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"Lo-ove, exciting and new-wwwww" (For Valentine's Day Uncle Mikey suggests . . )

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"Love can be as sticky as a vat of molasses, as unpalatable as a hunk of spoiled yeast, and as all-consuming as a six-alarm fire in a bamboo and canvas tent." (Rod Serling)

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Young Son has a tendency to sneer at movies wherein a Love Interest is all too obviously inserted ("their eyes met across a crowded room . . ."). Imagine his shock and delight upon watching "In the Heat of the Night" and learning that Lee Grant wasn't going to get the hot puppies for Sidney Poitier.

Even a sentimental old poop such as myself is willing to grant Young Son his justifications. I have also carried the occasional jade chip on my shoulder whenever I spot a Romantic Element clumsily shoe-horned into a movie. Consider with me, pumpkins, the notion that Love shares two qualities with motion pictures: both are a spectator sport, and both can be Artistic. I certainly don't mind the tenderer emotions entering into a movie, but admittedly I prefer at least a sincere attempt at cleverness sprinkled with some common sense. When James Kirk ends up stranded on a desolate alien planet and just happens to stumble across a knock-down gorgeous babe . . . or when James Bond encounters some Playmate of the Month while hacking his way through a jungle . . . well, you can understand why I tend to sigh and rub my aching temples.

Of course True Love can be messed up rather royally in real life, so it should come as no surprise that movies very often get the whole thing wrong as well. It doesn't help that there are as many flavors of romance as there are titles in the direct-to-video bin at the Dollar General. In movies, Love runs the gamut from the sentimental ("Dear Heart", "An Affair to Remember") to the rocky ("Moonstruck", "Romeo and Juliet"), to the interestingly non-physical ("Lost in Translation", "Educating Rita") and on to just flat weird ("Warm Bodies", "King Kong").

It is certainly not going to be my intention to try and use this space to provide a complete list of what I consider worthwhile romantic films. Far from it. For one thing, I'm working under something of a deadline here. But with Valentine's Day fast approaching I thought I'd blithely throw out a small list of titles you might consider looking into. Some of them will be immediately familiar (or at least they should be), and some will form grounds for argument. Just keep in mind, pumpkins, that Cupid's quiver holds many arrows.

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