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5 best movies about nightmarish relationships

Writer: Casey Chong


Bryan Cranston (right) is not impressed with James Franco.

With the upcoming comedy "Why Him?" starring James Franco and Bryan Cranston arriving during the final week of December, we have compiled and handpicked five different movies revolving around nightmarish relationships.

Who wants to end up in a relationship from hell, right? Be it with your significant other, your in-laws or your parents, the dynamics of two clashing individuals just means more drama. In "Why Him?", Ned Fleming (played by Cranston) asks this to his daughter Stephanie (played by Zoey Deutch), who is dating a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Laird (James Franco), who is just too vulgar and blunt to Ned's liking.

What makes the pairing of two people at odds great cinema material? We can't pinpoint it exactly except to call it the opposite of everything found in 'great chemistry', but while we're at it here's our list of significant others who definitely proof this formula is one to last.

1. "The Shining" (1980)


Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) runs amok in "The Shining".

Although "The Shining" is often hailed as a modern horror classic, it was totally a different story at the time of its release in 1980. Back then, the reviews were mixed and even unbelievably landed a pair of Razzie Awards nominations including Worst Director (Stanley Kubrick) and Worst Actress (Shelley Duvall). Yes, strange and unlikely things do happen in a great genre movie like "The Shining", but thankfully, "The Shining" was subsequently given a second chance and the rest is history. Among the praiseworthy efforts seen in this movie is Kubrick's meticulous yet absorbing direction, including his then-pioneering use of a Steadicam tracking shot of Danny (Danny Lloyd) riding a big wheel along the hotel corridors. Then, there is Jack Nicholson, who gives a fearsome performance as the emotionally-unstable Jack Torrance. At the beginning of the movie, he was already depicted as an alcoholic and abusive father, but things get worse once he accepts a caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel and brings along his family. As a heavy sense of isolation starts to creep in, Jack begins to experience a slow descent to madness till the point that he ends up terrorising his frightened wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their young son, Danny... with an axe.

2. "Fatal Attraction" (1987)


Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) and Alex (Glenn Close) during a dramatic moment in
"Fatal Attraction".

This classic "mistress-from-hell" psychological thriller was a landmark smash back then in 1987 and still remains so until today. In "Fatal Attraction", Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) is a successful Manhattan lawyer blessed with a beautiful wife (Anne Archer) and a six-year-old daughter (Ellen Hamilton Latzen). Then one day, he meets Alex (Glenn Close) where the both of them soon end up sleeping together. When Dan decides to end his affair with Alex, she refuses to let go since she has grown increasingly obsessive of him. Michael Douglas is spot-on in playing the male victim caught in a wrong side of an affair he shouldn't have started in the first place. But the real deal here is Glenn Close, who delivers her most memorable performance in her career as the psychotic mistress Alex.

3. "Meet The Parents" (2000)


The iconic lie-detecting test scene in "Meet The Parents".

Three words: Robert De Niro. He is one of the main reasons that made "Meet The Parents" into a worldwide box-office smash. Here, he follows up his hit comedy "Analyze This" a year ago with another memorably comic performance as Jack, a cold and cruel father-in-law who dislikes his daughter's (Teri Polo's Pam) husband-to-be (Ben Stiller's Greg). Most of the movie works because of the frequently hilarious feud yet unforgettable mismatched pair between Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. After all, who could forget the iconic scene where Jack insists on Greg to take a lie-detecting test or that scene where Jack gives Greg the two-finger "I'll be watching you" warning sign? Thanks to the huge success of "Meet The Parents", the movie gradually paved way for two more sequels including "Meet The Fockers" (2004) and "Little Fockers" (2010).

4. "Monster-In-Law" (2005)


Viola (Jane Fonda) and Charlie (Jennifer Lopez) squaring off against each other in
"Monster-In-Law".

Best remembered for Jane Fonda's comeback performance since 1990's "Stanley & Iris" fifteen years ago, the legendary actress totally stole the show here in this otherwise generic "in-law-from-hell" studio comedy. Looking marvellous and radiant even at her old age, Fonda lets loose with her hilarious performance as the overly protective mother and borderline-psychotic Viola, who will do anything to jeopardise her son's (Michael Vartan's Kevin) relationship with his beautiful girlfriend (Jennifer Lopez's Charlotte "Charlie" Cantilini).

5. "Precious" (2009)


Mary (Mo'Nique) as the abusive mother Mary in "Precious".

Mention Mo'Nique, and you'll find the Baltimore-born actress is primarily known for her comedy works in various stand-up shows, as well the hit sitcom series, "Moesha" with R&B star Brandy. But in 2009, who could have thought a comedian like Mo'Nique would be able to pull off such a frighteningly believable role as an abusive mother in "Precious"? Definitely far from a comedy, "Precious" is instead a harrowing drama that sees Mo'Nique playing an appalling mother role as Mary, who despises her obese yet illiterate daughter (Gabourey Sidibe). As scary as she can be, Mary goes as far as emotionally and physically abusing her in every way possible. No doubt Mo'Nique is worthy of all the accolades, as well as her well-deserved Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actress.

"Why Him?" opens in cinemas nationwide on 29 December 2016.


Cinema Online, 24 December 2016

Related Movies:
Why Him? (29 Dec 2016)
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