Ah, Valentine’s Day; a day thrust upon us on which we are forced, willingly or unwillingly, to get cards chocolates, or bubbly for our loved one, and pay four times the usual price of a dinner.
That, of course, is if we have a loved one. If we don’t then Valentine’s Day can be a day of feeling lonely and depressed, which causes us to eat those chocolates and drink all that bubbly by ourselves.
I have never been much for those expensive dinners, but bubbly, chocolates and a movie are right up my alley.
Herewith, a small sampling of movies for a multitude of Valentine’s Days, and the best drink to accompany them.
FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD:
Julie & Julia - Little is more satisfying than watching this movie (based on an Open Salon blog) in which two women, in two different points in time, spend a large portion of their lives cooking and then stuffing their faces with the results. Give me this movie on a night alone with a good red wine and a massive dish of mac 'n' cheese, and I am a happy girl.
Willy Wonka - Now, who needs love and sex when there is this much chocolate. For some, this movie may be about the love of Charlie for his mother and grandpa Joe, or the love of Willy Wonka for his chocolate factory and, eventually, for Charlie as well. Or it could be about the odd love of a man and his Oompa Loompas, but for me this is all about the love of the chocolate river, and Augustus Gloop.
First, I may just have to legally change my last name to Gloop, and second, nothing says love to me like the look on Augustus’ face when he set his eyes on that chocolate river. Utter bliss. For me, I would have behaved just as he did. Chocolate river = whole head in, mouth open.
THE DRINK: To me, nothing goes with chocolate, or finishes off a good old-fashioned face-stuffing like a port. And some of my favorite ports are made by the Niepoort family. My preference runs to Tawny ports, and Niepoort has a wonderful selection of them.
I especially love their Colheita ports (tawny ports from a single vintage, as opposed to something like a “20-year” tawny, which contains a blend of ports, the average age of which is 20 years).
These Colheitas have wonderful dark, nutty, caramel, fig and other dried fruits on the nose, and they are gorgeous with chocolate and chocolate desserts, but of course are equally wonderful being drunk without any other accompaniment.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE MAN-LOVE:
The Hobbit - This movie is not presumably about man-love, but take a look at the number of longing glances and teary-eyed declarations thrown between Frodo and Sam, and tell me they’re not knocking those hairy feet together when everyone else is asleep. Lord of the Ring, indeed.
Brokeback Mountain - In this indie drama, two closeted cowboys take yearly fishing trips into the wilderness where they can pitch tents (yup) and go spelunking. Heath Ledger’s forlorn wife accuses him of never opening his tackle box, but we all know that’s just not true.
THE DRINK: For these films, I recommend a Lindemans Framboise Lambic. This is a Belgian beer that has undergone a secondary fermentation with raspberries. So it tastes like a beer with the addition of juicy, sweet raspberry fruit flavors. And it’s a beautiful magenta color. It goes great with second breakfast and elevensies.
FOR THE LOVE OF CAUTIONARY TALES:
Nothing cheered me up quite so much when I was feeling cynical about love as a good viewing of a cautionary tale. Fatal Attraction is by far the best. The story is as follows:
Married man meets hot woman. When man’s wife leaves home for the weekend, man hooks up with woman for hot hot sex involving salsa dancing and elevator fellatio. Woman invites man back to her place again for lunch, the next day, proclaiming, “I love animals I’m a great cook.” Man tries to end it, woman goes bonkers, and later breaks into his house and boils his bunny. Literally. This is not a metaphor. Man’s wife of course has to get him out of the bed he’s made for himself by shooting crazy lady in the bathtub. Take that, romance!!
Two other favorite cautionary tales of mine are Psycho and Tootsie. Tootsie is only briefly cautionary, and ends with romance, but both Psycho and Tootsie serve to warn lovelorn women not to fall for men in dresses. Really, when you think about it, this is good advice.
The Drink: These movies need something with a little more kick, and Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye is just the ticket. It’s a strong IPA brewed with rye and hops, and packs a rich citrusy, spicy, malty flavor, with a bitter finish.
FOR THE UNREQUITED:
Who among us has not suffered the pangs of unrequited love? The agony, the yearning, the fantasy, the longing, the feeling that you will never be able to go on if your love is not returned?
We see brilliant examples of this in both The Social Network and Becoming Jane. In these movies, the inability to attain the objects of their heart’s desire leads to the birth of Facebook and a tremendous body of literary work, respectively.
I suppose if this proves anything it is that actually being in love makes people far less creative and accomplished, so stay away!!
The Drink: The pangs of unrequited love can leave us in need of a warm hug, and nothing hugs in drink-form quite like a Chaucer’s Mead. Mead was the preferred honey-wine of the folks of Medieval England, and is best served hot. Chaucer’s is based in California and uses a blend of local honeys. It also comes with a mulling spice packet, so the end product is warm, sweet and fragrant.
Just like the object of your desire. Who right now is snogging someone else. Drink up.
FOR THE LOVE OF BEING SWEPT OFF YOUR FEET:
For all my efforts at cynicism, I am still, at heart, a hopeless romantic, and I always want, both in life and in the movies, to see love triumph in the end.
To this end, I must admit to loving When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle.
But most of my favorite, heart-stopping romantic ideals were planted in my mind and heart by movies I enjoyed in junior high and high school.
I still get starry-eyed just thinking about John Cusack kissing Ione Skye in the rain in Say Anything, and later standing outside her window at night, holding the radio above his head while “In your eyes” played.
Or the stolen kisses in A Room With a View between Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter in the gorgeous Italian countryside while Kiri te Kanawa sings opera in the background.
Or my favorite, the last scenes of Sixteen Candles, when Jake Ryan picks up Molly Ringwald outside of the church and takes her back to his house where they both sit on the dining room table, a birthday cake glowing with candles between them.
Jake says: “Happy birthday, Samantha. Make a wish.” To which she replies: “But it already came true.” Kiss. Fade Out.
Perfect. Dreamy, and still after all these years makes my heart swell and hurt in the most bittersweet, wonderful way.
As should all love, really.
The Drink: Men and women alike swoon over “La Cueille” from Patrick Bottex. A sweet, sparkling wine from the Bugey-Cerdon region of France, this blend of Gamay and Poulsard grapes has a gorgeous carnation-pink color and the bright fresh notes of apple and strawberry to match.
It is one of the most delicious and romantic ways to end a meal, or an evening watching movies that end with couples living happily ever after.
Wishing the same for you … Happy Valentine’s Day.
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