Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Valentine's Day Films for the Saccharine-Allergic
It's that time of the year again. Floral bouquets, stuffed bears, and heart-shaped boxes are ubiquitous. In addition to this glut of semi-sentimental, consumer-driven flux of faux affection, one can often find the theaters advertising yet another cliche-ridden romance/romantic comedy/romantic dramedy etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum. However, for those of you interested in some sincere and original romance (because as cynical as Valentines Day can make you, if you don't believe in love then what's the point of living?) I have a short list of amazing films that can touch your head, your heart, and leave the contents of your stomach well where they belong.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my all-time favorite films. Truly, this is an almost perfect movie. Written by Wunderkind Charlie Kauffman and directed by Michel Gondry, this flick takes a thought experiment of 'what if you could erase the memory of a failed relationship?' and runs with it. Actually, it does an ultra-marathon with it. Jim Carey does an amazing job and shows his versatility as an actor as the bleak protagonist and Kate Winslet shines as usual in this surreal tale of love and longing. And Gondry's amazing practical effects of being within memories truly evokes a sense of the vague fluidity of emotions and memory.
In Chasing Amy director Kevin Smith regales us with his witty pop-culture infused dialogue and intensely raunchy humor. This film follows the exploits of two comic-book creators (played by Ben Affleck and Jason Lee) and the burgeoning relationship with fellow comic-book creator (Joey Lauren Adams). A friendship develops between and Holden (Affleck) finds himself falling for Alyssa (Adams) despite her being a lesbian. And the humor and heart-wrenching realities ensue!
Me and You and Everyone We Know is another great romance that doesn't stick in your craw. Written, directed, and starring Miranda July, this quirky (I know that's an indie cliche' but this is actually appropriate!) movie follows the slightly-insane-but-adorable romantic pursuits of a performance artist (July) seeking the affection of a divorced shoe salesman (John Hawkes). Various other unique characters interact in sincere and funny ways in this odd film.
So, if you feel like taking a break from all those sickly-sweet romances, you might want to try one of these more bitter-sweet treats to help dispel your Valentine's malaise.