5 Films That Make Me Glad I'm Single

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

As a confirmed bachelor -- confirmed to me by a number of other people, by the way, sometimes by court order -- the annual celebration of Valentine's Day is something of a trial, one that is only assuaged by watching movies that make me glad I am free from such romantic bondage.

Like these five ...

Audition (1999; d. Miike Takashi)

Singleness in middle-age can make a man do silly things, like [embarrassing personal anecdote deleted], fail to [another embarrassing, too-personal recollection], and, oh, I don't know, awkwardly audition a possible mate just because he's so dang lonely (and the young woman is so attractive). Only the third foolish act is depicted in Miike Takashi's Audition, but the consequences are sufficiently severe that the mere thought of piano wire makes me crawl into a fetal position. Better to live alone than to die slowly and horribly, I always say.

A Boy and His Dog (1975; d. L.Q. Jones)

Harlan Ellison's original story is rather terrific, and though L.Q. Jones' film version takes some liberties, the casting of Susanne Benton as Quilla did strange things to my teenage head (and libido), and made my tummy feel funny when Vic catches sight of her through a peephole. I thought I knew love. And then I saw how Vic (Don Johnson) decided to help his beloved companion Blood, and I realized all I needed was a faithful dog to keep me company, not a woman who might be loyal or (you never know) might lure me to a place where my most precious bodily fluid would be drained. Of course, then my dog (not named Blood) died anyway, which caused all kinds of other problems, but still.

The War of the Roses (1989; d. Danny DeVito)

As often as I think I might like to be married, my mind returns to this movie, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as a couple whose passionate love turns to passionate hate. It's the kind of hate that curdles intestines and withers genitals, not to mention destroys an indeterminate amount of material possessions. Now, you might say that anyone who marries Kathleen Turner after seeing Body Heat is crazy, but if you saw Lawrence Kasdan's movie at an impressionable age, you'd do anything to be led around by her hand on your ... where was I? Oh, yes, love can turn to hate, so the lesson is that if you're single and live by yourself, at least nobody else will be yelling and throwing things at you. (See also: The Shining.)

Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 (2003/2004; d. Quentin Tarantino)

Breaking up is hard to do. I can safely claim that I'm a trendsetter in break-ups, since a girl broke up with me in an email in the late 90s. (Which is so long ago in the Internet age that I'm pretty sure Al Gore taught her how to do it.) Really, think of all the pain and suffering and blood and anguish that would have been spared if the Bride and Bill had just kept their relationship professional and not made it so darn personal, leading to a break-up that is truly tragic. Remember, kids: Workplace romances are always fraught with the dangerous potential for mass murder and two-part movies.

My Bloody Valentine (1981; d. George Mihalka)

The lesson here is that you should never neglect your responsibilities just so you can be with your lover for a Valentine's Day celebration. Just to be safe, though, and to make sure that love and/or lust do not blind you to your responsibilities, it is better to be single and sit at home watching horror movies rather than to be working on Valentine's Day, where a mine could cave in on you and make you become a cannibal. Or is the lesson that it's better to be single and wish you were dead then to be married and wish you were dead? I'm getting confused, so I'm going to eat a box of candy and call it a night.

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  • J Hurtado

    I love this so much! Great stuff, Peter!

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