Cinema for singletons

Special to SunSpot

Is there a worse day to be single and searching than Feb. 14? You go anywhere on this wretched day -- the grocery store, the mall, restaurants -- and it's nothing but little, red hearts taped to the walls. It's that little undressed imp Cupid pointing his bow and arrow at you. Half the day is spent dodging flower delivery trucks driven by maniacs. The other half is spent channel surfing the various cable channels past practically every romantic comedy made in the last 10 to 15 years.

You don't need "When Harry Met Sally," "Pretty Woman" or "Serendipity." You need movies to re-affirm that you are in a good place. You need movies that will make you proud to be single on Valentine's Day. Here are a few to help get you through Hallmark's cruelest invention:

"War of the Roses" (1989) -- This terrific black comedy will have you jumping with joy that you are not the couple in this film. In less than two hours, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner devolve from giddy, young lovers to vicious, hateful, middle-aged spouses. Early in the film, when Mrs. Rose asks her husband if he is happy, you just know by the cheeky tone of his "I'm more than happy. I'm married" response that the relationship can only go downhill. The film ends with the couple on the verge of death after a nasty fall from a chandelier. Douglas' character reaches out for one last bit of tenderness only to have his wife smack his hand away. Classic!

"Fatal Attraction" (1987) -- OK, just about any married Michael Douglas movie will do for the purposes of this article. Directed by Adrian Lyne, this classic skewers cheating spouses and overly clingy lovers with an emotional brutality rarely seen on screen. Near the end, Douglas has moved out, Anne Archer is weeping crocodile tears over her husband's infidelity and psychopath Glenn Close is boiling bunnies and trashing sedans.

"Cast Away" (2000) -- Tom Hanks survives on a remote island for years with only the hope that he will one day see his beloved girlfriend, Helen Hunt, again. He's finally rescued after doing what the Professor and Gilligan were never able to do (build a darn raft) and what does he find when he returns to civilization? His girlfriend is now married to ... Mr. Big from "Sex and the City"! It's enough to make you want to snuggle up with the nearest volleyball.

"The Brothers" (2000) -- Even a bunch of guys who are too good looking to live (like Shemar Moore and Morris Chestnut) prove that love can be dangerous, sad ... and, yes, even a little rewarding. But to find that true love, you run the risk of jilting someone who may come back at you with a shotgun as one character in this funny flick discovers. Apparently love means never having to reload.

"Cruel Intentions" (1999) -- Here's a movie that proves that your boyfriend can lie to you. He can cheat on you. He can even make a bet with another girl that he is going to get you into bed before you're ready. And yet, in the end, you will survive. Better yet, you'll still be happy and smiling, driving off into the sunset in his sweet convertible!

"Double Jeopardy" (1999) -- What is the world coming to when Ashley Judd is cheated on?! Even worse, the husband (played with mustache-twirling gusto by Bruce Greenwood) sets Judd up to take the fall for his own murder so that he can start a new life with their son and Judd's best friend, played by Annabeth Gish. You think you have it hard this Valentine's Day? Spend a couple of hours with Judd as she is sent to prison, separated from her child, then released into the care of the increasingly annoying Tommy Lee Jones.

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