What do you do when you’ve written a love story that’s so boring and unoriginal that it couldn’t possibly stand alone, either in book or movie form? Well, apparently if that story is The Longest Ride, you can just tack on a second, equally boring and almost equally unoriginal love story along side it! I think everyone knows that two boring stories equals one awesome story.

So, there’s Love Story 1 – between Sophia (Britt Robertson) and Luke (Scott Eastwood). Now is a good time to point out that Scott Eastwood is Clint’s son and from certain angles looks exactly like Clint, too. Now, is he the greatest actor ever? No, but it wouldn’t matter in this movie, anyway. Luke is a professional bull rider and Sophia is finishing college. They meet at one of Luke’s shows and on the way home from their first date they come across a car crash. They pull out an old man, an old box, and take the man to the hospital. That man turns out to be half of Love Story 2 – between Ira Levinson (Alan Alda/Jack Huston) and Ruth Levinson (Oona Chaplin).

Love Story 2 takes place during World War II. The box pulled from the car crash contains letters Ira wrote when he was young that very conveniently and chronologically describes his relationship with Ruth. Ira and Ruth got engaged, Ruth said she wanted a big family, Ira got sent to war and was injured to where he could no longer have children, Ira came back and things were awkward. Meanwhile, because Sophia is going to leave in a month to live in New York for an internship, she and Luke both acknowledge the pointlessness of starting a relationship. But they do anyway! They could have just said “Hey, we’re both young, good-looking people. Let’s just have sex for a month!” But because they’re “falling in love,” they decide to stick it out, despite having nothing in common.

Back in the 40s, Ruth is an elementary school teacher who pays special attention to a little boy in her class who obviously comes from a shitty family. She asks the boy’s caregivers if she can start tutoring him, and next thing we know he’s at the table eating dinner with Ruth and Ira. They joke around like they all know each other, so I assumed we were skipping ahead to the future after they adopted the kid, but turns out it was still that first day and she was just tutoring him in their home. The tutoring goes on for an unsaid amount of time, apparently during which time Ira and Ruth try to adopt him, which we never see. Eventually, for some reason, the tutoring has to stop. Ira and Ruth walk around the house with the boy like they’re about to bring him to slaughter. They make such a big deal about how they’re never going to see him again even though no one’s moving or dying. Couldn’t you just stop tutoring him? Without it being a big deal?

Meanwhile, Sophia invites Luke to an art show in Charleston that is hosted by Sophia’s boss. While Sophia excitedly walks around talking to patrons and asking questions, Luke boredly mopes around the bar. He looks at a couple with absolute disgust as he overhears them talking about purchasing a painting. Sophia then introduces Luke to her boss, and she asks him how he likes the show. He says “I think there’s more bullshit here than where I work.” Sophia is horrified and her boss sort of laughs it off. Outside, they argue, where Sophia says something along the lines of “That woman is the future of my career,” and Luke says, “That lady?” Yes, Luke, you racist, sexist, asshole, that lady is shockingly much more important than you in this world you know nothing about. He yells at Sophia about how he can’t pretend to care about scribbles on a canvas . . . the same asshole who went in detail about “nice bulls and mean bulls.” Ugh. Despite Luke’s crazy asshole behavior, they go home together because . . . love.

Right before Sophia is to leave for New York, Luke gets injured and is told he can’t ride anymore and they finally break up. Back in the 40s, Ruth leaves Ira because she can’t stand not having children. Well, until she shows up a week later and they get back together and live happily ever after, collecting art. In the end, Ira says “We were happy just with each other, without children.” But wait, wasn’t that the entire situation all along? So what the hell did you learn? What the hell did we learn? WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT OF THIS LOVE STORY? I guess to tie-in Notebook standards of the 40s and old people in love and dying, as we get to watch Alan Alda wake up to his dead wife next to him while he cries. Typical Sparks.

After Ruth’s death, the now-widow of the then-boy that Ruth tutored visits Ira to tell him of his death and to bring Ira a portrait he painted of Ruth. It, along with Ira and Ruth’s huge art collection, gets boxed up to be auctioned off after Ira’s death. Later, with Sophia in New York and Luke wherever he’s supposed to be (one of the Carolinas, South, maybe?), they each get a call from Ira’s attorney telling them that Ira has died and invites them to the auction of Ira and Ruth’s art collection. They both show up and Luke buys the first painting, one that no one wants, which is the boy’s painting of Ruth. Sophia follows Luke to a backroom where he signs paperwork for the painting and they tell each other they love each other and Luke doesn’t want to ride bulls anymore because he wants to be with her, so they make out. Outside, everyone in the auction house is going insane. Why? Oh, oh, right! That’s because Ira put a clause in his will that said that whoever bought the painting of Ruth would be automatically gifted his multi-million dollar/priceless art collection because the painting of Ruth meant the most to Ira. CONGRATULATIONS, LUKE, YOU ART HATER!!!

So what you think happens at this point? Because I guessed it completely correctly, and that never happens. Of course Sophia leaves New York to open a museum wherever Luke is of all of Ira and Ruth’s art collection. THE END!!!!

Here’s what we learned:

  • If your relationship ends because one partner wants kids and the other partner can’t have kids, just stick it out because you’ll realize art is way better than kids
  • If you have a fling with someone within a month of your moving across the country, also stick that out because you’ll still end up together
  • Those who hate art will profit the most from it

But yeah, I hated this movie because Luke and Sophia didn’t deserve that art, much less did they deserve to live off it their whole lives. Plus sneaking in the pointless Jack Huston love story just emphasized how forgettable the main story is. Worthless.


Elizabeth and I first saw a piece of this movie at the YMCA and even though we watched 30-40 minutes of it the film was so bad and hit on a lot of relatable topics, so we had to watch the whole thing. I first wanted to watch this because I had never seen Clint Eastwood’s son in anything and this is another Nicholas Sparks movie. Unfortunately there is no ghost in this movie but that’s not to say there isn’t some gold to be found.

The movie involves a romance between a bull rider and an aspiring art historian (?). Like all Sparks stories it takes place over a summer. The two create a love so strong that they know, even though the road is rocky, IT WILL LAST FOREVER! But why? These people don’t really like each other, they just like having sex with each other.

The story goes that Luke is a bull rider and is having a tough time because he is badly hurt. He finally recovers and tries bull riding again. At one of the events he sees Sophia and gives her his hat. From there on there are a few montages of them falling in love. Really they just ride horses and touch each other. Then more montages of Luke being good at bull riding and moving up the ranks in the world. They travel all over for his shows. Then one day they go to an art gallery that Sophia is helping with. Immediately, Luke is pissed! Why the fuck should he deal with all her art shit! I mean it’s just lines on canvas? Fuck that anyone can do that shit! So he blows up and leaves. Luke and Sophia then have a meaningful fight outside the gallery about coming from different worlds and not being able to make the relationship work. END OF MOVIE! Oh, no? They still stay together? The scene after they say it can’t work they are cuddling with sad faces in a bed? Maybe they signed something that made them stay together? You know what, the movie does take place in South Carolina so there’s probably a state rule about having to marry someone you kiss or something.

While this is all going on there is a whole other storyline. Because if the first is boring why not throw in another mediocre one. That has to do with Jack Huston falling in love with an art enthusiast and creating a giant art collection that defined their love for each other. To be honest it was a much better story then the other but that probably just had to do with the art part. Everything else is boring. They fall in love. They collect art. They want a family but can’t have kids. They can’t adopt. They almost separate? She eventually dies.

There is a lot in this movie but nothing really worth anything. In terms of Sparks movies though I really would say this is one of the worst ones. In that regard it was absolutely worth the watch.

SHROOMS (2007)



A good horror movie if you don’t really want to watch and don’t think about it at all. The movie takes place in Ireland for some reason, it looks like northern California, and some college kids decide to eat shrooms and trip in a forest occupied by inbred Irish folk, who can’t speak and eat road kill for dinner. There is a trick ending though so watch out but I will say if you think you know what’s going on, it’s quite possible you won’t because none of the movie makes sense, and you know how it’s going to end.

Maybe a must watch? But watching Scream or something would probably a better use of your time.

Elizabeth (spoilers! – not that you should care)

I wonder what the motivation behind making Shrooms was for everyone involved. Especially Jack Huston. I mean, I know everyone needs work and this was pre-Boardwalk Empire . . . but still. I also really hope that this isn’t supposed to be a PSA-ish anti-drug movie. Because if it is, it’s much more on the level of Reefer Madness than Requiem for a Dream.

Lindsay Haun plays Tara (who is also in True Blood occasionally), a girl on a trip to Ireland with a group of asshole friends. I was actually shocked to discover in the end that Shrooms was actually filmed in Ireland, and not Canada or the northwestern United States. The colors are so awful that it doesn’t look like any real specific landscape, but certainly not Ireland. Anyway, Jack Huston plays Jake, who is taking all of the friends to the woods to trip on shrooms for the first time. Going to a foreign country, to foreign woods, to do a hallucinogen that you’ve never done before sounds completely horrifying, but whatever. Jake neglects to inform everyone while they’re looking for the shrooms that there’s a special kind of shroom, that looks almost identical to what they want, that will cause you to have premonitions and then almost immediate death. Because of his insane oversight in not telling anyone, Tara eats the bad shrooms and has visions of everyone’s deaths, which, one by one come true. In the end, we discover it was actually Tara who killed everyone while on a shroom-fueled rampage. It’s sort of weird when you realize that the “twist” is so overplayed and cliche that it doesn’t even seem like a twist anymore.

There’s other weird stuff, like how one of the characters sees an abandoned car in the woods and when he approaches it, the window rolls down slightly so he puts his penis in the window for a blowjob. His penis gets cut/bitten off, of course, as one might expect, because he’s completely insane for doing that.

It’s just crazy how not scary this movie makes the actual drug seem if you know the least bit about shrooms’ effects. But don’t do drugs!




It takes a special kind of movie to not introduce main characters’ names clearly and quickly and have the audience not notice. The last time I personally can think of a movie to do this successfully was Drive, when I didn’t realize Ryan Gosling’s character didn’t have a name until the end credits.

Not Fade Away is not that special kind of movie. I had no idea what any of the characters’ names (not counting James Gandolfini as “Dad”) were, until well into it. I waited for the main character’s name for the first twenty minutes, and then thirty minutes, and then an hour, until finally, over an hour into the movie, a random family member calls the main character (John Magaro) Douglas. So, I guess that’s his name. This might seem like a minor problem for a movie to have, but it can be pretty telling of more serious problems, such as pointlessness, lack of direction, and lack of story, all of which Not Fade Away suffers from.

Chris and I saw this at a free preview screening and thank God for that. It played out like a filmed rough draft of a film student’s script: meandering, seemingly endless, with too many characters that go nowhere. The main character, with his pretentiousness (on his band: “It’s not a career, it’s an artform,”) and disrespect for his family, is wholly unlikeable. Add to that the fact that they were clearly going for a young Bob Dylan/Fabrizio Moretti look and instead just ended up with Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter. And while I’m thinking about hair: I normally give little to no thought about wigs, but the pathetic rags they called wigs in Not Fade Away were so laughable that they were distracting, particularly the one they planted on Jack Huston.

Coming from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, David Chase knows good and well what James Gandolfini and Jack Huston are capable of, yet he still did them the disservice of putting them in his amateur film debut. You’ll be much better off just watching That Thing You Do!.


Hey, at least we got to see this for free. Because it was not good. Because I wouldn’t pay for it. This was David Chase’s first movie in theaters, and it really shows. Of course we know him for The Sopranos, he has an excellent resume, but for this film really nothing worked. Like most films there needs to be a point and this one falls completely short. There are many hints of maybe something exciting happening in the plot but everything is easily resolved and if something was inevitable it never happened, just presumably after the movie ends.

The big star of the film is James Gandolfini. He’s easily the most recognizable person on screen and blows everyone out of the water as far as acting goes. For being so hyped up as one of the main people of this film he was maybe in a half hour of this two-hour drama, maybe? I think he is a fantastic actor and even though his character is a little rough around the edges (racist) it unfortunately goes with the time period, and I was on his side throughout the movie more so than the leading kid.

I believe a main problem as well, other than a real story, was the amount of characters and the unnecessary time spent on them more so then the main kid. It kind of reminded me of The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire, where you become aquatinted with a lot of people, but in the TV setting you have time. Two hours is not enough time for what he may have been trying to do.

Lastly, this film just reminds me too much of how awful teens can be but does make me appreciate that I am no longer one. Maybe this would have been a little better if I was still in high school but right now, tonight, I didn’t understand why we were supposed to care about our protagonist. I hope David Chase does try again but he really needs to sit down and rethink a few things. Mainly that television shows and movies are two different things.