Saturday, March 20, 2010

"So that's how they ..."

Movies can do an excellent job explaining the tabloids.

If you're like me, you see in the tabloids that Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler are dating, and you think, "Huh. Wonder how they met? Was it at a convention for actors who can't buy a hit?"

Then you start seeing advertisements for movies like The Bounty Hunter, and you think, "Ohhhhh, so that's how they started dating."

Sure, if I'd read the actual story in the tabloids -- at least the first one that broke the dating rumors -- it would probably mention "on the set of The Bounty Hunter." Or if I actively sought out news about which projects have just started shooting, in the trades or entertainment websites, I might have known they were working together on a movie. But I waste (shameful use of the word "waste") enough of the rest of my time on movie-related things, so I generally wait to be surprised by all the dumb little romantic comedies coming out, just like the rest of the public.

And The Bounty Hunter isn't my only recent "Ohhhhh" moment. When my wife and I saw Valentine's Day (see here for the circumstances of that shameful viewing), I had the great mystery solved of how the two Taylors started dating. Shoehorned briefly into the movie just to put teenage asses in the seats -- and I mean they have less than no plot in this movie -- Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift have a couple scenes that involve them making out pretty heavily. Now, actors of all ages seem to fall in love while working on movies together, so it must be even more confusing to pretend kiss for people who are actually still hormone-crazy teenagers.

In both of the examples above, it didn't last. All the principles in question are probably seeing other people by now. Let's just hope it's not too awkward when the natural period of gestation passes between filming and theatrical release, and you have to sit next to these people on press junkets for four to six weeks to promote the film. (Talk about ex-games.) That was the benefit for those of us who struck up romances during the high school musical -- when the show ended, the only way you had to interact with that person was passing them in the hallway.

(Okay, correct that last paragraph. I've read different things in different places about Aniston and Butler, now that I'm actually researching it. In some places, Aniston denies she and Butler are dating, which means they probably are; in others, they were starting a relationship but Butler cheated on her, and now he's banned from her circle of friends. Since this information is so necessarily ever-changing, based almost exclusively on unreliable gossip, and since it's better for the point of this post that they're no longer an item, I'm going with that from here on out.)

Of course, sometimes they do last. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are still going (not so) strong, five years after the completion of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I don't remember in that instance whether the arrival of the movie explained their relationship, or whether the relationship didn't go public until after the movie. Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas are still married, 15 years after Two Much was not enough for them -- and that movie wouldn't be known by anybody if it hadn't been the place where they fell in love. And then there's Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, who were married in February of 1958 after working together on The Long, Hot Summer, and had a 50-year marriage that ended only with his death.

More often, though, they're like Gerard and Jennifer. As unlucky in love as they're unlucky at the movies.

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