Valentine’s Day approaches, and if that makes you feel glum, do not despair. Do not cry into a pint of rocky road. We’ve got your back and brought an extra spoon. Introducing the Top 5 Rom Coms Gone Wrong (Fatal Attraction memorial). Here are five films that begin with a meet-cute, a manic pixie dreamgirl, or a serendipitous meeting. But end with a boiled rabbit and a trail of bodies. As you dig into that pint, just be happy love has never made you this crazy. However, if you happen to be taking notes while watching, make sure the object of your obsession is worth it. It doesn’t end pretty.
5. Red Eye (2004)
dir. Wes Craven
starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy
A young woman (McAdams) takes a red eye flight home and meets a charming and mysterious stranger (Murphy). Turns out the stranger is interested in more than sipping cocktails in the airport lounge (watch the trailer here). The film begins as a rom com, then turns into a hostage-taking thriller. Most of the film takes place in the claustrophobic environs of an airplane. Considering this is from horror movie master Wes Craven, it’s very suspenseful even though the plot is ridiculous. McAdams is lovely while Murphy nails being a charming creep.
4. Single White Female (1992)
dir. Barbet Schroeder
starring: Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Allie (Bridget Fonda) looks for a roommate after a tough breakup. Her new roommate Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) seems perfect, but Allie soon discovers Hedy has a dark past. Hedy turns out to be a suffocating best friend, who tries to become Allie. Sadly, an animal is harmed in this film. Single White Female can be seen as a gender swapped update of the Highsmith novel, The Talented Mr.Ripley, sans the European locale. Single White Female is also a little trashy, but pure fun.
3. Misery (1990)
dir. Rob Reiner
starring: James Caan, Kathy Bates, and a sledgehammer
A famous writer, Paul Sheldon(James Caan), is rescued by an obsessed fan, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), after a horrible car accident. It all seems fine. He is nursed back to health, and he has a typewriter to finish his novel in a cozy cabin. Paul lets Annie, a devoted fan of his work, to see his new novel before it’s published. Then he learns how deep Annie’s love for his work goes. Kathy Bates is dynamite as Annie Wilkes, the fan who wants the Misery book series to end on her terms and her terms alone. Everything she does is out of love, locking him in his room, destroying the draft she hates, even hobbling him. Based on a Stephen King novel, it’s likely this is every famous writer’s nightmare. This is what happens when a fan’s love goes too far.
2. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (2002)
dir. Laetitia Colombani
starring: Audrey Tautou, Samuel Le Bihan
Audrey Tautou plays a young artist who falls in love with a successful doctor. If only he’d divorce his wife. This film uses Tautou’s Amelie, cutesy persona to pull off a surprising act two twist. Just watch the trailer. Don’t want to give away too much, but the he said/she said angle, and resulting tonal shift, gives this film an edge. The first half of the film is her romantic perspective, and the second half is his “somebody’s watching me” perspective. There’s a reason meet-cutes only happen in the movies.
1. Audition (1999)
dir. Takashi Miike
starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina
A widower’s friends want to find him a new wife. Using their resources as T.V. producers, they audition women to be his date. It works, the widower finds a lovely new girlfriend…who isn’t who she appears to be. This is one of the creepiest movies ever. It’s light on violence, but it’s atmospheric and suggestive enough to terrify you. It’s deliberate pace make it a slow burn horror movie, that will stay with you for years. Here’s Scott Tobias’s much more articulate analysis of Audition.
Well, that’s all for this week. Leave any suggestions, or your own top 5 in the comments below. Enjoy your rocky road.