Date Ideas

‘Frozen’ Is Great Romance Regardless of Age: This Week in Date Movies

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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:

Frozen

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What It Is: The latest Disney animated musical adapts Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen for a modern look at love and relationships. Decidedly un-Disney Princess-like.

Frozen has great songs, decent animation, and a surprisingly sense of humor. It’s not perfect, but it’s a perfect date movie.

How It Shapes the Date:
A movie can be romantically empowering when it decides that romance isn’t it’s number one priority. Disney’s Frozen has that effect. It’s a lavish, 3D animated film that’s written and orchestrated for audiences of all ages. “Older kids” (what I’m calling millennials now) will enjoy the surprisingly realistic women at the center of the movie: There’s Anna, a do-gooder who learns that love isn’t everything, and Elsa, Anna’s sister, a superpowered princess who closes herself off to the world to protect people from her “differences.” (There have been a number of readings of the film that allude to Elsa’s distress as a discovery of sexual identity. While that may not be directly addressed in Frozen, it is a sound theory). And then there’s Kristoff, who could easily be another Prince Charming type but becomes a great friend for Anna. There’s potential for more that both of them acknowledge, but first Anna has to learn to love herself. That’s beautiful. Frozen has great songs, decent animation, and a surprisingly sense of humor. It’s not perfect, but it’s a perfect date movie.

Make It: A second date.

Oldboy

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What It Is: Spike Lee’s remake of the popular 2003 Korean thriller stars Josh Brolin as an alcoholic deadbeat captured by unknown kidnappers and imprisoned for 20 years. You know, a feel good movie.

Unless you’re into some serious kink, Oldboy will leave you without anything to say, and worse, in the mood to curl up in a ball and not touch anyone for at least 48 hours.

How It Shapes the Date:
Oldboy is all about revenge — bloody, sick, ruthless revenge. And Brolin’s twisted game of cat and mouse delves into some seriously icky sexual territory, all in an effort to make your skin crawl (saying more would sound the spoiler alert alarm). This is all consistent with the original film — a more artful enactment that you can watch right now on Netflix — but without pinning purpose to the gore and perversity. It all feels like shock value. Not what you want from a date movie. Even the way Brolin eats dumplings when he’s trapped inside a motel room-like prison cell is staged to disgust. Unless you’re into some serious kink, Oldboy will leave you without anything to say, and worse, in the mood to curl up in a ball and not touch anyone for at least 48 hours.

Make It: Don’t.

Mandela: Long Road to Freedom

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What It Is: A sprawling biopic of Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid revolutionary and former President of South Africa. Idris Elba takes on the role with Naomie Harris costarring as his equally-important wife, Winnie.

Few of the people who catch Mandela: Long Road to Freedom will be leading a revolution quite like the film’s subject, but in relationships, there’s always a question of what comes first, work or a significant other. This might be a movie for when the relationship is solid.

How It Shapes the Date:
If you and your date have patience and an affinity for history, the comprehensive, 147-minute look at Mandela’s life way be worth the investment. The film peers into every milestone on the leader’s record, from his early days as a lawyer to his rebellious actions against the white, pro-Apartheid government to his 27 year stint in jail before being elected President of the country. Though not quite provocative or stylish enough to make it essential viewing, the film does highlight Mandela’s flaws, specifically in the marital department. Over and over, Mandela chooses his cause over his loved ones. He had a first marriage that fizzled out because he spent time away from home and couldn’t keep it in his pants. Later, he married Winnie, though it would only be two years until he committed acts of violence against the government. His eventual life sentence severed the relationship, Winnie becoming an advocate for violence while Mandela drifted toward forgiveness to the whites in power. Few of the people who catch Mandela: Long Road to Freedom will be leading a revolution quite like the film’s subject, but in relationships, there’s always a question of what comes first, work or a significant other. This might be a movie for when the relationship is solid.

Make It: A fifth date.

Homefront

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What It Is: Written by Sylvester Stallone, the all-brawn-no-brains action movie pits Jason Statham against James Franco, fulfilling someone’s holiday wishes.

Homefront is about inhabiting the lone wolf persona — even when you have a daughter to take care of. Action buffs may find something to gnaw on here, but even that component of the film is lackluster. Can’t couples get another True Lies or Mr. and Mrs. Smith up in here?

How It Shapes the Date:
There are brainless, run-and-gun movies that make for great date movies. The kind where heroes and heroines fight side-by-side, taking turns falling into each other’s arms against explosive scenery. Homefront is not that movie. The Louisiana-set action pic sidelines any interesting female characters to feature bro-on-bro… dawdling. It’s hard to even call it an acton movie, as Statham and Franco spend most of the movie mumbling about their plans instead of busting down doors and cracking skulls. Even a trace of humanity would make Homefront a more enjoyable, throwaway date movie, but they make a point to write-out Statham’s character’s wife (she died off-screen, making him one of those cool, single father-types) and pit every other character in the movie against him. Homefront is about inhabiting the lone wolf persona — even when you have a daughter to take care of. Action buffs may find something to gnaw on here, but even that component of the film is lackluster. Can’t couples get another True Lies or Mr. and Mrs. Smith up in here?

Make It: Fourth date, but I warned you.

Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on Vulture, Time Out New York, and The Hollywood Reporter. He is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino.

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