The 2013 MTV Movie Awards air Sunday, April 14 (just one day before Logo’s NewNowNext Awards) with host Rebel Wilson, but before we settle in for another night of golden popcorn handouts, let’s take a moment to remember why we cherish this ceremony most: the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.
In the history of the show, five different man-on-man kisses have been nominated for Best Kiss, and two of them have won (numbers #3 and #1 here, if you’re keeping track). Can you name them off the top of your head? Let’s rank these important nominees/winners one by one and see if our favorites still hold up.
5. Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott, American Pie 2
I’ll give this man-on-man lip-lock credit for one thing: It was a part of every trailer I ever saw on TV for American Pie 2, and it’s not every day you see two male stars of a movie touching mouths on national television. But that’s where the praise ends, because the humor of this scene in American Pie 2 — where two sexy, kissing ladies promise to really get down if Biggs and Scott make out as well — only works if you think a man-on-man kiss is an unthinkable, guh-ross act. Frankly, I don’t even think the panic expressed by Biggs and Scott in this scene is all that realistic. If two male friends actually wanted to watch women GET IT ON in front of them, would it really matter to them to kiss for a second? Maybe I’m being naive, but their whole trembling-and-crying-and-freaking-out thing seems too theatrical for the situation they’re in.
4. Paul Rudd and Thomas Lennon in I Love You, Man
For a title as provocative as I Love You, Man, this Paul Rudd starrer is downright unassuming, though not without its charms. As social misfit Rudd heeds the encouragement of his saintly wife (Rashida Jones) and searches for a best friend early in the film, Rudd thinks he finds a match in a fun, nattily dressed chap played by the totally hot Thomas Lennon. Their friendly date takes a turn, however, when Lennon concludes their hangout with a deep and sincere smooch, one that baffles Rudd (who, again, is a social misfit, so his confusion is justified). Best of all, after the kiss is over, Lennon gives Rudd yet another peck while the look of befuddlement is still on his face. At least one half of this equation really meant it. Cute!
3. Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
If you’ve never seen Talladega Nights, I have news for you: A climactic, unsuspecting kiss that Will Ferrell plants on Sacha Baron Cohen is… pretty sweet and funny? There’s not a hint of gay panic in the moment, and while Cohen’s character looks a bit surprised to find himself in the middle of a stadium-witnessed smooch with his opponent, the two men really go for it. Well! Good on these two. And what am I supposed to do, hate on a scene that reacquaints us with the fervor and sensuality of Pat Benatar’s “We Belong”? Will Ferrell’s cinematic output has ranged from the funny to the idiotically spastic, and here he proves that no matter what he’s delivering, he supports our team.
2. Sean Penn and James Franco, Milk
Milk underwhelmed me as a biopic, even though I basically couldn’t cope with how awesomely accurate and powerful Sean Penn’s portrayal of Harvey Milk was. Milk and his much younger lover Scott Smith (James Franco) had a tender, yet beleaguered romance, but we certainly got a couple of excellent kisses out of it. Franco is also great in his role, and I loved his respect for and subsequent resentment of Milk’s devotion to politics. But is this not a picture-perfect moment? Should be hung on the wall at Castro Camera.
1. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
I’m preaching to the choir here, but I still think this movie doesn’t get enough credit for being as powerful as it is. Critics snipe that Brokeback Mountain feels like an elongated short story (which it is, of course) or a languid bit of storytelling (which it ISN’T!), but come on. You believe that romance! You believe Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) as he quickly falls in love with the emotional brick wall known formally as Ennis Del Mar (Ledger). Their major kiss in the movie, which occurs when the gents are reunited for the first time following their summer at Brokeback, is urgent, carnal, and magically real. And also tragic, since Ennis’ wife Alma (Michelle Williams) sees it from her window. In it all its raucous, face-grabbing energy, this is clearly the best man-on-man kiss ever nominated for the most prized MTV Movie Award. Bonus: Gyllenhaal won Best Performance too. Thank you, MTV. I want you, Dire Straits-style.