Chronicle Recommends: Films of Love

Romance is in the air in this month's movie picks

Every month, the Chronicle’s film critics select a theme and offer movie recommendations. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we've unleashed our advice columnist, the Luv Doc, in this space for some picks to get you in the mood.

Harold and Maude (1971)

Pretty much the user manual for successful cougaring. 74-year-old Ruth Gordon plays a 79-year-old manic pixie dream girl to a baby-faced, 20-ish, death-obsessed Bud Cort. Fluffed by a Cat Stevens-infused soundtrack and the lush cinematography of the great John A. Alonso, H&M is about as sweet and intricate as a love story can get. Props to director Hal Ashby for stopping short of full frontal.

Groundhog Day (1993)

If you have to live same day over and over for eternity in Punxsutawney, Pa., you might as well get laid by a super-hot, curly haired southerner like Andie MacDowell. To do so however, you are going to have to polish your game. The underlying genius of Harold Ramis’ greatest film is that we are all Phil and we all wake up every day in our own Punxsutawney. I got you, babe.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Most of us, given the chance to time travel, would at some point go back and punch Shakespeare in the face for making us slog through his stilted Elizabethan prose. Thankfully, director Baz Luhrmann makes the entirety of Shake’s most famous romance sound like some heavy shit Samuel L. Jackson lays down before he starts capping bitches. Gun play. Car chases. Vivid colors. Dumb kids.

True Romance (1993)

Tarantino’s first screenplay was definitely a home run, and not just because of the “Sicilians” scene. Gary Oldman’s Drexel Spivey is Jack Sparrow’s meaner, uglier blueprint. Brad Pitt plays a respectable Spicoli, Tony Soprano plays Tony Soprano, and Batman plays Elvis – so many stars in this film, it’s amazing that they let Slater and Arquette have roles at all. Somewhere in all the drugs, profanity, and violence, they have a romance.

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