Don't expect many laughs at the cinema this autumn. Since the success of Blue Valentine - the cinematic equivalent of watching oblivious ducklings waddling onto a motorway at rush hour - Hollywood has gone mad for sadness. Bouncy rom-coms are out, films that portray the crushing disappointment of lost love are in. Shame, The Future, and Like Crazy are some examples of this new fascination with bleakness, but here arts editor Vilchetta Clamproof and film critic Casppar Fzzzf discuss the other new films which are surely the worst date movies ever.
Vilchetta Clamproof: "So, we meet again Casppar. Enlighten us about some of these grim antidotes to the traditional rom-com. Most of them depict warring couples and romances that end badly. Sound familiar?"
Casppar Fzzzf: "Directors are sticking two fingers up at the audience in some cases. My Ten Husbands Died And Then I Died is a dreadful 'tearjerker' directed by Michael Bay, and starring Kate Hudson as a very unlucky woman indeed. Each time she thinks she's found happiness, her husband dies in an increasingly preposterous way. After her tenth husband dies she contracts malaria and passes away herself. Bam. Pass me the sick bucket."
Vilchetta: "Speaking of women who've had a large number of partners, how is your new girlfriend? And perhaps you'd tell us about the next film?"
Casppar: "She asked me to send her regards. Patatas Muertas, out next month, is another of these films about what happens when love goes sour like milk. It's directed by Almodovar protege Ramos Cojones. The film tells of a deeply upset young writer called Miguel who takes his ex-girlfriend - the only woman he's ever really loved - to an upmarket tapas restaurant in Barcelona for one final meal. During the dinner it becomes apparent that she'll never take him back and they'll never eat together again. So Miguel secretly poisons the patatas bravas with the intention of recreating a Romeo And Juliet-style death pact. But due to a waitressing error, the patatas are given to different diners - who die. Miguel is convicted of murder and his remaining 25 years in Catalonia's harshest prison are depicted in real time, as the introspective Miguel is repeatedly tortured by other prisoners until - sobbing, broken and lovelorn, he finally takes his own life by fashioning a noose from churros and hanging himself as Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca plays, ironically, in the background."
Vilchetta: "Sounds like a hoot. Love really is a losing game - as that late, great chanteuse of Camden Town, Amy Winehouse, once pointed out with so much poignant accuracy. She could so easily have been talking about the lost love between two journalists, couldn't she? As we both know, scribblers should never go out with each other. Another film?"
Casppar: "Yep, it was a complete sh*tter. But at least I can get some peace now. Anyway, the next offering is a low budget indie flick called We Never Even Met. Now this one is about a couple who never even met. This black and white effort just follows the lives of two people in Brooklyn for 90 minutes - people who would be perfect for each other but never even met. And what could be sadder than that? Apart from the off licence closing early."
Vilchetta: "You drank like an 18th Century lush. And now you have peace? I'm speechless. The last time I saw you - remember when you were sobbing and pleading with me to get back together - you were perched on that park bench and it seemed somehow redolent of Rodin's The Thinker. But your behaviour for those two years reminded me more of Rodin's lesser known twin work, The W*nker.
Casppar: "While we're at it, are you ever going to commission another feature from me? Because that work dried up pretty suddenly, I seem to remember. Coincidence? But back to the films. You Give Me The Horn (Of Africa), Thank You Very Much is also a contender for worst date movie ever. This one is about the forbidden love between two men - one from the self-declared Republic of Puntland and the other from the rival breakaway nation of Somaliland, nextdoor. The lovers are forced to conduct their affair in secret and are compelled to fight in opposing armies during a protracted low-level guerilla war. Yes, there's some shooting in this one! Bang! The saddest tragedy of all is that the Elvis-loving pair can never fulfill their dream of marrying in the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas with a Presley impersonator acting as witness because the UN doesn't officially recognise either state and they can't get a passport. An al Shabab car bomb kills them both at the end. Did I give too much away? Who cares anyway."
Vilchetta: "You really were the most abominable partner. I literally had to spend a weekend speed-reading the entire works of Milan Kundera to get my sanity back."
Casppar: "Thanks. Can I go now? It's nearly last orders. There's also this flick coming out called The Emo Diaries. It's about a girl in England and a boy in America who correspond online for eight years about their shared love of blah blah emo music and, yawn, how they love to write in their diaries. But the day before they are due to meet in person a fridge falls out of a helicopter onto the boy's head and due to massive brain damage he's unable from then on to enjoy any music other than R&B. So they drift apart, have casual sex with dozens of people they don't even like over the course of a lifetime and both settle into ultimately loveless marriages, dying in their 60s of heart disease coupled with boredom. This one's akin to having acid poured into you f***ing eyes."
Vilchetta: "Close the door behind you on your way out."
Casppar: "I'll be glad to."