Picking a “date movie” isn’t as easy as scrolling through listings and finding something that suits your fancy. Don’t forget the “date” half. When the credits roll and conversation picks back up, the film is still front and center. Here’s how this weekend’s movies will twist your night, for better or worse:
The World’s End
What It Is: The folks behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz target the dangers of nostalgia in their latest comedy, the ultimate bar crawl-gone-wrong. Like the perfect pint of beer, The World’s End has hints of ’70s sci-fi and British sitcoms, while the full flavor is pure funny.
How It Shapes the Date: Like Shaun and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End has a wicked sense of humor. Maybe too wicked for those unaccustomed to the antics of stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. World’s End is about friends pounding back beers in a 12-pub marathon, it’s about a Body Snatchers-esque alien invasion, and it’s about a burnout (Pegg) pining for his past and confronting his destructive qualities. Heavy material — not the traditional mile-a-minute joke fest that makes for a softball evening. Pair World’s End gastropub-style with an outing to your local beer garden, especially if your date likes his/her comedy bitter.
Make It: A fourth date for Americans, a first date if either of you from the UK.
What It Is: More beer! Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson play two brewery coworkers teetering on the edge of a romance. Problem is, Johnson’s character is all but engaged to his girlfriend (Anna Kendrick). The relationship woes get even messier when Wilde’s boyfriend takes an interest in Kendrick.
How It Shapes the Date: From director Joe Swanberg, a founding father of mumblecore and the reason we have people like Lena Dunham and Greta Gerwig in our lives, Drinking Buddies is a romantic comedy that prioritizes honestly over happy endings. Physical and intellectual attraction can screw up a perfect friendship. We’ve all been there — making the emotional hurdle ripe for unflinching depiction. That’s a tough subject to enjoy with someone you’re wooing. Drinking Buddies comments on relationships past and future while being squarely in the present. A lovely film, but do you want to be questioning personal connections when you’re out with someone you’re learning to invest in?
Make It: Despite the drinking camaraderie, this may be a relationship ender. Either for solo viewing or your last date.
Short Term 12
What It Is: In the microcosm of a Texas foster-care facility, Grace (Brie Larson) juggles her responsibilities as a supervisor with her own self-defeating tendencies. This hushed, little drama knocked out audiences at this year’s SXSW and lives up to the hype.
How It Shapes the Date: All the feelings up in this movie. Short Term 12 sends Larson through the emotional wringer, having her deal with suicidal teens, her own unexpected pregnancy, and a boyfriend (John Gallagher Jr.) ready to take things to the next level. But there isn’t a source of devious behavior. Grace, her boyfriend, and all the kids in her facility are sweet people tortured by the mysterious motives of the brain. Short Term 12 is a hopeful tearjerker that suggests anyone can get through life, and love it along the way, if they hold tight to the loving people around them. There are hours of warm and fuzzy cuddling in store for two people who catch this one.
Make It: A fifth date, that moment when you’ve peeled back enough layers to reveal a boy/girlfriend’s flaws.
What It Is: A home invasion horror that swaps cheap thrills and picture perfect coeds for a neurotic family dynamic and artful violence. When was the last time a “scary” movie delivered genuine scares?yeah
How It Shapes the Date: You’re Next is a joyous midnight movie experience. In a rare twist, this self-aware slasher flick will turn a night at the movies into an active experience. Yes, it takes a certain type of stomach — there’s enough brutality and blood-spilled that theaters might consider a splash zone — but You’re Next has a wry sense of humor and characters you can’t help but cheer for. Hooting, hollering, and clutching the person next to you as tightly as possible is all encouraged by the on screen mayhem.
Make It: Second date. No one will want to go home alone after You’re Next.
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on New York Magazine’s Vulture, Film.com, Hollywood.com, MTV, and he is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino. He continues to love Groundhog Day.
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