Thursday, February 14, 2013
Our Favorite Movie Couples
Doug: Easy. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Richard Linklater's films Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) and the upcoming Before Midnight (2013), which I haven't yet seen, but I've only heard great things about. They're so natural together -- so at ease and comfortable talking for [literally] hours -- that it's easy to forget that they're ACTING in a MOVIE. As they're falling in love with each other, we fall in love with them. When their relationship hits the inevitable road bump(s), we root for them, knowing in our hearts that these two souls are meant to be together. You know, make-believe souls. Masterful filmmaking and a mesmerizing character study. Never have movies about two people just walking/talking been more captivating.
Adam Riske: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook - I was not a fan of either Jennifer Lawrence or Bradley Cooper before seeing Silver Linings Playbook, but I was so won over by these two performances that now I want to see them in a romantic comedy together every year. Lawrence always seemed kind of severe in her performances prior to Silver Linings Playbook, but she's very loveable here and a lot of that has to do with her relaxed rapport with Cooper. Though he's always been kind of self-aware, in this movie Cooper seems to shut off that part of his persona and just enjoy falling in love with Jennifer Lawrence. I really dig how unforced but apparent it is that in every subsequent scene their two characters are falling more in love. The last 20 or so minutes of this movie is the most romantic f-ing thing I've ever seen in my life. It kills me.
The Princess Bride. Not only do their names sound like a candy store in Harry Potter, but they embody a special, fairy tale romance…literally. The movie is all about true love and the lengths that people will go to in order to attain and hold on to that love. But you know, I have to wonder if things worked out for those two lovebirds after the credits rolled. Let’s face it: Wesley spent years at sea as the Dread Pirate Roberts, and there’s no telling what kind of venereal diseases he picked up on all those ports of call. Plus, who can say that Westley is totally okay after being hooked up to that death machine? Let alone the long term side effects of prolonged exposure to iocane powder. But while it lasts, those kids definitely have true love. As you wish!
Erich: David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap - I spoke in my favorite movies podcast about how much I love Spinal Tap. It's very funny, of course, but that's not all. The misadventures of "the world's loudest rock band" could easily have been a grab-bag of one liners and uncomfortable situations. The movie is that at times, but at the core it's the story of a lifelong friendship. By the time we meet St. Hubbins and Tufnel (played by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest), they have been making music together for decades, from grade school skiffle groups to the disastrous American tour that threatens to tear them apart. For all the band goes through during the movie, though, they don't hit bottom until Tufnel and St. Hubbins split. Even though I've seen the movie dozens of times, I'm always thrown by the scene where the co-leads scream obscenities at each other during a recording session. There's nothing funny about it. At all. It feels out of place in a comedy about rock excess and stuffed spandex. Which is exactly why it belongs in this movie. You can't have the sweet without the sour. The disintegration and eventual reconciliation of David and Nigel says more about long-term friendship and creative collaboration than many dramatic movies. Without that relationship, the movie would be one long excuse to laugh at long-haired rockers who sing about large bottoms and sex-related farming. Which is probably what it would be if it was made today. Or remade. ...I just felt a chill run down my spine.
Alex: Clementine Kruczynski and Joel Barish, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - For all of its high-concept quirkiness, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is, at its core, a quite literal examination of the nature of compatibility or, more pessimistically, incompatibility. A lot of films have presented their central paramours with a moments of doubt on the strength of their union, the unique plot mechanics in Michel Gondry's 2004 masterwork give us a situation in which Joel and Clem have empirical proof that they are not meant for one another, yet make the choice to try anyway. Despite this conceit, the movie somehow manages to leave me more optimistic than ever that these two will make it work. This is because we, the viewer, have just watched them try so valiantly to save Joel's memory of their deteriorating relationship, to no avail. But you can't overstress the fact that Joel and Clem have no idea that they even did this. Their collective choice to give it a try is a new manifestation of this same desire to preserve what they have. I've seen this movie at least 15 times and that moment never fails to level me.
Patrick: Doug has reminded me that I've already answered this question, and clearly gave the correct answer the last time around: Tango and Cash. Done. End scene. LEMON OUT. But, for your amusement, dear readers, I will give it another go. There are movie couples that I love because they have chemistry and provide good real-world role models for a young man that grew up watching tons of movies and dreaming of someday finding that kind of love (SPOILERS -- he did). John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga in The Sure Thing come to mind, because they truly get to know each other as people before realizing that they care about one another. Harry and Sally in When Harry Met Sally... have to be in the conversation, not just because it's one of the best romantic comedies ever made but also because they build years of genuine friendship together before falling in love. Yes, plenty of movies have done the "OMG I've been chasing the wrong person and have been so blind to the fact that the right person has been right in front of my eyes all along and it's my BEST FRIEND!" routine, but it's always just a plot device and a convenient way to tack on a happy ending. Harry and Sally earn their friendship, and, subsequently, their romance, and I'm a big, big believer in ending up with your best friend (just ask Erika...or Doug). Same goes for Ted and Mary in There's Something About Mary. But my favorite movie couple of all time might be Clarence and Alabama in True Romance, a movie I've already written about at some length. I love how much they immediately understand one another. How they can't keep their hands off one another. How each thinks the sun rises and sets in the shadow of the other, and how they never ever waver from their total devotion to one another. Clarence and Alabama aren't just in love. They're in love in a movie. As lifelong movie fans, isn't that what all of us have always wanted?
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I'm an idiot. When Patrick proposed this list, it didn't occur to me that by "this Thursday" he meant "Valentine's Day." I forgot. So, not only am I'm sleeping on the couch tonight, I missed the point of the list.ReplyDelete
Then again, maybe I'm the rebel breath of fresh air this square-o site needs. Later...NERDS!
(makes sure his cigarette is fully out, disposes of it in the proper receptacle, mounts his VEspa, signals, and carefully pulls out into light traffic)
I'll bite (although I really dig your Spinal Tap writeup) -- if you had to pick a more "traditional" movie couple, who would it be?Delete
It still would have been David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel. I just would have made more references to their matching cold sores.Delete
More TRADITIONAL, though...hmm. Probably Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. Because I've only seen the five movies I talked about on my "favorites" podcast.
Erich, I really thought you were going to treat us to an in-depth analysis about the homosexual overtones of the St. Hubbins-Tufnel scenes.ReplyDelete
A missed opportunity for sure. Something about "they put the VD in Valentine's Day." Oh, well. At least I have my "Hubbnel" slashfic Tumblr.Delete
Only one couple: Padmé Amidala & Darth VaderReplyDelete
I'll second Alvy Singer (aka Woody Allen) and Annie Hall as a favorite all-time cute movie couple. A personal favorite of mine though is Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife from David Cronenberg's remake of "The Fly." Along with the fact Goldblum and Geena Davis dating in real life back then gives their character chemistry even more potency the operatic nature of the movie (and Brundle's condition working as a metaphor for anything from a disease to old age) gives their relationship arc the feel of lives lived. Veronica's final action in the movie does not work if she (and we as the audience) weren't wholly invested in these characters. God, I love this movie.ReplyDelete
Other favorite couples (in my world there's no distinction between movies and TV): Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund from "Casablanca," Dexter and Deborah Morgan from "Dexter" (the adult sibling relationship between these two over several TV seasons is sometimes better than the show itself), Ted Striker and Elaine Dickinson from "Airplane!" (hard to believe Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty didn't become stars out of this), Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane from "Superman I & II," Mulder and Scully from "The X-Files," Devlin and Alicia Huberman in "Notorious," Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater in "Titanic," Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon and Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask in "Sailor Moon" (my all-time favorite anime couple), Anna/Helen (Isabelle Adjani) and Mark (a baby-faced Sam Neil) in "Possession," Ferdinand Griffon (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina) in "Pierrot le Fou," Randi Wallace and Dr. Ian Mathison from TV's "She-Wolf of London," etc.
My new-to-me movies:
2/13/13, Jean Cocteau takes a trip inside his own mind and concocts (get it?) THE BLOOD OF A POET (1930) on DVD.
2/14/13, two old men lust after the same young woman (Geraldine Chaplin pulling an "Obscure Object of Desire") in Carlos Saura's PEPPERMINT FRAPE (1967) on TCM-HD.
Shit, how could I forget Cop 663 (Tony Leung) and Faye (Faye Wong) in Kar-wai's "Chungking Express"? I have sinned! :-(Delete
I'd have to go with Celine and Jesse as well. Never have two actors so perfectly complemented each other like Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply. I like 'Before Sunset' more, i dont know why, i just respond to it more. I'm not in my mid-30's so i dont really relate to the stuff they talk about but at the same time i do. I cant explain it but when Celine and Jesse and are in the car talking about how much they hate their lives, it destroys me. For the next 20-30 minutes, i'm in tears. I dont know why but yea (in my opinion), 'Before Sunset' is masterfully done, 'Before Sunrise' is really great and I hope 'Before Midnight' is equally great/masterful.ReplyDelete
My 2nd favorite screen couple would probably be Han and Leia in 'Empire' cause...man, have you seen 'Empire'!?!?! Beautiful, tragic (at the end) and romantic.
To correct myself, they dont talk about how they hate their lives. They talk about how their lives didnt go exactly the way they planned.Delete
I've only seen the film once but I recall really enjoying the relationship between Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone. I like how well they worked together to solve the case and how atuned they were to each others feelings when things took a turn. I'd really enjoy seeing more episodes from that series with those actors.ReplyDelete
A bigg ditto to both Before Sunrise and True Romance.ReplyDelete
Rounding out my top five are:
Emily Watson and Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love: Who knew that telling someone you'd like to beat them to a pulp be so ramantic?
Molly Ringwald and John Cryer in Pretty In Pink : She should have ended up with Duckie dammit!
Jaake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain: Smelling the shirt at the end = heartbreaking.
Ive heard it get knocked on the the show before but not really discussed, so im not completely sure what the general opinion of this movie is, but for a long time my favourite film couple was (and still is really) Guido and Dora from Life is Beautiful.ReplyDelete
Its very larger than life realism, so it by no means represents real life love, but it does represent pure, non-cynical, fairytale love, so much so that the worst travesty in modern history couldnt prevent Guido from prioritising his love for her (and his son) above all else. Even Nazi's cant make his love not beautiful.
One of the few movies that never fails to make me tear up; when he hijacks the PA system to send Dora a message and when the son finds Dora at the very end. Beautiful.
I agree that the highly-stylized and romanticized nature of the movie is probably why Guido and Dora didn't pop up on this list; I think what makes their relationship so beautiful is not the reality of it, but the feel. Although maybe it wouldn't look the same, we'd agree that it would be beautiful for love to be as strong as Guido's and Dora's.Delete
Oh yeah, and True Romance is wonderful love too.ReplyDelete
Since no one's mentioned it yet, I'll go "old school" and say "Steve" and "Slim" (otherwise known as Bogie and Bacall) from To Have and Have Not. This was the movie where they met, so we get to see them fall in love for real as well as in the film. You do know how to whistle, don't you?ReplyDelete
Kinda sucked for Mayo Methet, though.
That reminds me: Gary Cooper and Barbra Stanwyck in Ball Of Fire. One of my favorite discoveries of last year.Delete
Favorite film couple would be Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino in "Vision Quest". What started when a high school wrestler asks a drifter to stay with him and his father for a while turns into something real between them once the movie progresses.ReplyDelete
I can't really go into too much detail as to why I like these couples, simply because I don't really know. They just work for me and are great in one way or another.ReplyDelete
Han and Leia - Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back ("I love you." "I know.")
Scott and Ramona - Scott Pilgrim VS. The World
("Because I'm in lesbians with you" "I really, really mean it.")
Rick Blain and Ilsa Lund - Casablanca
("What about us?" "We'll always have Paris.")
Rocky and Adrian - Rocky
Harry and Sally - When Harry Met Sally
(Billy Crystal's entire heartfelt monologue toward the end is one of my favorite things in all romantic comedies.)
Also, I want to agree with Adam on Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. They were soooo likeable together, and a their performances and chemistry together were a large part of what made that movie so great for me (it really was).Delete
Thanks John Murphy. If nothing else, that movie is a terrific romantic comedy which are in such short supply these days.ReplyDelete
my initial reaction was C3PO and R2d2 but for real I'll say Carl and Ellie from Up, damn that opening montage just right for the heartReplyDelete
I will start with some nostalgic picks of youth. Carl and Cory from "Over the Edge". Cory was a red head and hot in a jr. high school sort of way. I was in jr. high school, so nothing creepy there. Daniel and Ali from "Karate Kid". The more I think about this one can I pick just Ali. Daniel was a bit of a douche. Morgan and Frankie from Tuff Turf. Short skirt and fishnets, need I say more.ReplyDelete
I may be in the minority here, but Buttercup left me dry.
Clarence and Alabama from "True Romance". When I saw Alabama fight is was love at first blood. And she wants to watch kung fu movies with you, that is hard to beat. And to finish it off, George and Mary from "It's a Wonderful Life". I loved the way they got through life together. The highs and the lows they handled together. I have to give my lovely wife Alice a h/t for George and Mary. They are her favorite couple.
True Romance's Clarence and Alabama all the way - if you haven't, go read Patrick's article about it! What's that? You're not going to let some faceless geek on the Internet tell you what to do? Well, it's about time you grew a pair.ReplyDelete
I find these randomly old articles, I forget what leads me to them. I think I have similar feelings about this as Patrick. I really like to see love EARNED in movies. It's so disappointing when it's glossed over because it feels like the storytellers are wasting opportunities to examine their own characters. And it's like cheating. "Now these people fall in love! Now 2 + 2 = 7! Just believe it! No, I won't show my work!"ReplyDelete
That said...ELIZABETH TAYLOR & ROCK HUDSON in Giant. It's not really a romance movie but it does show a relationship that is successful, which interests me more as I get older.
Giant was such a great film for women, too. Even though she was sexy, Elizabeth Taylor's character had a lot of dignity. She picked an already-good man and by her own example, no coercion, helped him become an even better man.
Can I point out that this is way different than stories of beauties changing beasts, like Julie Harris in East of Eden. The ending of that film (one of my favorites nonetheless) kills me when Abra becomes the peacemaker for Cal and his dad. It sucks that women in movies are so often meant to be angelic saviors to broken men who have nothing really to offer in return. And a lot of people think Julie Harris was playing like a great feminist role in there. Like "by her great love she changed him". It was an interesting choice by Elia Kazan because John Steinbeck's books were better to women.