Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, December 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 27° Partly Cloudy
News >  Features

New Critics’ Category: Date-Movie

By Mary Schmich Chicago Tribune

Movie advertisements rarely display complex or interesting language. The snippets of reviews are ordinarily so blunt (Fab Flick! 3 1/2 stars!) that they would seem primitive even to a first-grader.

Yet a puzzling term seems to pop up more and more in movie ads, a term that, while it may be as ancient as movie sex, has now achieved epidemic proportions, motivating us today to seek an answer to the mystery:

What the heck is a date movie?

I first noticed symptoms of the date movie epidemic in January in an ad for “Before Sunrise,” in which Ethan Hawke meets Julie Delpy on a train to Vienna.

One ad crowed: “The first great date movie of the year!”

If there was a first, there must be more. And there were. So many more. Consider some current ads.

“Don Juan DeMarco”: “A great date movie.”

“Circle of Friends”: “It’s a perfect date movie for romantics of all ages.”

“Rob Roy”: “The Ultimate Date Movie!”

The other day I saw an ad for “While You Were Sleeping,” the new movie starring Sandra Bullock.

The billing for Bullock’s blockbuster: “Surpasses ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ as the date movie of the year!”.

From these examples, we can deduce some theories about date movies.

One: Not all date movies are equal. A date movie comes in gradations, from great (Johnny Depp in a mask) to ultimate (Liam Neeson in a kilt).

Two: A date movie is sex-specific.

Still, what the heck is it?

“Is it, like, a chick flick?” mulled one puzzled woman.

Apparently not. A chick flick, experts say, is a movie that will move a woman to laughter and tears, one in which almost all the men are bums or gay.

Read: “Beaches” and “The Joy Luck Club.”

Women allegedly love going to chick flicks. Men would rather mop floors.

Perhaps the reason many of us have been oblivious to the “date movie” phenomenon is that we came of age in an era when people, at least once they reached college, did not date.

They hung out. They got involved. They had relationships. They had sex. They went to movies.

After some investigation, however, I have concluded the following:

A date movie involves sex, but not too much. A date movie does not make fun of men. Or women. Or else it makes fun of both. Lopsided gender-bashing can lead to discussions that ruin the best of dates.

A date movie is any movie that will relieve you for two hours from making small talk with someone you’d rather not be dating.

Wordcount: 432
Tags: commentary

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email