Being a Curated Valentine’s Day Film List
Poet Blood’s Red, Velvet is Blue —
Your Valentine’s with 366 has come true!
‘s a hottie, none can resist her,
Bar when pining for sister.
For romantic movies, we’ll start our curricula
With the tear-jerking tale of the emperor Caligula.
The French, as they say, have a “je ne sais quoi”;
(Et je pense que je sais vous êtes assez comme moi:)
You know nothing tops love betwixt Man and a Mouse
Making Sitcom the film to watch with your spouse.
Then there’s the Manhattan girl who just wanted love,
And her pleas weren’t ignored by the powers above.
With each death of lovers in throes of their passion
Liquid Sky has romance on peaks of punk fashion.
With both dollops of love and betrayal in parts
Julia uses all of her feminine arts
To try to make David, now unhinged, to behave,
And to dig herself out of her own Shallow Grave.
But for simplicity in love’s questing and fun
This title’s the first, though writ as the last one.
Bringing smiles for show of most wholesome desire,
‘Tis Rubber, the rom-com of which you won’t tire.
Worry not for the titles you may think I’ve missed,
For next comes the Trbovich Valentine’s list.
Now you see, man is an animal futilely trying to be a god.
We aspire to these great heights, to rule the planet as the benevolent apex predator, to split the atom and warp space-time, to create a utopia of crystal spires and togas. There’s just one problem holding us back: we’re still animals.
Deep in our brains, there is an electrochemical machine of neuropeptides, hormones, and neurotransmitters ticking away, and whether we like to admit it or not, these little nut-sized chunks of brainmeat with names like “hippocampus” and “amygdala” are our true gods. If you piss them off and go against your natural programming, no happy-joy squirt of dopamine for you!
Every one of us is here today because all of our ancestors got laid, all 3 million years of them. The sticky thing about natural selection is, it isn’t “survival of the fittest,” it’s just “survival of the most efficient way to get laid.” Once you’ve reproduced, that’s all she wrote, nature is done with you. You’ve passed on your genes now, so you can hang around long enough to raise the offspring and then go die alone on an iceberg for all your genes care.
The drive to mate is a powerful force of dominating neurotransmitters, often working against your better judgment, or you wouldn’t be here. Survive; procreate. Half our brain has the same motives as a cockroach. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want kids, even if you specifically have a sexual practice that excludes having kids; your brainmeat wants kids anyway. Orgasms feel good because that’s how you make babies, no matter how many times you cheat the stork.
All our angst about love comes from our inability to reconcile our animal impulses with our nobler ambitions. We can’t become a logical society of higher beings or we’d die out. We can’t revert to primal beasts rutting like alley cats because we’re too proud of ourselves. We’re stuck between. Here’s the five movies I’d pick that most beautifully express the tired cliches I just regurgitated:
#5: The Love Witch (2016)
Hey, I was just talking about chemicals, and here’s a story that frankly deals with alchemical, hermetic magic in an attempt to master love! Is there really that much difference between the way Elaine conducts her love life and the methods the rest of us use? Well, OK, maybe with fewer buried bodies in the backyard, but otherwise we’re splitting hairs. If this movie seems the least bit unrealistic to you, you have never raised a daughter.
#4: The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
Love makes you do crazy things. It can make you trap a man in an alley and smear dog crap on him. It can make you stab your mate in the cheek with a fork. It can make you force-feed somebody a whole library of books. It can make you have to flee naked in a truckload of rotten meat. And in the middle of all that, your cook will stand at your side and recount all the times you sneaked off for a hot jam with your boy toy. Subjectively we find the experience beautiful, but objectively, we’re all the Albert Spica under our masks.
#3: Audition (1999)
Speaking of doing crazy things, this is one story that captures the brutal consequences of following our most benign impulses. Shigeharu was just following along with his friend’s plan, after all. How common is his plight: yearning for love but too shy and timid to know how to find it. He plays one game, and draws a bum hand. And poor Asami just had bad wiring in her head hooked up to the mating engine. She meant well, she just can’t find a man who understands her. We see a horror movie here, but there’s ten guys on a guro fetish message board right now who are looking for a girl just like her.
#2: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Poor Dr. Frank N. Furter! All he wanted was a date with a custom-made twink, in his mansion where he throws rowdy parties for his enthusiastic guests. But along comes two patsy square dorks from the straight world and spoil all his fun. Tell me, when all of the castles blast off back to Transylvania, who will be left to make a chiseled Adonis rise from a rainbow tank as a sexual fantasy come to flesh, while throwing a wild shindig besides? All we will have left is the Puritans who want to take the fun out of sex so we have the worst of both worlds.
#1: Arizona Dream (1993)
Obligatory kneeling and bowing to the Most Perfect Weird Movie. When stripped to its socks, this is a love story, involving wrecked people twisting in the wind. Despite the rough and tragic parts, it reaches into the pulpy mess of humanity and fetches out the beautiful butterfly uncrushed. When life works for us, it’s a joy. Despite the ugly way it accomplishes this goal, life perpetuating itself is a pretty sight to behold from a sufficient distance. And this movie is so full of life, when we explore the galaxy we’ll terraform alien planets just by burying a VHS copy of this movie in the dirt.
Happy Valentine’s Day, all you vats of chemicals! May you all appease the hungry goblins in your head with many pacifying, soothing squirts of rewarding neurotransmitters!
Some weird movie selections for Valentine’s Day… but not gonna make it TOO easy. Just like looking for “real love,” you’re gonna hafta WORK—for a couple of these, at least…
Thundercrack! (1975) – An “Old Dark House” mystery with strangers coming together and… coming. With dialogue and situations worthy of the best of —if he ever went all the way into hardcore action.
Futz – An adaptation of a play by Rochelle Owens, about a farmer who chooses a pig to be his wife.
Probably best remembered now as an infamous bad movie pick by Roger Ebert on an episode of “Siskel and Ebert At The Movies”, this has a pretty impressive pedigree. It was directed by Tom O’Horgan (the director of “Hair” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonley Hearts Club Band” on Broadway, and of the film adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder) from a screenplay by Joseph Stefano (Psycho, “The Outer Limits”), photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond, and starring the “La MaMa Theatre Repertory Troupe” with early performances from Frederic Forrest, Sally Kirkland and Jennifer O’Neill. The play was well regarded at the time (mid-60’s) as experimental theater, and the film adaptation is in the same spirit—which may no longer hold up well with current tastes. It can be found on YouTube.
Vase de Noces (AKA Wedding Trough, AKA The Pig F**king Movie). It’s described as an “avant-garde art exploitation film” about a farmer who has a relationship with his pig, leading to mutant offspring. Everything ends badly.
Made in 1974 by Belgian filmmaker Thierry Zéno, this has had no North American disc release, It has been released as a 2-disc DVD in Germany (by Camera Obscura) and as a Swedish release under the title Svinet (Njuta Films), both Region 2.
If you wish to know more, you’re on your own. Good hunting…
Crimes of Passion. Kathleen Turner as clothing designer Joanna Crane by day and streetwalker China Blue by night, and the men who want her: married man Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) and psychotic preacher Peter Shayne (). What could be better for Valentine’s Day?
Also worth searching for is The Music Lovers, a biopic of Tchaikovsky starring Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson, “the story of the marriage between a homosexual and a nymphomaniac.” By Ken Russell.
The patron saint of Weird Valentine’s Day movies is The Important Thing Is to Love, My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days, L’amour Braque, and Szamanka… but there’s one other film that qualifies him and, in my view, takes the top #1 spot for a WEIRD VALENTINE DAY FILM., with films such as
As to why—do you really have to ask?
The question would be, “Why wouldn’t Possession be #1?”
Happy Valentine’s Day from the romantics at 366 Weird Movies!