Total Recall

Total Recall: Superstar Duos

With The Tourist hitting theaters, we run down some notable flicks featuring pairs of big stars.

by | December 10, 2010 | Comments

The Tourist

What’s better than a movie with one huge star? A movie with two huge stars, of course — and this weekend, when Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie give filmgoers a double shot of celebrity charisma with The Tourist, they’ll become the latest in a long line of superstar duos who have combined their talents (and box office power) to make Hollywood history. Naturally, we couldn’t fit them all into this week’s feature, but the ten pair-ups listed here include some of cinema’s biggest hits (and at least one truly noteworthy miss). It’s time to double your pleasure, double your Total Recall!


Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch Me If You Can

Hanks and DiCaprio may not have shared many onscreen moments, but Catch Me if You Can offered filmgoers the chance to see a movie anchored by a pair of honest-to-goodness screen titans — and in a Steven Spielberg project, to boot. Taking the true story of legendary con man Frank Abagnale, Jr. (played by DiCaprio) and the FBI man who doggedly pursued him (Hanks), this Christmas Day release earned more than $350 million, multiple Academy Award nominations, and the admiration of critics like Ben Schwartz of the Chicago Reader, who wrote admiringly, “Catch Me if You Can is one of those deceptively slight offerings that manages to reveal more about its maker than the intended masterpieces often do.”


Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut

Cruise and Kidman met on the set of 1990’s Days of Thunder, married later that year, and collaborated again in 1992’s Far and Away — but by the time they made their third movie together, Cruise wasn’t the only superstar in the family. The real-life spouses’ casting in the dark, heavily sexualized Eyes Wide Shut made headlines and subjected the film to intense tabloid scrutiny even before director Stanley Kubrick died, and their notoriety helped propel it to more than $160 million at the box office. A number of critics were left cold by Shut‘s glacial pace, but most scribes echoed the sentiments of Variety’s Todd McCarthy, who called it “A riveting, thematically probing, richly atmospheric and just occasionally troublesome work, a deeply inquisitive consideration of the extent of trust and mutual knowledge possible between a man and a woman.”


Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, Gigli

We’ve included a lot of successful superstar duos on this list, but we couldn’t leave out one of the most notoriously toxic combinations in recent memory. In 2002, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were a perpetual tabloid frenzy machine, and the public seemed like it’d never tire of hearing about their impossibly beautiful exploits — but by 2003, Bennifer was passe, and it definitely didn’t help that their cinematic debut, Gigli, was an unqualified dud. The golden raspberry on top of Affleck’s annus horriblis, Gigli brought an abrupt end to director Martin Brest’s award-winning career, and inspired almost universal loathing from critics such as Film4’s Richard Luck, who called it “a sickening exercise in smugness and self-love.”


Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Katahrine Hepburn could get her own Superstar Duos list — her filmography boasts collaborations with Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, and John Wayne — but she worked with Spencer Tracy most (and best) of all. Hepburn and Tracy made nine movies together, and we really could have chosen any of them for this list, but ultimately, we settled on 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner — partly because it was an important film about race relations that won two Academy Awards (against an impressive eight nominations), and partly because they made it knowing Tracy didn’t have long to live. While it hasn’t aged particularly well, most critics are still willing to look past Dinner‘s flaws, including Roger Ebert, who asks, “It would be easy to tear the plot to shreds and catch Kramer in the act of copping out. But why? On its own terms, this film is a joy to see, an evening of superb entertainment.”


Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Heat

De Niro and Pacino had shared film credits before, for The Godfather Part II, but they didn’t share any screen time — which is why it was such a big deal when they finally got around to an actual co-starring gig for 1995’s Heat. The two acting titans only ended up trading a few lines, but maybe it was just enough of a good thing, judging from 2008’s wretched Righteous Kill; with just a single tension-wracked scene in Heat, they helped anchor what Chris Barsanti of Film Threat called “one of the greatest crime films of all time.”


Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, Men in Black

The success of The Fugitive catapulted Tommy Lee Jones from “distinguished character actor” to “leading man” status, and after Bad Boys, the mid-to-late 1990s pretty much belonged to Will Smith — so Men in Black wasn’t just your average action/comedy/sci-fi summer blockbuster, it was an Event Movie with almost $590 million in ticket sales (and a pair of sequels) waiting to happen. It didn’t win any awards for storytelling depth (although it did win a Best Makeup Oscar), but its unapologetic popcorn thrills, fueled by Smith and Jones’ easy interplay, entertained a whole lot of people — including Slate’s David Edelstein, who called it “The smartest, funniest, and best-looking sci-fi comedy since the movies learned to morph.”


Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, The Mexican

Pitt and Roberts had their eyes on a co-starring project for some time — and they wanted to work together badly enough that they eventually settled on The Mexican, an erstwhile indie project whose script didn’t even call for its male and female leads to spend much time together. The result was a curiously disjointed film, badly mismarketed as a Pitt/Roberts romantic comedy, whose $147 million box office take wasn’t enough to keep it from feeling like one of 2001’s more unexpected disappointments. Christopher Smith of the Bangor Daily News spoke for the majority of critics when he queried, “Habla usted mediocre movie?”


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Ms. Jolie’s turn in The Tourist isn’t her first blockbuster duo pairing — her 2005 team-up with Brad Pitt for the rapid-fire action rom-com Mr. & Mrs. Smith united two of the biggest stars in the Hollywood firmament for a $478 million hit that not only thrilled audiences, but kept the paparazzi busy for months, and served as our introduction to the globetrotting, child-adopting celebrity mashup known as Brangelina. All things considered, critics weren’t as impressed as filmgoers, but the movie had its fans, including Ken Tucker of New York Magazine, who said “Mr. & Mrs. Smith works on almost every level and against all odds.”


Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood, A Perfect World

Yeah, we know, we know — Kevin Costner makes movies with Ashton Kutcher now, and Clint Eastwood directs Matt Damon movies. But trust us: In 1993, a movie starring Costner (who had just made The Bodyguard) and Eastwood (coming off In the Line of Fire) was a very big deal, even if you wouldn’t know it from A Perfect World‘s paltry $31 million gross. Its meditative pace was a bit of a shock for audiences expecting more popcorn fare from its leads, but this drama about a Texas Ranger (Eastwood) pursuing an escaped convict-turned-kidnapper (Costner) gave the Robin Hood star a chance to play against type — and impressed critics like ReelViews’ James Berardinelli, who called it “evidence that Hollywood is still capable of producing the kinds of moving, intelligent movies that have increasingly become the province of independent film makers.”


Paul Newman and Robert Redford, The Sting

Newman helped solidify Redford’s leading man status when they teamed up for the first time with 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but when they met again for The Sting, Redford had come into his own as a marquee-topping star in his own right — and the result was not only a seven-time Academy Award winner, but one of the all-time standard bearers for the heist caper genre. “The film is so good-natured, so obviously aware of everything it’s up to, even its own picturesque frauds,” confessed Vincent Canby of the New York Times, “that I opt to go along with it.”

Take a look through the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for The Tourist.

Finally, here’s a duet from two musical superstars — John Lennon and Paul McCartney — from the oft-bootlegged documentary Let It Be:

Tag Cloud

transformers Binge Guide TV One critics Pet Sematary jamie lee curtis 2019 Acorn TV kids 93rd Oscars AMC Plus stand-up comedy Awards GIFs Rom-Com live event Schedule Writers Guild of America superman Food Network hist Apple TV Plus scorecard mockumentary Baby Yoda GLAAD godzilla Pacific Islander period drama vs. 2018 2016 book adaptation a nightmare on elm street gangster BAFTA Opinion The Walking Dead Super Bowl game of thrones Holidays Comedy quibi live action anthology doctor who adaptation DC streaming service parents Logo Hallmark Christmas movies Character Guide Hollywood Foreign Press Association Music Cosplay child's play know your critic fresh hispanic heritage month Country kong Tarantino Mystery japanese remakes Starz Reality Competition slasher Extras MCU TIFF boxing nfl adventure stoner james bond franchise comiccon spinoff posters Tubi children's TV cooking Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Rocketman directors DirecTV Pop TV Dark Horse Comics WGN rt archives TCM PlayStation zombies rotten Video Games Ellie Kemper finale sequels 72 Emmy Awards ID TCA Winter 2020 classics animated hollywood cars video on demand Fall TV CW Seed Women's History Month OWN President royal family miniseries stop motion CBS Teen Tumblr natural history BBC One harry potter Warner Bros. comic justice league rom-coms IFC Films A&E hispanic football comic books 20th Century Fox Year in Review HFPA Thanksgiving blockbusters razzies werewolf jurassic park Stephen King zero dark thirty TV movies Instagram Live witnail Paramount Plus Mindy Kaling Disney IFC aliens Horror VOD spanish language Winter TV Amazon Prime Video obituary comic book movies reviews vampires cinemax hidden camera new york Creative Arts Emmys leaderboard cats Pixar robots TCA video revenge MTV SXSW discovery twilight legend universal monsters Apple TV+ dogs free movies Premiere Dates dragons TLC CMT USA Network History BBC YouTube screenings award winner sitcom FOX Universal Pictures dexter BET Awards Tomatazos Netflix Christmas movies Certified Fresh PBS 71st Emmy Awards deadpool Spring TV heist movie tv talk slashers Mary poppins spanish Toys latino TNT docudrama X-Men The CW spider-verse dceu reboot DGA Academy Awards Trivia Crunchyroll Summer game show Chernobyl ITV New York Comic Con mcc based on movie Musical BET TCA 2017 christmas movies south america First Reviews Disney Plus Lifetime Christmas king arthur Spike composers Masterpiece Shondaland Ovation Lifetime Christmas movies cartoon YouTube Premium DC Comics Wes Anderson Television Academy Turner mutant TBS Freeform Endgame streaming movies casting anime monster movies kaiju 2021 what to watch scene in color ratings cancelled television japan WarnerMedia comic book movie ghosts psychological thriller social media Biopics true crime Grammys concert richard e. Grant binge Amazon Studios comics blaxploitation Sci-Fi RT History Comic Book Elton John VH1 Spectrum Originals Alien YouTube Red singing competition Amazon Prime 2017 cancelled USA unscripted psycho First Look trophy festival OneApp 90s IMDb TV BBC America foreign VICE GoT Turner Classic Movies romantic comedy FXX cults crossover genre new star wars movies CNN Showtime Nat Geo The Academy travel Fox Searchlight telelvision aapi E! supernatural 2020 new zealand The Walt Disney Company cops Winners TruTV docuseries romance Marvel Studios Martial Arts Columbia Pictures Emmy Nominations Action HBO Max dc satire HBO Go San Diego Comic-Con Disney+ Disney Plus worst Discovery Channel A24 halloween comedies dark Broadway Kids & Family LGBTQ Amazon crime Sundance breaking bad Animation Tags: Comedy Podcast ESPN canceled strong female leads 007 NBC HBO Pride Month Nickelodeon suspense Superheroe series AMC lord of the rings Star Wars talk show Sneak Peek Hear Us Out biopic toronto feel good Election documentary canceled TV shows Mary Poppins Returns Sony Pictures Crackle Legendary news dramedy spy thriller Pirates Sundance TV young adult 79th Golden Globes Awards venice The Witch laika Box Office prank thriller Classic Film spider-man National Geographic Neflix Black History Month Infographic indie Family Valentine's Day disaster Superheroes SDCC Ghostbusters TV Land Best and Worst emmy awards SundanceTV rt labs critics edition space Countdown scary DC Universe Drama Disney streaming service marvel cinematic universe Bravo 73rd Emmy Awards Emmys renewed TV shows El Rey Interview Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Epix FX ABC Film Festival Polls and Games saw Heroines toy story Photos Sundance Now Oscars facebook Watching Series police drama worst movies politics crime thriller Hulu all-time sag awards popular marvel comics indiana jones 2015 Fargo zombie RT21 Comedy Central superhero Lionsgate Cartoon Network CBS All Access die hard APB Western Marvel best Film Pop Disney Channel movies Nominations target women mission: impossible See It Skip It australia 24 frames asian-american Cannes Paramount Tokyo Olympics Paramount Network archives Hallmark high school war Lucasfilm Reality Marvel Television television Star Trek 45 Red Carpet spain action-comedy Television Critics Association American Society of Cinematographers italian Esquire Captain marvel Quiz technology festivals golden globes art house Mudbound LGBT elevated horror Peacock ViacomCBS 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ABC Signature joker independent science fiction Holiday rt labs green book french 1990s Marathons Britbox movie cancelled TV shows pirates of the caribbean Shudder ABC Family Awards Tour Apple biography wonder woman batman Funimation Anna Paquin TV name the review crime drama serial killer international boxoffice trailers criterion Adult Swim Universal Avengers sopranos Netflix Rocky fast and furious Fantasy Black Mirror Brie Larson blockbuster Travel Channel films scary movies dreamworks critic resources sequel Trophy Talk nature The Arrangement TV renewals olympics Fox News teaser E3 adenture Prime Video streaming Vudu sports cancelled TV series mob The Purge Trailer king kong black comedy NYCC Calendar medical drama 4/20 Mary Tyler Moore versus TCA Awards golden globe awards documentaries PaleyFest Syfy screen actors guild rotten movies we love Musicals black diversity Comic-Con@Home 2021 FX on Hulu Set visit book 99% historical drama Walt Disney Pictures halloween tv YA political drama MSNBC Comics on TV Song of Ice and Fire Rock theme song chucky debate nbcuniversal Arrowverse Image Comics basketball 21st Century Fox NBA Exclusive Video