14 offbeat romances to watch this Valentine's Day


Not everyone's a Hallmark, Lifetime and Nicholas Sparks kind of Valentine's viewer.

But even the cynical and bored can get in on a little screen romance. These movies, from a wide range of cinema history, have an unusual (sometimes downright odd) take on the old boy-meets-girl formula. 

»RELATED: This city was named one of the best in the US to celebrate Valentine’s Day

So celebrate love in its many entertaining forms (including some that don't end happily ever after) with these 14 offbeat romances for the discerning movie viewer:

"Shape of Water" (2017)

Recipient of the Best Director Golden Globe, this mythical tale is set in a Cold War American government lab. Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) find a classified experiment that involves an amphibious creature held in captivity. Lots of watery sex, charm and points to ponder in this instant classic.

Look for movie times and tickets to "The Shape of Water" on Fandango.

"The Graduate" (1967)

A Mike Nichols-directed classic starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross, "The Graduate" made its way to No. 7 on the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time with sharp humor and awkward scenes. The college graduate is someone we can all relate to these 50 years later: Disillusioned that his degree doesn't mean much, Dustin Hoffman's character thinks his parents are a hassle and he's in love with one woman and sleeping with the woman who gave birth to her. Part of the package is a great score from Simon and Garfunkel.

Rent "The Graduate" on Amazon or other streaming services.

"Harold and Maude" (1971)

A filthy rich youngster obsessed with death, Harold (Bud Cort) hooks up with septuagenarian Maude (Ruth Gordon) at a funeral, and a cult classic ensues.

Rent "Harold and Maude" on Google Play or other streaming services.

»RELATED: 7 unique Valentine's gift ideas for him that say 'I love you'

"Ceremony" (2011)

Zany, maybe a little obnoxious, "Ceremony" takes up the tale of a young children's book author (Michael Angarano) who writes letters to an older woman (Uma Thurman) and ends up crashing her wedding weekend. This flick is listed on Vulture's great indie romantic comedies list that didn't make more than $15 million.

Rent "Ceremony" on Amazon or other services.

"Bringing Up Baby" (1938)

An oldie but very goodie, with eccentric heiress Katharine Hepburn getting hilariously entwined with shy paleontologist Cary Grant as they try to correct a misunderstanding involving pet leopards. Great dialogue and great hats, too.

View "Bringing Up Baby" on Watch TCM or rent it on Fandango Now or other services.

"Poetic Justice" (1993)

For real, this stars Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur as a poetic hair stylist and a postal clerk who hit the road with some quirky buddies for an overnight delivery run.

Watch "Poetic Justice" on Starz or rent it on Playstation, Amazon or other streaming services.

"Breaking Away" (1979)

Uplifting and all 70s (yeah, that's a young Dennis Quaid in there wearing cutoffs), this is the story of a small-town Midwestern kid who somehow develops a fascination for the Italian cycling team. Will biking help him win the college girl?

Rent "Breaking Away" on Google Play, Amazon or iTunes.

"Rocky" (1976)

Sure, this was the first and far-away best Rocky Balboa film. But along with the boxing, Sylvester Stallone wrote a simple, sweet and sorta unusual romance in there, between the aspiring boxer and his favorite spinster, a pet shop clerk. "Adrian!"

Rent or buy "Rocky" on Amazon.

"Raising Arizona" (1987)

An early Coen brothers film lights up the screen with a quirky childless couple who helps themselves to another family's quintuplets. It stars Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter.

Rent "Raising Arizona" on Amazon, iTunes or other streaming services.

"Lars and the Real Girl" (2007)

In Ryan Gosling's truest acting job to date, he plays a troubled man who starts dating an, ah, doll. His relationship alters all around him and creates some great dialogue and black humor.

Watch "Lars and the Real Girl" on Starz or rent it on numerous streaming services.

"Baby Driver" (2017)

You can have action and offbeat romance, too. The proof is in this hot Edgar Wright heist movie, with its pulsing soundtrack that's almost a character, a fine turn by Jamie Foxx as a villain and lots of getaway driving. Our hero is the getaway driver and improbable charmer of a local waitress.

Rent "Baby Driver" at Fandango Now or other streaming services.

"Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991)

A tangle of Southern drama, 60s girl power and a crafty murder scene, "Fried Green Tomatoes" also teases out an unlikely (for the times) romance by the end. Novelist Fannie Flagg wrote the book and the screenplay, and the show stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy and Mary Stuart Masterson, with Cicely Tyson as Sipsy.

Rent "Fried Green Tomatoes" on Amazon or from other services.

"The African Queen" (1951)

An oddball couple who start out as a prim missionary (Katharine Hepburn) and an unwilling hero of a riverboat captain (Humphrey Bogart) end up fighting Nazis. For a different take on the ending, check out the C.S. Forester novel that James Agee adapted for the screen.

Watch "The African Queen" on Netflix.

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969)

In this Western that's loosely based on history, heartthrobs Paul Newman and Robert Redford play the namesake anti-hero robbers. The offbeat romance enters with Katharine Ross playing Etta Place, the 26-year-old school teacher who follows them on the lam and loves them both. Her lovely line: "I won't watch you die. I'll miss that scene if you don't mind."

Watch "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" on Cinemax or rent it on various streaming services.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

Hundreds join annual heart walk at Upper Valley Mall
Hundreds join annual heart walk at Upper Valley Mall

More than 300 people, mostly in red, participated in the annual Clark and Champaign Counties Heart Walk today at the Upper Valley Mall. The local walk joins efforts by the American Heart Association to fight heart disease and stroke. The annual event also featured vendor booths and a health fair, and was sponsored by Springfield Regional Medical Center...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Colgate Mouthwash This week at CVS, Colgate mouthwash is on sale for $5.99. Use the $2 off one Colgate mouthwash coupon found in most of today’s SmartSource inserts. When you check out, you will also get $1 back in ExtraBucks good off your next purchase...
Are we overprotecting our kids? Recent sports stories suggest we are

Two recent situations from the world of sports raise concerns about how we are overprotecting our kids. The first incident involved Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriot quarterback Tom Brady. After a heartbreaking loss in the recent Super Bowl, Bundchen tried to console her 5-year-old daughter, Vivian, and 8-year-old son, Ben. “…Daddy won...
D.L. STEWART: New law may help keep Swiss lobsters out of hot water

Adding to its reputation as the most pacifistic of nations, Switzerland has outlawed lobster boiling. As reported this week in USA Today, a law that takes effect March 1 makes it illegal to plunge a live lobster into a pot of boiling water. Violators will be subject to up to three years in prison. The legislation was adopted as a result of research...
5 simple things you can do for the environment and your health
5 simple things you can do for the environment and your health

With climate change predictions coming from scientists on a regular basis, many people are increasingly concerned about their personal impact on the environment. At the same time, who isn't concerned about their health and well-being? While it's a no-brainer that severe pollution and ominous natural disasters can be detrimental to humanity, there...
More Stories