Skip It or Stream It: Valentine’s Day Edition


Graphic by Maliah White

With so may romantic titles to choose from, which should you skip and which should you stream?

Sydney Lawson, Lifestyle Editor


I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest connoisseur of romance movies or television. If a romance is at the core of the plot with no interesting dynamics or conflict, I struggle to stay engaged. That being said, I was surprised by how many of these films and series I felt were worthy of streaming, and hope you enjoy at least some of these picks.


“10 Things I Hate About You”

Available for streaming on Disney +

Verdict: Stream It

Cameron James (Joseph-Gordon Levitt) is head over heels for Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik), but because of her overprotective father, she’s not allowed to date until her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does. Kat is entirely uninterested in dating, and with her reputation as “the wretch,” guys aren’t exactly falling at her feet either. Cameron sets out to get someone to date Kat and settles on Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), the only guy tough enough to “handle” a girl like Kat. Patrick, however, won’t date Kat out of the kindness of his heart. He only agrees to woo her once Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan), another one of Bianca’s suitors, pays him to do so.

I was completely endeared by this film and its characters. It wasn’t anything profound, but it was a perfectly entertaining tween rom-com. I love characters like Kat and Patrick who are headstrong and challenging but not made out to be better than everyone else because of it. They didn’t fall victim to quirky, “ pick me” main character syndrome because the plot and other characters didn’t allow it. I was concerned about the way they would handle the main date-for-pay conflict of the plot, but I felt the way they resolved it was perfect for Stratford and Verona. Outside of their relationship, the humor was genuinely funny and the plot was entertaining. 


“Never Been Kissed”

Available for streaming on Disney+

Verdict: Skip It

“Never Been Kissed” is the story of awkward and over-eager Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore), a 25-year-old copy-editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, who is given her first ever reporting opportunity. She’s tasked with going undercover at a local high school as a student to write a scoop on high school life. She relives her high school years as she pursues her story, falling for her “fellow students” and teacher simultaneously. 

“Damn these kids are in highschool? We got some underage hotties on our hands!” This quote from Geller’s brother basically encompasses one of the biggest plot points of the movie. Geller, an adult woman, is attracted to and goes out with a teenager. Another adult man pursues who he thinks to be his underage student. One other adult man pursues a 16-year-old girl who assumes him to be a teenager like herself. This isn’t a movie making a commentary on these issues, or presenting them as wrong or manipulative. They’re presented as quirky and comedic, run of the mill rom-com relationships. Beyond that icky plot point, the romance is forced and uncomfortable, the main character is annoying and unlikable, the plot is shallow, the humor isn’t funny and the conclusion to the film is so weird and underwhelming. I could list about 50 more reasons why this film was terrible, but what I’ve said up to this point should be enough to convince you to skip it. 


“The Half of It”

Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Stream It

Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is smart but not entirely popular. She writes papers for pay for the less academically-inclined students at her school. When football player Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) approaches her after school, she assumes that’s what he wants. In reality, Munsky wants her to write a beguiling letter to his crush, Aster Flores (Alexis Lemire). Chu initially declines due to the immorality of the request, but agrees once she finds her father is struggling to pay the bills. Oh yeah, and another problem – Chu has been crushing on Flores for years. 

I went into this film expecting to be rooting for the romantic relationship between Chu and Flores, or feel torn by the love triangle. Instead, my heartstrings were pulled by the blossoming friendship between Chu and Munsky. Munsky may have been a bit of an airhead, but he was genuine, sweet and kind, not only to widely-unpopular Ellie but to her father as well. I love the distinguished lesbian and disaster himbo relationship dynamic, and the way the two grew to trust and support each other. This film will hit home for anyone who has felt that the one they loved was out of reach, or found that platonic love can be more valuable than romantic. 


“The Kissing Booth”

Available for streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Skip It

“The Kissing Booth” follows Elle Evans (Joey King) as she enters her junior year of high school, alongside her best friend Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney). The two are tasked with creating a booth idea for the school’s festival, and come up with a kissing booth. They can only guarantee its success, however, if Lee’s older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi) agrees to work at the booth. Things get messy when Elle starts to violate the terms of her friendship with Lee as she falls for his brother. 

I did it. I watched the movie I promised I’d never watch. “The Kissing Booth” was actually not as bad as I thought it would be, but it was definitely too cliché and corny for my tastes. As in, I had to look away at several scenes in second-hand embarrassment. The filmography and editing style was definitely a bit too childish for me as well. If you like cheesiness, it’s not a terrible movie when you look past all of those elements. A few scenes did have me chuckling in spite of myself. Overall though, it’s definitely a movie I could have lived without seeing. 


“Young Royals”

Available for Streaming on Netflix

Verdict: Stream It

“Young Royals” is a Swedish Netflix original series following Willem (Edvin Ryding), the fictional prince of Sweden, as he is forced to enroll at Hillerska boarding school after damaging his reputation at a party. The pressure is on from his royal family and the public to be the perfect prince, remedying his mistakes and following in the footsteps of his older brother, the future king. His reputation as the prince alongside his reputation as a peer at his new school are threatened as he starts to become more and more enamored by unpopular scholarship student Simon (Omar Rudberg).

I started “Young Royals” on a whim one night as something to fall asleep to and ended up staying up all night to finish all six episodes. If you’re a fan of the forbidden romance trope, this one is definitely for you.It’s a double whammy between Willem’s status as a prince and the lack of acceptance towards the boys’ sexualities. The show took me on a rollercoaster of emotions through sadness, anger, giddiness, fear, frustration and excitement through the ups and downs of the boys’ relationship and the complications it brought about. The main romance is influenced by coming of age tropes, making for a sweet dynamic. This show is Swedish, but to those of you who are hesitant to watch international films, don’t knock it till you try it. You could be missing out on some really special shows and movies.



Available for streaming on Disney+

Verdict: Stream It

In case you somehow don’t know, “Tangled” is the Disney version of the classic fairytale of Rapunzel. It follows Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a young girl living in a tower under the command of her protective mother, safe from the horrifying world below. Day in and day out, Rapunzel lives a very repetitive life in her tower, until a charming thief in possession of the princess’ crown breaks in. Rapunzel hides the crown away, and promises to return it only if the thief, Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi), can take her to see the “floating lights” in the kingdom. Thus, begins their journey as the two go from tentative allies, to friends, to something more. 

Is it a romance movie? No. Does it have one of the sweetest love stories and most charming couples in all of film? Absolutely. “At Last I See the Light” could make the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes. Even if it isn’t intended to be a romance movie, Rapunzel’s loving nature, the beautiful visuals and soundtrack and the whimsical story make it feel romantic. I know this film is well-known, but if I had someone to spend Valentine’s Day with, I think this film would be the perfect movie choice for its dream-like romance, light comedy, sing-along opportunities and easy entertainment value. 


“Liz and the Blue Bird” 

Available for free streaming on Tubi

Verdict: Stream It

Mizore Yoroizuka, dubbed by Laurie Hymes and Nozomi Kasaki, dubbed by Stephanie Sheh, have been best friends for years and have always played together in their school band. During their final year in high school, the girls are tasked with playing a duet piece titled “Liz and the Blue Bird,” based on a children’s picture book of the same name. As the girls struggle to play in harmony, they find that their friendship is losing its harmony as well, and Yorizuka is desperate to hold on to the girl she loves more than anyone. 

This is a film in which the love story can be interpreted as romantic or platonic, but it has a powerful effect either way. To my knowledge this film isn’t really well-known, even when compared to other anime films. While it is a bit slow at times, it definitely deserves more recognition. The conflicts and nuances in the relationship between the two girls require the viewer to read between the lines. Their story and feelings are expressed through mannerisms, memories and parallels to the story of Liz and the Bluebird rather than through transparent dialogue or plot. The film navigates the themes of letting go of love that holds you back, the pain of being honest about your feelings and the pain of loving someone differently from the way they love you. Beyond the touching story, the animation styles are breathtaking. 


“The Bachelor”

Available for Streaming on Hulu, HBOMax

Verdict: Skip It. Skip it. Skip it

“The Bachelor” is an American reality television show currently running on its 26th season. Every season introduces a new bachelor and around 30 women who all hope to find love with him. The show follows the group as the bachelor simultaneously dates, with no boundaries, all the women for about six to nine weeks. At the end of those weeks, the bachelor has to pick one of the remaining women to propose to. 

This may or may not be my excuse to get on a soap box, but I have such a genuine hatred for this show. I know that reality shows do have quite a bit of fiction to them, but from what I’ve researched, “The Bachelor” doesn’t have nearly enough. To my knowledge, these people aren’t polyamorous. They subscribe to the monogamous rules of relationships, yet torture themselves by letting the man they want to be engaged to date multiple people at once. Two women are dragged along to the very end, building the same intimate relationship, only for one’s heart to be broken. I don’t understand how people who claim to understand and want love can go about it in such a shallow and immature way—unless every single person only wants the money and fame, in which case, get your bag! The fact that some people actually find this show romantic is bizarre to me. If you’re looking for drama, this show hits the mark, but don’t come here looking for a genuine love story.