As you might imagine, we here at The Dissolve organize our lives—and our memories—around movies. So not only do we remember the first films we saw with our romantic partners, we also recall the first films we talked about together, during those long early conversations where we fell for each other. Here are some of our stories. We invite you to share yours in the comments.
Inframan: My partner and I met as part of a loose college social circle that was much more focused around a weekly open-stage theater night than around watching movies. But one group showing of the Z-grade Hong Kong movie Inframan became an early relationship touchstone. This Shaw Brothers picture was made to mimic popular Japanese serials of the time, and marketed to capitalize on America’s The Six Million Dollar Man, but it comes across like a wacky fan-dub of a story badly edited together from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers episodes. The translation is questionable, the dialogue is ridiculous as a consequence (the primary villain is named “Princess Dragon Mom,” for instance), the performances are over the top, there’s no continuity at all, and the hero’s chief weapons are his “thunderball fists.” (“I can have such a thing?” “Yes. Thunderball fists.”) We roared our way through it, and afterward, we quoted it at each other regularly, building an entire vocabulary of in-jokes around the most laughably dumb moments. Actually watching the movie only brought us together for 90 minutes, but all the shorthand based on the shared delight of seeing it together brought us together for years. He still shows it at the occasional bad-movie gathering, as one of the all-time fun-bad-film classics. -Tasha Robinson
The Room: I have a movie-bonding story nearly as classically romantic as Tasha’s. When my wife and I started courting long distance (she was getting her masters in teaching at Brown, I was writing in Chicago), she didn’t have a television, so our pop-culture diet consisted largely of re-watching the ICP video “Miracles” on YouTube, watching Jersey Shore on MTV.com, and compulsively re-watching The Room. She got into The Room even before we started dating, and like Tasha’s Inframan experience, it was an important cornerstone in our relationship that was quoted and referenced lovingly and frequently. I got an autographed DVD and T-shirt when Tommy Wiseau came to Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, and later, we saw it together both on our own and with her very indulgent parents, who may not have known exactly what was going on. So for me, and for everyone else, The Room will always stand for romance, true love, and finding your soulmate. -Nathan Rabin
She’s All That: My wife and I met at a Madison, Wisconsin restaurant shortly before a showing of the 1999 teen comedy She’s All That, which we were each reviewing for separate publications. We were introduced by my then-editor Stephen Thompson (now of NPR Music). I liked her right away, and though it took a few months, we eventually started seeing other movies together, and then just seeing each other. Fifteen years later, we re-watched the film after putting our daughter to bed. It remains, as I judged at the time, not very good, and by now, it’s so full of late-1990s elements that it made me feel a hundred years old. But I’ll always be fond of it anyway. -Keith Phipps
Charlie’s Angels: This wasn’t the first film my future wife and I ever watched together (that’d be Annie Hall, a fact that will in no way be awkward for the rest of our lives), but McG’s Charlie’s Angels was our first real date: dinner and a movie and an evening wandering around Syracuse, New York’s greatest cultural mecca, the Carousel Mall. While it does provide a reasonable amount of action, comedy, and women kicking Crispin Glover in the face, Charlie’s Angels isn’t exactly a cinematic classic. What we bonded over, ultimately, was the fact that it wasn’t much of a movie; that we could go see something kind of boring and still have a really great time with each other. Whenever we see it pop up on cable or streaming, we still get nostalgic—and then quickly change the channel. -Matt Singer
The 1993 Virginia Festival Of American Film: I was casually acquainted with my future wife Donna when we were both active participants in the Cinematic Arts division of the University Of Georgia’s Student Union (alongside some lanky, nervous kid named Scott Tobias). But we didn’t really get to know each other until I’d moved back to Nashville and she’d moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to work on her doctorate. We swapped letters (remember letters?), and then she invited me up for what became our first date: spending the weekend together at the Virginia Festival Of American Film. Back then, the Virginia fest mixed a few big fall films into a program heavy on classics. The 1993 theme was film noir, and we spent three days watching one great noir after another, talking nonstop between screenings. I remember one day we saw In A Lonely Place, The Wrong Man, and Panic In The Streets over the course of one afternoon. Most couples are unified by shared values; for Donna and me, expressing affection for some of Hollywood’s best, toughest films became an affirmation of what we mutually believed to be important. We’ve been in accord ever since. -Noel Murray
Bowling For Columbine/The Emperor’s Club/All That Heaven Allows: On our second date, my future wife and I followed dinner with Michael Moore’s documentary Bowling For Columbine. On our third, I dragged her to The Emperor’s Club, a largely, justly forgotten Dead Poets Society-type movie starring Kevin Kline. On our fourth, we ordered take-in and watched one of my favorite movies, Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. I’d like to say we bonded over a shared love of movies, or some passion for leftist advocacy docs or tear-streaked melodramas. But that wouldn’t be true. We just bonded. Movies were (and are) just background noise in the grand scheme of things. And I’m more grateful for that than I could have ever expected. -Scott Tobias