Weekend Roundtable: Worst or Weirdest Movie Dates

Going to the movies is a mainstay of the dating ritual in modern society. Yet not every movie that happens to be playing in theaters when you make a date is necessarily appropriate date movie material. In this week’s Roundtable, we reminisce about some of our movie dates gone wrong.

Luke Hickman

I made a horrible, horrible decision in the first year of my marriage. I was such an ignorant fool.

I go through phases where I will and won’t watch movie trailers. For great movies, blindly walking in without knowing much about the plot or having already seen clips from all the best scenes will make them even better – and for obviously an awful movie, at least I won’t dread it before going in.

One month after my wife had our first child, we decided to ask her mother to babysit our newborn so we could do dinner and a movie. At this point, we’d been married for 11 months (yes, we pretty much had a honeymoon baby), so we were starving to get back to our former lovey-dovey dating selves. When a screening came up for a title that had generated some buzz, I said, “Hey, let’s go check out this acclaimed movie from first-time director Ben Affleck!” Not knowing what we were walking into, I took the new mother of my child to ‘Gone Baby Gone‘, a movie about abducted and murdered children.

It’s a damn fine film, but one that scarred my wife. Due to her wishes, my well-being and the future of our marriage, it’s never allowed in our home.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Bizarrely, I’ve only ever been on one date-date to a movie: ‘The Great Gatsby‘ with my now-fiancée. There really isn’t an amazing story to tell one way or the other there – just suffering through an over-caffeinated, visually spastic take on the Fitzgerald classic with a fundamental misunderstanding of who Daisy is and Jay-Z all over the soundtrack for whatever friggin’ reason. I’d also been on a couple of decidedly not-dates with a crush to see double features of ‘The Burning’ / ‘The Beyond’ and ‘Demons’ / ‘Creepers’. (That she would eagerly go to see 35mm revivals of those movies alone elevates her to crush status!) There really aren’t any unintentionally hilarious or cringingly awkward stories there either, unless you count my doe-eyed adoration of someone who just likes me as a friend, and ack, I don’t want to write anymore about that.

So, here’s the best I can do, even though these absolutely in no way should be mistaken as dates. Every summer, my mother and I used to head to Phoenix to spend a month or two with her side of the family. We’d regularly hit the theater to duck out of the searing desert sun. Being the resident movie nut, I was often the one choosing what we’d watch. We both like killer alien flicks, so I thought ‘Species‘ looked like a winner. Nope! You don’t want to sit next to your mom while watching Natasha Henstridge completely naked for something like 100 minutes straight. Ooooh, this screwball high school comedy looks pretty fun, right? Turns out you don’t want to squirm in the seat next to your mom while watching ‘Election‘ either. I feel like the list keeps droning on and on, but maybe I’ve blocked the worst of it out.

Brian Hoss

When I state that ‘The Mothman Prophecies‘ is the movie that comes to mind in terms of weirdest movie date, you may think, “What the hell is The Mothman Prophecies”? I took a first date to the packed Friday night opening of the film. As the psychological thriller went through its disturbing progressions, both my date and I became progressively more uncomfortable. There was some really disturbing energy in that theater. After the two-hour runtime (felt like four hours), we found out that one of the two AC units had gone down, causing the theater to heat up like a sauna while still presenting a vestige of cooling. I still shudder when I think of that movie.

Mike Attebery

My choice isn’t so much based on the content being really inappropriate for a romantic outing, but rather for the reaction that I had to it. ‘The Ring‘ scared the ever-loving shit out of me. I saw it with my now wife and her roommate. My wife, as usual, was unflappable throughout the whole thing. In fact, I’m sure she thought parts of it were plain stupid, but her roommate and I were scared. To be precise, her roommate was scared; I was terrified to the core.

Horror movies are not my thing. When the movie was over, the real terror began. Back then I lived in Tacoma and spent the weekends at my wife’s place in Seattle. Her room was right across the hall from the bathroom. It was a short walk, but for several weeks afterward, whenever I woke up in the middle of the night and needed to cross the hall, all I could imagine was Samara and her stupid #@%&ing hair lumbering down the pitch black hallway at me. So I’d lie there in pain for an hour or so. It finally got to the point that my wife asked what was wrong with me. When I told her, her response was, “Are you SERIOUS?!” I’ve heard this a lot since then, but I think that was the first time she seriously questioned the guy she was seeing. Anyway, we’re still together, I’m still a movie coward, and I still can’t handle that movie.

Junie Ray

The man and I decided to have a movie date night out. We had dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant where he ordered a Mai Tai, hoping that it would help him ignore the building sinus pressure of an oncoming cold. It did seem to help so he ordered a second. And then a third, at which point he was feeling no pain whatsoever. I recall some sort of a struggle getting him to stop singing and shouting long enough to get him bundled into the passenger seat of the car.

We proceeded to the movie, got the requisite popcorn and soda, and found some seats in the middle of the crowded theater for the premiere of ‘Mission: Impossible-2‘. We are not Tom Cruise fans, nor ‘M:I’ fans, however we were enticed because it was directed by John Woo. I had high hopes that Woo could make the transition from his legendary Hong Kong action films to the Hollywood scene, and I was willing to put aside his first attempt with ‘Broken Arrow’.

There were a lot of previews and by the end of them, Peter had dozed off. By the beginning of the opening action sequence, he was snoring. I mean, the distractingly loud, guttural, apneated snores of a drunk guy with a cold. Despite persistent nudging from me, he could not stay awake. After fifteen minutes, we left. Since then, we have a two-drink max pre-movie rule.

M. Enois Duarte

When I was in college, I met a lovely young lady who I thought shared many of my same interests in the arts. And she did, for the most part. However, as it turned out, her interest in my interests was a vague, superficial and largely group-think appreciation. As in, only whatever is popular and trendy while literally quoting from whichever review or article she had just read to make herself appear smart. This was Los Angeles in the early to mid ’90s folks, and this sort of hoity-toity, Jack Keroauc-feigning pretentiousness was a real thing and people actually thought it was cool!

Anyhow, for our second date, since we’re still getting to know each other and testing out the waters, I thought perhaps we would check a film that was creating some serious waves at the moment. Besides, it was my birthday weekend, and I wanted to make something special of it. We drove for almost two hours to Newport Beach, which had one of only two theaters in L.A. showing Larry Clark’s NC-17 rated ‘Kids‘. For those who have seen it, you know that this is not a date movie. The car ride home was a battle of the wills. That blonde beauty morphed into a nagging, high-pitched and terribly-opinionated demon, belching out insults about how disturbing the film was and that it should be removed from theaters. Looking back, perhaps I should have given her a chance to read some reviews to mime quotes from.

We lasted for maybe close to a month. After a while, I couldn’t take listening to the opinions of others as if they were her own. I’m sure I only let it go for so long because being under the influence will make anyone seem smart and intellectual. Well, that, and the fact that it was a purely physical thing. Stupid college kids.

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

Back in college, I took a girl I had been seeing for about a month on our first real date to see the Jon Cryer classic ‘Hiding Out’. It was about a witness on the run, posing as a high school kid, when he was really about 30. It wasn’t a great movie. It wasn’t even a very good movie. But my date seemed to enjoy it.

Over time, we had a few more movie dates. I took her to see ‘Blue Velvet‘. Very disturbing film, but she seemed to have a good time. Later we would see ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer‘ in an art house in Manhattan (the Angelika). Also a very disturbing film – not recommended for a first date – but she seemed to find that one interesting too. At the same theater, we saw ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’. The lover (spoiler alert!) ends up being discovered, murdered and then cooked. “Try the cock!” She liked that one too, but fortunately didn’t take any recipe ideas from it.

Speaking of recipes, I also took her to see ‘Tampopo’, a fun Japanese take on Spaghetti Westerns. And guess what? She enjoyed that one too. So I married her.

Since then, we’ve been on several movie dates, some good, some bad. But we’ve always gotten some little nugget from each that we could agree or disagree on. There was always something to talk about. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re on a date with the right person, there is no wrong movie.

Josh Zyber

Weirdest date: In high school, I took a girl to see ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me‘, even though she had never seen a single episode of ‘Twin Peaks’. I’d already seen the movie on my own the week before, and knew that it required a thorough knowledge of the entire series to follow the plot. Also, it’s a very disturbing, harrowing film about sexual abuse, mental illness, drug addiction, prostitution and murder. Nevertheless, my date was curious about the whole ‘Twin Peaks’ thing, and I wasn’t savvy enough at dating to steer her toward something more appropriate. Fortunately, this was two weeks into the movie’s run – and since the movie was a huge box office flop, this meant that the two of us were totally alone in the theater. I was able to talk her through everything she needed to know about the show and interpret the plot of the movie as it happened. As I recall, she actually liked it.

Worst date: In retrospect, I should have known better on this one, but I honestly thought it was a good idea at the time. Well into our married years, I was certainly aware that Mrs. Z had no interest in anime. At all. Like, zero. Not that I’m much of an otaku or anything, but I have some favorites, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Studio Ghibli. Convinced that I could break through her aversion to anime if she’d just give a good example of it a chance, I dragged Mrs. Z to master animator Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Howl’s Moving Castle‘. I was determined to do this right, so I made sure to find a subtitled screening, not dubbed.

Personally, I loved the film, and think that it’s one of Miyazaki’s best. My wife, on the other hand… well, she didn’t. She hated it. I mean, HAAAAAAAAAAATED it. Hated every second of it, from the Ghibli logo at the beginning to the last frame before the end credits came up, at which point she dragged me out to the theater parking lot and chastised me for every forcing her to watch such utterly horrid, worthless garbage. She hated it so much that she couldn’t even articulate what she didn’t like about it, just that enduring it was one of the worst experiences of her life and that she would hold me responsible for it until the end of our days together. To this day, I’m still not sure exactly what about the movie set her off like that. It’s not like this was ‘Pokémon’, though apparently she doesn’t see a difference. Oh well, it wouldn’t be a marriage if we agreed on everything.

Someday, I will get her to watch ‘Grave of the Fireflies’. And if she doesn’t bawl her eyes out at that one, I’ll fear that her soul has been lost.

Tell us about your worst and weirdest movie dates in the Comments.

42 comments

  1. Ryan

    I remember it being a little uncomfortable when I took a date to American Beauty. I think i was 19 at the time, and she sort of clammed up during the nude scenes.

  2. T.J. Kats

    I don’t have any that stick out of my own but a guy I used to work with took, I believe, a first date to see the Swedish Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and he said that was a very awkward evening.

  3. Ken

    I went to NYU film, and naturally obsessed with seeing every film – independent or otherwise – under the sun. I was also a John Sayles fan… “Lone Star,” “Limbo,” “The Secret of Roan Inish,” etc. So I took this one girl who was a super cute fashion student to his newest film, “Casa de Los Babys,” not having seen the trailer or knowing any of the story of the film… I only knew it was a John Sayles movie and thought, “Hey, whatever it is, it’ll be interesting and make for some good discussion.”

    I chose poorly.

    First off, a movie about six American women traveling to South America to adopt babies and then being forced by law to live there is not a good first date movie with someone with whom you’re mutually only really interested in a fun, noncommittal relationship.

    Secondly, the movie was boring as $#*+.

    I tried engaging her in discussion just for the hell of it afterwards to be nice on the long walk back to her dorm. Not happening. I tried to shift the discussion to other movies she might like. I found out she doesn’t really watch movies. I tried to talk about fashion to her and engage her interests… Turns out, she really didn’t know all that much about fashion, “it just seemed like fun to go to school for.”

    Neither of us were looking for anything serious, but thanks to that movie and the subsequent walk back to her dorm, enough time had passed to kill the mood and any physical interest for either of us.

    I said goodnight, walked back to my apartment, and watched “Die Hard” that night.

  4. Back in college I went to go see 28 Days Later and was instantly obsessed with it. I had to bring my gf at the time to go see it since she loved zombies. She was kind of a tomboy and called me her “Captain” because she told me I was the captain of her pirate ship…literally. She thought she owned a pirate ship. (If you’ve seen Trekkies it’s like that little lady who thinks she is an officer on a starship) I should have taken a major hint that something was wrong with her then, but it became very clear during our date.
    So I take her to go 28 Days Later and she is loving it. I felt like a hero to have found the perfect movie for the date. So on comes the scene where they are forcing the female protagonist to change her clothes and grabbing her forcefully and speaking of rape and such and I look at my gf. She is holding a pocket knife in her hand and carving into her arm rest over and over and over with a look of anguish on her face. I was terrified! After the movie I was joking around with her and she pulled the knife of me and stuck it within inches of my eyeball. It sounds so ridiculous typing it out, but man was that a crazy date!
    I never got around to asking her if anything serious had happened to her to cause such a reaction…

  5. I told this story before: one of my best friends chose ‘Antichrist’ as a date movie with his not-yet-a-girlfriend girl. ‘Antichrist’, featuring horrible mutilation by Josh’s favourite misogynistic director Lars von Trier. I cried foul, and told him it sounded like an awful choice for a first date/movie. Imagine my surprise when he declared it a mutual choice, and they both liked the movie. They’ve been together ever since, and are slated to marry next year. Hurrah!

    • Chris B

      Haha wow….I’m trying to imagine how the line: “Shut that cunt’s mouth before I come over there and fuck-start her head!” went over….no more than three minutes into the movie to boot. Still though, badass movie.

  6. Weirdest- When I was dating my wife, we went to see A Smile Like Yours. Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly were trying to make a baby chick flick, ( I saw a lot of those back in our dating days). We sat high in the back and there were only about 15 people in the theater. About 15 minutes into the movie a man comes in and of all the seats available, he decides to sit next to my girlfriend/wife. I use to favor the aisle seat all the time. He also had a newspaper over his lap and it felt like he was hiding something, a gun? His winky? Maybe it was nothing but it was really uncomfortable and weird. We traded seats so that I was next to him and after a while he left. It was a big relief when he left, but also made me think he had another agenda which was kind of scary.
    Worst- i was in summer school and had my eye on this petite dark skinned cutie that was a friend of a friend, so I asked her to hook me up. Arrangements were made and before I knew it, a group of friends and maybe even my brother and sister wound up going to the mall and then to see The Last Action Hero, everyone was in tune with their dates except me. I kept trying to talk to her, nothing weird or creepy, just typical getting to know a person type stuff. She totally ignored me all night. I kept walking behind her because she seemed to not want to be any where near me. i felt like an asshole. Meanwhile all other couples were laughing and joking and having a great time and I couldn’t even engage in conversation with this girl! I remember when my friend Natalie who had helped me set up the date asked how it went I told her what a disaster it was and that I sure as hell wouldn’t ask her out again. The funny part was that when it got back to her that I had a terrible time and was not going to bother with her anymore, she was like, “why didnt he like me?”

  7. Ryan M

    My first movie date with my wife was A History of Violence. It wasn’t a bad movie, but we both left the theater feeling like we should probably collaborate on the next choice. The part where Viggo sort of rapes his wife on the stairs was uncomfortable to say the least. Nine years later, we’re still together and still going on movie dates, so I guess we got over that first one.

  8. Ok, this isn’t a movie date story, but it’s probably the weirdest and funniest thing that ever happened to me at the movies.
    My buddy and I went to see Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. As the movie plays, right behind us there’s what sounds like these nerdy weirdo types having a conversation. Not whispering, totally conversing out loud. Among all the ramblings, I kept hearing, “You have to give it to him, you have to give it to him regardless… The prophecy says, the prophecy states… You have to give it to him regardless.” This went on for a good while, “you have to give it to him regardless.” The voice was deep and articulated. I wasn’t totally tuned in all the time but it kept on going and going.”You have to give it to him regardless, the prophecy says..” Finally I turned around with my mouth half open to say,”please be qui—???! “The guy was by himself. He’d been having this whole conversation out loud for well over half an hour. I turned to my friend and pointed it out to him and we were laughing but freaked out at the same time. The rest of the movie I watched leaning forward with my chin on the seat in front of me because I thought that weirdo was going to shank me. The guy kept on with his ramblings on and off for the rest of the movie, but I wasn’t about to say anything to him. After the movie ended and the lights went on, everyone stood up. My friend and I looked at each other and we had to get a look at this weirdo. When we turned around, we saw a heavy set man still sitting in his seat, his head was kind of tilted back and both of his hands were pointed down and lodged in the cup holders. My buddy and I looked at each other kind of wide eyed and smiling and got the hell out of there. We still laugh about that one to this day.

  9. Guy

    I come from a small town. Going to movies, the bowling alley or high school sporting events were the only nighttime weekend activities. Large groups of friends would all go together. During my senior year of high school, I had a class with a girl I’d seen around, but never really known. We ended up hitting it off and started a long non-relationship of exclusivity with one another. We were never officially a couple. Long story short: there were religious and cultural divisions that prevented it. We were just two people all our friends knew were obviously into one another with no future in it. From waking in the morning until falling asleep, we were either seeing each other at school, texting or hanging out. If a group meal was to be had, we sat together; if there was a bonfire, we s’mored together; when it was group movie night, everyone knew two seats together were for us. It was all understood for a long while. This continued after I went off to college. I’d come back two weekends or so a month and this exclusive non-relationship would continue.

    One weekend, the collective hive chose Tropic Thunder for our entertainment. I had arrived in town later than normal that Friday, so I wasn’t around for the pre-movie meal. I met everyone at the cineplex. I got there and everything was perfectly normal: greetings all around, smiles, a box of Buncha Crunch and a straw to chew on. It all operated the same as it had for the last year and a half. We go into the auditorium, take seats next to one another and wait for the previews to begin. I have my best friend on my left and her on my right. About fifteen minutes into the movie, I lean over to her to whisper something and she’s holding hands with the guy on her right. I freeze, a sinkhole of a pit opens in my stomach and an internal, “What the f*#!,” was uttered. My brain shut down. I lean back to friend and he gave me the lowdown. The (approved by her family) fellow who’d had an unrequited crush on her for a while had finally wore her down. They were an official item. I hadn’t heard about it. I was given no warning. She didn’t tell me. Later, my friends simply said, “We thought you knew.” I was a sap there perfectly ready to spend another weekend pathetically just being near the girl I knew I could never actually date. Instead, that happened. I remember nothing about that movie. My brain was soup for two hours. After it ended, I excused myself from the rest of the evening’s activities and went home to an early bedtime. It was a brutal, nutshot of an ending to a long, frustrating situation. To this day, I can’t see that movie on FX without having to change the channel immediately. It’s been years, but that movie is just tainted for me.

    • William Henley

      I had a similar experience, but it wasn’t at the theater. I mean, her and I were always together, I figured it would end with marriage or somehting, but we weren’t really dating, then I get a wedding invitation to her wedding – she is engaged to my best friend. Apparently they had been going out for a couple of years (I knew her longer than that, I just had no clue she was dating someone else). Everyone was like “You didn’t know?”. I wasn’t terribly upset – we were really close friends that I just kinda assumed something would happen, but it was like someone had punched me in the gut.

  10. Timcharger

    Worst Movie Date (Completely My Fault)

    It wasn’t because of the movie.
    It wasn’t because of the date.
    It was all my fault.

    I took my very pregnant wife to the movies. I even forgot which movie it was.
    Maybe it was one of the Bourne films. It was a summer blockbuster. The
    theater was crowded with summer crowds.

    My very pregnant wife kept complaining that she was uncomfortable. Very
    fair complaint, but this was to be last movie before the new baby, so it might
    be ages before we went to the movies again.

    While she was complaining… a lady walked into our row to sit in the very seat
    next to me. It was full summer crowd, so the theater was going to be full.

    That lady walks to her seat awkwardly because of her equally large belly. So
    to comfort my wife to share her sympathy, I said out loud:

    “See Honey, she’s pregnant, too!”

    That lady looks right at me, and says (in a calm voice):

    “I’m NOT pregnant.”

    The lights immediately go dim and the trailers start. For the next 2 hours, I
    sit so embarrassed, feeling horrible, right next to her. My wife is so
    embarrassed by me, yet she can’t help herself and laugh at me, too. She
    (my wife, not the fat non-pregnant lady) pokes me throughout the movie,
    and in the darkness, I “see” her rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

    Once the film ends and the lights go up, we immediately exit the theater
    going the opposite way down the row.

    To this day, no matter how obvious someone is pregnant, I don’t say a
    thing.

  11. C.C. 95

    A first date. WILD AT HEART. First two minutes a) Sailor is accused of “Trying to f**k Lula’s Momma in the toilet” b) a man gets beaten to a bloody pulp with brain matter everywhere c) Lula screaming at the top of her lungs at the bloody mess then d) Heavy Metal song blares at you and fire explodes the title in yer face! THAT was a tough couple of minutes. Of course Bobby Peru wasn’t even in the picture yet….
    Our next flick was Sleeping With The Enemy (my punishment I guess)….

  12. EM

    The movie date I have in mind wasn’t a worst; I’ll call it a weirdest, though it didn’t seem weird to us…but that would be because we were weird. I expect that so-called normal people would consider it a weird choice, particularly for a first date.

    And actually, the movie wasn’t really chosen for a date. What happened was that I’d written a young lady some (bad) romantic poetry (itself a little weird, but let’s not digress further), which somehow actually succeeded in charming and intriguing her. It was purely coincidental that this occurred just before the confluence of my birthday and one of those occasions on the social calendar that lend themselves to romantic events or attempts thereat. Another completely unrelated coincidence was that, on the very evening of my birthday and the romantic occasion in question, our university was going to host a big-screen showing of one of my all-time favorite movies, and so I was already planning to go with whatever friends I could get to go with me as a perfect birthday outing; naturally I invited the young lady, who was likewise a fan of this same movie. The movie? Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. I doubt it was scheduled with the calendar of romance in mind, unless as counterprogramming or black humor. But such considerations or lack of same didn’t bother the young lady and me, as evidenced by our ability during the screening to pay intense attention to both the movie and each other (while ignoring my other friends). Don’t get your mind into the gutter—the intensity between us was just some vigorous hand-holding (which she later wrote me a poem about).

    Still, given all the weirdness, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the romance fizzled before long—though it was intense and exciting while it lasted. And yes, Psycho remains one of my top favorite movies—whether I watch it alone or with somebody special.

      • EM

        Thank you, William, I really appreciate your saying so. I knew I didn’t have a true-life experience that could compete in this race, but the events of this story remain quite vivid for me nearly a quarter of a century later, and I wanted to make them come alive for others. It’s gratifying to know I managed some measure of success.

  13. Early in my marriage my (now ex)wife and I went to see Re-animator. I was a fan of Lovecraft, so when I heard they had adapted his story I was anxious to see it. We had married young and like Luke and his wife we had conceived a “honeymoon baby” so she was very pregnant at this point. I was 20 and she was 19 and we both looked even younger. So despite her baby bump the staff at the theater didn’t want to let us in to see the very adult movie. We had to go all the way back home and fetch her ID to prove to them that she was old enough to watch.

  14. cardpetree

    The first date I took my now wife on was to the movie Unfaithful. My wife asked me afterwards why the heck I would pick that movie for the first date? I didn’t even think anything about the title. I had just heard that it was a really good movie. It wasn’t that good, it was just okay. But looking back, probably not the best date movie.

  15. Jakdonark

    I took a girl from work out once, as friends but we both kind of wanted to see where things went. I had just seen MI3 the day before opening day, and enjoyed it so much I suggested it. She said well you just saw it, let’s see something else. We decided on Silent Hill, because she wanted to see something scary. Well the first half hour had a few jump moments, but after that we were laughing for most of the rest of the picture. The final climax we were both laughing out loud, but only us! A little awkward, but we had fun.

    One fall my best friend went hunting with his dad. I went with his girlfriend and another mutual friend to The Sixth Sense. I didn’t expect her to be the jumpy type, she was usually very calm and composed and quite cynical when it came to movies. So I was very surprised when she was grabbing my arm and jumping during the suspense scenes. (I was jumping a bit myself!). I don’t know if she ever told him about her reactions in the theatre that day. They broke up a couple years later, and she ended up marrying a different guy that looked like both of us and had a similar personality and likes. I guess we were both her “type” and I was a good fill in when my friend was gone, lol.

  16. William Henley

    Oh, I got to weigh in on this topic!

    So there are three I can think of, and the funny thing is, not a single one of those were a date, but circumstances around them were so strange, one actually turned into a date, the other two were just, well, awkward.

    The first happened in 1999, the beginning of my my junior year in college. I went to college in a small college town, and the theaters absolutely sucked. You know, those theaters that were built in the late 70s or early 80s and were state of the art when they came out, but no one ever bothered to keep them up, where half the speakers don’t work, seats and screen are torn and patched, the film looks like its a fourth generation copy that has been spliced a dozen times. Yeah, those.

    Before I left for summer break in 1999, they just started building a brand new Century Theater in town. Stadium seating, digital sound, the works! It opened shortly after the start of the fall semester in 1999. My friends and I were SO excited about this. Well, the weekend before the official grand opening, they had a special engagement there, the 1999 version of Gone With The Wind! I am a huge fan of this movie (It is my number one movie of all time – before you say anything, a close second is Jurassic Park, and Star Wars is 3), and it had just been restored from the original Technicolor strips! I was so excited. My friend Jennifer was about as excited as I was. This was going to be shown on a Sunday afternoon after church (small town in Texas, NOTHING is open Sunday mornings, you go to church). None of my other friends were interested, but several of hers were going to meet us up at the theater.

    I get to the theater about 15 minutes before the start of the movie, and Jennifer is waiting for me. She looks agitated. It turns out that the theater was cash only, and she did not have any cash on her, so I paid her way in. She had also gone out to eat after church, so she was still dressed up from church (actually, so was I, just not as nice as she was). So, here we are dressed up, at the movies together, I just paid her way in, to see what is arguably the greatest romance movie ever made.

    We get into the theater, and she starts looking even more nervous. Her friends had not shown up. To top that off, the movie was not well advertised – it was really word of mouth, so there were maybe ten other people in this giant auditorium. So, here we are, alone, she is nervous, I had never met her friends so I had no clue who they were (or if she had really even called them), we are dressed up, I just paid her way in, and the lights dim on a 4 hour long romance / war movie. Awkward!

    She actually got up about 20 minutes in and called her friends. But we did not see them until intermission. They didn’t show up because they had assumed the movie was going to sell out, then when they got in, they sat in the very rear of the theater. So the first two hours were the most awkward moments of my life – trying to judge from her reactions if her friends were really coming or if she planned this whole thing to be alone with me.

    The second awkward movie moment happened in 2001. I was a senior in college (took me four and a half years to graduate if you are trying to do the math), and went to my aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving. Now that side of the family is big on these “family” get-togethers – there was like 30 people there, 4 of whom I was blood-related to. I mean, it was their cousins, and their cousins’ cousins. I am talking like 4 times removed people.

    Well, about fifteen of us decided that we were going to go catch the first Harry Potter movie that night after dinner. One was my cousin’s cousin Amy, who was due to have a transplant the following week. She was in poor health, but she was good enough to go to the movies with us. However, if she gets upset or anything, it could be really bad for her health-wise.

    At this time, I should mention that I am in college and she is in high school, that is important to note.

    So, a group of 15 of us are going to see this movie. We decide the time and the theater they are going to (small Texas town, so crappy 2 screen theater in town, or drive 45 minutes into town to the megaplex. We decided on the latter).

    About 20 minutes before we are scheduled to leave, a family fight breaks out. And not a little squabble, I am talking violence involved fight. Worried about how it was upsetting Amy, I grab her, and we take off for the theater.

    After being in the car about 10 minutes, after we had both calmed down a bit, something occurs to me… We are alone together! And even though I had known her since she was a baby, we had never been alone together. And I mention this to her. I can actually see in her face about six different emotions going through it – fear, excitement, deviness (I don’t know if that is a real word, much less how to spell it), and a couple others that I cannot identify. I ask her if she still wants to go, she says yes, so I call her mom to make sure everything is okay. I mean, she is still in high school. Mom is not at the house, she has gone to get cigarettes (I was the only one in my family in 2001 to have a cell phone), so I leave a message with my aunt, and then loose reception (because heaven forbid you might want to travel outside of your home calling area. Remember those days?).

    By the time we get to the theater, things are still pretty awkward between us, but at least Amy and I are talking. We get the ticket counter and I am like “two for Harry Potter”. The ticket lady is like “Okay, one adult and one child for Harry Potter”. I was like “Isn’t adult twelve and over? No, two adults”. The cashier is like “okay, two adults and one child for Harry Potter”. I look at her strange and say “No, two adults”. At this time, she takes a good look at Amy (I’ll admit, she looked ten – the kidney issues she had since she was little kept her from growing normally) and asks me how old she is. I was like “She is 16, if she wasn’t, why would I be insisting on paying more for her ticket?”

    This broke the ice between Amy and myself. She was shocked that I bought her an adult ticket, she said that her parents always made her get the kids tickets and eat off the child’s menu. I was like “but you are 16, you are not a child”.

    So we really hit it off, and after she turned 18, we started dating. But we always said that was our first date.

    The third awkward movie moment was with my goddaughter. I pretty much had joint-guardianship of her for a couple of years as her parents were undergoing back surgeries. She was about 11 at this time, and insisted that I take her to go see Twilight. Now for some crazy reason, she went from watching fairly violent movies to being all squemish and stuff during movies, and for some reason, Twilight had some scenes that made her jumpy, and she was burying her head in my chest and screaming and clinging to me. This got a lot of strange looks from people around us as you can imagine. We had went with friends (some of hers and some of mine) and they were relentless about that. In any case, when we got home, this resulted in an awkward “drawing lines” talk because while that might have been cute if she was six or seven, it was not appropriate at eleven.

    • EM

      I admit you have me intrigued by deviness. The best I can come up with is deviousness, devilishness, and defiance, but I doubt you mean any of those.

      • William Henley

        Probably deviousness. Words I do not use that often I tend to struggle with. Its like, I know the word, I just cannot think of it in the moment.

  17. True story

    One night I decided to take my two best hoes to The Metropol for an indie flick. In the lobby, one of my ladies (my beloved Rosemary) was horsing around and put on this bizarre chrome mask. A little while later she turned into a grotesque beast spewing green goo out of her mouth and infecting everybody else including my other date. A lot of people died that night. It was weird, emotional ,awkward, and the worst movie date night ever. Those other stories I posted were lies. This one is true.

  18. Daniel

    Two terrible date movie stories. The first is mine. The second belongs to one of my best friends but it is too cringe worthy to not share.

    Within the first month of dating this girl I decided that I wanted to introduce her to the world of David Lynch. I’m a huge fan. I saw that his new film “Inland Empire” was playing at the IFC theater in New York. Justin Theroux was introducing it in person. It was going to be amazing!! WRONG!! This was during the winter time and in anticipation of cold complaints they decided to up the fires of hell in that theater. Between the near three hour running time of the film, scenes that literally LITERALLY repeated themselves and that demonic inflating clown face, I was lucky this girl ever spoke to me again. Well she did and we actually were together for nearly six years. She however refused to ever watch a David Lynch film again.

    My friends story is just embarrassing and I can’t imagine having been in his position. It was, I believe a first or second date. He, like me, is a huge film fan. He studied film in college. So he was up to date on all the latest small indie films. Well, not as up to date as he should have been. He took this girl to see “9 Songs.” For those not familiar with the premise of this movie it’s simply this: a couple goes to see concerts throughout Europe and between each concert they have lots of sex. Not simulated sex. This is the real deal. In my opinion it makes Nymphomaniac sound like a movie simply about people obsessed with The Secret of Nymph. I don’t remember how far this relationship ever progressed from that point. All I can say is that she didn’t end up becoming his wife.

  19. Chris B

    A buddy of mine made the unfortunate decision to go watch Boogie Nights in the theatre…with his mom sitting on the left of him and his aunt on the right. He still talks about it to this day the way people talk about Vietnam….the horror….the horror….

  20. William Henley

    Josh’s comment about making Mrs. Z see an anime reminded me of something. It was not a date, but it was a movie with a girl.

    I had a girl who rented a room from me. She lost her job, and it was a good chance for her to relocate to a larger city, I had an extra room, I had known her for years (she is still one of my best friends), so I let her have the room for $200 a month while she got her feet on the ground.

    One night, I had got home after a hard day at work, and I just wanted to watch something mindless on television, so I plopped in Team America. She walks in and asks about it, and I am like “Oh gosh, you have got to see the opening two minutes of this movie” and she did like that. However, she then decided that she was going to watch the entire movie with me. I warned her about the content, but she insisted on staying in there until the end credits. All 80 or so minutes of this movie.

    Turns out she HATED it. I mean, HHHHAAAAATTTTTEEEEE!!!! I was like, “Why the heck did you sit through it? I mean, I was pausing the movie every 10 mintues asking if you were enjoying it and wanted to do somehting else”. Because of this, she made me watch one of her movies, a horrible movie called Pumpkin, some three hour long movie where Christina Ricci plays some college girl who is forced to do community service, falls in love with some mentally challenged boy, and rapes him (yes, she rapes him). Absolutely horrible movie. And she did not give me the chance to walk out after 2 minutes or 10 minutes, or any other time during the movie, she made me sit through the entire 3 hour movie, which was on an old VHS tape, recorded with a 2 head mono VCR in 6 hour speed that we were trying to watch on my LCD with the amp on (ever tried playing old analogue material through your surround sound? There is a hum at a frequency that just grates on the pain threshold of your ears).

    But that is not the only experience I had with Team America.

    I am a huge Matt and Trey fan. When this movie came out, I asked a buddy to go with me, who is also a fan of theirs (he had the South Park movie soundtrack in his car). He was youth minister at our church. Well, some of his buddies called him up trying to do something the same day, he mentioned he had plans with me already, so they kind of invited themselves along.

    All of these guys were in ministry. And apparently none of them had heard anything about this movie, or about South Park or Baseketball. Nor did they bother to see what the movie was rated.

    So while we all laughed like crazy during the movie, after the movie I thought they were going to burn us at the stake. I think the only reason I am not a smoking pile of ash now is because I was able to remind them that invited themselves, and they really need to know something about a movie before they go see it if they are offended by certain content. They said “we didn’t think you guys would watch stuff like that.” I responded “well, you laughed, didn’t you?’

    And I am still alive. But none of us talk to each other any more.

  21. Lisa

    I went to dinner with a guy and after dinner he asked me if I wanted to go see a movie. I hadn’t decided if I was totally into him or not so I thought to myself why not?? So we go to see a movie. We’re in the theater and he picks seats in the middle where the armrests are already up. I don’t know if that’s was intentional or not that he picked seats with the armrest already up. So I tell him I’m going to put the armrest in between us down and he’s says “oh” I don’t think he was expecting that. The entire time he is breathing very heavily which is very annoying and he’s leaning on the armrest towards me and is hogging it. I think he was trying to make a move and see if I would lean towards him. That never happened and he just kept on fidgeting the entire movie. It was really annoying. He just couldn’t sit still. It didn’t help that the movie really sucked and he laughed really loudly at parts of the movie that weren’t that funny. The entire time I just felt like this movie would never end and I would have to sit here in awkward silence while the guy next to me decides how he’s going to sit. I have never felt more awkward in my life than I did for those 2 long hours that I will never get back. The guy was super polite,kind and chivalrous I have to give him credit for that though. My advice is do not go to the movies on a first date unless both people are 100% sure there’s a mutual attraction and connection.

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