Bad Romance Roundup
Because there's nothing better than a really bad movie on Valentine's Day!
Whether you're in (or out of) love with your best gal pal, pup, partner, or a box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese, this is a day for all the feels. Acknowledging that not everyone loves this Hallmark holiday, I'm here to offer you an antidote to standard romantic fare. (Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed Love, Rosie, which is streaming on Netflix, if you're in the mood for something more conventionally ooey gooey!)
Ever since I went to go see Teeth in theaters on February 14, 2008—a day that will live in infamy—I've realized that the most joyful thing to do on Cupid's day is to find the worst "romantic" movie around and lean into its badness. This annual tradition has included award-losing films such as Zack and Miri Make a Porno (on Netflix) and the trash bromance Hot Tub Time Machine (on Prime). Over the years, I've also stumbled across some gems, like the surprisingly complicated male-stripper saga Magic Mike. While you should really select your own bad movie—because everyone has their own definition of what's good and what's bad!—below are the movies I'm currently debating between. I hope that they offer you some inspiration!
Piranha (R, 2010, on Netflix) The real tragedy of including Piranha on this list—a film about prehistoric fish that devour a group of lusty teens on spring break—is that you aren't able to see it in 3D! This very gross body horror/comedy about people-eating fish has, through some miracle of algorithmic aggregation, achieved a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. The MPAA rated it R for basically everything, including "sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use." Horror buffs will enjoy the fact that it was directed by Alexandre Aja, winner of Cannes' Golden Palm award in 1997 and writer/director of the The Hills Have Eyes 2006 remake and very scary French flick High Tension (2003). Oh how far the mighty have fallen!
The Twilight Franchise (PG-13, 2008, on Hulu) Vegetarian vampires who sparkle in the Pacific Northwest sunlight? I mean, what is not to love about these movies! (Apart from, you know, bad special effects and the creepy passivity of the anti-Buffy heroine who wants to be slain by vampires so that she can bear their children...) I don't want to think about the many hours I wasted watching the series and reading its four 500-page books, which include lines such as, “He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arm bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn’t sleep.” I was inspired to add this to the list by a recent "Rowdy Watch" of the film, hosted by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Be sure you have the rules to the Twilight drinking game on hand, which seems necessary to get the most out of this dumpster fire of a film franchise.
Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself (PG-13, 2009, on Hulu) So this isn't actually all that bad of a movie, but it's got "bad" in the title and Tyler Perry's imprimatur, so I feel justified in including this on the list. As always, Perry offers up a superb cast in a formulaic feature. He reprises his roles of Joe and Medea (see below). Taraji P. Henson (of Empire) stars as down-on-her-luck nightclub singer April. Adam Rodriguez (of CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds, and most importantly Magic Mike: XXL) is the hunky handyman who just *happens* to show up at her doorstep. Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige were also conned into cast in I Can Do Bad All By Myself and contribute some fantastic musical numbers. (Yes, this is a music movie!) If you liked A Star Is Born and have a strong ability to suspend your disbelief, then this one is for you!
There are two main ingredients for success when it comes to a bad-romance screening this Valentine's Day: (1) a positive attitude and (2) a lot of wine and/or chocolate. I highly encourage this to be a group activity but if you're flying solo this year, in the wise words of Ariana Grande, "ain't no need for searching."