Christmas is a time for the familiar. For songs, decorations and Criterion Collection films as presents. It’s also a time for reflection and a requisite holiday viewing of One Fine Day, which celebrates its 20th birthday next week.
Certain films are able to transport you to a certain place no matter what the time of year. No film does this better or more regularly than One Fine Day.
No doubt a native New Yorker would scoff when I say that this is the New York of my dreams. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are nowhere to be seen. This is Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney as the handsomest couple alive. They may not meet atop the Empire State Building, but this is still an affair to remember.
Clooney sweeping Michelle off her feet in Central Park captures the very essence of what it is to have a New York moment. To connect with someone in an oversized village green, slap bang in the middle of The City That Never Sleeps. It’s a fantasy and reality at the same time.
If you’re looking for another moment that’s genuinely charming, you must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss. Well, maybe in Casablanca. Movie kisses come in all shapes and sizes however, and the kiss at the end of this film is heaven-sent.
To me the magic of the Clooney and Pfeiffer kiss doesn’t really happen with the kiss itself. It happens in the prelude. Building the tension is what it’s all about. If those moments before the kiss aren’t good, the kiss won’t be good either.
Maybe that’s why I’m constantly struck by the kiss Sam (Matthew Broderick) and Maggie share in Addicted to Love.
As she puckers up for a photograph, Maggie wriggles and squirms because she’s unsure what will happen next. There’s obviously chemistry between her and Sam, so when their lips finally meet, it’s electric. And that’s how romantic comedies get you. They need that moment, because when it’s done right, when a rom-com is honest; it connects in ways little else in cinema can.
I’ll undoubtedly spend Christmas night in a turkey and bourbon induced haze, wishing for a moment alone with Maggie underneath the mistletoe. A kiss from a woman scorned could be deadly, but I’d be willing to take the risk. For it’s a fact that Maggie’s tie-dye dress was the cat’s meow, and if I can’t dream of a Christmas filled with Maggie, Melanie and merriment, what hope do I have?