Are you spending this Valentine’s Day alone? Well, fear not, and trust me when I say that sometimes a single life is so much safer. Don’t believe me? Well, you will after perusing these films. Each one handpicked to ensure you breathe a sigh of relief for your sublime single life. So why not grab a big box of chocolates, a glass of your favourite drink and settle in for a night of hassle-free, non-commital bliss.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Here’s a tricky one for you, you meet the man of your dreams (hell anyone’s dreams!) in a coffee shop. One thing leads to another, and you find yourself engrossed in conversation with the said young man despite being promised to another, far more dull fella. However, this random meeting leads no further until the man appears mysteriously at your father’s side. But, unlike your first meeting, he now carries a mysterious air and the emotional wonder of a child. And even more strange, he follows your father wherever he goes; one part mentor and one part mentee.
Now, what you don’t know is that the strange boyish man in your presence is, in fact, death. That’s right death!. Unfortunately, the man you met in the coffee shop didn’t look twice while crossing the road on leaving (a fatal mistake). But, death saw an opportunity for life, stealing the sexy guys body, its mission to experience love. At this point, most sane people would run a mile, but death has a plan to have his wicked way with Susan. A project that involves a secret deal with her father (Anthony Hopkins); with death allowing the gorgeous coffee shop boy (Brad Pitt) to come back if Hopkins takes his place.
Of course, Susan knows nothing of this plan; if she did, she wouldn’t enter into romantic liaisons with someone who is actually dead. And even when poor Susan finds out, Brad Pitt’s smouldering good looks prove more irresistible than the love she has for her father. But, one thing is for sure, Susan’s life would have been so much simpler if she had remained single.
The Loved Ones (2009)
Do you remember those innocent school days of romance and making-out behind the bike sheds? Well, The Loved Ones is about to pour petrol over all those memories, before dancing around the roaring fire. In fact, if there’s one defining film that will have you thanking the heavens for single life, it’s this one. Its grisly Aussie tale of sexual obsession, psycho parents and lobotomies, enough to have you regurgitating the love heart shaped chocolates you just scoffed.
Sean Byrne’s movie is a hidden gem and a deliciously twisted one at that. The traditional high school prom turned on its head in a blaze of blood, drills and trauma. With the quiet and edgy Lola Stone finally finding her perfect date in the form of Brent (Xavier Samuel). However, as dates go this one is more than a bit strained. After all, no date should start with ropes, nails and paper hats. So hit the lights, pour a drink and thank god there isn’t a deranged teenage serial killer watching your every move.
Weird Science (1985)
The average teenage boy spends at least two years locked in their bedroom, slowly working their way through a years supply of Kleenex tissues while dreaming of sex. Of course, many will accuse me of simple stereotypes in this statement, but any man reading this knows it to be true.
Many of the sexual ideas that swim around the young male mind are based on pure fantasy. And it’s here where John Hughes sublime 80s comedy hits all the right notes in all the right places. In a movie that reminds us of youth’s innocence, and reflects the fact that our teenage dreams are often far more exciting than reality. So why not take a trip back to those innocent days before internet porn and dating apps. Our only escape into sex firmly held inside our heads as we attempted to navigate our newly emerging desires. After all, sometimes fantasy and escape are far better, and far safer than reality. And while Gary Wallace and Wyatt Donnelly may harness magic in making the perfect woman. In truth, they really need a good cuddle and hope in their future after the trauma of adolescence.
The Beach (2000)
Do you remember the sense of invulnerability that followed you like a shadow during your late teens and twenties? This sense of adventure, opportunity and sexuality sits at the core of Danny Boyle’s adaptation of Alex Garland’s novel. However, The Beach also has a dark heart, as it follows our intrepid young backpacker Richard from innocence and escapism, to entrapment and isolation. And while Richard’s journey may encapsulate a range of themes, varying from tourism to community and belonging. The Beach is at its strongest when exploring sex, deception and relationships.
Here, the ‘two’s company, three’s a crowd’ message reigns supreme. The complicated, hormonal friendship and love between Richard, Françoise and Étienne, ultimately leading to individual destruction. The result, a film that gloriously unpicks the dangers of love, sex and belonging in a metaphorical garden of Eden.
I Love You to Death (1990)
Man meets woman, they fall madly in love and open a pizza restaurant together. However, the woman is unaware that the man also has a plethora of other female lovers. His love of pizza and pasta delivery going far beyond the normal realms of customer service. So starts Lawrence Kasdan’s deliciously dark comedy about marriage, murder and pasta.
Loosely based on the 1983 trial of Frances Toto, a woman who repeatedly tried to kill her husband, Anthony; spending four years in prison for attempted murder. Kasden brings together a truly sublime cast with Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Joan Plowright, River Phoenix, William Hurt, and Keanu Reeves. His movie, exploring themes of revenge, love, coercion and forgiveness in a comedy that proves marriage can indeed be murder. So, why not enjoy this comedy classic with a glass of wine and a take out pizza; but whatever you do, don’t invite the pizza delivery guy to join you on the sofa.
Poor Leo really doesn’t have much luck in love. First, he finds himself the third spoke in a complicated love wheel in The Beach; before going slightly nuts. Then he meets a lovely rich girl on a ship, only to freeze to death in the North Atlantic. In both cases, Leo should have remained a cute, single bachelor. However, hindsight is, of course, a frustrating and deeply unhelpful commodity. But, back to the ship in question, which was, of course, the RMS Titanic. With young Leo’s character, Jack, an aspiring artist working his way back to America after a stint painting prostitutes in Paris. Meanwhile, also on board, but in first class, is the depressed Rose (Kate Winslett).
The pair become acquainted through Rose considering suicide; Jack saving her life while offering the hand of friendship. His hand later becoming far more familiar with Rose and her corset in the cargo decks. However, I once again digress, as, before this, we have a sweet little romance that includes some sketching, spitting and dancing to boot. And by the time the dreaded iceberg comes into view, the two are inseparable despite the snobbery and hate surrounding Jack’s presence.
Therefore, it is all the more depressing when the ship goes down, and Jack saves Rose by finding a floating door for her to perch on. Meanwhile, his own skinny body falls foul to the icy depths of the Atlantic. And that leaves us with two big questions. Firstly around the size of the door and Rose hogging it, and second whether Jack would have stood more of a chance on his own? And its here where I will leave you to consider your own answers.