If you are anything like me, dinner and a movie dates are the catchalls for when you don’t have time for anything else, or haven’t the inclination to come up with a creative date idea. Which for most people isn’t a problem — until you have to come up with a few date movies that both of you will enjoy.
If only we could erase the memories of partners past – what kind of trouble could we get into? In my mind, this is what Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is all about: playing with fate, and fate having a laugh at our expense. Because if we were meant to meet someone, then erasing their existence from one’s memory could only lead to — meeting them again. Or could it?
I once saw a gent who’d dressed up as the main character (played by a very young John Cusak) at a Halloween party. With zero exaggeration, both men and women flocked to him all night. Even after its twenty year anniversary, folks still fondly remember this film – and like the tagline says, “To know Lloyd Dobbler is to love him.” Anyone who has watched Say Anything, does. A great film to see for couples who have struggled to either be or stay together, proving that sometimes love is enough.
A bit of a Cinderella story that leans more towards the fantastical, The Princess Bride is a beautiful tale of a grandfather reading a bedtime story to his grandson. From giants to accomplished swordsmen, monsters and princes, this is a movie sure to delight singles and couples everywhere, and is a perfect show for single parent who’d like to involve their children in a movie date night.
Can men and women just be friends? Its a long standing debate, and it couldn’t hurt to know how your partner feels about the subject. When Harry Met Sally is now a classic tale of friends who were friends for years, until one of them realized they felt like more than just friends, and went for it. Consequences be dammed, this is a great flick for those who took a risk for a date, or just those who enjoy a decent story and numerous laugh out loud moments about love and relationships.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman shine in this classic love story – so classic that some lines are still a part of our everyday conversation, more than sixty-five years after the film was first release to movie goers. Casablanca has it all: scandal (wooing a woman from her husband), intrigue (political unrest in Africa in the early days of World War II), political (“I stick my nose out for nobody,”) and sexy (the tension between the two leads is palpable).
One of my all-time favorite movies, Run Lola Run is an obviously German piece that tells a story in a highly unusual way: what if you did one thing differently in the course of your day. How subtle of a change would there be? Think of a techno, hard hitting, much more angry/sexy version of “Its a Wonderful Life,” and you’ll get it – kind of. Just watch it with your date and some popcorn, and be prepared to buy the catchy soundtrack when you’re finished.
Will Ferrell stars in a semi-serious role about a perfectionist accountant for the IRS, whose attention to detail extends to such minutiae as how many tiles line the bathroom walls and how many steps it takes to cross the street. But when he meets tattooed entrepreneur and baker Ana (Maggie Gyllenhaal) because of a internal voice that seems to be narrating his every move, he has to wonder if he’s in love – or just plan crazy. Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson and Queen Latifah flesh out this dramatic, romantic, dark comedy. Stranger Than Fiction is perfect for couples who love strong, quirky, original stories.
A young lady informed me about the premise of this film before I’d watched it. “The fifth element is love!” she exclaimed when she found the DVD amongst my things. So yes, The Fifth Element is love, but there’s a whole lot of action, sensuality and laughs on the way to getting there.
Romeo and Juliet is a lovely story, but most of us have heard the story way too many times already. For a lovely twist on fated lovers facing serious adversity, try Brokeback Mountain. Prefer more inclusion to your romance than just gay men? Try Better Than Chocolate. Although not a film for the conservative or those who don’t appreciate a range of gender love, one of my all time favorite scenes is housed within this gem of a love story (think naked bodies and a paint canvas).
Ok, I’ll admit it: I used to have a thing for Christian Slater when I was younger. So it’s no surprise that this angsty film about a shy teenager who turns into Howard Stern over the local ham radio airwaves makes my top date movie list, but it isn’t just because I’m biased. There was a plot beyond the political statements Pump Up The Volume tried to make at the time: that an aggressive, attractive gal could bring a shy guy out of his shell and into her arms, which is (now that I think of it) the theme in many a Judd Apatow movie in recent years, i.e. Superbad. But for those who like their romance significantly darker (and likely never remade due to the sensitive nature of the film), I’d suggest another 80s era Slater film, Heathers, instead.
If a list of the top date movies didn’t include at least one in the 007 saga would be seriously lacking. My pick of the lot is the recent Casino Royale with blondie Daniel Craig at the helm. There’s lots of sensuality in this film along with tons of action and techie bits for the geeks in all of us – a perfect mix for those wanting to enjoy something purely entertaining with a loved one. Another recent choice would be superhero movie Ironman, which is sleek, sexy and very sophisticated
I realize I’ve got a fair number of 80s movies in this list, which is more telling of my age than my tastes in film. But for those who haven’t enjoyed seeing Molly Ringwald’s panties displayed in the bathroom by the King of the Nerds, 16 Candles is a must-see for those who never thought they’d find The One, but against all odds, did.
A coming of age, somewhat autobiographical movie about a young gent who wins a Rolling Stone contest in the 60s. His grand prize? A tour with an up and coming rock band to write about his experiences. Viewers can only imagine the life lessons he learns in Almost Famous‘ sweet and poignant tale – including those about love, sex and romance.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could meet someone, and not because you used an online dating site or went on a blind date? Does being at the right place and at the right time matter anymore when it comes to love? Actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply’s characters in Before Sunrise seem to luck out in this 90 minute long Viennese date captured on film, and only the most hard-hearted among us wouldn’t be able to smile at their surprise.
A date movie list wouldn’t be complete without the king of all date movies: There’s Something About Mary. If you haven’t laughed your way through it already, this film is a hilarious story about a thirty-something gent (Ben Stiller) who stumbles upon the opportunity to woo his high school crush (Cameron Diaz). Between seeing Stiller in braces and Diaz with, er, some funky hair gel, this is the kind of film to watch when the two of you need a shared giggle.
Sandra Bullock plays a shy, lonely Chicago “L” seller that is madly in love with one of her daily customers who hasn’t the foggiest idea she even exists. So when one day the object of her affections is pushed in front of the train, she doesn’t hesitate to jump in and help. The story unfolds quickly with a “who’s on first”-type mistake: one of the nurses assumes Bullock’s character is actually the injured man’s fiance. One of the better romantic comedies to come out of the 90s, I can watch While You Were Sleeping over and over again.
Hate date movies, or romantic comedies? Then this is the choice for you. Moonstruck stars a large cast, most notably Cher and Nicholas Cage, and depicts a family’s unlucky take on love and romance. Such as? The One can smack you in the face at the most inopportune times – like when you’re about to be married to someone else.
Share in the comments. Let me know your thoughts. Which movies should be on this list, and which shouldn’t? Did this list prompt you to share a lovely date night with your partner? (I hope so!)