Finding the right date movie is tough. But there are actually some non-chick flick date movies that are more than mere time fillers—they won’t have the guy looking at the time counter and wondering if suffering through this means he gets to make out at the end.
Best of all, you can find one for most movie tastes. Here are 10 examples that run the gamut of the moviegoing experience.
10. Hitch (2005)
Here’s the ultimate test: I once took a basketball team of 13-year-old boys to this movie, as it was the only choice that met both our schedule between games, and the content restrictions. And they liked it. So if it was funny and cool enough for them, it will hold your man’s attention, too.
Hitch stars Will Smith as a dating coach for guys. His rule is that he will never fall in love himself. But then he meets Eva Mendes, and of course, he does. Kevin James’ role as a schlub that Hitch is coaching is still his best big screen role.
Bonus for the ladies: not only is the movie feel good romantic fun, but your guy might pick up a couple of tips.
9. Crazy. Stupid. Love (2011)
Ryan Gosling is basically the anti-Hitch in this hilarious movie in which a long married Steve Carell finds himself unexpectedly single and takes all the wrong advice from womanizer Ryan Gosling about how to be a ladies’ man.
The film is only marred by one of those cringe-worthy endings where people work out their issues in front of an assembly and are applauded instead of being told to go out into the hall to deal with it. But up until those 3 minutes, this is a near perfect modern rom-com.
8. The Quiet Man (1952)
John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Need I say more? How about John Ford filming the Irish scenery?
Girls love the idea of two guys fighting over them all across the countryside. Guys like watching fistfights that rage all across the countryside. Win-win. Girls will fall for this vulnerable John Wayne as a boxer in self-exile, having killed a man in the ring, and they’ll want to fix him. Guys, well, it’s John Wayne! Plus, Maureen O’Hara was never more breathtaking.
7. The Wedding Singer (1998)
If you don’t think Adam Sandler bitterly belting out “Love Stinks” at a wedding reception after getting dumped is funny… well I don’t know how to help you, except to say there are nine other choices on this list.
Easily Adam Sandler’s best movie, as his unambitious wedding singer falls for sweet Drew Barrymore, who is about to marry a lout. Besides the laugh out loud moments, it’s also a movie with a lot of heart.
6. While You were Sleeping (1995)
The modern equivalent of an old screwball comedy, lonely Sandra Bullock is mistaken for the fiancé of comatose Peter Gallagher, but keeps it up because she falls in love (in general) with his close family, which is headed by Peter Boyle and Glynis Johns. and (in particular) with his brother (Bill Pullman).
A thoroughly likeable, funny, and sweet movie, and with a minimum of sap, thanks to Sandra Bullock at her most winning.
5. Groundhog Day (1993)
The very definition of good, clean fun when it comes to movies made in the modern era for grown-ups. This movie is so popular and well-liked that it has even entered the lexicon for people to describe repetitive events in their lives.
Bill Murray is at his best as the jerk reporter who goes to cover the groundhog of Groundhog Day fame and has to repeat his day over and over again until he gets it right. But what he really wants to get right is winning the hand of Andie MacDowell. This one is sweet, funny and hilarious.
And, it’s good enough to watch over and over and over…
4. It Happened One Night (1934)
This is the original bicker-till-you-fall-in-love movie. But unlike most romantic comedies, this stars man’s man Clark Gable in one of his very best roles, generating tons of chemistry with the great Claudette Colbert.
Colbert is a spoiled heiress and runaway bride. Gable is a reporter with a chip on his shoulder about rich people, who wants to collect the reward for finding her. But even though this is directed by Frank Capra, the everyman isn’t the font of all wisdom, and the rich tycoon father is not a controlling tyrant.
Every minute of this movie is terrific. Plus, you can find out where the Looney Toons gag about why girls are better hitichhikers came from.
3. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The first time David O’Russell worked with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is in this terrific romantic comedy. I generally hate movies that look for romance or comedy in either disease or mental illness, but everything works in this smart, funny and romantic film.
This one almost seems like it is calculatedly geared toward both sexes, with not just a star for each to look at, but also with the subplots: one involving a ballroom dance contest, the other about a fantasy football league run by an OCD-driven father (Robert DeNiro) who firmly believes in jinxes.
2. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Possibly the funniest movie ever made, this classic starring the usually suave Cary Grant against type as a befuddled, stodgy professor, and Katherine Hepburn as the dizzy rich girl who pursues him by blithely getting him into sticky situations, is also very romantic.
There is so much hilarious dialogue that it takes quite a few viewings just to catch it all. The great director Howard Hawks actually put his stars on a stopwatch to get it all in.
Best line (of many): “Now it isn’t that I don’t like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I’m strangely drawn toward you, but, well, there haven’t been any quiet moments.”
The lack of quiet moments keeps Bringing Up Baby rocketing along at a breathless pace—and you will be breathless with laughter.
Actually I could do a list this long of Cary Grant’s romantic comedies from the era, including The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story, The Front Page and My Favorite Wife, to name a few, but this is the place to start.
1. Casablanca (1943)
If you’re going to include a wildly romantic movie where the guy doesn’t end up with the girl on any list, then it’s gotta be this one. And if you’re yelling SPOILER at me… welcome back from Mars.
This is one of those relationship test movies—if the other person doesn’t like what is possibly the greatest movie ever made, you should reconsider if this can ever be a beautiful friendship.