Be careful about the messages your date movie is sending

    Hint: If you’re trying to impress your date,
    don’t put yourself side-by-side with a fictional heartthrob like Edward Cullen.
    Photo courtesy of

    Jack and Jill went on their first date together to go see Twilight (2008) — and now all Jill can think about is Edward Cullen, the celibate and beautiful vampire of the hit franchise. No offense Jack, but can you live up to Edward, the supposedly perfect man? I’d say for the future it would be much better to avoid these awkward situations, and pick a film that doesn’t set your date’s expectations so high.

    With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, couples and cupids are popping up everywhere. Movie dates can be the perfect way to start a new relationship, help you find Mr./Ms. Right, Mr./Ms. Right Now, or maybe just a movie buddy if you’re looking for something platonic.

    Yet movie dates, as simple as they may sound, can carry a lot of weight. The movie you choose can set the mood for the evening and help communicate your intentions for the night. It’s not simply about choosing a type of movie, it’s about choosing the specific movie. To start, I would recommend brainstorming about this date before actually going on it. Ask yourself: “How well do I know this person?” “ Why am I going out on this date?” “What do I want to come out of this date?”

    You need something that will mean something for you and your date — something that will be enjoyed by both, and maybe serve as a conversation starter for the walk back to your dorm. Or, if you’re watching on DVD, it could provide an excuse to stay put in said dorm. Of course, the type of movie you choose to watch depends on the person and on you. So in the spirit of chocolates, love letters and the color red, here are some tips so your snuggly Valentine’s movie date will turn out more successful than Jack and Jill’s.

    Some tips for the first date

    First-date movies can (and probably should) be very different than those you might watch when you’re already in a relationship. Why? They tend to be the “weeders” (yeah, unfortunately just like that econ class you took last quarter), and can also relieve the stress of first-date small talk. When it comes to shallow first-date impressions, watching a movie is a great way to see how compatible you are with someone, whether you’ve known them for a while or not. It’s a low-pressure way to have a good time. In general, choosing a light film is probably the way to go on the first date.

    “As long as you come out of the theater laughing, feeling somewhat comfortable with each other, and having something to talk about, then it’s gone well,” McCormick sophomore Zach Patterson said.

    Sure, choosing to see a movie that you can both enjoy seems to be a good choice, but beware: what you think is just a fun movie might be suggesting intentions you don’t have.

    “If you pick the movie, it kind of says what you want out of it,” Weinberg sophomore Nandita Seshadri said.

    In other words, if you want to take it slow, save When Harry Met Sally (1989) or Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) for a later date, and go with a movie that has a bit of romance, but not too much.

    Tips for the second date

    Congrats! You’ve made it through the first date.

    To ensure a good outcome on this date, I would keep to the same types of movies as the first date, yet staying away from others are still key. War/Holocaust movies can be pretty heavy, and Seinfeld didn’t do pretty well on his date to Schindler’s List. I would say Atonement (2007) or Casablanca (1942) would be good; Non-Schindler’s List Nazis are okay, and these can be great conversation starters, especially if you’re both intellectual types. Political movies that could lead a conversation toward argument territory, such as An Inconvenient Truth (2006) could turn a date ugly; you might spend the rest of the night picking up recyclables.

    Movies like Superbad (2007) or ones with baby themes (Think Juno (2007), Knocked Up (2007)) can be a bit awkward, unless you and your date like to discuss the adventures of pubescent boys or pre-marital pregnancies on your oh-so-romantic date. On a similar note, chick flicks like Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), are a lot of fun, but probably aren’t the best: guys get notoriously bored during chick flicks. Plus ladies, your date might not look too great in comparison with Colin Firth. I’d save it for a lonely night instead.

    Lastly, I would try to stay away from the tear-jerkers—you know, Dr. Zhivago (1965), An Affair to Remember (1957)/Sleepless in Seattle (1993), The Notebook (2004). Crying can be and usually is awkward. Even more so on a first date. Even more so if it’s the guy who tears up.

    For the long-term relationship

    You should know your date and his/her movie preferences pretty well by now. Because your relationship has lasted so long, the pressure isn’t as high for your movie decision (yea!) For you, anything goes! So feel free to whip out the extra butter on the popcorn and/or the long, romantic Italian flick.

    For the platonic relationship

    If you’ve decided to put romance on hold and opt for a friendly fun evening instead, watching these types of movies or even ones not mentioned can work splendidly. Choosing a fun movie that you both just want to see, such as an Oscar nominees or a 1950s cult classic you’ve had your eye on can do. Going on a no-strings-attached movie date is great. Still, it would probably be smart to still stay away from the super romantic movies if you want to keep your relationship platonic.

    Movies can be great for any occasion and can help guide your date plans this Valentine’s Day, not matter what you’re looking to get out of the evening. Movie dates can help you see how you and your date react to different stories, jokes, music, actors, etc. So even if Jack and Jill end up happily ever after, Jack knows better than choosing a romance like Twilight for next time.


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