Love Stinks: Valentine’s Day for the Rest of UsFebruary 10th, 2012 | Posted by in Movie Reviews | New Releases | Short films
ometime in the Third Century C.E., under the reign of Emperor Claudius Gothicus, a man was put in chains for the crime of performing Christian marriage ceremonies. According to Wikipedia, the prisoner became a special favorite of the Emperor. (How’s that happen, you wonder. I don’t see the Emperor of Rome cruising through the dungeons going, “Ask that one if he plays pinochle.”) But their friendship was tested when the prisoner got around to asking the Emperor if he’d found Jesus. Now, you or I, we can just politely close the front door when someone like that comes to our stoop. But being the Emperor of Rome, Claudius Gothicus had a much wider array of options available to him when it comes to saying No to Jesus. The one he chose was to have his friend clubbed and stoned to death. When that failed, he had him beheaded. This man’s name was Valentinus, or, as we know him, St. Valentine.
For most of us, St. Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate St. Valentine’s crime, which was that of marrying people. (Odd to reflect on that for a moment, in the context of the ongoing debate about marriage equality.) But we’ve all lived through one of those St. Valentine’s days, when we were on the outside (or amid the rubble) of a relationship, and the day felt more like a commemoration of his martyrdom.
To these brave and battered souls we dedicate this week’s feature, a collection of short films which, while each is unique in its own way, have one thing in common: the bitter truth that Love Stinks. So gather some supplies–a box of Kleenex, a pint of Häagen Dazs, a picture of your ex and some scissors–and settle in for an evening of bad romance.
(For a free trial membership to IndieFlix, use the promocode lovestinks here.)
The centerpiece of this collection is one of my favorites of all of IndieFlix’s library, a beautiful little film called “I Fucking Hate You.” (See my interview with filmmaker Zak Forsman here.) “IFHY” is one little scene, a moment in the lives of two people who have spent part of life’s journey together on the same path, but whose roads have diverged. Well, hers has. She’s getting married. To someone else. He still thinks he might have one last chance to, well, merge into her lane again. And so he hides her favorite mug and writes her the title song. A sweet, touching, funny, sad little film. Truly not to be missed.
One Night Only follows two couples in New York City on a double date. One is married, the other isn’t. The men are friends, the women pretend to be. The married man is a serial cheater who always gets what he wants. And tonight, after seeing her sing in concert, it’s his friend’s girlfriend he wants. Starring Kristen Wiig (SNL, Bridesmaids) and Garret Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men, Winter’s Bone).
The Man Who Married Himself is the story of Oliver, who has a mid-life crisis, and decides to get married – to himself. This is the story of his relationship, and how he discovers some truths about life and love on the way. Starring Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I, Gosford Park, The Iron Lady).
The Victim observes two people in a bar. She’s the bar floozy, he’s the stranger. She tries to pick him up but for some reason, he’s not game. Stars Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Dolores Claiborne; Good Night, Good Luck) and Tony award winner Patti LuPone (Driving Miss Daisy, Oz).
Alice Jacobs Is Dead tells of Ben Jacobs, who saved the world. The drug he created allowed mankind to fight back against the Z-virus, which nearly destroyed civilization entirely. Now, in the aftermath of the crisis, he’s trying to cure the last lingering strain of the virus. But what will happen to his wife when he brings his mysterious work home? Starring John LaZar (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) and cult favorite Adrienne Barbeau (Maude, Swamp Thing, The Drew Carey Show).
Shevil (The Girlfriend from Hell) is a funny little short about how difficult it is to really know what your partner is thinking, and how easy it is to make a fool of yourself when you forget that. It’s also about how there are some friends, no matter how well intended they are, whom you should not turn to for relationship advice.
What are your favorite Love Stinks movies? The movies that indulge that emotional wallow, or thoughts of revenge, that are difficult for the most pacifist among us not to contemplate. Mine are below, please add yours!
- That’s one story, anyway. Apparently there was more than one St. Valentine (as many as seven of them, in fact), none of whom seem to have had facebook accounts, so histories vary widely. Some historians refute St. Valentine’s association with lovers entirely, insisting that the tradition was invented by Geoffry Chaucer in his poem “Parlement of Foules,” c. 1382.
For this was on seynt Volantynys day Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make. ["For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]↩