This Week in Date Movies

Zac Efron Is Ready to Poison Your Future Relationship: 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:

That Awkward Moment

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What It Is:

Zac Efron and his two buddies vow to remain single in the face of romantic possibilities — why make a love connection when you can bang any chick you want? Lo and behold, the misogynist oafs fail in their mission.

How It Shapes the Date:

Though it’s a semi-accurate representation of necessary pick-up game tactics, That Awkward Moment is toxic to a budding relationship. In this rom-com, the men are always right, despite being completely misguided in their romantic lives and making unforgivable decisions when trying to fix their errors. Women are objects to be sexed with and Sesame Street puppets who deliver sage advice at just the right moment. If a straight couple take in That Awkward Moment looking for harmless lovey-dovey fluff, they’ll either take joy in flipping the bird to screen when the credits start rolling or have their views of potential relationships warped by the movie’s hazy message. This is a movie that makes dating look easy instead of interesting, like a ball and chain instead of a fruitful possibility. Its storybook ending  can’t make up for its complete lack of awareness. Ingesting hemlock would kill your date slower than That Awkward Moment.

Make It:

Don’t.

Labor Day

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What It Is:

A grim romantic tale between a mentally-unhinged woman (Kate Winslet) and an escaped convict that takes refuge in her home (Josh Brolin). Together, they make pie. Sweet, sweet pie.

How It Shapes the Date:

The latest from Juno and Young Adult director Jason Reitman, based on a book by Joyce Maynard, is a strange little movie that might be too chastely erotic  to make for comfortable date viewing. Labor Day is like a portrait of Stockholm Syndrome filtered through the Nicholas Sparks lens, both saccharine and deeply unsettling. A scene where Winslet and Brolin bake peach pie together is all sorts of metaphorical sexi-/creepiness. If you’re  toying with the idea of role-playing or want to see how your date responds to adding a little danger into mix, Labor Day might be the fire needed to light the fuse. Otherwise, dodge this one.

Make It:

A fifth date, with a matinee show and a night of steamy baking.

Best Night Ever

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What It Is:

A found footage bachelorette party movie that sends four girls into the Hell that is Las Vegas. From the folks that brought us Date Movie.

How It Shapes the Date:

Though it’s leveraging the crude hilarity of movies like The Hangover and Bridesmaids, Best Night Ever can’t quite transcend its bathroom humor. It’s a movie that finds excuses to crack wise about burly, Jell-O-wrestling women and the wonders of ejaculate. There are a few highlights, but you’ll feel bad laughing. Despite being a movie about women being women, it’s a bro humor movie. Enjoyment with a date depends on what wavelength you both exist on. Do you both find the image of a rage-filled obese woman smashing the windows of a car funny? This one’s for you.

Make It:

A very fourth date, but only after you’ve each down 10 tequila shots.

The Oscar-nominated Short Films

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What It Is:

The films in those Oscar categories that you’ve never heard of because, where the heck do you go to watch short films?

How It Shapes the Date:

Checking out this year’s batch of shorts might be the safest cinematic gamble a dater can make. It has a cool factor, being unlike any of the other full-length movies playing alongside it. And it has a built in safety net: If one movie is terrible, a few minutes later it’s over and a new short kicks in. Documentary, Live-action narrative, and animated short options mean there’s something for everyone. ADHD not required.

Make It:

A first date.