“Safety Not Guaranteed” and the Top 10 Cinematic Classified Ads

Desperately seeking 10 films with classic classifieds

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.

Those were the actual words of a classified ad that ran in Backwoods Home magazine some years ago. That innocuous, if bizarre, ad would ultimately serve as the inspiration for "Safety Not Guaranteed" (opens Friday), starring Mark Duplass stars as a man who placed the ad, and Aubrey Plaza ("Parks & Recreation") as the young journalist who goes undercover to answer it.

In celebration of the film's release, we present the rest of our top 10 classified ads from the world of film.

Desperately seeking Susan. Meet me, four o'clock, Battery Park. Keep the faith. Love, Jim.

"Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985) - This marked the film debut of a hot up-and-coming pop star known simply as Madonna in the title role. But Rosanna Arquette had the lead, as an unsatisfied housewife who sees the ad and goes to the meeting spot to see what transpires, only to get tangled up in a web of mistaken identity, amnesia and crime.

Do you remember me? Airport shuttle, June 7th. You: striking redhead with yellow dress, pearl necklace, brown shoes. I was the bookish fellow in the green cardigan who helped you find your contact lens. Am I crazy, or did we have a moment?

"Ghost World" (2001) - From director Terry Zwigoff ("Bad Santa") comes Steve Buscemi as an eccentric record collector who places an ad to which two bored and slightly cruel teens, played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson, respond. Once Buscemi gets over his anger, a friendship blossoms between him and Birch, who decides to help him find the woman.

SWF seeks female to share apartment in west 70S. Non-smoker professional preferred. 555-9814

"Single White Female" (1992) - Starred Bridget Fonda as a young woman who needs a new roommate after dumping her fiancée and is lucky enough to settle on a half-mad loon, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, who at first gets way to involved in her life before trying to take it over.

For a good time in the privacy of your own home...

"Risky Business" (1983) - The film that made Tom Cruise a star. Cruise starred as Joel, a Chicago teen left home alone for the weekend, who avails himself of the opportunity to solicit some female companionship via the classifieds. Jackie, unfortunately turns out to be a rather muscular transvestite male, but "she" is kind enough to put our hero in touch with Lana, played by Rebecca De Mornay, assuring Joel, "It's what you want. It's what every white boy off the lake wants."

Short-statured file clerk with unusually nimble and dexterous fingers needed for speed filing.

"Being John Malkovich" (1999) - John Cusack stars as Craig Schwartz, a struggling puppeteer who responds to an ad seeking an office clerk. It's behind a filing cabinet at his new office that he discovers a portal into the mind of acclaimed actor John Malkovich, allowing him to see and experience everything that Malkovich does. Things get weirder still when the co-worker he lusts after (Catherine Keener) starts using Malkovich's body to have sex with Craig's wife (Cameron Diaz). Incredibly, this film is even weirder than it sounds--and totally awesome.

Modern girl wishes to correspond on cultural subjects anonymously with intelligent, sympathetic, young man.

"The Shop Around the Corner" (1940) - Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan star as two co-workers who can't stand each other, not realizing they've been courting each other via the classified ads. The film was remade in 1998 with the title "You've Got Mail," starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

But only for the one who is on the lookout for everything, who excludes nothing not even the most enigmatic, will the relationship to another become something alive and speak to the whole potential of one’s existence.

"Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001) - Jennifer Westfeldt ("Friends With Kids") co-wrote and stars in this film about a young woman coming off a string of disastrous dates. Having all but given up, she see an ad featuring a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. When she realizes the ad was placed in the women-seeking-women section, she figures she'll give it a go.

Skilled professional with years of experience in domestic and international wet work. Fast and discreet. No children or political figures.

"Horrible Bosses" (2011) - Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day star as three friends who conspire to kill each other's bosses. In an effort to contract some outside help, they respond to an ad they find on the Internet, but the man who posted it has very different ideas about "wet work."

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