Movie Review: The Best of Me (2014) – A Recycled storyline, Stilted dialog and a Ridiculous Run Time

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Let’s start this off by pointing out my deep hatred for Nicholas Sparks. Sorry, but if that guy was a girl, his novels would be regulated to nothing more than porn for bored housewives. Because he’s a man, his ‘visionary novels’ get made into terrible movie after terrible movie while everyone talks about what a deep and sensitive man he is.

I have a theory. I don’t think Nicholas Sparks exists. I think it’s a name they slap on novels in order to make them sell…and we’re all falling for it.

Anyway, the movie follows the standard Nicholas Sparks format. Dawson (James Marsden) and Amanda (Michelle Moneghan) fall in love when they’re young. Forces outside their control drive them apart. Twenty years later, they meet again at the funeral of a friend. They start yet another mercurial romance and wouldn’t you know it…people are trying to drive them apart all over again.

One thing that drives me crazy about all these movies is the big problem could always be resolved by doing something simple. The heroine just needs to say no. Watch me do it.

Film antagonist – You need to stop seeing him.
Heroine – No.
Film antagonist – But I told you not to.
Heroine – Tough titties. I’m 40 and I don’t need your permission to date.

See how easy that was? Of course, then we wouldn’t get to see a drawn out movie about the elusive power of first love…so it’s a win/win in my book.

Silly storyline aside, there were something significantly wrong with the leads as well. James Marsden, complete with patchy beard, comes off almost a little creepy in this movie. I don’t know if it’s because of the stilted dialog or the clichéd story line, but he feels more like a Lifetime movie stalker than a love interest.

Moneghan apparently only knows how to show sadness by frowning slightly or tearing up. I’m not sure if it’s because she had the majority of her face botoxed for the roll, of she’s just that bad, but she had all the depth of a puddle.

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Also, this is one of my pet peeves; the actors playing the young versions of the leads look nothing like the characters they are supposed to grow into. Luke Bracey, who plays the young Dawson, actually looks older than James Marsden.

Maybe that’s why they made Marsden grow a beard? But you’re still left wondering how he managed to actually shrink over a period of 20 years. Lilliana Liberto isn’t as bad as young Amanda, but aside from hair color, still looks nothing like her grown up version.

Shirts are apparently in short supply in this universe, and I can guarantee that you’re going to see both Marsden and Bracey whipping off their shirts for just about everything from swimming, to gardening to dinner in a 5 star restaurant.

Ok, I made the last one up, but you get my drift.

The Best of Me seems to showcase the worst of Sparks, which in my opinion, is a feat unto itself. The recycled storyline, coupled with stilted dialog and ridiculous run time to tell a clichéd story (nearly 2 hours) makes this movie one that you’ll probably want to skip.

WE GAVE IT: 1  Stars: Official Movie Trailer and Movie Poster Below

1 star

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Movie Review: Nymphomaniac (2014)

hr_Nymphomaniac_20No Climax despite it being a movie about Climaxes

2 Stars

It feels odd to go from reviewing a children’s movie to a movie about a sex addict, but whatever. Variety is the spice of life.

Nymphomaniac is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Joe is a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who has been seriously beaten and is found by older Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård). Think Black Snake Moan. That’s where the similarities end though. As Seiglemn tends to her wounds she tells the story of her erotic travels.

I’m going to be honest. This was a ‘did not finish’ for me, despite the fact that the movie was all about climaxes. I really felt like I was just watching depressing artistic pornography.  But it wasn’t just porn. It was overly smart self important porn. I know that I might be in the minority, but to me this was nothing more than a director making a movie called ‘this is a woman. Now watch how miserable she is because of sex.”

Joe is self destructive and damaged, but Seiglemn sees a hooker with a heart of gold. By the end, you get so sick of her self loathing and his mumblings about The Compleat Angler and the Fibonacci sequence that you won’t care anymore if people think you’re smart. You’ll just leave.

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The writing isn’t strong enough to overcome the overly explicit material. And it is overly explicit, even for a drama about a sex addict. I changed my mind. It doesn’t feel like porn. It feels like a snuff film.

I haven’t seen a snuff film this artsy since the Passion of the Christ.

The writing is juvenile and implausible. The first story in Joe’s stories of conquests is her and her friend on a train, having a contest as to who can hook up with the most men. Yes, I know that the world is crazy and stuff like that does happen, but the director makes it seem as though it is common place.

It seems that filmmaker Lars von Trier has a very bleak view of the world. In fact, I think he may be chronically depressed.

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The whole movie was bathed in grey and there was no spicing things up or making them more attractive. Everyone looks depressed and miserable most of the time. Even when they’re getting it on, most of them manage to look like they’re waiting for the bus on a rainy day.

The score feels pasted on and overly simplistic. “Born to be Wild” and “Burning down the House” are tossed in, while heavy metal music from Rammstein is inappropriately pasted over scenes in a way that is both distracting and irritating.

The movie is dirty, smug and self important. There are virtually no redeeming values to a weak script over actors with no charisma. The in your face symbolism does nothing to save the movie. When originally holding the press conference von Trier claimed he was making porn.

He was telling the truth in some ways. Watching this movie will make you feel dirty and ashamed of yourself. This sleazy drama is best skipped.

Here is the Official Movie Trailer….

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