All about love: Recess picks the best cultures for Valentine’s Day

All about love: Recess picks the best cultures for Valentine's Day

All about love: Recess picks the best cultures for Valentine’s Day


This is for romantics. From movies about couples to literally candy boxes, the Recess staff have picked out our favorite cultural snippets for a day about love. happy Valentine’s day!
“The Princess Bride”

When it comes to satire, genre, fantasy romcom, my favorite has always been The Princess Bride. With its endless quotes and playful dialogue, iconic sword fights and a touching message of the power of true love, the film perfectly balances all aspects. Written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame, the track creates a warm, nostalgic vibe that anyone, regardless of relationship status, can enjoy on Valentine’s Day. Granted, it’s incredible that such a warm and iconic movie isn’t on someone’s Valentine’s Day watch list. —Ben Smith, Staff Writer

Valentine’s mailbox

Valentine’s Day in elementary school always felt like the end of all my friendships and first loves. The love, care and precision that went into decorating my shoebox into a Valentine’s mailbox surpassed any effort I’d put into schoolwork at that age. Choosing which of my classmates would get a card with the cutest puppy saying “I dig you” instead of the weird looking cat saying “You’re cool” really strained my conscience – probably to the point of unhealthy degree. Don’t even get me started deciding who got a lover signed “Love, Anna” instead of “From, Anna” or “–Anna.” Let’s say I’m happy to survive those annual stress-inducing, chocolate-consuming classroom celebrations — and my heart is one. But I think they helped me become a more considerate friend. —Anna Rebello, Staff Writer

“Wild Combinations: Portraits of Arthur Russell”

In a scene from “The Wild Mix: A Portrait of Arthur Russell,” Tom Lee shows the documentary filmmakers an unfinished record collection of his late boyfriend. There are hundreds, a stack of cassette tapes kept in an unassuming country home. Excitedly, Lee inserts the tape, and the speakers deliver a paused acoustic chord sound, the beginning of Arthur Russell’s “Love is Overtaking Me.” This bittersweet tension, a love that hangs over grief, permeates Russell’s dissonant folk song compilation and his own life story. From his childhood on an Iowa farm to his days in New York’s avant-garde art scene in the ’80s until his death from AIDS in 1992, the mysterious and often difficult artist still has the unwavering love of his boyfriend and parents, he Became friends while caring for Russell in the final months. The songs are unfinished, love letters to Lee, and they roll in hiss and blips, and beneath that love lurk some kind of twisted and gloomy specter. — Stephen Atkinson, editor

Mac Miller, “The Divine Feminine”

While it’s not part of Valentine’s Day culture, one of my favorite albums is “The Divine Feminine” by Mac Miller. The album is a jazzy and soulful exploration of Miller’s vision of romance. On all 10 tracks, Miller pays tribute to the women in his life who taught him everything about love. The final track ends with Miller’s grandmother telling the story of her meeting with her husband. It’s a very sweet album that brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it. The lyrics do read like a serious sublimation of one’s love, so I will now make it a tradition to listen to this album every Valentine’s Day. —Rhys Banerjee, music beat writer

Talking Heads, “This must be the place (Innocent Melody)”

Talking Heads’ 1983 hit “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” really has nothing new to say—it’s the band’s most recognizable song, and it’s been covered to death and decorated with neon signs for the song’s title. It seems like every bar on the wall is open from 2019. Anyway, it’s a damn good love song. The genre is a departure from famed frontman David Byrne, whose songs tended to be emotionally detached, a sense of experimentation evident in the illogical lyrics and simple (and naive) melodies. There is no overarching narrative, only the unease when Byrne stumbles upon a healthy, happy relationship. Intentionally or not – most likely not – the song sets itself apart from a plethora of exaggerated love songs by proving the tranquility that stability brings, the most underrated form of love. —Tessa Delgo, Break Editor

“La La Land”

Is La La Land a Pretentious Romantic Comedy?Well, yes, but it’s a OK Pretentious romantic comedy. It’s also a perfect Valentine’s Day movie where everyone is a little heartbroken but still hopeful. Maybe this is your mood this February! I will not judge. Bonus: This is a musical, and musicals are always bonuses. —Jonathan Pertile, Culture Editor

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Daniel Caesar and her, “The Best Parts”

A little bit of R&B and soul goes a long way on Valentine’s Day, and it doesn’t get any better than Daniel Caesar and her performance on “Best Part.” The duo complements each other perfectly, handling falsetto and vocals with ease. The way they talk about love is fascinating – even five years after its release – and I can’t help but sing along every time. Driven by guitar strumming and subtle synths, let this song warmly surround you as you think of that special someone.– Devinne Moses, Design Editor


Chocolate gifts are definitely one of the crown jewels of Valentine’s Day. Often we don’t even know how many types of chocolate we can choose from – truffles, bark, chocolate dipped fruit, awesome chocolate bars. As someone who prides himself on being a chocolate lover, I love the fact that people don’t feel guilty about eating chocolate at this time of year, which means more people can get in on the action! Plus, chocolate boosts the release of neurotransmitters associated with the pleasure pathway, so consider gifting not only a box of chocolates to your lover, but one to your single friend as well. —Katherine Zhong, Staff Writer

chocolate (again)

My favorite for Valentine’s Day is chocolate. Not only is Valentine’s Day rich in chocolate, but you don’t have to be in love to enjoy it. Eating chocolate is socially acceptable even if you buy it yourself, which I love. —Catherine Esrey, contributing writer

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