Call it obvious, call it middle school, call it whatever you want–but the “come over and watch a movie” move is still a valid choice to keep in your seduction repertoire (just don’t ever call it your “seduction repertoire”). You’ll probably want to save it for after a date or two so it doesn’t come off as creepy, but once you get to a comfortable place with a girl, there aren’t many things better than settling in on the couch for a nice night of cinema and the promise of adolescent groping under a blanket. You two both know what the invitation means, but it still provides a buffer for each of you to see how things shake out.
But now you’re tasked with selecting a movie. The worst thing you can possibly do is wait for her to get there and then both try to decide on a movie from your collection or Netflix account. It’ll stall your night immediately, and ultimately, one of you will feel like you got shafted–and not the good kind that you’re both hoping for later in the night. You can always present her with a few options and let her pick, but I’ve found that the “you pick the booze, I’ll pick the movie” strategy plays best. So what do you select? A few things to consider. You want a movie that you’ve both seen before. If you’re trying to keep up with the plot, you’ll forget to keep up with what’s going on in the living room. You also want a good movie, because worst case scenario, no sparks fly and you have to finish the movie you committed to. Lastly, you want something that’s not going to start a lot of discussion or disagreements. The biggest mood killer other than your mom walking in (which hopefully isn’t an issue anymore) is getting into a debate about the morality of the movie you watch. Play it safe, but above all, play it smart. Here are a few ideas.
1. “Notting Hill”
The obvious first choice is a romantic comedy, but you have to be careful with your selection. You don’t want a movie with a cocky lead actor, because the girl will inevitably make a comment about how much of an asshole he is. This will lead to you naturally getting upset that she would talk so disparagingly about Will Smith like that, especially when he’s just trying to help out poor Kevin James. “Notting Hill” offers a story that everyone likes. A charming and loveable dope manages to intrigue a woman far out of his league, makes a small mistake that pushes her away, and ultimately wins her back in a moment of bravery he wouldn’t have been capable of at the beginning of the movie. Plus you’ve both seen it so many times that it won’t matter if you retire to the bedroom early. By the way, any movie written by Richard Curtis fits into this model.
Let’s just call this the Disney movie category. There are a lot of different ways you can go with this. You definitely want to stick to the more popular films. I love Billy Joel’s nuanced voice performance in “Oliver and Company” as much as the next guy, but you want nostalgia to play in your favor and not have her ask the question, “Did I see this once when I was eight, or was that a weird fever dream?” all night. It also shows some confidence to pick one of the Disney entries with a strong female character. If you go with “Sleeping Beauty,” she may wonder about your thoughts on a woman’s place in a narrative. You don’t want that. Your go-tos should be “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” or “Mulan.” However, if you decide to go a little off the map with “The Rescuers Down Under,” I won’t fault you for it.
3. “Top Gun”
Look, sometimes you just want to get an action movie in there, but most girls aren’t particularly interested in “The Rock,” no matter how much you enjoy Sean Connery making FBI agents look like bumbling idiots. “Top Gun,” on the other hand, brings elements to the table that both sexes can appreciate. Men love Tom Cruise when he smirks his way through talking about being inverted over a MiG28, keeping up foreign relations. Your lady of the evening will be treated to a shirtless volleyball match and the whispering curtains of the love scene. And if there ever was a moment to make your move, it would be during the ecstasy that is “Take My Breath Away.”
4. “Cabin In The Woods”
This is the horror movie pick for guys who are pussies about horror movies. Every guy’s middle school mentor told him that he should always watch a horror movie with a girl, because she’ll get scared and want to snuggle up to him for safety. The problem with that idea is that some of us (read: me) are big fucking babies about scary movies. It used to be a quiet source of shame for me, but at this point in my life, I own the fact that I have the mental fortitude of a toddler separated from his mom in Toys “R” Us when it comes to demons and the like. So “Cabin In The Woods” is a nice middle ground, because it’s a smart, funny, well-plotted movie that takes horror elements and turns them on their heads. There are still a couple of “jump” moments to get in your cuddles, but not so many that you’re more worried about soiling your dungarees than you are trying to lay the mack down.
5. “The Princess Bride”
I’ll be honest, this is my go-to movie pretty much every time. It’s probably my favorite movie of all time, actually, which is something that is the source of a lot of debate with my close friends (and another argument for another time). However, there’s no disputing that this is the perfect home date movie. It has everything. If you don’t believe me, believe Freddy Savage’s gramps: “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” Any other movie gonna beat that? I don’t think so. Plus this movie can serve as a great weather vane for determining if you have a future with this girl. If she likes the love stuff but doesn’t find it funny, game over. If she giggles a few times at the physical gags but the subtle jokes are lost on her, game over. If she doesn’t like it at all, kick her out immediately. If her first reaction is letting you know that it’s also her favorite movie and you spend the next hour and a half quoting it together, call your mom and let her know that she might get some grandkids after all.
By the way, I’m very aware that I’m going to catch some flack for including only movies with a romantic storyline. I’m also aware that there are a lot of girls out there who are into gritty crime movies. You just have to toe that line carefully. The worst thing you could do is make the wrong assumption, put on “Scarface,” and then have her excuse herself to go home early after the chainsaw scene. But if you think you’ve got a dark movie type of girl on your hands–which, let’s be honest, is what we all want–then feel free to go deep with your pick and put on “Blow,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” or “Casino.” Just don’t pick “Gangs Of New York.” It’s one of my favorite movies, but no one wants to sit through three hours of Bill the Butcher’s rage when the real plan is to eventually knock boots.