Couch or Curb: Cinematically Test Your Boyfriend’s Love

Love is in the air for some reason, so we’ve developed a fool-proof way of testing whether your significant other is worth your time. Now for girls!
By  · Published on February 13th, 2009

I know, ladies. I understand the grand conspiracy – you don’t really give a crap about Valentine’s Day. You don’t care about the schmoopy, lovey-dovey stuff. You don’t care about the stuffed animal with a heart that you’ll probably hide in a closet somewhere or donate to charity. You just like watching your boyfriend sweat, you like watching him pretend that he’s into the feminine side of things for just a day, you like torturing him knowing that you are the true masters of the universe.

It’s evil, but I can respect it.

However, the side effect of this time of year is that it puts a lot of relationships in perspective. It makes you start to wonder if your mate is really the best you can do. After all, you dropped a few pounds in January – when’s the last time he opted for the salad?

In the spirit of that inquiry, we’re offering a handy, totally proven, scientifically formed list to check whether your man is up to par. Maybe he’s about to propose or maybe you just need to see if he’s worth a second date. Have no fear! This completely legitimate and in-no-way-arbitrary list will help you decide beyond a shadow of a doubt just how into him you should be.

And it couldn’t be simpler: Pick any (or all) of the films on this list (they range from Easy to LOVE), and if your boyfriend happily watches it with you, he’s a keeper. If he watches it reluctantly, he’s a good guy – just needs a little work. If he won’t watch it with you, KICK HIM TO THE CURB. Seriously. You deserve better than that. If you want to ease into the process, start with #10, and if you’re ready to put your love’s feet to the fire, hit him with #1.

Confused, yet? Great! Here’s the list!

A quick note to any gentlemen reading this: if, in the process, you think, “This isn’t a good test – I’d definitely watch these with my girlfriend,” it’s not that the list isn’t an accurate gauge, it’s that you’re a really quality catch. Immediately find a woman who will appreciate you and judge her by Cinematically Testing Your Girlfriend’s Love.

10. Pretty Woman (1990)

Every so often you’ll have a guy admit to liking this movie. Mostly, they watch it alone, claiming it’s on in the background or they use Julia Roberts being a hooker as a valid excuse to watching the whole thing. Still, a guy should be up for spending the evening with this in the DVD player, even if he won’t conquer his fear of heights by climbing a fire escape to come get you.

9. Titanic (1997)

Oh, Titanic. The first film I ever made out with a girl at. It has a special nostalgic place, but can you blame guys for not being open about liking a film whose tagline is “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets?” Plus, every guy is still pissed that it beat out L.A. Confidential for Best Picture in 1997. If he’s down to watch it with you, show your appreciation by letting him draw you naked.

8. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Really any incarnation of this adaptation will make guys run for the hills. It’s long, dry, and way too British. It’s a love story where flirtation and hand holding is socially scandalous, so men know going into it that Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters definitely aren’t getting naked. Also, there are zero, count ’em, zero explosions. It is, in most male eyes, the stay-at-home version of going to the opera.

7. Dirty Dancing (1987)

Swayze! Moving into the medium level difficulty, not only does this film feature a ton of dancing (which doesn’t seem all that dirty) and a story about a young woman blossoming, it also takes a bad ass icon who tore a guy’s face off in Roadhouse and puts him in tights. If your guy is down to watch this just to spend time with you, you’re headed toward taking him home to mom. Bonus if he reenacts the “Sylvia and Mickey/Come here loverboy” scene with you afterward.

6. The Cutting Edge (1992)

Yes, most guys know what you’re referring to when you say, “Toepick!!” but the bulk of men are not going to flock to a film where a hardcore hockey player is completely domesticated steadily throughout the film. Also, it’s still unclear as to why Moira Kelly’s Kate is worth pursuing since she’s admittedly a spoiled ice princess.

5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Yes, we’re getting serious here. The prototypical tearjerker. Men hate movies where they need to bring a box of tissues unless they also wear a trench coat to see it. It’s hard to concentrate on the characters when sobbing and sniffling is filling the air. The transcendent nature of love bends the limits of believability so that the only hope for your boyfriend is that you won’t notice his snoring over your own snot-filled crying.

4. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Cracking into the Difficult section, Baz Lurhmann’s visual style is arresting, but wallowing through Leonardo’s melodrama and Claire Danes’s boredom style of acting is almost too much for most men. In addition to that, it usually makes guy’s feel inadequate because they didn’t sweet talk you into kissing while staring at you through an aquarium. Also, there’s more climbing involved.

3. How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days (2003)

So far, most of the films have some artistic value to them. Even if most guys groan about having to watch them, there’s still solid writing, good camera work or beautiful people involved. This one only has one of those things. Getting a guy to watch Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is hard enough, but it’s still much easier than repeating that formula with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.

2. Sex and the City (2008)

Whether or not you actually like this movie, which is a decent question since a lot of women were in love with it while others were insulted, you have to admit that testing your man’s resolve by suggesting it on Movie Night is a serious test of love. Unfortunately, you’ll have to figure out whether you having to stomach through it as well is worth the test.

1. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Last year was such a strong year for testing boyfriends. Abba. Musical. Sing-Along. Love story. Wacky Meryl Streep. No male sensibilities were considered when putting this film together. It has somehow launched to the forefront of movies that a large swath of women love yet an almost equal number of men cringe at. This is the nuclear option of testing your love. If a guy claims he loves it, he’s probably lying or you may have another difficult conversation to have – but he at least has to sit through it with you and try to keep the sound of his fingernails digging into the couch to a minimum. Otherwise, dump his ass.

Editor’s Note: You wouldn’t believe how difficult building this list was. I consulted more than a dozen women to help me in the process, and they all had different ideas for what movies should top the bill, what movies’ inclusions would be insulting and which were spot on.

We started with a list of about thirty movies that had to get whittled down to ten, so, no, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Princess Bride, and Sixteen Candles didn’t end up making the list. Besides, most guys will openly admit to loving those films.

There was also a consensus that your boyfriend liking Mamma Mia! either meant he was a stone-cold keeper or that he might leave you for your brother. I have a new-found respect for the plight of women movie audiences.

What do you think? What movies do you use to gauge your interest in a man?

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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.