Bad first-date movies

I heard about a lot of bad dates from readers this week, but also some that went very well indeed. Like James Higgins’s first-date experience, which included a visit to a cemetery and a screening of John Huston’s adaptation of the James Joyce story “The Dead.” His date had insisted on the movie, and afterward he learned that his fate depended on whether or not he liked it. “Well, to make a long story short,” he concludes, “that was about 25 years ago and we are still married.”

Let that be an inspiration to all those who have given up on the power of movies, or of cemeteries for that matter, to spark a lasting romance. But you should be sure to steer clear of these proven passion poopers.

hristian Geisnaes/IFC Films

Any film by Lars von Trier

  • All are to be avoided “except for ‘The Boss of It All’ (2006),” advises Toni Pennacchia, among others. I’d say the biggest turnoff in the transgressive Danish director’s oeuvre is “Antichrist” (2009, above). Here the lovers’ spat includes an application of 2-by-4s, steel bolts, and gardening shears to sensitive places. And the giant ticks and talking fox won’t make you feel good, either.

Film Society of Lincoln Center

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

  • Don’t make the same mistake as some readers did and try to break the ice by taking in this brutal, brilliant sci-fi satire by Stanley Kubrick. Long afterward you’ll be humming to yourself “Singin’ in the Rain,” and you’ll probably be by yourself, too. On the other hand, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea after all. “My date forgave me,” reader “Rstower” recalls. “We got married.”

Chuck Zlotnick/Fox Searchlight Pictures

127 Hours (2010)

  • “ArapahoJoe” pretty much sums up the problem with Danny Boyle’s harrowing true-life movie. “On Valentine’s Day I took my wife to dinner (OK),” he writes, “and then to see that movie about the guy who cut his arm off because he was trapped by rocks (not so OK).” This is not a film that encourages holding hands.

Paramount Pictures

Fatal Attraction (1987)

  • Any movie is risky for a first date, advises reader “jrp0840.” But you’re really asking for trouble if you stumble into Adrian Lyne’s erotic, and some might say, grotesquely misogynistic thriller. Especially if you like cute bunny rabbits.

Kharen Hill/Goldwyn Entertainment

Kissed (1996)

  • Here’s another case in which learning more about the movie beforehand might have been a good idea. Drawn by the title, “rstachel” opted for Lynne Stopkewich’s odd tale of a woman with a fatal attraction of a different kind. Big mistake: “It sounded romantic, but it turned out to be about necrophilia.”


Will “The Lone Ranger” (opening on Wednesday) be one of the few TV series to succeed on the big screen? It seems that for every “Mission Impossible” there’s a “Beverly Hillbillies” or “Bewitched” or “Dukes of Hazzard.” Which movie adaptations of a boob tube hit do you think worked best? And are there any yet-untapped TV shows that beg for the Hollywood treatment? We’ll announce your choices next Sunday. And looking ahead to July 14: the 83d MLB All Star game takes place July 16. What are the all-stars of baseball movies?

Peter Keough can be reached at
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