Antichrist and 5 Other Awful Movie Couples
The thought that anyone is dying to sit through Lars von Trier's irritating art-wank Antichrist (now available from The Criterion Collection) for a second time, much less in Blu-Ray, frankly boggles the mind. But its portrait of a terribly dysfunctional couple -- Willem Dafoe becomes therapist for wife Charlotte Gainsbourg after their infant crawls out the window and dies while mommy and daddy were boinking, leading to Gainsbourg's eventual torture of Dafoe out in the woods -- calls to mind other movies about the Worst. Couples. Ever. Ahead, five pairs that wouldn't be welcome guests at a weekend dinner party.
The War of the Roses: One can imagine Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner's Oliver and Barbara Rose furiously taking notes during Antichrist for tips on how to destroy one's spouse. The Roses, however, are both fighting for one specific thing -- their showplace of a house, which neither one wants to give up in the divorce.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton portray the granddaddy of all toxic couples in this merciless adaptation of the Edward Albee play. The drunker these two get, the pointed their verbal darts become, making for an awkward evening for their guests (George Segal and Sandy Dennis) but riveting cinema for the rest of us.
Staircase: Taylor and Burton played plenty of rotten spouses, together and separately -- check out Taylor as a hippie-clad hausfrau in X, Y and Zee the next time TCM reruns it -- but Burton and Rex Harrison, as a pair of miserable hairdressers in a decidedly un-swinging version of '60s London sport a layer of sad bitterness almost as thick as the eau de cologne they splash on. Staircase's portrayal of gay relationships is enough to send anyone running back into the closet.
Greed: This silent classic sees the marriage between dentist Gibson Gowland and housewife Zasu Pitts slowly crumble into disarray after she wins the lottery. He seethes with avarice while she becomes a miserly hoarder, and things go from pretty awful to really, really terrible.
Why Did I Get Married Too: One of Tyler Perry's typically florid and ridiculous screenplays has high-powered writer Janet Jackson slapping a surprise divorce request on her husband and destroying the contents of the home they share together. Spoiler: Later, she causes his sort-of-but-not-really accidental death after she accuses him of being gay because he dared to ask for alimony. And you thought For Colored Girls was offensive.