Dinner and a movie: it's a classic for a reason. Take the magic of a good film on the big screen, add the deliciousness of a tasty meal and you've got a time-honoured, tried-and-tested date night on your hands. Throw in DJs, your doggo, dessert as your main dish and more, and you have more than just an ace dinner and a movie date for you and your significant other — you have a night at American Express Openair Cinemas.
Until Wednesday, December 20at Cadigal Green at Sydney Uni, movie-loving couples can enjoy the kind of outdoor cinema experience you don't get every day, even in a city that loves watching films under the stars. Whether you're both in the festive mood, want to bond over cerebral sci-fi or can't pass up one of the most romantic movies of the last year, there's something on the lineup for every couple. What's more, we've got ten double passes to give away, so you can see a film for free (free frosé in hand) and use that extra cash on some of the tasty eats available at the outdoor cinema.
Below, we've selected five of our favourite date night combos from the hefty program. Who says that dinner and a movie is boring?
CHASE STARRY DREAMS WITH YOUR DATE AND YOUR DOG
It famously didn't win best picture at this year's Oscars, despite Warren Beatty first announcing otherwise. That's okay, though; as well as a few other trophies, La La Land also won plenty of hearts. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as two dream-chasing lovers trying to make it big in Los Angeles, the visually stunning, emotionally engrossing musical fast became a romantic favourite. And, under the vibrant direction of Whiplash's Damien Chazelle, it also proved perfect date night material.
If that's not enough to get you swooning (and, pairing Sydney's starry sky with its Californian counterpart really should be), then add some more love by bringing your pet pupper along. Three isn't a crowd when you're at an outdoor cinema with your favourite person in the world and your number one doggo. And even if you find yourself dateless, your pooch can sub in — because there's no greater love than the unconditional feels you have for your fur baby. Your cute canine can also grab their own pawfect picnic platter and couch, plus some dog doughnuts from Darby's Dog Bakery and Deli.
PAIR SUPERHERO FUN WITH SOME THUMPING BEATS
The Thor films have long been the goofy but cool sibling in the now 17-strong Marvel Cinematic Universe. You know the type: offbeat, amusing and always marching to the beat of their own drum. Throw What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople's Taika Waititi into the director's chair for the third flick, and Thor: Ragnarok was always going to be a blast. Gloriously entertaining in 80s-esque space opera-style — not to mention sidesplittingly funny — the return of the hammer-throwing god really doesn't disappoint.
Indeed, it's the type of movie that makes you want to celebrate — and how better than at Openair's Friday night sessions? When the working week is done, live DJs will provide a pre-movie soundtrack (expect Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song to feature), and you can also win the best seats in the house. You know, where they'd seat Chris Hemsworth if he went along.
EAT DESSERT FOR DINNER WHILE SOLVING A MYSTERY
Something a little unusual is going on at American Express Openair Cinemas, and only two people can get to the bottom of it. Hercule Poirot is one of them. The monocle-wearing Belgian detective is back for a new big screen adventure in the Kenneth Branagh-directed and -starring Murder on the Orient Express, and he has quite the case to investigate. And while Agatha Christie's famous character pieces together clues on a stranded locomotive in snowy climes — with the likes of Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe and Judi Dench along for the ride — you can solve another mystery.
If your sweet treat-loving self would rather skip the whole dinner part of a meal and go straight to dessert, American Express Openair Cinemas and Salt Meats Cheese have the answer. The latter will be serving up cheesecake on a stick in Nutella, sprinkle-covered, vanilla and violet, and fruit-topped New York-style varieties. Which one will you pick? That's yet another puzzle.
SEND YOUR TASTE BUDS TO ITALY AND YOUR MIND TO THE FUTURE
For the past 35 years, two questions have troubled sci-fi fans: do androids dream of electric sheep? And could a Blade Runner sequel ever live up to the original? With Blade Runner 2049releasing this year courtesy of Sicario and Arrival director Denis Villeneuve, we can finally answer the latter. Yes, yes it can — with Ryan Gosling joining the replicant-tracking fold, Harrison Ford back doing what he does best and a mind-bending onslaught of astonishing visuals as well.
It's a cerebral trip of a film in the best possible way, and while it's sending your brain to futuristic places, your taste buds can head in another direction. That'd be Italy, courtesy of Salt Meats Cheese's signature truffle pecorino pasta. Actually, as you're feasting on cheesy truffle pasta tossed through a wheel of truffle pecorino and finished with a grating of extra truffle pecorino — and after catching a pre-film pizza acrobatics class too — you'll probably feel like you're in heaven.
FEEL GOOD WITH A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC (AND HELP OTHERS AT THE SAME TIME)
It's the most wonderful time of the year, which means spreading cheer by singing loudly for all to hear and watching Elf are at the top of everyone's Christmas to-do lists. Whether you've seen the Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel-starring feel-good film a thousand times, or haven't watched it for years, a repeat viewing under the Sydney sky is certain to get you in the seasonal mood. Admit it: there's something kind of hilarious about seeing a grown man galavanting around NYC in an elf costume.
And if the scene where Ferrell's character DIY's the whole Christmas corner in the department store leaves you inspired, American Express Openair Cinemas has you set up to have your own crafty session. Head to the crafty corner with your date to get hands-on at a macrame, knitting or other creative masterclasses. Grab some frosés from the bar, and you've got a great kidult date to very kidult film.