Date Ideas

The Fluffy Rom-Com That Demands Cocoa and Snuggling: 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:

Nebraska

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What It Is: SNL alum Will Forte and Bruce Dern star as a father and son road tripping from Montana to Nebraska in order to claim a Publisher’s Clearinghouse “prize.” A pitstop in the father’s hometown dredges up dark memories and a heap of revelations.

There’s a romantic hope to the movie, a reminder that everything we think we know can flip upside when we actually start listening to the world around us, that makes Nebraska a lovely date movie.

How It Shapes the Date:
There is very little romance in the new film from director Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways). In fact, the first 10 minutes involve a nasty post-break-up chat between Forte’s David and his ex, who didn’t see a future in their stagnant relationship. But there’s a romantic hope to the movie, a reminder that everything we think we know can flip upside down when we actually start listening to the world around us, that makes Nebraska a lovely date movie. As David meets his dad’s old friends, old flames, and old family, he discovers more to the man he had written off as a passive, alcoholic failure. He realizes how in love his parents were, how they outmaneuvered through a town that kept so many locals locked down for eternity. Nebraska has a sharp wit, but in the end it’s a heartwarming drama that will make you want to find someone willing to tell you his/her life story. How about a date?

Make It: A second date.

The Best Man Holiday

Best Man Holiday

What It Is: This follow-up to the 1999 dramedy The Best Man brings back the entire cast for another round of messy relationship shake-ups. Jealousy, regret, and true love are all found under the tree of this Christmas-themed sequel.

Best Man Holiday is full of schmaltz, but it’s also an R-rated romp, full of sex talk and f-bombs — like a real Christmas gathering!

How It Shapes the Date:
Fluffy romantic comedies are often written off because they deal with mircoscopic problems. A little fight that blows up into a screaming match that will inevitably end in hugs and kisses and professions of love. Was that really worth two hours? Best Man Holiday is proof that, sometimes, it is. In the movie, a cast of golden ratio-approved actors, including Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Regina Hall, trek to a Connecticut mansion (pure house porn) to rekindle the friendships that has lost its fire since the first movie. And then they remember why they fell out in the first place. Best Man Holiday is full of schmaltz, but it’s also an R-rated romp, full of sex talk and f-bombs — like a real Christmas gathering! Best Man Holiday sets a big-sweater-cuddling mood people desperately need to cut through the manufactured blasé of the holiday season. (And gents, please note: When, not if, you’re date swoons at Morris Chestnut’s ripped six-pack and muscles on top of muscles, let her/him enjoy it.)

Make It: A third date (and prep the post-screening cocoa).

Charlie Countryman

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What It Is: Shia LaBeouf jumps the Atlantic for a spiritual journey through Bucharest. There, he loses himself to psychedelia, a criminal underbelly and Evan Rachel Wood.

It’s a sweeping, messy little movie that encapsulates American Euro-dreams. It’s dizzying effect might be better than the usual four rounds of drinks.

How It Shapes the Date:
Charlie Countryman is one weird cookie that, even if you’re not a Shia LaBeouf fan, is still worth checking out. For anyone who has or dreams of traveling through a less tourist-driven part of Europe, the film has a transportive quality, dunking us and Shia’s titular character into a foreign world. And everything that an eager adventurer could want to find is found: one crazy night of alcohol, drugs, and loose hook-ups with hostel roommates, a noir-esque mystery that sends Shia racing down the labyrinth of Bucharest, and a love-at-first-sight anchor, Wood’s equally mysterious Gabi, who our hero becomes enamored by, for better or worse. It’s a sweeping, messy little movie that encapsulates American Euro-dreams. It’s dizzying effect might be better than the usual four rounds of drinks.

Make It: A first date.

Frances Ha (Now on Netflix, VOD)

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What It Is: A cheeky, poignant examination of the typical (but not stereotypical) twenty-something millennial. Greta Gerwig rolls through life as the titular character and we happily roll along with her.

Movies are rarely this honest and. Chances are, you and your date will both relate to Frances Ha, and for completely different reasons.

How It Shapes the Date:
Many critics compared the latest from Noah Baumbach (The Squid & the Whale) to Lena Dunham’s Girls, and while the series and the film both center on the ups and downs of one woman’s life, the condensed timeline of Frances Ha opens the door for potent nuance. Those who fear the naval-gazing of independent filmmakers dabbling in such stories should take a chance on this movie. It’s disturbingly relatable to anyone juggling occupational goals, financial demands, and the never-ending woes of singledom (that aren’t really that bad, they just feel like it). Gerwig’s Frances wants to love life and be herself — is that so wrong? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Frances Ha isn’t offering up easy answers, but neither is life. Movies are rarely this honest and. Chances are, you and your date will both relate to Frances Ha, and for completely different reasons.

Make It: A fourth stay-in-order-take-out-grab-a-blanket-hit-the-couch date.

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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