In Honor of ‘Long Shot,’ Our Favorite Cinematic Odd Couples

Lionsgate

In the new film “Long Shot,” Seth Rogen plays an unemployed journalist who decides to woo his former babysitter, who is now United States Secretary of State. Skillfully directed by Jonathan Levine (whose work we’ll revisit below), the film relies on the pairing of scruffy charmer Rogen and knockout megastar Charlize Theron. But the film honors an enduring legacy of movies where two characters film themselves drawn to one another despite disparate goals, points of view, personalities or lifestyles. To commemorate the film , we’ve assembled a shortlist of notable odd-couple pairings that have changed and inspired the way we look at relationships on the silver screen and in our daily lives.

United Artists

“Some Like It Hot” (1959) – Billy Wilder directed this raucous comedy about two musicians who hide out in an all-girl band to avoid a vindictive mobster. But while Tony Curtis’ saxophonist woos a ditzy bombshell played by Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon fends off (and eventually kinda-sorta succumbs to) the advances of a millionaire too blinded by love to care that he isn’t a she.

Embassy Pictures

“The Graduate” (1967) – This generational touchstone elevates a story of two young people in love by complicating their romance when aimless graduate Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) embarks of an affair with his would-be girlfriend’s mother (Anne Bancroft). The movie eventually arrives at the realization that neither relationship is probably destined to last, but at least acknowledges that Benjamin’s tryst with Mrs. Robinson is much more interesting than his courtship of her daughter (Katharine Ross).

Paramount

“Harold and Maude” (1971) – In Hal Ashby’s wild, bleak comedy, Bud Cort plays an eccentric young man who falls in love with a free-spirited septuagenarian (Ruth Gordon) who teaches him to forget about his obsession with death and just enjoy life.

Buena Vista

“Splash” (1984) – Ron Howard directed this comedy about a man (Tom Hanks) and a mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who reunite as adults after falling in love as children. The culture-shock jokes for the former bottom-dweller prove less affecting than the tender romance that blossoms between the two despite a scientist’s (Eugene Levy) determination to uncover her true identity.

Universal

“Howard the Duck” (1986) – As awful as this movie is, it did manage to break new ground as the first known depiction on screen of canoodling between a foul-mouthed, anthropomorphic duck and a human woman (Lea Thompson).

Columbia Pictures

“Roxanne” (1987) – Steve Martin is hilarious and a little heartbreaking as Charlie, a small town fire chief who falls head over heels for a comely astronomy grad student (“Splash”’s Daryl Hannah) only to find himself writing overtures on behalf of hunky dimwit Chris (Rick Rossovitch).

Buena Vista

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) – You won’t see a more devoted pair than goofball rabbit Roger (Charles Fleischer) and his hourglass-shaped spouse Jessica (Kathleen Turner), whose marriage is tested when Roger becomes a murder suspect.

20th Century Fox

“Edward Scissorhands” (1990) – Tim Burton established a careerlong pedigree as purveyor of unconventional love stories starting with this film about an artificial young man (Johnny Depp), a high school cheerleader (Winona Ryder) and the weaponized hands that come between them.

Columbia Pictures

“The Professional” (1994) – Luc Besson wrote and directed this film about a hit man (Jean Reno) and the teenage girl (Natalie Portman) he reluctantly agrees to care for – and who in return shows him a few things about life – after he rescues her from a ruthless policeman (Gary Oldman) trying to cover up the trail of his corruption.

TriStar Pictures

“As Good As It Gets” (1997) – James L. Brooks turns oil and water into cinematic gold with this comedy about an obnoxious, obsessive-compulsive author (Jack Nicholson) who falls for a pragmatic waitress (Helen Hunt), resulting in love and some important life lessons for both of them.

Columbia Pictures

“Punch-Drunk Love” (2002) – Paul Thomas Anderson rebounded from the operatic “Magnolia” with this short and very sweet story about a novelty goods salesman (Adam Sandler) with seven sisters who falls into a delicate courtship with a woman (Emily Watson) without any siblings, finding the perfect balance together.

Lionsgate

“Secretary” (2002) – Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in this oddball romance between an aimless young woman and the businessman (James Spader) who quite literally whips her into shape.

Universal

“King Kong” (2005) – Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1933 classic builds a tender love story into its death defying adventures as Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) comes to care deeply for Kong (Andy Serkis) as he slowly changes from her captor to her protector.

MGM

“Lars and the Real Girl” (2007) – Ryan Gosling stars in this unusual story about a socially-awkward young man who finds an unlikely but perfect companion in a life-size female doll he orders from an adult website.

Warner Bros.

“Her” (2013) – Spike Jonze explores the bonds and barriers of technology with this story about a writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who becomes involved with a computer program (Scarlett Johansson) in order to process his residual feelings about the end of his previous relationship with an actual woman (Rooney Mara).

Summit

“Warm Bodies” (2013) Summit Entertainment “Long Shot” director Jonathan Levin also helmed this adaptation of Isaac Marion’s book about a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) whose appetite for human flesh is unexpectedly abated after he encounters a young woman (Teresa Palmer) who quite literally teaches him how to live again.

Long ShotRMay 3rd, 201971metacriticBased on 35 Critics

Fred Flarsky is a gifted and free-spirited journalist who has a knack for getting into trouble. Charlotte Field is one of the most influential women in the world — a smart, sophisticated and accomplished politician. When Fred unexpectedly runs into Charlotte, he soon realizes that she was his former baby sitter and childhood crush. When Charlotte decides to make a run for the presidency, she impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter — much to the dismay of her trusted advisers. Read More

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