The month of February is a special time. It is the only month out of the year that sets aside one day for people to simply say, “I love you” to one another. Some people love Valentine’s Day, others hate it, and then there are those who are indifferent to February 14th. As much as you can find varied opinions regarding how people feel about that holiday, one thing there isn’t is a dearth of Valentine’s Day content on Netflix and other popular entertainment apps. Even shows and movies that may seem like they’d be nowhere near a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolate, can find themselves strange bedfellows with this celebration of love that comes but once a year.
Going out is expensive. Dinner, a movie, a night-cap after… we’re talking some serious dough being out laid. That’s where streaming services come in. They are like the gift that keeps on giving. At any place and time we can open an app and find a movie or television show that gives us whatever visceral story fix we require. Why not use that to our advantage, add it to our February 14th festivities, and save some money in the process? If that sounds like something you’d like to do (or, if you just want to impress your significant other with your taste in streaming content), you’re going to really enjoy “Movies and TV Shows to Watch on Valentine’s Day on Netflix, Prime and Hulu.”
The Notebook – Netflix
You probably don’t want to start with The Notebook. This tale of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams finding and losing and finding their love again is the stuff of legend. It’s a tear-jerker but not in a schmaltzy way. Though, Netflix got in trouble for changing the ending by fans. It has since been changed back. Director Nick Cassavetes really seems intent on figuring out why some relationships work and why other’s fizzle. The Notebook sees this happen to not only our main characters, but peripheral characters that the main ones interact with. This film wears its heart on its sleeve but it’s earnest, it’s believable, and it’s bound to make your Valentine’s Day a Netflix one.
The Big Sick – Prime
Romantic Comedy featuring the love interest in a coma. If you just saw that as a description for a movie would you want it anywhere near your Valentine’s Day? Yet, this Prime rom-com works and it’s in no small part to its solid cast. Holly Hunter, Ray Romano (and they’re not even the stars!), Zoe Kazan, and Kumar Nanjiani lead this cast that never misses a beat. Tackling such issues as different cultures (Pakistani and American), family expectations, and what it means to really love somebody, The Big Sick is that rare film that manages to be both tragic and comic at the same time. This might not sound like it’s right for your Valentine’s Day… but it is.
No Strings Attached – Hulu
The age old conundrum, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) are hoping they can keep their relationship strictly about hooking up. The reality is that that’s much harder to do and that’s what we see these characters wrestle with in this comedy from Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters). The truth is that there are films that have done the whole “lets not get too attached” thing better. That doesn’t mean that No Strings Attached isn’t fun, and it also doesn’t mean that it won’t add something to Valentine’s Day movie watching experience. At nearly two hours long, this film from nearly 10 years ago has nuance, sass, and in many scenes isn’t afraid to go “there”. Enjoy!
American Horror Story – Netflix TV
Why in the world when we are talking about love, roses, and spending special time with significant others would we add a horror TV show into the mix? Because not everybody likes their Valentine’s Day content to play like situation comedies with fairy tale endings. Look, the main character in Casablanca doesn’t get the girl but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a Valentine’s Day staple. American Horror Story is truly groundbreaking television. In every way it pushes the limits of what’s scary and what we will open ourselves up to be scared by. With 8 seasons to chose from on Netflix, it isn’t like you’re going to take down the whole show or even a season in one night. However, if you’re a couple of lovers who love things a little off the beaten path, the thrills and chills of this show will be undeniable on February 14th.
Modern Love – Prime TV
With a cast that includes Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, and many other solid thespians, the title of this show makes it ripe for a Valentine’s Day watch. Given that the episodes are about a half hour in length, maybe you can mix in some episodes in between some of the other movies (or TV shows) on this list. Derived from the New York Times column, “Modern Love”, this show intertwines multiple characters, stories, and emotions to create a truly gripping viewing experience. While on the surface, the subject matter might play as light (cue “schmaltz” for today’s cynics), this show is 100% pure emotion. It is the sort of bingeable content that, if you are open to it, is Amazon Primes’ bread and better.
Key and Peele – Hulu TV
As strong of an emotion as love is on Valentine’s Day we need to laugh, right? A lot. So what better way to do that than to peruse the 5 seasons of one of the best shows in recent years? Filled with short films, sketches, and just about whatever the heck Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key felt like talking about, this show was funny, irreverent, and most importantly… meaningful. Like Dave Chappelle, Lenny Bruce and other comedians who have come before them, these guys created a show that embraced all the things that make us unique (and laughed at them, too!). So, when you’re settling in on Valentine’s Day and you want some kick with your comedy, spend a little time with Key and Peele.
Always Be My Maybe – Netflix
This fun Netflix Original sees Ali Wong and Randall Park come together after 15 long years. There’s obviously something still there between them, the question is can their lives now mesh with who they are today? As many couples have no doubt been through this, it’s not surprising that Always Be My Maybe is the perfect foil for this sort of Valentine’s Day list. Throw in cool turns by Charlyne Yi and Keanu Reeves (and lets be honest, who doesn’t want to be HIS maybe?), and the stock of this film continues to rise. This may be not be your first choice when it comes to February 14th, but this film should more than give you and yours a Valentine’s Day boost.
Long Shot – Prime
Mixing politics with romance can be a dicey proposition but all of that works well in the Charlize Theron/Seth Rogen starrer, Long Shot. Fred Flarsky (Rogen) has loved Charlotte Field (Theron) since forever. Things soon heat-up between them when they meet years later. Fred is now a writer. Charlotte is running for president. Voila… lets have Fred be her speechwriter! Suddenly, Fred is spending a lot of time around his high school crush. These two realize they have chemistry but can it work in the eyes of America’s political machine and society? Let’s be honest, in real-life guys like Fred don’t usually get ladies like Charlotte. However, they can and it’s that aspect of this love story that makes watching Valentine’s Day extra special.
Nobody’s Fool – Hulu
Tiffany Haddish in a romantic comedy has Valentine’s Day written all over it doesn’t it? Haddish plays a lady just released from prison who is trying to have a relationship with her more proper sister (Tina Sumpter). As they start talking they realize that the sister is in a relationship that might not be a a relationship at all. It’s strictly online and has all the red flags that these sorts of movies love to throw in. So, with Haddish leading the charge, the two of them set out to find out if this Mr. Right even exists. Okay, there’s a lot of very bad reviews of this movie online. This is Valentine’s Day people so I think we need to lower our standards slightly. This is day is meant to be fun, light, and not taken too seriously. Nobody’s Fool more than checks the fun box!
Love – Netflix TV
This Judd Apatow created show is as hilarious as it is brutal. With 3 seasons under its belt Love is the kind of content that might not be for the faint of heart. It examines a relationship between a tough, non-conformist in Mickey (Gillian Jacobs), and sweet, go along to get along Gus (Paul Rust). This show isn’t afraid to present all manner of sexual situations, because through that it hopes to reach deeper truths about relationships. With the tag line “Never is Forever,” Love might not be for every couple on Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for easy to digest humor that doesn’t really push boundaries (or any of the Jennifer Lopez themed rom-coms), you probably won’t love Love. If your relationship thrives on awkward moments, hard conversations, and surprising revelations then let this show be the cornerstone of your July 14th celebration.
Friends – Prime TV
Running for 10 years Friends is an institution to many. The stories of these 6 “friends” are still being discussed between baby boomers, millennials, and just about everybody else touched by this show set in New York. Truthfully, there is a warm feeling watching Friends which is why to this day it is still so popular. Heck, AT&T is trying to save its cable business by getting a reunion show put together! Starting or ending your Valentine’s Day with Friends is definitely the way to go. Pick some episodes that really resonate, come to a consensus with your partner, and let the laughs flow along with whatever treats you happen to be consuming at the time.
The Office (U.K.) – Hulu TV
Everyone seems to love the American version of The Office. However, if your tastes go a little deeper and you don’t mind your nuance served up cold, the U.K. version is the way to go. This show follows David Brent (Ricky Gervais) as a manager trying to carry on the daily business of business, all amid a major corporate downsizing within the company. There is a lot to laugh at here but the real joke is on how the business is carried out. This show is from the early 2000s so it’d be interesting to see how it would be done today in the face of social media. Whatever the case, Valentine’s Day is meant to be fun. The Office gives viewers the chance laugh and also not have to take their next day at work so seriously.
Hitch – Netflix
Is there a more a perfect Valentine’s Day movie than Hitch? Do we want to spend it with anyone other than Will Smith and Kevin James? This story finds the ultra-cool (at least for 2005) Will Smith as a date doctor helping Kevin James find love. These two are perfect together because Smith’s swagger mixes well with James’s slapstick. Like all rom-coms, this movie gets upended when Smith does because he ultimately finds a lady (Eva Mendes) he can’t woo. Hitch is fun, it’s frivolous, and it will not detract in anyway from your Valentine’s Day celebration.
Love Actually – Prime
Look at that title! Does any film scream Valentine’s Day more than a movie titled Love Actually? Set in London with a cast that includes Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, and Liam Neeson among others, this film sees how they deal with their lives and loves in the month before Christmas happens. I know it might seem odd to be putting a Christmas movie on a Valentine’s Day list, but I think that many would agree that Love Actually is a film for all seasons. It’s got characters in love, characters looking for love, and characters wanting nothing to do with love, Christmas or anything else. This alone makes seeing how everything turns on on Valentine’s Day that much more enjoyable.
Secretary – Hulu
We end this list with one of the more controversial “romances” of the early 2000s. I’m not going to get too into people’s “proclivities” on Valentine’s Day. I will simple say if you like your comedy a little edgier, then you are going to want to screen this tale fetishes and self-mutilation with your significant other. James Spader plays a boss who likes to spank. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee, a woman who is into certain “things.” These two make a very interesting pair and thus we get an interesting story about their time together. Alright, Secretary might not be as woke as some people might want a movie like this to be, at the same time it does make a statement and subverts many ideas about not only relationships but what is appropriate to watch on Valentine’s Day!