Justin Year Itch: DVD Date Night
First-string movie reviewer Susan is off gallivanting in the sunny Caribbi-terranean-cific, so your faithful second-string movie reviewer has torn himself painfully away from “I Dream of Jeannie” reruns long enough to keep the procrastination flowing in the Capital of the, um, of the Commonwealth. What else was Richmond capital of? I can’t think of anything else worth mentioning constantly.
Note: First-string movie review Susan Howson is off gallivanting in the sunny Caribbi-terranean-cific so your faithful second-string movie reviewer has torn himself painfully away from “I Dream of Jeannie” reruns long enough to keep the procrastination flowing in the Capital of the, um, of the Commonwealth. What else was Richmond capital of? I can’t think of anything else worth mentioning constantly.
Do you ever go on a DVD date? Sure you do! Even the most lonely-hearted or terminally monogamous among us periodically have occasion to fire up the video media replay equipment and snuggle on the couch with that available someone. But there are only so many times a person can watch When Harry Met Sally… with a member of whichever gender makes them feel special inside.
In my case, that amount of times is six. If you’re like me, things start getting old after about the fourth time, when things become routine and there are no butterflies anymore and you realize that maybe this isn’t going to work out, long term, but you go on just a bit longer because you just can’t admit to yourself that it’s over. In this case, after the sixth screening of When Harry Met Sally with the sixth girl, I firmly decided to branch out into the wider world of home date cinema. Here are my suggestions for enjoying an exciting night on the couch that will not involve a fake orgasm. As far as you know.
Life Is Beautiful
(Roberto Benigni, 1997)
A comedy about the Holocaust, you’ll say, and your potentially- or fully-romantic partner will gasp in disbelief, possibly because they forgot that The Sound of Music had paved the way with the even more difficult feat, a musical comedy about the Holocaust, years before. But Roberto Benigni’s comic tale of love and laughter triumphing over hatred and fear actually is relatively self-affirming and is even romantic before the whole concentration camp situation gets going into full swing. Themes of lifelong love and child-rearing may make this one a better choice for the more committed among you.
The Little Mermaid
(Ron Clements and John Musker, 1989)
Despite a strong temptation to write this entire paragraph in quotes from the movie (This is wonderful! Do you hear what I’m tellin’ you? Isn’t it neat? I’m not a child anymore. Don’t be a guppy.), let’s make a marginally more articulate case, shall we? Look, some of you might shrug off a Disney movie as something too unserious to make for actual date-viewage, but that’s where you’re wrong. The Little Mermaid holds up surprisingly well, despite the uncomfortably young and skimpily clad protagonists. And choosing TLM makes you fun-loving and unafraid of commitment, unlike other Disney movies with more terrifying messages. Beauty and the Beast says “I may kidnap you and drug you with a hallucinogen”, while Pinocchio says “I’m a pathalogical liar and hedonist.” The Sword in the Stone, meanwhile, might be a bit too blunt about what you want from the date.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(Leonard Nimoy, 1986)
Hoping to demonstrate your soft, nerdy core surrounded by a crunchy, environmentalist shell? Look no further than this Star Trek classic. There’s a romanticism to San Francisco in the 80s, a roguish charm only heightened by seeing 23rd century space pioneers gallivanting about, searching for nuclear wessals and saving the whales. For the Trekkie hoping to expose their romantic partner to the Star Trek universe, The Voyage Home is clearly the most accessible choice. That is, unless you are both already Trekkies, in which case: Wrath of Khan.
Thelma & Louise
(Ridley Scott, 1991)
Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Thelma & Louise might be just the icebreaker you need to discuss the adherence or lack thereof to traditional, heteronormative gender roles in your relationship. Plus it’s a lot of fun. T&L won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, which has gone through several name changes in its history but, unlike the Academy Award for Best Picture, will never let you down. The choice of Thelma & Louise for your special evening says many things to your couchmate, among them “I am spontaneous and love road trips” and “I will shoot you like Old Yeller if you so much as lay a finger on me without my clear, unambiguous invitation to do so.” Depending on where you want the evening to go, this might be just the movie for you.
Shaun of the Dead
(Edgar Wright, 2004)
Very little in the world can set hearts ablaze quite like the quiet confidence and chiseled good looks of Simon Pegg, and Shaun of the Dead is Simon at his Peggiest. It’s not just that terrifying zombies might cause at least one of you to require enhanced physical contact as an excuse for comforting. It’s not just that you’ll finally learn what the hell cricket bats are for. It’s that SotD is the touching story of two men struggling to define their love for each other in a world that expects them to at least go through the motions of pursuing opposite-sex romantic relationships. That the touching, triumphant tale of sorrow and redemption is packaged as a horror spoof makes it all the stronger.
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