Hidden Gems of Netflix: Valentine’s Day Edition

It is no false claim to say that many college students spend a lot of free time streaming movies and television shows on Netflix. The service provides a great alternative to venturing to the movie theater and spending almost $30 by the time the tickets and concessions are paid for. With Valentine’s Day approaching, couples all over the country will be planning some variation of the classic “dinner and a movie” outing. Instead of spending a fortune on seeing a movie in a theater, here are some great selections available on Netflix for couples to enjoy a more intimate and cost-effective night in.

1. Chasing Amy (1997)

From the same creative mind that rocked the independent film industry with Clerks in 1994 comes another film socially ahead of its time. Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy is a movie set in the same fictional version of Monmouth County, NJ as Clerks and a number of Smith’s other releases. Not only does it take place in the same general area as Monmouth University, but some local places are visible in the film itself, such as Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank.

Chasing Amy

stars Ben Affleck as Holden McNeil, a comic book artist who falls in love with a young woman named Alyssa Jones, who turns out to be a lesbian. Holden originally agrees to hang out with Alyssa as friends, but soon finds he cannot contain his love for her. This starts him on a long, humorous, and heartbreaking quest that examines relationship dynamics and the power of romantic love in a unique way that has not been replicated in media since. The scene featuring Smith’s iconic characters Jay and Silent Bob (Silent Bob played by Smith himself) presents one of the most humorous and insightful rants in film. For a unique Valentine’s Day viewing experience, make sure Chasing Amy remains at the top of the list.

2. Shameless UK (2004-2013)

Many Americans recognize Shameless as the ShowTime original featuring a working-class family in a poor Chicago neighborhood. The American Shameless is actually an adaptation of a much earlier program of the same name. The original version first aired on the UK’s Channel 4 in January 2004 and concluded in May 2013, and featured a mostly-identical family to the current American version.

The show focuses primarily on abusive, alcoholic father Frank Gallagher and his six children in the fictional Manchester neighborhood, Chatsworth Estate. The eldest of the six, Fiona, struggles to keep Frank out of her and her siblings’ lives while also raising and supporting them on her own. Eventually, she meets a mysterious, wealthy young man named Steve (played by James McAvoy of X-Men fame). Fiona and Steve eventually fall in love, but only after he pursues her relentlessly beforehand. Steve and Fiona’s relationship saga is a candid, believable one. Their relationship dynamic is what makes Shameless UK a great Valentine’s Day choice.

3. Adventureland


director Greg Mottola’s 2009 indie masterpiece Adventureland is the romantic, comedic coming-of-age drama for college students. Boasting an all-star cast featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Ryan Reynolds, the film guarantees superb acting quality.

Eisenberg portrays protagonist James Brennan, who has just returned home to Pittsburgh, PA, after graduating with a comparative literature degree from Oberlin College. After his parents’ financial troubles hinder him from spending his summer in Europe and attending graduate school at Columbia University for journalism, he takes their advice and seeks out employment. He lands a job at his local amusement park, Adventureland. James’s supervisor assigns him to the games section of the park, where he meets (and eventually falls for) one of his co-workers, Em (Stewart).

The film features a protagonist easily relatable to college-aged audiences. Eisenberg’s trademark innocent, awkward delivery allows James to become a believable character with realistic issues. Not only will this film provide a relatable experience for students, but it has a perfect balance