In the current issue of Cincinnati’s alt-weekly CityBeat, staff writer Phil Morehart picks his “movies to avoid on Valentine’s Day” (or, “Love Me Nots”). “Cinema and the holiday d’amour make a perfect match,” Morehart says, before warning,
One thing is certain, however — if the wrong [movie is] chosen, your romantic evening will nosedive. Avoid films dealing with downer subjects or situations that might make you and your partner uncomfortable — strained relationships, infidelity. Take a pass on the new breed of hardcore torture porn as well. You don’t want to spend the evening cleaning the undigested remnants of your romantic dinner off of the floor.
Moreheart goes on to list seven “prime offenders,” several of which might seem to be friendly fare if you knew nothing else about them besides their titles: Husbands and Wives, Scenes From a Marriage, Closer. He’s on his way to a good list, but we’d like to recommend a few more that he — and you — should avoid sharing with a loved one this Valentine’s season.
Monster’s Ball. Bill Simmons describes the graphic Billy Bob Thornton/Halle Berry sex scene as “absolutely horrifying”: “I don’t think I’ve ever felt more uncomfortable in a room of people in my entire life.” So, if you’re walking through Blockbuster on a first date and your date picks up this movie and says, “I’ve heard this is really good!”, find a clean, expeditious way to jump through a plate glass window.
Requiem For a Dream. Ditto.
Croupier. This experience will be especially bad if you’ve really built up the movie beforehand. This movie and Closer are the two exceptions to the rule which says that any woman will jump for joy at the words, “Well it’s got Clive Owen in it!”
House of Sand and Fog. Are you noticing a trend here? If Jennifer Connelly shows up in your ultimate date movie, odds are very good your relationship is sick and twisted and will end in death. (Reservation Road? Dark Water? Pollock? Little Children? The Day The Earth Stood Still? Folks, none of these movies end well.)
We Don’t Live Here Anymore. Jennifer Connelly should have been in this movie. Instead, Naomi Watts does her best JC impersonation and everyone cheats on everyone else. This is basically a more pastoral Closer with slightly less foul language. Which is still no excuse to watch it.
21 Grams. Another Naomi-Watts-doing-Jennifer-Connelly movie where everyone is really anguished and terrible things happen and when it’s over you just feel dirty and then curl up in a fetal position on the shower floor.
March of the Penguins. Some of the penguins die! DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BAWL YOUR EYES OUT!!
Sahara. Nothing — we mean nothing — is a bigger cinematic cold shower than Matthew McConaughey. You should feel the same about this whether you’re a man or woman.
Funny Games. You are a depraved individual if this film gets anywhere near your DVD player on Valentine’s Day.
An Inconvenient Truth. Regardless of how you feel about Al Gore, he should not be your go-to guy when it comes to setting a romantic mood.
Jonestown. “Hey honey, want to watch a documentary film about religious fanaticism and mass suicide?” “What’s that dear? You’ve chosen to forsake sexual intercourse for the remainder of your time on this Earth?”
There Will Be Blood. Great movie, but in short: There Will Be No Love Tonight.
The Standard of Perfection: Show Cats. A PBS documentary about what it takes to win the gold. This is not a good date movie, unless your last name is Vore. Then it’s purrrfectly romantic.
Please, for everyone’s sake, fill us in on any we may have missed. And have a happy Valentine’s Day.