It’s Halloween week, and you’ve probably noticed that the holiday has practically taken over pop culture, from spooktacular episodes of your favorite sitcoms to reruns of horror movie sequels. Why not take a break from all that and curl up with a nice romantic comedy? You can curl up with a romantic comedy on non-Halloween week as well. I’m not in charge of you.
If you’re anything like me, you love romantic comedies but get tired of the same tired, unrealistic cliches being rehashed over and over in every single one, and you seek out a little something different. In the mood for a few recommendations? I’ve got ten of them right here, and you can watch all of them on Netflix streaming right now.
1. Benny & Joon (1993)
I just love this movie. Mary Stuart Masterson plays a mentally unstable woman who falls in love with Johnny Depp’s eccentric Buster Keaton impersonator. If that’s not unconventional enough for you, just know that Johnny makes grilled cheese with an iron at one point. Eh? Eh?
2. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Do you like watching comedians take on more serious roles? Then you should definitely check out this romantic dramedy starring Adam Sandler. After you watch it, you’ll probably wonder how Jack & Jill ever got made afterward. Shudder.
3. Lost in Translation (2003)
We could argue all day about the nature of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s relationship in this movie. We could also argue about what the hell he whispers in her ear at the end. But I’m choosing to put it on this list, because the very fact that their relationship may or may not be romantic is what makes it so unconventional.
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Whenever people in college found out I was a Film Studies major, they’d inevitably ask what my favorite movie was, and I always had this title at the ready. With a clever screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, whimsical direction from Michel Gondry, and knockout performances from Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, it’s pretty much perfect. If you’ve ever wanted to erase someone from your memory, this film will make you question that desire.
5. Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
Writer-director-star Miranda July is also a performance artist, so her movies are strange, to say the least. But if you’re in the mood for some comedy mixed with drama mixed with poetry mixed with WTF, give it a try. It’s about a man and a woman struggling to connect in modern society. If you like this one, check out July’s more recent film The Future, which is less of a rom-com. But it has a talking cat, which is always a plus.
6. Elizabethtown (2005)
I think Elizabethtown is one of the most underrated romantic comedies of the new millennium, if not one of the most underrated films in general. It’s so significant that it inspired critic Nathan Rabin to coin the term “manic pixie dream girl” about Kirsten Dunst’s character. Orlando Bloom is charming as ever, and it’s just a cute movie, gosh darn it!
7. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
The world’s shared boyfriend Ryan Gosling stars in this beautiful, very weird film about a man who embarks on a loving relationship with a sex doll. The premise sounds absurd and possibly really vulgar, but it’s actually very heartfelt and shockingly innocent. And it proves that the Gos even looks good with a creepy mustache. Swoon.
8. Camille (2008)
I watched this movie in my James Franco phase and enjoyed it more than I expected. He and Sienna Miller are on their way to their honeymoon when they get into an accident, and a lot of weird things start to happen that would interestingly enough also fit this movie into the typical “Halloween week” category.
9. TiMER (2009)
If you’re into sci-fi romance with a good dose of quirkiness thrown in, you’ll adore this movie about a dystopian society where everyone walks around with implanted timers counting down to the second they meet their soul mate. But what happens when you fall in love with someone before your timer goes off? It’s a really cute, thought-provoking examination of love and destiny.
10. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
I just watched this one for the first time last night at the suggestion of editor-in-chief Jenni, who gave Aubrey Plaza a great review when it was released last year. Aubrey plays a magazine intern who is tasked with learning more about a strange man who claims to be building a time machine. It sounds like a fantasy from the plot, but for most of the runtime it’s actually just a great coming-of-age film.