Silly, scary, or sing-along?

Students’ favorite film genres to watch on date night

Annie Symons, Staff Reporter

Illustration by Micky Flores-Nieves

Snacking on popcorn and candy at the movie theater or bundling up under a blanket in front of a laptop watching a Netflix series are both popular activities for couples in the dating phase of their relationship. Whether it’s a first date or a celebration of five years together, films bring couples closer together in a number of ways. 

Whether or not they currently have a romantic partner, Seattle Pacific University students have differing opinions regarding what genre of film they prefer to watch with someone when in a dating relationship.

Not all movie genres appeal to people in romantic relationships. Some prefer the joy and laughter prompted by light-hearted comedies or animated films; others may appreciate the darkness and suspense of a psychological thriller.

Junior physiology major Emma Engel prefers watching comedies with her boyfriend of nine months.

“I just personally have always really liked [comedies],” Engel said. “For my boyfriend and I, it’s just fun to watch movies that we can laugh at together and just have fun. Especially with everything else going on right now, it’s nice to have something distracting and mindless to watch.”

Engel shared how she and her partner prioritize experiences that bring them joy and happiness; these positive attributes in her relationship usually influence the types of movies she watches with him.

“We have a very goofy relationship, so we love to laugh and have fun, and that definitely translates into the movies and TV shows that we watch,” Engel said. 

Comedic films appeal to many folks in dating relationships, but some students prefer to watch something with a darker, sombering mood. 

Sophomore Parker Rasul, a secondary education major, tends to watch horror films with his romantic partners. He believes that their sinister themes and plotlines can result in a unique bond between two people—a bond rooted in an important element of all relationships. 

“They’ll get scared so they’ll want to hold onto someone,” Rasul said. “I feel like it can kind of help build trust [between two people].”

Rasul also expressed his admiration for horror films from a production standpoint, stating that technical elements of scary movies might make them more appealing to couples.

“There’s so much you can do when it comes to camera work, and the lighting alone can change everything,” Rasul said. “With a lot of lighting, you feel safer, but when there’s not a lot you definitely don’t feel safe because like you don’t know what’s in the dark.”

In terms of his least favorite film genres, Rasul did not hesitate when saying that he despises romance movies and the unrealistic standards they set for people in dating relationships.

“I feel like they create false…fantasies for people to look up to,” Rasul said. “Not everything is achievable. Some of those things are cool to watch and all that, but it’s not guaranteed to happen to everyone.”

Rasul encouraged people to create their own romance story with their partners rather than attempting to live up to Hollywood’s version of a perfect relationship, insisting that those moments will be more memorable and meaningful.

“I feel like it’s cool to make your own fantasies when you’re with someone,” Rasul said. “Just make up your own fantasy, it’ll carry more worth.”

Instead of enduring jump scares and swells of eerie music, junior computer science major Jordan Mielbrecht prefers films that trigger more joyful reactions among couples—films that might even cause someone to sing along with the characters on screen.

“One thing that I like about watching Disney movies is that when you finish a Disney movie, it sort of makes you wonder, ‘what could my ‘happily ever after’ look like?’” Mielbrecht said over FaceTime. “I also feel like a happily ever after isn’t just like a romantic thing, it also has to do with life.”

Mielbrecht stated that watching Disney movies with someone on a date not only provides moments of laughter and inspiration, but they might provide interesting topics of conversation once the final credits start to roll. 

“I like to discuss…funny patterns of interactions between human beings. Because Disney movies are peppered with those sorts of moments and themes, I just figure it would be something to talk about and enjoy together.”

In terms of film genres that he would not watch with someone on a date, Mielbrecht offered the same answer as Rasul.

“Maybe romance movies,” Mielbrecht said. “I would just hate to be in a situation where I’m dating someone and, like, either of us just think in the back of our heads, ‘why don’t we look like that?’ I’d just hate for that to happen.” 

No matter what types of films they watch together, students in romantic relationships can learn important life lessons from almost any genre. Comedies embody laughter and joy, horror films symbolize tension and difficult scenarios that might require teamwork to solve, and Disney movies represent the special moments in a dating relationship that feel like pure magic.

“In my opinion, [films] teach us that life’s joys are found just as much in moments along the journey as in the destination,” Mielbrecht said.