Staff Recs: Valentine’s Day Edition

The Arts Desk recommends the best films, music and galleries for you to enjoy this Valentine’s Day.


In the mood for love? WSN recommends some Valentine singles you may have missed this week.(Illustration by Rachel Buigas-Lopez)

Ashley Wu, Deputy Arts Editor 

Even though Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark to sell greeting cards, let’s try to forget about capitalism for a second and celebrate love or something. This Friday, show your significant other you appreciate them by indulging in some cinematic escapism! Impress your artsy NYU bae(s) with Gaspar Noe’s aptly titled film, “Love.” “Love” is sheer gorgeous cinematography and little else. It’s basically just neon-lit softcore porn. And If you’re trying to segue your relationship into a non-relationship, “Midsommar” is even more of an ideal pick. Nothing exposes the little flaws in your relationship like a few frisky Swedish people on psychedelics. On the flip side, if things are going well, a dramatic reading of Ocean Vuong’s poem “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” will get your significant other to fall irrevocably in love with you forever. Satisfaction guaranteed. 

Sasha Cohen, Books & Theater Editor

If you are contemplating what you and your significant other should watch this Valentine’s day, nothing says romance like business casual. No, I’m not talking about people-watching in Stern, but rather “Set It Up” on Netflix! When overworked personal assistants Charlie and Becca become tired of their absurd work schedules, they scheme to set their bosses up with each other. But who cares about all the lies, deception and selfishness involved when love could possibly bloom? The movie basically justifies manipulating people if there is some sort of personal gain in exchange, so take notes folks! Whether your Valentine’s Day plans include dinner with loafers and briefcases or Excel spreadsheets and chocolate-covered strawberries, this movie is a perfect way to end your night!

Kaylee DeFreitas, Arts Editor

Looking for something fun to do this Valentine’s Day? Why not go see a classic movie on the big screen? Both Metrograph downtown and Village East Cinema on 2nd Avenue are playing the all-time classic “Casablanca” this Feb. 14. Enjoy one of Hollywood’s most classic love stories ever brought to screen in all its glory on 35 mm film. Watch as legend Humphrey Bogart and the stunning Ingrid Bergman fall in love all over again against the backdrop of WWII-era Morocco. Movies not your jam? Head uptown to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to enjoy the beautiful collection with your Valentine’s Day sweetheart. From Van Gogh to Ancient Greek statues, the Met has something for everyone to enjoy. Take your honey here and it may just have you saying, “What if we kissed in front of The Temple of Dendur? Haha, just kidding… Unless?” 

Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Music Editor

Looking to wallow in your pathetic lovelessness this Valentine’s Day? Why not watch “Blue Valentine” and listen to The Smiths all weekend. Sometimes the overbearing sight of kissing lips all around town is just too much to handle, mere hapless reminders of your own lack of love. Which’s why on this Valentine’s Day, I recommend plunging into your sofa and watching “Blue Valentine,” Derek Cianfrance’s melancholic portrait of a relationship wildly down-spiraling. To hell with “Marriage Story” true lovelessness resides in a balding Ryan Gosling and the rawness of Michelle Williams’s discontent. Now, if that doesn’t satisfy your lust for pathos, try listening to The Smiths’s “Hatful of Hollow” right after you finish the film. Bearing such tracks as “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” and “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want,” “Hatful of Hollow” is the perfect album to listen to if you want to amplify your heart’s agony as a self-inflictive attack against the world’s fixation on cheery hearts and perfect couples. 

Fareid El Gafy, Film & TV Editor

If you’re looking for something to do with your boo this Valentine’s Day then look no further than the greatest romantic comedy of all time, “When Harry Met Sally.” 1989 called, they want their heartfelt magnum opus on the inevitability of true love to be shared with couples for generations to come back. The floor I lived on at Lafayette last year was named after Nora Ephron, who wrote the script. I’ve been riding that high for months. We first meet University of Chicago graduates Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) as they share a ride back to our own beloved New York, and the rest of the film chronicles their rollercoaster friendship through the wild years of their 20s. It’s a wonderful movie that evokes the feeling of unconditionally loving someone for exactly who they are, I assume. It’s available on Hulu, so load it up and settle in with your significant other. Hold each other, shut your eyes and imagine you’re listening to Mike Wazowski hitting on Anastasia. Did you know Meg Ryan was Anastasia? I learned that for this joke.

Ethan Zack, Arts Editor

Getting your love life to line up with the one day of the year you’re specifically supposed to celebrate it is like spinning an evil version of the Wheel of Fortune where every slice of the board is Bankruptcy except one. I’m recommending some music for everyone who landed on one of the unlucky spaces. The 2000 album “We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes” by Death Cab for Cutie is grungy, bitter, regretful and exactly the kind of music you want to hear if you’ve been burnt recently. It’s a really cohesive piece of work that functions best as a whole, but I’d say that “For What Reason” and “Company Calls Epilogue” particularly stand out as perfect backdrops for ruminating on the past flings that still sting. Most people say you just shouldn’t think too much about your romantic life if you’re not with someone for the big day, but what good does ignoring your feelings do? For at least one day, hurt as much as you like.

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