Some days, you come home wanting to snuggle up with your sweetheart and watch something that’ll make you laugh, cry, swoon, and fall in love all over again.
Other days, you come home ready to pick a fight.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a movie that’ll start some shit â something that’ll make you argue, yell, glower, and ultimately retreat into either frosty silence or an intense make-up session â well, then, read on for a list of movies that’ll get your blood boiling.
1. Gone Girl
This one is a bonafide classic in the “films that make you reconsider your marriage” subgenre. There’s so much to argue over here, including whether each character got what he or she deserved, whether the film is super sexist or super feminist, and whether all romances, including yours, are ultimately built on lies. Fun!
What to say to get the fight started: “Whatever, Nick totally had it coming.”
2. Magic Mike XXL (or any movie starring your fave celeb crush)
Really, any old movie will do, so long as it stars a celebrity you find unconscionably attractive â like, to the point where you’ve “joked” about leaving your S.O. for them so often that your S.O. has started to look real uncomfortable any time their name comes up.Â
What to say to get the fight started: “Gosh, I wish Channing would come ride my pony. Haha, just kidding!!!”
3. Force Majeure
It’s not just that Force Majeure revolves around a couple having a fight, but that the specific fight they’re having cuts right through the illusions we project about ourselves, and the ones we choose to accept about each other.
You and your partner will eye each other with suspicion afterward, each wondering whether the other would make the same decision as the guy in the movie, each silently reassuring yourself that you never would.
What to say to get the fight started: “You know I would never do that to you, though, right?”
4. Captain America: Civil War
This one’s kinda meta, because Civil War is itself a film about a pair of friends (and lovers, in the R-rated coffeeshop AU we’re currently working on) arguing about their very different interpretations of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
What makes Civil War perfect for this exercise is that, unlike with most superhero movies, there really is no clear right answer in the fight between Captain America and Iron Man. Have fun engaging in an increasingly testy debate about the finer points of Cap’s “no, you move” speech!
What to say to get the fight started: “Oh, come on, Captain America is so clearly in the wrong.”
5. Phantom Thread
Compared to a lot of the films on this list, Phantom Thread is downright rosy about love. But we’re here to pick a fight, so don’t focus on the happy stuff. Instead, side-eye your lover during the middle of the movie, when Alma and Reynolds are figuring out just how annoying the other person can be.
What to say to get the fight started: “Okay, but you do butter your toast really loudly.”
6. Inception (or another film with an ambiguous ending)
The debate over what happens to the damn top at the end has been raging for years. Why not reignite it over Valentine’s Day? You might not think this particular debate has the emotional pull to spark a real fight, but it’s all in how you frame your argument.Â
Present your side like it’s the only possible interpretation of the movie, and refuse to back down even after your date makes it clear that they disagree or don’t care. That approach was strong enough to launch a thousand Twitter fights circa 2010; it’s certainly good enough to sustain some light sniping over dessert.
What to say to get the fight started: “Um, I think it’s pretty obvious what that ending means.”
7. Manhattan (or any Woody Allen movie)
Any Woody Allen movie will work for this argument, but Manhattan seems particularly ripe since it’s the one about a divorced middle-aged man dating a teenager.Â
It feels uncomfortably close to reality, given what we know about Allen’s personal life, and yet it’s also one of his most beloved films. That right there should be a great jumping-off point for a horrendously awkward, occasionally infuriating discussion about Allen and predators like him.
What to say to get the fight started: “Well, you just have to separate the art from the artist.”
Colossal takes a few turns before finally revealing the true villain of the piece. The question how quickly you figure out what’s really going on. Is it right away, so that you come across as suspicious and distrusting? Is it way late in the film, so that you seem a little too eager to defend bad behavior? At least you can eventually agree that she deserved better … right?
What to say to get the fight started: “But he seemed like such a nice guy!”
9. The One I LoveÂ
We won’t spoil the central conceit of The One I Love, since finding out is so much of the fun. Suffice it to say that it’s about a couple trying to fix a failing marriage, and that it’ll offer plenty of opportunities for you to consider all the ways your boo could be just a little bit better â and vice versa.Â
What to say to get the fight started: “What do you think you would change?”
10. Before Midnight
Before Midnight would be an obvious choice for this list all by itself, but the fact that it’s the third in a series that began with the ultimate meet-cute fantasy makes it so much better. Man, remember how magical things were when you and your significant other first got together? And how much less magical they are now? Good luck pretending this isn’t the fate that awaits you!
What to say to get the fight started: “That’ll never happen to us!”
Bonus: The SNL “Dinner Discussion” sketch
Want to start a fight, but don’t have time to watch an entire movie first? Saturday Night Live distilled your most awkward dinner conversation into a four-minute sketch. Just do as the characters do: Bring up a really uncomfortable topic, and then mutter “careful … careful” when your companion tries to address the issue.
What to say to get the fight started: Literally any of the opening lines from this sketch will do. Try “Did any of you guys read that op-ed piece about Aziz Ansari?” or “What I think we’re forgetting is the way that this intersects with the issue of race.”