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Our Favorite Dysfunctional Movie Romances
Love means never having to say you're sorry... or DOES it? Whether breaking up, duking it out, making up or making out, we seem to love couples who love to hate each other on-screen. Whether they worked it out or not, here are some great dysfunctional movie romances to brighten (?) your Valentine's Day.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Does it get any more dysfunctional than this? In 'Fatal Attraction,' Glenn Close develops a murderous obsession with the man she has an affair with (Michael Douglas) -- to the point she tries to take out his wife. Word to the wise: if you're going to have an affair, first hide the family pet.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
In the Oscar-nominated 'Silver Linings Playbook,' It's Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence who just can't get along. Here he's a guy who's lost everything, moves back with his parents, and starts a relationship with a complicated woman who may have even more problems than he does.
War of the Roses (1989)
Their jungle-hopping relationship in Romancing the Stone (1984) ended up more love than hate. Reteaming for this dark comedy five years later, they took vitriol to new levels as a wealthy divorcing couple battling over -- well, everything. Firebombs, property destruction, physical violence and a dead cat ensue.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Nic Cage won the Best Actor Oscar while Elisabeth Shue was nominated for Best Actress in this semiautobiographical story whose author committed suicide while it was being filmed. Cage plays an alcoholic screenwriter who's lost everything; she plays a prostitute desperate to save him from himself. Now that's uplifting!
Husbands and Wives (1992)
Pretty much all of Woody Allen's movies are dysfunctional, but here we go. Gabe (Allen) and Judy's (Mia Farrow) friends are separating, and it has repercussions in their relationship; he begins a midlife flirtation with one of his college students, she dates a coworker. They end up splitting while their friends stay together -- oops.
A journalist and his girlfriend drive cross-country and pick up a parolee (Brad Pitt) and his young gal pal (Juliette Lewis), unaware the guy's a killer with a hot temper. Certainly this can't go well for anyone, and this romance cools off big time.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Juliette Lewis reprises a similar yet more empowered role as Mallory, the wife of Mickey (Woody Harrelson), as a pair of 'Natural Born Killers' who kidnap, rape and murder their way across the country. Their killing spree pushes the body count upwards of 50 and ends happily--for this modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, anyway.
What WAS it with the '90s? Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh play a couple of undercover vice cops who apply the Method school of acting to their jobs in the underworld---they actually take the drugs they're arresting people for selling, so their cover won't be blown. Trouble is, now they're both--you guessed it--drug addicts themselves.
Revolutionary Road (2008)
Kate Winslet might be the dysfunctional romance movie queen (see also: 'Eternal Sunshine,' 'Little Children,' 'The Reader'...). Here, she reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio as a 1950s couple with two kids and two tons of misery between them. It's directed by Sam Mendes, who knows a thing or two about family dysfunction (see: 'American Beauty'). Side note: Mendes and Winslet were married when the movie was made, divorced two years later.
Bitter Moon (1992)
Putting the "diss" in dysfunctional is this movie about a paraplegic and his much younger wife; their experiments with voyeurism, bondage and sadomasochism as well as their general loathing of each other; and the other unfortunate couple they get entangled with -- literally -- while on a cruise ship.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
What's more messed up than Sandra Bullock's strange romance with (no, not Jesse James) a comatose businessman named Peter? After ingratiating herself with his family, who mistake her for his fiancee, she falls for his brother, Jack. When Peter wakes up, she agrees to marry him (!), but at the altar confesses her love for Jack, who of course eventually proposes anyway. That's one way to snag a man....
Blue Valentine (2010)
In 'Blue Valentine,' Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are a young, poor couple, each from broken homes and rough backgrounds. They fall in love almost at first sight, but their love is based on an ideal rather than a true foundation--and falls apart in the saddest (and most NC-17 worthy) of ways.
You say you're in the mood now for some romances that DO work out? Go here.