Valentine’s Day is coming, and love is in the air. Couples exchange cards, flowers and gifts, have romantic dates like ice skating and Knicks games, go out for extravagant dinners, and end the night with passionate love-making. Or, so I am told.
But there is another side to Valentine’s Day, one that is not quite as enchanting for the desperate and lovelorn. This is a day filled with Valentines from your parents, or even yourself so people in the office think someone cares. It is a day that old love letters are dragged out of the closet to dwell over, memories of missed chances and heart-ache, take-out Chinese food washed down by cheap wine and chocolate, culminating in you crying yourself to sleep.
Luckily, these depressing characters are not alone, which is why we have compiled a few enactments from Hollywood about the disenchanting aspect of love, spanning through the genres of drama, comedy, and even horror. So grab one, and understand that yes, it could be worse.
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Ian Somerhalder
Synopsis: The emotional lives of a group of over-privileged students at Camden College are intertwined in a web of deceit, misunderstandings, and un-reciprocated love.
Why You Should Watch It: Love triangles are not a strange theme to film. What is strange is how this triangle develops into an octagon. Sean Bateman, whom is the object of attraction to the bisexual Paul Denton and the awkward food service girl, is infatuated with the girl next door, Lauren Hynde, who is infatuated with international high-roller Victor, who can’t wait to get back from Amsterdam to bed down Lauren’s roommate Lara, who also has a thing for Sean Bateman. The entire ordeal leaves everyone in despair with drug dealers, sex tapes, and psychotic parents filling out the film.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “I only had sex with her because I’m in love with you.” – Sean Bateman (played by James Van Der Beek)
War of the Roses (1989)
Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Synopsis: A seemingly perfectly married couple end up in divorce proceedings that would make Atilla the Hun wince.
Why You Should Watch It: If the battle between Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner doesn’t turn you off to marriage, nothing will..
Anti-Romantic Quote: “You really expect me to keep on reassuring you sexually even now when we disgust each other?” – Barbara Rose (played by Kathleen Turner)
Love Stinks (1999)
Starring: French Stewart, Bridgette Wilson, Tyra Banks, Bill Bellamy
Synopsis: A man finds the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately she aims to be something more, as the two tangle in a War of the Roses-esque marriage battle without even being married.
Why You Should Watch It: While the cast may seem like a disaster to entertainment, Love Stinks is written rather well as the anti-romantic movie that it is. The insane antics and dialogue between Seth and Chelsea will have even the most depressed individuals rolling on the floor laughing while thanking their lucky stars that they aren’t in a relationship.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “All I ever wanted to do was spend my life loving you, you disgusting sack of sh*t.” – Chelsea (played by Bridgette Wilson)
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Starring: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck
Synopsis: The legend of a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine’s Day turns out to be true when a group defies the killer’s order and people start turning up dead.
Why You Should Watch It: A horror movie that explains that people celebrating Valentine’s Day may end up being pulverized by a serial killer wearing mining equipment and a pick-axe? Whew, good thing we’re alone for this holiday after all.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “From the heart comes a warning, filled with bloody good – cheer, remember what happened as the 14th draws – near!” – the killer (read by Mayor Hanniger, played by Larry Reynolds)
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jamie King, Tom Atkins
Synopsis: The prodigal son of a mining town’s mining monolith returns 10 years after a Valentine’s Day massacre claimed the lives of 22 people. Now the killing has started again, just like this remake has started our fear of people in mining outfits again.
Why You Should Watch It: Like its predecessor, nothing says “F*ck Valentine’s Day” like a serial killer screwing up love and romance with a pick-axe. Even better, it was in 3D!
Anti-Romantic Quote: “Happy f**king Valentine’s Day.” – Sheriff Jim Burke (played by Tom Atkins)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Elizabeth Shue
Synopsis: An alcoholic screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets a prostitute looking for a human connection, and must find a way to help replace the writer’s love of booze with a love for her.
Why You Should Watch It: If there was ever a movie to show why you should give up on trying to be the answer to your love interest’s problems, this is it. While it may not make you any happier about being alone, you can be content knowing that it could always be worse.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “Are you desirable? Are you irresistible? Maybe if you drank bourbon with me, it would help. Maybe if you kissed me and I could taste the sting in your mouth it would help.” -Ben Sanderson (played by Nicholas Cage)
Chasing Amy (1997)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee
Synopsis: A successful comic book artist falls in love with the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, that girl is a lesbian.
Why You Should Watch It: This movie is the epitome of the twentysomething generation’s tale of star-crossed lovers. It shows that, even if love may conquer all at the beginning, human idiocy always threatens to win the war of the heart.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “B*tch tasted life, yo, now she’s settlin’ for your boring, funny-book-makin’ ass.” -Jay (played by Jason Mewes)
Starring: Jess Weixler, John Hensley
Synopsis: Thanks to a nearby nuclear power plant, a young female learns that she has a painful hold over men. At least, until she severs ties.
Why You Should Watch It: Guys, watching this movie will probably keep you from even watching porn for a day. Ladies, watching this movie will probably invoke revenge fantasies.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “Hardly seems worth it.” – Surgeon
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Ann-Margret
Synopsis: Two men with very different ways of building relationships with women come to the same conclusion: there is no perfect love.
Why You Should Watch It: I could just say “Jack Nicholson” as a reason, but this movie also serves as a player’s documentary while warning how this life can lead to being the old guy at the club.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “I’m taken! By me! Get out of the house. Do something useful, goddammit!” – Jonathan (played by Jack Nicholson)
Starring: Ryu Isibashi, Eihi Shiina
Synopsis: A Japanese widower re-enters the dating scene, only to find a woman who has some intense baggage, both metaphorically and literally.
Why You Should Watch It: Whenever a twisted director like Takashi Miike releases a movie, you have to cubbyhole it into a normal, everyday theme to make the film that much more intense. Audition works for Valentine’s Day.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “Words create lies. Pain can be trusted.” – Asami (played by Eihi Shiina)
Sleeping Dogs Lie
Starring: Melinda Page Hamilton, Bryce Johnson, Geoff Pierson, Brian Posehn
Synopsis: Amy seems to be the perfect girl. She just has this secret that no-one, not even the audience, can get over.
Why You Should Watch It: If you’re alone on Valentine’s Day due to trust issues, Sleeping Dogs Lie will back you up on the idea that some things are better left pushed deep down in the closet.
Anti-Romantic Quote: “Men are insecure enough about their penises. There’s no need to bring the whole animal kingdom into it.” – Amy (played by Melinda Page Hamilton)
Feel better about being alone for Valentine’s Day? I bet you do.