD, I suggest picking that up instead. For those who already own it, here are a few other, less lovable options.

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In this sci-fi romantic comedy, the TiMER will countdown to when you find love. What happens if yours is blank?

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One seasoned director. Two stars. One working title. Finally an exploration of the sexual politics between men and women.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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