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By David Templeton | February 9, 2005

I’ve just contacted the best-selling novelist to extract his views on what constitutes the perfect movie for a romantic evening. According to Moore—who this year will be marking the tenth consecutive Valentine’s spent with the woman he refers to as his “wife-like girlfriend”—such movies must be chosen very, very carefully. For example, to celebrate the upcoming tenth anniversary, Moore and his mate plan to watch a double feature of Alien Vs. Predator and Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

“We’ll eat Thai Green Curry, and then I will present her with some tastefully nasty lingerie,” Moore reveals. “She will, in turn, present me with something dark and disgustingly chocolate, with no regard to my zealous, albeit recent, dedication to the South Beach Diet. We’ll finish the evening discussing the parallels between the aforementioned films and the Teutonic epics, with an eye toward also including the themes of Beowulf and Oedipus Rex—since both of those seem to reverberate through the Alien series.”

Moore is aware that to some people, his atypical Valentine’s Day plans will seem a bit, um, non-romantic. Screw them. Such people, Moore believes, clearly don’t have access to really good green curry paste and 5.1 surround sound.

“My wife-like girlfriend likes splashy, sci-fi horror films, and I love her for that,” he brags. “In our relationship, those kinds of movies were established as a specialty date early on, when we decided to spend our first New Years Eve together at home watching ‘Species’. It works for us.”

Moore—who dwells year-round on the island of Kauai—is the author of a whole slew of novels with atypical points-of-view, beginning with Practical Demonkeeping and including the bestsellers Fluke, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Bloodsucking Fiends (a steamy romance about young vampires), Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Friend, and the recent The Stupidest Angel, involving an invasion of zombies on Christmas Eve. While no one would accuse Moore of being a writer of romances, it remains true that for all the demons, monsters, yetis, spirits, angels, and sea-mutants he populates his stories with, his books are frequently quite sexy, and remarkably optimistic regarding the transformational power of love. That said, Moore believes that for the average American male, Valentine’s Day sucks.

“Sure, if a guy is in the courting stage, Valentine’s day can be a good chance to look good for the girl he’s wooing, to show his creativity and perception,” Moore counsels, “but for the guy in the long, committed relationship, Valentine’s day is simply a pitfall, like anniversaries, or other holidays that he’ll get in trouble for if he forgets.”

When compared to women, Moore says, guys rarely grow quarrelsome when their partner forgets to give them goodies on Valentine’s Day, and when it comes to the goodies most guys really want, they are ridiculously easy to please.

“I remember shopping for jewelry for my girlfriend with the help of a woman friend,” he explains. “When I asked her, ‘So what are you going to get Tom for Valentines?’ she said, ‘I’m going to take off my top.’ Ironic, isn’t it,” Moore asks, “that women, who love to shop, really never need to.”

Amen, brother.

But back to the subject of movies; Moore has observed that when a guy is choosing a movie around which to build a romantic evening, the most important thing to remember is this: you must avoid all movies containing Angelina Jolie.

“Unless you have a very special, confident woman in your life, I think it’s best to stay away from all Angelina Jolie movies,” he stresses. “Angelina is especially threatening because she’s actually crazy enough to have hooked up with a homely old guy who is clearly not in her league, and therefore perpetuates ridiculous hope in the minds of men. It’s tough to generalize here, but in my experience, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sandra Bullock, and Nicole Kidman generally get a pass from most women. Those actresses don’t, for some reason, present much of a threat. But for reasons that are almost equally obscure to me, Michelle Pfeiffer, Heather Graham, Carmen Electra, and the anti-Christ of female competition, Pamela Anderson, will do nothing but put a woman in a foul mood.”

Are you listening, gentlemen? No Angelina. No Michelle. No Pamela. This is serious.

“I’m convinced,” Moore muses, “that Pam Anderson’s breasts are the most ominous and threatening orbs since the wicked witch’s crystal ball. The guy who brings home ‘Barb Wire’ or ‘Scarface’ for Valentines may as well have mothballs for testicles, because his equipment is officially in storage for the duration.”

What Moore suggests then, once a guy has eliminated those films with overly-attractive females, is to stick with a nice safe comedy.

“If you can find a really, really funny comedy, you’re golden,” he says. “I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like to laugh, and probably the best experience you can have is to share a great laugh with someone. First dates can be miserable, but I remember taking a girl on a first date to see ‘The Return of the Pink Panther’, back in the Pleistocene period. We were both blind-sided by how funny that movie was, and it worked wonders. I got credit for what was probably Peter Sellars and Blake Edwards best work. By contrast, I once took a girl to see ‘A Star is Born’ with Kristoffersen and Streisand. Every girl I knew had seen it, cried, and loved it. The girl I took just sat there with her arms crossed, skeptical, pissed off. And I was miserable as well. It was supposed to have been a perfect date movie, but, in fact, it was crap.”

If, however, a relationship has evolved from the multiplex dating phase to the rent-a-movie-and-stay-home stage, Moore suggests that Valentine’s Day is a great day to share favorite comedies.

Says Moore, “Odds are that one of you won’t have seen one of the other’s favorites. So you might end up with a really great double feature, like ‘Eating Raoul’ and ‘Harvey’, or ‘Heathers’ and ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’.”

Wait a minute. Going back to that attractive actress warning, isn’t it equally dangerous taking a date to a movie starring some hunk like Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom? Can any normal guy hope to stack up to those guys, when it comes to the end of the big evening? While I personally resist taking my wife to anything with Billy Bob Thornton in it—hey, he obviously does something for the ladies—Moore’s attitude is that we gentlemen should never avoid a movie starring a guy sexier than we are.

“Let a woman have Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp,” he says. “Let it be your idea. You can handle it. Show that you are not in competition with those guys, that you completely understand. You don’t roll that way, but if you did, of course you’d do Johnny D.”


Writer David Templeton takes interesting people to the movies in his ongoing quest for the ultimate post-film conversation. This is not a review; rather, it’s a freewheeling, tangential discussion of art, alternative ideas, and popular culture.

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