Valentine’s Day is a holiday that seems completely invented by the card companies, flower people and the candy companies. The idea is that couples are supposed to go out for a fancy dinner, flowers are meant to be exchanged and given, and often a romantic movie is involved. However, if you are single and you are happy to be single, what movies can you watch? Are there movies out there that can affirm you and make you feel better about being single? Rest easy, because there are and here are some of the best.
Fatal Attraction - Michael Douglas, Glenn Close. The movie that manages to attack being married, cheating and having a girlfriend in one terrorizing stew. Michael Douglas is a man who is happily married and has no reason to cheat, who decides to do just that with Glenn Close’s character. He soon finds out that she is in no mood for a casual fling and horror ensues and Close’s character terrorizes Douglas’ family. Not only does he cheat, but the woman he cheats with turns out to be a raging psychopath. Very few things will make you feel better about not being married and not being involved with anyone. Ever.
Dial "M" for Murder - Grace Kelly, Ray Milland. Nothing like Hitchcock to make you feel safe and secure in being single. Originally, this was a stage play, and Hitch manages to film this movie in a similar vein. It is nothing short of a story of a husband who decides to hire a man to murder his wife. The original film was done in 3D, but Hitch was one of the first to realize the medium could be used to add depth instead of just jabbing things at the screen constantly. If you can find it in 3D, great, murder is best when filmed right in front of your face. And, again, it will make you feel much better about being single.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst. A very strange story about a man going through a truly heart-breaking break up. Carrey plays a man whose life has turned upside down when his girlfriend, played by Winslet, breaks up with him. He decides to undergo a procedure that will erase his memories of her. Much of the movie takes place in Carrey’s mind as we witness his memories as they disappear. As they vanish, he realizes it is better to have loved and lost and that he wants to hold on to his memories, instead. It has a heart-warming ending, but up until then, it will make you glad you don’t have to deal with all of that relationship nonsense.
Unfaithful - Richard Gere, Diane Lane. Diane Lane is another happily married woman in an average relationship with Gere. Then, one day, she meets a handsome young man. Soon she is embroiled in a torrid and passionate sexual affair. The scene where she meets her lover for sex and then takes the subway home is amazing. We watch just Lane’s face as she alternates between thinking back on the sexual affair and her husband. She alternates between smiling and then breaking down in tears. The tension builds until murder fills the air.
Any film adaptation of Macbeth or Othello - various stars, depending on which version you see. Leave it to Shakespeare to have tackled the idea of crazy spouses and murderous relationships. Macbeth is the story of a general whose wife is one of the greatest villains in literary history and persuades him to go on a killing spree to move up in society. Othello is the tragic story of a many considered a hero who is led to believe his wife is cheating. There are many versions of both stories including an Orson Welles version of each. If you want to see what many consider to be the best adaptation of Macbeth is from Akira Kurosawa called Throne of Blood which transfers the story to a samurai-laden Japan. Othello is the one with the line that he "loved note wisely, but well."
The War of the Roses - Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner. A film directed by Danny DeVito based on a novel. It is the story of the Roses and how their marriage turns from the most intense and powerful relationship into one about divorce that devolves into all-out war. It is a dark comedy, and it comes about as dark as a film can be. The film ultimately ends in tragedy, but the film even plays that for laughs. The two end up dividing their house in two and their war escalates into the outright scary. Nothing will make you more happy that you don’t have a spouse.
Very Bad Things - Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater. The story of men who go to Vegas for a bachelors party and how badly things go down hill after that. Before long they have one corpse, then two, then tree. Slater is at his demented and psychotic best here in a movie that claims to be a comedy. However, it is tough to believe that when they are burying their friend in the desert after he has been chopped up into pieces. Be glad that you are not planning a wedding after you see this one.
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