You can’t say we don’t try to get our money’s worth out of an anniversary. As with last week’s top 5, this week’s deals with the 25th anniversary of Reality Bites (its actual birthday is this week) which, not so coincidentally, coincides with Valentine’s Day. If you’ve seen Reality Bites then you know Winona Ryder’s character can’t decide between two different brands of douche. (Sorry, I love Ethan Hawke, but both his Troy and Ben Stiller’s Michael were terrible on different levels.) So, in honor of that terrible romantic pairing, and because we ascribe to the Robbie Hart mentality that love sometimes “stinks,” we’re looking at the five couples we wish never ended up together. Leave us your most hated couples in the comments.
I tried really hard not to reuse people I listed in the previous top 5 on bad romantic decisions. So all those expecting another one of my diatribes on The Walking Dead (team Shane, forever!), you’re out of luck. This was actually pretty easy for me because I generally always pick the guys who never get the girl at the end of these movies…or the villains who should have gotten the girl because, come on!
Andi and Nate in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Pretty sure you’re gonna see this on more than one of our lists. In fact, when I Googled “worst couples in film” for inspiration for this list, several prominent websites listed Andi and Nate as the worst couple, right next to Edward and Bella. The problem is that everyone in Andi’s life is fairly terrible, even her friends, but Nate is a pure Nice Guy. “Oh, I support you and love you but your job is distracting you from me….why!” Considering that her income is probably paying their New York rent while he’s toiling as a chef, he should appreciate her job every damn day! Yes, Andi needs to learn boundaries but she wants to be a journalist and as I’ve come to find out, you do what you gotta do. Nate was a dick who couldn’t handle being on his own and Andi should have given him the boot long ago.
Ann and Felix in Four Daughters (1938)
Any movie where John Garfield doesn’t get the girl is automatic bullshit to me. Sorry, the man should have been beating them back with a paddle, and Four Daughters is the most egregious spurning of Garfield in film history. He falls in love with Priscilla Lane’s beautifully dumb, Ann Lemp. Ann is sweetness and light where Mickey is dark and brooding. He genuinely loves Ann, but she’s in love with the stupid Felix Dietz (Jeffrey Lynn) and even after she marries Garfield’s Mickey Borden the audience knows she isn’t truly happy. No, she’d rather hang out with a total drip whose idea of fun is swinging on fence gates. No, seriously, Ann and Felix bond over the right way to swing on a fence. These two idiots deserve each other, but why does it mean Mickey has to die?! Murderers, the pair of ’em.
Blaine and Andie in Pretty in Pink (1986)
If you think I’m team Ducky you’re sorely mistaken. I hate Blaine and Ducky equally here. Ducky is a crazed stalker who believes he’s owed Andie because he’s such. a. nice. guy. But Blaine is the type of entitled schmuck who wants to hide Andie and you know that after they got married he’d probably cheat on her all the time. Nope, Andie should have been hanging out with Stef (James Spader). Yeah, he’s an ’80s guy ripped out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel but come on. It’s high school! If Andie wants to hang out with an asshole who treats her bad at least Stef is honest.
Sandy and Danny in Grease (1978)
These two were not “the one that I want,” at all. Let’s not forget that both of these characters feel they have to change themselves to get the other to love them – Danny does have that heinous sweater on at the end – and they’re just so….dull.
Linus and Sabrina in Sabrina (1954)
Outside of the fact that Bogie looks so much older than Audrey Hepburn, it’s just hard to believe the lively Sabrina would want to be shackled to the boring Linus her entire life. And she’s got William Holden, right there!
Anastasia and Christian in the Fifty Shades franchise (2015-2018)
The thing that shocked me in 2018 was learning that both Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan actually can act as long as they’re not trying to pretend to be in love with each other. These characters actually manage to be worse than the ones that inspired them (that would be Bella and Edward). I get Christian is inexplicably rich and kind of attractive but it doesn’t explain why Ana wouldn’t eventually get really sick of that and walk away. These two just don’t make sense in the long term.
Harry and Ginny in the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011)
Here’s the thing: When it comes to the BOOKS, Harry + Ginny and Hermione + Ron make perfect sense. They do. And I fully support those pairings. But Ginny’s character was so completely watered down and reduced to nothing in the films, so putting these kids together in the end ultimately makes no sense and is completely unsatisfying. Justice for Ginny Weasley, I say.
Neo and Trinity, The Matrix franchise (1999-2003)
This match up has all the markings of, “Well, you’re hot and single and I’m hot and single. Wanna?”
Cher and Josh in Clueless (1995)
I get this one, I do, but he really needs to wait two or three years because she is very 16 and he is very not and we can overlook the fact that they used to be step-siblings as long as everyone is legal. But as this coupling happens, it is wrong and a little gross. Even though I get it and would definitely have made out with Josh when I was 16.
Romeo and Juliet (1968, 1996, etc)
These star-crossed lovers were nothing more than a couple of hormonal teenagers who couldn’t find a healthier way to express their rebellion against their parents. I enjoy the Baz Luhrmann version (pictured above), but there is no version of this story where Romeo and Juliet convince me they actually love each other enough to kill themselves. Honestly, this story reads much differently (and better) as a comedy.
Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964)
My Fair Lady manages to take a cynical and progressive play about class and gender, strip it of everything except its cynicism, and then attempt to stick a “happy ending” on it. We really don’t need to see a brow-beaten young woman spend the rest of her life fetching the slippers of a middle-aged misogynist. This one has popped up on “Great Romances” lists and I’m always amazed that anyone could see this relationship as a love story and not as the gaslighting, abusive relationship that it truly is.
Alison and Ben in Knocked Up (2007)
Ugh. I know that we’re celebrating Judd Apatow for not being a garbage person, but take a look at the gender relations in his films sometime. They’re not great. Alison is an intelligent, capable, successful woman who gets pregnant (this ignoring the fact that Ben just decided to go without a condom because it was too much work) and has to spend the rest of her life tied to a loser and, probably, to the constant presence of all his loser friends. He makes fun of her for actually having her life together. He insists on being involved in the baby that she never wanted. And this is supposed to be a romance?
Ally and Jackson in A Star is Born (2018)
Speaking of bad relationships…let’s talk about A Star is Born. Ignoring the fact that Jackson gets increasingly nasty when Ally begins to make music that she likes, how about we note that he forces her on-stage to sing a song that she wrote by…stealing her song. That he tries to craft her in his own image and insults everything she likes or wants or hopes for when it doesn’t fall into line with his desires. That the first time he meets her he begins reconfiguring her face and her makeup and that her “authentic self” isn’t authentic in the right way for him. This isn’t a romance. It’s a possessive and toxic relationship, and a pretty bad one from beginning to end.
Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
This is less about the two characters and more about the way they’re pushed together. The romance, such as it is, is shoehorned into the narrative. It’s also all kinds of problematic: Natasha equates her physical and emotional abuse at the hands of bad people (and her inability to have children) with Bruce’s monstrosity – never mind that Banner quite literally made himself into a testosterone-infused monster who smashes shit when he gets too angry and has previously traumatized her into the bargain. She’s given the role of “calming” down the raging toxic male, while he…makes her feel better about not getting to have babies. Yeah, those two are totally equivalent.
James Bond and Tracy Di Vincenzo, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Yeah, like James Bond can ever love someone other than himself. She’s too good for him.
Carrie and Mr. Big in Sex and the City (1998-2004)
These characters were kinda cute initially. However, over 6 TV seasons and 2 movies they got really damn annoying. Will they? Won’t they?? Blah, blah, blah. These two are not a good couple, and they’re much, much better apart. It’s probably a good thing the third movie never happened, I see divorce coming fast.
Andi and Nate in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
This one still leaves a rotten taste in my mouth and I know at least one other Dame has mentioned the couple on this list. You know what? Miranda Priestly isn’t the villain of The Devil Wears Prada, Nate and Andi’s other horrendous friends are. Like most of the other characters he plays, Adrian Grenier’s Nate is a spoiled, self-obsessed man child who can’t handle his girlfriend doing anything but supporting him. This pairing will never last and Andi is much better off for it. .
Padme and Anakin in the Star Wars Prequels (2002, 2005)
She was a teenage queen, he was an 8-year-old pouting slave. What about this says true love? They’re horrendous when they’re together. I mean Oscar winner Natalie Portman can’t save that dumpster fire dialogue! “Sand…it’s rough and coarse…” we know the line. And this happens when they’re happy!?! Obviously then there’s that whole Darth Vader thing. When Anakin starts killing off younglings, we know this relationship is going nowhere fast.
Scarlett and Rhett in Gone with the Wind (1939)
They are both annoying, whiny, self-obsessed children. However, thinking about it, I’m not sure a character like Scarlett would ever find a happy relationship. I’d take Ashley for myself, and Charles Hamilton, poor guy. Anywhoo, I’m honestly amazed Rhett lasted with her as long as he did. #FranklyMyDearIDontGiveADamn
Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011)
It should be Hermione and Harry. Enough said. Can anyone legitimately see this going anywhere but wizard divorce court?