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As some of you know, my wedding was last week, and during the 9th hour of the reception, someone (or my Four Loko-addled mind) brought up the blissful concept of movie weddings. What’s your favorite? – Cole A.
When I was growing up my father worked as a wedding photographer, and I spent many a weekend working as his reluctant assistant. So much time spent in poorly decorated banquet halls with bitchy brides, apathetic grooms and screaming in-laws made me develop something of distaste for traditional weddings. Watching them on-screen tends to bring back an abundance of unpleasant memories. That said, there’s one fancy movie wedding that gets me choked up every time. Not because it’s a beautiful scene of a bride and groom entering into the holiest of unions, but rather it’s a bride pining for her true love (not the guy she’s marrying), convinced he’ll come to save her only to resign herself to suicide when he doesn’t; and a groom who has every intention of murdering his bride after the ceremony.
Ah, The Princess Bride. Who doesn’t love that scene? A priest with a speech impediment, a bride with a broken heart and a groom with a vendetta. Now that’s a wedding. Brings a tear to my eye every time.
If I ever get married (and thanks to FSR my prospects are getting better), you’d better believe that speech will be repeated. “Mawwage…mawwage is what bwings us togewa today…”
I admit, the phrase “movie weddings” doesn’t exactly cause images to spring to mind as readily as I would have thought it would. However, after a bit of thought, I realized that picking my favorite movie wedding is far more difficult than I first anticipated.
On the one hand, Steve Martin’s manic turn in Father of the Bride (along with Martin Short’s delightfully droll Fraaaaaaanc) guarantees a smile and a cozy warm feeling by the end. But on the other, there’s The Wedding Singer, where the sweet romance between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler manage to make me simultaneously swoon and wish the 80s music and fashion sense was back en vogue!
Of course, it’s impossible to choose between this perfect pair, so I won’t. Instead, my vote goes to the sweetly evil My Best Friend’s Wedding, where Julia Roberts spends all but the last 5 minutes trying to break up the happy couple and stop the impending nuptials, fails dismally, apologizes and is forgiven all before still participating as the maid of honor! Okay, the wedding itself isn’t exactly much of the movie’s focus, but the whole thing works its way up to it enough to make you forget that. Plus, Julia Roberts does NOT play the nicey nice girl next door! Instead, she uses her wiles and wits to shatter an otherwise perfectly happy couple, a refreshing change of pace.
When I think of movie wedding scenes, the first two that come to mind are The Godfather and The Deer Hunter — probably because both of them take up so much screen time.
The Deer Hunter‘s wedding scene, as fun as it is, feels more like watching someone’s wedding video. The Godfather‘s is a more intricately plotted mini-epic of intrigue.
We meet all of the key players at once and get a strong sense of who they are — their weaknesses, strengths and motivations. We see future rivals tipping back pitchers of red wine and bustin’ a move on the dance floor. We see Luca Brasi, a remorseless executioner, trembling with awe before the soft-spoken Don Corleone. We see Sonny Corleone in action, all hot-headed recklessness, letting his passion overrule his good judgment.
Most significantly, we see Michael Corleone’s contempt for the Mafia lifestyle, after he shares a horrifying anecdote with his fiancee, Kay. She’s stunned speechless before he adds, “That’s my family, Kay, it’s not me.”
That tragedy of The Godfather I and II, of course, is that we’ll see Michael become the most craven murderer of all. And to think … it all started so happily.