The 40 Year Old Virgin tops list of favorite date movies

Erin Johnsrud, Staff Writer

What makes a great date movie? That depends on who is on the date. Personally, I’d prefer a horror movie – even the bad ones – to almost any rom-com. This is not a list full of “Sleepless in Seattles,” or “The Notebooks.” However, there are certain movies that pretty much everyone (men and women) can enjoy. I’m aware that you may disagree with some (or all) of my picks. That’s ok, we’re not dating.

10. The Last of the Mohicans (1992), R, 114 min.

This is a historical epic film full of adventure, heroics, romance, and passion. Filmed in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina as the setting for New York during the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the scenery is absolutely beautiful. There are some pretty gruesome, yet exquisitely choreographed battle scenes, and one of the most heartbreaking displays of ill-fated love I’ve ever watched (ladies, prepare to cry during one scene in particular).

9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), R, 118 min.

Technically, one could see this as a break-up movie … after all, its premise is a guy getting dumped, and the guy goes to Hawaii to forget his troubles, only to be in the cabana next door to the woman who left him and the man she left him for. This is one of those movies in which the supporting cast is just as funny as the main characters (notably Paul Rudd and Russell Brand). There is someone in this movie that everyone can relate to, even if we can’t all jet off to a five-star resort in Hawaii when we get dumped.

8. Jerry Maguire (1996), R, 138 min.

No matter how sick you got of hearing people quote “Show me the money!” from this drama/comedy/romance, it’s undeniably smart and funny. Featuring cameos by real-life athletes and newscasters, it takes us on a journey with slick sports agent Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, who is on a quest for more meaning in his career and his life. The sometimes awkward romance that develops with Renee Zelwegger’s character is honest and sweet, as is Jerry’s relationship with his only remaining client, played by Cuba Gooding Jr in an Oscar-winning performance.

7. The Princess Bride (1987), PG, 98 min.

I’m begging you not to dismiss this as a “kid’s movie”, because it’s so much more than that. True, it’s a beloved children’s classic – I saw it many times when I was younger – but I was surprised, when viewed again as I got older, just how much the dialogue is meant for adults. It has sword fights, Andre the Giant, fairy-tale adventure, is endlessly quotable … and just because all ages will enjoy it, doesn’t make it uncool.

6. Easy A (2010), PG-13, 92 min. 

This comedy, partially inspired by Nathanial Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” features Emma Stone in her first starring role, and she plays lead character Olive Penderghast perfectly. Olive altruistically agrees to pretend to sleep with her gay friend and, subsequently, random nerds at her school to either save them from beatings, or just generally boost their reputation. However, her reputation suffers for it.  Luckily, she flips-off the haters at her school in a way I’m sure every girl labeled as a “slut” (deserved or not) wishes they had.

5. Knocked Up (2005), R, 129 min.

This movie about a one night stand with unintended results has more laugh-out-loud moments than I can count, just as many coming from the supporting cast as the main characters. On the surface a mismatched couple of slacker-stoner guy and ambitious, career driven girl, they develop genuine love for each other in a situation that, in the real world, would have the possibility (one could argue, probability), of turning out very ugly.

4. Bull Durham (1987), R, 108 min.

Sports Illustrated has this film ranked number one on their greatest sports movies of all time list, a ranking I completely agree with. That shouldn’t deter those not interested in sports from watching it, as it offers just as much romance and comedy as it does baseball. While it is a sports/romantic comedy, it steers clear of cliches of both genres; Susan Sarandon looks absolutely beautiful, playing a strong woman who is hesitant to fall in love, and you won’t believe how young Tim Robbins (in his first feature role) looks.

3. The Cabin in the Woods (2012), R, 95 min.

As a horror movie junkie, and avid Joss Whedon fan, I had to include this movie. This movie deconstructs horror movie clichés even better than “Scream” did back in 1996, and while there isn’t a love story element per se, that could be what you and your date are going for. What it does have, is arguably the smartest plot and dialogue – ever – in a horror movie. I contest it takes at least two viewings to fully grasp the genius of this movie, and you and your date will have plenty to debate when the credits role.

2. Death Proof (2007), R, 114 min.

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, this movie about psychopathic woman stalker, Stuntman Mike, may not be thought of as a typical date movie, but there really is something for everyone here. The cinematography alone makes this worth watching, but throw in outstanding performances, kick-ass muscle cars (and car chases), stunts, and Tarantino’s trademark dialogue – mostly delivered by beautiful actresses in strong, smart lead roles (women, especially, will enjoy the final scene). The film features a quirky, I’ve-never-heard-that-song-before-but-I’m-downloading-it-immediately soundtrack.

1. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), R, 133 min.

Clearly, I’m a Judd Apatow fan, this being the third movie on my list that he’s written, directed and/or produced. But really, how do you not include this in a list of best date movies? Steve Carell delivers a sweet, honest and hilarious performance in the lead role of Andy, an involuntarily celibate man who collects action figures and sings karaoke – by himself. This movie is genuine and appeals both to fans of gross-out humor (though in my opinion, it steers clear of that) and those looking for something more intelligent.