Everything, Everything Movie Review

Everything Everything

Everything, Everything is an unusual teen romance starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson.

Stenberg plays Maddy, an eighteen year-old afflicted with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). It’s a condition similar to AIDS in which she has a severely weakened immune system. Relatively common diseases, like the flu, can kill her.

Maddy lives her entire life inside her hermetically sealed home. Her mother is a doctor and she ensures that Maddy stays healthy and as happy as possible.

Everything is fine, if a little boring, until the cute, goth boy moves in next door! Robinson plays Olly, Maddy’s love interest. Continue reading

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La La Land Movie Review

la-la-land

I’d heard a decent amount of buzz before going to see La La Land. Critics gave it good scores, my friends and family were raving about it, and it even won a bunch of Golden Globe awards.

A lot of hype to live up to and while it was a very good movie it ultimately did not meet my inflated expectations.

I went into the movie only knowing it was a romance staring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Stone plays an aspiring actress/barista in Hollywood. Gosling plays her love interest

Continue reading

Me Before You Review

Took me awhile to write this review because I’m a lazy slug. If Me Before You is still playing when I post this, great! If not, consider this a review of the forthcoming DVD/Internet download.

Me Before You

Me Before You is the first romance of the summer, at least that’s what I thought before going to the theater.

It turns out that the romance portrayed in the trailers is only a small part of the movie. The real conflict is assisted suicide.

Our main character is Louisa Clark, played by Emilia Clarke, who is let go from her waitressing job and must find something else to help support her poor family.

Louisa finds work at the wealthy Traynor estate taking care of the Traynor’s adult quadriplegic son, Will.

Will was once an investment banker with lots of wealthy friends, a hot girlfriend, and a thirst for adrenaline-pumping activities like skiing, skydiving, and parasailing.

Will becomes a quadriplegic when a motorcycle hits him while he was jaywalking and talking on his cell phone.

Two years later Will is able to talk and move his fingers a little but that’s it. His friends have abandoned him. He lives in constant pain due to the complications of his condition. He is routinely hospitalized with life threatening pneumonia. All of this leads Will to the decision to undergo assisted suicide.

Will’s mother is against this for obvious reasons. Will agrees to give her six months to convince him otherwise and if she can’t, to say her goodbyes.

Enter Louisa! Will’s mother hires her not to take care of Will, he already has a nurse for that, but to cheer him up and show him that life is worth living.

Louisa develops a friendship with Will that grows into love.

The movie is unfortunately lacking in a lot of the things that make a good romance though.

First of all, romances are often framed as a choice between the audience’s favorite and the “wrong person.”

Louisa’s choice of Will over her old boyfriend is practically ignored. Will is just so clearly better except for the disability that its no contest.

Will’s choice is a little harder to turn into a romance. Will can be in a relationship with Louisa or he can commit suicide. How romantic…

The romance is also lacking in physical passion (obviously). There is no consummation of their love beyond a kiss. It’s simply not possible for Will to go further.

The movie was, however, a good drama and dealt with suicide in a realistic way.

People commit suicide for a number of reasons, but I believe the unifying reason is that they’d rather be dead than be in their current situation, whether that’s feeling sad, or empty, or terrified, or, in Will’s case, trapped.

Will explains that he wants to end his life because he cannot bring himself to change who he is.

He is Will the Investor! Will the Skydiver! Will the Snowboarder! Will the Daredevil!

If he can’t be those things, then he’s nothing.

Louisa and Will’s family hope that Will can change his perception of himself. Maybe he can be Will the Dictation Writer, or Will the Quadriplegic Advocate, or even return to being Will the Investor.

And ultimately Will decides…

HAHA! Just kidding, I’m not going to spoil the ending for you.

Having some personal experience with the topics explored in Me Before You I think its fair to say that it accurately portrays why someone would consider suicide and how that open decision could affect that person’s loved ones.

If you’re looking for such a cathartic exploration of this topic or just want to see Emilia Clarke waggle her eyebrows around like a crazy Chinese lunchlady, then this is the movie for you. If not… I’d recommend skipping Me Before You. It is many good things, but it is not a romance as the trailer might have you believe.

-GoCorral

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Review

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Poster

My wife and I went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 hoping for a fun comedy with elements of romance. Instead we got a romance with a few jokes.

I saw the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding with my mom when I was about ten years old. I don’t remember much about it, but I do recall not liking it.

Not surprising, why would ten year old me like a romance movie? There were a lot of things I didn’t like when I was ten that I enjoy now.

If you’ve seen the trailer then you already know the movie is about Toula rekindling her romance with Ian while her daughter is getting ready to leave for college. Additionally, Toula’s parents discover that their priest never signed their original wedding license so they are not officially married. Hijinks ensue as the wedding is planned and the family’s exaggerated Greek culture clashes with traditional American values.

Is it a comedy? Is it a romance? Is it a drama? The trailer certainly presents it as a comedy.

Unfortunately, the trailer was designed to trick you. The movie is definitely a romance. There aren’t many jokes in the actual movie that weren’t present in the movie.

Even worse, the trailer edited the punchlines with better comedic timing and music. Many of the jokes in the trailer fall flat in the movie because of poor timing that the editor should have corrected.

The drama element of the movie is… dull and predictable. Gus, the grandpa, doesn’t want to propose again to the grandma, Maria, because he thinks his first proposal was good enough. She stops being his housewife and doing all his chores until he finally gives her a lackluster proposal while being hauled away in a stretcher to an ambulance (his hip broke or something).

There’s also some stuff about Toula not wanting her daughter to leave Illinois for college. Surprise! The daughter decides to leave and Toula decides to support her decision.

You weren’t really surprised were you? Neither was I.

Fortunately, the romance of the movie was spot on. There’s a few tear-jerker elements and the weak jokes spice up the romance enough to make it interesting.

Greek Wedding 2 isn’t a homerun romance movie like The Notebook or anything else made by Nicholas Sparks, but it was decent. My wife and I felt closer after seeing parts of our happy relationship paralleled on the big screen.

Greek Wedding 2 had dozens of callbacks to the first movie that neither my wife nor I recognized. I’m sure that someone who enjoyed the original movie would like those parts of the sequel as well.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that I’m recommending this movie to people that liked the original. My faint memory of the first movie tells me that the second is a lot like it in many respects. You get to see how the characters have aged and grown and hear all your favorite jokes told in different ways.

The best part, you get to see Gus and some of his grandkids explain how every word in the world has a Greek origin. As a grecophile myself, I loved this running joke.

-GoCorral

The Choice Movie Review

The Choice

My wife picked Nicholas Spark’s latest movie adaption, The Choice, for us to see. She’d heard it was like the new Notebook which we both liked.

The Choice can best be described as two movies glued together. Let’s dive into it!

Travis, played by Ted Cruz lookalike Benjamin Walker, is a womanizing veterinarian who has a semi-steady girlfriend.

Gabby, played by Teresa “looks like a heroin addict” Palmer, is training to be a doctor and is dating one of her superiors at the hospital, Ryan.

Gabby moves next to Travis and they soon realize they are a terrible fit for each other and that Gabby will never sleep with Travis.

Of course Travis can’t have that! He slowly seduces her. They break up and get together. Yadah yadah, typical romance movie stuff.

Now normally the movie would end there, with the happy couple’s wedding.

The Choice is no ordinary movie though!

Fast forward seven years and Gabby is in a coma due to a car accident.

The movie does not spring this on you suddenly. The first scene was actually Travis entering the hospital with flowers and everything else was a flashback.

Travis has to make the titular Choice, keep Gabby alive in the hope that she will return to him and their two children or remove life support?

I won’t spoil his choice or the results/consequences. The end had many tear jerking moments and that’s all you need to know.

The second part of the movie is great and I’d definitely recommend it. As for the first part…

The first half of the movie suffered from the disease of “all these characters are jerks.”

Everyone had some sort of adolescent sexist agenda. Travis is a lady killer. Gabby distrusts all men. Travis’s sister thinks that because Travis and Gabby are opposites that they will obviously get together.

The minor characters get included in the sexist mess as well. Travis’s friends wives say, “Men have more fun if they feel like they’re getting away with something.”

Additionally, the characters have zero problems in their lives except what I already outlined.

As another review I read states, “in the Nicholas Sparks universe, everyone is beautiful and successful.”

While this let’s the audience focus on the plot it did seem odd to me. For example, Travis encounters no racism when he hangs out with his black friends in Carolina. The Confederate flag is also mysteriously absent from landscape shots of the harbor.

I think that would’ve made an interesting sideplot but I understand why it wasn’t included. The movie is about Travis and Gabby, not Travis and his friends. There might’ve even been a conscious choice to leave our racism with the notion that if racism is absent in media then it could eventually vanish in real life.

Regardless of intentions, all these elements disrupted my suspension of disbelief during the film. I kept thinking, “That doesn’t make sense, why isn’t that there?” or “Oh God, another sexist/patronizing speech.”

Adding to that, Walker looks 40 years old in The Choice while Palmer looks 20. This isn’t accidental. The characters they play are actually 10-15 years apart in age. It adds this whole other creepy element of cradle robbing to the film.

Despite all that I’d still recommend the film for its stellar second half. My gripes disappear there and I can wholeheartedly recommend the movie for a Valentine’s Day date with your significant other.

-GoCorral

The Age of Adaline Movie Review

Another movie I saw with my wife! Can you tell who my favorite person to go to the movies with is?

Age of Adaline tells the story of a woman who acquires immortality during a car accident. The movie has a pseudoscience explanation for how she becomes immortal that my wife and I laughed at.

Adaline was born in 1908. The movie hops around a little bit, but most of the story takes place in 2015.

Adaline fell in love and had a family back in the day. She obviously outlives her husband, but her daughter remains a character throughout the movie, aging into a granny by 2015.

At some point the FBI figure out that Adaline is immortal and they move to arrest her because she’s suspected of communism or something (this part wasn’t clear to me).

Adaline goes on the run. Every ten years she changes her name and moves to a new place, keeping the same youthful appearance of Blake Lively wherever she goes.

In 2015 Adaline falls in love with Ellis, a rich socialite who spends his time learning about the local history of San Francisco, something Adaline is intimately familiar with.

I suppose the viewer is meant to feel that the love between Adaline and Ellis is something wonderful and worth preserving, but frankly it feels creepy.

First of all, Ellis pursues her in the most stalker-like fashion possible. She sternly tells him she’s not interested at a party. Next he shows up at her work and hits on her there. They go on a date and then she calls it off. After that he figures out where she lives and waits for her outside her apartment.

Like I said, I think the audience is supposed to feel that his love is earnest, but he seems more like a rich boy who can’t have what he wants and starts freaking out about it. A normal person would start considering a restraining order at this point.

Of course Adaline doesn’t do that, she takes him back and agrees to go on a weekend trip to his parents’ house!

When she meets Ellis’s parents Adaline discovers that she used to date his dad after her husband died and was considering marrying him. The plot ensues and I don’t want to ruin the rest of it for you if you plan on seeing it.

The romance of the movie is terrible. There’s the issue with Ellis being a stalker, but the additional problem of Adaline being a little bit of a cougar. After all she is dating someone who is a quarter of her age.

That said, the science fiction parts of the story are interesting. How does an immortal person’s life work amongst mortals? Is she still sad when her pets die? How do friendships work for her? What does she do with all her time? Does she “retire” every couple of years or keep working? Those are all interesting questions that the movie answers well without even focusing on them.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie in theaters, but if you like little science fiction stories about immortality (I do!) then I’d recommend renting Age of Adaline once it comes out on DVD.

-GoCorral

The Longest Ride Movie Review

Another movie that my wife and I saw together (Oh my God! He never writes movie reviews!).

Unlike Cinderella this movie had the level of passion I’ve come to expect from romance movies.

The Longest Ride is another Nicholas Sparks book turned to a movie. It seems like he and Stephen King get every single one of their books optioned into a movie script.

If you’ve seen The Notebook this is more of what that movie offered. It even has a story within a story like The Notebook.

The Longest Ride starts by establishing a budding relationship between Sophia, aspiring art student, and Luke, professional bull rider.

On the way home from their first date at a secluded lake Luke and Sophia spot a crashed car off the side of the road. They pull an old man from the wreckage. He’s a bit out of it, but he has enough sense to ask them to save a box from the backseat of the car.

They rush him to the hospital. Somewhere in there Sophia tells Luke that she’s moving to New York for an art internship in two months and she’s not sure she wants a serious relationship.

They get the man to the hospital and Luke leaves. Sophia stays and opens the box to find dozens of letters written by the rescued man, Ira, to his wife, Ruth.

When Ira awakes, Sophia tells him she read one of the letters and he asks her to read the rest to him as his eyesight no longer allows him to read them to himself (Ruth is dead and can’t read them to him either).

From there the movie tells two parallel storylines of the romance between Ira and Ruth and the romance between Luke and Sophia.

Luke and Sophia have the drama of Sophia’s plan to move to New York, Luke’s persistence in bull riding even after a serious injury, and the culture clash between their two worlds.

Ira and Ruth are two Jews that escaped Nazi Europe and fall in love in the USA. Ira joins the army to fight the Nazis and sustains an injury that sterilizes him. The main conflict in that story is Ira’s inability to have children and Ruth’s desire to fill that void anyway she can.

Both the stories are fun in their own way and while one segment is going on I started to develop a thirst to find out what was happening in the other segment.

If you’ve seen one Nicholas Sparks movie you’ve seen them all. You probably already know exactly what’s going to happen in this movie. My wife and I happen to like Nicholas Sparks movies, so I’d definitely recommend this to anyone else who enjoyed other adaptions of his work.

-GoCorral