1. Noah & Allie in The Notebook
Noah and Allie’s romance turns out to be the greatest love story of all time, but their “how we got together” tale ain’t one to tell the grandkids. In fact, on a scale of 1 to Crazy, it scores a capital “C.” Threatening to kill yourself…and not just in majorly awkward flirtatious way…but by actually hanging from a 50-foot Ferris wheel unless the girl who has denied you a million times agrees to go on a date with you…while she’s on a date? Not even Ryan Gosling can get away with making that anything other than out-and-out psychotic.
2. Bella & Edward in Twilight
The story of Bella and Edward is any tween’s ultimate fantasy, but let’s just break the Twilight saga’s infamous love story down: Girl meets guy. Guy is actually 108-year-old vampire. Guy likes girl. Girl likes guy. Guy begins to stalk girl. Guy starts to watch girl while she sleeps. Guy is so turned on by girl’s blood he’s afraid he’ll literally drain the life out of her if they so much as make out. After what seems like an eternity of total garbage, guy eventually kills girl. End. Oh yeah, and when they do finally procreate, girl’s former crush develops overwhelming feelings for her infant child. It’s the stuff every girl dreams of.
3. Romeo & Juliet in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet
Baz’s film of unrivaled romance essentially starts with a load of teenagers pepped up on E and ends with a teen suicide pact over—shocker—their parents not letting them do what they want.
4. Henry & Clare in The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Time Traveler’s Wife is your usual run-of-the-mill sci-fi rom-com where a guy called Henry flits through time while managing a full-time relationship AND having a child. Nothing out of the ordinary there, folks—except one extremely problematic scene where Henry appears naked to his then SIX-year-old future wife Clare. You got that? Grown man…six-year-old…naked. I imagine the creative process went something like this:
“OK, in this scene we have our time-traveling 30-year-old appearing to his then 6-year-old future wife. It’s touching. It’s emotional. It’s the start of something BIG.”
“But isn’t he naked? We’ve said all time travelers are naked before…”
“He could ask her for a blanket and, y’know, tell her they’re ‘friends’ or something?”
“What about if he hides out behind some bushes first?”
There are no words. Just watch.
5. Sandy & Danny in Grease
The love lesson here is to always be true to who you are—unless that walking hormone you were getting with last summer doesn’t want to be seen with you in front of his friends. Then change just about EVERYTHING about yourself for him ASAP so you’re not such a goddamn embarrassment. OH, yeah, and smoke a lot. Guys like it if you smoke.
We have to assume those Lycra pants cut off the oxygen to her brain.
6. Nick & Darcy in What Women Want
Remember the naughties’ laugh-a-minute masterpiece What Women Want? If the title wasn’t enough to make you cringe a thousand times over, then the plot certainly will now. Let’s reminisce.
The film is all about a skeezeball named Nick (Mel Gibson) who wins the pervert’s jackpot and gains the power to read women’s minds. He then spends the next 90 minutes boning his way through the city before having a totally unforeseen turnaround and falling in love with a woman he personally got fired. It’s emotional stuff, right?
I don’t know about you, but the premise of a guy mind-f*cking women into sleeping with—and eventually falling in love with—him isn’t my idea of a storybook romance. It’s what’s known nowadays as mental abuse.
7. Juliet, Peter & Mark in Love Actually
Love Actually is actually the most traumatizing film about romance in existence. Who wants to see Alan Rickman cheat on Emma Thompson? Who wants to hear Martine McCutcheon sing!? But there’s one plotline that is particularly horrendous—the love triangle between Juliet, Peter, and Mark.
Not only does Mark behave like a total douche to his BFF Peter’s future wife for absolutely no reason, he then films an overwhelmingly serial killer-esque wedding tape made almost entirely of creepy close-up shots of her (it could basically double up as police evidence) with no explanation.
THEN he turns up on their doorstep while his BFF is inside and silently placards Peter’s now-wife with how he really feels about her. Hint: There’s a lot of feelings.
And yet somehow through the snow and dulcet tones of Bill Nighy it becomes OK for Jules to chase him down and kiss him because that kind of behavior is just fine, right? So long as it’s Christmas.
8. Cher & Josh in Clueless
A 16-year-old girl in a relationship with the least convincing 18-year-old guy ever is already substantial grounds for therapy. But your stepbrother?!
9. Dean & Joanna in Overboard
Moving on to our favorite real-life 80’s hippie heartthrobs Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell starring in an easy breezy romantic comedy about kidnapping. In Overboard, hillbilly hick (Kurt) gets ripped off by an heiress (Hawn), so instead of just trawling her ass over to small-claims court like any normal disgruntled human being, he decides to kidnap her after she gets amnesia. Convenient. He then keeps her as his longsuffering wife/slave while convincing her they’ve been married for 13 years and that she has three kids. But don’t worry, it all comes out and she forgives him because, you know, well, Stockholm Syndrome.
10. Jack & Rose in Titanic
It’s supposed to be one of the most timeless romances there is, but apparently the phrase “I would do anything for love” got totally lost on Rose. When the sh*t hits the fan and you’re jamming in sub-zero waters on a makeshift raft clearly big enough for two while the love of your life’s literally freezing in the water, turns out it’s every gal for herself. And hey, Rose, might be worth mentioning you’re marrying a total psychopath with a hired hit man BEFORE you let your new squeeze draw you like one of his French girls and ‘hide’ the evidence in the most obvious place possible.