February 11, 2011

Blue valentines: 10 DVDs of failed romance

From Eternal Sunshine to Carrie, a list of the bleakest big screen relationships. Happy Valentine's Day!

Hey there, lone wolf. Don’t spend the sexiest day of the year all by yourself. Take your pick from our list of the top ten bleak movie relationships for further proof that an owner of a lonely heart is much better than an owner of a broken heart. 

10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 
After a sour split, Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) erase troubled memories of their botched romance only to relive the same fate again and again—cynics take note of the looping final shot. Choice quote comes from Joel at the film’s onset: “Random thoughts for Valentine's Day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.”

9. Far From Heaven 
Being cheated on by your husband with another man is rough. Being cheated on by your husband with another man in a 1950s Sirk-ian milieu is a whole new level of shitty. When Cathy’s (Julianne Moore) executive hubby, Frank (Dennis Quaid), falls for another guy, she finds solace in their gardener’s son, Raymond. But town gossip gets the better of them, and Raymond—who’s black, btw—must flee to avoid further persecution.

8. Your Friends & Neighbors 
Before directing one of the most hilar-awful movies of all time, Neil LaBute made some scathing observations on sexual dynamics. This one takes a cynical look at young couples that intermingle in disturbing ways. Of all the heinous suitors, Cary’s (Jason Patrick) ritual of fucking and debasing women just to watch them suffer is the most deplorable. And that’s not even counting his monologue about once gang-raping a male high school peer.

7. Taxi Driver 
Things go from bad to weird when lonely and depressed New York cabbie Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) blows his shot with campaign volunteer Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) by taking her to a Swedish sex education film on their first date. Upon her rejection, Travis shaves his head into a mohawk, buys a bunch of guns, flirts with assassinating a Senator, but settles on just shooting a bunch of hoodlums.

6. Sid & Nancy 
Seminal punk rock bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) starts dating Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb) after she scores him some primo junk. As the two fall together, The Sex Pistols fall apart and the lovers’ heroin addition spirals out of control. To make matter worse, Sid stabs Nancy to death in a drugged-out haze at The Chelsea Hotel. Then he dies of an overdose.

5. Never Let Me Go 
As if the fates of Kathy, Ruth and Tommy (Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield, respectively) weren’t tragic enough, their life-spanning love triangle fills their meager lives with jealousy and remorse. A last ditch attempt at unfulfilled love and a semi-normal existence only triggers more heartache.

4. Happiness 
Every character in this film is beyond flawed, but no one is nearly as reprehensible as Bill (Dylan Baker), the suburbanite pederast who cheats on his wife by drugging the entire household to sodomize his son’s 11-year-old friend during a sleepover. In the film’s most stomach-churning dialogue exchange, Bill’s son asks, “Would you ever fuck me?” To which he replies, “No, I’d jerk off instead.”

3. In the Bedroom 
To his parents' chagrin, Frank (Nick Stahl) falls in love with Natalie (Marissa Tomei), an older divorcee with an abusive ex-husband. Attempting to dissolve a domestic dispute between the former married couple, Frank is fatally shot in the face. When the ex gets out on bail and claims the murder wasn’t his fault, Frank’s parents take the vigilante route.

2. Carrie 
Crazy Carrie’s (Sissy Spacek) bible-thumping mother warned her that everyone would laugh at her, but she just had to go to senior prom with hunky Tommy Ross. Cut to her winning prom queen and getting doused with a bucket of pig’s blood. If only she had stayed home and prayed, the graduating class of Bates High wouldn’t have fallen victim to her telekinetic wrath.

1. Irreversible 
The mother of all V-Day downers, this revenge story told in reverse follows a man (Vincent Cassell) searching to find the person responsible for raping and beating his girlfriend (Monica Bellucci) into a coma...for nine unedited minutes. Those holding out for a redemptive coda will not be relieved by the film’s cruelly euphoric revelation.