So it's that time of the year that all single people hate: Valentine's Day. The one day of the year that can reduce normally sane people into bubbling masses of insecurity because they haven't found that special someone. Everywhere you look you are inundated with romantic comedies and happily ever afters. But like anybody knows, those kind of touchy-feely happy endings are usually best left to the movies; seriously, what is the divorce rate at these days? 60%? So while I'm not trying to rain on the 'love parade,' I think it's about time some of us single folks stop feeling so bad about the whole thing. That's where these next seven films come in. In each one there is a solid reminder that 'coupledom' is not everything that it's cracked up to be. For those of us out there who are more than a little proud of their single status, look no further for some serious validation of your life choice.
1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
You have to admit it's kind of ironic that one of the most famous off-screen couples of all time manage to make their relationship seem so terrifying. Mike Nichols' 1966 adaptation of Edward Albee's play is possibly one of the most antagonistic and cruel marriages captured on film. Starring real life lovers Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the story centers on a failed professor (George) and his alcoholic wife Martha, who are in a fight to the death one night when a new prof and his happy-go-lucky wife come to dinner. Just like in real life, every argument drags up ever past sin and indiscretion. The casting of Taylor in the role surprised some, but even more surprising was how fantastic she was in it. If you have ever wanted to watch the romantic equivalent of Ultimate Fighting, then sit back and watch in horror as George and Martha tear each other to shreds in front of their dinner guests.
2. The War of The Roses
A couple battling to the death over their suburban dream home is a nice reminder that sometimes the modern marriage can get a little bloodthirsty. Michael Douglas plays a successful lawyer and his wife (Kathleen Turner) has begun to build a catering business empire. When their marriage starts to falter, the two turn their attention to fighting over their material possessions in a bitter (what am I saying? it's downright psychotic) divorce battle. Based on the 1981 novel of the same name by Warren Adler, Roses marked the third time the trio of Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito appeared together in a film -- but it's a long way off from the good times of Romancing the Stone. I guess in a way this is what would have happened to those two characters if they had decided to settle down in the suburbs.
3. Sid and Nancy
Well you know things are bad in a relationship when one of you ends up with fatal stab wounds. So while music historians have argued over the accuracy of Alex Cox's story of Sex Pistols front man Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, the film really has set the benchmark for destructive rock n' roll couples on screen. Starring Gary Oldman as Vicious and Chloe Webb as Nancy, the film follows the long disputed theory that Vicious was responsible for Nancy's death in 1978. Their mutually destructive relationship was fueled by violence, alcohol, and drugs, so it's not like there was ever going to be a happy ending for either one of these two people. But much like their modern day equivalents, you can't help but wonder what would have happened if they had just stayed away from each other. If nothing else, there might have been a lot less suicides.
4. In the Company of Men
This one might be a little more directed towards us gals out there, but I'm sure a few guys were just a little disgusted at Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men -- don't get me wrong, I know that was the point, but let's just say it doesn't make me want to sign up for speed dating any time soon. The story of two men who make a romantic wager to see who can bed a deaf girl first is just as repulsive as it sounds. Based on La Bute's own play, the story was a "commentary on modern misogyny and corporate culture" starring Aaron Eckhart and Matt Maloy as two friends who decide to get a little revenge on womankind by emotionally abusing a deaf girl at work. Charming!
5. Husbands and Wives
As any Woody Allen fan knows, doomed romances are his bread and butter. The one message we can always take away from Allen's view on romance is that nothing lasts forever -- and more importantly, do we even want it to? The answer in Husband's and Wives would appear to be a resounding 'No'. The story of two long-married couples whose relationships are crumbling is pretty depressing. Even if you can overlook how uncomfortable it must have been for Allen and his wife (at the time) Mia Farrow to work together in the throes of the "Soon-Yi scandal," this film isn't leaving you with any warm and fuzzy feelings about growing old together with your loved one.
6. Sleeping With the Enemy
So unlike most of the other films on this list, this one has the distinction of not only scaring you off relationships, but also making you howl with laughter at a topic that is anything but funny. Starring Julia Roberts as a battered wife on the run, she learns to love again with a floppy haired small town drama teacher who imparts the life lesson that the mental scars of horrific abuse can be cured by trying on some funny hats. Of course, the good times don't last and our heroine is put in danger once again when her husband finds her. (Spoiler alert from 1991) But at least this time she gets to shoot him.
7. Very Bad Things
To be honest with you, I'm not sure who comes off worse in this dark comedy; the evil bridezilla as played by Cameron Diaz, or the heartless bachelors who think it's perfectly acceptable to hack up a stripper and dump her in the desert. Starring Jon Favreau as the groom and Christian Slater as the best man from hell, Peter Berg's comedy is not for the faint of heart. It's an unpleasant experience that gives any commitment-phobe all the evidence they'll ever need to defend why they're never getting married.
So what do you think? If you have ever wanted a reason to stay single then these films can offer it in spades. Tales of hatred, cruelty, adultery and murder...not exactly the stuff that Hallmark cards are made of. Now it's your turn to tell us which films make you either long for the days of the single life or happy that you have never left them.