"Harold and Maude," Harold and Maude
Harold Chasen and Marjorie "Maude" Chardin's relationship begins at a cemetery and ends in a hospital, hardly a conventional setting for the blooming and breaking of a prototypical Hollywood couple. But of course, there was never anything conventional about the relationship between the death-obsessed 20-something Harold and the free-spirited 79-year-old Maude, and this is exactly what has made Hal Ashby's 1971 comedy endure the way it has in the 42(!) years since its release. The cult favorite has now influenced just about every unlikely pairing of the last four decades, but with its harsh criticism on social expectations, the original remains one of film's best explorations on how love makes its own paths. And the soundtrack by Cat Stevens certainly doesn't hurt. [Cameron Sinz]

"Lars and the Real Girl," Lars and Bianca
An unusual love story that shows the powerful effect an imaginary, yet revealing relationship can have on a community, "Lars and the Real Girl" may have the most bizarre and beautiful couple indie cinema has seen. When Lars first introduces his new girlfriend Bianca, a blow-up doll ordered online, at first it seems that the perverted mind of a shy Ryan Gosling is about to be uncovered. But instead of using Bianca to indulge in sexual fantasies, as other men in the town admit they'd do, Lars' imaginary relationship begins to heal him, giving him the security and confidence he never had. This is no one-sided couple, as Bianca starts to represent the many latent characteristics and sufferings that cause Lars to be the taciturn, awkward guy he is. Along with the unconventionality of the film, it's through Bianca's "death" that Lars finally finds love. [Erin Whitney]

"Lost in Translation," Bob and Charlotte
Bob (Bill Murrary) is an American movie star shooting a Japanese Whiskey commercial. Charlotte is the wife of a photographer, confining herself to their hotel room while her husband is away on a shoot. Bob and Charlotte meet in the bar of their Tokyo hotel, and as their friendship begins to grow, they find peace in spending their time together amidst the dissatisfaction that consumes their daily life. Sofia Coppola’s “Lost In Translation” creates a space around these characters as intimate as their relationship. It’s a film of fleeting moments, as temporary and memorable as any chance encounter experienced in reality. Coppola provides a continuous watchful eye over the preceding, but never takes the film away from Murray and Johansson, both proving themselves to be more than up to the task of countering their usual on-screen roles. [Cameron Sinz]