Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday Film-Night:: Real Life vs Movie Love

Rather than highlighting just one must-see film, today Ally Blake ponders why movies starring real-life lovers somehow don't seem to hit the spot with moviegoers when make believe relationships do. Do we prefer to suspend our disbelief after all?


Penelope Cruz made a reputation for herself as a relationship buster during a period of the nineties, but her most famous conquest was Tom Cruise after together they made the horribly incongruous, messy, self-aggrandising "Vanilla Sky", one of the worst films of all time.

Pen and Tom do indeed look rather beautiful together. Two prettier people the director might not have been able to find. And they fell in love. For real.

Yet the film flopped. Was it it because she allegedly broke up a marriage? Was it because they were too pretty for we mere mortals to comprehend? Is there a lesson in that for romance authors? Or was it because they hugged far too much in public?

Okay, so the film was bad and that may have had something to do with the poor box office. I concede a point there.

So why did Tom Cruise's films with wife Nicole Kidman fail to light up the screen?


Okay, so none of these films performed to expectations bar Days of Thunder which was offically pre-Tom&Nic as Tom was married to Mimi. Right?

So was the discomfort in watching Tom and Nic romance one another a married couple thing?

Was the spark de-sparked through having a young family and seeing one another every day and not having that "getting to know you" reality to buoy them through their performances? Or were Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise simply too blah as a couple at the best of times none of us particularly wanted to see them lock lips on the red carpet much less at the end of a $12-00 parting of money from our wallets?

How does this Time cover grab you? Sexy? Or creepy?

Hmmm, the plot thickens...

Especially when you throw Proof of Life into the mix.


Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan's relationship, and the bust up of her marriage and his relationship with his now wife Danielle Spencer was so over exposed this movie didn't stand a chance. I remember being able to read about the two of them in every magazine around. Over exposure killed this movie. And that is such a great pity.

Proof of Life is a truly fantastic film. A+. The dramatic performances from ALL players are top notch. And there is a truly heartbreaking romance between Russel and Meg's characters born out of a life changing situation. Meg Ryan is a mother of one, married and happily in love with her engineer husband who is working out of war torn South America. Her husband, played with beautiful nuance by the lovely David Morse is kidnapped and held for ransom. Bring in Russell Crowe, a soldier of fortune, who is hired to find him and bring him home.

Russ moves in, and becomes Meg's only point of reference, the only man she can trust as forces beyond her control threaten the life of her husband, and the sanctity of her family. The fact that day by day she falls in love with Russ only makes the situation all the harder. Is Russ willing to put his life on the line to save the man the woman he loves loves?

Rent it and find out.


Another gem. Created by the talented Kevin Smith who brought us Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. This movie came out around about the time Bennifer fell apart - that's Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez for those not addicted to magazines found in supermarkets. Which is suuuuch a pity as it's a gorgeous movie.

Ben Affleck is happily married to la Lopez when she dies in childbirth, leaving him to raise his daughter alone. Once he gets over himself enough to realise that's it's not the little girl's fault, he leaves behind his fancy job in New York City to move back to New Jersey with his dad.

This movie is simply lovely. Poignant. Real. Funny. And there is a romance... And it doesn't involve our two folk. So why did the movie flop? Too cruel pre-press and overexposure to be sure.

Rent it. Please.


This was one out of the box.

A film that broke up a marriage and brought a Hollywood power couple together in one of the more heralded romances of recent times. Brad Pitt left America's sweetheart Jennifer Aniston for the edgy heartbreak kid herself, Angelina Jolie. Together they are simply too beautiful, unmarried, living the world over, dancing to their own tune, adding to their hybrid family. And seriously overexposed! Surely this had every potential for movie disaster...

But this film is hilarious. Dark. Sassy. Funny as all get out. Both stars are charming and wounded and energetic and as hell.

So why did this one do big box office when acording the history it should have been the biggest flop of them all?

Can you watch a movie starring a couple together in real-life and find the fantasy believable without real life casting it's shadow? Let us know the films which have done it for you!

Ally's latest novel FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR stars one heck of a gorgeous Aussie bloke. Think rugged good looks, too long dark hair, three day old growth, battle scars and that long, lanky, laid-back thang Aussie blokes do all to well.

To read more about Hud Bennington, check out Ally's website or better yet buy the book!


  1. This is one really interesting post Ally - thanks for making me think this early in the morning. Found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read.

  2. Hi Ally

    Loved this post - though can't say I agree with you about Jersey Girl (maybe it's just my can't-stand-Ben-Afleck-gene though).

    I know this is going back into the dawn of time, but how about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in The Long Hot Summer - long, ultra hot and very very sexy as she plays the spinster southern belle and he's the gorgeous bad boy who's paid by her father to win her hand in marriage, and ends up loosing his heart instead. They were at the start of a 40something year marriage and boy does it show. Love, passion, sparks aplenty all up there on screen. One of my favourite films.


  3. *makes note to self on 'The Long Hot Summer'*

    I have to agree with you on 'Proof of Life' I enjoyed that flim deserved better than it did. I think the whole Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman is that they just weren't sexy together... they just looked odd.

    Maybe Mr & Mrs Smith worked because they were denying the relationship for so long even when the film was released.

    Great topic!

  4. Oooh "The Long Hot Summer". Good one! But anything with Paul Newman at that age was fabulous just cause you get to look at Paul Newman for an hour and a half ;).

    And then there was "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.

    We could go on and on!


  5. Good post, Ally. Lots of interesting food for thought. And I'd forgotten Long Hot Summer, but yes, that's memorable. Was it the one that broke up Newman's first marriage?

    The jury is still out here on Mr and Mrs Smith which, as you know, I just blogged about. I loved bits of it, but I still have issues with how the violence became personal and THEN led to sex.

    I'll check out the others. Thanks for the suggestions.