"Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva... So tweasure your wuv."
- The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride
I have been married now for fifteen months. It still amazes me sometimes. I mean, I've been with my now wife, Amanda, for almost five years total, but I look at her sometimes, and I'm like I can't believe I'm somebody's husband.
I love the theme this week. Suggested by Wendell from Dell on Movies for Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks Meme, this is an exciting one to tackle. And a bit troubling. I couldn't decide how to mix-up my nearly ten original ideas. Which three should I go with? I decided on three vastly different movies that all feature a marriage as their driving force. All three of these marriages range from rocky, to say the least, all the way to downright scary.
Here they are, the first All in the Family Edition, my Thursday Movie Picks:
Coal Miner's Daughter (Michael Apted, 1980)
The Married Couple: Loretta and Doolittle Lynn
The Actors: Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones
This is another of my earliest movie memories. I watched this many times growing up, and it always stuck with me. And it's not Loretta Lynn's incredible music that drives this very musical film but her pretty much life-long relationship with her much older husband, Doo. Coal Miner's Daughter is one of the best biopics ever made. And I'm usually not a fan of them. Loretta Lynn grew up poor in Kentucky, one of eight children. At only fifteen, she married her husband, a rabble-rouser and moonshiner in his early twenties. The best of this story chronicles the early years of their marriage (and the age and experience difficulties) as they begin to raise a family, then continues as Doo helps Loretta find her voice, then, later, great fame. It's a full story of the ups-and-downs of life and marriage to the tune of 1960s country music. The work from Spacek and Jones is top-notch, and Spacek won the Best Actress Oscar for her work.
Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, 1994)
The Married Couple: Mickey and Mallory Knox
The Actors: Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis
Oliver Stone's shockingly violent and fast-paced critique of modern society (circa 1993) is one of the most daringly unique mainstream movies ever made. At the center is the intense love between its heroes, a psychotic couple with darkly troubled pasts on a mass-murdering rampage across America. Just like Mickey and Mallory, the film exists in a world its own, as if it's inside the mind of the two killers. The "wedding" scene is incredibly memorable, blending Stone's constantly moving and oddly-angled camera with animated blood dripping into a river. "We got the road to hell in front of us," Mickey says. Taking the ideas set forth in movies like Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde and Terrence Malick's Badlands, Stone amps up the killer lovers idea for a more satirical effect in a time in our history when nobody could seem to do anything but bitch about violence in the media. He sure showed 'em.
Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)
The Married Couple: Nick and Amy Dunne
The Actors: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Since this movie (one of the true best of 2014) got hosed by the Academy Awards, I figured why not give it some love here. Despite the craziness of its main characters, Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel is one of the truest accounts of modern relationships out there. I can't imagine there's anything close. I downplayed that aspect, for some reason, in my original review (which can be read here), but it is what this movie is about. It is a scarily extreme version of what happens when couples grow apart, while at the same time, it gives us a look at the televised exploitations of missing persons and murdering husbands people so often latch onto thanks to Nancy Grace-types, like this story's Ellen Abbott (Missy Pyle). Flynn's screenplay could not have found a better director than Fincher for this material. It's a procedural of a romance, as "Amazing" Amy loves her games and puzzles, and it contains unspeakable crimes in the name of love and revenge that no one but Flynn has imagined before. Gone Girl is a special film deserving of much more praise than it has gotten as far as this awards season is concerned.