Finding a date movie can be strangely stressful. Does this new person like horror movies? Are they excited about political thrillers? Does she like action? Does he secretly want to see the female reboot of his favorite series?
The time-honored movie date tradition, the romantic comedy, provides a wealth of possibilities. If it’s good, both of you will come out laughing and feeling good, which is promising. If it’s supremely unfunny, both parties will unite in their distaste of the plot and/or unbelievable chemistry between the leads.
Movies are a great way to show off one’s personality or level of sophistication (that does not mean dragging some poor person you barely know to see a film in a language neither of you understands to show off said sophistication, there truly is a difference between sophistication and plain old pretentiousness). So what’s a person contemplating a movie date supposed to do?
Grabbing a random handful, some of the best romantic comedies of all time are When Harry Met Sally, Manhattan, High Society (some people pick The Philadelphia Story, but how can anyone beat Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong?), Four Weddings and a Funeral (it’s strange that the Brits tend not to like it since they consider it too American when it is purely British humor), Pretty Woman, and Love Actually. There are others to be sure, but these are the gold standard.
If going to the theater is an integral part of your date plan, we’ve got you covered with some of the best date films of 2016:
Start with perhaps the most unconventional choice for a date movie ever: Deadpool. If you lived under a rock this year, Ryan Reynolds stars in this Marvel film about the aforementioned unconventional hero. With cursing and action up the wazoo, it’s one of the funniest movies of the year. Deadpool takes aim at the superhero genre while simultaneously honoring its entertainment value. At the heart of the story is the romance between the two main characters, which strangely holds the story together beautifully.
Another unconventional choice for a date is The Nice Guys. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe star as an unlikely pair who has to solve a crime in 1970s Los Angeles. The performances are especially strong, which shouldn’t be surprising, but what is a shock is just how funny and touching the film becomes. It’s perfect date bait.
Next up is Sing Street, a film written and directed by John Carney (of Once film fame). Anyone who has never seen Once, should do themselves a favor: stop reading this, find it on a streaming service or find a DVD/Blu-Ray, and see this film. It is both touching, heartbreaking, and the music is phenomenal. But back to Sing Street. Like Once, this is an utterly charming film about teenagers starting a band in the 1980s. Although it’s a familiar story, the music, the performances by the young cast, and the expertise of the filmmaking makes this one of the best films of the year.
For those who like to stray into the offbeat, an adventurous couple might like to try to see Men & Chicken, directed by Anders Thomas Jensen and starring Mads Mikkelson. It’s a Danish film that can only be categorized as a dark comedy about two brothers who go in search of their real father and find their true family on a small island. This is a very strange film to be sure, but the performances are mesmerizing and there are some laugh out loud funny scenes.
Absolutely everyone is waiting for the new Harry Potter film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, due out near Thanksgiving. The original films are meant for all ages so they’re designed to be fun. The new series stars Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, and Jon Voight. Those who liked the previous Harry Potter films definitely have this one on their lists, and if there’s someone on the planet who has never seen the franchise this is a good entry point since it has nothing to do with the previous films. Either way, it’s a perfect date film, so have at it.
We saved the best for last: the perfect date film still to come this year is La La Land. It stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and is directed by Damien Chazelle, who previously directed the phenomenal Whiplash (for which J.K. Simmons won an Oscar). La La Land is a new musical with original music that had audiences at film festivals standing and cheering. This promises to be a super date movie.