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by Max O'Connell and Ziyad Saadi
February 14, 2014 11:44 AM
7 Comments
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Stream These: 10 Worst Date Movies for Valentine's Day

"Antichrist" Magnolia

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Magnolia Pictures (tongue firmly in cheek) released their domestic trailer for Lars von Trier's epic sexual downer "Nymphomaniac," inspiring us at Indiewire to come up with a list of ten of the worst date movies to watch with your loved one on the biggest date night of the year. All of our picks are available to stream online. List your picks for your worst date movies below in the comments section.

"Antichrist"
Really, just about any Lars von Trier film would do for a list of bad date movies, and from the looks of it, "Nymphomaniac" doesn't seem likely to change that. But it might be hard for even a director as brazen as Lars to top "Antichrist," which shows a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) grieving over the death of their son and retreating to a cabin in the woods. There's a lot of unsettling psychosexual and (possibly autocritical) misogynistic material at play here that makes it a rough viewing experience single, let alone with a date. And that's before all of the really bad stuff happens, including not one but two instances of genital trauma that'll put a damper on the romantic mood for most couples.
Where to Watch: Netflix

An image from Yorgos Lanthimos's "Dogtooth." [Image courtesy of Kino Films]

"Dogtooth"
One of the most shocking Oscar-nominees in recent memory (not to mention most unlikely), Yorgos Lanthimos's black comedy "Dogtooth" is still deeply unnerving nearly five years following its debut. The story of a family who keep their children isolated from and ignorant of the outside world, the film is like a chocolate box of mood killers: self-performed tooth-removal, self-harm, beatings, prostitution, and incest, to name a few. Cat-loving couples in particular might want to steer clear.
Where to Watch: SnagFilms

"The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover"
Peter Greenaway has never been the warmest director around, even at his most (relatively) accessible. His cult film "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" stars Michael Gambon as a sadistic crook who takes over the restaurant of Richard Bohringer's head chef. Gambon's wife (a never-better Helen Mirren) despises him, and meets and falls for a bookshop owner (Alan Howard), with whom she arranges secret trysts with in the backrooms of the restaurant. These are brief moments of respite and sensuality, however, in a film that follows lovemaking with graphic sadism of the worst kinds: torture, murder, and cannibalism.
Where to Watch: Netflix

Ben Stiller in Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg."

"Greenberg"
Noah Baumbach is the king of the brutally awkward comedy, and 2010's "Greenberg" might be his most awkward. Ben Stiller plays the prickliest and most unlikeable jerk in Baumbach's collection of curmudgeons, a black cloud of a person whose behavior tests the patience of everyone he comes into contact with. Greta Gerwig (whose next project with boyfriend and creative partner Baumbach, "Frances Ha," might work a bit better on Valentine's Day) co-stars as the effervescent woman who Greenberg alternatingly walks all over and declares his affection for. Baumbach allows for the possibility that Stiller and Gerwig's relationship might not be hopeless, but not before some spectacularly uncomfortable scenes between the two, including unsolicited oral sex and more than a few scenes that turns Gerwig into Stiller's verbal punching bag.
Where to Watch: Netflix

"The Honeymoon Killers"
Well, it isn't without romance – just without anything that'll most people feel good about romance. Based on the true story of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez (Shirley Stoler and Tony Lo Bianco), a couple who conned and then murdered as many as twenty women in the 1940s. Leonard Kastle's sole foray into filmmaking still retains its grungy power and ability to disturb 40 years later, with Lo Bianco's smooth-talking sociopath and Stoler's lovelorn, manipulated nurse murdering a pregnant woman, an elderly woman, and a widow and her daughter, among others. To top it all off, it isn't even a happy union between killers (not that that'd make it any more bearable), with Lo Bianco cheating on Stoler left and fright.
Where to Watch: Hulu Plus

7 Comments

  • Barb | February 16, 2014 10:10 AMReply

    Friends watched Les Miserables for this Valentines Day. They don't recommend it.

  • jean vigo | February 15, 2014 3:25 PMReply

    Have to disagree on "Dogtooth" as "deeply unnerving even after five years…" I was as thrilled with its deft off-kilter, creepy brilliance as anyone on first viewing, but after a 2nd and 3rd, it loses all its resonance for me. It's a film best appreciated as a 1st viewing; that's it's construct. Kind of like a good episode of reality show like "Big Brother" or what not. You don't watch the re-run. It's a one shot experience.

  • nick | February 15, 2014 4:11 AMReply

    True story. A friend went not only any old valentine but a first date to see none other than Irreversible. Oddly enough, they were together for over term years.

  • caleb | February 14, 2014 5:19 PMReply

    I watched Blue Valentine in a theater with a girlfriend on Valentines Day once - That was the beginning of the end for our relationship.

  • Dylan Skolnick | February 14, 2014 3:46 PMReply

    It's hard to beat The Lady From Shanghai. What's better for Valentine's Day than a movie that ends with your lover bleeding to death on the floor, begging you to stay, and you walk out through a one-way turnstile?

  • Erik | February 14, 2014 2:49 PMReply

    Autoplay videos are annoying. Don't do that, it's impolite.
    Atuoplay videos that are commercials are a guarantee that I won't be back. That's not impolite, it's proof that you have no soul.

  • kbobravo | February 14, 2014 2:05 PMReply

    Shame, a clockwork orange, deadringers, perfume: the story of a murderer, the night porter, Revolutionary road, just to name a few.