Valentine’s Day isn’t even a real holiday, but somehow we all get roped into “celebrating” it every year. It’s a divisive holiday that allows no middle ground – either you’re one part of a loved-up couple or out there on your own. Because of this we’ve decided to split our Valentine’s Day viewing recommendations into these two camps, something for the cupids and something for the grouches.
Today’s focus, Part One, is for those relegated to single-dom this year, while tomorrow is for the lovers. It’s not all doom and gloom for the singles as you might imagine, after all they’re the ones who are free to choose any kind of movie fare they like, rather than obligated to some lame rom-com with their significant other. From the action-packed to the saucy, as well as the downright depressive, this expansive list has got all the feels covered.
So without further ado, here are the movies to watch this Valentine’s Day while you’re meant to wallow in your single pity.
Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day? Didn’t realize.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
A good place to start with this themed list of what movies to watch for Valentine’s Day is to point out that not every “holiday” must be celebrated, and likewise your movie choices need in no way reflect these hack holidays. This is even more relevant if you aren’t celebrating the holiday not because of choice, but due to lack of options.
But it’s you guys who are the real winners today – why would you want to be forced to sit through the originally titled Valentine’s Day with your new Tinder match, when you could literally watch anything you want tonight, theme or no theme? If that’s not literal freedom then I don’t know what is.
To celebrate your newfound freedom why not put on a timeless classic from The Fast and the Furious franchise? It’s fun viewing no matter the occasion – sexy people to perv on whatever your preferred taste in gender, and sexy cars that make you forget you’ve gone without human touch for some time. It’s classic “get out of your head” fare, and that’s exactly the aim here.
Also recommended: others in the Fast and the Furious franchise; Gone in 60 Seconds, Drive
For those who aren’t quite ready to give up in the love stakes just yet…
500 Days of Summer (2009)
Aww aren’t you the optimist? I guess it’s just not your turn this year, but next year you’ll probably be back in that other camp of people who are too busy planning which naughty underthings to wear and what brand of edible chocolate is the easiest to clean up, right? So you might as well use this “off” year to research what the other sex likes/wants/needs so that when you’re back in the game you can impress with your knowhow.
500 Days of Summer is a pretty safe way to do this research, ’cause it’s actually a break-up movie disguised as a love story, so it’s informative on the cutesy stuff, but goes gently on the comparisons to your own lonely existence. Above all it’s got a healthy dose of hope, and not the overzealous Hollywood blockbuster-kind, just a nice small splash so you’re not a harm risk.
Also recommended: 50/50. It’s basically the same movie (hey, it’s also got Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it!) but with the added weight of a cancer plotline, so there are no excuses about feeling too miserable for yourself.
For the realists out there…
Taxi Driver (1976)
“Love hurts, love scars, love wounds” or so the song goes. But what it doesn’t tell you is just how much better off you can be by avoiding the whole damn thing altogether. No other film better demonstrates this notion than Martin Scorsese’s classic tale of loneliness and post-war trauma, Taxi Driver.
Yes it might be a bleak look at the human condition and have you second-guessing all the new people you meet, but it also offers a real as fuck take on the dating scene. Are most people you meet on Tinder assholes? Yeah. What about psychopaths, are they lurking out there too? Most definitely. What Marty’s really trying to say here is: one lady’s Romeo is another’s Patrick Bateman, so be careful who you let romance you.
Also recommended: American Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs
When all you need is a sultry romp to forget your woes…
Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008)
Sometimes Valentine’s Day comes around and rather than play the bitter, old hag or sappy, lovesick puppy you just wanna get your jollies off like a red-blooded human AND THAT’S PERFECTLY ALRIGHT! Shy of hitting PornHub straight off the bat (you deserve a little warm up after all) you want something that’s going to get you frisky and excited and ready for the main event. Basically you want passion with no strings attached.
Woody Allen’s quirky multi-plot ode to Spain will have you warm and gooey by movie’s end, ready for a dose of passion (hello PornHub) but without the nagging sadness of wanting a relationship, thanks to the film’s various comedic love gaffes.
Also recommended: Crazy, Stupid, Love
Hello Darkness, my old friend…
When all else fails and you just need to quieten the voice in your head telling you that you’ll be alone forever, the trick is to change what “forever” means so that inadvertently you’ll have offset the worry into a much more digestible size. This is when you have to get existential, my friend.
One of the greatest sci-fi films – and books – ever made, Solaris is a classic tale of man vs. the universe, which means it’ll instantly dilute the potential lifetime of loneliness you’re worrying about and turn it into a blip in the universe’s long and eventful history. Let those existential woes seep in and soon enough you’ll be crying about humanity’s big problems rather than your own measly fears you lil’ tyke. Chin up!
Also recommended: anything meaty from the bleakend heavyweights – Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman
For some unconventional love stories streaming on Netflix, check these out.