Alone on Valentine's Day? Choose vodka, and Bridget Jones
Valentine's Day 2012 is right around the corner -- and even if you wholeheartedly reject the commoditization of romantic love, you still have to do *something* next Tuesday night. Why not avoid the fanfare and stay indoors? We've put together a list of Valentine's Day movie rental suggestions for every scenario: Whether you're planning on curling up with your sweetheart, your cat, or a bottle of Jack Daniel's.
Happily Coupled Up
You're happy and in love -- the world (and the Netflix catalog) is your oyster. Just because the two of you are perfect for each other doesn't mean you agree on everything, though. The majority of love stories and romantic comedies belong firmly to the chick flick genre, and you want to choose something you both can enjoy. Forgetting Sarah Marshall has it all: love lost, love found, beautiful Hawaiian scenery, Mila Kunis, musical theater, Russell Brand at his funniest, and full frontal nudity.
Unhappily Coupled Up
Sure, you can't break up with someone on Valentine's Day. But you can send them a subtle reminder that just because something was good once, doesn't mean it always will be. Assuming your significant other hasn't already seen either, rent Prime (if it's a short-term relationship) or Paris, Texas (if it was intended to be permanent.) Your soon-to-be ex won't know what hit him/her.
Does your heart belong to someone who lives miles and miles away? Since Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, odds are you won't be together. While you'll be thinking of your Valentine, you might also want a little something to keep your spirits up. This one's easy: Going the Distance offers relatable comic relief for those who know the challenges of a long-distance romance all too well.
Platonic Friends Who Need a Nudge
Spending Valentine's Day with your buddy who you secretly have a crush on? If you suspect he or she might feel the same, you've got a host of options -- from the classic When Harry Met Sally to He's Just Not that Into You to the twin sex romps Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached. But if you really want to lay it on thick, rent One Day - the object of your affection might think twice about waiting another day to let you know how they feel.
Straight But Curious?
Kissing Jessica Stein is one of the first so-called mainstream movies to address a toe dip in lesbianism. It also happens to be a great film no matter what your sexual preference, and handles the potentially salacious material in a thoughtful (if not entirely realistic) manner. Bonus: A pre-Mad Men John Hamm -- who met his longtime love, Jennifer Westfeldt, while filming this movie.
Gay But Curious?
Before there was Will and Grace, there was Nina (Jennifer Aniston) and George (Paul Rudd), a straight woman/gay man pair of best friends with more than a little sexual tension between them -- at least in one direction. If you can get over the awful clothes, The Object of My Affection is a rare romantic comedy that isn't afraid of pushing the envelope.
Okay, so it turns out there aren't any movies with a clear message about single empowerment. (Unless we're missing something? Please tell us we're missing something.) Sex and the City doesn't count, because the one happily single character is outnumbered (and delusional). The closest we could come up with was The Breakup, because -- SPOILER ALERT -- Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn actually stay separated, proving that life indeed goes on after a bad breakup.
Bridget Jones wrote the book on life as a singleton, inventing a new language for lonely hearts with a sense of humor who haven't *quite* given up on happy endings.
We're giving you two choices here, because apparently some people still believe that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an epic romance about how two people in love can't forget each other even if they have been mutually lobotomized. WRONG! It's a dark and sinister cautionary tale about how we never learn from our mistakes, and delude ourselves into believing things will go our way despite all evidence to the contrary because we're desperately afraid of being alone. Don't believe me? Watch it again, alone, on Valentine's Day. (And watch the trailer here.)
Even though it's not technically a love story -- at least not a romantic love story -- we're offering up Dancer in the Dark as the best Valentine choice for sadomasochists. It may be the unhappiest movie ever made -- and we know for sure that the experience was so painful for Bjork that she swore off ever acting again. More than ten years later, she's kept her promise.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Ellen Killoran is the Media & Culture Editor at IBTimes. She previously contributed to The L Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, and The Daily, and co-produced the HBO...