Imagination Connoisseur and frequent blogger, Willow Yang, gives us a hilariously frank look at some of Hollywood’s favorite romantic comedies to underscore her point that the best thing about Valentine’s Day are the day-after bargains at the candy counter.

Greetings Rob,

This is a little late, but what the heck. It was Valentine’s Day last week. Do you know what my favourite thing about the holiday is? The knowledge that the next day, all the candies being sold at the local chocolatiers will be half-priced.

And in the spirit of the holiday, I’m just going to air out my grievances towards a couple of popular romantic films. I acknowledge that I’m a curmudgeon; I just tend to roll my eyes at a lot of supposedly sweet and romantic things that happen in movies. I feel like Elaine Benes reacting to THE ENGLISH PATIENT: that’s stupid; that doesn’t work; that’s kind of creepy; I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.

Let me start with a movie that I couldn’t stand (and I apologize to you and everyone else who do like the film): LOVE ACTUALLY.

Seriously, why are so many of the characters in this movie unlikable imbeciles and douchebags? I’m not going to address every storyline, but here’s a suggestion to Rick Grimes: if you fall in love with your friend’s fiancée, either keep it to yourself or say something BEFORE they get married. Don’t wait until after they’ve gotten married to stand outside their house holding up signs. What are you hoping to achieve here? Are you seriously trying to become a homewrecker? *facepalm*

Then there’s Prime Minister Hugh Grant, who gets all jealous and possessive when President Billy Bob Horndog began sniffing up his secretary’s skirt, only to decide to have her fired because he’s too distracted by his own boner for her. To be honest, that does seem like a fairly accurate depiction of the types of people that are being elected to office. Finally, I just like to imagine that the American girls that Colin meets were actually sadistic psychopaths, and he finds himself in the same predicament as Keanu Reeves in KNOCK KNOCK. That’s a far more logical explanation than because they liked his stupid, completely non-sexy accent.

I did not particularly care for THE NOTEBOOK; I thought it was pretty overrated. As much as I enjoy staring at Ryan Gosling, I was really rooting for him to fall off the Ferris wheel in the beginning. While grand gestures may look great on screen, a guy chasing some random woman he’s just met on the street and emotionally blackmailing her to go out with him by threatening suicide might raise a few red flags real life. But at least he’s pretty handy, seeing that he can apparently build a house with his bare hands (something that I’m sure Greg Smith will approve of).

A movie that I actually liked (and also featuring Ryan Gosling) is CRAZY STUPID LOVE, but the whole Robbie and Jessica storyline had me groaning, and not in a good way. First, there’s Robbie’s persistent pursuit of Jessica in spite of being told “no” numerous times, harassing and embarrassing her in front of the entire school. I actually had a friend who found herself in a somewhat similar situation in high school, where a younger boy spent months following her around and asking her out, and it was not a particularly fun experience for her (even though we enjoyed teasing her about it). Then, there’s Jessica herself, whom I guess is a moron. Even though it led to some hilarious hijinks in the movie, an underaged teenager taking nude photos for a middle-aged man and then giving them to his 13-year-old son to enjoy might just raise a few eyebrows in real life.

Of course, there’s the crème de la crème of romantic movies that make my head explode: 50 SHADES OF GREY.

Do you know what the ironic thing is? The fact that Christian Grey has a sex dungeon is probably the most normal and healthy thing about him. So, a guy becomes obsessed with a woman, spends long segments of the movie giving her weird looks, stalks her, tracks her phone without her knowledge, tries to control every aspect of her life…how many red flags need to be raised here before you realise it’s time to bail out of this relationship?

But I guess you have to stick around, since he’s a handsome billionaire who’ll buy you fancy cars and take you to exotic places, right? He’s obviously a psychotic creep, and she’s a gold-digger.

Again, I do acknowledge that I’m probably being cranky here, but I just don’t care for most romantic movies. They need to have an interesting twist or premise in order to get me intrigued.

If it involves someone with an AI, or a sex doll, or a fictional character who inexplicably came to life one day, okay, that might be interesting. When it comes to sappy, Nicholas Sparks fluff however, I just can’t take that kind of stuff any more seriously than I take porn; as Joseph Gordon Levitt’s DON JON suggests, they are really just two sides of the same coin.

And while most people understandably don’t hold porn in high regard, I know that many adult filmmakers and actors do consider it to be a form of art.

On the other hand, you have an acclaimed filmmaker like Nicolas Winding Refn calling himself a pornographer and openly admitting to fetishizing violence in his movies. Both movies and porn are trying to make you believe in something, to sell you on a fantasy. A movie is trying to sell you on romantic fantasies that are often completely unrealistic and sometimes creepy or illegal in real life; porn is selling you on sexual fantasies that are often completely unrealistic and sometimes creepy or illegal in real life.

And say what you want about porn, at least it’s usually reliable in getting its intended response from me, which is more than I can say for many movies.

Happy (late) Valentine’s Day,
– Willow