NOTE TO READERS: I’m kidding. Don’t stone me.
That’s right, boys and girls. It’s Valentine’s Day. And you know what that means? Either you’re in a loving committed relationship and spending oodles of money on unnecessary chocolates, dinners and gifts, or…
You’re single. And you hate the world.
If you’re with someone, you might convince yourself that you like this holiday. It’s a good excuse to cuddle up next to your sweetie or roll around in the sack for a few hours. Couples with kids have a reason to get a babysitter and have a date night, and, other than an anniversary or birthday, this might be the only time you have to spend alone together.
But you’re living a lie. Just take a look at your credit card statement. $25 on chocolate. $40 on a pile of already-dying roses. Three hours of your life gone getting ready to go eat your $150 meal just so you can retire to a $300 hotel, rip your perfectly-pressed clothes off and create another little rugrat whose college fund will cost you $60-80k easy.
Am I bitter and disgruntled? You bet I am. Here’s a holiday that basically says “if you don’t spend money on me, you don’t love me.” How dysfunctional can we, as a society, be?
And if you’re without a loved one who desperately desires the usage of your credit card, there’s really nothing to do but curl up with a romantic comedy and pathetically cry yourself to sleep as you long for an unrealistic fairytale relationship that simply doesn’t exist.
No. Not this year. This year, it’s time to take a stand. Throw away that copy of Bridget Jones. Burn your Runaway Bride VHS, and for God’s sake just say no to The Notebook. Whether single or taken, this year we’re going to put together the perfect trifecta of films to destroy any iota of sentimentality associated with this corporate-whore of a holiday. Take a stand, get your DVDs together, and prepare for the most aggressively depressing, anti-relationshippal movie-watching experience of your life.
We’ll start everything out with an unmitigated classic. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf starts out unassuming enough with two seemingly happy (ish) couples getting together for an uneventful dinner party. One is a young, bright, happy pairing while the other is…how should we say this…a little jaded to the world of romance.
And we hold out hope for the wide-eyed couple to see the light. But this movie proves, through insult after insult and verbal barb after verbal barb, that it is impossible for two people to co-exist without driving each other batshit insane.
When that movie ends, you might still have some modicum of respect for the institution of love, but your respect for marriage will be waning. So popping in War of the Roses serves only one purpose–to show you how bad it’s probably going to get.
This movie is a pitch black comedy–a cautionary tale saying one simple thing: don’t get Married, or this WILL happen to you. The movie skips completely over the lovey-dovey, fleeting “boy meets girl” period of the relationship. It glides past the honeymoon period and sinks its teeth straight into the reality of the divorce. While Virginia Woolf pulls us into the world of extreme dysfunction, War of the Roses dives into the sheer hatred that develops when two people think they’re in love.
When it’s over, you’ll vow never to get married. But the most naive of audience members might blithely say something like “but even if it ends badly, there’s meaning in the moment. Think of the beautiful time you had together.”
Well guess what, sucker? That was an illusion, too. Don’t believe me? We’ll finish up with another Nichols masterpiece that proves my point.
Closer breaks down relationships from a much more individual level. In this one, relationships don’t fail because of a long, drawn out series of events or personality conflicts within a relationship. They fail because every single person on the face of the earth is a lying, selfish, sex-crazed sociopath. Even Natalie Portman.
And if Natalie Portman can’t make it work…really, what chance do you think you have?
This therapeutic session of movie-watching will have diverse effects on you based on your situation in life. If you think you’re in a happy relationship, you’ll promptly realize you’re fooling yourself. And you’ll want to abandon ship immediately.
If you’re single (like me), you’ll breathe a sigh of relief and begin to feel pity for the sappy romantics you previously envied. The joke is on them.
Either way, you’ll go to bed realizing one overwhelming truth: you’re completely and utterly alone. And this is as good as it gets.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!