10 Nerdy Movies to Stream for Valentine's Day

10 Nerdy Movies to Stream for Valentine's Day

If you must watch a rom-com, it's always preferable if there's a monster or a time loop or witchcraft or Muppets involved.

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A woman and a man sit on colorful rafts in a swimming pool, facing each other with the desert in the background.
Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg find each other in a time loop in Palm Springs.
Image: Hulu

A few years ago we compiled a list of nerdy romantic (or at least thematically relevant) movies to stream on Valentine’s Day, including titles like 13 Going on 30 and My Bloody Valentine. (We did that a few times, actually.) Those recommendations still stand, but if you need a fresh list of sweet (and bittersweet) sci-fi and fantasy tales to watch this February 14, this new list of 10 has got you covered.

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The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

We don’t even have to explain why this one is on the list. But even if you can already quote every line of this 1987 fairy tale from director Rob Reiner and writer William Goldman, it still holds up again and again during multiple hundreds of viewings. (Disney+, Hulu)

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The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water

She’s a mute custodian working at a top-secret government lab at the height of the Cold War; he’s a... fish-man that both the U.S. and Soviet agents who’re aware of his presence hope to exploit and/or destroy. Who’s to say these two crazy kids can’t find love in spite of everything? Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed 2017 monster epic swooned and swam its way to 13 Oscar nominations, eventually winning four, including Best Picture and Best Director. (Hulu)

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Splash

Splash

While we’re on the subject of sexy fish people, let’s not overlook Ron Howard’s 1984 fantasy about a regular-guy fruit salesman (Tom Hanks) who unexpectedly reconnects with the beautiful mermaid (Daryl Hannah) he first encountered as a child. Sure, there are romantic complications in this literal fish out of water story, but true love finds a way of overcoming obstacles, including inter-species ones. The Disney+ version made waves, har har, when viewers realized the studio had digitally and hilariously obscured a certain body part, but there’s also intentional comedy by way of supporting players John Candy and Eugene Levy. (Disney+)

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Age of Adaline

Age of Adaline

After a freak accident in the 1930s, a woman (Blake Lively) stops aging—a condition that keeps her young and beautiful for decades, but also means she has to watch her daughter (Ellen Burstyn) grow into an elderly woman, not to mention settle into a life revolving around changing her identity every few years while avoiding any attachments. That last one becomes difficult when she meets a man (Michiel Huisman) she’d like to spend the rest of her life with, if only she weren’t, y’know, inconveniently immortal. Will true love be enough to break the spell? Will it never not be surprising to see Harrison Ford randomly pop up in a supporting role in this movie? The answers are yes and no. (Hulu)

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Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Her life’s a disaster, and he’s a certified goofball. When they find themselves trapped in the same time loop while attending a wedding in Palm Springs—well, a lot of wild stuff ensues, but it all builds toward them falling in love. Stars Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg are delightful (as is co-star J.K. Simmons, who plays the third unwitting occupant of the time loop) in an unconventional rom-com that somehow makes its familiar Groundhog Day set-up feel sparkling and new again. (Hulu)

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Love and Monsters

Love and Monsters

After Joel (Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien) gets separated from his sweetie Aimee (The Matrix Resurrections’ Jessica Henwick) in the wake of an apocalyptic event—sure, asteroids are bad, but what about an asteroid that causes an outbreak of ferocious mutant beasts?—he sets out on a quest to find her again. It’s a lightweight story that’s mostly about Joel’s journey, which is heavier on “monsters” than “love,” but you get bonuses like Michael Rooker and a heroic dog being among those Joel meets along the way. (Hulu)

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

This 2021 release is based on a short story by The Magicians’ Lev Grossman, who also wrote the screenplay. Mark (Kyle Allen, who was just cast as He-Man in Netflix’s new Masters of the Universe movie) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton from Freaky and Big Little Lies) play teens who get to know each other—and, naturally, fall for each other—while they’re trapped in the same time loop. It’s far more cute and familiar than Palm Springs, but the leads are appealing together, and there are definitely worse things to spend your time doing than watching the movie version of a catchy pop song. (Amazon Prime)

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The Mummy

The Mummy

The 1932 Universal Horror classic is full of creepy chills, courtesy of Boris Karloff’s masterful performance and the genius of make-up artist Jack Pierce. However, it’s not without its heartfelt moments, as Karloff’s ancient mummy—who masquerades as an Egyptian historian after he’s brought back to life—desperately tries to connect with a woman (Zita Johann) he believes is the reincarnation of his long-lost love. The romantic vibes evaporate when he attempts to transform her into his mummy bride, but still. (Shudder)

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Practical Magic

Practical Magic

In this 1998 fantasy, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman play witch sisters whose family is cursed to be tragically unlucky in love... until Bullock’s character meets her soul mate (Aidan Quinn), who is also, unfortunately, the lawman who suspects her (correctly) of murdering her sister’s abusive boyfriend (though he doesn’t realize there was magic involved). I know what you’re thinking, but just because Practical Magic is on your Halloween movie list doesn’t mean you can’t also watch it for Valentine’s Day! (HBO Max)

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The Muppets Take Manhattan

The Muppets Take Manhattan

Most of this 1984 musical follows the Muppets’ struggle to get their theatrical production Manhattan Melodies mounted on Broadway. While the best scene in the movie is probably the gleefully chaotic make-up counter face-off between Miss Piggy and Joan Rivers... this is also the movie where Kermit and Miss Piggy get married onstage (but also married for real, to Kermit’s surprise and no one else’s) at the end. (HBO Max)


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