It's almost February 14, so you know what that means: Hallmark, Whitman's Samplers and 1-800-Flowers are all salivating at the prospect of your societal obligation to buy goods and services to please the mate that has already settled for you. Sure, you could take a principled stand against consumerism, but you risk looking like a total dick. If you're running low on funds this month, you'd be wiser to just roll out the dump truck and break it off.
To grease the wheels, here are a few movies you can watch with your partner that will make you both realize the sad and fruitless nature of your relationship. Happy Valentine's Day!
1. Blue Valentine
Ryan Gosling is a real dreamboat when he's not cratering a dude's face with a hammer, but Blue Valentine shows what it would really be like to date the guy. At the outset of Blue Valentine, we see the wreckage of his marriage with Michelle Williams. Bit by bit, we get flashbacks to the happier and eventually sadder times that lead to that moment. It's sort of similar to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, except at the end they decide that wedding vows mean nothing and their child is doomed to be raised in a broken home. All the quilted scorpion jackets in the world won't change it.
Moral of the Story: Statistically, most marriages end in divorce resulting from a slow and painful implosion that leaves both parties hollow inside.
The posters and trailers for this movie feature dozens of bright balloons carrying an old man's house across the sky, giving the impression that audiences are in for 90 minutes of whimsical adventure. But that's how they get you. The first ten minutes of Up were made to curbstomp your heart and blend the pulpy remains into a brick-red cup of depression-flavored Jamba Juice. There's a lovely buildup as young Carl meets his true love, Ellie, and we see them spend their lives together. Fast forward to present day, and Ellie is dead, her body lowered into the same bottomless pit that Gaston fell into. Carl no longer has any meaning in his life, and despite finding some new pals, he has to spend the rest of his years without the only person he's ever loved. It's the most soul-destroying thing that Pixar has ever put out, and they made Cars 2.
Moral of the Story: Even if you end up with a storybook romance, one of you is going to die before the other and leave them all alone with a talking dog and a chubby boy scout.
Leave it to an indie movie to make a one-night stand heartbreaking instead of just joyless and empty. In Weekend, Russell and Glen meet cute at a club and quickly get on gettin' down. Their one-off quickly becomes a marathon of self-discovery, coming-of-age and everything else you'd find in a very special episode of Blossom. By the end of the movie, Russell is finally comfortable with himself and his sexuality, but the person who got him to that point leaves on a train, gone forever.
Moral of the Story: Everyone you fall in love with had a life before they met you, and on their list of priorities you're right between "get more ketchup" and "start going back to the gym."
4. Pretty In Pink
If you type "chump" into Google Maps, it automatically zooms in on Jon Cryer's house. History will never forget that he played Duckie, the dweeb who pines for his best friend Andie, who is played by Molly Ringwald because she is a teenager in 1986. Given the choice between the rich and hunky Blane and the eternally friend-zoned Duckie, Andie makes the only American decision. Jon Cryer would go on to play the "half" in Two and a Half Men, watching as thousands of couples break up every year after realizing one of them is a Duckie.
Moral of the Story: Nice guys would finish last if they weren't busy cheering from the sidelines.
5. Gone With The Wind
Rhett and Scarlett are one of cinema's all-time great romances, but it's easy to forget that they don't end up together. The movie is like four hours of the couple dicking each other around to varying degrees, from adultery to marital rape. If you can endure the Super Bowl-length ordeal, your reward is Rhett finally ditching Scarlett with the classiest, most epic verbal dunk in film history. Watching the whole thing with your S.O. might make you stronger, but it also might make you realize that nobody's gonna put up with your shit forever.
Moral of the Story: If they can't handle you at your worst, then frankly, they won't give a damn about your best.