Valentine’s week continues! And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s watching romantic movies. Also dramas. Actually, anything where something doesn’t blow up or get attacked by zombies occasionally. Or ninja. Attacked by ninja is also good.
So instead of a list of great romantic movies, I’m making a list of movies that aren’t romances, but have romance, but when you think about it, maybe they’re not so romantic after all.
1. The Terminator.
Why it’s romantic: John Connor sends his father back from the future to meet his mother, protect her from the big bad Terminator and also woo her. It’s a beautiful love story!
Oh, but wait: But the only reason John Connor did all that was so that he could be born and fight the machines in the future. Not so much to contribute to his mother’s great romance. It’s actually much less romantic and much more clinical, if you think about it.
Why it’s romantic: After Takeshi Kaneshiro and the time-traveling girl save the world, she comes back in time once more to save his life. There’s a tender goodbye scene when she goes back to her own time and even a transformation bit, where she looks cute in a skirt and new haircut.
Oh, but wait: Errr, the time traveling girl is probably 15 or so, and there’s never any actual overt romance shown between them, only a friendship. So, while it sounds like it borders on the nasty, it’s all completely innocent. I assume.
3. 12 Monkeys (I swear, this is the last entry in the time travel genre)
Why it’s romantic: Bruce Willis convinces Madeleine Stowe that he is a time traveler and that the future of the world is in jeopardy! Also, they fall in love.
Oh, but wait: Really, it sounds more like a rampant case of Stockholm Syndrome at work here. I mean, Bruce Willis just keeps kidnapping Madeleine Stowe. Also, he basically got her stuck in a time loop where she will keep witnessing his death. Also, he’s stuck in that time loop, where he witnesses his own death as a child. That’s not romantic at all, actually.
4. Death Note
Why it’s romantic: High school student Light Yagami’s girlfriend is kidnapped by Naomi Misora, who holds the girl hostage to prove that Light Yagami is the supernatural serial killer Kira. Light Yagami goes to save his girlfriend and prove his own innocence, and his girlfriend breaks free and runs to him. Naomi fires a wild shot, which Light’s girlfriend throws herself in front of to protect Light, and then dies in his arms, just as every teenage girl ever has dreamed of doing.
Oh, but wait: Actually, Light Yagami is the supernatural serial killer Kira, possessor of the Death Note, in which he wrote that his girlfriend would be struck and killed by a bullet at that exact time. So, she not only didn’t save his life, she was murdered by him. That’s, um, well, really goddamned evil.
5. X-Men 3
Why it’s romantic: With Cyclops out of the way, the romance between Jean Grey and Wolverine is free to bloom! And bloom it does, until she turns evil, and he is the only one who can stop her. Hey! Guess what? She dies in his arms. Totally romantic.
Oh, but wait: X-Men 3 was a really bad movie. Also, Cyclops is out of the way because Jean Grey killed him. Also, her hair is really nasty in the film.
Why it’s romantic: A man with anterograde amnesia is seeking revenge by tracking down his wife’s murderer. It’s love even after death! Even after brain damage! What. Could. Be. More. Romantic?
Oh, but wait: Actually, it turns out that amnesia guy’s wife survived the attack that gave him brain damage. And, in fact, he was the one that killed her by giving her an overdose of insulin. Which he didn’t remember doing, because anterograde amnesia is the kind where you can’t form any new memories, so any time you do something seems like the first time you did something. Also, he killed his wife’s rapist ages ago, and now he’s just randomly murdering people.
Why it’s romantic: Hey, right off the bat, Peter Parker tells us this is a story about a girl. A girl named Mary Jane Watson. That’s romantic! Plus it’s got the whole upside down kiss and he saves her life. Romantic.
Oh, but wait: Yeah, whatever, Peter Parker. “This is a story about a girl, by which I mean, I get bitten by a radioactive spider, my uncle dies and I fight a super-powered bad guy and there’s a girl in it briefly. Also, I dump her. Because I’m Spiderman.”
Why it’s romantic: Jimmy Stewart is hired to protect a beautiful woman and falls in love with her, and she with him. Tragically, she falls to her death. But the love story’s not over yet! After spending time in some sort of asylum, Jimmy Stewart comes across a girl on the street … who’s the spitting image of his lost love!
Oh, but wait: OK, this is when the crazy really starts. Jimmy Stewart takes this girl and remakes her in the image of the woman he lost. Also, it turns out the girl was actually the woman he loved and she still loves him, which is why she’s letting him make her dye her hair and wear dresses. Oh, and she’s actually the woman he loved because she was hired to impersonate the real woman for convoluted reason I can’t remember, and so she was involved in a conspiracy to murder that woman! Also, she falls to her death, and it’s totally Jimmy Stewart’s fault, so … not all that romantic.
9. Last Night
Why it’s romantic: Don McKellar, having trouble getting over his lost love (she died of cancer or something) meets a beautiful woman (Sandra Oh) and the movie ends with their passionate kiss.
Oh, but wait: Why is this movie called “Last Night”? Oh, because it’s the last night the earth will exist, you say? This is a movie about the end of the world, you say? That’s … well, it’s still kind of romantic, right? I mean, it ends with a kiss! Oh, Don McKellar meets Sandra Oh while she’s trying to return home to her husband? Who is brutally murdered by some kids who are terrified of the end of the world? And Sandra Oh and Don McKellar were going to shoot each other in the head before deciding to go for a kiss? That’s … less romantic. Yeah. A lot less.
10. Hot Fuzz
Why it’s romantic: A supercop is transferred to a small town in England, where he meets a slacker cop, helps him change his ways and fights a council of evil villagers, all while featuring some of the most longing gazes in the history of cinema ever.
Oh, but wait: So Simon Pegg and Nick Frost aren’t supposed to be falling in love in this movie? Look, seriously, people, are we sure? I mean, did you see those longing gazes??