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A Kiss is Just a Kiss: What Makes a Good Kiss Memorable and Others Totally Forgettable?

Updated on January 6, 2020
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 14 years.

Water For Elephants Poster
Water For Elephants Poster
The Man In The Moon Poster
The Man In The Moon Poster
I Love Trouble Poster
I Love Trouble Poster
Simply Irresistable Poster
Simply Irresistable Poster
Cruel Intention Poster
Cruel Intention Poster
How Do You Know Poster
How Do You Know Poster
The Hunger Games Poster
The Hunger Games Poster
Aladdin Poster
Aladdin Poster

In Hollywood, an on-screen romance is only as good as the pivotal kissing scene that allowed two completely opposite fictional souls to come together in the most romantic, or passionate, way. If the co-stars have strong chemistry, everything else would fall into place. Look at every Disney movie ever made (Aladdin, etc.) or even classic romances like Casablanca to see how a kiss can be something simple but passionate at the same time. Of course, the movie's overall story could use some work trying to iron the standard plot cliches, but everyone could use a two hour escape from a romance free reality. Show them a glimpse of true love without all of the hang-ups. In terms of movie kisses, it's hard to determine what makes one good and the rest rather lackluster. The answers may surprise you.

What is a good movie kiss? Is it one where your favorite celebrities somehow get together at the end, even when odds are completely against them from the start? Remember Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr have their memorable scene on the beach in From Here to Eternity. Many couples would likely have had the fantasy of trying that at least once, but give up on the fantasy when they realize that they would be exposed to the elements and the public because privacy on a beach is non-existent these days. In the end, it's better to watch a good movie kiss on the big screen or in the privacy of your living room. Never try to re-create one on your own, because you will bound to be disappointed.

Of course, not every movie kiss is one that deserves to be remembered. (Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe's on-screen hook-up in Proof of Life was simply too awkward to watch knowing of their off-screen one.) Reese Witherspoon's lack of chemistry with her leading men Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson in James L. Brooks' romantic comedy disaster How Do You Know all the more disappointing. Not even Jack Nicholson's presence could save it from complete ruin. By the time Reese made her choice, the audience didn't really care who she ended up with as long as the movie ended sooner rather than later. Here are five movie examples of kisses that went either good or bad. Read on to see if you agree with the list or think more should be added to it.

Water For Elephants (2011)- This movie adaptation of the popular novel failed to ignite on the big screen due to an uneven script, but failed even greater due to a lack of chemistry between the three leads. Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson were supposed to play starcrossed lovers, but they lacked the heat to make that believable. Their first kiss seemed more like a school assignment than a movie love scene. Pattinson smoldered better as the brooding vampire Edward in the Twilight movies than he did here. His quiet presence made it hard to believable why Witherspoon's character would ever fall for him. Luckily, their romantic happiness wasn't focused on too much to make the audience too uncomfortable. Another glaring lack of chemistry was between Witherspoon and her character's on-screen husband Christoph Waltz who seemed to be still playing in Inglorious Basterds than in Elephants. This disconnect made their romantic scenes simply uncomfortable to watch.

The Man In The Moon (1991)- Moon was Witherspoon's debut film was a teenage girl who nursed her first crush on a neighbor boy (Jason London) was sweet as they played innocently at the nearby swimming spot. Their first kiss was a touching sweet moment that made viewers go back in time to their first kisses and remember how they felt at the time. It's a shame that this movie didn't get the respect it deserved at the time of its initial release, because it's a fine tale of first love, first major heartbreak and how it impacted two close knit sisters as they tried to come together from it.

I Love Trouble (1994)- This movie is a prime example of how chemistry doesn't grow on trees between celebrities because stars Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte had none whatsoever. It was also widely known that neither star liked each other during the production and this movie also remained a black mark on their resumes ever since.

Simply Irresistable (1999)- The basic premise behind this forgettable romantic comedy was that magic brought an unlikely couple together. A Chef (Sarah Michelle Gellar) with an unproven track record in the kitchen and a businessman (Sean Patrick Flannery) have a series of supernatural accidents that kept pushing them together, until they learned to accept their fate. Unfortunately, the half baked plot and mismatched pairing of Gellar and Flannery didn't help matters much. There was no real build-up, which made their pivotal movie kiss fall flat in the end. Watch Bewitched instead if you want to see a magical romance. The show instead of the movie.

Cruel Intentions (1999)- In terms of movie kisses, Gellar did better here as a spoiled and lethal rich girl who loved to manipulate everyone in her life. Her chemistry with co-star Ryan Phillippe was intense and squirm inducing at the same time when viewers realized that they were step siblings. Phillippe and his then off-screen partner Witherspoon sparred and sparked as two unlikely people who get together. Their first kiss was like a tug of war that led to them finally giving into their intense connection, which was much better than Gellar's manipulative hold on Phillippe. Even though this was a teenage remake of Dangerous Liasions, the movie had enough heat and chemistry to stand on its own two feet.

In the end, a good movie kiss is more than good lighting, dialogue and timing. It's ultimately based on the chemistry between the stars. Can the audience believe that their on-screen attraction is real for the two hour running time or just simply an unbearable chore to watch? With the release of The Hunger Games, a love triangle is brewing and putting viewers to a new test. Will the movie succeed or die on-screen trying to surpass Twilight?


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