Cinema and Pop Music Therapy for a Lonely Valentine's Day

Are you holding the razor at your throat this very instant? Take heart, comfort is at hand. This is the hour that stretches. Djan karet. We are the cavalry. We're here. Put away the pills. We'll get you through this bloody night. Next time, it'll be your turn to help us. - Harlan Ellison, "Eidolons"

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He's not returning the calls anymore. Your mutual friend breaks the news on her behalf. Those six months, or six years, whether spent side by side or gathering the pebble of courage required to ask for a date, are squandered. And besides, no one wants to date you right now, not after that little scene you made at the multiplex last week.

And, normally, this would all be okay - really, it would. But that most detestable of days is approaching, a date whose name stings as it leaves your tongue like arsenic laced in the tea of disgruntled lovers. (Note: love lost has the additional effect of encouraging melodramatic phrasing.)

Valentine's Day.

If your love has been dashed or never was, there are constant reminders at every corner of what you're missing, and if your love is with someone of the same gender, you are granted a nice extra day-long reminder that you can't marry your sweetheart, that in so many American towns you must be careful where you hold the date, and so on.

The only consolation is the sight upon entering the video store of shelves upon shelves of subpar romantic comedies already rented out - temptation averted. But if you are going to spend St. Valentine's night alone with only a few films to keep you company, there is a treacherous path ahead of you. Some films are perfect for the blinding hot anger of the just-dumped, but will eat you alive if you watch them when you feel your most vulnerable; others will work wonders for indulging those holding on to a single crumb of hope, but feel like a cruel prank those trying to push the past behind them.

So, let's take Kubler-Ross seriously for once; I've suggested at least one film for each of the five stages of grief, with a few quotable songs thrown in for good measure.

One exception - I haven't bothered to cater to denial. It's usually too late for denial when you're surrounded by red hearts and gaudy store displays. No. It's time for the hard stuff.

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