As most of us are locked down (note: it’s a pandemic), Valentine’s Day seems somewhat hollow. A good way to fight back against all the romance and declarations of love out there is with movies. But the opposite of romance, if you can find it. Think of them as palate cleansers. As a rule of thumb, when searching for anti-romance, I look for ’90s erotic thrillers and dark comedies.
The kind of movies that tend to end badly, at least romantically, but the ride is wild and cathartic.
Bad Influence (1990)
Wimpy guy (James Spader) is saved from a fight one night by a handsome stranger (Rob Lowe) who soon becomes a – wait for it – bad influence on him. Directed by the late, great Curtis Hanson, it’s a little like a precursor to Fight Club, yet more homoerotic. It was also written by David Keopp, who also wrote the next movie in this list, as well as Jurassic Park, War Of The Worlds, Mission Impossible and countless other great movies.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Plastic surgeon Ernest (Bruce Willis, in one of his best performances) goes slowly mad trying to please two women: his wife (Meryl Streep) and ex (Goldie Hawn). Trouble is, they’ve both become immortal, with unwanted side effects.
Pump Up The Volume (1990)
In this coming-of-age drama lonely student Mark (Christian Slater) starts a pirate radio station to talk about what’s wrong with society – and also cock rings. Another student, Nora (Samantha Mathis) figures out his identity and things being to unravel.
The Rules Of Attraction (2002)
A Bret Easton Ellis story was always going to be dark. One critic described this as American Pie by way of Requiem for a Dream becomes America’s Trainspotting. Come for Dawson’s Creek’s James Van der Beek acting filthy and stay for Ian Somerholder dancing on a bed in his pants to George Michael.
The Cabin In The Woods (2011)
A bunch of sexy twenty-somethings (including Chris Hemsworth in an early role) head to a cabin for the weekend, hoping for some action. And boy do they get it, but not the way they expect.When things kick off they really kick off in this movie. Nothing is quite like the first time you watch it and all hell – literally – breaks loose.