You guys, guess who got asked to review that “Valentine’s Day” movie? For the Guardian?
It is possible that Valentine’s Day is a very high-calibre art film, like L’Age D’or,* in which the goal was for the viewer to viscerally feel that his or her own eyeball had been slit open with a razor (an experience which Valentine’s Day conveys far more effectively than L’Age D’Or), or an experiment along the lines that Andy Warhol conducted in the 1970s, by simply filming the Empire State Building for hours in order to test the limits of viewer boredom, and to bring the viewer to a place beyond boredom, a place of transcendence. Valentine’s Day is in fact very boring – it is over two hours long; my companion and I started to whisper “This has got to be almost over, I think” at about the 45 minute mark – but it does not bring transcendence. It brings existential nausea and deep despair.
The cumulative effect of Valentine’s Day is to make you feel that all human emotions are shameful. Have you ever been sad about a break-up? Had a crush on someone? Wanted your ex-lover back? Been happy to meet somebody promising? Wanted to have sex? You are terrible. You are feeling the same emotions portrayed in the movie Valentine’s Day. And these emotions, Valentine’s Day confirms, are cheap, and disgusting. For they make you like the characters in this movie. They make you a part of the target audience of this movie. They are why there is a movie in which all of the characters dress in red and pink and there are heart-shaped objects everywhere and gigantic teddy bears holding gigantic stuffed satin hearts and the words “Valentine’s Day” are repeated in every single scene and there are so, so many bouquets of roses. If we did not have these emotions, we humans, Valentine’s Day would not exist. That is why these emotions are wrong.
Another thing that Valentine’s Day will make you ashamed of is your politics. Valentine’s Day is very adamant that Valentine’s Day is a movie about every single human experience. Accordingly, there are gay characters. There is a gay football player who comes out of the closet. He is remarkable not for being gay, but for being played by an actor who delivers every line as if he is Clint Eastwood on Klonopin. It is revealed, very late in the movie and in a single shot, that he is dating a character played by Bradley Cooper. This is played as a shocking reveal: we see a man walking through the door with flowers, we do not see his face, there is a pan, and – surprise! Here is Bradley Cooper! This got the biggest reaction out of the audience, in my own personal experience of seeing the movie Valentine’s Day. The reaction it got was derisive hooting and manic laughter and someone shouting “Oh, no” and also many screams of disgust. I saw this movie in Ohio, a place I have considered moving back to because it is where I grew up. If anyone ever asks me why I moved out of Ohio, or why I will not move back there, the answer will be that I saw Valentine’s Day.
You guys, I was NOT SYMPATHETIC TO THIS FILM. Also: we haven’t even gotten to the parts with Taylor Swift!
*(Also, WHOOPS. Un Chien Andalou, in fact, is the Bunuel we are thinking of. But, people: I just saw Valentine’s Day. It’s a wonder I maintain any higher brain function. It is a wonder I AM ALIVE.)