Reeling in the years: The lovers from Before Sunrise return in Before Midnight, how might the passage of time have changed other Nineties couples?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

They were care-free lovers. Now, Céline and Jesse are care-worn parents. Hugh Montgomery worries for the fates of other iconic partnerships...

When all is said and done, what will go down as this year’s most shocking cinematic experience? Django Unchained? Nah. Tobey Maguire’s smile in The Great Gatsby?

Pffft. For many filmgoers of a certain age, it will almost certainly be the point in Before Midnight at which they realise Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have turned into their parents. After all, cast your mind back to 1995 and the release of beguiling Generation X romance Before Sunrise. A boy-meets-girl tale of two young backpackers – Delpy’s Céline and Hawke’s Jesse, who fall in love over one night in Vienna – it was sexy and charming in equal measure. Then, nine years on, Before Sunset made us swoon all over again, catching up with the indelible pair in their thirties as they enjoyed another romantic European city encounter, this time in Paris. But now, nine years on from that, the third and possibly final chapter in the series throws something of a curveball: without giving too much away, the idyllic Greek island location is considerably more tranquil than their festering relationship.

Which, after we’d had a stiff drink, got us wondering: how might the passage of time have affected other iconic film couples of the same era? And then, blow me if we didn’t just happen upon the following top-secret sequel treatments. We can but hope they make it into production soon, though, be warned, the results ain’t always pretty….

Four Weddings and a Funeral

The original: Confirmed English bachelor Charles (Hugh Grant) falls in love with American ex-Vogue journalist Carrie (Andie MacDowell) over the course of a series of social gatherings

Proposed sequel title: Four Fiftieths and a Parent-Teacher Meeting

Plot: A serio-comic study of the squeezed upper middle. Beginning with Charles’ expletive-strewn dash to the bank to contest his overdraft charges, it finds our couple in financial heartache, with Carrie struggling with the freelance lifestyle and the temptation of 4pm wine while Charles’ mysteriously unidentified job remains as un-lucrative as ever. Priced out of their spiritual home of West London and living with their three teenage kids in Brockley, they begrudgingly do the half-century birthday party rounds while bemoaning rising school fees and child benefit changes with their equally exasperated gang. There is a moving reading from Gillian Tett’s Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, though the show is stolen by Rowan Atkinson in a hilarious cameo as a bumbling pawnbroker.

 

Clueless

The original: Beverly Hills princess Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) plays matchmaker in her high school before finding her own unlikely match in environmentalist step-brother Josh (Paul Rudd)
Proposed sequel title: Catatonic

Plot: A dark tale of life in the political spotlight which catches up with Cher during her tenure as Governor of California. While her memorable contributions to school-debating classes and well-honed sense of entitlement made politics a natural career choice, the worm has now turned. Her Haiti Earthquake Vintage Clothing Appeal was ridiculed, her long-held belief that “sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex” has incurred the wrath of feminist groups and that “Democratic Sarah Palin” moniker is sounding ever more fateful. Agonised and increasingly alienated from her party colleagues, she holes up in her now decidedly de trop-looking mansion. Meanwhile her failure to take a stand on the state’s lax fracking regulations has driven a wedge between her and Josh, who is still trying to coax her into watching CNN rather than Beavis and Butthead. It’s Sunset Boulevard meets Downfall and, as the young Cher would have said, “way existential”.

 

Wayne’s World

The originals: Metalhead Wayne (Mike Myers) and his nerdy sidekick Garth (Dana Carvey) helm a late-night cable show and their own music festival while thwarting slimy executives

Proposed threequel title:  Wayne’s World 3: The Show Must Gone On

Plot: Since we last saw them, the pair have become world-conquering rock stars. NOT! Rather, it’s all gone a bit downhill for the bromantic duo since Waynestock became the latest victim of an overcrowded festival market. Following his visitation from Jim Morrison in Wayne’s World 2, Wayne has become increasingly delusional and now plays Connect 4 with Barry White on a daily basis. Meanwhile Garth was sacked from his job in Whole Foods for “schwinging” a colleague. However, given their penchant for ironic dumbness and big glasses, they realise they’re well placed to tap into the hipster market and so revive their old TV show for one last run. But will their declining powers of pop-culture referencing suffice? A searing portrait of masculinity in crisis: The Wrestler with knob gags, basically.

 

The Lion King

The original: Royal cub Simba is driven from the Pridelands after the murder of his father, the King, before returning as an adult to reclaim the throne and making old childhood friend Nala his queen.

Proposed sequel title: A Lion King in Winter

Plot: We return to the Pridelands to find the monarchy in disarray. Nala and Simba’s first-born has turned into a notorious caner, while critics have questioned the influence wielded by buffoonish meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa and dismissed the “circle of life” as an “instrument of the ruling hegemony”. Such trying circumstances have led to a souring of the royal couple’s relationship and they are now engaged in a Machiavellian battle of wills, with Nala planning to depose her husband with the help of the ever-disenfranchised hyenas. Things come to a head with a marital showdown at Pride Rock inspired by Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner classic The War of the Roses while songs, written by Thom Yorke and Peter Morgan, include “Can You Feel the Lovelessness Tonight” and “A-Coup-now Matata”. 

 

Reality Bites

The original: Aspiring filmmaker Lelaina (Winona Ryder) has an angsty “will they/won’t they” relationship with tortured musician Troy (Ethan, again) while making an earnest documentary about her friends’ Generation X malaise

Proposed sequel title: Reality TV Rules Ok

Plot: An uninspiring tale of compromising your dreams: Lelaina is now a producer of low-grade reality TV featuring feckless Generation Y’ers who she repeatedly decries as “being bigger slackers than we ever were.” Meanwhile Troy, now a multi-platinum selling recording artist, has ditched his countercultural aspirations and realised penning Coldplay-style power ballads is the new rock n roll. Troy has a Network-cum-Carrie-style meltdown during a performance on X-Factor USA in which he sprays Simon Cowell with pig’s blood while declaring himself “mad as hell” at talent show culture. This leaves Lelaina quivering with rage and embarrassment until a third act reconciliation which sees him admit the error of his ways and buy them an original Arco floor lamp. They waltz off into the sunset, the prospect of a mini-break in Dubai stretching ahead of them. The End.

 

Before Midnight is out on Friday

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits