Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A beginner's guide to date movies

It may have escaped your attention, but looming large on the horizon is the international celebration of the colour red, heart-shaped pandas and chocolate-flavoured champagne.
It's an important day - the only day of the year you're legally allowed to declare your feelings for someone and not receive a restraining order in return.
It's also the only day of the year you're allowed to tell the person you married that you still want to be shackled to them for all your days.
So, no pressure then.
And how to celebrate such a spontaneous and pressure-free display (non-public, natch) of affection?
Why, with a movie of course.
But what movie, I hear you cry? There must be at least a dozen out there, how do we choose?
Fear not, young Padawan, Creepy Uncle Popcorn is here to help.

Now, there are, of course, rules.
Fun isn't fun without rules.
First you need to set the mood - low lighting is good, but not so low that you trip over the cat when the pizza arrives. And not so bright that he/she can see how you eat said pizza. That's vital.
Second, some eats. Pizza's good. Can be eaten quietly without disturbing the film. (This is working on the assumption you're not in a cinema, by the way. Don't go taking your Pizza Hut take-out into Screen 7 of the multiplex next door).
Third - stay at home. You want a nice, romantic, snuggly night, right? Isn't that why you bought that faux-leopard skin sofa? The dark of Screen 7 can be conducive to the warm-n-cosys, but stepping outside again is like a bucket of cold water. No, best you stay at home.
This also allows a nice bottle of red to be consumed.
It's the only natural choice.
You can of course go for a meal first, then home for a movie. That's allowed. Also saves fighting the cat for your pizza.
Oh, and fourth - pick a film that either you've both seen, or at least one of you knows well enough to not mind missing bits if you get distracted.
Date movies are not meant for that subtitled masterpiece you've been meaning to catch for years.

So, then, we're all set. We've set the mood, poured the wine, persuaded the cat to take the dogs for a walk - all we have to do is pick a movie...
Welcome, then, to Unsalted Popcorn's Top Five Films Guaranteed* To Make Valentines Day Go With A Bang**

The Muppets

You may remember this film from our Top 10 of 2012 - and there's a reason it was in there. It's wonderful.
It's got everything you want, everything you need to say to your special someperson that you have a heart so big it can love Jason Segal singing.
It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll make you sing along to Starship.
It's THAT good.

Four Weddings And A Funeral

OK, this one is a bit cliched, but sod it - it's Valentine's Day.
Amazingly, some people still haven't seen this. Rectify this now.
From the moment Hugh Grant and Charlotte Coleman start swearing and tearing about, you know you're in for a good time.
You can laugh together through the weddings, sob and sniffle together during the funeral, and sigh contentedly together at the end.

The Empire Strikes Back

Now, this is for the newer couples.
The more established pairings among you will already know this is the best Star Wars film, and will know that it contains the classic exchange between Han and Leia, but if you've only just started opening your damaged little heart to your intended special someperson then you need to know if you're ever going to be on the same page.
Hence Empire.
If they dismiss this choice, ditch them.
If they show surprise and intrigue, these are good signs.
If they greet this choice with whoops of delight and start quoting lines from it while stabbing a Ja Ja Binks doll - lock 'em in the cellar straight away. This one's a keeper.

Chalet Girl

This is definitely for the pinker and fluffier minded among you - and I'm not saying this as a bad thing.
Chalet Girl kinda passed the world by when it was released, and I'm pretty sure only myself, Dr Kermode and Felicity Jones' family have actually seen it - but that makes us the lucky ones.
It's a sweet, funny film that just wraps you in the warm-n-fuzzies and tells you the world will be OK in the end.
Jones is great, Bill Nighy is at his most animated, and Bill Bailey is, well, Bill Bailey.
People will get sniffy about this as a choice, but screw 'em.
And if your date doesn't go with it, well, there are plenty more snowboarders in the sea.

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Remember that rule about no subtitles?
Doesn't apply here.
This film is too good not to be included.
It's both funny and heartbreaking, love and hate colliding in the Mexican surf at the end of a road trip that becomes much darker than first appears.
It's got the lot - sex, love, anger, jealousy, an older woman pulling the strings... It's simply wonderful.
Sure, you'll have to do some reading, but suck it up. Some films are worth it.

* There is no guarantee
** Size of bang in no way indicative of amount of fun being had

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