Whatever mood you want to set, here are 15 winning flicks that cover all the bases of a successful date-laughter, conversation, romance, and ample opportunity to pause, stop, and if needed, rewind.
Comedies are perfect for a first-date because they’ll put you both in a jovial mood. And let’s face it – we all look great when we’re smiling. A U.S. study of personal ads showed that women were more likely to seek out men with a sense of humour and men were more interested in women who laughed heartily in their presence. So if you’re thinking about bonding over a playful movie, try these first:
Four Weddings and a Funeral
For those who love all things offbeat, there’s nothing better than quirky British humour. Four Weddings and a Funeral pokes fun at the ups and downs of dating. A brilliant script and performances by Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant will have you rolling on the floor – not a bad idea, actually.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Swashbucklers abound in this funny tale of a misfit pirate and the curse of an evil gold medallion. “For the guys, it’s got action, adventure, explosions and fighting on the high seas,” says Angela Growse, a Toronto physiotherapist. “For the girls, there’s romance, an idyllic tropical backdrop, rugged men and Johnny Depp.”
There’s Something About Mary
With its wacky mix of cute girly antics, raunchy humour and odd-yet-sweet romance, this Farrelly brothers’ creation is a well-rounded winner. Men and women adore Cameron Diaz’s character and Ben Stiller is over-the-top hilarious.
Use this bag of cinematic tricks to get your beau to open up and share a little bit about himself. You can go one of two routes: choose a thought-provoking flick and watch him flex his cerebral muscles, or, take a trip down memory lane with a movie guaranteed to spark some reminiscing.
Inspirational movies are the best medicine when you’re fumbling with your own emotions. This tale of a boy, born in poverty and pursuing his dream to dance, will get you talking about your own aspirations. “It has it all – family dynamics, childhood dreams, gender/sex politics, socio-economic circumstances, best friends and first kisses,” says Philip Wong, an executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bi Youth Line in Toronto. “And it got my friend and I talking about childhood aspirations.”
Do the Right Thing
If Spike Lee directs a film, you know it deals with some serious social issues. In this case, the story deals with building racial tension over the course of one very hot, summer day in Brooklyn and the chain-of-events that lead to a riotous explosion. Everyone who watches this film will have a different perspective on who fueled the fire – precisely why it will kindle provoking conversation.
Step into the mind of a man who has no memory, but finds himself searching for his wife’s murderer. Memento will keep you guessing from beginning to end. “From its unexpected plot twists and turns, Memento creates an environment that leaves the viewer asking questions,” says Jarlen Caden, Chatelaine.com’s web producer. “The unresolved and unusual storyline is a must for encouraging conversation.”
There are very few Generation X-ers who didn’t applaud this film as a retrospective on the anti-corporate, anti-conformity, “all-I-got-in-college-was-this-T-shirt” angst that most twentysomethings experience. Couple this with watching scruffy Ethan Hawke and adorable Winona Ryder battle their love-hate chemistry, and you’ll feel like you’re gliding through your own date in no time.
The charm’s in the fromage. This geek-meets-girl theme leaves you with a warm, sentimental feeling. And, if you grew up in the 1980s, you’ll unite in laughter over big hair and gaudy clothes – a perfect excuse for checking old driver’s licenses and yearbook pics featuring long-forgotten mullet haircuts.
The Princess Bride
Almost everyone loves this farcical fairy tale. It’s funny, features the late World Wrestling Federation’s Andre the Giant, and explores the themes of romance, heroism and everlasting love. Does your date have a soft side? Reveal his underbelly and discover if you’re compatible.
Research from the University of Michigan shows that watching romantic movies can boost progesterone levels, bringing couples closer together. If you need a little prompting to open your heart – and arms – to a new companion, perhaps these flicks will do the trick.
It’s very simple: boy meets girl on a train. They talk. They find romance. They get off the train and spend the day together engaged in intense and soul-searching conversation, and then, before sunrise, they part ways. This movie proves that love can be discovered on a first date. If it helps you achieve desired results, you’ll definitely want to check out Before Sunset, the sequel.
Need an excuse to hide under the blankets? This creepy classic should do it. A young boy and his parents spend the winter in a resort hotel possessed by the ghosts of its evil past. “With a running time of more than two hours and more genuine scares than today’s horror films, The Shining provides plenty of opportunity for extra-curricular activity,” says Thomas Tate, a film director from Toronto.
Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)
If you’re looking to spice things up over a home-cooked dinner, wine and a movie, consider this steamy, subtitled Mexican tale of love suppressed by responsibilities, but expressed through food. Tip: this film is best served with a sumptuous chocolate dessert.
There’s no doubt boys bond over action films. A University of Michigan study shows that high-aggression flicks can raise testosterone levels in men. Since testosterone has long been associated with enhanced libido, maybe they’re onto something?
Yes, this film has an intelligent plot, intricate script, colourful characters, fantastic cast and great soundtrack. It’s also full of fighting, action and sex. Your man will appreciate all these things. But it’s the gratuitous shots of Brad Pitt – shirt off and in peak physical form – that really gives Fight Club its edge!
For a dose of Canadiana, Toronto street-spotting and fatalistic Armageddon, this film sends the message that life is precious – so long as you don’t wait for the world to end to realize it. Who will you spend your last moments with? Better yet, how?
Ooh and ahh over fantastic special effects and consider what life would be like underground. Or, in the process of watching Neo in his imaginary Matrix world, stir the pot with talk about your own deep, dark fantasies. “Movies with strong female characters like The Matrix are all great,” says Tracey Hoey, a Chatelaine forum member from Burlington, Ont. “I don’t have to worry about the guy being bored, and they always put me in a great mood.”
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