February is just around the corner as the first month of the new year winds down. We’re ushering in the “Month of Love” with a Valentine's Day-themed bracket that pits 16 movies against each other to determine The Greatest Love Story of All Time. The tournament kicks off this week with the “Sweet 16” (Round 1) and will continue each week as the winners advance through the bracket until a winner is declared during the final week of February.
There’s something for just about everyone in this curated list of romantic tales that includes sports-themed dramas, epic blockbusters, musicals, comedies, adaptations, and even a modernization of a Shakespearean classic.
Related Movie: The Photograph
Let’s take a look at the Sweet 16 matchups:
Voting on Round 1 has ended. Click the link below to vote on the Final Round.
DIRTY DANCING (1987) vs HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (2003)
Based on screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s childhood, Dirty Dancing follows a young woman, Frances “Baby” Housman (Jennifer Grey), who falls in love with a dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), while spending the summer at a resort with her family. The movie became the first to ever sell more than a million copies for home video, and music producer Jimmy Ienner’s soundtrack generated two multi-platinum albums and multiple singles, including the Golden Globe®, Academy Award®, and Grammy Award®-winner “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
The romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is based on a short cartoon book of the same name by Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long. Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) writes for the women’s magazine Composure and is their “How to” subject-matter expert. Inspired by a best friend’s break-up, Andie sets out to write an article titled, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Meanwhile, advertising executive and ladies’ man Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) is looking to land a big campaign at work, but his boss questions Ben’s knowledge on romance. To win the campaign, Ben bets he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Andie and Ben meet at a bar shortly after.
LA LA LAND (2016) vs SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (1993)
Writer/director Damien Chazelle’s romantic musical, La La Land, tells the story of a jazz pianist, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), and an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone), who meet and fall in love while pursuing their dreams in Los Angeles. The movie received a record-tying 14 Academy Award® nominations, winning in six categories, including Best Director and Best Actress.
The difficulty of navigating a long-distance relationship is explored in Sleepless in Seattle when the eight-year-old son of a recently widowed man, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks), calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner. One of the talk-show listeners, Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), writes a letter to Sam suggesting they meet in New York City.
LOVE, SIMON (2018) vs SIXTEEN CANDLES (1984)
Love, Simon centers on Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a high school boy who keeps his sexuality a secret and must balance his friends, family, and the threat of a blackmailer outing him to the entire school.
Written and directed by comedy and coming-of-age master John Hughes, Sixteen Candles looks at the trials and tribulations of a young girl making the journey into adulthood on her sixteenth birthday. The movie stars Molly Ringwald as Samantha “Sam” Baker, the high school sophomore who is celebrating her sweet sixteen, Michael Schoeffling as Sam’s crush, Jake, and Anthony Michael Hall as the geeky freshman, Ted, who relentlessly pursues Sam.
TITANIC (1997) vs CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE. (2011)
The epic romance and disaster movie, Titanic, incorporates both historical and fictionalized aspects of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. The sweeping tale doomed for disaster follows a seventeen-year-old aristocrat, Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), who falls in love with a kind but poor artist, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), aboard the luxurious Titanic on her maiden voyage. The movie was a smash hit, becoming the first to reach the one billion-dollar mark and thus making it the highest grossing movie at the time. Titanic achieved similar success at the Academy Awards®, earning a record-tying 14 nominations and winning in 11 categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects.
Crazy, Stupid, Love centers on a recently divorced, middle-aged man, Cal (Steve Carell), who seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a ladies’ man who beds a different woman every night. Jacob begins by teaching Cal how to pick up women at bars. The critically acclaimed movie also stars Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and Kevin Bacon.
THE NOTEBOOK (2004) vs CRAZY RICH ASIANS (2018)
Adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 novel of the same name, The Notebook follows the young love affair of a couple in different social strata in the 1940s through the narration of an elderly man (James Garner) telling the tale to a fellow nursing home resident (Gena Rowlands). Ryan Gosling stars as Noah, a poor but passionate young man, and Rachel McAdams stars as Allie, a rich young woman.
Adapted from Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians centers on a Chinese-American professor and New York-native, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family. Little does she know that her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), hails from one of the richest families in all of Singapore.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014) vs LOVE & BASKETBALL (2000)
Another adaptation, this time from John Green’s 2012 novel of the same name, The Fault in Our Stars follows the blossoming young romance of two cancer patients, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), who meet at a support group and begin a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam.
Writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s feature debut, Love & Basketball, is a romance between Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps), two basketball stars who grew up together as next-door neighbors in Los Angeles. As they face life’s challenges from childhood to adulthood, the two grow closer and bond over their shared dream of becoming professional basketball players.
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999) vs PRETTY WOMAN (1990)
10 Things I Hate About You is a modernization of William Shakespeare’s late-16th Century comedy The Taming of the Shrew. In the movie, new student Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has his eye on a pretty, popular young girl named Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), but she cannot go on a date until her older, ill-tempered sister, Kat (Julia Stiles), does. To get around her father’s strict rules, Cameron attempts to get bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) to date Kat.
In Pretty Woman, a wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), hires a down-on-her-luck prostitute, Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), to be his escort to a series of business and social functions. The story centers on their developing relationship as they begin to fall in love during their week-long stay together. Pretty Woman is one of the highest grossing romantic-comedies of all time, and it earned Julia Roberts who first Academy Award® nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… (1989) vs CASABLANCA (1942)
Can men and women just be friends? When Harry Met Sally… attempts to answer this question as it follows the titular characters, Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan), from their first encounter sharing a cross-country drive together through twelve years of chance encounters in New York City. Many ideas on relationships that would become household concepts, like “high-maintenance” and the “transitional person,” owe their popularity to this movie.
Based on an unproduced stage play titled Everybody Comes to Rick’s, Casablanca focuses on a cynical, American expatriate, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who struggles to decide whether or not to help his former lover, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), and her husband, the Czech resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), escape from the Vichy-controlled Casablanca during World War II. The critically acclaimed movie received eight Academy Award® nominations, winning in three categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay) and ranks high on many lists of the greatest movies of all time.
The latest romance to hit theatres, The Photograph, opens at Regal February 14th. Tickets are now on sale.