The downside to being able to easily stream pretty much any movie ever made is that you have to choose from pretty much any movie ever made. For couples planning a movie date night at home, endless choices can mean endless searching, particularly when you’re hunting for a title that both you and your partner actually agree that you want to watch together.
Thankfully, there are several movies nestled in the overlap on the Venn diagram of your cinematic tastes, namely films that are just insanely, universally likable. Here are a dozen that we think fit the bill, everything from not-too saccharine rom-coms to not-too brotastic action movies that are sure to please you and your partner, not just because they’ll keep you from wasting another evening scrolling to the end of Netflix.
Director Steven Soderbergh assembled an impressive crew of Hollywood A-listers (Clooney, Pitt, and Damon) and legends (Reiner and Gould) for this remake of the Rat Pack classic with a plot that’s just convoluted enough to incentivize repeat viewing. And with every stylish scene dripping with charisma (and, let’s be honest, handsomeness), it’s easy to see why this movie is as close to a guaranteed crowd-pleaser as they come.
Somehow, a Steven Spielberg movie starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio has slipped through the cracks of our collective memory. That’s too bad, as this twisting true story about a G-man pursuing on a con man through some truly fantastic production design is a pure delight from start (fantastically animated and scored opening credits) to finish.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
With Wes Anderson, you know what you’re gonna get: a funny, sad, coming-of-age kind of tale will a killer soundtrack and some combination of the Wilson brothers and Bill Murray. This film is no exception, but as perhaps the richest—emotionally and visually—of Anderson’s films we think this story of a family of broken geniuses sets itself apart from the pack.
If all you remember is Meg Ryan moaning in the middle of Katz’s, you owe it to yourself to rediscover the joys of what might be the best rom-com ever made. Billy Crystal manages to be annoying to everyone onscreen, but not the audience, Carrie Fisher shines in a supporting role, and real-life couples share pearls of wisdom throughout. Even people who hate rom-coms like this movie, and it’s not hard to see why.
Jack Lemmon stars as an insurance man who loans his apartment out for his bosses’ extramarital dalliances in order to get ahead. It’s a deal with many devils that inevitably goes haywire, setting off a comedy of errors that gives Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine plenty of opportunities to engage in whip-smart, sparkling repartee that sounds just as clever now as it did when the film was released in 1960.
Having already made a pair of underrated farces that will stand the test of time, Andy Samberg decided to go deeper with Palm Springs, a sci-fi romance in the tradition of Groundhog Day and Eternal Sunshine. It’s about two people who fall in love while trapped in an infinite time loop at a wedding in Palm Springs, a premise that could easily veer into cliche but never does.
The plot of this film is tried-and-true on its face, a fish out of water arrives, struggles to fit in, and ultimately overcomes difficulties to find glory. What makes this movie, set at a fictional southern HBCU, different are its outstanding drumming sequences that simultaneously feel like elaborately staged show tunes and percussive action sequences. What more could you ask for?
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck look positively baby-faced in their breakthrough hit, a movie that has aged quite well. The late Robin Williams is perfect as the community college shrink, and Stellan Skarsgård and Minnie Driver also shine. Just get ready to feel the urge to yell “Do you like apples?” in an obnoxious Boston accent for a week after you watch it.
Cameron Crowe was a wunderkind rock reporter in the ‘70s, which is the main reason his film about being a wunderkind rock reporter in the ‘70s is so good—he knows of what he speaks. The other? An absolutely stacked cast: Frances McDormand, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Lee, and Kate Hudson at her most alluring.
Those who watched this movie as kids will get a nice jolt of nostalgia, but the pleasures of Rob Reiner’s fairy tale are much greater than that. It’s a wholesome movie that has an edge, and the reason it’s hard to think of a movie to compare it to is that there simply isn’t a movie to compare it to.
Hollywood operates on formulas, and dashing wrongly accused man plus tough country cop plus twisting plot and creative stuntwork is a winning formula. The final product is an action movie that purely entertaining sans gratuitous violence that’s a turn-off for many for whom Harrison Ford is, ahem, a turn-on.
The hyperspecific setting of this movie—Italian-American New York—belies the universal appeal of its story of messy love. Cher won an Oscar as a Brooklyn Heights divorcee who falls in love with her fiancee’s brother, passionate baker Nicholas Cage. It’s a role that allows him to show off some of what makes him the most unhinged actor in Hollywood without veering into caricature.