by Rob Boylan
To channel the six year old boy in me, love is gross. And yucky. And stupid. And I don't understand why anyone does it or even wants to do it. Especially why they want to do it. Ew. Germs. Everywhere.
Looking through the top results for anti-Valentine's Day lists on Google, most of them seemed to just be stories about messed up love. Almost all of them included Husbands and Wives (newly relevant), Blue Valentine and The Break-up. But is that really cathartic for being alone on the Stupidest Holiday of the Year? I'd rather watch a film that eliminated the romance altogether, or at least stuffed it into a manageable, non-threatening little ball.
Giving myself two limits, no war or politics, I set out to find the most loveless list of movies that I could find for rent on streaming platforms. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Damn near every movie has a love subplot of some kind, and a bunch of the films I thought of for this weren't available to stream anywhere. But what I settled on is, I think, a good mix of mainstream, indie and foreign, covering a good spread of themes to get your brain off of the fact that you're sitting alone with a bag of candy, gently weeping into your beer/wine/vodka/moonshine/heroin spoon.
In the mood to binge-watch 13 hours of Kevin Spacey's weird Southern accent?
House of Cards season 2 premiers on Netflix this morning, drifting further into the backdealing and powerplays of Washington politics and newspapering.
In the mood for an old-timey battle of evil versus slightly less evil?
Try There Will Be Blood, the story of an oil baron who runs up against a parasitic preacher in late-1800s California. Daniel Day Lewis won an Oscar for his psychotic portrayal of Daniel Plainview.
In the mood for a good crime caper with a twist?
Try The Usual Suspects, because the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
Want to take an intense trip through space?
There is Alien, in which Sigourney Weaver kicks all kinds of alien butt.
Okay, you should have seen those three by now. Let's go a little bit more obscure. Be adventurous.
In the mood for a moral kidnapping story?
Try The High and the Low, Akira Kurosawa's crime drama about a shoe executive who does the right thing when a kidnapper gets the wrong kid that basically created the formula for Law & Order (but which is infinitely better than any iteration of L&O).
In the mood to be emotionally destroyed over a pair of shoes?
Try Children of Heaven, which is a litmus test for whether you have a heart or not.
In the mood for a time before someone else's private parts were of any interest? (obligatory Disney version)
Try Holes, about a group of kids sent to juvy in the desert where they have to dig holes as punishment. There is actually a love subplot as part of the backstory in this, but it's such a bitter love story (and I'm keen to remember a time before Shia LaBeouf went crazy) that I'm sticking with it.
In the mood for a time before someone else's private parts were of any interest? (gritty English version)
Try This is England, Shane Meadows's trip back to the Midlands in the 80s, which sees Shaun taken in by a group of friendly skinheads (non-racist ones) after he's beat up at school. Stephen Graham delivers an incredible performance as Combo, a friendly skinhead (a racist one) who is just out of jail and looking to organize his old friends for a new cause.
Want to be emotionally destroyed by a story of a time before someone else's private parts were of any interest? (fucked up Japanese version)
Try Nobody Knows, Koreeda's drama in which a mother rents an apartment and abandons her four children there, sporadically sending them money while she lives with her new family. Based on a real story from Tokyo.
Are your friends are total dicks?
Frances Ha can relate. Go on, ask her.
Of course, if you're happy in love or at least set up with a good lonely hearts crew, more power to you.