Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One For the Crabs

Magnet # 164:  Maryland Little Crab

Material:  Acrylic

Purchased By:  Me

Feeling a bit unsatisfied with yesterday's super-syrupy post?  Tired of films where the two leads always have to end up together?  Well, today's post is for you!  It's filled with what I've dubbed anti-Valentine's flicks - films where the heroines opt-out of love and finish the movie alone and okay with it.  Sorry - there are definite spoilers here, but I think these great flicks are absolutely worth a watch if you're dreading February 14.  They, too, have great leading actors and equally talented supporting ones like Andy Griffith, Morgan Freeman, Imelda Staunton, and Geoffrey Rush. Of course, Hollywood doesn't give us many options in this category, so I've had to cut the list in half.  Some of these films are dramas, some comedies, but they're all great choices to keep Cupid at bay and, curiously, not a one is set in New York City - just remember, there are spoilers ahead!

1.  Elizabeth - Yep, I couldn't resist kicking off the list with a name twin.  Cate Blanchett takes on the lead as one of the most famous rulers ever in this historical drama, while Joseph Fiennes portrays a lord whom she loves, but cannot commit to.  Many historical buffs may dry foul at this film's inaccuracies but it's still worth a watch (and hey, it fits in with my theme).  Faced with assassinations and countless other threats to her throne, the monarch comes to the realization that what her heart wants is not necessarily what is best for her kingdom.  If you enjoy this one, follow it up with a viewing of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, in which the ruler's continued chastity is put to the test, courtesy of Clive Owen's charming rogue explorer.

2.  Crush - Another film shot in England, this one is both a comedy and drama set in the modern-day countryside.  Andie McDowell stars as an American educator who's become headmistress at the local school.  She's formed a tight friendship with two other women who, like her, are both single and in their forties.  But when a former student of hers who is now an organist played by Kenny Doughty shows up very interested and very much younger than she, much to her friend's dismay, she decides to give him a try.  Finally, they conspire to destroy her new relationship, with disastrous results.  She is then faced with two tough decisions: whether or not she wants to remain single, and whether or not she wants to reconcile with her two closest friends.

3.  Waitress - Keri Russell plays a waitress and talented baker who lives in the rural South and has some serious problems in this combination comedy and drama.  She can't stand her overbearing, horrible husband and yet she's pregnant with his child.  While she's miserable with the situation, she decides to go ahead and have the baby and leave her husband.  But when she falls for Nathan Fillion's compassionate, yet married neonatal doctor, her life gets that much more complicated.  Will she be able to break free and realize her dream of opening her own pie shop, or is she permanently stuck in her dead end life?

4.  Nurse Betty -  This very unusual comedy features another waitress, played by Renee Zellweger, who's also married to an awful man.  But her life veers in a very different direction when she undergoes a traumatic experience.  Convinced she's a character on her favorite soap opera, she travels from her hometown in Kansas across the nation to Los Angeles in search of her true love - a doctor on the show, played by Greg Kinnear.  Unfortunately, she's unknowingly pursued by two hit men.  When they finally cross paths, chaos ensues and she comes to terms with her life and sets out on the path that's best for her.  Be warned, though - this film is rated R for a reason - with its occasional violence, it's not intended for the faint of heart.

5.  The Painted Veil - This period drama begins in England, but soon moves to China.  A newlywed played by Naomi Watts is unsatisfied with her husband, a doctor played by Edward Norton, and she begins to stray.  Furious with her infidelity, he volunteers for a position that takes them away from their exciting life in colonial Shanghai to a rural Chinese town where cholera is destroying the population.  There, they both gain a better understanding of one another, and it seems their marriage may be saved.  But his rash decision to move to such a dangerous locale may have dire consequences for them and put their newfound commitment to the ultimate test. 

These films are definitely different from the ones I posted yesterday.  While pretty much nobody died in those ones, there is death in these.  But don't let that stop you from giving them a try - none of these films end in misery, as other films where the leads don't end up together might.  Some are optimistic, and at the very worst, others are bittersweet, as life can be from time to time, but they all have an optimistic outcome.  So consider giving them a try and if you have any suggestions for other films where female leads opt to remain single, please share.  These can be tough to find, and I'd like to try more out - perhaps even in time for Valentine's Day.

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