If you must watch something gooey this weekend, at least make it a good film. And if you need to watch something confirming your absolute hatred of the opposite sex and relationships in general, well the latter bunch should help you out.
Five Films For the Flirting
I am a self-confessed Sandra fanatic, which does plays its role in this nomination, but the rest of the cast and the plot hold up to scrutiny. Rom-com King, Ryan Reynolds, has his arm twisted into getting engaged to his uptight boss to avoid her being deported and they must go up to his home town in Alaska to tell his family. His boss, Sandra Bullock, must endure horror of horrors – exotic dancer Ramone, along with other family nightmares, leading to a change of heart. It is the most obvious of rom-coms here, but it is the simplest incarnation of a good romantic comedy.
When Harry Met Sally
Famous for a reason, notably the fake orgasm. But also a generally entertaining film; Harry meets Sally and they don’t hit it off at all. But this first meeting wouldn’t be a very good film, so it goes on, they meet again and become friends and the predictable slow love burns.
Remarkable for basically not having dialogue, and being about robots falling in love. Yet it manages to be truly moving and engaging. What else but perfection can you expect from Pixar.
Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper and J-Law. Need more? Fine. Bradley Cooper has just been released from a mental hospital, suffering from bi-polar disorder, and he’s determined to win back his estranged wife. Recently widowed J-Law agrees to help him if he helps her in a dance competition… an unpredictable relationship builds. It all culminates with a bet, a fab dance routine and a declaration. Emotionally difficult to start, but well worth sticking with for the final gratification.
Spectacular! Spectacular! No words in the vernacular! So it’s a Baz Luhrmann musical spectacular to be more specific. Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman play out a doomed love story in the Red Light district of bohemian Paris. Wonderful songs, great costumes, a heart wrenching plot, but also a bit of a laugh.
Five Films For the Fed Up
Kramer vs. Kramer
Divorce is no uncommon thing these days, and the effect on children and adults alike is known to many of us. No movie, I feel, takes us through this pain quite like Kramer vs. Kramer. An unhappy Meryl Streep leaves workaholic, Dustin Hoffman to look after their son by himself. A touching bond between father and son grows, but when Meryl’s character returns, a deeply traumatic custody battle ensues. It’s a film that leaves you incredibly torn up at the devastating effect the end of a relationship can have.
500 Days of Summer
Much like the others, this film demonstrates the breakdown of a relationship as the narrative jumps around the 500 day span of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s fictional relationship. It teaches us of the importance of perception and provides an excellently relatable sequence comparing expectation and reality. The film is funny and charming. And works all the better for Deschanel and Gordon Levitt’s real life chemistry.
This film simply makes it seem better to avoid the world of relationships. Full of horrendous, philandering, lying, fucked up souls where the most decent and naïve character is a stripper… The worst thing is, at the time, they really think they’re in love. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not, maybe they once were, now they’re not. Whatever your own circumstances, at least you’re not one of these chumps!
OK, so it might not be a love story of the most conventional sort, or at all, which is why it is on this list and not the former. Dustin Hoffman plays a young man, recently graduated from college who is seduced by an elder woman, Mrs. Robinson. He then proceeds to date and fall in love with her daughter, Elaine. Frankly, take any excuse to watch The Graduate, it is a fantastic film. What’s more, it has undoubtedly one of the best final sequences ever – the car, the banging on the window, the cross, the bus, the facial expressions. Watch it to know what I mean… SUPERB.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This is a sort of sci-fi-thriller-romance, based around a couple who both erase their memories of each other after a painful break up. Only problem, they meet again, for the first time…again. The film also has Jim Carrey’s character realising during the process of erasure that some memories of their relationship are worth hanging on to, despite their pain. A touching story of how relationships do sometimes just fall apart, and also some crazy thriller stuff. A bit of a cult classic, if that’s your cup of tea.
And if you couldn’t give a toss about Valentine’s day and you frankly don’t want care to watch anything with romance, well then pick any bloody film you like, how about Bourne? Or The Hurt Locker? Lord of the Rings maybe? Whatever.