I witnessed a rare moment of humanity the other day in which two strangers ended up hugging after a near-miss car collision. So, in the spirit of turning enemies to friends and friends to lovers, here’s a list of 10 inspirational classic Hug-It-Outs.
10: Sarah Conner and the Terminator (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991). In just regular old The Terminator, the Terminator is sent back in time to kill Sarah Conner, mother-to-be of future human freedom-fighter-to-be John Conner. Well, turns out in T2, John Conner from the future steals a Terminator, changes its programing and sends it back in the past (present) to protect his mother and himself when he was a wee teenage shit. Sarah bugs out when she sees the Terminator again, but after it proves itself, she changes her tune. No robo-sex though.
9: Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed (Rocky III, 1982). Through the first two (of what, seven now?) Rocky movies, Balboa and Creed beat each other up a bunch. Eddie Murphy liked to make jokes about how it made Italians think they could knock out black dudes. However, in Rocky III, when Clubber Lang defeats Rocky for the title and curmudgeonly trainer Mick dies, Rocky is left with no choice but to let his former arch-nemesis, Apollo Creed, train him in advance of another fight with Lang. RD thinks Stallone just made this movie so people would stop call him a racist. See, Rocky’s cool. He’s got black friends.
8: The Old Man and the Sea (The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway). Santiago, a poor, aging fisherman hasn’t landed a fish for 84 days. On the 85th day, he snares the largest marlin he’s ever caught, and spends the next three days wrestling the lines to keep the fish hooked. And then sharks come and eat the damn thing. Poor guy. However, when he recovers from the ordeal back on land, he is reinvigorated by the hunt and his renewed bond with the sea and his “brother” fish. The old man also functions as a Jesus archetype, which is probably pretty cool.
7: Kirk Gibson and his legs, 1988 World Series, Game 1. Both of Gibson’s legs were hosed and he could barely walk. He also had a stomach virus. In the final out of the 9th inning, he was called up to pinch hit against Dennis Eckersley, the best relief pitcher of his era. Gibson worked himself into a full count before muscling a backdoor slider over the wall, driving in the tying run and posting the winning run himself. He famously did the sweet 80s “Yes!” fist pump as he hobbled around the bases.
6: Russia and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn, who recently passed, was one of the prize literary minds of the Soviet era, most famous for his books A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and The Gulag Archipelago, both terrifying real-life-inspired (or just real-life) accounts of life in Soviet labor prisons. Solzhenitsyn himself was imprisoned in such a camp for a decade following WWII. Despite being a decorated front-line soldier, Solzy was arrested for writing not-so-nice things about Joseph Stalin in a letter to a friend. Then in the 1970s, after a decade or so of internal exile, he was deported from the USSR. In 1990, his Russian citizenship was restored and he returned and continued to write, although his writings were very critical of the “new Russia,” and nostalgic for the Soviet system. So, no hard feelings, I guess.
5: Holden Caulfield and life (The Catcher In The Rye, J.D. Salinger). Holden Caulfield doesn’t like stuff. He’s a disaffected youth and jaded beyond his years. He’s been kicked out of prep-school, and the ‘rents just don’t understand him, man. He calls everyone a “phoney.” Then he watches his sister on a merry-go-round and almost cries. Author Salinger pretty much invents teenage angst in this book, and all you little wieners should read it and take a lesson from ol’ Holden. You just gotta hug it out. With everything.
4: Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinksi (repeatedly, over many years and through several alleged attempted murders). The films they made together are what made them famous, but their relationship was notoriously strained. During the making of the first film in which Herzog directed Kinski, Aguirre: Wrath of God, Herzog would intentionally infuriate Kinski, wait for the enraged crazyperson actor to calm down, and then roll film, all in an attempt to get a smoldering, intense performance. When Kinski threatened to abandon the film, Herzog threatened to shoot him. The pair continued to work together on four other films through the years, with the same bizarre hatred and appreciation. Herzog: “We had mutual respect for each other, even as we both planned each other’s murder.” At one point, Herzog reportedly drove to Kinski’s home intent on fire-bombing it with a Molotov cocktail, but changed his mind at the last minute.
3. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader (The Return of the Jedi, 1983).
Luke Skywalker: Help, Dad. The evil Emperor is killing me with finger-lightening.
Darth Vader: Kssshhhk. No. Sorry. I’m evil. Ksshhhhk.
LS: I bet you’re not so bad.
DV: Maybe. Shhhssthh.
LS: Please? This really hurts.
DV: Ksshhhhk. Hhhhccchhh. Fine. But this is the last time I bail you out. You’re too old for this. Ksshhhhk.
Luke then cradles his dying fatherbot. Vader pulls away his life-support mask and reveals that he is not James Earl Jones at all. The end.
2: Rick Blaine and Captain Renault (Casablanca, 1942). The absolute pinnacle of cinematic makin’ up. Captain Renault, head of police in formerly-French-currently-German occupied Casablanca has it in for American ex-pat Rick Blaine, suspecting Blaine of getting mixed up with fugitives escaped from a Nazi prison camp. Blaine reluctantly agrees to help the fugitives since, you know, he used to bang one of them back in Paris. Renault haunts him all the way, threatening to uncover his zany plot to get the fugitives on a plane and out of German-controlled territory. In the end, though, Renault has a change of heart and helps Blaine make his own escape from the clutches of those nosy Nazis. Then they wander off together after dumping a bunch of bottled water on the floor of an airplane hangar.
The movie is much better than my version, I promise.
No, for real.
1: Romans and Christians. The single largest hug it out in the history of humankind. Official state-sponsored persecution of Christians at the hands of the Romans began with everybody’s favorite emperor, Nero, in 64 AD. He even killed the big guys, like Saints Peter and Paul. This continued until 313 when Emperor Constantine famously legalized the religion before becoming a practitioner himself. From that day forward, Rome has been the political and cultural center of organized Christianity. In the span of less than 200 years, the Romans went from feeding Christians to lions, to housing Popes. In fact, the two got along so well that Christians adopted many of the Romans’ favorite persecution techniques, and gladly shared the knowledge with the rest of the world, in hopes of making even more friends.
Honorable mention: Orson Welles and his self-respect; Germans and Europe; the writers of Running Downhill after a fall out over German electronic rock from the late 1970s; Muslims and Jews…oh wait.