Tired of all the candy and flowers? Want to stab Cupid with his own acrimonious arrow? Then fire up the home theater and feast on these 10 examples of emotion as evil on this day we celebrate all things love.
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Most modern romantic comedies are overloaded with female flavors of the month, mired in scripts that send them off into the Land of the Imbecile, never to be heard from again. Toss in a few music montages and you have a recipe for mainstream movie mediocrity. The brilliance of Marc Webb's revisionist take on the genre is that, first off, the girl comes across as the bad guy? Indeed, Zoey Deschanel's indecisive title character turns Joseph Gordon-Levitt's likeable leading man into a sputtering, stuttering fool... and for all the wrong reasons. He wants romance. She's not sure what she wants. Together they head toward the best unhappy happy ending ever.
Lovesick pedophiles? Fringe dwelling geeks who can't make normal human connections? Oldsters still wanting to sow their sexual oats? Weak-willed women as the doormat for frustrated family members and nefarious foreigners? This is the world of romance created by Todd Solondz, a fractured and sometimes funny place where child molesters masturbate to Tiger Beat magazine while their young sons wonder if Daddy finds them attractive -- and if not, why. With a narrative as antithetical to its title and a cast that completely sells us on the whole desperate and dateless ideal, we wind up with one of the most telling takes on love ever. It's both sensational and sick.
As we mentioned before, movies like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Husbands and Wives are loaded with the kind of callous, completely authentic arguing that makes enduring their ideas difficult at best. But no recent film has been more brazen in its spousal showdowns than Sam Mendes exceptional adaptation of Richard Yates' novel. Plugging former Titanic lovers Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet into the roles of recently married suburbanites was just the first stroke of genius by the Oscar winning director. By focusing on their fights, making them as believable and real as possible, Mendes shows us that, even when things look polished and perfect on the outside, the ugly underneath is undeniable.
If Danny Devito were are ballsy as Sam Mendes, this would have been the original Revolutionary Road -- meaning a movie of undeniable authenticity rejected by a public unwilling to stare its stark, reflective truths. Instead, the diminutive director went for the funny bone, not the jugular, and wound up creating one of the seminal anti-romance movies ever. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are terrific as the title couple, each one laying claim to their married legacy and the treasured trappings that go along with it. The dissolution of their partnership is as wickedly funny as their courtship is clever and cute. By the end, it's hate, not humor, that drives them.
It's perhaps the most pathetic story in all of music. Surly Sid Vicious, best friend to formidable Sex Pistol's frontman Johnny Rotten is pegged to replace a fired bandmate in the scandalous punk outfit. Within months, he is hooked on heroin and pestered by a biopolar American harpy named Nancy Spungeon. Together, the newfound lovers walk a twisted, tainted path toward an inevitable date with death. Sure, they say they care for each other, but dope is deeper than devotion, and within their drug-fueled fracas, the foundation for the unhappiest of endings if forged. If this is true love, we'll take the fake kind any day.