Endless Love for Endless Love

Endless Love (2014)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5)
Boyfriend Friendly: No. But he sure as hell better take you anyway. With a notepad in hand.

I will start this review out by saying that it is exactly movies like this that made me start this site in the first place. Endless Love is currently at a 14% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 14%! That’s so low that on Valentine’s Day, I opted to see Her for the 3rd time because I didn’t want to risk being more bummed than I already was (it was my first single V-Day in 5 years, gimme a break). So instead, I dragged myself to a matinee this morning. And you know what? I loved it. Apparently, so did 67% of the Rotten Tomatoes audience – proving once again that critics need to chill the eff out and critique a romance film like a romance film. Or they don’t because, you know, I do take pride in being the voice of reason.

I have never seen the original Endless Love, nor I have read the book that the 1981 film is based off of, but I have read summaries of both and they sound really depressing. I mean, I can recognize the beauty in a solidly-written tragic love story. I am a bit of a Romeo and Juliet junkie, to the point where I’ve already picked out the brownstone future me plans to live in on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. But it is awards season, which means there are enough heavy movies out right now that sometimes you need to throw a good ole fashioned whimsical romance into the mix. Is that so awful? According to Peter Travers, yes. To me? Quite the contrary.

The trailer tells you all you need to know about the movie: “She comes from a world of privilege and power, but she’ll leave it all behind for him.” Clichéd? A bit. Melodramatic? That’s an understatement. But aren’t all romance films to a degree? Hell, aren’t ALL romances in general? I know every relationship I’ve ever been in has had its fair share of both – doubly so in the melodramatic department. Plus, I never get sick of seeing the good girl meets “wrong side of the tracks” guy story play out because, as a notorious good girl, I can say with confidence that most of us do have a hidden desire to run off with a quote/unquote bad boy. Granted, I can also say with confidence that when that does happen, it more often than not ends the way the original Endless Love does. But that story is for a different day!

Anyway, I’m not going to spend too much time on the plot because you’ve seen it rehashed a million times but Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) is a beautiful, teenage recluse whose spent her high school years locked up mourning the loss of her older brother. On the day of graduation, her classmate David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer), who has been eying her for years from afar, finally gets to make his move when the Butterfields show up for dinner where he valets. He invites her for a joyride in a Maserati he’s parking, and in an instance of spontaneity she says yes (obviously while holed up at home she got the chance to watch Transformers and knew that 50 years from now, she’d want to say she had the guts to get in the car). Thus, the beginning of a glorious summer romance. The only issues are that her Dad is a total hardass/jackass who isn’t into the fact that David’s only aspiration in life is to work as a mechanic in his father’s garage and that instead of a whole summer together – they only have two weeks, because Jade’s leaving for Brown early for an internship.

The movie is chock full of darling love scenes and montages that will make you swoon (or make you really bitter… depending on your outlook on love this week), including an adorable moment where David calls the cops on a rival party going on so that all the kids there will come to Jade’s graduation party, which was formerly a no-show bust. Pettyfer does this 911 call in his legitimate British accent by the way… which, given the fact that he and Wilde are both Brits, I just don’t understand why they didn’t set the film in the UK because that would have been too hot to handle. I know some had complaints about the pair’s chemistry, but I am the self-proclaimed chemistry police and I didn’t have any issue. Pettyfer, who I didn’t care for in Magic Mike, was charming and I totally bought him as a hopeless romantic (or as Jade’s father called him a “homeless romantic”). His attraction to Jade started as a mere infatuation but I saw where that transpired into actual love (post-grad party, when he is walking on the hoods of cars like a giddy boy who just discovered masturbation). I also enjoyed seeing Jade find herself, as she grew from a closeted girl to a spontaneous woman finally ready to enjoy life. Many critics had problems with the way Wilde constantly twirled and pranced around on camera, but I challenge all of those writers to go back to the first time they experienced love and try to claim that they didn’t do the same. I mean, I remember when I got my first KISS I came home screaming and jumping up and down like a lunatic. My family rushed downstairs thinking something terrible happened. No, Gary, some guy named Alex with a car just kissed your 15 year-old daughter in your driveway. Go back to sleep.

I am so used to romance movies ending SAD and unrequited lately, that I was petrified (pettyferfried?) this would end like the film/novel it set out to remake. When everything went up in flames at the end (literally), I couldn’t help but let out a gasp and clasp my mouth in fear. But this film has a happy ending, and I was grateful for that. Endless Love is not life-changing, but it knows exactly the type of movie it is and it does it well – incorporating romance, adventure, fireworks and all of the others things I ever want into a sappy, feel-good chick flick.

Since there hasn’t been enough Ryan Gosling on screen lately, I will end with a shout-out to my new favorite website, KissingRyan.com. You’re welcome, ladies:

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Happy Singles Awareness Day!

That Awkward Moment (2014)
Chick Flick Rating: (1/5)
Film Rating: (1/5)
Boyfriend Friendly: If he is actually your boyfriend, yes. If he is a guy you’re just dating and haven’t had the “so, where is this going?” talk yet, then NO NO NO.

If there has ever been a movie to deter me from ever wanting to date in New York City again, this was that movie.

Now listen, I may pride myself on having an unhealthy obsession with chick flicks but I also LOVE myself some guy humor. I mean, I may or may not have spent my Valentine’s Day night sitting on the couch with my two roommates watching fart videos on YouTube like this one:


(Note: our V-Day wasn’t completely void of any class. Prior to this we smuggled some Two-Buck Chuck into a movie theater and saw Her for the 3rd time. Review to come.)

Anyway, my point is that normally I can overlook the copious amount of sexism that is prevalent in most “guy humor” flicks, IF they are indeed funny and original and all of that other stuff that makes a movie enjoyable. But the most awkward moment in That Awkward Moment was five minutes in when I realized I had already cringed at two flat jokes about how easy-yet-needy females are and still had a full hour and 29 minutes to suffer through.

The film opens up with some VO by Zac Efron telling us about this dreaded thing he calls “The So Moment” which occurs after roughly six weeks of fucking a girl where she asks (while his dick is inside her, obvs), “So… where is this going?” because, I mean, girls can just never have casual sex and ALWAYS have to let emotions get involved and just want to be in a relationship with anyone who will be in a relationship with us. Right?! After this, we meet Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) whose wife is cheating on him with some guy “who looks like Morris Chestnut” (and is played by Morris Chestnut, which actually did make me laugh). He tells his besties Jason (Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) about it, and they all decide YEAH! THIS IS GREAT! WE CAN ALL BE SINGLE GUYS WHO BANG LOTS OF CHICKS AND PLAY XBOX IN OUR BOXERS WHILE DRINKING WHISKEY TOGETHER! POUND IT.

Except then Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots) who is perfect because she is blonde, and witty, and well-read, and forgives him when he misunderstands what she meant by “dressing up” for her birthday and shows up wearing a dildo (which is not only a total Legally Blonde rip-off but also an inappropriate costume choice for anyone not in a fraternity even if this WAS a costume party). Also, she’s really good at Xbox and drinks Scotch. And did I mention she’s cool with the fact that he thought she was a hooker when they first met? Meanwhile, Daniel starts hooking up with his super down-to-earth gal pal Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), and Mikey and his wife give their marriage another go. But of course, the friends aren’t honest with one another about their relationships. Because they made a pact. And bro pacts are ALWAYS more important than the feelings of a female. So they all downplay it, to the point where Jason stands up Ellie AT HER OWN DAD’S FUCKING FUNERAL because that would make him look weak to the guys. God forbid!

Spoiler alert: Ellie forgives him at the end. Of course.

Anyway, this film – written and directed by Tom Gormican – was just one bad joke after another. It was literally like his formula for writing this script was sexist cliche + trying-to-be-edgy pop culture ref, followed by lame joke, repeat. As you know, I am a big Zac Efron fan for more than just his looks and I defended his acting in my review for The Lucky One. I stand by that opinion here, and I also feel the same about Michael B. Jordan (whose Fruitvale Station performance moved me beyond belief) and Miles Teller, who I haven’t seen much of but like his comedic timing. Why any of them would agree to this movie though is beyond me. Maybe they thought they’d find the comedic success that Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis did after The Hangover, or like the whole Apatow crowd did after Superbad, but sorry guys – the material just WAS NOT there.

As they say, don’t hate the players, hate the game. Well, I REALLY hated this game.

Spoiler Alert: They Still Hit The Iceberg

Titanic (in 3D)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ (4.5/5)
Boyfriend friendly: If you have trouble convincing him to take you, these 4 words should do the trick: Kate Winslet’s 3D boobs.

When Titanic came out in theaters for the first time in 1997, I was in the third grade and it was a magical experience that evoked a lot of “firsts” for me: first time I got to see a PG-13 movie in theaters, first time I saw a pair of boobs that didn’t belong to my Mom, first time I decided I wanted to go to “movie school” (which I did) so I could become a big-time director (which I didn’t), first time my Dad let me get popcorn AND Sno-Caps (hey, it’s a 3 hour movie!), first time I fell in love and could use the fancy cursive I just learned to write “Christie DiCaprio” all over my schoolbooks… Cut to 15 years later: I have seen more than my fair share of boobs (even though I never seemed to grow any), the AMC near me has abhorrently retired Sno-Caps, I don’t remember how to write in cursive, and my heart has gone on from Leonardo to a string of other Hollywood infatuations (most currently – Andrew Garfield). One thing that hasn’t changed? The wondrous movie magic that mesmerizes my entire being throughout the 194 minutes of James Cameron’s Titanic.

Now, I have faced a lot of criticism over the years for my unabashed love for this movie. During my time at Tisch, my high opinion of the film was undoubtedly in the vast minority and I found myself in one too many heated debates over the 1997 Academy Awards. Yes, L.A. Confidential was an amazing film that would have deserved the award any other year… but against Titanic? Bitch, please. Forget for a second that this bad boy set box office records (which is not something the Academy generally cares about anyway), grossing close to $2 billion worldwide. Forget about its script, which is amazing and easily the most quoted script in movie history despite it being criticized for its sappiness and repetitive use of the main characters’ names (Rose: 76, Jack: 85). Forget about how completely ahead of its time the stunning special effects were. Instead, just think about it’s impact. I was in the third grade and I still remember what I was eating in the theater that night, and who I talked about it with at the lunch table the next day (Heather Frederick, thank you very much). Did it impact every person to the same extent as it impacted me – who decided then and there at the age of 8 that I would go to film school? Of course not. But people of all ages and genders worldwide came out in droves to see Titanic multiple times. Why? Because there is literally something in it for everyone: a hard-hitting historical account of one of the world’s saddest tragedies, an epic tale of romance and loss, fearless action sequences, beautiful cinematography, mind-blowing visual effects… even some nudity! And although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I firmly believe whoever claims that the film sucks is just saying it to be ironic. [No offense.]

Now that that’s off my chest…

It was hard for me to imagine what a third-dimension could add to a film that was already so aesthetically spectacular and pretty-effing-perfect in 2D. To be honest, I don’t think it added all that much. I’m not saying it didn’t look completely awesome – it’s James Cameron, of course it did. The dude spent over 60 weeks and $18 mil converting the movie frame by frame (all 260,000 of them). But I always felt like Titanic in 2D had a bit of a 3D feel to it already. Granted, there were a few scenes that particularly stood out due to this conversion. The 3D permits us to teeter with Rose over the ship’s railing as she contemplates suicide, and the depth and darkness of the ocean at this angle truly spooked me. Later on, post-iceberg, Jack and Rose are at that same location on the stern, when it is split in half from the rest of the ship. Clinging onto the outside of the railing, they are pulled into the air at a 90 degree angle before facing a steep plunge into the icy water. That moment was alway the scariest part of the film for me, and in 3D, my stomach dropped like I was on a roller coaster. A really, really high one.

But, I didn’t pay the expensive 3D ticket price because I was so excited to see Titanic in 3D… I paid the expensive 3D ticket price because I was so excited to see Titanic. Again. On the big screen. Because every time I watch this movie, I discover something new about it that I love. This time around? I found out that a part of me actually feels kinda sorry for Cal Hockley. In my previous 15 or so viewings of Titanic, I had always written Cal off as Rose’s arrogant and possessive fiancé – a storybook villain. But this was the first time I ever watched the film as a grown-up who has experienced heartbreak firsthand. And, for whatever reason, all my previous perceptions about Cal were now erased. It had never occurred to me that he might actually love Rose (or at least the idea of her), and it is the heartbreak that comes from not being loved in return that causes him to lash out. When Cal puts the Heart of the Ocean around Rose’s neck for the first time, a glimmer forms in his eyes. I had always assumed it was the wealth surrounding the diamond that caused the glimmer, but for once, I felt like it was because he thought he was giving the world to the woman he loved. Later on, that glimmer is replaced by sadness caused by the realization that Rose is in love with another man. Yet, he can’t shake the hope that she may come back around, which propels him to skip out on his initial chance for a lifeboat in an effort to save her. Later on, after Rose has blatantly made her choice, Cal still doesn’t give up hope and searches for her on The Carpathia. Truthfully, it all kind of broke my heart. Of course, I am completely 150% for Rose being with Jack, but I couldn’t help feel a bit more sympathetic towards Cal’s character. After all, wouldn’t you want to frame a robbery on the jerk your still-fiancé posed nude for behind your back? I would also like to take this time to apologize to Billy Zane, whose strong performance as the man scorned I have long overlooked.

The only issue with seeing a movie you love dearly in theaters fifteen years after it’s initial release is that there is a whole generation of teenagers who weren’t alive when it originally came out and may have never gotten around to seeing it. (Gasp!) To be quite honest, I am not even sure the teenage girls in my theater knew that it was a re-release. When Jack dies, there was a collective “Huh? He dies? What kind of movie is this?” and when My Heart Will Go On plays during the end credits one of them literally went, “Ohhh. So that’s where this song comes from.” Thankfully, I think they had learned in some history class that the Titanic sinks so at least that wasn’t a big shocker. That aside, seeing it on the big screen again was still a magical experience, particularly on the 100th anniversary of its sinking. If you like the movie half as much as I do, you cannot miss this opportunity to give James Cameron even more money than he already has.

Things I’ve Learned Since I First Saw Titanic In 1997:
1) When Jack says, “I saw that on the Nickelodeon,” he isn’t referring to the TV channel.
2) Jack and Rose are doing more than just “kissing naked” in that horse-drawn carriage.
3) Billy Zane made male eyeliner sexy long before Johnny Depp.
4) There’s no way that necklace would’ve stayed in Rose’s pocket that whole time.
5) I’ll never be blonde, foreign, or a supermodel, so Leonardo DiCaprio will never date me.
6) Trying to master Rose’s party trick will result in a sprained ankle.
7) And mastering Jack’s “man spitting” is not something you should show to anyone. Ever.
8) The woman who plays Old Rose wasn’t a Titanic survivor. (Where did I hear that?)
9) Rose is 17 in the movie, proving that slutty high school girls have been sending naked pictures of themselves to boys long before ‘sexting’ was a word. It also proves that you never know how old you might be when those pictures resurface. (Crap.)
10) That very last scene doesn’t actually mean everyone came back to life again…

One Fish, Two Fish, British Fish, Yemen Fish

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ (2/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5)
Boyfriend friendly: If he likes salmon fishing! Or the Yemen.

I have to be honest, I seriously procrastinated seeing this movie – which is unfortunate because the trailer looked cute enough. Just the title is so… blah. I mean, I wanted to see a movie called Salmon Fishing in the Yemen about as much as I want to actually go salmon fishing in the Yemen. And my desire to go salmon fishing in the Yemen falls somewhere after my desire to go crocodile hunting in the Australian Outback but before my desire to go skinny dipping in the Artic. I knew though if I waited until Hunger Games Mania kicks off on Friday, I’d never see it. So today, I saw it. And – it was pretty OK as far as movies about salmon fishing in the Yemen go. (We should make this a drinking game.)

Directed by Lasse Hallström, the film follows the odd pairing of Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), Britain’s leading fisheries expert, and Ms. Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), who works as a consultant for a Yemeni sheikh (Amr Waked) who is determined to bring the fly-fishing industry to the Arabian desert. Dr. Jones is a by-the-books gentleman who has an off-beat sense of humor, only drinks during the weekend after 7PM, and isn’t passionate for much of anything – including his marriage – besides fish. He is initially offended that the sheikh, through Ms. Chetwode-Talbot, would even propose something so preposterous. In an effort to deter the project from moving forward, Jones makes a series of grandiose demands that include access to the world’s top scientists, an enormous budget, and of course – the transportation of thousands of living salmon to the Yemen. To his chagrin, Ms. Chetwode-Talbot gets him a meeting with famed Chinese engineers, the sheikh gives a whopping £50 million to the budget, and the British Prime Minister’s fiery Press Secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) lends government support, hoping to fabricate a good-will story to improve Anglo-Arab relations. As it turns out, with just a little bit of faith and friendship, salmon fishing in the Yemen (drink!) isn’t such a ludicrous idea after all.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a light movie that confronts some heavy topics (faith, love, the environment, politics, terrorism, and war – to name a few). Unfortunately, two hours doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to go into all of them in depth and the result is a lot of unresolved feelings and having to take the writer’s word for it. As a critiquer of chick flicks, the part that was most unsettling to me was the lack of romantic chemistry between McGregor and Blunt. The platonic chemistry was definitely something that developed throughout the course of the film, and I loved watching that friendship grow, but I never truly bought that they fell in love. At least on Jones’ end it was easy to understand why he would fall in love with Ms. Chetwode-Talbot, even if I couldn’t point out exactly when he does. Blunt brings such an effortless charm, cleverness, and sophistication to the character that, of course, a man in such a dry, loveless marriage like Jones would be attracted to her. On the other hand, Harriet starts off in a brand new, hot-and-heavy relationship with a member of the British armed forces. When he goes missing in action, I was never convinced that the feelings she develops for Jones during this time are authentic, rather than a stroke of vulnerability.

Lack of romance aside, I thought Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was an enjoyable movie about friendship. The comedy was sharp and smart involving some hysterical one-liners delivered to perfection by McGregor, Blunt, and particularly Scott Thomas in a terrific supporting role as a ballbusting PR flack. Although, at times, its attempts to be political got my most exaggerated of eye rolls, it did show some interesting optimism towards Middle Eastern relations. It shouldn’t matter what part of the world we live in – we are all part of the same species. Hopefully, like the salmon, our utopia is just a little swim upstream.

Since this title just doesn’t cut it, Vote for your favorite more profitable movie idea below!

Bridesmaids with Babies

Friends with Kids (2012)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ½ (3.5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ (3.5/5)
Boyfriend friendly: He’ll get a kick out of the monogamous “woe is me” males. But he’ll also probably return that engagement ring.

In a world where the divorce rate is at 50%, a baby can be conceived in a test tube, and chivalry is so dead that today – in a subway car full of men in suits – I was the one that gave up my seat to a pregnant woman, why bother with the all traditional bullshit?

In Friends with Kids, Julie Keller (Jennifer Westfeldt) and Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) are two single, thirtysomething Manhattanites who decide to fuck tradition (figuratively, but also kind of literally). Julie is perfectly content at being mediocre: she has good hair, can pull the rest together, and has a decent job with a nice boss. Jason comes from money, really enjoys his sex life, and likes to play a game where you have to pick one out of two terrible would-you-rather situations. BFFs since the college days, the two are dumbfounded when they discover their married-with-children friends (aka the entire cast of Bridesmaids – Maya Rudolph & Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig & Jon Hamm), who were once so hot and heavy they’d have quickies in restaurant bathrooms, are now resentful, spiteful and only have sex once a month (if it’s a good month). On the endless journey back from visiting the couples in Guam Brooklyn, Jason jokes that divorced people who remarry have it great: they only have to take care of a kid 50% of the time, so the other 50% can be spent intimately with the one they’re meant to be with. When Julie agrees, he takes the joke further saying that they should have a kid together and split custody. After all – not only are they best friends with nothing but platonic feelings for one another, but they live in the same apartment building. 9 months after some awkward, almost-incestuous-feeling sex – Joseph Keller-Fryman is born.

The concept behind this movie isn’t groundbreaking by any means – especially given the last few years in rom-com world (i.e. The Switch, The Back-Up Plan, Life As We Know It). But this is the first time it’s been done by someone as wickedly sharp and funny as Jennifer Westfeldt – who not only starred in this, but also wrote and directed it. With a smart script that was able to make me want both things (for the arrangement to work and for Julie & Jason to end up together), and an all-star cast that she was able to nab through the connections of her longtime, real-life lover Jon Hamm, the idea of having a kid with someone you’re not in a relationship with felt… well, genius.

Of course, as it turns out, life with a kid isn’t all that much sexier just because you’re single. Little Joe can have a diarrhea attack at any moment, and he won’t hold it back just because Megan Fox is in the next room waiting to bang your brains out. And, as Ben (Hamm) points out in a drunken tirade that is spot-on though spurned from jealousy, what do you tell Joe when he’s older and finds out Mommy and Daddy never loved each other? Jason and Julie think they have all the answers, but soon Joe is close to 2 and throwing a heartbreaking tantrum because he wants Daddy to stay the night.

Friends with Kids is a great romantic comedy (with the perfect combination of both) and I highly recommend it, as it acts like an unofficial, more mature sequel to Bridesmaids. It skips all the conventional “honeymoon bliss” and cuts right to the core of a relationship. When there’s not enough time to have shower sex every morning, what else is there to hold it together? Friends with Kids will never be a classic because it is just slightly too familiar, slightly too smart, and slightly too painfully honest at times. The 3.5 rating comes mostly from the last five minutes of the film, which tries to be edgy with an indelicate “I Love You” speech by Jason that uses my favorite four letter word when it just isn’t appropriate. Westfeldt does give us the happy ending though, and in some twisted way it seems that their crazy idea inevitably worked out. Baby first, love story after.

And now I leave you with a link to Chick Flick Critic’s Jason-Fryman-Inspired “Would You Rather” Quiz. Have fun!

Tale As Old As Time

Beauty & the Beast 3D
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4/5)
Boyfriend friendly: Only if you’ll see Star Wars 3D with him in February

Beauty & the Beast 3D may be a weird first review piece considering the story has literally been around for hundreds of years. But Disney, in true Disney fashion, continues to find ways to “re-vamp” all their treasured classics so they can get the most bang out of their buck. After the 1991 film release, came the animated television series, the two direct-to-video midquels, the Broadway musical, the Imax remastered extended version, and, of course, we can’t forget the sing-along edition hosted by Jordin Sparks. Now, Beauty & the Beast is back in theaters, but this time in 3-D… despite the fact that a 5-disc combo pack including a DVD, digital copy, Blu-ray 2D, AND Blu-ray 3D version was released last year.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit how excited I was to pay 20 bucks for a 3D movie ticket in NYC to go see something that I own on VHS. (I used to own it on Blu-ray/DVD too until I loaned it to a foreign exchange student and she took it back to Italy with her… that bitch.) It could be because Beauty & the Beast was the first movie I ever saw in theaters. Or because I named my dog after Belle. But really, I think it’s because Beauty & the Beast is the perfect example of a great romcom. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and you leave the theater singing and believing that you’re a princess also destined for a great love story.

For anyone who has lived under a rock for the past 20 years, Beauty & the Beast is about Belle: a French, Daddy’s girl who is being forced to marry this awful The-Situation-but-better-looking dude Gaston, and (you guessed it) the Beast: who is actually a young prince put under a spell by some mean Enchantress all because he wouldn’t give her a place to crash when she was disguised as an ugly, old homeless person. (FYI: I wouldn’t let an ugly, old homeless person stay in my castle either.) The only way Mr. Beasty can reverse the spell, is by loving and being loved in return. So, to make a long story short, Belle gets trapped in his castle, they fall in love, they kick Gaston’s ass, and the Beast turns back into a Prince all while being interrupted for some lovely musical dance breaks by the Beast’s talking household appliances, Lumiere (a candlestick), Cogsworth (a clock), and Mrs. Potts (a teapot).

Beauty & the Beast was actually converted to 3D before The Lion King and, whereas I was very impressed with TLK’s 3D conversion, I was pretty indifferent to this. The 3D did little to add to the movie’s greatness, but it also didn’t take away from it. Sure, there are certain parts where the characters look flat and two-dimensional against a three-dimensional backdrop (a problem that was almost entirely fixed for TLK). But there were also scenes like “Be Our Guest” where everything popped perfectly. You noticed all the little intricacies put in by the animators that were harder to catch before, like filled wine glasses dancing on top of wine bottles and swooping chandeliers holding spoon swan-divers. That scene alone makes the 3D ticket price worth it.

Belle is by far the best out of the Princess Core 4 (i.e. the princesses that are on EVERY Disney backpack, lunchbox, and nightgown). Sure, your 5 year-old daughter might dream of being a mermaid – but Ariel is only 16 years old and wants to get MARRIED. Plus, she’s a ginger. Jasmine might not be rushing off to get married, but that’s only cause she wants to run around with her boobies hanging out. And Cinderella is just fucking boring. Belle’s smart! She reads! She dresses conservatively (but elegantly)! She’s fiercely strong and independent! And she loves people for who they are on the inside… (sigh)

Deciding whether or not paying an inflated ticket price to see a movie you already know all the words to is your call. I enjoyed it, but I would have also enjoyed digging out my toddler-sized yellow ballgown, popping the movie into the one VCR I have left, and singing/dancing along in the privacy of my bedroom. Regardless of how you do it, the happiness you’ll feel for that hour and a half is worth a re-visit. This tale as old as time is truly timeless, and me thinking that the Beast is hotter before he turns back into a Prince/a Hanson brother is besides the point.