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.” Clich├ęd? 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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These Movies Are What I Live For

The Vow (2012)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)
Film Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5)
Boyfriend friendly: As if he has a choice?

You know that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach during a movie you really like because the camera tilts up to the sky, the screen gets wide, the music gets louder, and you’re just overcome with this complete sadness because you know that it’s going to end? The same kind of feeling you get going down a big drop on a roller coaster? It’s been awhile since a chick flick has made me feel that way. And tonight, I finally got that feeling back.

Valentine’s Day is bigger than Christmas to me, because Valentine’s Day weekend means all the artsy films have been released and nominated for Oscars, and theaters can now make room for the cheesy, feel-good romance movies that proudly make up 95% of my DVD collection. Unfortunately, the past four V-day weekends have been total duds with box office toppers like: Just Go With It (Just Don’t With It), Valentine’s Day (According To Every Single Living Celebrity), Dear John (Dear John, You’re Cute But I’m Going To Marry A Creepy Old Man), He’s Just Not That Into You (And I Can See Why), and Fool’s Gold (The Money The Producers Made From Any Sucker Who Paid To Watch). But ALAS! Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum have come to save the (holi)day!

The Vow is based off of the true life events of newlyweds Krickett and Kim Carpenter – upgraded in the film as the sexier Paige (McAdams) and Leo (Tatum) Collins. After a severe car accident puts Paige in a coma, she wakes up to realize the last five years of her life are completely wiped from memory. In her mind, Obama is still Senator and she is still a preppy law student who lives with her conservative parents (Sam Neill, Jessica Lange) and is engaged to a yuppie named Jeremy (Ben from Felicity). Why would she ever give all that up to become an artist living in a hip, bohemian loft with a musician husband and no medical benefits? Well, that’s the problem. She can’t remember, so Leo has to figure out how to make his wife re-fall in love with him.

To be honest, Channing Tatum and I never really had chemistry before this movie (gasp!). Sure, his body looks like it was sculpted by Michelangelo, but I questioned his acting ability and his dance moves have nothing on Patrick Swayze’s. So I am surprising myself when I say that he carries the film, not McAdams. It is heartbreaking (in a good way) to watch him believably play the unwavering husband who is hopelessly in love with the woman he married and desperate to get back. At times, I even found myself angry at Paige for not remembering him! Astonishingly, despite her non-reciprocated feelings and his frustration because of it, Tatum’s dedication to Leo’s unfaltering devotion keeps the on-screen chemistry alive. Tatum also has a series of clever one-liners, which he delivers with perfection. (Never did I ever think a fart scene could be cute).

In response to the complaints I’m reading regarding the ending well, I won’t spoil it here, but I will say two things:
         1) That’s the way it went down in real life
         2) Doesn’t that prove even further that they truly are soulmates?
I personally LOVED the ending. My only complaint is that it felt like Paige and Leo were apart longer than they were together, which I guess is the case in every chick flick. No one gets together till the end, do they? But here, it stuck out. They started off married in the movie, and I loved those happy moments, so I wanted to see more of them.

Leo expresses my exact feelings, in a scene where he tries to excite Paige about falling in love again: “You know how when you read a great book,” he explains, “And you loan it to a friend, but are so jealous that they get to experience it for the first time, and you’ll never get another chance? Well, now you will.” Even if there’s nothing like the first time, I’ll be sure to experience The Vow over and over again. (Although I’m pretty sure if I lost my memory, my boyfriend would deem it a blessing from God and run for the hills).

P.S. How did I fail to mention the shot of Tatum’s nude butt?