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Looking for movies to love for Valentine's Day? Look no further

With love in the air this Valentine's Day, Frank Lee switches gears from writing about Crow Wing County government to providing non-traditional, yet “loved-by-Lee,” movie recommendations. Submitted photo

I'm a film buff—about the only time the word "buff" has ever been used in association with me—but I have an unadulterated passion for movies that's second only to writing and, lately, working for the Brainerd Dispatch, covering Crow Wing County and writing features for the newspaper.

And so I opened my big mouth not too long ago and suggested at a reporters' huddle—it's like a corporate meeting but arguably, some would say, even less fun—and blurted out that I would like to tackle penning a Valentine's Day-related features column about one of my loves.

But it wouldn't be just like any number of lists one could find for the holiday about tried-and-true (yet a bit tired) rom-coms—like "When Harry Met Sally," "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or even a holiday classic that my wife and I watch religiously every Christmas, such as "Love Actually."

I thought for fun I'd recommend some non-traditional films about other passion topics such as "obsession" or "unrequited love" for those looking for something different to watch (and enjoy?).

Without boring readers with an extensive and subjective list, I will rattle off some movies I've seen—in no particular order of importance—that I'd see again in a heartbeat for Valentine's Day but, fair warning, not all of them on this abbreviated list are family-friendly.


Not all Stephen King feature film adaptations are great—unlike the recent remake of the horror film "It"—but who can forget the unsettling one-sided love affair between a socially inept reader of romance novels played by Kathy Bates and the object of her affection-obsession: a writer.

"Misery" also features James Caan as the frustrated, pigeon-holed romance novelist who wants to kill his cash-cow creation, but Bates, in a surreptitious turn of events, becomes his caretaker and will go to great lengths to keep her captive alive ... even if it kills the both of them.

'Ex Machina'

Want to watch something that's even more "cray, cray"? How about the futuristic and brilliant cautionary tale about loving someone—or, in the case of "Ex Machina," a highly advanced form of artificial intelligence housed in the becoming vessel of actress Alicia Vikander?

The genius/madman played by up-and-coming actor Oscar Isaac invites one of his Google-like employees played by Domhnall Gleeson to test the humanity of one of Isaac's humanoid creations by manipulating their feelings of love for one another—or is she the puppetmaster?

'(500) Days of Summer'

While in the midst of a deep freeze—with a minor warmer spell predicted for Valentine's Day—'(500) Days of Summer' is a romantic comedy-drama film that I often think of fondly because of its nonlinear narrative structure because—really—who of us lives on a timeline?

Protagonists Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel work together during the course of their brief but intense courtship—at least from the perspective of one of them—and it encompasses all the wonders of new love, plus a musical number to the tune of Hall and Oates.


It's February, according to the calendar—the month of Valentine's Day—but in another horror twist on the romance genre, this oft-overlooked creepy thriller whose titular character will go to any lengths to possess this movie's stud muffin, Jeremy Sisto, even if it's just pieces of him.

Like a modern-day "Frankenstein," but with a weirdly sympathetic socially challenged amateur seamstress with a lazy eye, actress Angela Bettis may win your heart, too, for anyone who has felt the pain of unrequited love—that is until she puts her pinking shears through it.