By now we’ve all seen the lists of best movies to watch on Valentine’s Day (Annie Hall! Casablanca! Sleepless in Seattle! Before Sunrise/Sunset! Dozens of others!) and countless variations thereof. But what about the movies you shouldn’t watch? The ones that’ll turn that post-perfect-dinner couch-cuddle into … awkwardness?
Or: any movie about divorce
Whether you’re still in the so-called honeymoon phase of a relationship or, well, married, you’ll probably wanna avoid a “great movie about divorce,” like this Dustin Hoffman/Meryl Streep starrer – or really anything that centers around the painstaking process of breaking up. That is, unless you’re secretly planning your own exit strategy and looking for ideas. In which case, get out of your relationship pre-Feb. 14!
Or: any war movie
For the most part, you’re looking at two results from watching war movies: boredom or humanity-hating sadness. If your idea of V-Day romance is, say, a heated debate about war or perhaps the aphrodisiac that is politics, then Schindler’s List and other (undeniably great) movies like it will accomplish your mission. Otherwise, watch love, not war.
Or: any almost-three-hour movie about oil
Or: any almost-two-hour movie about oil. Or: any almost-one-hour movie about oil. Or: any half-hour documentary about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, even if it tells the ultimately happy stories of cute ducklings. See where we’re going with this? No oil! Granted, There Will Be Blood is a modern-day masterpiece about more than mere oil, but Paul Thomas Anderson, hopeless romantic that he is, actually has a much better offering for V-Day: Punch-Drunk Love.
Or: any Todd Solondz movie
Those who’ve never seen Happiness (and don’t read reviews and/or synopses before watching a movie) might be drawn to this Todd Solondz dramedy come Feb. 14. Hey, great ensemble cast and romance-y title. Why not? Because, although a fascinating movie, Happiness is basically dysfunctional-relationship porn with a side of perversion. Save the Solondz marathon for any of the other 364 days of the year … and when you’re alone.
Or: any movie with a rape scene
But mostly Irreversible, which features a rape scene so graphic, in-your-face, and almost glorified, it might as well have been filmed in 3D. The rest of Gaspar Noe’s out-of-sequence French noir “drama,” in which we also see Vincent Cassel literally bash a guy’s head in, is only slightly more romantic.
Or: any movie about serial killers
Serial-killer movies – both the fiction and nonfiction variety – usually make for great performances. Take Dahmer, in which Jeremy Renner adeptly played the title murderer/cannibal. Solid movie and great job by Renner in an unenviable role, but … yeah, those looking to “scare” their better halves into the safety of their arms would be wise to find an unrealistic horror movie instead.
Or: any movie that’ll make the human body seem grotesque
You’ll want to take a shower after this one, but not with your spouse/fiancé/boyfriend/girlfriend; rather, it’ll be to wash the visuals of, yes, a human centipede out of your mind. Do that, and then repeatedly watch 24 straight hours of Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally and The Notebook. And maybe Lassie. Or? Just watch South Park’s take on The Human Centipede.
Or: any Columbine-shooting allegory
Gus Van Sant’s “Death Trilogy” (Elephant, Gerry and Last Days) was a fascinating, if a tad opaque, study in darkness, and by all means, have yourself a triple feature on, say, the eve of the next apocalypse. But steer clear on V-Day, unless you and your special someone get off on being depressed. In which case your relationship might be a little unhealthy.