I’m not against Valentine’s Day. I’m also not against rom-coms. But I often feel like Valentine’s Day pulls me into two different directions. One part loves all the romance, the happy couples and the reassuringly cheesy rom-coms that inevitably come out at this time of year. Then there’s the other part that feels cynical, gets annoyed at the smug couples, or just can’t stand to see another rubbish romantic comedy (and I mean comedy in the loosest sense of the word)and can’t wait until the world goes back to normal again.
With this in mind I’m doing two posts this week. One where I’ll be discussing my favourite romantic movies and this one, which celebrates that sometimes around Valentine’s Day you want to see something that’s not the predictable boy-meets girl.
First off is My Best Friend’s Wedding. On the surface this seems like your normal rom-com, after all it starts Julia Roberts, what more proof do you need? Roberts plays Jules who is horrified when her best friend (a man-it’s not that kind of film) decides to get married to a preppy blonde named Kimmie and Jules realises she’s in love with him. So Jules naturally sets out to try and stop the wedding. Now normally in this kind of film we’d see Kimmie as the annoying villain standing in the way of the Jules’ path to true love. Except Jules is a complete bitch! And Kimmie is a sweet, sympathetic girl, and suddenly you wonder whose side you’re supposed to be on. Worth seeing if you’re sick of Rom-coms always playing the same predictable notes. And it’s actually funny!
Then we get 500 Days of Summer, which I enjoy mostly because of the sequence where Joseph Gordon-Levitt mimes along to the Hall & Oates song “You Make My Dreams” on his way to work and suddenly everyone else joins in. But that musical interlude aside this film mostly stays on the bitter edge, following what happens when a relationship is decidedly one sided. When the girl of your dreams doesn’t think you’re the guy of hers. Funny and thoughtful with another amazing performance by Gordon-Levitt (does he ever put in a bad one?)
If I’m really turned off by any kind of rom-com then I’ll just go straight into horror. I have a love/hate relationship with horror, generally not liking anything that’s too sadistic and mean spirited. A bit of humour is always welcome. So I’d probably go for something in the Scream or Final Destination franchises. Humour and scares often go side by side in these and I won’t feel too scared going to bed (ok maybe with the first Scream film) but I can still get my anti Valentine kick.
If I was to continue the horror films then I’d have to include one of my favourite films of last year The Cabin In The Woods. Perhaps more witty than scary but like Scream I love things that comments on the clichés of the horror genre and puts its own clever spin on it. Then maybe follow that up with Drag Me To Hell it’s funny and has likeable leads in Alison Loman and Justin Long. It also has some good scares (especially the old woman) and a great ending.
So that’s my Anti Valentine’s Day Films. I’d be interested in hearing what would be on everyone else’s lists.