It’s Valentine’s Day. If you’re single, you have one of three dire options. One, join a ragtag band of Facebook revolutionaries and write 1,000 word status updates condemning the holiday as a “creation of the corporations.” This might get you ten likes, but be advised – you will disappear from news feeds everywhere. Two, gather a group of your best friends (sassy gay man or cynical lesbian recommended, but not required), head out to the nearest Karaoke bar, and bust out Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” until the pain goes away. Be grateful that you “seriously have the best friends in the world,” but please note that these same friends will all ship out and shack up, probably sometime in the next twenty minutes. Lastly, you could do what most Americans do: sit at home with your prized chain pizza and your favorite free porn, feet up, pants off, waiting for time to end or the moment to arrive when you can finally cry yourself to a sweet and solipsistic sleep.
But what if there was another way – a way you could still watch (not have, let’s be real here) all the sex without the subsequent sequitur of shame? For this Valentine’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of seven critically acclaimed movies that double as highbrow pornographies. It’s the Criterion Collection meets The Bang Bros, joining together to ensure that this time Debbie Does Doystoevsky, not Dallas. In order to make the cut, each of the movies had to meet the following criteria:
- Available for streaming on Netflix. It takes a certain type of bravery (and sad geographic location) to go out and rent a DVD on February 14th, so I made this list in line with the needs of your typical Valentine’s Day shut-in.
- A lotta bit dirty, a lotta bit smart. Although the word “erotica” reminds me of some very painful adolescent coffee shop experiences, I wanted to find movies that achieved both physical and narrative climaxes. Sorry Channing Tatum.
- No movies with the words “Cruel” or “Intentions” anywhere in the title. No explanations with the words “because” or “why” necessary either.
The following movies may be a little darker than your standard rom-com (less marriage and money, more death and demise) but that’s just how just how love works. We wait for an end that never seems to come, grateful that we can still rewind to first dates and favorite cleavage shots. Thankfully, there’s no need to be alone this Valentine’s Day. Breathe. Take a minute. Now reach into your heart, and reach out to your computer.