Top 5 angst-ridden anti-Valentine’s day movies (to watch decidedly alone)

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Quaid

While yesterday’s article was geared toward the guys in the audience, this one works for the girls too.  Because these movies aren’t about distracting yourself from loneliness; they are about turning it toward absolute cynicism.

All the movies below have one thing in common: they mock romantic relationships.  We see people going through hell, and all in the name of love and sex and romance.  What better way to revel in your self-pity?  Go ahead and judge all those currently in relationships.  ”It will never last,” these movies seem to say.  ”It’s all built on a lie.”

revroad5. Revolutionary Road

I don’t like this movie.  I think it is terribly overrated.  The acting is good; so is the direction and the lighting and the set design.  What sucks is the script.  Characters are unlikeable as they shout subtext at each other at the top of their lungs.  All the plot “twists” are telegraphed, and, in the end, it just leaves you with no faith in humanity.

So it’s a great movie to watch alone on Valentine’s Day.

We see the most picturesque of relationships fall apart.  We see two people trying desperately to communicate with each other.  It turns out the problem isn’t communication…it’s that they kind of hate each other.  Or at least can not in any way be together without being miserable in a Shakespearean way.

I won’t spoil the ending but…Goddamn.  If there’s ever an ending that screams “avoid love, marriage and children at all costs,” this is it.

This movie is really on the list for one simple reason.  If Kate and Leo can’t make it, what hope do the rest of us have?

requiem4. Requiem for a Dream

Summer.  Fall.  Winter.

No Spring.

Those are the acts of this amazing film by Darren Aronofsky.  It is absolutely the most honest and depressing and well put-together movie about addiction ever.  As an audience, we see four people’s lives fall apart because of their inability to work through their issues and find help to quit.  And drugs aren’t the only culprit.  The movie never comes close to feeling like the R-rated after-school special it could have been in the hands of a lesser director.

The whole movie is about striving for a goal.  And failing.  And losing everything that was important in your life.

Put the DVD in, press play, and wallow away.

monster3. Monster

Once you watch this movie you will never be able to hear the song “Don’t Stop Believin” without crying.

This is a movie about two people who desperately want to be together, but the shitstorm of life keeps getting in the way.  Murder and mayhem ensue, and they end up estranged (I’m not ruining anything).

The movie is beautiful and explores the psyche of a psychologically disturbed character without ever judging her or allowing the audiences to easily dismiss her motives.  It’s a great failed romance story, so it belongs on this list.  But that isn’t the real reason it’s here.

It’s really on here because it reminds you that even if you’ve got Charlize Theron, she could look like that. And she might kill you in your sleep.

woolf2. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

A friend of mine introduced me to this, and I’ve hated him ever since.  What I love about this movie (other than the amazingly witty dialogue pulled from the play by Edward Albee) is how it shows us two states of a relationship: past, and future.

The idealistic young couple coming to the after-dinner party stands in for all the naive we-can-take-anything-because-we’re-in-love couples in the world .  And the older couple that hosts them…well, the movie makes you believe that we are all just one step away from having our relationships devolve out of control.

I won’t say the movie is hopeless (even though it kind of is).  Instead, it works better as a cautionary tale, reminding us that love will change, and if we don’t change with it we are destined to be miserable.

closer1. Closer

That’s right.  ANOTHER Mike Nichols movie.  If you brave the one-two punch of Woolf and Closer, you might be turned off of dating for the rest of your life.  Proceed with caution.

Closer is about honesty.  About how none of us are ever 100% truly honest about what we want, even to ourselves.  The movie has only four characters and plays itself out very play-like, with relationships starting, ending, and restarting with someone new.

The people who end up together deserve each other.  And the people left alone should be alone.

It’s not even that you hate the characters, either.  If we are honest, we could see a little bit of each of them in ourselves, and that is what makes the movie so damn depressing.  We all think we know who Mr. or Ms. Right is, but we don’t.  When we find them, we will be unhappy, and we’ll look elsewhere.

That’s the inevitability of romance that leads people into relationships like those of these screen characters.

I’m not saying I believe all this, but the movie seems to, and it makes a hell of a strong case.

When I set about writing this article, I thought it would be cheeky and fun, but it really isn’t.  For that I apologize.  Still, don’t be afraid of unleashing your unbridled cynicism this February 14th.  It’s just one day, and sometimes we need to purge the bitterness from the deepest recesses of our souls.  If we don’t, we might end up like one of the characters in the movies listed above.



1 Comments For This Post

  1. Brian Says:

    Nice weblog my friend, good job :)

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