It's not a matter of hitting up YouTube and memorizing Mean Girls dialogue (not entirely, anyway). It's more an acknowledgment that not only can getting a reference to a popular flick from the '90s help you through a rough patch in a crowded bar convo with a lady, but also tossing one in on your own can be the stuff of deal closing. Try these winners.
1. Mean Girls: Since the date just came and went: “It’s October 3rd.” I mean, there's more to it than that, but here you have no line-for-line mumbo jumbo to bog things down. Her crush asks Cady (Lindsay Lohan) what the date is, and she gives it to him. October 3rd. For whatever reason, the fairer sex decided to latch onto that date and now just saying it, and shooting a knowing glance, can get you in. The basic sentiment? Dates matter to chicks. So remember them.
2. Clueless: "As if" won't get you there. Cher (Alicia Silverstone's star-making character; no, it wasn't Batgirl) uttered those two words with comical conviction, but it's not like she put the expression on the map. Dig deeper. Go with: “Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.” One, because the woman you're talking to will still know you're quoting Clueless, and two because it is absolutely true. The Pauly Shore part anyway.
3. Jerry Maguire: Long before Maverick was jumping up and down on couches about his new relationship with a girl from Dawson's Creek he was alternating between action-packed blockbusters and heartfelt character studies at a rapid-fire pace. Sure, Renee Zellweger stole the show (or Jonathan Lipnicki as her adorable son, or Cuba Gooding, who won an Oscar for becoming Rod Tidwell), but it's all about Cruise's downward-spiraling character's "You complete me" or Zellweger's "You had me at hello." Know that much. And for God's sake don't move on to Vanilla Sky from there!
4. Can't Hardly Wait: Jennifer Love Hewitt's high school romp didn't become her generation's Fast Times or Say Anything like everyone had predicted. Until repeated airings on TBS. Now it's the movie you watch and spend the entire time saying things like, "I didn't know Seth Green was in this" and "I didn't know Dharma was in this!" But the dialogue to deliver? I say it's nostalgic Trip McNeely's, home from college and missing the good old days already: "Stay with her. It's the best advice I can give you. Oh, that, and bring rubber flip-flops in the shower. I got warts all over my feet." Or you can always get all Lichter and rock out to "Paradise City" if there's karaoke in the general vicinity.
5. Legally Blonde: Again, you gotta tread the line between guy who's interested in taking the woman you're talking to home, and guy winding up with a brand new bestie. You definitely don't wanna come off as someone who spent the entire '90s hanging out with his sister and her friends. So go with the jackass dude line, not an Elle one. After all, Elle is where the ladies unite. Go with, "If I want to be a Senator, I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn." It shows you know the flick, plus it can inspire playful teasing, as this is the line that compels Reese Witherspoon's Elle to go to law school and show Warner what a chump he is.
6. As Good As It Gets: And it doesn't get better than Jack. Like, ever. Know the "You make me wanna be a better man" bit. All of it. It's a heck of a piece of writing, delivered impeccably by Nicholson, and if you can pull off a little Jack impression at the same time, all the better.
7. Good Will Hunting: So many to choose from here. Much like the remainder of the '90s and the early 2000s, it's a toss-up between Damon and Affleck (skip the Robin Williams stuff; sure, he won an Oscar for his role, but the boys did too, for writing the damn thing). Either it's Affleck's heartfelt speech to his pal about how he daydreams about the day he pulls up to his crappy place to bring him to work and Damon's just not there, having finally embraced his God-given talents and left their cruddy town behind for good. Or it's Damon's still-epic takedown of the ponytailed, pretentious academic—every word of it—and the masterful capper: "I got her number. How do you like them apples?"
8. Titanic: Don't sweat that it's Leo, or that you'll look like a player for knowing DiCaprio's pre-Gangs of New York work. This opus was made by the same guy who gave every dude The Terminator and T2. There's no shame in following James Cameron's game. You can go with DiCaprio's Jack toasting his hosts at dinner, yammering about fate and “just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am, on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people” or you can weave some Kathy Bates/Molly Brown magic. Heck, you can toss off a Billy Zane line for all I care—just have "Titanic" in your repertoire.
9. The Wedding Singer: Hell yeah, you can get away with some Sandler! Singing Sandler's trademark rock anthem "Somebody Kill Me Please" is a tad obvious (yet still do-able), with Robbie Hart's palpable pain still adored by women. Even so, go with when he blasts the father of a bride at one of his gigs: “Well I have a microphone and you don't, SO YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY!" and "Sir, one more outburst and I will strangle you with my microphone wire, you understand me?” No, you finding this priceless won't bode well as far as meeting the girl-in-question's father is concerned, but one day at a time, man.
10. Pulp Fiction: Tarantino? You must think I'm crazy. Crazy like a fox. Sure, this flick was a shocker when released, and it manages to remain somewhat shocking to this day, but it did give the ladies (and the world) back John Travolta. A dancing one, too. And his interaction with Uma Thurman is Tarantino at his best. You've got Travolta’s “Royale with Cheese” rundown of European fast food to run with, or even Thurman's drug-addled cute joke that ends with "Ketchup/Catch up." Then cue "Son of a Preacher Man" up on Spotify and tap the Uber app, pal. 'Cuz Zed's dead, baby. And you are in.