Valentine's Day can be hard, and it can be easy, and it can also just be ... a day! Given my longstanding tradition of not being in love, it doesn't tend to breed sitcom-style resentment in me or give me the warm-fuzzies. Like all other days of the year, I mostly consider it an opportunity to watch, and then tweet about, a movie.
My most successful V-Day screening (without question) was an opening-day matinee of Winter's Tale, the film where Colin Farrell flies a horse named Horse into the future and Will Smith plays Lucifer in a Jimi Hendrix graphic tee. While few viewing experiences will ever offer a similar brush with the sublime, here are five Portland-made titles worth revisiting this week, no matter what your holiday looks like.
FOR THE SAD QUEER
My Own Private Idaho (1991, Gus Van Sant)
Keanu clutching a passed-out River Phoenix by the stag statue. The Shakespearean standoff underneath the St. Johns Bridge. The climactic snub at Jake’s. This certified staple of New Queer Cinema (which, for the uninitiated, blends a loose adaptation of Henry IV with stories from real-life Portland hustlers) has all the Rose City landmarks and sublimated desire a lonely queer could hope for on V-Day.
FOR ANYONE WHOSE VALENTINE IS THE RESURGENCE OF KRISTEN STEWART AND ROBERT PATTINSON
Twilight (2008, Catherine Hardwicke)
Despite the burns they sustained from the spotlight while carrying Stephenie Meyer’s vampire franchise, Rob and Kristen have (improbably) become two of independent cinema’s most reliable players. She’s the only American to ever win the French equivalent of an Oscar (for Oliver Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria); he’s carried projects by the Safdie Brothers, Claire Denis, and Robert Eggers. If those rebrands set your heart aflutter, why not head back to where it all began, complete with misty Doug firs and shots of Yale Union?
FOR THE "MY DOG IS MY VALENTINE" CROWD
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993, Duwayne Dunham)
For the incredibly brief period at the top of the aughts when my dad would not let me have a dog, I compensated by renting this movie every week from my local strip mall and quietly letting Sassy the Himalayan cat voiced by Sally Field turn me gay. The Gorge and Mount Hood National Forest are on full display in this bizarre Disney remake of its own 1963 film The Incredible Journey, which is essentially the same movie with the addition of talking animals. This is also a good bet if you have kids. (Do families hang out together on Valentine’s Day?)
FOR THE WORKAHOLIC
The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)
Who among us has not lost our minds trying to get a little work done at Timberline Lodge. Kubrick’s measured, sterile masterpiece did not spend much time in these parts, but those looming helicopter shots of the Overlook solidified Timberline in the nightmares of millions. Bonus points for the elevator blood dump, because blood is red, and I'm admittedly losing steam on the whole “connect this back to Valentine’s Day” brief.
FOR ANYONE ACTUALLY GETTING IT ON
Body of Evidence (1993, Uli Edel)
Smash cut to me circa 2005 on an OMSI jet boat field trip with my fourth grade class. Our guide lists this in a series of films shot at the Pittock Mansion, the chaperones on either side of me go beet red, I dedicate myself to tracking down a copy. Body of Evidence is a beautiful disaster, a mind-meltingly dumb erotic thriller featuring a turn by Madonna that netted her a Razzie for Worst Actress AND Julianne Moore with this haircut. Still, it is steamy, and one of these movies had to be!