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Bad Romance: 14 Alternative Valentine’s Movie Moments

We know you have chocolates to munch, and cheap champagne to swallow down, but if you are wanting something a little different this Valentine’s Day, then look no further. Forget browsing your endless titles of romantic comedies, we have you covered. 14 (obviously) examples of bad movie romance chosen by a few of the Filmotomers. Some of our favourite movies are right here, what that says about our own romantic temperaments is up for debate.

Intoxicating Toxicity

You might say that My Summer of Love has a certain inevitably, regarding the clutch for romantic freedom bound to go sour. Here, Natalie Press plays a girl living with her apparently reformed brother, and she immediately befriend’s Emily Blunt’s boarding school drop-out – or rather she was kicked out.

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Both girls appear to have emotional baggage, and naturally find in each other a form of spontaneous bond – and later declare an eternal love. Both actress are nothing short of glorious, with their somber stares and optimistic smiles. Their passion and their motives, though, carry toxic undertones – be it bad influences or stark vulnerabilities, you still might sympathize or squirm. – – – Robin

Bad Press For a Winter Romance

Diana Christensen, VP of Programming at USB, is a ruthless woman in an industry rampant with older men in Network. Like Max Schumacher, who runs the news division. When they meet, her “masculine temperament” bewitches him, and his successful longevity appeals to her. To Diana, sky-high ratings are the ultimate aphrodisiac. It’s practically all that’s ever on her mind, which plays into the least sexy love-making in film history.

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Once they undress and slip into bed, Diana talks shop throughout. Bragging about how she plans to avoid federal charges regarding her on-camera exploitation of leftist guerilla terrorists (the Ecumenical Liberation Army). That she’ll take them to the Supreme Court, and garner “more press than Watergate”. She briefly shuts up to climax. But then she jabbers on again. This is her dirty talk.

Nevertheless, Max chooses Diana over Louise, his wife of twenty-five years. And in one brilliantly crafted scene, Louise dumps Max, asserting that she will not “sit at home and knit” only for him to “slink back like some penitent drunk” from his “winter romance.” Beatrice Straight’s Louise only has five minutes of screen time, but they are five thunderous minutes. And as she predicts, Max and Diana do not last. “You’re television incarnate, Diana,” he tells her. “Indifferent to suffering. Insensitive to joy.” – – – Brandon

The Force is Cringey With This One

Oh George Lucas, you may have give us the delightful universe that is Star Wars, but let’s not forget that you also gave us the classic line of dialogue: “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” This gem comes from the infamous scene between Anakin and Padme. The exchange of dialogue between them is painful enough, but coupled with the romantic score, this just feels like a parody of what a romantic scene is meant to be.

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Poor Portman does her best to look touched by Skywalker’s confession of love, but even she can’t hide her embarrassment. Watching this scene as a child, you’re bored and waiting for the action to start. Watching this scene as an adult, you’re concerned for Padme’s safety, and worried about Anakin’s mental well-being. – – – Bianca

Leg Sex

Yeah, you read that right. Leg sex. It’s never explored in David Cronenberg’s lucid, polarizing Crash, whether James Spader is a thigh or a breast man. He appears to enjoy both. This mindfuck motion picture, though, hits a premise where arousal comes from watching car crashes in all their glory. Spader really gets hot under the bonnet when he kills Holly Hunter’s husband in a head-on road collision, and sees her breast pop out.

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Well, the car crash fetish is a thing apparently, here, as many characters actually meet up and explore their revving loins. In one scene which can not be unseen, Spader ravenous sexual engine goes into overdrive, as he explodes into passion with Rosanna Arquette. Grappling with her steel braces, he unfastens them, caresses her huge scar – before whipping out his stick and penetrating her, well, there… – – – Robin

Far From a Perfect Date

What’s your idea of the perfect date? Dinner is surely involved, and maybe a movie. Or maybe you prefer some type of activity like dancing or hiking. I’m guessing that taking your date to a porno film would not be high on the list. Yet that’s exactly the kind of date Travis Bickle has in mind for Betsy, in Martin Scorsese’s classic film, Taxi Driver.

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Travis is a loner. He’s taken up driving a taxi cab because he can’t sleep and he needs something to do. He sees Betsy walking into her office and is instantly smitten. She’s angelic, and she moves so effortlessly through the world that Travis finds so hostile. Beyond belief, his bluntness intrigues Betsy and she agrees to a date.

It all goes fine until Travis takes her to the“movies.” Betsy is appalled at Travis’s lack of awareness, and she pushes him completely from her life. It was Travis’s best attempt at reaching out for connection, and it failed miserably. Now where will all his frustration turn for release? – – – Aaron

Children’s Games

There are not many movies that portray romantic love in its truest, but also most mischievous, as Love Me If You Dare does so accurately. Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard are flawless as the adults having grown up knowing each other from being kids, tormenting and loving each other the whole time.

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Sophie and Julien exchange a small tin box, allocating each other sporadic dares for decades. Of course, they fall in love along the way, but the extreme misbehaving over-powers them, and the lives they try to lead elsewhere. Their crazy love will be cemented in time forever though, in the end. – – – Robin

Ultimately Doomed Relationship.

There’s something really sweet about the concept of childhood friends who ended up falling in love as adults after a several-year-long estrangement. But although Chris Brander and Jamie Palamino are both charming characters in Just Friends, who seem to have rediscovered the connection that made them best friends as teens, their relationship is undoubtedly doomed to failure. Let’s presume for one moment that Chris has truly grown and found a way past the ugly bitterness and perception of being rejected that plagued so much of his adult life.

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Maybe he’s given up his old ways of douchery and is the kind of man that Jamie deserves. His life is in California. In the music industry. And something tells me that Jamie isn’t going to like the kind of person he is once he’s back to work, and old habits die hard. I hate to be the cynic, but if their connection wasn’t strong to make their relationship happen when there was literally nothing standing in its way, I doubt a bicoastal situation is going to help matters. Just saying, I give it six months before he cheats and she leaves. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! – – – Audrey

The Horror of Breaking-up

Possession is the ultimate film about break-ups and bad romance. Since watching this film last year for my Around the World adventure, Possession has become one of my favourite films. It centres around the complex and often very violent relationship between couple, Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and Mark (Sam Neill).

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Anna greets Mark upon his return from a work assignment, and she wants a divorce. Mark’s reaction to this news is to retreat slowly into hysteria. Whenever the couple come into contact with each other, the effects are devastating. In one scene they meet in a cafe, only for Mark to chase Anna around the room throwing chairs wildly in an attempt to catch her. In another scene, Anna takes an electric knife to her throat. This is a couple who cannot function together, but they cannot function alone.

Things get even more bizarre when Anna’s new lover is revealed to be a tentacled creature that she keeps in a run-down Berlin apartment (now there’s a sex scene you want to avoid). Possession is a perfect antidote to any Valentine’s Day Romantic Comedy. It’s a film which shows us just how catastrophic relationships can be – like the end of the world. – – – Bianca

Sometimes it’s Just Not Meant To Be

Oh how I longed for a film that picked the bones out of love, what is feels like, what it does, and where it leaves you. Both Tom and Summer appear to have concrete notions on the grand emotion of love. The crucial dilemma and plot-changer here is, of course, that their viewpoints significantly vary. The screenplay is a real treat, refreshingly scoping the landscape of love and all it’s glory and fall-out.

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(500) Days of Summer does not tell us any lies either, narratively structured like those blossoming, but broken relationships, there are ups and downs, there are laughs and fights, crying and cuddles. In it’s candid dissection of love it all feels real, depicting the awkward and the heartache too. Summer was never meant to work out. But by the end, as Autumn arrives, there is somehow an aura of sensibility. – – – Robin

That Awful Pool Sex

I can’t quite believe Showgirls was actually made. The script, the acting, the look of the film. Full of awkward scenes, people attempting normal conversations and interactions. But there’s one scene that will leave you wondering what have you just watched. When dancer Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) and Zack (Kyle MacLachlan) decide to get wet and wild in a swimming pool, surrounded with fake plastic trees, neon lights and tacky decor.

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They naturally decide to go a bit further. Zack pours champagne all over Nomi’s naked body, exciting her further. For some unknown reason, Berkley decides to thrash around wildly, splashing around in the water as if she’s drowning. Neither actor seems to have a single ounce of attraction towards each other, and the scene drags on for too long. This Valentine’s Day, just make sure to avoid this film if you’re looking for a well-written romantic drama. Or, if you’re seeking a good laugh, then Showgirls might be the film for you. – – – Bianca

Infatuation Meets New Heights

When a man asks you to change your clothing, your nails, your make-up, and your
hair colour, in order for you to look more like his dead girlfriend, it’s best just to say no.
Chances are, he’ll find out you were his dead girlfriend all along, and you tricked him into
helping cover up the murder of another woman who was killed by her husband.

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There is an important lesson we can learn from Vertigo, that no matter how much you look like a fella’s dead girlfriend, you should never have to change for him. Even if you happen to be his dead girlfriend all along. It’s just not worth it because in the end, all you’ll find is a sweet old nun who startles you from the top of an old church tower, causing you to fall and die. – – – Jeremy

A Bride Scorned

Given the flamboyant nature and gripping execution of the multi-chapter black comedy Wild Tales, there are bound to be some stand-outs. Érica Rivas has the final flourish here. A newly-wed bride, Romina, realizing her groom has been unfaithful. With a guest of their very wedding party no less. She doesn’t waste any time, asking him directly during their first dance.

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In her turmoil, Romina is bitterly sarcastic, upfront, both playing along with the whole wedding reception façade, while making it clear to the guests that she is about to explode. A fitting, and terrific, conclusion to a movie running on so much adrenaline from the very first scene. I could not take my eyes off Rivas, an immaculate, gorgeous bride almost melting under the heat of this revelation (physically so with mascara-smudged panda-eyes). Boiling over into unpredictable and almost-comic mayhem and anxiety. – – – Robin

Pulling at the Seams

For decades, movies have taught us that love between two people is a thing to be cherished – even if it doesn’t make sense to people on the outside. But there are two sides to that coin, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread shows the other side in all its twisted glory. Reynolds Woodcock and Alma Elson are drawn to each other right away. Reynolds is one of the foremost dressmakers, and Alma is a waitress. But as the film continues, the power dynamics between them shift in many ways. 

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By the end of the film, we wonder if this is a true love story or something much darker. But just because it doesn’t look like your average Hollywood love story doesn’t mean Reynolds and Alma weren’t made for each other. It might just mean that they shouldn’t serve mushrooms for Valentine’s Day dinner, though. – – – Aaron

A Bloody Climax

Long before the events depicted in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, from Gillian Flynn’s extraordinary book, Amy Dunne likely yearned for a simple life. Already mentally damaged by her parents and those Amazing Amy stories. Instead, she flourishes briefly with romance on meeting Nick, before losing her job, bring uprooted, betrayed, going missing. Well, as we know, that last part was manufactured by Amy in a exquisitely planned set-up. Dyed hair, binge-eating, hammer to the face, fake pregnancy, phony diary – I mean, she really sticks it to Nick.

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However, it is not the husband, but rather stalker ex-boyfriend, Desi Collings, who gets the bloody end of the stick. In a sneaky diversion of her plan, Amy reacquaints herself with Desi, builds his trust, all the while framing him for kidnapping and raping her. In the climactic scene, Amy seduces, and kills him – all in a matter of seconds. A twisted, deft execution by Amy, allowing the poor bastard to cum before slicing open his throat. – – – Robin

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