Valentine’s Day is upon us. On this one day of the year, people around the world set their love tasers to stun. Sure, the holiday has its roots in the Roman celebration for fertility, but it has become a far uglier beast today. According to relationship experts, Valentine’s Day sees one of the highest peaks of breakups throughout the year. It is as much a celebration of love as an occasion for heartache.
If a box of chocolates or flowers won’t cut it for you this February 14th, check out one of the 12 Worst Movies To Watch On Valentine’s Day.
12. Teeth (2007)
Viewed outside the jurisdiction of the jaw, teeth can be pretty gross. Take this 2007 horror movie, for instance, about a woman who has teeth growing down where the sun don’t shine. Experts call it vagina detanta, a symptom where teeth grow in the nether regions of a woman and, when angry, chomp down on whatever intruder enters the arena (the photo above shows one of the film’s unfortunate victims).
This is the premise of Teeth, a movie that will make you interested in joining either a convent or monastery, don a chastity belt, and swear to never use eHarmony or Tinder again. Schools teaching abstinence could save a lot of time and money by simply screening this film every semester. Haven’t gotten much interest lately? Turn on Teeth, and remind yourself why sometimes it’s OK to be single.
11. Blue Valentine (2010)
This is, without question, Ryan gosling’s saddest movie. Director Derek Cianfrance pulls back the curtain on an ill-fated relationship and takes us places we would probably rather avoid. Gosling and Michelle Williams turn in slice-of-life performances with their blue-collar characters stuck in societies they can’t seem to escape.
From a disastrous “romantic” getaway at a disturbing space-themed motel, to jealousies, fights and vitriol, Blue Valentine is like watching a real relationship disintegrate in front of your eyes. This is most definitely not a good date movie. Only play it if you need a good cry, want to spark a fight, or intend to destroy your own romantic relationship within minutes of seeing the film. Go forward with caution.
10. Fatal attraction (1987)
Bunnies and boiling water. Those three words are not meant to go together, but when Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) and Alex (Glenn Close) begin their romance, anything becomes possible. Fatal Attraction is the film that ends all affairs. It is the kind of story that makes you wash your hands of any sins past, present or future.
Watching this film with your significant other would surely drum up mutual insecurities. After all, Dan is madly in love with his wife and his family. Why would he kowtow to the passions of his loins and bed the book editor, Alex? His choices make little sense to the audience, and ultimately, not even to himself. When Alex’s manic and nightmarish behavior exposes her as a psychopath, Dan is forced to protect his family from his transgressions. Released in 1987, it’s quite possible Fatal Attraction helped lower the national divorce rate.
9. Gone Girl (2014)
You seldom watch a David Fincher movie expecting a happy ending. With Gone Girl, you get a twist that stays with you. It’s like American Beauty meets Psycho, or something barely beyond the realm of normal. Or is it? The truly deranged live in this southern-set story, where two lovers slowly realize that their relationship was perpetuated by performance.
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike do tremendous jobs in their roles, particularly Pike, who embodies an almost Young Adult novel-like understanding of romance. She is a living, breathing Nicholas Sparks character, because she thinks that that’s what’s necessary to keep her husband’s love. But years into the relationship, when the fairy dust wears off, their love is shown to be a lie. That’s when things get ugly, broken, and, unfortunately for others, quite bloody.
8. Vanilla Sky (2001)
Cameron Crowe has made a lot of interesting movies, but few are quite as dynamic or mysterious as Vanilla Sky. With Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz, this film is more interesting than its title suggests. Crowe’s movie represents an almost dreamlike imagining of love. It shows the ephemeral nature of relationships, the selfishness of people, and the fragility of the human spirit. Cruise, seen in the movie with two faces, seems to embody the duality of love. It can be as equally violent as it is seductive.
Crowe-ism quotes like “I’ll see you in another life when are both cats” will never make much sense, but then again, we don’t go to the movies for logic. Still, there’s something about Vanilla Sky that may instill at least a momentary existential crisis as you gaze at the significant other sitting beside you. Then, you’ll remember the “when we are both cats” line and wonder what the hell Tom Cruise was just talking about. As long as it doesn’t make you jump off a building, this movie is worth watching. Only perhaps not a Valentine’s Day.
7. Ex Machina (2015)
Distilled down to modern lingo, Pygmalion is the classic Greek story of creating your dream girl. We do it in our heads all the time, imagining the perfect person to love. With Ex Machina, a bearded and brilliant scientist (Oscar Isaac, in what seems like his 17th film of 2015) designs his dream girl in the form of an impossibly sentient robot. Her angelic face and pleasing demeanor belie the depth of her intelligence.
Told through the eyes of an eager guest (Domnhall Gleason) at the scientist’s hidden compound, Ex Machina is like a love story about missing the signals along the way. We bear witness to the inner anarchy of a person built to love and inspire, only to find out that in her perceived perfection lies an agenda of her own. This is a science fiction triumph and a Valentine’s Day movie to avoid.
6. Her (2013)
Can we fall in love with something as simple as a sound? Spike Jonze’s 2013 masterpiece, Her, posits that humans can depend on the simplest things in life. When Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) purchases an in-ear operating system, he meets his soulmate, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). They talk to each other almost around the clock. Even though we never seen her, even though she is a computer program he purchased at a store, Theodore becomes convinced she is the love of his life.
If you watch Her on February 14, and you sit through the bizarre Bluetooth sex scene that Theodore and Samantha experience together (which truly puts the famed When Harry Met Sally restaurant scene to shame), you will seek answers for questions you never thought you’d ask.
5. Terms of Endearment (1983)
James Brooks’ two hits from the ’80s, Broadcast News and Terms of Endearment, defined the dramedy genre. In the latter movie, you bear witness to the drawn out collapse of a marriage. Thanks to mutual affairs, cancer, and Jack Nicholson making Shirley McClain lose her mind, the movie has a handful of indelible moments.
Despite heavy doses of humor, Terms of Endearment is best watched in the privacy of your own home and next to a box of Kleenex. The most crushing element of the movie is Flap (Jeff Daniels) and Emma’s (Debra Winger) relentless insincerity. They lie to each other through smiles and kisses, pretending to be happy when they are both undeniably miserable. This is a movie about unexpressed emotion, suppressed feelings and misery in matrimony.
4. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
This is Ryan Gosling’s second saddest movie. Lars Larsson (Gosling) learns to love a blow up doll thinking believing it is the woman of his dreams. Lars’s delusions couldn’t be more genuine. He means it with all of his heart, and talks about the depth of his relationship with Bianca, who just so happens to be a sex doll. Though he holds a patently sexual object, he seeks understanding and love in a platonic way.
Lars’s innocence creates an atmosphere akin to hearing a young boy describe his grade-school crush. When he awakens to the reality of the situation, his heart and those around him are broken. As with Spike Jonze’s Her, this is a movie that argues love might be possible with inanimate objects. What a scary thought.
3. It Follows (2015)
The nature of the one-night stand is founded on the ability to leave. In fact, the idea of a “stage five clinger” derives from someone in a relationship who just can’t walk away. With It Follows, one night stands are forever. Sex is a disease that tries to kill you. This is a movie not only about a walking, breathing STD, but a story about a sex phantom that refuses to leave you alone.
As the film’s heroine, Jay Height (Maika Monroe), learns after having a one night stand, she has inherited a demon from her suitor that tries to murder her at every turn. Her only hope is to pass it onto another person so she can be free from the curse. Good luck to you if you watch this movie with your significant other on Valentine’s Day.
2. Closer (2004)
The more intently you watch Closer, the more distant your relationships will feel. Its cast of attractive and capable actors, from Natalie Portman to Jude Law and Clive Owen to Julia Roberts, does little to dissuade us from the sense of dread we get from watching them behave. Set in the cool and unemotional London, Mike Nichols’ Closer will break your heart.
Each of the four main characters long for inclusion and love, but they become slaves to their vulnerabilities and are unable to protect what they value most. They jettison current lovers for upgrades, and just as soon as they think they found “the one,” they are faced with the truth: it’s hard to find peace with others when you are at war with yourself. As we seen in the film, the closer they get to the truth, the uglier it appears.
1. Enter the Void (2009)
Humans live for experience. Renowned director provocateur, Gaspar Noe, seems to capture a different visceral experience with each of his films. While his most recent, Love, may also be a troublesome Valentine’s Day viewing, his 2010 cult hit, Enter the Void, is even more challenging.
For starters, it is a story about life told through the lens of death. Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) is a small-time drug dealer who gets killed in a bust and is separated from the close relationship with his pole-dancing sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta). Oscar’s spirit then flies over Tokyo and recounts life from a perspective particularly devoid of hope. The propulsive and explicit violence and sex makes this film the kryptonite of Valentine’s Day. Use sparingly.
Can you think of any other Valentine’s Day movies to avoid at all costs? Let us know in the comments below!