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 Grand Budapest Hotel
What It Is: The latest from Wes Anderson ships audiences off to the made-up, Eastern European, Republic of Zubrowka, and its lavish retreat, the Grand Budapest Hotel. A madcap caper, a scrumptuous morsel of nostalgia, and a frightening portrait of war, the film contends for the claim of Anderson’s best film yet.
How It Shapes the Date: If your date isn’t up on his or her Wes Anderson or doesn’t have a patience for the archaic stylings of ’30s/’40s era cinema (italics, for additional snobbiness), then Grand Budapest Hotel may not be the right choice. A newb is better off biting into the writer-director’s earlier films, like Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums, which example his taste of heightened drama while nesting it in a recognizable reality. If this is you, you’re lucky: What fan wouldn’t kill for a Wes Anderson marathon with a newfound love interest? If your date is an Anderson buff, get thee to a theater stat. Skyfall‘s Ralph Fiennes leads the “that guy!” cast in a zippy drama that’s bubbling over with whimsy, romance, and a tinge of sadness. Grand Budapest’s transportive quality means you’re not taking your date to the movies, you’re taking them to a dream, and by the end, you’ll both be dying to indulge in champagne, macaroons, and string concertos. That’s a promise.
Make It: A first date.
300: Rise of the Empire
What It Is: The sequel to 2006’s muscle-laden comic book movie sticks to what worked the first time: slow-motion carnage, expressionistic blood splattering, and ripped dudes fighting other ripped dudes. This time, they add the radiant and ferocious Eva Green as a cherry on top.
How It Shapes the Date: Unless you’re positive your date is really into Greek history or really into avant-garde hyper-violence, 300: Rise of the Empire may not be the wisest choice. It’s loud, it’s proud, it’s dumb as bricks, and it probably made more sense as a set of GIFs but Hollywood hasn’t fallen that far. The movie has one enticing scene that might be worth the $20+ it requires to catch it in theaters. Eva Green’s Artemisia calls her nemesis Themistokles in for a negotiation meeting. They wind up having what can only be described as “fight sex” — Artemisia straddles Themistokles, the two thrusting their way into every wall of the room as if they’re duking it out mano a mano. The climax is – transcendent. So take a date to this movie and bail after this scene. That’s what your carnal urges will want you to do anyway.
Make It: Whichever date can end comfortably end in the bedroom.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
What It Is: Rocky and Bullwinkle‘s time traveling duo get the big screen treatment from the people who brought you Shrek and The Lion King.
How It Shapes the Date: Chances are, even if you have a kid,you’re leaving him/her at home for dinner and a movie night. So why bother with a cartoon adventure aimed at young ones? If your date is in the older millennial age range, there’s a high percent chance that he/she was weened on Nickelodeon cartoons. Back in the day, Rocky and Bullwinkle was in heavy rotation. So despite the original Peabody’s Improbable History shorts being 50 years old, reruns created a nostalgia factor. Nothing warms the heart faster than nostalgia. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is easily the week’s safest date option, full of broad, hug-it-out family drama and a surprising amount of word play. Like the cartoon, Peabody remains a pun-master. “But you can’t have your cake, and edict, too,” he tells Sherman. Later, he references his favorite cocktail, Einstein on the Beach (that’s a Philip Glass opera joke, folks). Entertain your brainiac date with this nerdy-as-hell remake.
Make It: A second date.
What It Is: A casual competition of stunt stupidity turns nightmarish when the cash prizes and required violence escalate. Would you cut off your pinky for $25,000? The main characters face and answer this question.
How It Shapes the Date: Cheap Thrills is a pitch black thriller/comedy hybrid that is not for everyone. In fact, it might be for very few — it’s a movie about horrible people doing horrible things (the pinky amputation is about halfway up the list of insanity). Cheap Thrills is available on VOD, meaning you and your date could theoretically stay at home and rent it for the night. If your date’s twisted sense of humor is tightly bound, that might be fine. But if this indie exploitation exercise sounds ideal and your date isn’t versed in ways of deranged cinema, wait until Cheap Thrills arrives in theaters on March 21 and do it right. Start the night with junkfood. Segue to beers — lots of beers. And then slip into a midnight screening at the rowdiest theater in your town. This is a movie where you want 100 other people echoing your audible gasps. Cheap Thrills needs to be more of an experience than the typical movie date.
Make It: A third date.