Last weekend two films were spat from the roiling depths of hell to plague moviegoers: The romantic drama Endless Love and the romantic fantasy Winter’s Tale. Damn you, Valentine’s Day. They are both unspeakably, unwatchably awful. But is there a way to look at two steaming hellturds, sitting side-by-side, and say “This steaming hellturd is less of a steaming hellturd than the other?”
I am here to answer that question. Endless Love. Winter’s Tale. Which movie sucks the least? Spoilers lie behind this point. Knowing what happens in advance cannot possibly make either of these movies worse.
Endless Love: Jade (Gabriella Wilde) and David (Alex Pettyfer) love each other, but they’re from opposite sides of the tracks, and her dad’s way overprotective. That’s it. That’s literally it. This movie is mayonnaise mixed with white bread mixed with the most generic thing you can possibly think of.
Winter’s Tale: Lovable scamp Peter (Colin Farrell) falls for dying beauty Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay), but he’s being hunted by ex-boss Pearly (Russell Crowe), who’s mad about Peter not being as evil as him. Also he wants Peter not to succeed in giving Beverly his “miracle,” which would cause there to be another star in the sky, which would take up valuable celestial real estate from demons like him, because did I mention? Russell Crowe’s a demon. There’s an angel, too, and fate, and a flying rainbow horse. But none of it is given a narrative foundation—it’s just lying there empty, so when characters find out about crazy magical shenanigans they have to smile and nod like it makes any sort of damn sense. (My dead sister’s boyfriend, who disappeared after she died, shows up a century-plus later, not having aged a bit? But of course! I’ll invite him in for tea and send him on his way!) This movie, ladies and gents, is why you can’t just throw magic at a wall and hope it sticks.
“Winner”: Winter’s Tale, because at least it tried to do something inventive, and I’d rather watch something hilariously, stupidly bad than just plain boring bad any day. You can almost, if you squint, catch vague hints as to why the people involved at one point thought they’d be making something good. It has elements that could have worked… in a completely different movie.
Endless Love: It was OK, I guess. Bland. There’s not much you can do when you’re given cardboard cutouts to bring to life and scintillating dialogue like “There was a beautiful girl surrounded by people, yet utterly alone” to work with.
Winter’s Tale: There are legit good actors in Winter’s Tale. A lot of them. We’re talking seven Oscar nominations and four wins among the bunch. I kept waiting for someone to do a performance worthy of their talents, but no one ever did. Colin Farrell—who’s great in good movies and horrible in bad ones, and Winter’s Tale ain’t the former—kept blinking at things like a sleepy baby staring at a particularly glittery mobile. The less said about Russell Crowe’s hammy Irish accent and facial contortions, the better. Jessica Brown Findlay was so wide-eyed and ~pure~ and ~innocent~ and ~tragic~ that I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and scream “This is not what Sibyl died for!”
“Winner”: It pains me to say this, but Endless Love is the least bad. It all comes down to Winter’s Tale’s lost potential.
They both ended far too late. Like an hour and 45 minutes too late. This one’s a draw.
Endless Love: Writers spiced up a boring as hell story with not just a car crash, but a car crash and a house fire and angst involving a dead sibling and an infidelity subplot. I’m surprised someone didn’t come down with a fatal disease. That’s how melodramatic this movie is. Ebola could only have improved things.
Winter’s Tale: Flying horse with rainbow wings.
“Winner”: Endless Love
Endless Love: Fairly inoffensive, as these things go.
Winter’s Tale: You’re going to need to either mentally steel yourself or put on some very dark sunglasses before subjecting yourself to Colin Farrell’s hair in this movie. You ready? Click, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. And again. At one point Peter’s hair grows out into something that doesn’t make me question the presence of a kind and loving God, only then he voluntarily gives himself that haircut again. Just when we thought we were out, it pulls us back in.
“Winner”: Do I even need to say it?
And so the ultimate quote-unquote “winner” is… Endless Love. Its suckitude is extreme, but it’s fleeting. Five minutes after the credits roll the time you just wasted is but a blur in your mind.
The extreme horror that is every single thing about Winter’s Tale, on the other hand, sticks with you. It’s been almost a week, and I still scream myself awake from nightmares about the scene where Peter’s adoptive father explains that that his horse is so weird because of ~ancient Indian magicks~ (I swear to God), and Peter just goes with it, because yeah, sure, that’s something that happens in real life.
But, in a way, Winter’s Tale is the legit winner here. Because it’s hilarious. I was trapped in a dark room by myself watching this cinematic demon baby, unable to escape or even scream in terror. But you, kind readers. You can learn from my misfortune. Wait for it on Netflix and surround yourself with alcohol and snarky friends. Take a journey on the flying technicolor horse of dreams and bad fantasy movies, you crazy kids.
(Rainbow horse pic—minus the caption, which is all Rebecca’s magnificent Photoshop skills— is via No. 1 HD Wallpapers)