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What Movies Teach Us About Dating

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Why do we go to the movies? To be entertained? Informed? Uplifted? Moved? Scared? To be placed into strange and wonderful worlds? All of the above. Yet, there’s one more crucial reason we visit the silver screen. Okay, maybe two, because the air conditioning can be a very comforting perk on a hot summer’s day. But we also attend movies to learn about dating, don’t we? After all, they don’t teach it in school. Your parents certainly are not the last word on dating. And dating books can be a snooze fest. Therefore, the most entertaining way we have to learn about dating is through movies. You want the proof? You can’t handle the proof! But I’ll give it to you anyway. Check out these current and upcoming summer flicks for what they teach us about the wonderful, wild world of dating.

1.       MILLION DOLLAR ARM

In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called Million Dollar Arm. What do we learn from this? Isn’t it obvious? That men so dislike having a mature, emotionally communicative and expressive romantic relationship that they will do everything in their power to avoid it, even if it means getting a job in India.

2.       MOMS’ NIGHT OUT

All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation—a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a paper bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for three hours—what could go wrong? This movie provides a great public service, offering us a painful look at what dating becomes after marriage. A romantic night out with your husband or wife? Au contraire! It’s all the women friends having a date with each other while the men stay home and ruin the home, the kids, and everyone’s lives. This is modern romance! And one more thing – choose your potential life partners carefully because they could someday be left to their own devices with your precious children!

3.       THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN

Robin Williams plays a lawyer who’s mistakenly informed that due to his brain aneurysm, he has just an hour and a half left to live. This movie teaches us in no uncertain terms to make the most of every precious moment of our lives and our dating time. Because you never know when some unforeseen catastrophe could befall you and be misdiagnosed by some medical professional, thereby sending you into a tailspin, forcing to put your affairs in order and bring closure to every aspect of your life within a very short period of time before finding out that things weren’t as bad as you thought. So, smile and get back on JDate!

4.       GODZILLA

The world’s most revered monster is reborn in a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless. This movie has three obvious dating lessons:  1) Some movies are made clearly just for guys and/or anyone with a low IQ. 2) Anger your romantic partner and you never know what kind of monster they’ll turn into. 3) Make the most of your dating opportunities because you never know when some prehistoric beast will become reborn and lay waste to civilization. Also, learn Japanese, in case that’s the only way to communicate with the monster and beg him to spare the lives of you and your new girlfriend/boyfriend.

5.       RIO 2

Blu, Jewel and their three kids live the perfect domesticated life in the magical city that is Rio de Janeiro. When Jewel decides the kids need to learn to live like real birds, she insists the family venture into the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in with his new neighbors, he worries he may lose Jewel and the kids to the call of the wild. What have we learned? Be careful where you take your date—he or she may fall in love with the place and want to either move there or become part of that lifestyle. Do you want your boyfriend to become a rodeo cowboy? Or decide Tahiti needs another surfing instructor? Or quit his steady-paycheck corporate job to take improv classes at Second City? Do you want your girlfriend to devote her life to opera? Or work at Hooters? Or take a four-month ship voyage each year to help protest whale hunting? Just to be safe, better stay home!

6.       NOAH

Russell Crowe stars as Noah in the film inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope. A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.  Dating lessons: 1) Be ready for anything. 2) Disaster can strike at any time. 3) Twosomes are the natural format both for people and animals, so get those threesome ideas out of your head right now.  4) Nothing shakes up a humdrum dating life like a once-in-a-lifetime boat trip.

7.       THE IMMIGRANT

1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulska (Marion Cotillard) and her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, she quickly falls prey to Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. Dating lessons: Before you date someone from another country, have your doctor give them a clean bill of health, make sure they can speak English, and try to determine whether or not they’re involved in prostitution, either as a provider or recipient. It’s better knowing these things right from the start. Or, uh, so I’ve heard.

Mark Miller is a comedy writer who has performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs and on TV, written on numerous sit-com staffs, been a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and is a current humor columnist for The Huffington Post. His first book, a collection of his humor essays on dating and romance, is scheduled to be published by Skyhorse Publishing on Valentine’s Day of 2015. Its title: “500 Dates: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Online Dating Wars.” But he says he’d trade all his success away in a minute for immortality, inner peace and limitless wealth.
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