With Valentine's Day approaching, tbe best most of you poor single bastards can hope for is to get through the night with your bank account relatively intact. Married folks are better off, as all they're really expected to come up with is a perfunctory gift and maybe an evening spent watching a dreaded "romantic comedy" (or "rom-com," as the genre is referred to by Communists and pederasts) on DVD. Even if that's the case, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid. It was an exhausting process, but we've highlighted some of the worst offenders:
5. Any Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan Movie That Isn't Joe vs. the Volcano
These two were acceptable before critical and box office success convinced both actors they shouldn't do things like play three characters in the same movie or get beaten with fish onscreen. You've Got Mail is little more than a 90-minute product placement clip glorifying pathological liars while Sleepless in Seattle manages to simultaneously piss on An Affair to Remember and make us sympathize with unrepentant bachelors.
4. Forces of Nature
Of the many adjectives that can be used to describe Sandra Bullock -- "perky" and "spunky" among them -- "edgy" doesn't usually come to mind. Excessive eyeliner does not a libidinous free spirit make, and though director Bronwen Hughes and company deserve some credit for delivering a somewhat unpredictable ending, the movie makes it abundantly clear that Ben Affleck's character wouldn't be happy with either woman, and probably ended up "accidentally" overdosing on prescription painkillers shortly after the honeymoon.
3. The Hugh Grant Trifecta -- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason/Nine Months/Two Weeks Notice
By all accounts a likable fellow, Grant has of late nonetheless seemed more than happy to follow a career path of least resistance. Whether this is due to a well-documented dalliance with an LA streetwalker or because stammering, hangdog Brits aren't the box-office draw they used to be, these three movies are still better suited for landfills than your DVD player.
2. The Matthew McConaughey Catalogue
It wouldn't surprise me if the romance flicks He Who Shall Go Shirtless In Every Movie has subjected us to (Fool's Gold, Failure to Launch, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and The Wedding Planner) are also the only Netflix rentals available in Dante's 8th Circle of Hell.
1. Post-2000 John Cusack Flicks
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2000, after all, was High Fidelity, which itself followed the darkly humorous Grosse Pointe Blank. Ever since, we've seen an increasingly haggard Cusack sleepwalk his way through paycheck roles to help finance his labors of love. Unfortunately, for every Max we're forced to sit through three Must Love Dogs. And would it kill him to wear a t-shirt supporting a band that, you know, still existed?
--Pete Vonder Haar