Ah, Valentine’s Day… A day when we pad the pockets of greeting card companies and flower boutiques. Couples in love throw chocolates and wine at each other and spend way too much money on extravagant meals. The lovey-dovey cheesiness is enough to make you sick. Best for single folk to stay in and away from all that romance floating in the air. Thus I present to you six perfect movies for the single and cynical: movies that deal with love and sex, but without those mushy happy endings.
Antichrist : One of Lars Von Trier’s most recent films, “Antichrist” features Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a married couple whose son has died. Devastated, the wife especially, they go to their cabin in the woods, and insanity slowly descends upon everything. Easily one of the most bothersome films I have ever seen, featuring possibly the most traumatizing image ever put to film. You’ll know it when you see it…
Closer : Based on the play by Patrick Marber, this movie is about all of love’s complicated entanglements… What happens if you are with a person, but you lust after another? And then that person falls in love with someone else, who wants to have sex with the first person? And so on and so forth? It’s a big mess that hurts to watch, but surely it will provide some satisfaction on this wretched day. (Bonus: Natalie Portman has never looked so hot than she does here with her pink hair.)
Combat Shock : One of the best things about being single is that you don’t have to worry about providing for anybody but yourself. You are certainly better off than Frankie, who is unemployed and living in poverty after returning from Vietnam where he received a healthy dose of Agent Orange, which resulted in his wife birthing a hideously deformed mouth-gaping child.
Eraserhead : What is the natural physical extension of love? Sex. And the physical extension of sex? Babies. Unplanned pregnancy is a terrifying thing – I know from experience. However, I was lucky enough not to have created a strange lizard-like creature that wails constantly… David Lynch’s first film is a dark nightmare, and one of the greatest and most original horror films ever.
Love Object : Kenneth is a shy and socially awkward writer of technical manuals who decides to buy a sex doll to alleviate his loneliness. His relationship with “Nikki” gives him a boost of confidence and he begins to fall in love with his co-worker Lisa. All seems right with the world, until Nikki begins to get jealous. The basic premise may sound similar to "Lars and the Real Girl," but rest assured they are quite different... (Besides, "Love Object" was made four years before "Lars.")
Manhattan : Woody Allen is my favorite cynic. He seems to see the world through a negative light, but he helps you laugh your way through it. “Manhattan” is a film about a television writer whose best friend is leaving his wife for another woman, and it turns his world upside-down. This is one of Woody Allen’s best movies, utilizing stunning black-and-white cinematography to great effect.
Forget what day it is and spend it with these gems. Satisfaction guaranteed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get started on the fancy three-course dinner I’m cooking for my wife to celebrate our love.
Image courtesy of the Internet Movie Database.