Romantic Movies for Men

1
500 Days of Summer
500 Days of Summer
Fox Searchlight via Everett Collection
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become the poster boy for the non-romantic romantic film. This story finds Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt) meeting a girl named Summer (Zooey Deschanel) who quickly becomes the girl of his dreams. The film follows the 500 days of their relationship. However, the relationship doesn’t last long and a lion’s share of the film is Tom coming to terms with the end of the relationship. However, the film does end on a lighter more positive note. The film is not the traditional love story and Tom’s rejection mirrors the rejection many of us have experienced.
2
True Romance
True Romance
Warner Bros. via Everett Collection
This Quentin Tarantino-penned classic has all the makings of a romance. Two lovers against all odds, declarations of love, obstacles, and secrets revealed. However, it also has all the makings of a great Tarantino action film like cursing, guns, and Samuel L. Jackson. There’s also Christopher Walken and Gary Oldman. What else could you want from a movie? The action and gritty element adds some flavor to what is not only an amazingly true romance film but also a great movie overall.
3
Love Actually
Love Actually
Universal via Everett Collection
Before every holiday was trying to recreate the magic of this film, Love Actually was a fresh take on the romance comedy. It used various vignettes to explore love stories on Christmas. Luckily, since there were multiple stories, a few actually appeal to the male viewer. There’s a bromance between singer Billy Mack (Billy Nighy) and his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher). Mark (Andrew Lincoln) declaring his love for the girl of his dreams Juliet (Keira Knightley) but bowing out for his best friend’s sake is definitely a familiar feeling for a guy. Plus, David (Hugh Grant) and his budding love for his sexy staff member (Martine McCutcheon) is definitely a familiar feeling for jilted guys everywhere.
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4
Garden State
Garden State
Fox Searchlight via Everett Collection
Zach Braff wrote, directed, and starred in this film about an emotionally distant guy that moves home. By repairing the relationships of his past and forming a love affair with a local equally-weird girl (Natalie Portman) he finds he’s able to truly be himself. The film doesn’t spend 100% of its time focusing on the romance. However, there is an authenticity to be found. Men are customarily not meant to express emotion and the film really captures that emotional frustration. Plus, Portman is the ultimate girl next door and is amazingly cute in this film.
5
Don Jon
Don Jon
Relativity Media via Everett Collection
Gordon-Levitt steps behind the camera to write and direct this comedy/love story. Jon is a porn addict who is obsessed with his public persona. He meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) a girl even more obsessed with how people perceive her who has a love for romantic comedies. Their relationship calls into question the obsession with objectification, material goods, and images over actual human connection. The use of porn, working out, and a love for hotties makes the message more approachable to a male audience.
6
Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
This comedy is a love story in disguise. But thankfully, it’s not one of the typical holiday movies like New Years Eve and Valentine’s Day. Bill Murray plays an acerbic newscaster who gets forced to relive the same day over and over. His biggest challenge becomes charming the utterly lovely Andie MacDowell. The movie is the greatest blend of dark humor, a thought provoking premise, and a lighthearted love story.
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7
Overboard
Overboard
MGM via Everett Collection
This feel-good comedy is surprisingly free of cheese. Despite not being a huge success, it’s still really fun to watch. Goldie Hawn plays an over-the-top heiress who gets amnesia and ends up living with a handyman (Kurt Russell) she stiffed as punishment. Russell and Hawn have a lot of tender moments but the film is also really funny and enjoyable to watch.
8
Coming to America
Coming to America
Paramount via Everett Collection
This is one of the first movies where Eddie Murphy does quadruple duty playing multiple roles. However, people may forget that this side-splitting comedy is a romantic comedy?!? Murphy plays an African prince who visits Queens, N.Y. in search of his bride. Along the way, he gets a rude awakening about American culture. There are tons of memorable quotes and great appearances by James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall, and even Samuel L. Jackson.
9
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Universal via Everett Collection
Jason Segel brings real heartache and an inordinate amount of penis to this honest take on relationships. The movie is funny and romantic while not feeling formulaic or fake. Instead, it’s got an uplifting view of dating after break-ups. It also has eye candy in the form of bikini clad Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell.
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10
Chasing Amy
Chasing Amy
Miramax via Everett Collection
Kevin Smith is not a normal guy…so he wouldn’t make a normal romantic comedy. A shockingly shlubby Ben Affleck woos the girl of his dreams…who happens to be a lesbian. The film touches on some major sexual politics while still exploring relationships through a distinct Clerks-style lens. Ironically, the hardest thing to believe is that New York residents would spend so much time in New Jersey.
11
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Focus Features via Everett Collection
It’s refreshing to see love as more than just sunshine and roses. This off-beat indie explores the darker more nuanced part of relationships. Jim Carrey tries to have his relationship with Kate Winslet erased after they break-up. This bizarre premise really puts into perspective what it means to be in a relationship, both the good and the bad.
12
10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You
Buena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection
This comedy brought a surprising amount of depth and complexity to the teen movie oeuvre. It features amazing performances by Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles before she was bugging Jason Bourne, and a young post-3rd Rock from the Sun Gordon-Levitt. This modern retelling of “Taming of the Shrew” finds a teen bribing the school bad boy to romance his love interest’s misanthropic sister. It offers a darker alternate universe to the shiny, happy Clueless and She’s All That.

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