I got my first kiss while Monty Python and the Holy Grail was playing. I was 16, George W. Bush was president, and the term “Netflix and chill” wasn’t a thing yet, probably because waiting for a physical DVD to arrive in the mail wasn’t seen as very “chill.” I wouldn’t call Monty Python romantic by any stretch, but I had a feeling this guy was going to kiss me, and I guess I wanted something funny on the TV to try and break the tension. I wouldn’t choose that movie now, but comedies can make a lot of sense depending on the situation. For me, a good Netflix and chill movie should be silly enough to defuse any anxiety, sexy enough to ramp up the sexual tension in a pleasing way, or both. Cartoon violence is fine, but a movie with graphic murder scenes probably isn’t, and sexual violence is a definite no-no.
There are a few suggestions below, but everyone Netflix and chills a little differently. If you’re with someone that you want to make out with (or do other stuff, since the word “chill” has about as many possible interpretations as “hooking up”), then you’re most of the way there; just make sure you don’t pick the wrong movie and risk ruining the moment.
How is this movie 20 years old? Anyway, it’s not exactly good. In fact, it’s pretty bad, but it’s bad in an endearingly corny way rather than an aggressively toxic one. You know the, uh, drill: An asteroid is going to hit earth unless a bunch of oil rig workers save humanity, and oh yeah, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler do foreplay with animal crackers. There is a little hint if forbidden love between the two—you know, the dad doesn't approve of the boyfriend and all that! Back to the suspense, the team only has 18 days to save earth by destroying the asteroid and it is in the hands of Bruce Willis to save the day—but can he? It has action, it has romance and just a touch of science fiction so there's a little bit for everyone. Aerosmith may not want to miss a thing, but with a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes, it’s more than okay if you and your viewing companion miss a few things.
I once had a guy over to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and made way too many cracks about Bucky’s metal arm. I couldn’t recommend that even if I wanted to, because as of this writing, none of the Captain America movies are streaming on Netflix. Of the available Marvel options, Thor: Ragnarok is by far the best choice because of how funny it is. The movie begins two years after the battle of Sokovia, Thor is imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur in Muspelheim, who reveals that Odin is no longer on Asgard.Thor and Loki join together to search for their father. Once located, Odin explains that he is dying and Ragnarok is imminent and shares the story of the ambitious Hela. Now Thor and his friends must combat against the evil Hela—an action packed good vs. evil! There’s not a romantic subplot, unless you count the one between Thor and his mighty hammer. But who needs romance when you have all those attractive people fighting bad guys and/or each other?
Sleeping With Other People
Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis run into each other at a meeting for sex addicts over a decade after they lost their respective virginities to each other in college. As they begin to see each other frequently, a friendship forms between the two as they learn more about one another. They navigate new relationships, the ups and downs of falling in love, and emerging feelings. A funny and sweet film that is worth falling in love with again—and again. This movie manages to be both raunchy and sweet, and Brie and Sudeikis have a nice chemistry as two former lovers who are trying to keep it platonic this time around. Can they keep it up or will it all coming crashing down?
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This indie romantic comedy doesn’t have a lot in the way of plot, and the actors, including leads Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, improvised their dialogue. The plot revolves around two couples and how they interact with one another. There are breakups and makeups, affairs and "singleness" as each character reconsiders their relationships and the meaning of love. It’s a hangout flick, and it turns out a movie about people drinking beer and trying to ignore sexual tension is a great excuse to drink beer and not ignore sexual tension. Unlike most romantic comedies, the ending is somewhat ambiguous. So go ahead, grab a beer and take a seat because this is going to be a good one.
Here's another movie from the 90s, but this one features Ben Affleck’s ex, Gwyneth Paltrow, and she’s sporting a British accent. It contains dual timelines: In one universe, Paltrow’s Helen catches the train home and finds her boyfriend cheating. In another universe, she misses the train and remains oblivious. The movie does a great job of illustrating the chain of cause-and-effect and how things can work out differently by something so simple. It is a very entertaining rom-com with great laughs and cute romance. If following those timelines sounds like too much work, just pay attention to whether Helen’s hair is short or long. If it’s short, she made the train. If it’s long, she missed it.
This ribald comedy is about a one-night stand that results in an unplanned pregnancy. Leads Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy bounce off each other wonderfully, and when she finds out she’s pregnant, her decision to get an abortion is presented both hilariously and unapologetically. The dark humor and political subject matter means this probably isn’t the best movie for the first time you Netflix and chill with someone; it’s more of an advanced seminar rather than an introductory class. The film does a great job of tackling a sensitive topic with maturity, honesty, and wit and maintains a strong female lead that is true to herself. But the central romance is both sweet and sexy, and while you hopefully won’t need it, there’s also a hysterical reminder of exactly how not to use a condom. If you're a fan of Juno, Knocked Up, or Waitress, you should check this one out!
Cate Blanchett stars as the titular Carol, a woman who loves other women. That may not seem like a big deal today, but Carol is set in 1950s New York. Carol’s estranged husband wants her back, and if he can’t have that, he’ll do what he can to deny Carol access to their daughter. As Therese, Rooney Mara is younger and less experienced. She has no husband or children to speak of, but she still has plenty to lose if she follows her heart. The romance is more restrained because the setting requires it, but the sense of longing is very much alive. Romantic desire is present and is evident through gestures and glances, a focus on body language. Both Blanchett and Mara have extraordinary performances where every scene they share is electrifying. This is a heart-wrenching love story so don't forget the tissues!
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Featured still from "Drinking Buddies" via Magnolia Pictures