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July 28, 2009

What’s your favorite breakup movie?

Filed under: media — posted by Maria @ 10:43 am
[Note: We are  powerless to remove the italics from this post. We believe that at this point only robots can help.]
The Canadian Press’s Things That Go Pop! pop culture blog has listed the five best breakup movies of all time. I was with them on “Casablanca” (1942) and “Annie Hall” (1977), but then the blogger decided that the 00’s was a decade that ranked three spots on the list. Of the three, I’m willing to give him “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004), because who amongst us HASN’T wanted to have the memory of a very bad breakup erased? But there’s nothing better from the 50’s, 60’s, 80’s(!), or 90’s that outranks “All the Real Girls” (2003) and “The Break Up” (2006) — a movie that even Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn didn’t bother to see? (And that is misspelled. Breakup, noun, is one word, as in Breakup Girl, the superhero/grammar stickler. Break up, verb, no hyphen, is two.) Posters to the site seem to be favoring “High Fidelity,” which is also from the 00’s (2000, to be exact), as missing from the list. What’s your vote?


  1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall!

    Comment by Ben Winters — July 28, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  2. One of my fave “breakup” movies, albeit a platonic one, is “Me Without You”. It’s a powerful story about a sensitive, mousy girl who follows her brash friend into situations. She grows to find her own voice and finally “breaks up” with her lifelong best friend. RIVERS of tears.

    Another,more modern take on the “breakup” genre is “The Object of My Affection”. A jealous, pregnant woman breaks up with her gay best friend when it’s obvious he wants a relationship with a man more than a relationship with her. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston but it works!

    Oh – and High Fidelity is completely missing from the list.

    Comment by jenn — July 28, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  3. 2 Fast 2 Furious!
    Come on. When you’re in mid-breakup, you’ll cry at ANYTHING.

    Comment by Breakup Girl — July 28, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

  4. um… Kramer Vs. Kramer

    too painful to watch, but if we’re talking about quality of script and performance and sheer, raw emtotional impact, I think we gotta give props to Hoffman and Streep

    Comment by Dan Wilson — July 28, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  5. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. It’s a guilty pleasure….

    Comment by Melissa Koomey — July 28, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  6. LAST HOLIDAY. Ok people, this is basically a 90 minute slow drip of Lexapro, Prozac and MDMA. It has everything you need for empathy: a broken heart, feeling like you’re going to die and then a whole deck of the world’s biggest a-holes. Then ole QL ain’t taken no more and you get great F-you scenes and WTF let’s just live it up scenes. You just have to time it right to get your chinese delivery to show up at the same time as QL orders one of everything (I call at the first mention of the ‘possibilities book’.) It’s a glorious reminder that the RIGHT one will fly around the world, hike through an avalanche and crawl out on a ledge for you.

    Comment by ash — July 28, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  7. wait, favorite breakup movie of all time or just from the oughts?

    I think “Eternal Sunshine” is my favorite of all time, but an underrated, forgotten gem is Steve Martin’s “The Single Guy.”

    And of course, breakups from all sides in “Say Anything.”

    Comment by Amy K — July 28, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  8. Casablanca, Annie Hall and Eternal Sunshine are no brainers… but when it comes to films that show the brutality of a breakup, it’s safe to say they missed out on a few big ones… and not exactly obscure films.

    – KING KONG (1933)
    Not the remakes. Jessica Lange and Naomi Watts basically fell in love with
    Kong too. But Fay Wray was scared shitless the whole time… which is
    probably the correct reaction to a 50 foot ape that captures you and
    destroys part of New York in the process! And Kong picking up Fay Wray one
    last time before he dies makes this the greatest unrequited love story of
    all time.

    – THE THIRD MAN (1949)
    Yeah Joseph Cotton did the right thing by turning in Orson Welles, and
    even Orson knew it at the end when he nodded at his old friend before his
    death. But when Alida Valli, the woman who loved them both, just walks
    past Cotton without saying a word at the funeral it is one of the great
    “Fuck you, we are TOTALLY done” moments in film history.

    – GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
    Basically Rhett and Scarlett went through hell together… losing a child,
    losing their wealth, Atlanta burning… and Scarlett still couldn’t shut
    up about Ashley! Has there ever been a more definitive “We’re done” moment
    ever than “Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give A Damn!”

    – BROADCAST NEWS (1987)
    Albert Brooks was the friend that Holly Hunter just couldn’t fall for.
    William Hurt was the phony that she couldn’t help falling for. Who does
    she pick? When Hurt shows he is COMPLETELY devoid of substance she decides
    to date NEITHER!

    – RUSHMORE (1998)
    Max Fischer didn’t realistically have a shot with Ms. Cross. She even
    calls his bluff and asks “What would you do with me?” And his obsession
    with her meant being expelled from the school that meant everything to
    him. In the end he writes a play for the new man in her life and yet has
    one last dance with her and is clearly still madly in love.

    Mia Farrow has to chose between fantasy (the movie hero) and reality (her
    brutal husband) and found the perfect compromise… the movie star who
    played the movie hero. The movie version of Jeff Daniels is devastated
    that the woman he left the movie for rejected him. And then the real life
    Jeff Daniels ditches Mia leaving her alone watching Fred Astaire in tears.
    Talk about a double dumping wallop!


    Woody Allen knows how to make a great breakup. Both stories in Crimes and
    Misdemeanors cry to failed and doomed relationships. Woody falls for Mia
    and the two of them make fun of Alan Alda. But Mia falls for Alda and
    Woody ends up divorced and alone. Meanwhile Martin Landau needs to end an
    affair with a wacko Angelica Huston so badly he turns to Jerry Orbach to
    kill her. (I always pictured Orbach as Lenny Briscoe investigating it.)
    Essentially it says “love will either break your heart or cause you to
    kill.” So Woody tried something new… marrying his step daughter.

    – WITNESS (1985)
    Harrison Ford was a year removed from Temple of Doom and 2 years removed
    from Return of the Jedi. In other words he was IN HIS PRIME! Kelly
    McGillis was so sexy that she was a hot Amish woman. Think about how tough
    that is. They wanted each other so badly, but he also brought violence and
    the 20th century to their world, and in the end had to leave. The last
    shot of the film is Ford’s car driving away and the douchebag blonde Amish
    guy walking past his car. Ford’s car stops… but then continues driving.
    That stop is brutal and makes you want to say “TURN AROUND HARRISON! LEARN
    TO MILK COWS!!!”


    I don’t think Bogart ever 100% trusted Mary Astor… but he sure as hell
    wanted her and she wanted Bogart as well. And it didn’t matter how much he
    loved her, he was turning her into the police. She thought he was joking
    and called his bluff. Mary Astor says “You know whether you love me or
    not” of which Bogart delivers one of the best breakup lines of all time.

    “Maybe I do. I’ll have some rotten nights after I’ve sent you over, but
    that’ll pass. “

    Comment by Paul the Intern — July 28, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  9. Anything that has me ROFLing is good, probably Bruce Almighty is excellent. Or even Monty Python is great!

    Comment by Karen — July 29, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

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  11. Kramer Vs. Kramer… one of the most painfil movie i have watch…

    Comment by regret break up — February 8, 2010 @ 9:08 am

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  13. 500 days of Summer, definitely! Must see!

    Comment by Eva BreakUp Movies — November 25, 2010 @ 3:27 am

  14. yes, I love this movie also…

    Comment by Dvor 2011 — January 8, 2011 @ 5:43 am

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