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article imageOp-Ed: The anti-Valentine movie guide

By Kristal Cooper     Feb 13, 2014 in Entertainment
It's the time of year when love is inevitably in the air and you're sure to be inundated with countless lists that give you advice on which movies will help you to celebrate the spirit of the season.
But what if you're not in the mood to celebrate?
Below are a handful of movies that are about a different kind of love — the toxic kind — and the many ways that being part of a couple can totally mess up your life.
Christian Slater's J.D. may be dark, dangerous and dreamy, but he's also homicidal. A newly smitten Veronica (Winona Ryder) enlists him to help wreak some harmless revenge on her high school rivals and things go terribly awry. This dark comedy from 1988 is a classic commentary on social politics and an honest yet hilarious portrayal of teen angst in all of its glory. Personally it makes me look back at my own thankfully bloodshed-free high school days with fondness.
Added bonus: Watch this and then marvel at the fact that writer Mark Waters is also responsible for cinema's latest so-bad-it's-good box office bomb, Vampire Academy.
This is a movie every cinephile should see, but it also happens to fit quite nicely into this list. Terrence Malick's exquisite first film is based on 1958's Starkweather murders and stars Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen as a young couple on a killing spree across the ethereal South Dakota Badlands.
You could also follow this up with Natural Born Killers or Kalifornia for a more modern take on couples whose "date night" consists of dinner and a few murders.
Crazy Love
Indeed. This documentary recounts the decades long romance of Linda Riss and Burt Pugach. The two meet in 1957 and embark on a troubled relationship that ends with Pugach hiring some thugs to throw lye in Linda's face, resulting in her being permanently blinded. When Burt gets out of jail 14 years later, he continues to obsessively pursue her and eventually the two get married. It's a total freak show, but it sure is fascinating.
If you've ever spent the night Google-ing a potential mate or have found yourself doing the occasional "drive by" their house, this movie is definitely for you.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Vincent Price plays a diabolical doctor who is distraught over his wife's death and decides to unleash some serious Old Testament-style revenge on all those who may or may not have been involved. Watch Phibes (and his creepy burn victim assistant Vulnavia) as he sics bats and bees on his unsuspecting victims, takes his rage out on a pipe organ and speaks to an image of his dead wife as though she were in the room. This movie teaches us that sometimes it's possible to love someone just a little too much; especially when it drives you to don a mask and take to the streets vigilante-style.
Featuring Vincent Price in a very different type of role, this film noir from 1944 is a portrait of all-consuming romantic self-delusion. The gorgeous Gene Tierney plays Laura, a woman who inspires rabid and almost maniacal devotion from the men in her life and whose murder is being investigated by a detective who is slowly falling in love with her portrait. For those who have a tendency towards projecting their own issues onto the people they date, Laura is the ultimate blank canvas — project away.
Widely regarded as Bette Davis' "compensation" for losing out on the Scarlett O'Hara role in Gone with the Wind (coincidentally one of the all-time great romantic films), Jezebel is the story of Julie, a headstrong southern belle who loses her fiancé (Henry Fonda), because she's vain, stupid, takes him for granted...oh and because she wears a scandalous crimson dress to a town dance, which was a big no-no in 1850. Julie embarks on a downright ruthless campaign to get her man back as well as restore her tattered public image, all while an outbreak of yellow fever hits Louisiana.
If Valentine's Day makes you want to act like a brat, just take a page out of Julie's book: put on something scandalous and raise some hell.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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