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My Blandy Valentine: Endless Love (Remake and Original) Review

By Courtney Enlow | Film Reviews | February 17, 2014 | Comments ()


movie-endless-love.jpg

This weekend’s Valentine release Endless Love is ostensibly a remake of the 1981 Franco Zeffirelli film of the same name. After watching both movies this weekend, I can assure you that Endless Love is in no way, shape or form a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. At all. Even a little bit.

We begin with the “remake,” said with air quotes so forced I jammed a finger.

On graduation day, poor but popular David (Alex Pettyfer) works up the courage, despite his best friend’s attempts to dissuade him because of their differences, to ask out Jade (Gabriella Wilde), a beautiful, wealthy girl who spent all of high school hanging out at home either studying or being best friends with her parents. A party finally gives her the connection with her classmates she always wanted and, through a summery montage, she falls in love with the boy who made it happen. Their love, however, faces a rapidly approaching end as she will be leaving soon for a huge educational opportunity. Thanks to prodding from her overly-involved-to-a-damaging-extent father, she breaks up with David. But he is unable to stay away and eventually, Jade sees the error of her father’s ways and finds her way back to the love of her short life.

If that all sounds familiar, it’s because this is not, as it claims, a remake of Endless Love, but a remake, rip-off and complete and total bastardization of Say Anything as reimagined by a 14 year old in the middle of a sob-filled fight with its parents about curfew.

Other things happen too. Or not so much “happen” as “take place dramatically” because this movie is as blandly maudlin as it is boringly insistent that it all matters and is important. David is poor, as the movie insists, despite his father owning a seemingly successful auto shop and the two living in what appears to be quite a nice house. But David’s hair is incredibly greasy, so I think that’s supposed to be the indicator. Jade is boring nothingness and she, like her mother (Joely Richardson) and the other female characters (there are two: a blandly evil ex and a blandly bland brother’s girlfriend) serve only as plot mover-alongers while the movie explains to us what their feelings and motivations are. There is also a brother, Keith, a character I took to calling Formal Shorts as that was his base of wardrobe the entire film, and David’s best friend Miles, who despite initial trepidation seems to like and support David’s relationship with Jade while also trying to get him back together with the blandly evil ex. There is no reason for this other than this is not a good movie. There’s a dead brother, too. For a dead person, he has more story and character pathos than the rest of them.

The only characters who seem to matter are David and Jade’s father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood). Hugh is deeply involved in his daughter’s life and immediately hates this boy because of greasy-haired poor reasons. He starts out as overprotective if loving and immediately transitions to the kind of “my daughter is my property” father you only see in the bible and movies just like this. Jade only exists as property in this movie—either as Hugh’s daughter or David’s girlfriend. It is creepy. Mostly it is stupid.

However, the movie more than anything else is gentle. The music is gentle. The stakes are gentle. Even when David punches Hugh in the face, it’s gentle. The whole film was like an assault with a delicate weapon, like being beaten to death with a dandelion. Which is strange for something trying so hard to be PASSIONATE! and IMPORTANT! TEEN LOVE IS THE ONLY LOVE! There’s a half-assed theme of fighting for love, but the fights are so gentle, if it wasn’t repeated ad nauseum in the script, you’d never know.

Now the original.

And if you have not seen either, I wholly recommend viewing the two in this order because the contrast is so stark you may actually go blind. Watching the two in succession was like eating a dry piece of toast and following it by swallowing a live grenade. The original Endless Love is so bonkers it scored “Next Level” on the Mantzoukas scale and immediately won a place in my heart alongside Mariah Carey’s epic, Gliter.

As I said, the remake is not a remake. The two share only a name. For starters, this David (Martin Hewitt) is not poor at all. He and Jade (Brooke Shields) are of the same socioeconomic class and her family adores David until Hugh finds out he’s banging his daughter (Hugh and Jade have uncomfortable levels of affection in this film). The mom, Ann (Shirley Knight), however, is fine with their banging and watches it gleefully from the staircase. After Hugh forces them to break up, David burns their house down and goes to a mental institution. Years later the mom tries to have sex with him and the dad dies getting hit by a car. Formal Shorts is played by James Spader who wears no formal shorts. The movie is completely bananas and I loved every minute, mostly thanks to Knight whose crazy-eyed mother is so vastly preferable to Richardson’s desperate sad-sack. Unlike the remake, the stakes are quite high because everyone is completely batshit insane. Shields’s Jade crying hysterically because she wants a sleeping pill is a scene I wish I could set as my brain’s screensaver.

The only hint of similarity between the two films is the existence of a fire. Spoiler but not really because nothing goddamn happens in the remake at any point in time, but David and Jade have nothing to do with the fire. Formal Shorts lights candles in his dead brother’s room, the dad accidentally kicks it over like an asshole and the house burns down. Whatever.

My weekend of Endlesses Loves was more than I could imagine, a whiplash of cinematic contrast and a roller coaster of stupid. I wish it had never ended. It’s every breath I take. It’s every step I make.

Take us out, Di and Lionel.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • TheAggroCraig

    Teenage romance? Boorrring. I thought this was about Ray Charles' and Helen Keller's epic tennis match.

  • jennp421

    The first time I saw the trailer the music was so ominous I was hoping for a Fear remake. Now that's a movie more teen girls need to see - see what really happens when guys are romantic stalkers? They come after you and your family.

  • BlackRabbit

    Oh Bruce Greenwood, no.

  • I really needed this review tonight, Courtney. You and a glass of (too-sweet) wine own my first smile since 5 am. Thank you.

  • e jerry powell

    That guy on "Puttin' On The Hits" about a generation ago was AWESOME doing both parts of the "Endless Love" duet.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    The one with two half faces on his head? One on each side? I don't know what's sadder, the fact that you remembered it, or the fact that I know what the hell you're talking about.

  • e jerry powell

    It's all bad, hon.

  • Bodhi

    The Mantzoukas scale, the only scale that matters.

    Also, I now really want to see the "original"

  • BWeaves

    The only thing I remember about this movie was Better Midler handling the Oscar presenting duties and talking about ". . .that endless movie, Endless Love."

  • Finance_Nerd

    I wouldn't even know this movie was out if it wasn't for your review... am I alone in this?

  • emmalita

    I started hearing about the remake on Pajiba a couple of weeks ago. All my Endless Love news comes from Pajiba. >.> Hmmmmm.......

  • Target_Blonde

    "Unlike the remake, the stakes are quite high because everyone is completely batshit insane"

    I am going to try my damndest to work the latter part of that sentence in to my dinner conversation this evening. Best President's Day Dinner Party Ever!!

  • kushiro -

    I saw the original when I was 11 during its initial release (at the
    theatre, no less!). I didn't know the word "stalker" at the time,
    but I wouldn't have been hesitant to call David one if I had. I do
    remember thinking that he was crazy and I laughed at the sleeping pill
    scene.

    I also saw Blue Lagoon at the theatre (rating, what
    rating?), so pre-teen me got my fill of Brooke Shields, consummate
    actress.

  • loo shag brolley

    Wasn't the original deemed TERRIBLY SCANDALOUS due to graphic sex scenes? Or was that just the novel? Or am I thinking Judy Blume?

  • Mrs. Julien

    My brain is telling me that there was a book, but Amazon is being no help whatsoever.

    Judy Blume had a book called Forever that had scandalous scenes.

  • Was Forever the one with Dallas and the boy who played the guitar then wanted to get under the covers and bone, or possibly SHE played the guitar and that made him want to get under the covers and bone, and she also had a weirdly over-involved mother, who ALSO wanted to get under the covers and bone?

    It's been a loooong time, but I remember a JB book with a general theme of boning.

    Wine is nice. I like wine.

  • loo shag brolley

    I haven't read Forever (html deficient), but Wifey will blow Tales Of A Fourth-Grade Nothing right outta your brain.

    Never read Deanie either. Think I have some catching up to do.

  • emmalita

    Forever and Deanie made my pre-teen sell swoon and weep.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    There was a book. And bless my past teenage soul I read it before I saw the movie. It didn't make any more sense than the movie. Possibly less.

  • emmalita

    The original was TERRIBLY SCANDALOUS, but my mom didn't want me to see it because of the stalker = great love message. Since I had seen lots of movies with far more graphic sex (the French, you know), I wasn't that interested in seeing Endless Love.

  • loo shag brolley

    "stalker = great love" Hmmm... this is reminding me of something... something with glitter...

  • emmalita

    You got my valentine? I was so worried it had been lost.... Oh wait, you mean that glittery vampire. Yeah, total glitter stalker that guy.

  • poopnado

    Man, even the advertising for this movie has been "whatever". It's like 10 seconds of generic romance, which translates to "if you like this kind of stuff come see this movie, if not whatever, you weren't gonna see it anyway."

  • BWeaves

    The remake sounds like the plot of "Love Story" only with the girl being the rich one.

  • kimk

    "Completely bananas" is the best way to describe the original. Imagine at the time tweenage girls going to this movie expecting a romantic teen love story and watching this madness? The movie has no real world logic or internal logic. MASSIVELY OLD SPOILER: IIRC, David sets the fire based on a story a friend told him about setting a fire once and putting it out, thinking that if he does so at the girl's house her father will change his mind about David and let the two of them start having sex again? Plus, Brooke Shields trying to play someone driven by passionate lust/love is, err, something amazing to behold. And let's not forget the beauty of an oh-so-young James Spader. I think you've talked me into watching this again.

  • Tom Cruise in side-split jorts. Such thigh visibility.

  • kushiro -

    Found this for you:

  • linnyloo

    WHAT? WHAT IS? WHAT!

  • trollthumper

    "David is poor, as the movie insists, despite his father owning a seemingly successful auto shop and the two living in what appears to be quite a nice house."

    Yeah, I know it's gonna sound like an old saw, but Hollywood really has no idea what poor is. Though I do remember author Scott Spencer's words on the remake in The Paris Review (spoiler: he ripped the shit out of both versions), and he noted how the father had shifted from the strident Communist (like, literally Communist) of the novel to an aw-shucks bashful blue collar guy. Because, as he surmised, no one actually WANTS to be blue collar in the movies.

  • Tracer Bullet

    The world's teenagers would be well-served if anyone ever made a movie about a high school couple with the most beautiful, perfect and destined love to ever be in love who break up midway through their freshman year in college.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Thanksgiving weekend, man.

  • TacoBellRey

    I believe the term is "Turkey Dump". Lovely little phrase isn't it?

  • Stu Rat

    I thought that was when you pull all the gizzards and whatnot out of the turkey before stuffing it. With stuffing.

  • emmalita

    Excellent review. More memorable turns of phrase than I'm willing to list in the comments. You should write more reviews.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I would really like to be beaten to death by dandelions at the moment. It conjures up images of lying in a green field, with sunshine, and (naturally) dandelions. And that all seems like a respite at the moment.

  • Wrestling Fan

    "Formal Shorts lights candles in his dead brother’s room, the dad
    accidentally kicks it over like an asshole and the house burns down.
    Whatever."

    this is why I love Pajiba's reviews!

  • Mrs. Julien

    [tight-fisted shiver of joy]

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