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VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: This Week, In Fortuitous Assignments

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.)

13 Comments

  1. D. wrote:

    So you’re saying this movie is not worth it even for free?

    Ah well. I have Love Actually on DVD. Most of that manages to be funny.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  2. Maura wrote:

    I don’t even care about Valentine’s Day (the holiday), but I actually had hopes for Valentine’s Day (the movie), because I am naive and an eternal optimist.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  3. C.L. Minou wrote:

    So it’s like “56 Ways of Looking at a Craptastic Blackbird”?

    What was interesting was how many UKians dropped by to heap hate upon “Love Actually”, which has become an innocuous Christmas movie over here.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  4. Elizabeth wrote:

    I’m told Taylor Swift is forced to carry an enormous teddy bear through most of her scenes!

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  5. Sady wrote:

    @D: I tried to get pleasure out of hating this movie. I tried to find any of it bad enough to be funny. I TRIED. But it is such a jumble of awful – and not even interesting awful, but JUST PLAIN AWFUL – that it wears you down. Sooner or later, you stop even caring about how bad it is, and you just want it to be over. And at that point, there is an hour and fifteen minutes left to go before the movie ends. That’s when it starts to hurt.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
  6. Sady wrote:

    @Elizabeth: Oh, my God! They give her the big star reveal and everything. The elevator doors open, someone is holding a gigantic teddy bear over her face, the teddy bear lowers, and… surprise! It is Taylor Swift! And then she starts to talk, and… surprise! Taylor Swift cannot act! At all! The teddy bear plays a significantly smaller role, after that point, but it is pretty special.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  7. Sady wrote:

    @CONFUSED GOOGLE READER PEOPLE: No, Amanda Hess did not write this post. I did. I have no idea how that byline deal even happened. Oh, wait, I do: I’m distracted and therefore fucking up on things today. But since we already have a comment thread going, I will not be taking down and reposting it, which I would do normally. You will simply have to read the comments to know what is up!

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  8. Brenda wrote:

    I was going to say, about the Bunuel. Otherwise, I thought it was a pretty great piece, especially the bit about poor Taylor Swift.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Permalink
  9. Isabel wrote:

    Iiii am about to go to bed so I’ll read it later? but a friend of mine sent me the link and a quote in an email with the subject line “this is the best thing i have ever read,” and then i clicked and skimmed for later and did read the part about taylor swift and laughed really hard and then felt silly when i realized it was by someone i already knew was an awesome writer. aaanyway i thought you might like to know it has, in fact, been referred to by someone as the best thing that person (who is very educated in the ways of hilarious takedowns of shitty things) has ever read, and i thought maybe i should tell you before i forget.

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 3:47 am | Permalink
  10. alanna wrote:

    I remember seeing the preview for Valentine’s Day several months ago, and thinking that you could not pay me enough to see it. (Although, considering the current state of my finances? Maybe you could. I’m accepting bids!)

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  11. Samantha b. wrote:

    The fucking thing made $66.85 million over the not-yet-finished weekend. Eeesh. Scary, scary.

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  12. CourtneyB wrote:

    Quick aside: Anne Hathaway, even if she played a shitty role in a shitty movie, is still deserving of love. because she is human.

    Also, great review. I will not go see this with my little sister, As was our plan.

    Monday, February 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  13. Ana wrote:

    “It brings existential nausea and deep despair.”
    Thanks to this quote, I am not going to spend my money watching this movie anymore.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink