What do The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1
and Lars von Trier’s haunting take on the end of the world Melancholia
have in common? Well, apart from the obvious fact that they’re both about introspective young women desperately awaiting a supernatural event to end their mortal existence, here’s a clue: weddings! Yes, whether your film is about amoral gangsters, wacky pranksters or total wankers, nothing says “lets get everyone together to have a big fight” like a big-screen wedding. But while a top ten weddings list could be made just from that montage in Wedding Crashers
and no list would be complete without Four Weddings and a Funeral
… whoops, seem to have left that one out. Ah, let’s just get on with it. Start the bridal march!
10. Kill Bill, Part 2
Yes, strictly speaking this is a wedding rehearsal, not the real deal – which is why it’s coming in ahead of the actual weddings (who says I don’t put thought into the order of these clips? Seriously, who’s been saying that? I’ll kill ‘em). But who hasn’t been at a wedding that wouldn’t have been seriously improved by the arrival of five black-clad assassins ready to gun down the bride and groom? As Benny Youngman said in his Ricky Gervais-inspired ‘ironic’ phase, “Take my wife’s life, please.”
9. Rachel Getting Married
Is there anything in life guaranteed to make your heart sink faster than showing up at a wedding and discovering that it’s not a boring old church wedding, oh no – it’s a hippy wedding? At least with regular dull-ass weddings you kinda know how things are meant to go so you can work out how long you’ve got to wait before the drinking starts: with hippy weddings anything could happen at any time – okay, anything could happen at any time so long as it involves dull and pointless and scruffy and involving a whole bunch of made-up spirits rather than the alcoholic kind – so you’ve got no idea how long the pain is going to last. Which is actually a pretty good way to describe this film.
8. The Marrying Man
Alec Bladwin is a man who marries Kim Basinger a lot – and not just in real life! Urgh, sorry about that, watching a bunch of wedding movies does tend to switch your brain to “dad joke” mode. But yes, after playing a man who marries her a lot in this film, he went on to marry her in real life, thus proving that even horrible dialogue and clumsy direction can’t thwart true love. On the up side, their union did lead to the couple appearing as themselves in one of the slightly more classic Simpsons episodes. On the down side, they didn’t get around to making a movie about a couple that divorces each other a lot before their real-life divorce in 2002. Fortunately, that didn’t prevent every single entertainment reporter and gossip columnist working at the time from making pretty much that exact same joke.
7. The Muppets Take Manhattan
Excited about the upcoming Muppet movie? You should be – not only does it look very funny, but even on their worse days the Muppets somehow retain a charm and charisma most live-action comedians can only envy – or, if you’re Eddie Murphy, try to duplicate by playing most of your roles inside a fat suit. But hang on a second: if the plot of the new Muppet film involves Kermit getting all the Muppets back together to put on a show (and it does), what about the time he married Miss Piggy? Surely that means, somewhere along the line there must have been a… MUPPET DIVORCE? And just like that, an entire generation books in for a decade’s worth of therapy.
6. Bride Wars
If this list was going to take in every painful and insulting Hollywood “comedy” about how weddings turn women into bitches we’d be here all week. But this especially insane example – basically, two BFFs who’ve spent their entire lives obsessing over their future wedding not only find men willing to marry them but then decide to get married ON THE SAME DAY – deserves a mention for one reason and one reason only: DJ Humble. Yes, top of the laundry list of things these women argue about in their battle for wedding dominance is an iPod shuffle owner / musician named DJ Humble. Let that sink in for a moment: DJ Humble. What, MC Meek wasn’t available? They couldn’t call Dr Diffident and the Self-Effacing Posse? I’m guessing even Modest Mouse wouldn’t… oh wait, that one’s real.
5. Honeymoon in Vegas
Hey remember when Nicolas Cage was married to Elvis’ daughter for a whole three months and people thought that was as crazy as he was ever going to get? Okay, today that merely looks like a blip in the seismograph of nuttiness that is Cage, but let’s not forget that not only did Cage basically impersonate Elvis in (the excellent, mind you) Wild At Heart – which pretty much explains his attraction to Lisa-Marie, because if Elvis was your dad you’d probably have some serious daddy issues too – but he also appeared in this Elvis-heavy tale of love and marriage and loan sharks and jumping out of planes. Man, Cage is awesome.
4. Muriel’s Wedding
In a way it’s a shame that this turned out to be one of the best and most-loved Australian comedy movies of all time, because it’s meant – in a similar way to the impact Four Weddings and a Funeral has had on the UK film industry – that no-one wants to go up against it. It’s a no win situation: even if you make a great wedding film, people will still say “Yeah, but it’s no Muriel’s Wedding”. So while Hollywood happily churns out wedding-themed hit after hit – did someone say Bridesmaids? The Wedding Planner? The Wedding Singer? Wedding Crashers? My Best Friends Wedding? My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Runaway Bride? – Australia just says “You’re terrible, Muriel” and goes off to make another comedy about wogs.
3. The Godfather
Much like that other manly wedding classic The Deer Hunter, the wedding here isn’t shown as the orgasmic conclusion to a life previously unfulfilled – that’s covered in the next entry down. Instead, it’s a traditional symbol of family life and community that’s immediately subverted as we realise that the future being ushered in largely involves threats, strong-arm tactics, long streams of profanity, and being gunned down in a restaurant. Basically, your typical real-life marriage.
2. 27 Dresses
Yeah yeah yeah, it’s clearly not possible to do this kind of list without acknowledging the fact that weddings are Hollywood’s go-to carrot when they want to bring in the ladies. Hell, even Bridesmaids – you know, the comedy that was cutting edge and risky because it had an all-female cast – made sure to revolve around the girl-friendly topic of walking down the aisle. But at least we’re making progress: while Julia Roberts made two of these wedding shockers in her prime (Runaway Bride, My Best Friend's Wedding), the 21st century Julia Roberts - Katherine Heigl – has so far only made one. And by her standards, this always the bridesmaid never the bride tale doesn’t seem that bad. Of course, she did make The Ugly Truth, compared to which blowing up a kindergarten Christmas pageant doesn’t seem that bad.
1. The Graduate
That’s right – the number one movie wedding is one that doesn’t actually happen. That’s because a) The Graduate is a brilliant film and the ending where Dustin Hoffman breaks up a wedding to run off with his dream girl only to have the ultimate “what the hell are we going to do know” moment is a genuine classic, and b) has this list taught you nothing? Best case scenario with a Hollywood wedding is that nothing ever happens to you again for the rest of your life; worst case, a rogue planet crashes into Earth and extinguishes all life. Which, on the crap wedding gift scale, even rates worse than edible underwear.
Words by Anthony Morris. More at thevine.com.au