Weirding Up the Romance: Cult Classics for V-Day

Originally posted on and my Open Salon blog.

Why watch the upcoming Valentine’s Day with an overload of trite story lines and actors when you can watch these strange cult films instead? Yes, cult classics can tell stories of romance and sex…Just don’t expect it to be mainstream love.

Some of the best romantic couples on screen were the most interesting and complex ones found in films that had a cult status. Below are some recommended cult films, or films that have strange and fascinating couples.

Weird up the romance this Valentine’s Day weekend with the following movies:

  • Harold and Maude (1971). Beware – This first one is probably the weirdest. Hal Ashby directs this black comedy in which a 19-year-old boy (Harold) begins a relationship with a 79-year-old woman (Maude). And yes, it turns sexual. The film is surprisingly heart-warming, but in a way that involves themes of death, friendship, and human connection. Don’t let the storyline scare you – It’s worth the watch.
  • Fight Club (1999). Whether or not the film Fight Club – directed by David Fincher – is a cult classic is debatable and depends on who you ask. But the audience appreciation (which happened after its DVD release) much resembles the cult “fight club” gang that makes up the movie. Why is it relevant for a cult classic V-Day weekend? Two words: Marla Singer. Played by Helena Bonham Carter, she and Edward Norton’s character (The Narrator) find each other through support group meetings – and both of them are imposters. The story takes many surprising twists and turns, but ultimately, this destructive pair is one you can’t forget.
  • Punch-Drunk Love (2002). Though not a box office success, a select many have come to love this off-beat love story directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Another dark comedy, Adam Sandler breaks out of his typecast and surprises with this performance as Barry – a loner with severe rage issues. He meets Lena (Emily Watson) after she tracks him down with the help of one of his seven sisters, but many complications start to challenge their new romance. By the end of the film, it’s clear that their connection is due to their individual oddities, which help them understand each other in ways that no one else could. Not your average pair, but an intriguing one nonetheless.

So there you have it! Non-Hollywood films with couples that can shake up any Valentine’s Day movie plans. Have a film in mind that I didn’t mention? Share it in the comments!