The trailer for Destination Wedding was released Wednesday, and it looks like a strong entry into the “initially-cynical-but-ultimately-uplifting look at modern romance” genre from writer/director Victor Levin. Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder play a pair of misanthropes who end up stuck at the misanthrope table at a destination wedding, then presumably go on to bond and form an unlikely romance. The fun of this sort of movie is the fighting along the way, and judging from the trailer, Reeves and Ryder have an easy, acerbic chemistry that should play nicely against the glowing California countryside in the background. It’s too early to tell if the film earns the trailer’s Bringing Up Baby-style encounter with a large cat—that’s a pretty bold marker to throw down—but Destination Wedding looks like, at the very least, a solid middle-of-the-road romantic comedy.
Which means the film will be a wild outlier when it comes to movies with the word “destination” in the title, because ordinarily the word is a harbinger of doom for a film’s characters. And although Reeves and Ryder’s frustration with being at a destination wedding might be relatable in our world, in the world of “fictional characters in movies with ‘destination’ in the title,” the duo is positively ungrateful. Consider: Being a character in Destination Wedding means being stuck in San Luis Obispo. Being a character in 1943’s Destination Tokyo, on the other hand, means being stuck on a submarine with Cary Grant and John Garfield on a voyage “from the bottom of Tokyo Bay to the tops in adventure.” Which would maybe not be so bad, destination-wise, depending on your taste, except it’s not “urbane, sophisticated Cary Grant,” it’s “exactly as racist as you’d expect from a Hollywood movie in 1943 Cary Grant.”
In fact, “destination” in a title has often meant “you will be stuck in a tiny space with a bunch of men in uniform and no one will have anywhere to go, making the word ‘destination’ seem like a cruel joke, at least from the perspective of you, a fictional character in this movie.” Yes, Reeves and Ryder have to share a small airplane to get to the wedding. Boo hoo: take a look at the tight quarters and oppressively heavy pomade of 1950’s Destination Moon:
As it happens, 1950 was a big year for terrible things happening to people in movies with the word ‘destination’ in the title.”The moon is famously inhospitable to human and fictional-human life, but it’s got nothing on low-budget noirs like RKO’s Destination Murder, released the same year as Destination Moon. It’s a film so bleak it has no proper trailer online, just a preview clip for its Warner Archive DVD release:
All things considered, a wedding in California looks like a better deal than the player piano room of death in Destination Murder. But a noir—even a neo-noir!—would be preferable to Final Destination, which added the insult of circa-2000 hairstyles to the injury of violent death.
In light of the grim fates of virtually every other character in a movie with “destination” in the title, it seems like Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder’s characters should be a lot happier than they are to be stuck in San Luis Obispo together. In fact, they’re not just doing historically well for characters in movies with “destination” in the title, they’re also the luckiest characters of all time in movies called Destination Wedding. Check out this chilling example from just last year:
If it’s Final Destination or the world of the Hallmark Channel’s Destination Wedding, crank up the John Denver. Someone should get these trailers to Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder’s characters, assuming these films exist in the fictional world of 2018’s Destination Wedding. Then explain to them that they, too, are characters in a fictional film called Destination Wedding, and seem to be doing pretty well, considering the precedents, so they should maybe be more grateful and enjoy their fictional lives more, maybe fall in love or whatever. (If you’re reading this article from inside the world of Destination Wedding, save time by forwarding them this link.) Coming up next: Slate’s definitive ranking of the unluckiest characters in films with titles that contain the word “Hellraiser.”