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!


[tomatometer]MovieID=10662[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=14282[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=14785[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=18239[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=13098[/tomatometer]

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.”

[tomatometer]MovieID=12656[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=17171[/tomatometer]

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?”


[tomatometer]MovieID=1121[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=11109[/tomatometer]

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.”


[tomatometer]MovieID=22491[/tomatometer]

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

leaderboard BET Awards sequel Hollywood Foreign Press Association scene in color Disney streaming service dogs worst Anna Paquin marvel cinematic universe Rocky Paramount Network anime First Reviews Teen 45 anthology hist Awards suspense Paramount Reality olympics thriller movie Women's History Month Stephen King 79th Golden Globes Awards Film Alien boxoffice CBS 2018 justice league psycho period drama NBA 2019 casting Bravo Nominations monster movies christmas movies VOD Warner Bros. witnail ITV The Arrangement Oscar Turner Classic Movies romance 90s PaleyFest mob kids Columbia Pictures Pop ABC Family Schedule Exclusive Video Star Wars telelvision PBS DC Universe comics Trophy Talk Black History Month summer preview 2020 TCA Awards Binge Guide summer TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 Holiday RT21 children's TV Disney Plus trophy spy thriller 4/20 DGA Disney Acorn TV die hard adventure true crime book rt labs game show stoner Pixar documentaries indiana jones Indigenous halloween tv American Society of Cinematographers ABC technology Discovery Channel independent X-Men TLC Musical Musicals Mary Poppins Returns VICE spinoff dragons toronto cancelled television crime drama Starz art house NBC SXSW Kids & Family best Trailer heist movie HBO BET kaiju award winner docudrama broadcast Travel Channel Lucasfilm Certified Fresh 2015 scene in color film series popular dc AMC Plus breaking bad Creative Arts Emmys 2021 Elton John spanish Oscars football Summer new star wars movies Biopics Animation Hallmark Christmas movies TruTV animated Neflix interviews game of thrones 93rd Oscars Mindy Kaling action-comedy spain Comic Book aapi travel hispanic summer TV preview fresh high school Marvel Television Hallmark Academy Awards universal monsters Horror politics satire NYCC singing competition TV One TV Land Sundance TV Best Actor Election name the review feel good Photos blockbusters TBS Epix toy story deadpool Red Carpet dceu The Walking Dead FX on Hulu New York Comic Con Shudder Tubi comic books sag awards Pacific Islander Showtime know your critic The Academy trailers Best Picture gangster Lionsgate 007 zombie Captain marvel rotten movies we love james bond ESPN concert MTV strong female leads films AMC golden globes critic resources IMDb TV Valentine's Day Holidays Comics on TV Writers Guild of America Brie Larson black 94th Oscars The Purge all-time First Look Sundance natural history boxing scorecard Sony canceled SXSW 2022 golden globe awards Peacock Lifetime Christmas movies History Native based on movie Food Network space debate Star Wars Celebration dreamworks streaming crime DirecTV Video Games Pirates spider-man video TV movies Tags: Comedy black comedy hispanic heritage month E! jurassic park Crunchyroll worst movies Baby Yoda facebook See It Skip It binge werewolf cancelled President DC streaming service target Film Festival police drama jamie lee curtis revenge CBS All Access CW Seed Best Director 71st Emmy Awards Christmas HBO Max Netflix Christmas movies television Netflix festivals FXX Winners razzies Paramount Plus war green book Universal Pictures The Witch Geeked Week Western live action royal family YA genre Country Heroines 99% Rock australia obituary TIFF slasher miniseries superhero vampires Apple TV+ SDCC comic book movies Premiere Dates Family criterion nfl reboot blockbuster Tomatazos spanish language nbcuniversal screenings Super Bowl japanese cars Extras A&E target scene in color Trivia Television Academy finale TV MGM cops Mary Tyler Moore cooking theme song Black Mirror 21st Century Fox Fox Searchlight Watching Series Calendar live event Fox News Nickelodeon zero dark thirty festival stand-up comedy ratings Box Office Disney Channel laika Amazon Prime Video Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Arrowverse nature Awards Tour pirates of the caribbean comic Masterpiece Instagram Live Mystery Comedy Central blaxploitation cults Sundance Now Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA Winter 2020 GoT Character Guide Winter TV godzilla OWN a nightmare on elm street Tokyo Olympics screen actors guild archives legend Shondaland Cartoon Network BAFTA sports Rocketman Pride Month Crackle asian-american hollywood Toys Logo reviews remakes 20th Century Fox CNN Adult Swim Ovation OneApp Avengers batman psychological thriller aliens Syfy elevated horror scene in color series composers El Rey cats Ellie Kemper ABC Signature free movies Spike Esquire PlayStation Television Critics Association Funimation Image Comics documentary cancelled TV shows critics SundanceTV romantic comedy venice rt labs critics edition canceled TV shows king kong Polls and Games Best and Worst latino Podcast science fiction Amazon Studios spider-verse HFPA adaptation 72 Emmy Awards rom-coms Legendary TNT halloween Best Actress Marathons Apple Thanksgiving Fall TV 2016 Marvel National Geographic biography basketball sequels movies doctor who USA Network joker YouTube MCU mcc dramedy LGBT what to watch BBC comedies Chernobyl women Broadway parents Emmy Nominations wonder woman hidden camera WGN stop motion international E3 Apple TV Plus supernatural FX new zealand south america Spring TV Pop TV A24 mission: impossible Hulu Star Trek Set visit CMT versus Universal slashers fast and furious Prime Video cinemax LGBTQ Tarantino Infographic indie HBO Go Marvel Studios Ghostbusters YouTube Red APB biopic teaser mockumentary Focus Features Year in Review sopranos WarnerMedia Action dexter 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards FOX robots medical drama Cannes franchise Nat Geo king arthur GIFs political drama TCA 2017 foreign serial killer Lifetime Turner TCA kong transformers scary movies Cosplay Classic Film Song of Ice and Fire TCM Spectrum Originals Music french cancelled TV series crossover news ViacomCBS Paramount Pictures book adaptation BBC America ghosts Superheroe young adult Walt Disney Pictures Rom-Com obi wan Freeform marvel comics rt archives MSNBC prank BBC One 2017 richard e. Grant superman new york Quiz Pet Sematary crime thriller RT History The Walt Disney Company Endgame Drama 1990s vs. Disney+ Disney Plus italian Martial Arts San Diego Comic-Con Grammys directors zombies Tumblr docuseries IFC Films child's play Fargo TV renewals Interview Amazon Sci-Fi historical drama Opinion unscripted Amazon Prime disaster classics GLAAD Britbox Comedy cartoon Sony Pictures japan Countdown rotten diversity emmy awards Reality Competition VH1 harry potter renewed TV shows chucky The CW comic book movie streamig sitcom quibi USA Wes Anderson Emmys video on demand scary social media Dark Horse Comics series adenture comiccon saw twilight mutant streaming movies YouTube Premium DC Comics tv talk Fantasy talk show ID discovery posters South by Southwest Film Festival IFC Mudbound Superheroes 73rd Emmy Awards Sneak Peek Hear Us Out lord of the rings Vudu Mary poppins 24 frames dark