Friday, August 31, 2012

John Tucker Must Die Movie Review

Even as a teenager, I don’t remember enjoying teen movies all that much. They tend to be very formulaic, have the same cast of characters, and more or less similar stories. I don’t even remember what made me think John Tucker Must Die (2006) would be different, or even good. The only off the wall thing they did was have the happy fat friend and the token black guy end up being the same character. Genius!
Kate (Brittany Snow) is the new girl in school yet again. She quickly learns about John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe), the insanely attractive, highly popular captain of the basketball team. Kate catches John Tucker dating three different girls at once: Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), the smart girl; Heather (Ashanti), the head cheerleader; and Beth (Sophia Bush), the vegan activist. None of them are aware that they are not the only girl in John’s heart. Kate was raised by a single mother and has never seen a functional relationship. She has seen the pain caused by playboys like John Tucker, and she won’t stand idly by. Together with the three girlfriends, they hatch a plan to teach John a lesson. Of course, things rarely go as planned, especially when Kate starts to think she might be falling for John herself.
Just based on the description there, you can probably figure out the entire story this movie has to offer. It wasn’t all that innovative a movie. It didn’t even present the same old thing in a new or interesting way. There are still social cliques and cheerleaders, there are still horny teenage boys bent on losing their virginity, social outcasts who fall in love with the jock, and the token black guy who stays out of every conversation, smiles, and interjects with colloquialisms that perpetuate racial stereotypes.
I have to admit, I did find a few parts of the movie funny. It is intended to be a comedy, after all. One of the funnier scenes early on is when the girls switch out John Tucker’s muscle building supplements with estrogen supplements. This causes the manly basketball team captain to have an emotional breakdown and start crying when the coach is barking orders during a big game. This was funny in spite of perpetuating gender roles and stereotyping. And just like all the other stunts the girls try to pull off, it backfires by having girls flocking to John Tucker because he’s a man that can show his sensitive side. Most of the humor is like this; pretty shallow, unbelievable, and gives an unrealistic view of human behavior. I can forgive it because it’s supposed to be a comedy, but it is still hard to accept scenarios like these. You might chuckle a few times if at all.
Lame as the story and script is, I have to give respect to the actors. Their performance seemed loose and relaxed. When they are trying to act casual, they actually appear to act casual. They don’t have a forced presentation, nor were they yelling their lines into the camera so they can be heard over all the chatter and texting the teenage audience will inevitably be participating in during the movie.
Brittany Snow also played Amber Von Tussle in the 2007 Hairspray movie. She looks really pretty in both Hairspray and John Tucker Must Die. I don’t understand why pretty and attractive people are frequently cast as the socially awkward and outcast roles. Inevitably they will have this profound moment of awakening and transform themselves from being nerdy and un-cool to being confident, attractive, and on top of the social scene. Newsflash to any high-school-aged readers; THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE! Sorry you had to learn that this way, but these stupid teen movies really give us an unrealistic view of high school and of life. At any rate, pretty and attractive as Brittany Snow is as Kate, I have a hard time imagining her ever being unaccepted or being in need of a date.
John Tucker Must Die is a classic example of a light-hearted teen movie, but it wasn’t really a terrible teen movie. It’s not as mean as Mean Girls, not as crude or raunchy as American Pie, and not as cheesy as something like A Walk to Remember. I had a few chuckles and the acting was a bit better than most teen movies. I suppose it’s a subpar movie, but an above average teen movie. If you have graduated from high school long enough to have experience in the real world, you’ll find the unrealistic depiction of high school to be quaint and silly. You might find something to laugh at if you’ve ever had a two-timing relationship partner. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see this unless you really like silly teen movies.

What’s your favorite teen/high school movie? Am I missing out on any good ones? Comment below and tell me all about it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild Movie Review

An item on my bucket list is to attend a film festival sometime. I’d get to see up and coming film artists showcase their work for the first time in a public domain. I imagine film festivals are really exciting. When a movie is a huge success at a film festival, movie critics will rant and rave about it. Such ranting and raving is how I heard about Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). After seeing it, I have to wonder if these critics saw the same movie I did.
The Bathtub is a small, defiant, bayou island community off the coast of New Orleans, cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee. In The Bathtub is a brave six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) who is on the brink of becoming an orphan.  Hushpuppy makes it through the day with her child-like optimism and imagination. She believes that the world is in balance with the universe. Then a fierce storm changes the way she views things. The tough love exhibited by Hushpuppy’s father, Wink (Dwight Henry), prepares her for a time when he’s no longer able to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature, as Hushpuppy sees it, flies out of whack; temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt releasing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy sets out find her mother and repair the universe.
The best thing about Beasts of the Southern Wild is the art direction. There are lots of really neat shots that really are pretty to see. One of my favorites is captured on the movie poster where the residents of The Bathtub are shooting off fireworks and Hushpuppy is running around free spirited, waving sparklers in each hand. That was just gorgeous.  We primarily see life on the little island which the community lives and once in a while we see drilling rigs and oil refiners on the other side of the levees. They seem so alien and distant from the main setting that they may as well be mysterious ancient ruins. The visual contrast between the oil rigs and the green bayou is really interesting to see.
Cute as Hushpuppy was, I didn’t find her very believable. She’s six years old and has an uncharacteristically expansive comprehension of the universe and her own theory of how it all works. Most six year olds are just beginning to understanding that a world exists beyond their own needs let alone a whole universe. The accomplishments of a six year old involve something like tying their shoe on their own, not repairing the balance of the universe. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having a childlike paradigm of the world and how it works when you’re a kid. But an understanding of the universe, simplistic and inaccurate as Hushpuppy’s is, suggests a much larger perception of the world than a six-year-old can comprehend. It just didn’t feel very believable to me.
Critics are almost unanimously impressed with the performance of Quvenzhané Wallis. She was five years old when the movie began production, and seven by the time filming was complete. She’s cute, but I didn’t really think she was all that impressive as an actress. Most of her lines are voice over narrations about ecumenical concepts. Other times she simply sits around while adults do the acting. Once in a while she actually does something and gives an acceptable performance, but overall she’s about as expressive as Kristen Stewart until she has to yell or scream at something.
Beasts of the Southern Wild has a lot of interesting ideas that were thematically tossed around, but never seemed to be pulled together into a solid, cohesive whole. I kept wondering what direction the movie would take with the new, interesting concepts. But nothing really came of it. It was rather disappointing.
Beasts of the Southern Wild wasn’t really awful, but it has a lot of amateur independent film clichés. There was lots of shaky camera work; I had to go sit in the back of the theater to avoid motion sickness. Actors stand very still, talking very deliberately, in nicely framed shots; almost like the director is trying to use visual style to cover up the fact that the actors aren’t all that good. Shots of puddles that are held for too long are used as segue between scenes. The drawn-out theme makes me feel like it should be profound, but very clearly is not. For an independent film, this isn’t really an awful movie; I’m just saying it’s not as good as a lot of critics are saying.
With lots of neat visuals and a creative narration from a six-year-old girl’s perspective, Beasts of the Southern Wild is still a rather convoluted independent film with a sub-par child actor. I imagine most hoity-toity movie critics will call it a “tour de force,” which in layman’s terms means it’s too artsy-fartsy for the average movie viewer to enjoy. If you get a chance to see Beasts of the Southern Wild I’d recommend seeing it if you really do not have anything better to do with your time; like I’ve said, it’s not awful. But if you never do get around to seeing it, you won’t be missing out on a significant piece of cinema art.

What’s one of the worst “tour de force” independent films you’ve ever seen? Comment below and tell me why.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cats Don't Dance Movie Review

Back in the day when movies were recorded off of TV with a VCR, I accidentally recorded Cats Don’t Dance (1997).  I had never heard of this Warner Bros. movie before, but I’m glad I got a chance to see it. It seems to be an obscure Warner Bros. title; I don’t ever remember hearing about it in theaters. It’s a charming movie and is the final film which is dedicated to Gene Kelly.
Danny (Scott Bakula) is a cat from Kokomo, Indiana who loves to sing and dance and dreams of life in show business. Danny moves to Hollywood, convinced that he can become a star within a week. Shortly after arriving, he discovers there is a “species barrier” in Tinseltown; studios don’t care for animal actors, even ones with star talent. The best Danny is able to get is a very small role with the adorable child star, Darla Dimple (Ashley Peldon), who turns out to be a nasty, selfish brat and hates animals as soon as the cameras are off. Danny makes acquaintance of several other animal performers stuck in the same bind as himself, including Sawyer (Jasmine Guy), a pretty but cynical cat; Woolie (John Rhys-Davies), a piano-playing elephant; Tillie (Kathy Najimy), a singing hippo; and T.W. (Don Knotts), a nervous superstitious turtle who dreams of being a romantic swashbuckler-type actor. Together, the animals struggle for acceptance and a chance to show the world what they can do.
Part of what makes this movie so charming is it gently parodies Hollywood musicals of the 30’s and 40’s. If you enjoyed classics like Singin’ in the Rain or old Shirley Temple movies, you’ll probably find something to enjoy in Cats Don’t Dance. In fact, caricatured “cameos” appear regularly in the film which includes Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, W.C Fields, and Cary Grant. The villain, Darla Dimple, is obviously a parody of Shirley Temple. Even the choreography for the dance scenes had Gene Kelly as a consultant; it’s the last film he was associated with before he passed away. The songs in the movie were written by Randy Newman and really felt like classic 40’s musical songs. The movie has a lot of old school charm that will keep adult audiences entertained and laughing.
Another great aspect of Cats Don’t Dance is the animation. The lack of shading made the animation look flat, but the detail in the character’s movements was uncanny. It was full of subtle movements that made them seem very vivacious and expressive. They also moved a lot like spastic Saturday morning cartoon characters; full of exaggerated gestures and activity. Each character had unique movements that were brought to life by the voice actors. The casting couldn’t have been better. The animation is simply fun to watch and will keep adults and children engaged.
This short children's movie story is pretty uncomplicated with predictable plot devices. And yet, it isn’t insulting to the viewer’s intelligence. The writers clearly knew that adults would be watching the movie with their kids and added humor that would go right over the heads of younger viewers. It’s just a simple story with some fun characters, some decent songs, and some entertaining animation. There’s not much of a reason to dissect it any further than that.
Scott Bakula, the voice of Danny, is probably best known for playing Dr. Sam Beckett in the TV show Quantum Leap and Captain Jonathan Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise. He’s also played in Broadway musicals and in other movies. Because of Bakula’s singing background Danny is the only character whose voice actor does both the singing and speaking parts. He’s got a great voice and it makes the character sound more natural. Sawyer, on the other hand, has Jasmine Guy doing the voice and Natalie Cole doing the singing. Each one sounds good, but you can tell it’s not the same vocalist who does the speaking and singing.
Cats Don’t Dance is a cute movie. Most of the appeal is in the classic 1940’s movie references. If you appreciate films from that era, you’ll probably get a kick out of Cats Don’t Dance. Kids will enjoy the artful characters, songs, and amusing animation. It’s a great family film. Cats Don’t Dance was the first non-Disney animated film to have won the Best Animated Feature award in the 1997 Annie Awards. It’s a nice, obscure little gem of a film that is worth seeing if you can find a copy, and possibly buying a copy if you’ve got younger children in the house.

What’s your favorite non-Disney animated musical? Comment below and tell me why!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review

As a life-long fan of Spider-Man I had a duty to see The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) in theaters. If I didn’t, my inner child (who still carries his Spider-Man coloring book everywhere he goes) would be upset with me. Still, I was very skeptical about a Spider-Man reboot only 10 years after the original Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movie, and only 5 years after Spider-Man 3. Did we really need a reboot that soon? I’m still not sure we did, but wow, did I ever enjoy this one!
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents at the age of 4, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and impress the cute girl at school, namely Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). After helping Uncle Ben salvage boxes from a minor basement flood, Peter discovers an old fashioned suitcase that belonged to his father. Using the information he finds inside, he begins a quest to understand who his parents were and their disappearance. It leads him to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), the former partner of his father. Dr. Connors is working on cross-species genetics, in an attempt to regrow his missing arm. Peter is bitten by one of the spiders in the genetics labs and begins to develop spider-like powers. Meanwhile the information from the suitcase that Peter provides to Dr. Connors helps complete an equation Dr. Connors has been working on. In desperation, Dr. Connors tests the formula on himself, but it slowly turns him into a giant lizard. Donning a mask to hide his identity Peter Parker goes by the alias Spider-Man and takes on the bestial maniac, The Lizard, who is bent on forcing the citizens of New York to undergo the same process he did.
First and foremost, what does The Amazing Spider-Man have to offer that the previous three didn’t? The special effects weren’t all that different; it’s the same kind of web-slinging we saw in the Sam Raimi’s movies. It’s not like special effects have made huge leaps and bounds in the last 10 years to show us something new that Spider-Man can do. Spider-Man’s origin story is probably the best known of any super hero. The thing that stands out the most in this movie, though, is the characters.
At the age of 28, it’s hard to believe that Garfield is actually a teenager. But a lot of Hollywood movies do that. Anyway, Peter is an outsider by choice, not because he is disliked. In the original comics, Peter Parker was an outcast because he was a nerd. The concept of a nerd has changed a lot in 50 years, though. Today, nerds are running the world. So even as a science wiz, that’s not what makes Peter an outcast. Being left by his parents has given Peter abandonment issues and he’s afraid to get close to people. What was important in the original comics was that he was an outsider and that has been modified for this new version of Peter Parker in a contemporary context. Spider-Man was always a wise-cracking character, taunting his enemies with sarcastic, witty remarks. We see him do that more in this movie than the previous ones, but here we understand that it’s sort of a defense mechanism. Peter really lets his personality out once he is able to hide behind a mask, almost like how internet anonymity rids us of our inhibitions. Spider-Man practically becomes an internet troll in face-to-face interactions with thugs. Uncle Ben’s famous advice isn’t as prominently repeated as it was in previous films. It even takes a while before Peter starts to understand the philosophical idea Uncle Ben is trying to teach Peter. But still, Peter’s character isn’t defined by an obligation to be a good guy in memoriam of Uncle Ben. Peter is his own character, not the result of someone else’s expectations. I really liked that aspect of this character.
Most people don’t know that Mary-Jane Watson was not Peter’s first and only love interest. I’m glad we got to see Gwen Stacy in this film. And unlike Mary-Jane in the previous movies, Gwen isn’t there just to scream and beg Spider-Man to save her. Gwen is a strong female protagonist who was both cute and independent. She isn’t the damsel in distress character; in fact she helps oppose The Lizard, and not in a small token sort of way. She plays an important role in the overall plot. She also offers Peter a sense of stability. Peter comes from a sort of broken family and she offers him an environment free of parental loss. This isn’t to say the movie insists that the atomic family paradigm is the best. Peter simply wants to see parents present, and the Stacy family is able to show him that. Gwen and Peter form an intellectual bond that is beyond physical allure, and emotional connection. It’s great to see that kind of a relationship in movies as there isn’t enough of it.
Finally, The Lizard was a great pick for this story. Dr. Connors and Peter are like thematic equals. The theme is that we all have missing parts. Dr. Connors has no arm and Peter has no parents. These make each character feel incomplete. Both Peter and Dr. Connors are seeking to fill the void somehow, causing the story to become a kind of cautionary tale about choices. The Lizard isn’t the embodiment of evil, but rather a good man who made a poor decision. Connors genuinely wants to help people, but his reasoning becomes muddled as The Lizard takes over, almost in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sort of a way. My only complaint is that unlike in the comic books, there wasn’t a real separation of Dr. Connors and The Lizard. In the comic books, it’s all about stopping The Lizard and saving Dr. Connors. We don’t see enough humanity in Dr. Connors to get that sort of feel. Maybe if we had seen Dr. Connors with his wife and kids, it may have worked that way. But as it is in the movie, we would have been happy had the Lizard fallen to his death at the end.
Worth noting about the special effects is that the action is slowed down enough that we can see and understand what is happening in the action scenes with beautiful detail. In fact, one of the bigger fight scenes takes place in broad daylight. We’re able to see everything in glorious detail; nothing is left to obscurity in darkness. The movie has lots of detail to show us, and it makes sure we see it. Super powered as Spider-Man is, The Lizard is physically far stronger. In one scene we see The Lizard thrashing about while Spider-Man “wall-crawls” over his body, embalming him in webbing. Not only do we see that in great detail, it’s also tense. It’s obviously taking time and effort and The Lizard’s huge claws could slice Spider-Man in half. It was an awesome fight to watch.
The characters in The Amazing Spider-Man are really good; they’re deep, complex and layered. The story is really good, too. It keeps the well known Superhero legend intact while still presenting it in a fresh, new way. You’ll be able to empathize with the characters. Heck, you’ll probably see aspects in these characters in people you know. Aunt May scolds Peter for coming in late after crime fighting, telling him that she cannot sleep until she knows Peter is safe at home. When she said that, I recalled having a similar conversation with my mother back in my teens. I think the previous movies did a better job of casting actors who looked the part, but the actors in this one did a great job. There are a lot of unanswered questions by the end of the movie, insinuating there will be a trilogy all about discovering who Peter Parker’s parents are. Also, stick around mid-way though the credits for an extra post credits scene. You’ll be chomping at the bit to see the next installment. The Amazing Spider-Man is a good movie, I highly recommend seeing it. I will be buying this on Blu-Ray when becomes available. If you’re a fan of Superhero movies, I recommend you do the same.

Who is your favorite Spider-Man villain? Mine is Venom, hands down. Comment below and tell me why you like him or her so much!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Little Miss Sunshine Movie Review

Comedy-drama movies are an odd thing. They juxtapose contrasting moods that ultimately form a story during which we can both laugh and cry. I’m sure that is an insanely difficult thing to pull off well. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) did it perfectly. I honestly can’t imagine a better film that is full of honest emotional drama and laughable situations.
In Albuquerque, Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette) brings her suicidal brother Frank (Steve Carell) home to the care of her dysfunctional and bankrupt family. Sheryl’s husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) is unsuccessfully trying to sell his nine-step self-help and self-improvement technique to reach success. Her son Dwayne (Paul Dano) has taken a vow of silence as a follower of Nietzsche and aims to be a jet pilot. Dwayne’s grandfather Edwin (Alan Arkin) was kicked out of a retirement home for heroin addiction. When Sheryl’s seven-year-old daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) has a chance to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family travels together in their old Volkswagen Type 2 microbus. The Hoover family deals with every imaginable obstacle a road trip can have as well as escalating conflicts with one another as they try to give Olive every chance she can get to reach her dream.
The thing that stands out most to me in this movie is the acting. The performances are full of remarkable subtleties. The actors (and of course, the writer Michael Arndt) really grasp how unspoken reactions can be funnier than witty comebacks or sarcastic dialogue. It demonstrates also that pain and conflict can be the source of some of the funniest material. For example, Dwayne’s eyes frequently portray a bleak, dead outlook on life and the character is full of teenage angst and disgust. In reaction to his family’s antics, he just tilts his head in an almost imperceptible way to get us to crack up.
After the initial individual character introductions, there is a brilliant scene of the family dinner. This serves to develop the dynamics between the characters. The dialogue feels so natural here and we get a clearer understanding of how the family views one another and what kind of conflicts there are between family members. All the characters are so well developed that you can’t help but empathize with them and their losses and successes.
There is genuinely funny comedy in this movie. I was cracking up throughout the movie. But the funny moments come and go, and in their place is some very real drama. I felt bad when Olive cries for fear of being a loser and potentially losing her father’s love and respect. I felt uneasy when Frank’s academic rival appears at the same gas station, causing to resurface the feelings and thoughts that drove him to attempt suicide. I empathized with Sheryl who is at her wits end trying to keep the family together and happy. You will laugh and cry in this movie, and these two contrasting emotions the movie tries to elicit don’t detract from each other. It is excellent writing!
The Hoover family encounters just about every problem they can on a road trip. One of the earliest problems is after their first stop; they can’t get the VW bus to start again. The aging van’s clutch breaks. Since the van is so old and obsolete, the part must be special ordered which will take up to two weeks. Richard is unwilling to give up, and they take the advice of the mechanic; they push the van until they reach 20 miles per hour and start the engine in third gear. This means they avoid stopping unless absolutely necessary and that it takes a group effort to get the bus moving. Not only is this a hilarious running gag that is used in very creative ways, but it also represents the family needing to work together to keep the family moving and reach their goals.
I simply adore the overall theme of the movie. It is through pain and suffering that we learn and grow the most. The movie is about ideals and dreams versus illusions and reality. The beauty pageant in particular shows us thematically how ridiculous and subjective ideals are. The Hoovers are a family that suffers though trials together, refuses to give up, and decides to do what they like, in spite of what the world dictates is best.
Little Miss Sunshine is “rated R for language, some sex and drug content.” There really isn’t any sex in this movie; we just see the covers of some of grandpa’s porn magazines. We also see grandpa snorting heroin once or twice. I didn’t think it was worth getting offended by them. Language is pretty prominent, though. I do not like profanity, but there are situations in real life that are so intense that nothing can beat a well placed F-bomb. Little Miss Sunshine is full of situations like these. I don’t like how much profanity is in the movie, but it is meaningfully implemented. Anger, rage, and frustration become so intense that saying “gosh darn it” would just sound incredibly stupid.
Little Miss Sunshine is a beautiful movie that is very well written, remarkably well acted, and skillfully directed. There are reasons it won academy awards for best original screenplay. Even the cinematography and color palette are eye-catching. If you can tolerate the profanity, I highly recommend seeing this movie. It’s humbling and dramatic, but still hilarious and funny. I’ve got a copy sitting on my movie shelf along with other favorites.

What is a dramatic comedy, or “dramedy” movie that you really enjoyed? Do you have a favorite? Comment below and tell me why!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Walk to Remember Movie Review

In general, I don’t care for romance movies. It’s not that I’m a guy and prefer explosions in action movies, but rather because so many romance movies are painfully formulaic and predictable. Of course, I’ve come across some exceptions that I enjoyed. I liked Lake House, and No Reservations wasn’t too bad. But while A Walk to Remember (2002) has some positive qualities to it, it was so predictable and standardized that it was difficult to take very seriously.
Set in a lovely coastal North Carolina port. Cocky, popular high school senior Landon Carter (Shane West) is the big man on campus until a hazing incident leaves a fellow student hospitalized. Landon is sentenced to community service and membership in schools drama club. He is forced to seek help from Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), the conservative, religious, plain-Jane daughter of the town’s Baptist minister (Peter Coyote). In spite of their divergent social status, the two inevitably fall in love. Landon struggles with the drop in popularity that this love interest brings while Jamie is forced to deal with her strict father and a secret that she’s keeping from her schoolmates.
There really are some good qualities to this movie. One of the things that stands out to me so much is the actual love interest between the two main characters. There isn’t an overt sexual interest that stems from checking out or groping one another’s bodies. In fact, this is a very modest, innocent, and sweet love story that seems devoid of sexual tension. I imagine that conservatives would enjoy A Walk to Remember since it depicts romance in a way that is often overshadowed by sexualized “reality television” and movies that objectify women as sex objects.
A Walk to Remember is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. Sparks writes a lot of what he refers to as “love stories,” which are different from “romance stories” according to him. In a USA Today interview, he essentially criticizes bland, mainstream romance authors such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway, while claiming that he does something wholly unique and unpredictable. I’m not sure how he came to that conclusion since he only seems to tell one story in each of his novels that he cranks out on an annual basis. There is a great article that describes this irony in more detail, but watch out for spoilers.
Like most teen movies, the adults in A Walk to Remember did seem to be in place to prevent the teenagers from attaining their goals and ruining their fun. But on the other hand, the adults generally had a reason for it. Jamie’s father, for example, is concerned about Landon’s budding relationship with Jamie as any father would. This is in part because he is worried about Landon’s reputation and Jamie’s safety, but also to prevent any potential broken-hearted feelings that Jamie’s secret would probably invoke. I also liked how after Landon learns some humility through his relationship with Jamie, he finds himself needing advice and help from the grownups in his life and has to reconcile with his father who left him and his mother for another woman. That made his character more deep and meaningful; he’s still a stereotypical romance story hero, but that’s a genuinely unforeseen bit of character development for such a clichéd teen movie.
The script in A Walk to Remember was encumbered with superbly cheesy lines and situations that serve no purpose other than to jerk tears. For some reason Landon takes an interest in memorizing his lines for the drama club’s play, and wouldn’t you know it, the lines that we hear from the play have overt implications to the main plot. I don’t think anyone’s done that before, except perhaps every movie that has ever featured a play in it. Anyway, Landon awkwardly asks Jamie for help with his lines. She agrees and says, “You have to promise you won't fall in love with me.” Seriously, who says that kind of thing to someone who has been mean and rude? The dialogue is so sickly sweet and syrupy I felt like I needed to brush my teeth after watching the movie. On top of that it was so blatantly predictable that I accurately quoted lines several times before they were spoken, having never seen the movie before.
A Walk to Remember was sweet, sincere, and positive. It’s also bland, syrupy, and an overwrought, weepy teen love story. For viewers who enjoy romantic movies this will be a compassionate tearjerker about hope and inspiration. For most anyone else it’s a tedious melodrama that gives the unrealistic impression that 17-year-old boys aren’t just after one thing. It’s not groundbreaking cinema by any means. It’s highly conservative and grows increasingly sentimental as it goes on, but shows us some good examples of those qualities. Was A Walk to Remember good? Yeah, it was alright, I guess. Did I like it? No. But even I felt vaguely caught up in the love between Jamie and Landon as they slowly danced under the star filled sky.

What is your favorite romance movie? Comment below and tell me why!