The ten worst date movies

We take a look at the least romantic movies ever made

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If you’re stuck with a date you don’t really want – or just keen to make your cosy night in that little bit more 'experimental' – check out our definitive list of films guaranteed to kill even the cosiest evening stone cold dead. If you've got a bad-date-movie experience of your own you'd like to share, or think there's a woefully unromantic movie we've missed out, let us know in the comments below.

1

Cross of Iron (1977)

Sweet nothings
‘Natural body oils, combined with dirt, can keep you waterproof.’

Far from the warm Soave and diner-a-deux conveyor belt of the metropolitan Valentine’s evening lie the freezing steppes of the Russian front, where your main squeeze is the trigger of an MG42 and painting the town red involves calling in a squadron of Stukas. Peckinpah’s masterful epic of slo-mo carnage will reveal more about your relationship than words can ever say, encapsulating themes of emasculation, pointless attrition and betrayal.

Read the Time Out review of 'Cross of Iron'

2

Nil by Mouth (1997)

Sweet nothings
‘I turn the television off, go up to bed, you follow me up at three o'clock in the morning stinking of booze.’

Oldman’s brutal portrayal of domestic violence and working class swearing, in which Ray Winstone gets into a jealous tizzy when he spies the missus playing snooker (no, literally) with another man. He knocks ten bells out of her, then quickly descends into a one-man Roman orgy of Glen’s Vodka and symbolic mirror-smashing to an accompaniment of garbled cockney jibber-jabber and theatrical dribbling.

Read the Time Out review of 'Nil by Mouth'

3

Kids (1995)

Sweet nothings
‘Condoms don't work. They either break, or they slip off, or they make your dick shrink. Nah, but you still gotta use 'em, yo. At least I did once.’

Ah, young love! But seriously, there can be few worse romantic blunders than choosing February 14 to sample this punk-fuelled realist dirge of rat-faced delinquents drinking Vimto from their mums' tampons, cracking skateboards over each others' heads and spreading STDs like Nutella.

Read the Time Out review of 'Kids'

4

Zardoz (1974)

Sweet nothings
‘Go forth, and kill! Zardoz has spoken.’

Fundamentalist lovebirds of all religious stripes will thrill to hear our hero's rallying cry of ‘The Gun is good! The Penis is bad!’, but may be less impressed with Sean Connery’s underpants-and-bandolier get-up as he touts his holy war from the mouth of a giant flying stone head. If Pat Benatar was right and love is indeed a battlefield, then all you need are a chest-wig and some red leather grundies to carry the day.

Read the Time Out review of 'Zardoz'

5

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)

Sweet nothings
‘Come quickly! I've just killed an intruder.’

Oooh… What a shame; you were so close. Julia Roberts in a romantic thriller would seem the perfect way to engender some tense behind-the-cushion canoodling. What you have, in fact, is an unhinged potboiler masquerading as a slice of anarcho-feminism, seen through the grimy eye of hardcore misogyny. La Roberts fakes her own death early doors; see if you last that long…

Read the Time Out review of 'Sleeping with the Enemy'

6

The Day of the Jackal (1973)

Sweet nothings
‘Will you go for a head shot or a chest shot?’

While the fastidiously wrought, diamond-hard procedural thriller genre has never screamed ‘Would you like to see my bedroom?’, sitting a prospective date in front of Zinneman’s exhaustive account of unyielding blond assassin Edward Fox and his attempt to ‘whack out De Gaulle’ could well be the bullet-to-the-temple that your love life has been waiting for. Three words: Failure. To. Launch.

Read the Time Out review of 'The Day of the Jackal'

7

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

Sweet nothings
‘You'd still be a man. A man in prison! Just like the faggots the Nazis shoved in the ovens!’

Sometimes there’s nothing like locking yourselves away from all the pointless expense of Valentine’s day and having a nice, quiet night in. In this case, it’s a quiet night in an Argentinian prison, where hardcase Raul Julia and flighty William Hurt coo cosy pillow talk about political reform, state-sponsored death squads and moral turpitude...

Read the Time Out review of 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'

8

New York, New York (1977)

Sweet nothings
‘That was your proposal! Get your coat on, put your shoes on, let's go, let's go, let's go, that was it!’

The cinematic equivalent of a couple dressed to the nines and drunkenly swearing at each other at a cab stand, Scorsese’s attempt to make a lavish musical-romance about two star-crossed lovers follows the well-worn path of many a night out. What begins as an over-elaborate stab at whimsy rapidly descends into back-biting, spitting and physical abuse as Robert De Niro’s psychotic saxophonist gooses Liza Minelli’s character up and down Broadway.

Read the Time Out review of 'New York, New York'

9

The Grifters (1990)

Sweet nothings
‘You have a visitor, Mr. Dillon. A very attractive young lady. She says she's your mother.’

Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day all come at once for lucky young John Cusack in Frears’s adaptation of hardboiled novelist Jim Thompson’s Oedipal con-man caper. Angelica Huston is the mom who wants to give little Johnny a present he’ll never forget in return for a ticket out of Palookaville after an impossibly daring and complex scam known as ‘The Chinaman’s Moustache’ goes south.

Read the Time Out review of 'The Grifters'

10

Les Valseuses (1974)

Sweet nothings
‘On est pas bien là? Paisibles, à la fraîche, décontractés du gland, et on bandera quand on aura envie de bander...’

Three may be a crowd around Valentine's Day, but joyously amoral ruffians Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere show caring by sharing as they thieve and molest their way across France. Blier’s wholly reprehensible, fantastically enjoyable two fingers to good behaviour features panty-sniffing, car-jacking, a gruesome gynaecological suicide, breast-milk ingestion and some of the most outrageous loon-pants this side of 'Abba: The Movie'.

Read the Time Out review of 'Les Valseuses'


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Users say

22 comments
kat
kat

i see no problem with Day of the Jackal, or many of those. Honestly, if you and your date/other half can't get past a film with a less than cheery theme, what chance have you got anyway? with mine so far i've watched 'Taxi Draiver' 'The doors' (thats fucked up) 'Juno' (teenage pregnancy aint a sterling choice but we survived) 'Great balls of fire' (underage insest intermarrage and wife beating the the sounds of the 50's) 'trainspotting' and 'a clockwork orange' not a rom com amongst them, no Hugh Grant raising his ugly mush...

kat
kat

i see no problem with Day of the Jackal, or many of those. Honestly, if you and your date/other half can't get past a film with a less than cheery theme, what chance have you got anyway? with mine so far i've watched 'Taxi Draiver' 'The doors' (thats fucked up) 'Juno' (teenage pregnancy aint a sterling choice but we survived) 'Great balls of fire' (underage insest intermarrage and wife beating the the sounds of the 50's) 'trainspotting' and 'a clockwork orange' not a rom com amongst them, no Hugh Grant raising his ugly mush...

dps
dps

Single White Female is also not the best idea.

Ded
Ded

I made the mistake of taking a date to go see Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July. Not a good date movie....OK, not a good movie period.

Belly Jam
Belly Jam

Just watched Hard Candy. Definitely not a date movie.

Brian
Brian

My eventual wife and I went to see Closer on our second date....not the best idea.

auntie di
auntie di

Failing to pay proper attention to the name of the film can be a problem too. thinking we were going to see a romantic french tragi comedy (betty blue) we just remembered it was "something blue" and ended up watching blue velvet... after the ear the date was definitely losing

David
David

I don't think that watching "Fatal Attraction" would be a good idea for Valentine's Day. It stills continues to scare every man in America, especially to teach them a lesson about the horrors of a 'casual' affair.

d2sf
d2sf

Don't forget to add Gaspar Noe's Irreversible

CALGAL33
CALGAL33

One year I was dating a guy who really wanted to see a foreign film for Valentine's Day --- I picked one I really liked: LA BETE HUMAINE. Nothing like a steaming, black and white French film about a psychotic railway worker in love with a married sex kitten who hates her abusive husband to put the damper on romance. Her line "I just want to be friends" almost put my friend into a screaming fit. It was near the end of our relationship and I have to admit --- I did it on purpose to see how he'd react to a good, yet tough and unrelenting and VERY unromantic foreign film. He --- to say the least --- didn't like it. My other choice would have been the saddest film ever --- UMBERTO D. But don't get me started... I'll keep the movies, the guy HAD TO GO!

Geoffrey
Geoffrey

The Zardoz quote is incorrect. Its actually, "The gun is good. The penis is evil." Its important to keep your Sean Connery movie quotes correct.

Black Lutefisk
Black Lutefisk

*SPOILER* I'd wager "A Boy and His Dog" would dampen the mood a bit. If the forced semen extractions don't flatten the chapagne, feeding the love interest to the dog probably will.

abcdefz
abcdefz

LOLITA is probably a bad idea if you're dating a single mother.

Emma
Emma

Boogie Nights on a first date was probably not the best idea. One of us felt quite inadequate as we walked out of the theatre together.

Zach Buehl
Zach Buehl

What about Takashi Miike's "Audition"? That's just a terrible movie to subject someone you love to watch (though the movie is good). Or possibly "Crash"? I'm not talking the Oscar winner either, I'm talking the David Cronenberg sex-fest about people getting into car crashes and getting so turned on by it they have to do each other.

Will
Will

A few years ago, my wife and I saw "Saving Private Ryan" on Valentine's Day, which honestly wasn't the bad experience it could have been.

SorryHoney
SorryHoney

Took my girlfriend to see Blood Diamond on Valentine's day last year. A lovely movie which shows brainwashed 10 year olds machine gunning down women and children, and rebels chopping off the arms of the people who oppose them.

Chuck Williamson
Chuck Williamson

What about In the Company of Men? Surely that would trigger enough alarms to stop anyone from sharing this with a loved one on Valentine's Day.

Randhir
Randhir

Closer (2004) will create distrust among even the most blissful couples

AlvySinger
AlvySinger

What - no Gaspar Noe? Surely Irreversible's life-affirming celebration of love and happy endings will perfectly suit a quiet night in with that special one...

Nick
Nick

A movie I would find hard to watch on Valentine's Day would be "Casablanca." Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant film and timeless classic, except seeing Bogey letting Bergman go at the end is sometimes, and often the most difficult part of the film to fathom. A good film tho otherwise

GingerLee
GingerLee

It's "John Waters" not "John Walters"

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