The cinema can be conducive to a fantastic date. Cuddling next to your significant other in a darkened room, enjoying some cinematic magic. But as the Impact Film & TV team have learnt, film choice is everything. They’ve suffered awkwardness, boredom and worse so you don’t have to. Be warned!

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Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino has made some incredibly entertaining films. Each one is funny, full of memorable characters and exceptionally blood thirsty. Perfect for romance. Django Unchained is no exception, containing excellent chemistry between its cast and a stand out performance from the well-mannered bounty hunter Christoph Waltz. Certainly there is plenty here for a ‘memorable’ experience.

Yet memorable in what way?

Two men bloodily beating one another to the death, slavery and torture, someone being savagely eaten by a dog, Leonardo DiCaprio threatening to crack open a woman’s skull, a blood drenched shoot out, Jamie Fox almost being castrated,  and of course the constant racism. These may contribute to this movie-going experience being one worth forgetting for those of, perhaps, a more squeamish disposition.

Make sure your lucky man or lady knows what they are getting in for with this excellent-if-gory film, as well as all other Tarantino projects.

Glenn Tanner

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American Psycho

American Psycho, we all agree it is one of the greats. Or so I thought when I settled down with my now ex-boyfriend on a movie date night. I had not seen the film before, but I had watched endless YouTube clips, so I had a good impression of what the film would be about, and I was pretty sure I’d love it. However, this sentiment was not shared by my other half.

When the film began, all seemed well; popcorn was consumed at the usual rate and the atmosphere appeared to be great. However, as you may know, the movie progressed onto ‘those scenes’. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones with extreme violence and fulfilment of perverse sexual fantasies, and slowly, but surely, the flow of popcorn consumption stopped and comments of ‘what kind of film is this?’ escaped quietly from my date’s mouth. This would all have been ok if I had not loved the film either… but I really loved it; so when it had finished, you can imagine the awkward and brief conversation we had about it, with me trying to cover up my excitement. It did not go down well, and remains one of my most awkward dates yet.

Larissa Rowan

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Fun Size

Spontaneity is the essence of life… unless you’re on a first date. If you want romance –plan your activities beforehand! The alternative is too horrible to imagine, and it comes in Fun Size.

Three years ago, I was blissfully unaware of Nickelodeon’s cringe-worthy Halloween special. If only that were still true. Walking into a cinema and picking a film is never an easy task; particularly when you’re trying to impress. The posters, however, looked promising: teen rom-com with a Halloween twist. Romance for her, jokes for me.  What could possibly go wrong?

Lots, actually. The entire film was a mish-mash of yawn-inducing high school clichés. Quirky, unassuming female protagonist – check. Protagonist’s incredibly vain best friend – got that too. Protagonist’s choice between hunky heart-throb and sensitive geek… you can see where this is going.

But even derivative storytelling can be made bearable if the humour hits its mark. Did Fun Size manage such a feat? Of course not! Perhaps there were cultural differences between Britain and America, but the majority of jokes fell completely flat. The screening I attended saw more yawns than giggles, not to mention the constant fidgeting of people checking their watch.

The lesson here: if you’re planning a cinema date, do your homework first!

Joe Jones

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Fifty Shades of Grey

To commemorate the wonderful time of year that is Valentine’s Day, film producers in a galaxy far, far away, decided to translate everyone’s favourite novel onto the big screen. There were romantic gazes, a surprising similarity to previous top date night film Twilight, and sex. Lots and lots of it.

Of course, I’m talking about mummy-porn favourite Fifty Shades of Grey, which I can safely say is not the best film to see when on a date, especially when the aforementioned date is on your birthday. After taking me out for a romantic meal at a posh restaurant, my boyfriend informed me that as a special birthday treat he was whisking me away to the cinema. Expecting to be treated to cult hit SpongeBob: Sponge Out Of Water, imagine my shock and dismay when faced with two tickets to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Terrified doesn’t even cover it. Nervously edging my way into the cinema, I was unsurprised to see an abundance of middle-aged ladies eagerly tucking into their popcorn, whilst my boyfriend became less enthused about the film when he realised he was the only male in the room. We’d also entered the cinema last to avoid undue embarrassment, which meant that the only seats left were right in the front row, which gave me more of a close-up view than I was comfortable with.

Overall, Fifty Shades was not only a dreadful film with a rubbish ending; it also was a nightmarish date night film, which has left me with horrifying flashbacks.

Amy Wilcockson

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Chernobyl Diaries

The master plan: Horror film + frightened girlfriend = man points. The equation I thought would be paramount to my teenage dating success. Turns out, I’m not a fan of jump scares. Chernobyl Diaries as a film in itself is not exactly Shawshank in its critic ratings, yet I thought it would be a brilliant date night movie. The various cheap zombie attacks in the found-footage film made for plenty of points throughout where I literally jumped out of my seat in fear. If my woeful performance of being the ‘brave male’ wasn’t bad enough, the terrible acting soon helped create an atmosphere more awkward than charming.

Chernobyl Diaries is an absolute write-off of a film and is entirely not recommended for dates; there is a distinct lack of romance and passion, other than the zombies eating the faces of the unfortunate. My aim of having moments of bravery were crushed through overtly loud sound effects coupled with the jump scares and the eerie silence of Chernobyl itself, which was surprisingly well portrayed, despite the terrible plot and premise of the film. In short, I’m unsure what was worse, the date, the film, or my nightmares the following night.

George Driscoll

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Robocop

Action-packed flicks seem the obvious way to go for date night; you don’t have the awkwardness of a rom-com, nor do you need to pretend you’re not bothered by lots of dismemberment in the latest horror. But heed my warning, film-lover, 2014’s RoboCop is not the answer. A lot of my dislike for RoboCop as a date night movie has to do with its inferiority to the 1987 original – it’s just not as kickass or as cool, and even the CGI doesn’t really seem awe-inducing enough for a sci-fi/action produced in 2014. If Samuel Jackson couldn’t save RoboCop from being anything other than ‘meh’, nothing can.

Even if you ignore how tedious the RoboCop remake is and innocently nestle back into to the crook of your partner’s arm hoping it’ll pick up, it’s still the wrong choice. Why? The crime solving scenes are cringe-worthy, not a single character is likeable and Robocop’s costume is similar to how Batman would look if he tried an ‘edgy biker’ look. Even worse that that last image, the scenes where RoboCop should really shine, i.e. those which feature a whole lot of shooting and blowing stuff up, will make your date feel as if they are watching you play CoD under duress.

If you’re still thinking of giving it a go, bear in mind the execution of the unveiling of Alex’s human form was probably the most compelling scene. However, it is also the worst, and after you see it you will both most definitely give up and spend an hour trying to find something on Netflix. Save yourself the trouble and put on The Dark Knight instead – at least then you’ll get the real Batman.

Sophia Harris

Image from Flickr by Paul

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