Make it a Valentine's Movie Night, Minnesota Style

The North Star State has produced more than its share of heartthrobs.

To help you and your beloved celebrate this fourteenth of February, and to ensure that you need not actually make conversation, has prepared a short list of not-so-typical Valentine's Day movie recommendations, each with a local twist—they star Minnesota-born actors and actresses.

Stop in at a nearby movie rental store to check these out, or if you're particularly a fan, see if in-town retailers like , or have copies available for purchase for your mini movie marathon.

(All three selections currently are available instantly on Netflix, if you have an account.)

The Virgin Suicides

Background: In 1999, then-21-year-old St. Paulite Josh Hartnett’s surname was not yet synonymous with heartthrob. The actor was fresh off his role in The Faculty when he was cast in The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola’s adaptation of a Jeffrey Eugenides novel. The plot centers around the five Lisbon sisters, ethereal blondes stifled by their parents’ conservative approach to child rearing, and the high school boys who idolize them.

Why watch it [SPOILER ALERT]: Yes, it ends in a quintuple suicide, but the film’s tone is tender and often comic, and the violent undertones make for palatable explorations of adolescent anguish and the sublimated passions of the suburbs, which might otherwise come off as schmaltzy and hackneyed.

Minnesota sex appeal: Hartnett gives an understated performance as Trip Fontaine, a high school student who, despite having “emerged from baby fat to the delight of girls and women alike,” delivers his lines with a proto-Mumblecore, stuttering shyness.

Edward Scissorhands

Background: As a lonely teenager, Tim Burton drew a scissor-handed figure; that figure would later be the inspiration for his movie, Edward Scissorhands. Burton cast Olmstead County native Winona Ryder as Edward’s love interest, Kim Boggs.

Why watch it: While the credits roll, compare theories on what exactly the scissors symbolize, on whether our need to forge meaningful connections with other people can ever overcome the accidental damages we inflict. Also, on how Johnny Depp manages to be so hot despite disfiguring makeup.

Minnesota sex appeal: Ryder, her 19-year-old face framed by dyed-blonde, fairy-tale-princess frizz, simpers across the screen, capturing your heart.


Background: While in his early 20s, Minneapolis-born Vince Vaughn befriended director Jon Favreau, who later cast him in the cult hit Swingers. In the movie, Vaughn plays a garrulous, charismatic charmer who applies every available method of sybaritic distraction to push his friend beyond a post-breakup funk.

Why watch it: While irrefutably misogynistic—the film’s glamorization of pick up artistry probably led to the cultural proliferation of distasteful Millennial figures such as Tucker Max and Mystery—this film’s brand of misogyny is so striving, pathetic and guileless (not to mention art-house intentional) that the humor ricochets and comes at the expense of the harsher sex.

Minnesota sex appeal: Filmed before time’s winged chariot hurried Vaughn off to a bloated, wrinkled middle age, the Vaughn of Swingers is casually irresistible and as hip to his allure as was Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Jack Nicholson in anything.


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