There's a lot of pressure on you to make V-Day special -- going out for a fancy dinner, going ice skating, laying rose petals on beds, finding a unique Valentine's Day gift. But the reality is often both parties in a relationship want nothing to do with that stuff. The two of you just want to chill. Valentine's Day, stripped of its chocolate boxes and flowers, is pretty much just a good excuse to spend time together amid the crazy obligations of everyday life. (Though it doesn't mean you shouldn't have a Valentine's Day gift for her.)
So, behold the perfect alternate activity for doing just that, and your favorite downtime pastime -- Netflix.
But even Netflix can cause pressure, with its seemingly never-ending variety of entertainment (you can spend as much time trying to choose a movie as you can actually watching one), so we've trimmed the selection down. Our writer, Brian Josephs, saves you the time and helps you avoid the clichés with some of the best movies you can find on the streaming service.
Titanic: Before he was Jordan Belfort and hosting office orgies and whatnot, Leonardo DiCaprio was a romantic with terrible luck when it comes to boats. He would get a boat that can only fit one person. The tears from that scene dried up, though. Now it's all smiles as you and your date think, "Hey. At least we're not that guy."
Hitch: The one-two swing-and-a-miss of After Earth and Winter's Tale still isn't bad enough to make us forget that Will Smith was once a reliable star. However, the last time he shone brightly was in the mid-00s, when he went on a short streak that included Hitch, The Pursuit of Happiness and I Am Legend. The Pursuit was the most emotional and I Am Legend was good until the ending -- the exact moment when Smith's career started slipping. Hitch was the most charming, thanks mostly to the effervescence of the two Smiths' -- Will and Kevin -- performances.
The Graduate: The funny thing about Dustin Hoffman movies is how they don't sound good as a written pitch. A college grad who's seduced by an older woman but falls in love with her daughter? Neeeexxxtt. But it isn't. The writing is too tight and the performances are too on-point for that.
Blue Valentine: If you like your romance films with cojones and more "Sh*t just got real moments," skip The Notebook and beg your girl to give Blue Valentine a shot. Ryan Gosling at his least likeable is, ironically, kind of likeable (performance-wise; don't be an alcoholic) in a film about how love at first sight doesn't quite last. So, um, maybe don't play this movie if your relationship with long-term potential just started.
Silver Linings Playbook: It's understandable if you've missed this gem in a year that included The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Zero Dark Thirty. But now it's on Netflix, so there aren't many excuses to miss out on one of the best rom-coms of the decade. Not only does it feature Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, but it's also here where Robert De Niro bounces back from the utter mess that was New Year's Eve.
Nymphomaniac Vol I and II: As you should assume from the title, Nymphomaniac is awash with very NSFW scenes. There's lots of sex and not the cable softcore porn kind; we're bumping uglies here. You probably shouldn't watch it with your girl if you just started dating and you're trying to introduce sex into the conversation. That's called laying it on thick.