A Walk to Remember (2002)

a walk to remember

GASP! A teenage romantic flick with wit and chemistry!

I will take the stand of Mandy Moore’s character Jaime, and not care what you think of me. I came across this movie back in 8th grade, and despite a girl at my lunch table named Mary who ruined the ending (which I will not), I found myself to really like A Walk to Remember. Even over a decade later, it is still enchanting to me, and even gets the tears flowing.

For those who don’t know, it tells the story of Lance (Shane West), a high schooler who is put on many punishments for a prank gone wrong (being in a school play, tutoring, etc). At all these places he finds Jaime (Mandy Moore), who is there because that is the type of girl she is: the daughter of a Reverend (played by Peter Coyote), who does not mind wearing the same sweater every day.

That they eventually fall in love is obvious. It is the way they get there that is the core of this nearly forgotten film. Lance is a popular kid, but the shell around his heart eventually starts to wither away. Jaime is as kind as she seems, but won’t take disloyalty sitting down either. Moore and West do very nice work together.

Another thing I like about the film is, unlike many other movies based off of books by Nicholas Sparks, the characters don’t seem to find a need to sleep together. I doubt I am ruining anything, for the movie is rated PG (and should be fine for most kids middle school and up). After all, Casablanca did not have any scenes of sexuality, did it?

Recently, I saw the disappointing Me before you, in which the film ends with the characters not standing up for what they want to, and letting others make the choices for them. In A Walk to Remember, the characters seem real, and we feel for their triumphs and their failures. Those they can control, and those they cannot.

A Walk to Remember is one of the most underrated films I can think of.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

Snow Angels (2007)

Snow Angels

Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale.

 

67% is where Snow Angels stands on Rotten Tomatoes. It made a little over 400,000 dollars GLOBALLY. I state these facts not to turn you away from the movie, but as proof that this may be one of the most underrated films I have ever seen. I named it my favorite movie of 2008, and I still stand by that.

It starts off at a Marching Band practice (I did Marching Band in High School, and this movie gets it right). We here two gun shots, and we know this movie is about a small town. The story is a slice of life. There are two main characters (the first is Arthur) that we see the lives of. The first is Annie (Kate Beckinsale, in what may be her best performance), a run down, divorced mom of one living with her own mother. She works at the local Chinese Restaurant with Arthur, (Michael Angarano), who Annie used to babysit. The dialogue here is so real it is almost scary (notice the scene at the begining where Annie is talking about a time she “married” Arthur to another kid when Arthur was young).

Both characters have flaws that are not like ones you will find in cliche movies, but that you would find in life. Annie is trying to recover from her divorce from Glenn (played outstandingly by Sam Rockwell), who is trying to recover from his past mistakes. Meanwhile, Annie is having an affair with Nate (Nicky Katt), the husband of her co worker Barb (Amy Sedaris). Katt plays Nate as someone who is (like so many in real life) really REALLY bad at lying.

Arthur’s parents are on the eve of divorce, and then meets the new girl Lila (Olivia Thirlby, also great here). There are seldom scenes in any movie I have ever seen that are truer than those with Arthur and Lila. Their chemistry together is truly magical, and is a testament to the young actors’ talents. It is one of the best examples of young love I have seen on celluloid (the scene where they say they like each other is sensational).

Things happen in “Snow Angels” that are funny, but also things that are very sad. I won’t ruin them for you. All I will say is that the director (David Gordon Green, who made this before he was making comedies like “Your Highness” and “The Sitter”) has made a film about normal people with normal struggles. There are so many examples of human behaviors that are hidden in site on the screen: a kid opening their eyes during a prayer, people saying “Cool Beans”, a school getting out early to help with a community issue, and so on.

Parents, the movie is rated R for Language and some sexual material. There are a lot of swears, but none that the normal High Schooler has not heard. The sexual material is there, but very brief. That all aside, this movie is a forgotten masterpiece, that deserves more attention.

Rating: Five Stars *****