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:
What It Is: A Ten Little Indians-style murder mystery set aboard an airplane. Liam Neeson adapts his Taken performance to play a gruff air marshal who must uncover the identity of an assailant who’s plotting to murder the passengers one by one.
How It Shapes the Date: Instead of spending a day marathoning reruns of Law & Order or Murder, She Wrote (admit it, you do this), try Non-Stop, an ol’ fashioned procedural thriller that’s silly and contrived enough to shock you and your date in the end. Neeson’s exceptional fellow cast members — including Julianne Moore, Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery, House of Cards‘ Corey Stoll, and Oscar favorite Lupita Nyong’o — are designed to satisfy and are worthy of a giant bucket of popcorn and a Sunday afternoon spent on the edge of a theater seat. It’s not too gory, it’s not too complicated, and Neeson continues to own the dad-who-could-beat-up-your-dad persona he’s sharpened in recent years. Non-Stop‘s twists and turns will provide post-movie chitchat for at least an hour, covering pop culture, politics, and the woes of air travel. This movie is date gold.
Make It: A first date.
Son of God
What It Is: The producers of the History Channel’s The Bible mini-series took all of their Jesus footage and cobbled it into a feature-length movie. Because The Passion of the Christ wasn’t the whole story.
How It Shapes the Date: Word is that even if you’re a devout Christian looking for some wholesome entertainment, Son of God does little to add to the conversation (although, maybe the conversation doesn’t need adding to). It’s the Jesus story, straight-forward and dry as ever. The filmmakers behind the project even snipped out footage of Jesus contending with the Devil, as their Satanic actor looked a little too much like President Obama. Depending on how much religion constricts your entertainment needs, you and your date may not have a ton of movie options coming from heretical, often-debauched Hollywood. Son of God serves up exactly what it purports.
Make It: A very nice, quiet, faith-filled second date.
The Great Beauty
What It Is: An aging Italian author coming up on his 65th year reflects on his highs, lows, achievements, and regrets. A great excuse to soak in the stunning landscapes of Rome.
How It Shapes the Date: This weekend, Paolo Sorrentino’s vibrant, existential character piece will vie for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar — so why not take a night in and rent it on video-on-demand? If you or your date has a big ol’ TV, pay a few bucks to take a cinematic vacation like none other. Through the nuanced work of actor Toni Servillo, The Great Beauty translates introspective pondering all while traversing wild Italian parties, ancient structures surrounding Roman piazzas, and the fancy apartments that only millionaires normally set eyes on. But it’s not just eye candy; prepare your date for a little consideration. The Great Beauty is about surface-level indulgences and how real relationships are the core of a fulfilling life. You’ll be glad to watch this film with someone open to snuggling.
Make It: A third date, on someone’s couch.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized, R-Rated Version
What It Is: Remember when Anchorman 2 came out last year? It’s coming out again! New jokes, racier humor, same blueprints.
How It Shapes the Date: If you were like me and rolled the dice on the return of Will Ferrell’s infamous newscaster character, you were met with a viciously funny satire that slayed a full spectrum of audience members. I loved it, my date loved it, everyone loved it. But is it worth a second round? Today’s generation craves nostalgia, even for memories that happened months prior. There’s a bit of romance in recreating one of your earlier dates, especially if you caught Anchorman 2 early in your relationship. It’s the definition of corny, but it’s never too early to relive the moments that sparked romance in the first place. Even if it involves Will Ferrell serenading a shark.
Make It: A first date — all over again!