The Seductive Power of Film
or, I Find Zat I No Longer Vant To Be Alone...
by Jillian Perlberger
did people even date before the movies? We suppose there were alternatives,
like going to the gladiator
fights together, or conversing. Now that we're past the pre-cinematic Dark
Years, movies and romance seem inexorably intertwined. It's like tequila and
one night stands: sure, one could exist without the other, but a great tradition
would be lost. Yes, the movie/mojo connection is a powerful one. And the BTD
is here to tell you how to put it to work for you.
Here's the basic plan: stay
in and rent a video.
Yes, you read that right. Such advice may seem contrary to the BTD's mission.
But renting videos can get you in the right
mindset, help you meet people, and stoke the fires of love once you've found
a spark. You just need to know how to do it right. The following script lays
it all out from you, from pre-production to walking down the Red Carpet of Love.
Act One: Our Hero (that's you) In the Grip of Remorse
Let's take the worst-case scenario as the starting point. You've just been
dumped on your ear and are considering joining a monastery.
You need to rent a movie in the genre we call "Going off the Deep
End," also known as "The Cautionary Tale." Top picks include:
Camille Claudel --
Fat French pig of a sculptor, Rodin, seduces and abandons nubile young Claudel;
she sinks into a depression; her family has her locked up in a loony bin for
the remaining thirty years of her life. This movie will make you a lot more
likely to take your mom's advice to stop moping around, if only to prevent
her from putting Bellevue on her speed dial.
Heights (the Olivier version) -- Makes you want to scream, "Get over
it, Heathcliff!" The guy is just too morose and vengeful. You know you don't
want to be like that. After watching this, you'll be more than ready to give
the moors and head for the coffee shop.
If you're having more of a garden variety dry
spell, you may not need such shock therapy. If a simple "You Go Girl" flick
will do the trick (don't be put off, fellas; it's a gender-neutral genre), then
just fire up one of these babies:
Swingers -- Profound insight to glean from this movie: "You're so
money and you don't even know it."
Seriously, now, go out there and get Heather Graham's digits. (We
hear she's single again.)
Candles -- Don't overlook this epitome of 80s cheese. When plucky-but-unlucky
Molly Ringwald ends up at a birthday party for two with the studmuffin of
her dreams, it's pretty damn inspiring.
Now, Voyager -- Goodbye
sanitarium, hello gaggle of men trying to light my cigarette! The most controlling
mother and overgrown eyebrows in
the world can't stop Bette Davis from taking the world by storm once she sets
her mind to it. What's your excuse?
Act Two: Our Hero (still you) Bounces Back Strong
Plot Scenario One: Returning to the Scene of the Crime
So you're out of your funk and feeling frisky. Where better to strike up a
conversation than back at the video store? Saunter up to the right person and
ask, "Have you seen the latest Idrissa
Ouedraogo film on the shelf anywhere?" and you may just get a proposal then
Short of that kind of karmic explosion, you might provoke someone to speak
to you by carting around an intriguing choice of videos. To maximize the chance
of this, be sure to cart them around conspicuously, and make several leisurely
laps before heading to the register. And pick flicks that say what you want
them to say about you:
Movies that let girls know you've got a quirky, sensitive side beneath that
manly exterior: "Local
Hero," "Gregory's Girl,"
that let guys know you've got a raunchy, fun side to you despite your Grace-Kelly-esque
air of cool reserve: Austin
Powers," "Bananas," "Raising
Movies with messages that you do not want to be sending: "Play Misty for
Me," "Fatal Attraction," "Frenzy." Eeek!
Plot Scenario Two: The Party Scene
Here's another great way your local video store can help you get met: host
your own movie night. Theme parties are great excuses to ask everyone you know
to come over and bring friends. It's a hot summer night and you're providing
air conditioning, cold drinks, and entertainment. Who wouldn't come? There's
no telling what kind of hot new star might walk through your door. Here are
a few theme suggestions:
It's Bastille Day! Celebrate with red wine,
brie, and a screening of "Tale of
Two Cities." Ronald Coleman will break your heart, and everyone can reminisce
about being forced to read the book in eighth grade. Or go for a lighter note
and show Mel Brooks' "History
of the World Part I," for the scene in which Cloris Leachman as Madame Defarge
says, "We are so poor, we cannot even afford our own language... all we have
is this stupid accent."
Beach party in the city! For all those who can't get
away, pretend your apartment's the seashore, whip up some frozen
margaritas, and rent the worst of the beach-blanket-bingo-B-movies. Anything
with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello or Sally Field as Gidget will do fine.
Double feature night! Pair two great examples of a fun sub-genre: classic
Like it Hot," "What's
Up Tiger Lily"), gothic dramas ("Sunset
Brasco"), campy horror films ("Whatever
Happened to Baby Jane," "Sorry,
Wrong Number"), or incredibly bad
big budget flops ("Showgirls," "Waterworld"). You'll have the perfect pretense
to talk to that cute friend-of-a-friend who laughed or groaned at the exact
same moments as you.
Act Three: Our Hero Closes the Deal
So you've met a potentially special someone and gone on a few dates. Can movies
help you now? Absolutely! More than ever! Highly unscientific studies have shown
that staying in to watch a movie with the object of your affection is one of
the surest ways out there to start getting points on your back end. However,
careful movie selection is key. The BTD will help with that, but first you have
to determine what it is you're really after.
Plot Scenario One: Turning up the Temperature
Sometimes you just want this date to end up in bed, whether it's The One...
or The One Who's Here. Videos can help, and we don't mean the kind they keep
in the room in the back. No, to avoid insulting your date, you'll want to suggest
a movie that got great reviews, has excellent character development, and maybe
even addresses a serious social issue... but also at least one mind-bogglingly
delicious sex scene. May we suggest, on your way to the pharmacy for
your necessaries, that you pick up:
The Big Easy -- "Stop what?
That?" It doesn't get much more erotic than Dennis Quaid (also newly
single) turning Ellen Barkin into a big easy.
Unbearable Lightness of Being -- The unbearable beauty of Daniel Day
Lewis, Lena Olin, and Juliette Binoche, is more like it. Who knew politically
oppressed intellectuals could be so sexy?
Body Heat -- A movie
so steamy, even William Hurt looks like a stud.
Thelma and Louise --
"A lahked yer wahf." Yeah, we think she liked you too, Brad.
Plot Scenario Two: Getting Cozy
So you think you might actually LIKElike this person, and you want to have
a special night together. Find an old-fashioned romance, discreet about sex
but pulsating with that much more passion because of it. If you end up sealing
the deal, great. But, if you end up just feeling warm
and fuzzy together, that's fine too. Expect to have a great date with any
one of these old chestnuts:
Happened One Night
-Cyrano de Bergerac (the 1950
Ferrer or the 1990 Depardieu)
Plot Scenario Three: Passing the Test
So once everything is going swimmingly, maybe you start to think this could
be The One. How do you make sure? Well, if the porch
test isn't totally definitive, you guessed it: once again, videos will ride
to your rescue.
spend a date watching your very favorite movie, the one that reflects the most
personal and essential side of you. Sure, you're a high-rolling bond trader,
but deep down you just want to sing and dance like Gene Kelly in "Singin'
in the Rain." Or maybe you're a buttoned-down research scientist who seems
to take everything seriously... but really you see life at its finest in Marx
Brothers movies. It's better to reveal this side of yourself now, and let the
chips fall where they may. If your favorite flick doesn't impress your paramour-to-be,
that's something you'll want to know. If it's a hit, and it might be time to
start looking at china
Denoument: Riding Off Into a Sunset for Two
And the winner is...? You! You're in love! Now's the time to kick back with
your honey and engage in one of the great pastimes of couplehood: revelling
in your own fabulousness. You could start with the "Yay! No More Dates from
Hell!" movies ("Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and "After Hours" for example). Or
you might want to skip ahead to the just plain "Yay!" movies, the kind that
make anyone besides happy couples slightly
nauseous. Celebrate your own match made in heaven along with the couples
in these delicious love stories:
Met Sally -- The ultimate in cute neurotics finding love. True, it's
Woody Allen Lite, but what's wrong with getting the funny without the depressing?
Barefoot in the Park
-- Adorable marries adorabler. Squabbles resolve themselves with more adorableness.
-- "But he's a pickle man!" The film that proves you should always listen
to your grandmother.
Yep, it's a good time to be alive. With just a VCR and a video store membership,
you can go from being "undiscovered" to being a famous couple. Now, go pick
up those flicks, pop some popcorn, and get started on making your own life an award-winning romantic
Jillian Perlberger is a recovering lawyer. She picked up her current boyfriend
at a stamp machine.
Back to Main To Do Page
| Next Date