The Notebook (2004)

I hate the goddamn Photoshopped version where Gosling's beard is removed.

I hate the goddamn Photoshopped version where Gosling’s beard is removed.

Directed by: Nick Cassavettes (I’d have to say his best movie is either this one or She’s So Lovely, but I haven’t seen the latter film in over a decade so that would require a re-watch)

Written by: Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi adapted Nicholas Sparks’ novel to the screen

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, Sam Shepard, Kevin Connolly, David Thornton and James Marsden

What it’s about: a man reads from a book to attempt to revive a woman’s memory

What I liked: First of all, the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is off-the-charts explosive.  I mean, explosive in a good way.  You truly get the sense that these characters loved each other passionately.  The story is fairly by-the-numbers, and without Gosling and McAdams starring, it would probably have been a forgettable film, no matter what director Nick Cassavettes did.  The movie looks gorgeous, and the acting throughout is decent.  The characters feel real, in particular the poor James Marsden character, who reacts in a fairly realistic manner to life-changing news.  Plus, he’s charming!

What I disliked: Well, with any romantic drama (romama? dramantic?) there is an inherent quantity of cheesiness, and that is not absent throughout the entire movie.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Certainly.  No, wait.  Some people will think it is just a “chick flick” (a designation I detest), and they will be pre-disposed to hate it, no matter how good it is.  I’d recommend it to people that like good movies.

Rating: 4 / 5

As soon as I saw this scene, I knew that someone would have made a gif out of it.

As soon as I saw this scene, I knew that someone would have made a gif out of it.

Hop (2011)

Holiday-themed family movies are generally a mixed bag.  You hope it’s going to be something timeless that becomes part of a yearly tradition, something magical that brings pleasant memories to you of holidays past.  Most of the time though, it’s an easy cash-in flick for families that want to do something with the kids on their days off, at least when the movie is in theatres.  These movies feature almost nothing memorable about them at all, and only become yearly traditions because TV stations buy the rights to broadcast them and fabricate showings as event viewings.  Maybe I’m jaded, but the only thing memorable about Hop was the terrifically racist chick character, Carlos (Hank Azaria), and the traumatizing image of a CGI rabbit pooping jelly beans.

E.B. (Russell Brand) is next in line to become the Easter Bunny, since his father, Mr. Bunny (Hugh Laurie), is getting on in years.  E.B. wants to be a drummer though, and if you have already suspended disbelief enough to buy into a Santa Claus-esque Easter Bunny Operation, why not go all the way and believe that a bunny can drum.  Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) is a shiftless layabout disappointment, and his father (Gary Cole) demands Fred get a job and do something with his life.  When E.B. runs away to Hollywood, he meets Fred and yes, you can probably fill in the blanks from there.

Hop isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s nothing great either.  There’s some charm in Brand’s performance, and Marsden can be great at times (see Enchanted or the underrated Sex Drive), and there’s some decent supporting actors as well.  Namely Kaley Cuoco, who should be in everything.  There’s really no excuse for having Azaria voice Carlos when you could have gotten someone else much less talented (like George Lopez) and have it be authentically Hispanic.  Unless of course, they tried to do that and the Hispanic actors were all “THAT’S RACIST!”  I don’t even want to get into how little the story makes sense (a chick that stays a chick for at least 20 years does not make sense) because it’s family fare and supposedly that’s an excuse for making dumb story decisions.  Something I’ll never watch again.

2.5 / 5