True love (or not): Best, worst couples in entertainment
He loved her too much to risk living.
In the closing moments of 1997 blockbuster “Titanic,” hero Jack Dawson helps Rose DeWitt Bukater onto a wooden door to help her escape certain death in the frigid north Atlantic. He didn’t squeeze on lest the door sink under their combined weight. (This is an assumption.) He sacrificed his life to save hers.
It was an epic love story played out on the biggest screen.
“Titanic,” winner of 11 Academy Awards, is just one of an untold number of films, TV shows and stage plays written about love.
Sometimes the stories are sweet. Sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes the stories end tragically and sometimes they end — say it all together now — happily ever after.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we have awarded titles to some of the best and worst couples in entertainment history, because, arguably, no one tells a love story like stage and screen.
MOST TRAGIC COUPLE: Romeo and Juliet from William Shakespeare’s tragedy; Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater from the 1997 film “Titanic.”
Right off, we’ve got a tie. We’ve addressed Jack and Rose already, so let’s turn to the couple from “fair Verona.”
The passion of young love should be one of the wonders of the world, but even before the poison and dagger, Romeo and Juliet were doomed. Their romantic tragedy has been told, retold, changed time periods and hemispheres and set to music. Although Romeo and Juliet were star-crossed, their story will never, ever die.
MOST EPIC COUPLE: Aragorn and Arwen from “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.
He was 20, walking around in the woods and singing (yeah, most 20-year-old guys do that, but whatever) and saw her, a gorgeous high-born elf and much, much older than he. So what. Aragorn fell in love.
It took about 30 more years for Arwen to fall too, but once she did “her choice was made and her doom appointed.” That doom entailed waiting out the War of the Ring (during which Aragorn fought the evil Sauron, helped with the destruction of the One Ring and claimed the throne of Gondor), marrying Aragorn for a blissful union of about 120 years and then living alone until the end of the world.
That’s pretty epic.
MOST COMEDIC COUPLE: Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from the TV series “I Love Lucy.”
Was it Lucy’s voice inflection, pout or expressive lapses in judgement? Was it Ricky’s accent, music or patience (sort of)?
Actually, it was all of it. They were ridiculously good together. Yes, we know what happened in their personal lives, off camera. But on camera it was all “I Love Lucy.”
BEST ANIMATED COUPLE: Belle and the Beast from the 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast.”
Belle was so sweet she could have charmed any beast. Fortunately, hers was a prince. Whew!
She was independent, too, and liked to read books and sing. And the Beast had a horrid temper and was crank and selfish.
They worked it out, though, with the charming help of a French candlestick and a wise, plump teapot. Yea! Disney!
WORST COUPLE: Stanley and Stella Kowalski from the 1951 film “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
“Stellaaaaaaaa!” Wearing a white shirt and yelling and pleading, we see Stanley. That image from the film was so memorable, and Stanley was so messed up. Stella was too, for that matter. Their marriage was marked by domestic abuse, manipulation, animalistic sexual attraction and lies.
COUPLE WHOSE ROMANCE YOU MOST WANT YOUR LIFE TO EMULATE: Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from the TV series and film “Pride & Prejudice.”
Oh, the pride! The prejudice! Initially, Fitzwilliam Darcy, wealthy gentleman newly decamped to the countryside, would only acknowledge that Elizabeth Bennet was “tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.” And Lizzie, a treasure with fine eyes and a mind of her own, had no use for his pride.
Slowly, they began to see the other for who they truly are, and a meeting of equals conflagrated into a love story for the ages. Swoon.
MOST UNREALISTIC COUPLE: Bella Swan (human) and Edward Cullen (a vampire) from “Twilight” films; Jonathan Switcher (human) and Emmy (mannequin) from the 1987 film “Mannequin;” the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper (ghoul dogs) from the 1984 film “Ghostbusters.”
It just won’t work. It won’t.
No amount of kissing, no number of embraces or relationship defining conversations or common life or undead experiences would make these relationships work, except in the movies.
Sorry, Bella and Edward fans.
COUPLE THAT PROVES OPPOSITES ATTRACT: Johnny Castle and Frances “Baby” Houseman from the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing.”
She’s a pampered princess and daddy’s girl, he’s a scrappy fighter who lives by his wits and his dance shoes.
She carries watermelons, he carries willowy dance partners across the ballroom floor.
She ends up in corners, he gets her out of them. She’s like the wind, he’s new steps in some sort of Afro-Caribbean dance hybrid.
She’s had the time of her life, he’s had the time of his life. They’ve never felt this way before.
CUTEST COUPLE: Melanie Smooter and Jake Perry from the 2002 film “Sweet Home Alabama”; Jim Halpert and Pam Beesley from theTV series “The Office.”
Sometimes you must find yourself to know who you love (and then admit it all in a burst of emotion during a thunderstorm while wearing a sopping wet wedding dress on a beach): Melanie Smooter.
Sometimes you must prove that the love you deserve really is merited (and also be able to make a small fortune creating incredible glass via lightning and sand, pilot a plane and stay ruggedly handsome and true): Jake Perry.
Sometimes you must glance longingly across the office (then marry and procreate): Jim Halpert and Pam Beelsey.
They are all so cute, cute, cute!
COUPLE WITH THE BEST CHEMISTRY: Westley and Princess Buttercup from the 1987 film “The Princess Bride”; Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun from the 2004 film “The Notebook.”
What man other than Westley, aka Man in Black, could say to a princess, “There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours,” and expect to be covered in kisses?
Answer: Noah Calhoun.
Social differences — princess and farm boy/dread pirate, Southern belle and poor nobody — cannot stop true love and passion. Sigh.
BEST COUPLES FEATURING THE SAME ACTORS: Sam Baldwin and Annie Reed from the 1993 film “Sleepless in Seattle” and Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly from the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail” (actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan).
In “Sleepless in Seattle” she flew clear across the country just to see him.
In “You’ve Got Mail” he read “Pride and Prejudice” and put up with insults for her.
Sure, those are a simplistic descriptions of these romance stories — watch the movies. Suffice to say, their love was meant to be. It’s sweet.
GREATEST COUPLE THAT NEVER WOULD’VE WORKED IN REAL LIFE: Edward Lewis and Vivian Ward from the 1990 film “Pretty Woman.”
Not to be a buzz kill, but as anyone who has happened upon Hollywood Boulevard after dark knows, the hookers do not look like Julia Roberts.
And stoic billionaires, even those with a raging “king of the world” complex, generally know better than to do things that could blow up in bad press and affect stock prices; e.g. get caught with a hooker on Hollywood Boulevard.
Cinderella stories are a real delight, but captains of industry generally go for Vassar grads. Sorry, folks.
By CHRIS TALBOTT
AP Music Writer
Eric Church is developing two separate and distinct personalities that seem to wrestle each other in a glorious battle royal on his fourth and best album, “The Outsiders.”
There’s that guy Chief, with the hat and sunglasses and the love of rock ‘n’ roll, whiskey, stubborn streaks and fistfights. And then there’s the version of Church who wins (or loses) the girl, stirs moments of universal reverie and tickles the funny bone with program director-wooing hits that appeal to country music’s bedrock fan base.
Both these guys are at their best on “The Outsiders,” one-upping each other with songs that embrace the breadth and history of country music while ignoring those conventions to explore far afield. Managing this trick requires a delicate touch, and Church and producer Jay Joyce push the limits while maintaining a balance that leaves a little something for everyone.
Don’t like the heavy rock riffs and leather jacket-clad message of the Black Sabbath-leaning title song? Well, there’s the tear-jerker ballad “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.”
Tired of the paint-by-numbers party songs that flood radio? His answer is “Cold One,” which offers a twist on a tired theme. Need a couples song for you and your new country gal? Try “Talladega,” which somehow turns auto racing into an epic love poem. “Give Me Back My Hometown” is straight up nostalgia. And if that’s not your thing, there’s the rock-informed “Dark Side,” ‘‘That’s Damn Rock & Roll” and “The Joint” to go with your shot and beer back.
Tempo-shifting “Roller Coaster Ride” and funky country “Broke Record” use sonic interpretations of Church’s lyrics to rev up things. The organ on “Like a Wrecking Ball” and the trumpet at the end of “The Joint” are delightful moments that show Church is confident that his listeners are his to command. He even tries his hand at spoken-word noir on “Devil, Devil.”