Colleen Claes

Colleen Claes
Chicago, Illinois, USA
January 08
Freelance Writer
I'm a freelance writer and blogger when I'm not working 9 to 5. I graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in film and screenwriting. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of media (usually film) and culture. I've contributed to as the Chicago Cult Classics Examiner and have been interviewed by USA Today for my film expertise. I write at a few other places (both for myself and other people), which you find below My Links.

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Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 12, 2010 4:09PM

Weirding Up the Romance: Cult Classics for V-Day Weekend

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Why watch the upcoming Valentine's Day with an overload of trite story lines and actors when you can watch these strange cult films instead? Yes, cult classics can tell stories of romance and sex...Just don't expect it to be mainstream love.

harold and maude, 1971

Some of the best romantic couples on screen were the most interesting and complex ones found in films that had a cult status. Below are some recommended cult films, or films that have strange and fascinating couples.

Weird up the romance this Valentine's Day weekend with the following movies:

  • Harold and Maude (1971). Beware - This first one is probably the weirdest. Hal Ashby directs this black comedy in which a 19-year-old boy (Harold) begins a relationship with a 79-year-old woman (Maude). And yes, it turns sexual. The film is surprisingly heart-warming, but in a way that involves themes of death, friendship, and human connection. Don't let the storyline scare you - It's worth the watch.
  • Fight Club (1999). Whether or not the film Fight Club - directed by David Fincher - is a cult classic is debatable and depends on who you ask. But the audience appreciation (which happened after its DVD release) much resembles the cult "fight club" gang that makes up the movie. Why is it relevant for a cult classic V-Day weekend? Two words: Marla Singer. Played by Helena Bonham Carter, she and Edward Norton's character (The Narrator) find each other through support group meetings - and both of them are imposters. The story takes many surprising twists and turns, but ultimately, this destructive pair is one you can't forget.
  • Punch-Drunk Love (2002). Though not a box office success, a select many have come to love this off-beat love story directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Another dark comedy, Adam Sandler breaks out of his typecast and surprises with this performance as Barry - a loner with severe rage issues. He meets Lena (Emily Watson) after she tracks him down with the help of one of his seven sisters, but many complications start to challenge their new romance. By the end of the film, it's clear that their connection is due to their individual oddities, which help them understand each other in ways that no one else could. Not your average pair, but an intriguing one nonetheless.

So there you have it! Non-Hollywood films with couples that can shake up any Valentine's Day weekend movie plans. Have a film in mind that I didn't mention? Share it in the comments!

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Harold and Maude is such an awesome movie
Harold and Maude was one of the all time best movies of its genre. I am a little surprised that you left out the Rocky Horror Picture Show, now there's a love story for the universe.
@bobbot - Great suggestion, of course. I guess I left it out only because I was looking for less-talked-about-as-cult-classic movies, if that makes sense? But it definitely is THE cult classic.
I'm kind of big on Defending Your Life as an atypical romance. Ditto Moonstruck. Love Harold and Maude.
I think I must be naturally wierd, because I love all three of those movies. I love "Harold and Maude" most, though.
Thanks for reminding me! Haven't thought about Harold and Maud for years - LOVE that movie! I don't know if you consider this cult, and it is French, but what about Diva? It definitely fits your "strange and fascinating couples" rule...
@Ann Nichols Don't worry - I'm a big ole weirdo too then. Haha. Didn't mean to offend anyone...I mean "weird" in a positive sense.

@Pavanne Veltman I'm sorry to say that I have not seen 'Diva.' I'll have to check it out! Though it looks like it's not even on Netflix yet.
Great choices, Colleen. Who needs Hollywood's bland idea of 'romance' anyway?

When we started dating, the first four movies my husband took me to were Casablanca, Harold and Maude, A Boy and His Dog
and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I wasn't too sure what to make of those choices at the time even though I enjoyed the films and his company. Thirty-five years later, I still enjoy his company and I am never bored. ;-)

We still watch Harold and Maude whenever it is on TV.
Harold + Maude FOREVER!!

I love that movie! It's hilarious, touching and the two stars achieve more rapport on screen than most "appropriate age" date movie love interests.
"Harold and Maude" is my all time favorite movie! My parents took me to see it when it premiered because we had a family member involved in creating the film. I was only 7 at the time, so it was a bit over my head. Love the pic of them on the motorcycle! Now that I'm much older, Bud Cort looks like a 12 year old to me.
I saw Punch Drunk Love, which was critically acclaimed, in 2002, and was unimpressed. I don't know if it's correct to label it a "dark comedy." Most of the subject matter was dark, but the film itself was not comedic.
I'm embarrassed that I'm the only person here who hasn't seen Harold and Maude, especially since Hal Ashby directed two of my favorites, Being There and the very underrated Bound for Glory. Time to go over to Netflix and add it to my list.
"Harold and Maude" is one of the defining movies for me. "Lost in Translation" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" could very well be added to this list. Well done.
Harold and Maude is also on my all-time fave list. (It's on my facebook profile.) I never think of it as weird.

I love the suggestion of Rocky Horror Picture Show. What a wild time that was.

I'm deeply conflicted on Fight Club. I don't even remember Helena being in it, though, I'm afraid.
Have to add "Lost in Translation". It's got to be added now. But, Harold & Maude wins out still. Great thoughts here...
Good choices. Harold and Maude is one of my all-time favorites, too. I made sure my kids saw it when they were in junior high and high school as part of the cultural education.
Umm, that would be THEIR cultural education. I had one beer and it's way past my bedtime.
You had me at Harold and Maude, but I have another. "Henry and June". Lusty and intellectually erotic. See it with someone you love.
"Love Songs" ("Les Chansons d'Amour") Christophe Honore's musical (songs by Alex Beaupain) in which Louis Garrel is plunged into despair over the very sudden death of his grilfriend Ludivine Saignier (just as their relationship was hitting a bad patch) only to recover when he falls into the waiting arms of his teenage stalker, Gregoire LePrince-Ringuet, ending with what has become my favorite line in the entire history of the cinema: "Love me less, but love me for a long time."
Punch Drunk Love! Sooooo glad you chose that--I'm from the Harold and Maude generation, but of the three, I'm down for the "punch!" Excellent!
Harold and Maude are going on our Netflix list right now. Wonderful Deep Movie. As good as it gets. Oh That is another good movie with Jack Nicolsona and Helen Hunt. As Good As It Gets
I'm surprised Diva is not on Netflix - it's quite famous, made in the '80s, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, and imitated by many - including Quentin Tarantino. Try to find it - I'm sure you'll be wowed.
OMG I was raised on this movie.........probably accounts for a lot.
I will have to check these out. (I have seen Fight Club.)
Harold and Maude - yes, Yes, YES!!!!
@ Pavanne Veltman

Diva is outstanding.

My favorite is The Tao of Steve. Maybe the best romantic indie movie ever.
Never seen Harold and Maude. Now I'm intrigued with all the posititve responses. Thanks!
Ha! this is too cool! i love the haorld and maud film
I have added so many new movies to my Netflix queue due to these comments. Thanks for reading and better yet, for all the responses!
Harold and Maude was a great picture. Fight Club has to be a cult classic. Guys are always talking about it. Punch Drunk was weird, but I liked it. Great Post~~
King of Hearts is a great one! and Diva...
Thanks for reminding me of H &M!
fight club has always been an all time fave. but i just caught harold & maude for the 1st time. wow. it was total weirdness. i had no idea what it was about so i didn't see the sexual relationship coming. it's a film i'll see again and one i'll keep thinking about. thoroughly unique. black comedy at its finest. and a romance at its most uncomfortable. yet touching. nothing else like it.