Celebrate Valentine’s Day Weekend With These Anti-Romantic Films

Kathryn Harrold and Albert Brooks in 'Modern Romance' Columbia Pictures
Kathryn Harrold and Albert Brooks in ‘Modern Romance’

Valentine’s Day itself has come and gone, thankfully, but not every couple was able to celebrate their love on a Thursday. That means the festivities can conceivably last throughout the weekend. And that means the single and lonely – as well as less amorous duos – still have the chance of being traumatized by happy lovers staring into eachother’s eyes and engaging in gory PDAs.

To counteract the wrath of St. Valentine, here is a handful of anti-romantic films, in which coupling does not quite work out:

“The Awful Truth” (1937): The screwball comedies of the 1930s offered a respite from the more sincere traditional romantic comedies of the era. They still do. Manic in tone and pace, they also offered refreshingly skeptical, if not cynical, looks at romance. Leo McCarey (“Duck Soup,” “An Affair to Remember”) won a directing Oscar for this cockeyed comedy, in which a wealthy couple (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) break up and struggle to not reunite. Spoiler: they get back together, but it’s not without a fight. Or several of them.

“We Won’t Grow Old Together” (1972): Best Title Ever. Maurice Pialat is France’s most sour filmmaker, which is saying something, and this is his most sour film, which is also saying something. Jumping through time, eliding no doubt even more unpleasant moments than we see, it details a couple (Marlène Jobert and Jean Yanne) who shouldn’t be together. She’s mousy; he’s a jerk (and likely based on Pialat himself, who was notoriously temperamental with his actors). Don’t worry: the title is accurate.

“Annie Hall” (1977): In its original form, Woody Allen’s Best Picture winner was a shapeless, epic (read: around 2 ½ hours long) exploration of the memories and absurdist observations of Woody stand-in Alvy Singer. In post-production, Woody and his editor realized the scenes with Alvy’s girlfriend (Diane Keaton) worked better than the rest of it. What started out as a free-form experimental narrative became a still quite experimental look at the rise and fall of a relationship – one of cinema’s saddest, most honest and, of course, funniest.

“Modern Romance” (1981): Though he’s sometimes misinterpreted as Woody Allen-lite, Albert Brooks offers the dark side of the more famous comic director: where Woody’s screen persona is ultimately lovable and righteously anxious, Brooks’ is selfish, needy, obsessive and, sometimes, sociopathic. It’s not a comforting sign that Stanley Kubrick was a huge fan of Brooks’ second directorial outing, in which his Hollywood editor breaks up with his beautiful if insecure girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold), regrets it, tries to win her back and then, once they’re reunited, instantly suspects her of infidelity. These are two people who shouldn’t be mating, although it’s debatable that Brooks’ monstrous need monster should be mating with anyone. (New Yorkers: this weekend Anthology Film Archives – under the program title “Valentine’s Day Massacre” – screens “Romance” with the aforementioned “We Won’t Grow Old Together.” As a friend pointed out, they’re basically the same movie, although one’s a little funnier.)

“The War of the Roses” (1988): Danny DeVito has a dark sense of humor, and it’s arguably never been put to better use than in his uncompromisingly pitch black look at a couple (Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas) who fall in love, fall out of love and then sport fisticuffs and other blunt objects in a battle over their beloved manse. Even when you think they’re going to reunite, the film finds a way to swat that feeling away – at one point, literally.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004): Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman’s time-jumping break-up film – which liberally borrows the premise of Alain Resnais’ 1968 French film “Je t’aime, je t’aime” – finds Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet each erasing memories of their failed relationship. Of course, that means they may just fall back in love, then spectacularly out of it, again. In fact, Kaufman has said his original ending would have had them doing just that, over and over again, until their deaths.

“(500) Days of Summer” (2009): Emo boys have tried to co-opt this as a portrait of a nice guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose heart is ground into dirt by a cute mean girl (Zooey Deschanel). But even Gordon-Levitt has voiced opposition to this reading, pointing out that it’s really an unflattering portrayal of nice guys, who, the film argues, are self-absorbed, oblivious to others and contaminated by romantic delusion.

“The Future” (2011): No matter what you think of Miranda July’s performance art, her feature-length films (this and “Me and You and Everyone We Know”) are far more interesting than they perhaps should be. After a periodically intolerable first half, her second film turns into a perversely bleak look at a couple (July and Hamish Linklater) drifting apart. The devastating final shot, which seems to last forever, is as grounded in reality as the beginning was lost in irritating quirk.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

Music

Incubus singer Brandon Boyd on his newest act,…

The rocker is releasing two new passion projects.

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…