DVD Alternatives to This Weekend's Theatrical Offerings

Your dilemma: Stay home in your comfy jammies and cuddle on the couch with your sweetie, or bundle up in more snow gear than an Arctic explorer and take your life in your hands on ice-slicked roads only to battle the crowds at the multiplex. It's a no-brainer. Skip the 'plex and watch our carefully chosen DVDs, and you'll get practically the same cinematic experience as you would at a theater ... but without the hassle.

INSTEAD OF: The Dilemma, in which Vince Vaughn can't decide whether he should tell his best friend, Kevin James, that James's wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him...

WATCH: Couples Retreat (2009), to see Vince Vaughn grapple with other marital problems with pretty much the same lack of authenticity and lack of comedy. If you're a glutton for this particular kind of cinematic punishment, there's also Chris Rock sapping all the emotion and honesty out of marriage problems in the equally horrendous I Think I Love My Wife (2007), in which his horrid spouse drives him to adultery. For more of Kevin James in a ridiculous excuse for a comedy about romance, check out Hitch (2005), in which his dorky schlub believes he deserves a supermodel girlfriend ... and wins one. For a reminder of the time when director Ron Howard made appealing romantic comedies, revisit the classic Splash (1984), about a man (Tom Hanks) who falls in love with a mermaid (Daryl Hannah).

INSTEAD OF: The Green Hornet, in which spoiled-rotten rich kid Seth Rogen inherits a fortune, a big-city newspaper, and a genius sidekick in Jay Chou's Kato, and turns into an inadvertent crime fighter...

WATCH: The movie serial The Green Hornet (1940), 13 episodes of black-and-white crime fighting starring Gordon Jones as Britt Reid and the legendary Keye Luke as Kato. Or for a similarly goofy but more gentle spin on the unlikely hero, see The Rocketeer (1991), in which Billy Campbell ends up taking on the role of a masked crime fighter when a futuristic jetpack falls into his possession. For more from Seth Rogen, see the underrated Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), an unexpectedly sweet little movie about friends who fall in love. For more from director Michel Gondry, check out his little-seen Be Kind Rewind (2008), about two friends -- played by Jack Black and Mos Def -- who transform their obsession with movies into their own accidentally delightful indie films.

INSTEAD OF: The King's Speech, in which Colin Firth's English monarch struggles with his dramatic stutter when he suddenly ascends to the throne, with the help of Geoffrey Rush's speech therapist...

WATCH: The Queen (2006), perhaps the best movie ever about a British royal figurehead in a time of personal and national strife, in which Helen Mirren's Elizabeth has to figure out how to cope with her role when Princess Diana is killed. Or try The Young Victoria (2009), in which Emily Blunt's teenage queen has a rough time when she is first crowned, and must learn how to be the queen her country needs. For more from Colin Firth, see him in Easy Virtue (2008) as a man of the same time in which Speech is set, as a veteran of World War I who can't escape the lingering effects of the battlefield. For more from director Tom Hooper, don't miss The Damned United (2009), about another British national figure -- football coach Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) -- who implodes professionally in the full glare of the public spotlight.


MaryAnn Johanson is the king and queen of FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)