Love is in the air
Its that time of year, when the greetings card companies have deigned it appropriate to show affection to your significant other, and every advertising agency scrambles to get a 50 Shades of Grey reference into their copy. Yep, Valentines Day is upon us, and what better way is there to celebrate the life of a priest imprisoned and tortured for wedding Christian couples before suffering a brutal beheading than a trip to the movies?
Romantic comedies are a staple in any list of date movies, and Paul Feigs Bridesmaids is like the final Pokmon evolution of the form. On first appearance, this is a fairly typical chick flick, but for the most part is a witty subversion of the trappings of that sub-genre. With an immensely likeable cast including Kirsten Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne skewering perceptions and coming out with an end result with across-the-board appeal. Its just a shame that one day itll probably be ruined by an all-male remake.
This ones got all the right ingredients A romantic sub-plot that isnt saccharine, a good laugh rate, a heroic celebrity cameo and Woody Harrelson battering the undead with a baseball bat. As tired as the zombie genre has become over the last ten years or so, there are still sparks of imagination to be found, and Zombieland hits all the right notes. Should be a winner.
Meet the Parents
Meet the Parents has all the ingredients a fun cast getting stuck into a script with a solid laughs-per-minute rate, a relatable situation (if your other halfs parents live in a ginormous mansion on a CIA salary anyway) and some ever-reliable cat gags. As Ben Stiller heads to his fiances family home, he clashes with Father in Law to-be Robert De Niro in a string of toe-curling misunderstandings.
Its a film that works as so much more than just a nostalgia trip to the days of silent cinema. A touching romance with a toe-tapping soundtrack and some surprisingly heavy themes at times, its just the right side of the cheesy/uplifting divide and a great choice as a date movie.
Its one of those romantic comedies that everyone falls in love with Audrey Tatou plays an introverted waitress who turns matchmaker to the various people in her life. With an eccentric cast of characters and an impossibly charming lead, this is one of those films thats an absolute sure-fire winner on date night.
An unconventional choice, but Doug Limans '90s cult hit is a carefree and quotable comedy that puts dating convention under the microscope. Its not the most romantic movie in the world, but anything that takes a sideways look at the whole dating scene is usually good for an ice-breaking laugh.
Its a bit off the beaten track, but going retro with a genuine classic isnt a bad move at all. The sizzling wartime intrigue between screen legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman is a scene-setter, and its the perfect chance to assess your dates level of film love. If theyre moaning about black and white then theyre probably not a keeper.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Its another one of those pop culture classics that many might have missed, but Audrey Hepburns iconic turn as Holly Golightly is great fun. Alongside George Hannibal from The A-Team Peppard and one of the best cats in film history, this is another romantic comedy legend which has well earned its place on the list.
If you can make it through the first scenes without collapsing into a shuddering, weeping heap, youll make it through anything. While its not a directly romantic film for most of the running time, theres something incredibly touching about Carls determination to live his and his wifes dream. Sweet and romantic to start with, followed by a brilliant adventure which brings the laughs, Up is a solid choice in a date situation.
When Harry Met Sally
Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal navigate a love story spanning years, as two old friends gradually fall for each other through a series of chance meetings and mutual acquaintances. Nora Ephrons whip-smart script gives the leads plenty of great material to work with, and for all the wisecracks, by the end its impossible not to be invested in the love story at its heart. All the best rom coms avoid large helpings of cheese in favour of warmth and wit - When Harry Met Sally really is the standard-bearer for this.
One of the biggest romantic comedies of the 1990s, Pretty Woman takes what could have been a far darker tale and turned it into a hugely popular entry in the genre. Call girl Julia Roberts is hired by businessman Richard Gere as an escort, and their relationships builds into something far more. Bringing together two huge stars of the time and tackling some subject matter not often looked at in the romcom world, Pretty Woman is a sound option.
As much as its a clich, Titanic is a go-to date movie for a reason. A little cheesy in places it may be, but theres no combination quite like a forbidden love across social classes and huge-scale tragedy amongst a terrible disaster. Starring a young Leo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, as well as a delightfully villainous Billy Zane, James Camerons epic is a sure-fire ice-breaker (sorry).
Bonnie and Clyde
Its first and foremost a crime film, but the New Hollywood classic makes the list for featuring one of the most notorious couples in American history. The titular bank robbers, played here by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, embark on a crime spree which leaves a trail of victims in its wake, before heading to an almost poetic bloody finish. Apart from anything else, its an important moment in the history of film.
A Matter of Life and Death
One of the all-time classics, and a regular fixture on greatest of all time lists, featuring David Nivens WW2 airman fighting the pull of the afterlife to stay in the mortal realm with his newly-found love Kim Hunter. Its probably one of the most romantic setups conceivable, and is rightly considered a genuine classic not just of its genre, but of cinema as a whole.
The Princess Bride
A seminal moment for anyone who saw it as a child, this warm and funny fairytale sees Cary Elwes hero Westley on an epic quest to save his love, Buttercup, from the clutches of a wicked ruler. Its endlessly quotable and constantly referenced to the point of becoming a cultural meme, so comes as a firm recommendation for date night.
Romeo + Juliet
As far as romances go, its the granddaddy of them all with Shakespeares classic play semi-updated by director Baz Luhrmann. Abridging The Bards script and shifting it to a modern-day mafia-based setting, here the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues becomes a violent backdrop for one of the oldest love stories of all.
Another British classic, here Nol Cowards script is filmed by David Lean to tell a story of a tentative and slightly unconventional love affair between married leads Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Rather than focusing on a steamy, passionate romance, this is more a story about matters of the heart, and carries added film buff points to sweeten the deal.
10 Things I Hate About You
The big break for stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this teen romance is based on Shakespeares The Taming Of The Shrew. Ledgers teen rebel and Stiles cynical outsider are well-loved characters in one of those romcoms that avoids some of the clichd trappings of the genre to score points all round. A charismatic film that should be a winner.
500 Days of Summer
Its a bit of an anti-romantic comedy really, but theres nothing wrong with breaking the mould. Joseph Gordon-Levitts hopeless romantic falls for new girl Zooey Deschanel, before embarking on a rocky relationship. Looking more at how people grow in relationships as opposed to just knockabout gags about love, its a funny and relatable film with two immensely likeable leads.
The title makes this a bit of an easy choice, and in using the setting of a date as a wraparound for a quickly-escalating crime comedy, is a light-hearted, good-natured option. Raucous, pacy, a love story about older married people - between Steve Carell and Tina Fey this contains enough comedy chops to liven up any, ahem, Date Night.