Love is in the air. With Valentine’s Day approaching this Friday, Streampix is the place for romance. Who needs flowers and chocolates when you’ve got these 10 movies to help warm you up against the chill wind of winter? Following is a curated selection of memorable lovers—from the unlikely pair of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in the recently added “Notting Hill” to odd couples like Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassell in John Cassavetes’ cult classic “Minnie and Moskowitz.”
“Notting Hill”: This charming 1999 romcom was directed by Roger Michell and written by Richard Curtis, who went on to pen the two Bridget Jones movies as well as write and direct the 2003 hit, “Love, Actually.” The movie spotlights the romance between Julia Roberts’ American movie star and English independent travel book store owner Hugh Grant, the divorcee who runs his shop in the quaint British neighborhood which gives the film its name and shares his apartment with his eccentric Welsh roommate played by Rhys Ifans. Although her fame conspires to keep them apart, the two end up living happily ever after. The movie’s cast also features “Downton Abbey” star Huge Bonneville.
“Dirty Dancing”: Director Emile Ardolino’s 1987 box office hit is probably best-known for Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ Oscar-winning song, “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” but don’t overlook the central romance between Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle and Jennifer Grey’s “Baby,” who melted hearts with their climactic dance number, much to the consternation of her father, Jerry Orbach’s Dr. Jake Houseman. The film’s smash soundtrack includes such heartache classics as the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” the Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Otis Redding’s “Love Man,” Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Mickey & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange,” among others.
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”: Michel Gondry’s 2004 metaphysical meditation on romance features a screenplay co-written by Charlie Kaufman, a frequent Spike Jonze collaborator, about a man (Jim Carrey) who chooses to erase his memory to get over a love affair with his similarly brainwashed ex (Kate Winslet). The movie won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while Winslett earned a nomination for Best Actress. The film’s impressive cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Jane Adams and David Cross. The beauty of the film comes with its conclusion, as both leads, unaware they’ve ever known each other, agree to start a new relationship.
“Before Sunrise”/”Before Sunset”: The first two once-every-decade installments of Richard Linklater’s romantic trilogy, completed last year with “Before Midnight,” charts the burgeoning romance between its principals, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who meet on a train and walk around the streets of Vienna in the series first installment in 1995, then spend an afternoon in Paris in the 200 sequel. Of course, by the time they get to the end (or is it?), they are a bickering couple on vacation in Greece with twin daughters, but in their tumultuous relationship, there is always hope of reconciliation.
“Brokeback Mountain”: Not your everyday romance—Ang Lee’s critically acclaimed 2005 movie based on the Annie Proulx short story is a study of the tortured, ill-fated relationship between a pair of macho cowboys in the ‘60s played by the late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, earning eight Oscar nominations, and three wins for Best Director (Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana) and Best Score (Gustavo Santaolalla). The heart-wrenching film was a favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost out in an upset to Paul Haggis’ multi-racial drama “Crash.” The film proves that classic screen romances aren’t merely confined to heterosexual couples.
“City of Angels”: Brad Silberling’s touching 1998 remake of Wim Wenders’ fantastical 1987 film “Wings of Desire” finds Nicolas Cage as an intense angel sent to Earth who falls in love with a female doctor (Meg Ryan). When he discovers that she can see him, Cage is willing to give up his immortality to become human so that he can be with her. The film was a worldwide success and spawned a smash soundtrack featuring hit singles in Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” and the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris.” The cast included “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-star Andre Braugher as a fellow angel and “NYPD Blue”’s Dennis Franz as one of Ryan’s patient who could sense the presence of Cage’s angel.
“Addicted to Love”: Director Griffin Dunne’s 1997 romcom features a pair of jilted lovers, Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick, a good-natured astronomer, who team up to spy and seek revenge on their shacked-up exes from an abandoned apartment across the way, only to fall for each other in the process.
“Out of Sight”: Steven Soderbergh’s 1998 adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s wry novel is about a career bank robber (George Clooney) and a U.S. Marshall (Jennifer Lopez) who meet cute in the trunk of a car after the former’s escape from prison, and eventually carry on a steamy affair when she begins pursuing him. The adapted screenplay by Scott Frank received an Oscar nomination, while the colorful supporting cast includes Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, Dennis Farina, Luis Guzman, Isaiah Washington, Nancy Allen, Catherine Keene and Viola Davis, with uncredited cameos by Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson.
“Somewhere in Time”: Christopher Reeve is a playwright in 1972 who becomes obsessed with an actress (Jane Seymour) he spots in a 1912 portrait, falling further in love the more he finds out about her. He then manages to transport himself back in time to be by the side of this woman he’s never met. Directed by Jeanne Szwarc and adapted from the 1975 novel “Bid Time Return” by Richard Matheson, who penned the screenplay, the 1980 movie combines its romantic and science fiction motifs in a way that prefigures the upcoming romantic movie, “Winter’s Tale,” with Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.
“Minnie and Moskowitz”: John Cassavetes’ 1971 dark comedy—made for a budget under $1 million—spotlights a tale of two lonely people who meet in Los Angeles, with the director’s wife Gena Rowlands playing a museum curator Minnie, embarking on a rocky, tumultuous relationship with a parking lot attendant played by Seymour Cassel’s Moskowitz. Cassavetes himself has an uncredited role in the film along with his mom Katherine, daughters Alexandra and Zoe, and mother-in-law Lady Rowlands, making it a real family affair.