Movie Reviews

I have a Valentine’s Day tradition

There are three facts you need to know going into this post:

1- I hate Valentine’s Day. Always have. I can trace it back to grade five and shitty folded pieces of cardboard (or lack thereof…). Some folks love all the LOOOVEEEE. I hate it. So so very much. It’s actually best to avoid me the whole week leading up to it and the week after. It’s ugly.

2- I love Ashton Kutcher. Always have. I can also trace this back to grade five and Cheaper By the Dozen, the first time I became aware of his existence. It wasn’t ‘love at first sight’… it really became a ‘thing’ in 2006 when I fell hard for him when he was the lead in The Guardian (blog post to come later…).

3. The only thing I love about Valentine’s Day is Valentine’s Day, the Garry Marshal movie starring Ashton Kutcher.

Now that you understand these three things let get started.

I have a very specific Valentine’s Day routine. I get very upset if things change. It is a must-do tradition. It’s been perfected over the years and now is a critical part of who I am.

First, gather supplies:

You need your favourite comfort food – for me, that’s a large bowl of high-quality chocolate ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy is a classic ‘go-to’.

You also need a drink – tea, wine, tequila… whatever makes you happy.

Then you need the perfect rom-com for the day. This is my argument for why it should be Valentine’s Day (not including that it called Valentine’s Day).

Off the top – it’s a Garry Marshall movie. He is a genius. You cannot go wrong with Garry Marshall. There are too many classics to name – but obviously (other than Valentine’s Day,) Princess Diaries is #1.

His ability to make solid movies – well written, lovely, rewatchable classics – is unmatched. Valentine’s Day is well written, lovely and rewatchable.

Marshall’s casts are iconic and Valentine’s Day is STACKED.

We’ve got: Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Héctor Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Carter Jenkins, Taylor Swift… and Ashton Kutcher.

There are so many overlapping storylines going on here:

Kathy Bates is Jamie Foxx’s boss. Jamie Foxx is a sports reporter who needs a scoop from Jessica Biel. Jessica Biel is best friends with Jennifer Garner. Jennifer Garner is also best friends with Ashton. Ashton and Jessica Alba get engaged. Jennifer is dating Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey. McDreamy shares a condo building with Taylor Swift who is dating Taylor Lautner. Tay-Tay Squared go to school with Emma Roberts and Carter Jenkins (who are obviously dating). Emma Roberts babysits Héctor Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine’s son (who is in Jennifer Garner’s class). Circling back around to Jessica Biel – she’s Eric ‘McSteamy’ Dane’s publicist, while Queen Latifah (named Paula in this movie 🙂 ) is his agent. Anne Hathaway is Queen Latifah’s temp-assistant. Anne is also starting to date Topher Grace- but it’s complicated. So Topher and Héctor have a great heart-to-heart scene. Also having heart-to-hearts: Ashton and George Lopez. Meanwhile – Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper are on a plane.

Confused? Don’t be – the movie makes it all very clear 🙂

But yes – it has both Jessicas, two Roberts, and McDreamy and McSteamy. It’s a 2010 movie after all.

Each year I come back to this movie with a new favourite storyline depending on what stage of my life I’m in. This year I’m on a plane and flying to Dublin ala Julia Roberts. Aka the person, I’ve been destined to be. The goal is to meet Bradly Cooper. I hear that there can be 100 people in a room and 99 of them don’t believe in you but all it takes is Bradly Cooper and it just changes your whole life…

But let’s be honest… most year’s I feel like Jessica Biel. Her ‘I Hate Valentines Day’ Party sounds fantastic. When Jennifer comes in and beats the heart – it makes my single heart VERY HAPPY.

There are so many ‘truths’ in this movie.

At the start of the movie, we have two key perspectives.

Ashton tells George that on Valentine’s Day you can be mushy and in love and romantic and no one can say anything about it. It seems like the majority of the world has this opinion. I’ve seen my friends carrying the massive bears. I know people love love. This is great for them. If this is you, great. I promise you’ll find lots of love in this film that will fill your heart with joy.

Jennifer Garner, on the other hand, explains (correctly) to Patrick Demsy that Valentine’s Day is a “cosmic bitch slap” to single girls everywhere.

“It’s like the universe saying, look, remember when you were fourteen and you had cystic acne and braces and you played the saxophone in the marching band and no one would invite you to the winter formal? Well, nothing’s changed.”

I’m with Jennifer. But this movie makes the bitch slap less harsh.

For those of us with cold black hearts, there is this FANTASTIC scene with Jessica Beil and Jamie Foxx, where she lays out how much she hates Valentines Day.

She wonders if she’s the “only person on the whole freaking planet who is completely and 100% alone on Valentine’s day.”

This is extremely relatable. Every time I watch this movie I want to yell at my screen (probably because of the tequila I referenced earlier) “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE” and it makes me feel better. If a movie has a scene like this, clearly multiple people have had this same experience or thought in their head to clearly articulate it. It’s a ‘I feel alone, but I cannot be the only one’ acknowledgement to all the other lonely hearts out there.

This scene also reminds of that key point in our lives when BlackBerries were the phone we all had. Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever loved someone as much as I loved my BlackBerry back in the day. It warms my 2010 heart.

I also love this movie for the ‘inklings’.

I’ve seen my fair share of friends who get terrible partners. Sometimes it’s obvious why (cheaters etc), other times I just have an inkling that these people are not good people – or more often, just not a good match. When I get this inkling, I tell people.

George Lopez understands this but doesn’t tell Ashton until the relationship falls apart.

“I had a feeling that it wasn’t right. I had an inkling.”

Ashton is understandably upset (both with the breakup and also at his friends). When he finds out multiple people felt this way makes matters worse. In his opinion, when someone has an inkling, “You tell them. That’s what friends do. It’s in the dam handbook.”

So see. I’m not a horrible friend for not liking your partner…

Obviously, this sets of my favourite rom-com troupe – the classic run through the airport to tell someone how you really feel.

As Ashton describes Jennifer to the oversized luggage guy as ‘sunshine,’ and I start to cry. Every. Time.

FYI my flight is at 2pm if anyone feels like they want to tell me anything…

What I love most about this movie are all the small moments.

The nuns in the background of the flower shop, lattes in vending machines, all of the Garry Marshall key players (some of the best character actors out there). Ie: Peter and Paul Vogt, Hector Elizondo, Kathleen Marshall, and Larry Miller.

As we switch from storyline to storyline, Marshall shows us clips of ‘regular people’ having romantic moments as transitions. Kids at the skate park, people holding hands, little kids exchanging Valentine’s. It’s just brilliant.

Overall the movie is brilliant – the way that all the storylines all link up at the end is so beautiful. If you haven’t seen this movie – I won’t spoil it.

However, before I wrap this up, we need to talk about Valentines Day as a moment in the Taylor Swift Historical Timeline.

1 – Taylor is deep into her 13 phase. SO much so that her character has 13 inked on her hand and she gives Taylor Lautner’s character a shirt with 13 on it.

2 – This happens:

3- Maybe IRL there were less spitwads, but the Taylor’s did start dating IRL after meeting on set… OBVIOUSLY, they broke up and we got blessed with this *iconic* song:

And bonus she wrote this one for the movie’s soundtrack:

In summary, much like classic Taylor Swift music, Valentine’s Day is like a warm hug. The kind you need every year when the universe is being cold. It’s hanging out with your old friends when all your actual friends are out on dates.

Maybe one year the Ashton to my Jennifer will tell me we’re meant to be. Maybe I’ll host Jessica Biel’s I hate Valentine’s Day party complete with heart pinata and meet my Jamie Foxx. Maybe this year Bradley Cooper will be my seatmate.

However, until things turn out – I’ll always have Valentine’s Day. And chocolate ice cream. And tequila.

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