This years marks the 20th anniversary since the release of Sleepless in Seattle, the second rom-com pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (and a distant second to their most enjoyable outing, Joe Versus the Volcano). The plot is familiar, and disturbing: Recent widower Sam Baldwin (Hanks), with the help of his creepy, proto-stalker son, lures an equally stalkery Annie the reporter (Ryan) away from the perfectly serviceable Walter (Bill Pullman), all based on a supposed love for the same movie.
Twenty years is a long time, I guess. I couldn't bring myself to sit through Sleepless in its entirety until a few years ago, but the whole "dumping Walter" thing always bugged me, and like any other festering annoyance I'm unable to move beyond, it got me thinking of other examples.
Andie & Blaine -- Pretty in Pink (1986) To quote Clark Griswold, What a worm. "Gee, I really like you, Andie. Let me prove it by taking you to my friend Steff's party, where everyone will make fun of you, then take his word over yours and dump you before prom. But you'll still come crawling back to me because I'm so *dreamy*."
Poor Duckie. Then again, he got Kristy Swanson as a consolation. Charlie Sheen could tell us if that was a better deal.
Lelaina & Troy -- Reality Bites (1994) I was never a very good slacker. Even seeing this when it came out, I preferred Ben Stiller's mildly thick Michael to Ethan Hawke's grungy pseudointellectual. Nothing validates that "I.Q. requirement" required to hang out with you like using your vast intellectual talents to list Gilligan's Island episodes from memory.
Not that she was that great a prize. The class valedictorian can't define "irony"? What a ringing endorsement for the University of Houston.
Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins -- My Fair Lady (1964) I've based my worldview on several key cinematic figures: Snake Plissken, Quint from Jaws and Professor Higgins. At least, that's what I say when my wife is out of the room. In all seriousness, Higgins -- for all his lamenting why the English can't learn how to speak -- is a real asshole, and poor Freddy probably hung himself with his own ascot. Maybe even *at* Ascot, how (not) ironic.
Ilsa Lund & Victor Laszlo -- Casablanca (1942) I know Rick meant well, but why couldn't he begin his newfound career with La Resistance with Ilsa in tow? Victor did it, and he was obviously fairly cool with the two of them hooking up while he was rotting in a concentration camp. Very European.
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Karen & Rick -- The Last American Virgin (1982) While it started out in decidedly Porky's-esque fashion, the ending completely gutted me as a junior high kid and marked the beginning of my long, inexorable descent from youthful idealism to bitter, cynical adulthood.
It's also the reason I always insist on going Dutch on abortions.