Date Ideas

Romeo, You Freakin’ Slimebag: 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:

Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks

What It Is: Tom Hanks stars in the true story of Richard Phillips and the MV Maersk Alabama, a freighter hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.

Like an action-heavy version of Zero Dark Thirty, a dater who insists upon catching Captain Phillips should walk away with cool points.

How It Shapes the Date:
You don’t have to be a current events junkie to be astounded by Bourne Ultimatum and United 93 director Paul Greengrass’ most recent drama (although if your date is completely in the dark on this particular high seas catastrophe, he/she may not have much of a macro view of the world). Over the course of his piracy procedural, Greengrass barrels past depiction to full-on immersion. You feel like one Phillips’ crewmates — complete with gun to the head. Captain Phillips achieves absolute tension without resorting to violence that would turn many away. Like an action-heavy version of Zero Dark Thirty, a dater who insists upon catching Captain Phillips should walk away with cool points.

Make It: A second date

Romeo & Juliet

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What It Is: The latest incarnation of Shakespeare’s classic love story was written by the Downton Abbey guy and stars the tween from True Grit and a hunk ripped from the pages of Tiger Beat.

Poetic dialogue is reduced to Hallmark greeting card copy. The couple’s brief encounters are like conservative middle school dances –“Arms length apart, please!”

How It Shapes the Date:
This movie is not for you. Look past the obvious hooks as a date movie. Yes, it’s about two young lovers who instantly devote themselves to one another. Yes, they’re so in love they commit the ultimate romantic act to ensure they’ll always be together. It should make us swoon and believe that love really exists out there in the world. But this movie doesn’t; It’s a chaste, passionless, vapid interpretation. Poetic dialogue is reduced to Hallmark greeting card copy. The couple’s brief encounters are like conservative middle school dances –“Arms length apart, please!” Their pivotal scene of consummation is an awkward, worst-case scenario for a couple who clearly should not be going to bed together. Good lord, this is a mood killer packaged as a timeless tale of love. No.

Make It: A fourth date to stay in and watch the sensual, mildly campy 1968 version on Netflix.

Escape from Tomorrow

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What It Is: A middle aged man finally snaps from the mundanity of life at – where else – Disney World.

There’s plenty to love for guys and gals, especially those with an interest in experimental film and the oddities of David Lynch, but as a shared experience, it might leave both parties feeling a bit icky.

How It Shapes the Date:
Escape from Tomorrow made waves earlier this year for its guerrilla filmmaking tactics — it was shot entirely at Disney theme parks without actually having permission to do so. The result is a nightmarish examination of the male psyche, a provocative film that’s probably not a great date movie. There’s plenty to love for guys and gals, especially those with an interest in experimental film and the oddities of David Lynch, but as a shared experience, it might leave both parties feeling a bit icky. And not just because it contains shots of poop.

Make It: An eighth date.

Zero Charisma

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What It Is: An indie dramedy focused on a Dungeons & Dragons playing outsider whose world is thrown into a tizzy when a hipster know-it-all joins his weekly game.

Watch Zero Charisma, a movie that shows what happens when gamers don’t engage socially — unlike your date, who definitely does — and how an openness for the geeky side can help them flourish.

How It Shapes the Date:
A couple that games together stays together. Potentially. Let me take this opportunity to say that while this may sound like the nerdiest movie ever, Zero Charisma reminds us that gamers are people too. What looks like man-children geeks losing themselves to a trivial fantasy world is, in fact, a routine creative exercise in storytelling and strategic thinking. Do not shame your future date for playing D&D! Even better: Watch Zero Charisma, a movie that shows what happens when gamers don’t engage socially — unlike your date, who definitely does — and how an openness for the geeky side can help them flourish. A lovely film.

Make It: A third date, the necessary discussion of what it means for you or your date to be a tabletop gamer. Deep breath. Be strong.

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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