Okay, so not all romance sucks. There are some Good romantic movies out there, and then there are the Bad and the Ugly. I don’t usually do movie reviews but I really can’t let this one go without at least a mention… which somehow ended up being a long tirade. Go figure.
I don’t know if the novel, The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks is any better than the movie – it may be since it seemed to me the directing and the acting was at least as much if not more responsible for the horrific viewing experience I put myself through as the writing… but ugh!
Let’s start with the annoying tittering laugh that came from the lead actress. Actually, that’s not really fair; this should be about the writing, right? Because my A-Z is about writing. So I didn’t mention anything at all about the giggle from hell that made my ears feel like they were being attacked by a cheese grater at the least appropriate times in the movie.
How about instead I talk about Sparks using every single romantic cliché known to mankind in one story? And misogynist? Oh boy. The story consists of two separate story lines – one taking place in the present (between Luke and Sophia) and one being told by the character played by Alan Alda (who incidentally saved me from chucking my popcorn and walking out). Both relationships can go nowhere but both couples enter it anyway. The present day romance is between a professional bullrider and an art student who plans to move to New York for the best job evar. At the same time (but not really because it’s happening in the 1940s,) the other couple, Ira and Ruth (Ira is the young Alda) get married despite the fact that she wants a big family but he’s sterile because of an infection he caught in the war. Basically it’s the same story told twice only we’re supposed to believe Alda is teaching the present-day couple something about their own relationship.
Eventually both couples break up (as they do) and Alda states in the movie something like with love must come sacrifice. So both couples have to have their sacrifice and here’s where the misogyny comes in. Ruth can’t stand being childless anymore so she leaves Ira… with two small suitcases. He gets everything else – the house, the dishes, the heat, the roof etc. Meanwhile Luke, who has been slowly trying to kill himself with the bullriding because OMG it’s all I know how to do! gets hurt and Sophia gives up her job in New York.
We switch back to the past to find out Ruth went back to Ira with her two little suitcases – she probably got tired of squeezing herself into them every night to sleep – and then years later she dies... oooh, what could possibly happen with the other story?
Well surprise! Luke goes on to win the biggest bullriding prize there is! Amid flying bull snot and an eight second ride that lasts, by virtue of slo-mo, about three hours, he becomes The Best in the World!! (It didn’t go unnoticed by the way that there was no one in the competition who didn’t have a Texan accent… but Texas is the world, right?) He flies off the bull and stands in the middle of the bullriding area and looks around at the crowd… she’s not there!!! Oh noes! I’ve done this all for nothing!
Meanwhile, after a visit between Sophia and Ira during which she says to him something to the effect of, I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and talking to you, which actually means, I know you’re going to die now but I’m glad I got to know you before you bit the biscuit, he dies!! Holy shit, did I call that one!
So there’s an auction. Ruth had a priceless collection of art because she was an art student too (duh, same story) and Ira conveniently invited (by way of his lawyer) both Sophia and Luke to attend. To get them back together. Because duh.
There’s a portrait of Ruth being auctioned off first and no one seems to want it. The price goes down and down and then Luke, who has just presumably won a kagillion dollars for being The Best Bullrider in the World buys the portrait for $600, thus cementing the relationship between himself and Sophia for all eternity. The end.
Okay no, there’s one little twist I didn’t mention. So if you too would like to go and see this horribly cliché movie and roll your eyes, giggle in all the wrong spots, and resist the temptation to climb over all the other people in the packed theatre for the final ten minutes of the film, you’ll have something left that I haven’t told you about.
Knock yourself out.
I’m probably going to catch a lot of shit for this review but what the hell. If I can save just one person the money they could otherwise have spent on a bottle of wine or a delicious Big Mac, it’s worth it.
Edit: I suppose since the main character, Luke, lived his entire life in North Carolina, that he has a North Carolinian accent – all sounds Texan to me. But what do I know? I’m Canadian, eh?