Watching Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, I was struck by a strange scene between Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Johnny and Christopher Lloyd’s Dr. Kroenig. It was delightful to see the two on screen together so many years after their iconic partnership in Angels in the Outfield (1994) – after all, Gordon-Levitt was only a 13 year old kid back then and seeing them play out a scene as adults was something else entirely. But it was also so bizarre to see the wholesome pair as a drunken, drugged out, unlicensed backstreet doctor (Lloyd) and his unfortunate patient (Gordon-Levitt). It got me thinking about some other surreal and delightful screen reunions throughout the years and people who have either become iconic pairs or have enjoyed working together time and time again. The list that follows probably won’t measure up to the mind-bending tonal shift in character and relationship inherent between Angels in the Outfield and Sin City, but it is pretty cool to see these pairs team up.
6. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks
This pair teamed up for the first time in the stalkery romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle (1993), in which Meg Ryan falls in love with Tom Hanks after she hears him call in to a late night radio show and then turns up in Seattle to meet him. Cute, right? And not at all creepy or psychotic. The pair are pretty adorable together though, so five years later they teamed up again to make the insanely dated internet dating comedy and The Shop Around the Corner (1940) remake You’ve Got Mail (1998). In this movie, Ryan and Hanks are falling in love online all while fighting with each other in real life. In the end, they discover each others’ identities and get together. They really are adorable together, there’s no denying that. Ryan is sweet and sassy, while Hanks has this deliciously dry wit that combine perfectly for their banter. Meg Ryan isn’t doing much these days, but maybe they’ll get together and make a romantic comedy about snapchatting or something.
5. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd
Doc and Marty from the Back to the Future trilogy are possibly one of the most iconic and most loved teams of all time. I love how well they know each other by the end of their time together and what they mean to each other. When Marty exclaims “Great Scott!” in honest alarm, stealing Doc’s favorite expression, Doc responds simply by stealing one of Marty’s favorite expressions, agreeing “Heavy.” Its amazing to think that by the end of the series, Doc has known Marty for over thirty years. They had such fantastic chemistry and honest fondness for each other that it was sad to see them part at the end. Fast forward to Spin City (1996), Michael J. Fox’s political comedy series and Christopher Lloyd’s brief guest appearance in a 1999 episode entitled Back to the Future IV – Judgement Day. Their first interaction is hilariously meta, with the pair gleefully trading a series of time travel puns.
4. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
This is a team that have re-teamed more than once and to great success for both of them. Their most iconic project together is probably the Oscar winning Good Will Hunting (1997), written and starring both Affleck and Damon alongside Robin Williams. The two are also Kevin Smith regulars, so it is perhaps no surprise that their first re-teaming after that was Smith’s Dogma (1999) as the troublesome angels Loki and Bartleby. While they play a major role in the unfolding of the movie and appear throughout, their involvement has the feeling of a fun extended cameo more than an honest casting choice. Knowing that the two are close friends and creative partners in real life makes their interaction and on screen partnership that much more delightful. For more Affleck/Damon fun, their HBO series Project Greenlight is returning to TV screens after an 11 year hiatus.
3. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover
These two are the ultimate buddy cops and have appeared together as Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) in four Lethal Weapon movies between 1987 and 1998. The last one was probably a mistake. Anyway, after Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) it was largely thought that the series was over and the adventures of Riggs and Murtaugh would have to be left up to the audience’s imagination. Two years later, Mel Gibson played the title character in Maverick, a movie reboot of the classic western TV series starring James Garner. For no reason at all, there is a bank robbery and Gibson runs into the robber, who is a masked Danny Glover. They take a moment after their initial recovery to look each other over carefully, finding something familiar about each other. In the background, a western version of the classic Lethal Weapon music plays as they shake their heads dismissively and suspiciously go their separate ways. Fans of the series might like to think of this as Riggs and Murtaugh meeting in a past life, knowing that they were always meant to be together.
2. Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino
While Thurman and Tarantino don’t actually appear on screen together, she as actor/muse and he as director aligned to make the fantastic Pulp Fiction (1994) the classic it is today. Thurman suited the style of Tarantino’s genre piece perfectly, knowing exactly what the distinctive director was going for in every scene. Considering Tarantino’s limited output, it is perhaps not surprising that the two didn’t pair up again sooner. They reunited for Tarantino’s epic two part Asian revenge film Kill Bill (2003/2004) in which the wronged Bride (Thurman) awakes from a long coma to exact her revenge from those who injured her and stole her child. Once again, Thurman and Tarantino were clearly on the same wavelength. Every scene is executed and acted to perfection, Thurman being well suited to the role of the Bride and knowing exactly what Tarantino wanted. Seeing as how its been ten years since their last outing, I’m hoping to see something from the pair in the near future.
1. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant
This is one of my favorite pairs of all time. Both of them were classy and refined, but with such brilliant personalities and a touch of eccentricity that really marked them out as being extraordinary characters. They worked amazingly well together. Hepburn was easily able to match Grant’s acrobatic physicality and the pair delivered the crackling banter typical of the time with perfect timing and chemistry. Grant and Hepburn did four movies together – Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Holiday (1938), Bringing up Baby (1938), and the magnificent The Philadelphia Story (1940) – and each one is better than the next. The only tragedy is that they didn’t work together more often, but four fantastic movies is more than enough to make the team a legend.