It’s very rare that you end up in a relationship with someone who likes exactly the same films as you, and then who wants to watch them at the same time. In fact, there’s a strong argument that it wouldn’t be much of a relationship were that the case.
However, most of us can relate to the moment where you excitedly take delivery of a new movie, and then plan an evening viewing of said film. Lots of us will be facing this very conundrum, for example, when Drive turns up on disc. Because in any relationship, the brutal truth tends to be that there are moments when your partner declares that they don’t want to watch the same film, and thus, you don’t watch it. You end up watching a few episodes of a boxset, or something you’ve seen before, whilst that Spanish-language horror movie remains in its shrink-wrap. Where it will sit for many, many months.
So what can you do? Well, there is a book of secret strategies for moments such as these, and we’re going to share this with you here. The tricks here each have consequences, and a couple of them simply aren’t conducive to any kind of long-term relationship. But each does have a success rate. You just need to choose and deploy wisely.
We should also point out that these tactics are deployable irrespective of gender, background, age, planet or hairstyle. Basically: you know your partner better than us, so pick the ones most likely to succeed in your given set of circumstances. We wish you the best of luck.
We start with the most unsavoury tactic of all, just to get it out of the way. It’s comfortably the one that gives your relationship the shortest potential shelf life, and if used with no irony or wink in the eye, then you’re probably doomed. But if you’re desperate to watch a film, and have no options left to you, then this is the nuclear option: flat-out lying.
The lie can take many forms, from pretending the film is something else, to making up what the plot is about or pretending it’s a whole different genre from the one you know you’re going to get.
It is, however, a dark day when the Lie button has to be pressed. Everything else on this list involves some degree of guile, or just a little bit of, er, ‘truth manipulation’. But flat-out bullshit? Approach with lots of caution…
2. Plausible deniability
Once you’ve worked out you want to watch a particular movie, you need to find out absolutely nothing else about it. That’s not a bad tactic to use at the best of times, but if you get past the first question – “do you want to watch this movie?” – without a no, then it gives you a better chance come the inevitable follow-ups.
After all, if you’ve avoided flat-out refusal and got to the second question, you have a foot in the door. “What’s it about?” your partner may ask. “I’ve no idea”, you can truthfully answer. Provide as little information as possible about your potential choice, which will, in turn, give your partner fewer things to react against. Think of every detailed answer you give as a mini-firewall. Your path to a yes vote might just be cleared as a consequence.3. Pretend it’s for work/study
Obviously, this one depends on your job.
I worked in a petrol station for years, and the best excuse I came up with for watching RoboCop was that I, er, needed to be aware of any unexpected dangers I might face whilst working the night shift. But if you’re creative, you might just be able to find some loose tie-in, that makes it sound as though the decision to watch the film is in some way linked to your being able to make a living.
Suggested applications of this rule include, “My tutor told us we all had to watch it”, “We were told to watch this film to try and pick up some tips for work”, or “We’ve been told to watch it to give us inspiration”. Something like that.
Just play with it a little and see where you get with it. It’s important to imbue this with sufficient gravitas, and, for added effect, look reluctant about having to watch it.4. Mention a loose connection to a film they loved
Once in every relationship, you can get away with the “It’s got that person from that thing you like” line, without having to be any more specific. However, most of us blow that chip very early on, and it ceases to be effectively immediately after first use. Which means you have to introduce just a little bit of detail into the conversation.
Too much detail, obviously, is a one-way street to a no, as we’ve already discovered. But carefully chosen, minimal details? They might just be golden.
Has it got someone from a sitcom they liked? Does it involve a writer who worked on a certain franchise? Are the costumes by someone posh? Who did the music?
Just take an hour before and scour the credits, and find some link to the heart of your partner’s brain. Then drop in your discovered fact in a nonchalant manner, while seeking any visible reaction in your peripheral vision. If they look in the slightest bit interested, whack the disc in the player before they can change their mind. File away the individual fact, too, for future reference.
5. Reverse psychology
This is a really tight balancing act, and it takes an expert to really pull it off. Novices need not apply. Because the problem with reverse psychology is most people over-egg it. “I don’t really want to watch that”, you declare, to the glee of your partner, who doesn’t really want to watch it either. End result? You don’t watch it. This is bad.
But tap into their psyche. Do they get a distinct pleasure from watching you cower at a scary movie? If so, then just say “It might be a bit too scary for me”, and watch one of their eyebrows lift. “It’s got that bloke in it I can’t stand, he’s never funny”, that might work.
Invest too much interest in your disinterest, and you blow the scam. Plan ahead, choose your film carefully, come up with a good reason why you don’t want to watch it that interests your other half, and then spin the wheel. Best of luck.
6. Recruit a friend
We’re upping the ante here, and deploying extra staff.
This one’s an oft-overlooked entry in the playbook. You’ve got a copy of the latest Jason Statham outing on the shelf, but your other half doesn’t want to watch it? Then get a mutual friend around that does. In fact, specifically invite them around on the promise that you’re going to watch the film.
This generally does not go down well, and this time, the gamble is that the boat won’t be rocked. Will your other half play along, though? More than likely.
Obviously, the risk here is that you annoy your friend, and it’s best if they’re not overtly complicit in your plan. Only in extreme circumstances should you do the “My friend asked specifically to see it” line. It takes more planning, and there are more things that can go wrong.
The bigger risk is the stand-up row in front of your friend. This, however, happens very, very rarely, but shouldn’t be completely ignored as possible fallout.
7. Have the film running just before they walk in the room
I like this one. It doesn’t risk thermonuclear war, and its success rate is surprisingly strong.
The biggest problem when two people are choosing a film to watch is the decision point, and this – and our next tactic – is all about removing that part of the process. Basically, wait until they nip out for a cuppa or a toilet break, or use your mobile to accidentally ring the house phone, and start your movie while they’re distracted.
Crucially, the film needs to be past the opening credits by the time they properly take notice, as the trick here is to put across that it’s been running a little while, but not long enough for them to lose what’s going on.
The worst outcome here is they simply say they don’t want to watch it, and more often than you may think, the film at least gets another 20 minutes before they declare it’s rubbish. Either way, no argument ensues.
8. Book everything in advance and pay for it
This, then, is the movie-watching equivalent of putting all your chips on the table, and hoping your number comes up. It doesn’t work when you’re sat at home about to watch a DVD, but if it’s a cinema trip you’re planning, then once the money is spent, there’s a strong chance that you’ll get to see the film you want to see.
The trick, once again, is to try and remove the offer of a decision. Even if you’ve not bought the tickets, put across that you have. Better still, produce the booking confirmation. Physical evidence always helps.
Obviously, this is a double or quits gamble. Should your other half not go ahead and see the film, then you’ve not watched your movie of choice, and you’re out of pocket. There’s also the longer term risk that you will be denied future permission to book tickets.
It’s still a useful tactic, though, but one to be used sparingly.
9. Pretend that there was no other choice
A risky tactic, that once again involves cinema outings specifically, and one that can be quickly and easily exposed. It’s a strategy best deployed when your partner has little effort left in their tank, and isn’t likely to load up the Odeon webpage to see if you’re lyiny, basically.
You have to say, bluntly, that you couldn’t get tickets to anything else at the time you were planning to go to the cinema. Sometimes, you get lucky, and film times work in your favour. Keep an eye out for whatever film, for instance, is the last to start, so there’s genuinely no other option by the time you arrive.
Do be wary of the ‘everything else was sold out’ line, though, because that’s a deceit that’s always going to be exposed. Pretending every other film is sold out, and then pulling the car into a half-empty car park outside of the local fleapit might just leave you with some explaining to do.
In that eventuality, suggest you postpone the conversation until after the film, and offer to buy the popcorn.
Never underestimate the power of this one. It doesn’t work often, but I’d suggest it’s about the most successful of all the tactics we’ve talked about here. It’s the one where you throw all strategies out of the window, and just declare that you really want to watch the film in question.
For added effect, throw in pure, unadulterated honesty. Declare you know the film might not be their cup of tea, say that you know they’ve had a hard day. Heck, pour your soul on the carpet if you need to. Just say that you really, really want to watch the movie, and you’d appreciate it if they could.
And remember to say please. A lot.Lines that have been scientifically proven not to work:
“We shouldn’t watch this. It’s a bit too clever for you”
“It’s got that person in it that you fancy.” [If they really fancy said person, they probably already know that they’re in it.]
“Your best friend loved it.” [Remember, they talk to their best friend more than they talk to you. That, or it’s easy to check]
“[Actor/actress] is naked in it” [At best, you won’t end up watching the film, you’ll just end up skipping to the requisite part. So to speak.]
“It’s got Martin Lawrence in it.” [Because, if that results in a yes, you need to get out of the relationship. Fast.]
Also, the ‘queuing at the box office together and asking for the tickets before your other half can open their mouth’ approach is a dangerous, dangerous game, one only to be played be experts. Or those who already know their relationship is doomed…
Leave your own suggestions in the comments below…