A very warm welcome from all of us at Alternate Ending to our new contributor, Catherine Clark!
From Romy and Michelle to Doc and Marty and Jay and Silent Bob to Han and Chewie, the best movie duos and sidekicks are always up for debate. But I’m tired of just shipping human characters as iconic duos. (Not that I’ll ever tire of writing that Spider-Man and Shuri fanfic inspired by, um, nothing from the MCU at least. We all just made that up.)
What about the bond between man and his beloved inanimate object? That’s right: I’m counting down the most iconic on-screen duos between a film character and a prop. When a prop steals a scene, you know it’s love…
Chuck Noland and Wiiiiilsooooon in Cast Away
If you were thinking that inanimate objects can’t have a soul, you’re dead wrong. Wilson was the star of Cast Away and everybody knows it, even Tom Hanks. His charm, his wit, his kicky hairdo… it was all the perfect foil to make us root for him to be Chuck’s best man if he ever got off that island.
I’m pretty sure there was a happy ending here, so let’s not talk about it. I said, let’s not talk about it… WIIIIILSOOOOOON!
Harry and the Sorting Hat
The wise and venerable Sorting Hat from the indie franchise of Harry Potter actually had a cool role. He delivered a magical sword, he allowed Harry to choose his Hogwarts house (and ultimately his destiny), and, in the books, he even forewarned of the pitfalls of segregating students by traits (ahem, parallels to real life much?).
Our introduction to ye olde Sorting Hat in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone proved that Harry needed a boost from someone, anyone, who could give him some security in who he was and who he ultimately could be. If it was a raggedy hat that had been worn by four thousand too many students who probably hadn’t washed their hair lately? Meh. He’s above all that. Harry + Sorty 4life.
Theodore and Samantha the OS in Her
Spike Jonze’s Her starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson not only gives us one of the best movie names ever (I mean, Teddy Twombly – it just rolls off the tongue), but also a relationship between a dude and his computer. For a lot of us, this relationship is totally believable. If I could date mine, I just might (she said, typing gently on the firm keyboard… ahem, nevermind).
Scarlett’s performance as Samantha was definitely believable as crush-worthy and deserves respect in the human-object love pantheon.
Gatsby and the green light
If you’ve read The Great Gatsby or seen one of the adaptations (I like them all, no shame!), you know that Jay Gatsby is really obsessed with the green light at the end of his beloved’s dock across the water. It’s a symbol, it’s a metaphor, it’s probably not LED. Symbolism aside, if you spend that much time staring at a green light, are you in love with the person who owns it or just have a penchant for chic dock mood lighting? Maybe you’re really in love with Joanna Gaines.
In any case, Jay and Daisy’s green light made us all feel a little smarter and more cultured for figuring out all the symbolism in high school. Thanks, light bulbs!
Lars and Bianca, the Real Girl doll
In the same vein as Her‘s OS, Ryan Gosling’s Lars really IS in love with his fake lady love, a sex doll he pushes around in a wheelchair and treats as a real person. This isn’t just symbolism — it’s real, mom! The great thing about their relationship is that it’s pretty sweet. He even says he won’t cheat on her when an IRL situation presents itself.
Ultimately, Bianca does Lars a big service by allowing him to slowly reconnect with the world while having a safety net of (pseudo) real affection. Who says sex dolls aren’t useful?
John McClane and the teddy bear in Die Hard
When has a toy provided more of a connection to family and a way to solidify an action movie as a full-blown Christmas romp than the teddy from Die Hard? Bruce Willis’ estranged dad archetype is nothing without a peace offering.
Feel free to bring up teddy the next time someone tries to force you to pick another Christmas movie as your favorite. You can thank me later.
The leg lamp and Ralphie in A Christmas Story
Speaking of Christmas movies, in case this one hasn’t been burned into your retinas by 24-hour viewing, let’s revisit the most lascivious tale of lust ever brought to Christmas film: the major award leg lamp and Ralphie. The way his eyes glow in the twinkle lights while he gazes, the gentle caress he steals before his dads halts all the fun. It’s almost as romantic and me and my keyboard.
What coming-of-age plot doesn’t benefit from a first twinge of love? You thought the real duo here was with Ralphie and the Red Rider BB-gun? Or maybe Flick and the frozen pole #bestkiss? Nope. It was that sexy leg action moving Ralphie into manhood with its soft glow of electric sex.
Who do you nominate for best character-object duo?
Catherine Clark is a Chicago-based editor and designer who spends time reading, gaming, cooking, and of course, watching movies en masse. You can find her words and work at USA Today, Nerd Wallet, Chicago Tribune, NPR, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, MSN, Offbeat Empire, and on her lifestyle blog, BijouxandBits.com.