The Choice

Oh hey look, a Nicholas Sparks film. There have been ten of these before The Choice, and most people would start to wonder if he has any originality left in the tank.

Every single one of them are about romance. Most of them are about a death or a tragedy and bringing the unlikely couple together. Some of them do feature twists and interesting angles I have never considered. I still like The Notebook and I thought Dear John was quite clever, but still not living up to its potential.

And I didn’t see The Choice when it came out to theaters. I didn’t even see it when it hit DVD. His 11th attempt at a movie didn’t even try to advertise itself that much. Were there posters? Were there trailers? Is there another of his movies coming out this year?

I have no idea, they sort of just show up and we have to accept them.

Couple
Look at the happy couple. I wonder what Sparks will do to fuck it all up.

Gabby (Teresa Palmer) is a medical student, living with her dog, in the most romantic place in the world, Wilmington, NC. She has her own small place, despite being seriously involved with her boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling). Ryan is already a doctor, Gabby needs to still pass her exams, so she picks a quiet place to be alone to study without distractions.

Until she finds out her neighbor is playboy Travis (Benjamin Walker). He likes to party, sleep around, has a pseudo girlfriend (Alexandra Daddario), and he loves to blast his music at night.

And then Gabby’s dog gets pregnant, so she blames it on Travis’ dog. She goes to the vet angry and hey look, Travis works there, a vet himself, son of the head vet (Tom Wilkinson). And Travis’ dog is fixed! Oh ho ho, how silly.

Anyways, needless to say, they both fall in love, ruin each others relationships, and despite the starting of their relationship being over 2/3 of the film, none of what I said involves the titular Choice and it will just eventually show up. Also starring Maggie Grace!

Dog
Cold beer. Red shorts. Lazy dog. This man loves to party!

The Choice ends up being like a lot of Sparks stories, except somehow feeling overall trashier and dumber than most.

First of all, one of our two characters is in a committed relationship. He might not 100% entirely get her needs, but she is the one who starts fooling around with our main guy, with her boyfriend away for business reasons. In fact even after this, she still gets engaged to her boyfriend. So Gabby doesn’t really feel like a great gal. And Travis doesn’t look or seem to fit the charm that people say about him in this film. I don’t see it, and I can fully admit to understanding the charm of charismatic men.

Their chemistry isn’t super apparent either, so they have to hide it behind montages. And once again, the main crux of the movie, what is the choice and why, doesn’t happen until way late late late into the film. So much of the film is about their initial meeting and relationship (Sparks’ bread and butter), they have to rush the prequel to the choice into another montage showing them getting married and having kids.

Now this choice has no emotional context for us. It is jarring seeing them older (while looking identical of course), but suddenly kids. And of course “The Choice” ISN’T A FUCKING CHOICE AT ALL. He doesn’t make a choice, he keeps things the same as they were, and of fucking course he would. They hype up this god damn choice, so when it happens, I was just sitting there annoyed because it offered no additional tension.

This movie needed to take place with them already married with a family. Throw in some SMALL flashbacks if you want to show how they met, but let us really get to see them being in love and how their lives are before anything bad can effect it. But then Sparks couldn’t have enough romance in it.

This is a romance film that they didn’t know how to make different or tragic. The last act feels stapled on, isn’t heartfelt, and the whole thing becomes a waste of time.

0 out of 4.

Draft Day

By and large, the trailer for Draft Day is one of the worst I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. It is two and a half minutes. It is almost mythical the way they made that trailer. It is both a trailer that gives us the entire movie while also giving us absolutely nothing at all. It is truly marvelous to comprehend that achievement.

I guess that is a negative. A terrible vague yet overly detailed trailer. It also was advertised a lot, so I got to see the same identical thing over and over again. The concept became slightly infuriating. Basically, it had a huge uphill battle to prove itself an amazing movie in my mind.

Chill
Look at how fucking laid back they are about this movie. Clearly they don’t care what I think!

A lot is going on in Sonny Weaver Jr.’s (Kevin Costner) life right now. His dad died a few days ago, one of the more famous coaches of the Browns. Ali (Jennifer Garner) runs their salary cap number stuff, and it turns out she is now pregnant with his kid. It is also 12 hours til the NFL draft, and as the GM Sonny is told he has to make a big splash tonight at the draft or his job might be done. So sayeth the owner (Frank Langella).

Good. He has the 7th pick though. Right now his choice is between a running back that fits his teams system, Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), that is also the son of a former Browns player Earl Jennings (Terry Crews). So Browns royalty, the obvious pick. But Sonny really likes this defensive guy Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman), good at sacks, can stop many great players, just might have some emotional issues.

But thanks to all of the pressure he is facing, he ends up trading for the number one overall pick for his first round picks this year and the next two. Shit. Now he can get Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), a great looking franchise QB. Their current QB (Tom Welling) has bad knees and got injured early on their last season. This pisses off the coach (Denis Leary) who feels his job is on the line thanks to Sonny’s boneheaded decision.

Yeah, then a lot more drama happens. OH WHAT WILL SONNY DO? Ellen Burstyn plays the mother, Sean Combs plays Bo’s agent, and Griffin Newman plays an intern.

Draft Room
Didn’t you know there was constant arguing and drama right before a draft pick?

If you hadn’t noticed, there are no real NFL players or coaches or GMs talked about in this movie. All of the plot points related to the Browns are of course made up. Which is why seeing Crews/Foster there was a bit weird. Oh wait, 98% of this is made up. But they also mention Andrew Luck, and that is probably the only mistake they do I guess.

Garner’s character didn’t really seem to fit the normal stereotypes of a woman in her situation. She was really calm, which is generally not how I see her in most roles. It was strange.

What they ended up doing by the end was a bit clever, but not really too realistic either. Basically, there is no reason for a certain other GM to have done what he did and that is the only main issue with it.

So overall, it is an okay movie. I am surprised it came out in April, since it is clearly just a giant commercial for the NFL, romanticizing the whole thing. The NFL is next month, so I figured they’d make it basically the same day. Most of the teams mentioned were bad, maybe to drum up support, outside of the Seahawks. I also liked Boseman in this movie. Pretty crazy. I have seen him as a famous baseball player, now a made up football player, and later this year, a famous musician. Pretty exciting film roles for this guy is all I gotta say about that.

2 out of 4.