Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The question has been nagging at me for some weeks: six years later, is there any sort of value to be had in another white male critic lambasting the first Sex and the City movie? The good news, then, is that I’m not entirely inclined to do that. Not all of it, anyway. The trick, […]

There is much to be argued for simple things done well. I present for your approval Beyond the Lights, a backstage melodrama and love story that invents nothing, does not surprise, and is still one of the most rewarding films to come out (and then almost immediately vanish) in the waning months of 2014. Blame […]

There’s a terrific and deeply necessary movie that could have been made out of the basic DNA of The Other Woman. It is, for starters, basically a platonic rom-com about how a pair of mismatched women come to rely on each other as friends, and cinematic depictions of female friendships are achingly rare (contra the […]

If I may: Jesus Christ, Zac Efron. I think The Lucky One finally, definitively proves it: he is the dullest, least charismatic of all the twentysomething kinda sorta vaguely movie stars but probably not really. Even Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, fuck, even Taylor Lautner have an easier time making the camera love them. In […]

Holy balls, The Last Song is a terrible movie. Should this be surprising? No: Miley Cyrus + Nicholas Sparks + the autocratic hand of the Walt Disney Company. But am I surprised? I don’t know. Maybe. A little. Stunned is a better word, perhaps; like taking a frisbee to the back of the head and […]

Some fun facts for y’all: Dear John, the first of two Nicholas Sparks adaptations from the first quarter of 2010, and the fifth overall, was the very first to open in the #1 at the U.S. box office. In doing so, it became the Lost in Space of the 21st Century, by standing proud and […]

Nights in Rodanthe, the novel, is a holy terror, and possibly the worst book of Nicholas Sparks’s “early” period, though I really don’t have any idea where I’d set the end date on such a epoch, any more than I know if we’re presently in Sparks’s “middle” or “late” period, with my pessimistic suspicions favoring […]

The Notebook is by most any objective standard the pinnacle of Nicholas Sparks adaptations. It made the most money, for one, which is almost certainly why it’s the one that is almost always used in the ads for Sparks adaptations (i.e. “From the author of The Notebook“). It remains the best-reviewed by professional critics, and […]

The most important thing to note is this: the 1999 A Walk to Remember, author Nicholas Sparks’s third novel, takes place in 1958 and 1959, while the 2002 A Walk to Remember, director Adam Shankman’s second feature, and the leading lady debut of teen-pop icon Mandy Moore, takes place more or less in 2001. This […]

Nicholas Sparks’s first published novel, The Notebook, was introduced to the world in 1996, when the author was 30, and it very quickly became a bestseller; but though it was eventually turned into a reasonably successful and loved-by-some movie, it was not the first of his works to be filmed (nor the second, but let’s […]

Every Sunday this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Final Destination 5 would appear to call for a violent horror movie, but thanks to the Summer of Blood, […]

The most interesting fact about Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is that its producer, Wendi Murdoch, is the wife of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and that he exercised his, let us politely call it his “influence” over Fox Searchlight to make sure the film got a U.S. release. I do not claim that this […]