Date Ideas

Thor and Natalie Portman Fail to Deal with Their Relationship Issues: 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:

Thor: The Dark World

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What It Is: A sequel to 2011’s Thor that ups the fantasy, ups the sci-fi, and ups the nerd vocabulary (the main bad guy’s name is “Malekith the Accursed” and he’s a Dark Elf, just to give you an idea where the bar is set).

Thor: The Dark World should make us want to go home and dress up in capes and armor and throwdown in the sack, riding the high of beautiful people being beautiful. Instead, it’s a whole lot of ‘splosions.

How It Shapes the Date:
There’s a lot going on in Thor: The Dark World — alternate dimensions bleeding over into our own, the elf dude and his magical fluid powers, Thor and his brother Loki yelling at each other in epic speak. Little of it matters. The movie is all about special effect destruction and hammer swinging — which winds up being a hoot, if not a fleeting bit of fluff. For dating purposes, let’s hone in on the romantic angle: Thor and his galfriend Jane (Natalie Portman). At the end of the first movie, after striking up what had the makings of a classic superhero romance (think the first Superman), Thor blew off Jane in order to take his place as Asgard’s rightful king. In the sequel, he tries to make up for it — but damn you Marvel Comics, there are not enough relationship-mending scenes in this movie. A few disgruntled face slaps and a sweet introduction to Thor’s parents is not enough to patch up Thor and Jane’s issues. Thor: The Dark World should make us want to go home and dress up in capes and armor and throwdown in the sack, riding the high of beautiful people being beautiful. Instead, it’s a whole lot of ‘splosions. And warning: If you do catch Thor: The Dark World, stay until the very end of the credits, for an actual payoff to the story’s romantic angle. Or else you’ll leave infuriated.

Make It: A fourth date — a favor you do your date if they really, really want to drag you to this one.

Ass Backwards

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What It Is: Chloe (Casey Wilson) and Kate (June Diane Raphael), two former pageant wannabes who grew up to be two going-nowhere New Yorkers, embark on a road trip to reclaim the crown they never had in the first place.

Ass Backwards is a twisted buddy comedy that’s sick and relentless in an effort to make audiences chuckle.

How It Shapes the Date:
Not since Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion have two comeidennes been given a vehicle that allows them to be so dumb. In a good way! Ass Backwards is a twisted buddy comedy that’s sick and relentless in an effort to make audiences chuckle. There’s a weird myth that continues to float about pop culture that women aren’t as funny as men. Even gents who believe the playing field is even will rattle off their favorite funny people and completely overlook the stand-out females. The reason is Hollywood fails to consistently enable women in comedic roles (for every Bridesmaids, four years and 40 male-driven comedies roll out into theaters). So thank the powers that be for Ass Backwards, a joyous exercise in stupidity that will break the ice for you and a new date.

Make It: A first date.

Best Man Down

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What It Is: After his wedding reception, Scott’s (Justin Long) best man wanders off into the woods and drops dead. Assisting in the funeral arrangements strains his new marriage to Kristin (Jess Weixler), in a kind of hilarious way.

If you or your date’s idea of going to the movies means big spectacle, this one may not be for you, but anyone who gives it a chance should walk away pleased.

How It Shapes the Date:
Leave it to the indie filmmakers to strike a balance between comedy, drama, and genuine couple woes in a way that typical rom-coms never do. Don’t be scared of taking a date to a movie revolving around marriage and the inevitable squabbling of long-term relationships — Best Man Down is a hopeful movie that assures us any bumps in the road can be overcome and that there really isn’t time for regret in an enjoyable life. These days, so many movie romances blossom on the streets of New York or Los Angeles, adding larger than life element. So how refreshing that Best Man Down opts for Minnesota, a compliment to its laid back naturalism. If you or your date’s idea of going to the movies means big spectacle, this one may not be for you, but anyone who gives it a chance should walk away pleased.

Make It: A third date, just to make sure the wedding plot doesn’t come on to strong.

About Time

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What It Is: 20-something Tim (Domhnall Gleason) learns of his inherited ability to time travel within his own life. Of course, he uses it to orchestrate the perfect romance with Mary (Rachel McAdams).

If a date’s immediate reaction to “from the director of Love Actually” is a silent barf face, let him/her know that About Time gets time travel heavy in a mind-boggling way and has a strong father/son element to it.

How It Shapes the Date:
About Time was written and directed by Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill). That should tell you everything you need to know. It’s sappy, it’s mostly illogical, and by the end, men and women alike will be sobbing up a storm (even critics have been admitting the tears flowed for Curtis’ latest). If a date’s immediate reaction to “from the director of Love Actually” is a silent barf face, let him/her know that About Time gets time travel heavy in a mind-boggling way and has a strong father/son element to it. The movie’s not all about lovey dovey feelings. Just mostly.

Make It: A second 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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