Tag Archives: Valentines’ Day

My top 10 alternative love stories

It’s Valentines Day this week, which means that the theme of this week’s top 10 is obviously love but since I am a bit of a cynic I have to admit that most Hollywood love stories do very little for me. For example I thought The Notebook was one of the lamest movies I have ever seen. But… I am not completely incapable of any kind of romanticism or unaware that love is one of the most important story themes throughout human history. So this week I am having a look at my favourite off beat movies about love. [WARNING SOME SPOILERS]

258Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Starring: Kate Winslet, Jim Carrey
The quirk: The main couple have parted and one has already had their mind cleared of all recollection of the relationship while the other is going through the process. The story is told out of order and explores whether love is worth the pain the inevitably comes with it.
“Joel: I can’t see anything that I don’t like about you.
Clementine: But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped because that’s what happens with me.
Joel: Okay.
Clementine: [pauses] Okay.”

Harold-and-Maude-2Harold and Maude (1971)
Starring: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort
The quirk: We’ve seen a fair few May-December romances with an older male partner but Harold and Maude is the only onscreen love story I have ever seen with such a large age gap where the female partner is older.
“Harold: Maude?
Maude: Yeah?
Harold: [pulls the stamped coin from the arcade out of his pocket] Here.
Maude: A gift!
[reads the engraving]
Maude: “Harold loves Maude.”… and Maude loves Harold. This is the nicest gift I’ve received in years.
[she throws the stamped coin into the water]
Harold: [gasps, bemused]
Maude: So I’ll always know where it is.

f5e04d06b561b54c749e3048bf058affRuby Sparks (2012)
Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
The quirk: Calvin writes Ruby, his perfect partner into life and then realises he can continue to control and rewrite her as the relationship continues
“Calvin Weir-Fields: This is the true and impossible story of my very great love. In the hope that she will not read this and reproach me, I have withheld many telling details: her name, the particulars of her birth and upbringing, and any identifying scars or birth marks. All the same, I cannot help but write this for her, to tell her “I’m sorry for every word I wrote to change you, I’m sorry for so many things. I couldn’t see you when you were here and, now that you’re gone, I see you everywhere.” One may read this and think it’s magic, but falling in love is an act of magic, so is writing. It was once said of Catcher In The Rye, “That rare miracle of fiction has again come to pass: a human being has been created out of ink, paper and the imagination.” I am no J.D. Salinger, but I have witnessed a rare miracle. Any writer can attest: in the luckiest, happiest state, the words are not coming from you, but through you. She came to me wholly herself, I was just lucky enough to be there to catch her.

closerCloser (2004)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Jude Law, Julia Roberts
The quirk: Infidelity, cruelty and depression abound as these four people destroy themselves and each other all in the name of trying to find real connection.
“Larry: I know who you are. I love you. I love everything about you that hurts.

annie-hall1Annie Hall (1977)
Starring: Diane Keaton, Woody Allen
The quirk: For Annie and Alvy love is not enough to overcome all their neuroses and all the things that they think love should be, when they should be focusing on how they actually feel about each other.
“[Alvy and Annie are seeing their therapists at the same time on a split screen]
Alvy Singer’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?
Annie Hall’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?
Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.

500-days-of-summer-poster(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Starring: Zoe Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The quirk: The story is told out of sequence with a real gender role reversal as he is the hopeless romantic and she is the cynic who doesn’t want to be tied down
“Narrator: This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy, Tom Hansen of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believing that he’d never truly be happy until the day he met the one. This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total mis-reading of the movie ‘The Graduate’. The girl, Summer Finn of Shinnecock, Michigan, did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parent’s marriage she’d only love two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing. Tom meets Summer on January 8th. He knows almost immediately she is who he has been searching for. This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.

Conversation(s) avec une femmeConversations with Other Women (2005)
Starring: Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter
The quirk: As two unnamed guests at a wedding flirt with each other it becomes evident that they have a past together, one that it will be hard to completely abandon.
“Man: If I told you I still loved you, that I always loved you, that I loved you to distraction, would you leave him?
Woman: No.

A-Single-Man-319A Single Man (2009)
Starring: Colin Firth and Julianne Moore
The quirk: George is desperately unhappy after the sudden death of his lover but that doesn’t stop his female best friend, Charley from hoping she might have a chance with him.
“George: You know that only thing that has made the whole thing worthwhile has been those few times that I was able to truly connect with another person.

120803011236-celeste-and-jesse-forever-movie-story-topCeleste and Jesse Forever (2012)
Starring: Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg
The quirk: Although Celeste and Andy seem like the perfect couple, it is only when they split up that Celeste realises she might be the worst thing that ever happened to Jesse.
“Celeste: Now I know why you fucking cry all the time. This shit’s emotional.”

1secretaryL_350x250Secretary (2002)
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader
The quirk: After being released from a mental institution, shy, fragile Lee finds herself and love after her boss introduces her to BDSM.
“Lee: In one way or another I’ve always suffered. I didn’t know why exactly. But I do know that I’m not so scared of suffering now. I feel more than I’ve ever felt and I’ve found someone to feel with. To play with. To love in a way that feels right for me. I hope he knows that I can see that he suffers too. And that I want to love him.

Film study… week 56

The Dreamers

Matthew (Michael Pitt), a young American studying in Paris befriends twins, Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel) and quickly becomes embroiled in their bizarre and sexually charged relationship. I’m not sure how to feel about this film. Watching Matthew’s painful American repression begin to wash away with the 1968 Paris riots as a backdrop is strangely hypnotic as is the disturbingly claustrophobia of Isabelle and Theo’s “twinness”. I can see what the director was trying to do but in other ways it seemed like the shock factor was being overplayed for the sake of it… and boy are there a lot of willies.

Caught in the act, Ed, Marg and Freddie were finding it hard to pass off their threesome as an exercise in water conservation

Quadrophenia

It’s 1965 and London mod, Johnny (Phil Daniels) hates everything except his moped, his mates and all the substances he can lay his hands on. But what he hates the most is rockers. As his life unravels, he gets closer and closer to the edge with everything coming to a head on one fateful trip to Brighton. It’s not impossible to see why Quadrophenia is an iconic film. It really captures the aesthetic and mood of the time and it has some great moments from a young Ray Winstone as a rocker and Sting as Ace Face, the king of the mods. However, it’s very light on storyline and Johnny is hard to identify with because most of the time he’s a massive dick.

Sting took a short break from tantric sex, yoga and writing crap ballads to have a quick fag with Phil Daniels

Definitely, Maybe

A little girl (Abigail Breslin) asks her father (Ryan Reynolds) how he met her mother, who he is on the verge of divorcing. Rather than just telling her the story he launches off on an epic ramble where he tells her about three women he loved and makes her guess which one is her mother. I’m not sure I can believe that any responsible father would tell his eleven-year old that features a series of his sexual exploits and an impressive amount of drunken behaviour as well as outing her mother as an occasional lesbian. Isla Fisher  is as charming as ever as one of the potential mums but it’s not enough to carry the film. I didn’t love it.

Yup, just an inch more and I'll be able to see down your top

Valentines Day

This ensemble romcom features an interlocking cast as their lives overlap on one Valentines Day. It’s a whopper of a cast with Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Beale, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx and Anne Hathaway, just some of the stars making an appearance. There are proposals, cheaters, children with crushes, anti-romantics and teen virginity issues. I don’t know if there was just too much happening at once but the whole thing was just a bit meh. It’s like someone saw Love Actually and thought, let’s make an American Valentines version of it. It just doesn’t work.

I don't care how many flowers you buy me, you're not getting an A in geometry

There must be more to life than stereotypes

I have been neglecting my blog. My excuse is still that Frank is not completely well. Although I have him back, his charger seems to be banjaxed  and so I’m not having much online evening quality time… but then I am sleeping more.

Anyway, there has been rather a lot of activity underway. Paul came in to London on Friday for Justin’s birthday dinner and met quite a few of my friends. I won’t name any names but some people were on their worst behaviour and did a fair amount of showing off and embarrassing me. Fortunately Paul has a fabulous sense of humour and seemed to enjoy all the carnage. He made a fantastic first impression on everyone so I’d say all’s well that end’s well.

Due to unforeseen circumstances we didn’t get to see each other on Valentine’s Day… which wasn’t the end of the world because we all know Valentines Day is pretty lame anyway and the house lunch, with random friends  we had instead ended up being great! However we did have a little bit of an anti-Valentine’s celebration in Essex last night.

If I look at the kind of presents many of my ex-suitors have given me I can only really hang my head in despair… hideous cheap jewellery, generic stuffed animals, plastic flowers (yes, really… and no I don’t buy the they’ll last forever like our love bullshit).  Fortunately, Paul is a much more creative gentleman and got me one of the most unusual gifts I’ve ever had – a 1996 limited Valentines edition vinyl of the Blur single Stereotypes. Not only is it an amazing shade of pink but it’s symbolic of our joint love affair with 90’s music and the fact that the back sleeve has a dating profile form on it is a reminder of the fact that way back in the day we met on a dating site. I absolutely love it… and how much thought went into it.

In other news, my fabulous friend B and her lovely partner, David have gotten engaged… finally 😛 And I get to be a bridesmaid… GLEE! I have never been a bridesmaid before. I wonder at what point I get to do my interpretive dance and how many bits of paper with drunk stories about the bride written on them it’s customary to hand out to elderly family members before the ceremony. I must read up on my duties…

B, here are some ideas on what I might like to wear…

Valentines in the dirty south and how the stilettos of destiny became the stilettos of doom

My usual strategy of going into hiding on Valentines Day was scuppered last night by Michelle’s impossible knack for persuasion. She appeared yesterday evening bronzed from her holiday in Dubai and The Seychelles and decided that those who were single and those whose boyfriends were on the other side of the world were going out and Kelly and I were despatched to our bedrooms to glam up. I was still feeling shaky after a night on red wine for Adam’s birthday but I dutifully got out my new grey dress, a pair of shiny leggings and the stilettos of destiny (pictured below) and somehow managed to even get my hair into a 40’s inspired side sweep… and so we went out.

stilettosofdestiny

We started the night with cocktails at Rocket Bar where we were joined by Paris, Catherine and Liz. We proved to be very popular. I was particularly popular with a bisexual guy from South Carolina… yes really. He announced that I was so fiiiiine that he had to hang out with me. He then announced that he was in Luuuundon for the waymen, the mayun and the booze. As much as I wanted to lick his accent (regular readers know how I feel about Southern accents), the fact that he had only just come out to his slightly disgruntled Zimbabwean female best friend about 20 minutes before he “fell in love” with me was cause to retreat. Soap operas are not my forte.

Of course from there we made our way to Thai Square where on inspection in the bathroom, I realised I was no longer the goddess I had been just four hours before but I was still holding together, which after MANY shots seemed like an achievement. My exit was not as graceful as my arrival though. I learned that the stilettos of destiny mixed with the shots of doom leads to Abbi falling over… a lot. In my defence I would like to mention that I fell over in them on the way to Rocket Bar before we even started drinking.  Apparently both my tumbles were quite graceful (can falling out of a bar ever be graceful?) but I swiftly ruined it by threatening a “gentleman” who was harassing Kelly with extreme violence. If you will give me Sambucca, I will become aggressive. This has been proved more than once.

I think we had a bit of a party at the Mansion but I had had enough and snuck off to the lair to pass out. However somehow I ended up with a bunch of people in my room and I remember sitting on my bed going, “Get out! Get out! No more parties in the lair.” To all those who may have gotten in my way or seen me roll down the Thai Square stairs… my sincerest apologies… ok who wants to go out next weekend?