This week is the Romance category. Usually we look for a RomCom, but in based-on-a-book there is only one possible choice and his name is Nicholas Sparks. Given that we are already a little behind on the (admittedly mediocre) crop of 2016 films, it seemed appropriate to go for the latest (and last?) Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Choice. I know little about the film other than the certainty that it could not possibly live up to the insanity of Safe Haven (with it’s spooky gh-gh-gh-ghost), but let’s hope it tries its best. It’s weird too, cause if you look at the cast I know a lot more of the side actors (Maggie Grace, Tom Welling, Tom Wilkinson, Alexandra Daddario) than either of the stars (Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker). Seriously, how did they get Daddario to be in this as a super minor character? Let’s go!
The Choice (2016) – BMeTric: 10.1
(Let that ratings plot sink in for a second. There was the initial plateau in which the movie reached just about the IMDb average of 6.3 which already seems high, but whatever. Then, when the DVD comes out, the votes spike and … the rating goes up! People are rating this movie a 7+! It stands at 6.5 at the moment, but this is straight up nonsense I feel like. Warcraft-esque in never being able to represent the actual quality of the films. Oh IMDb, why you got to be so bad with recent films?)
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – You, too, have a choice to make while looking for diversions this weekend. Unless you desperately want to hear the football term “take a knee” associated with a marriage proposal, seeing “The Choice” should probably not be on the list.
(What a weird thing to nitpick. Did it really bother you that much that they used that football term during a proposal? Stretching too hard to be clever here.)
(I felt like I was getting whiplash from that trailer. So many cuts and so many things happening. I’m not sure I understood the plot at all and in particular what choice must be made by the characters. They also gave away what is supposed to be the “twist” in the book, so… Spoiler alert. You know, if you cared.)
Directors – Ross Katz – (Known For: Adult Beginners; BMT: The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars as a Producer for Lost in Translation and In the Bedroom. More recently turned to directing.)
Writers – Bryan Sipe (screenplay) – (Known For: Demolition; BMT: The Choice; Notes: Worked to get Demolition made for more than 6 years. It was also released this year.)
Nicholas Sparks (novel) – (Known For: The Notebook; BMT: The Last Song; Nights in Rodanthe; Message in a Bottle; Dear John; The Lucky One; Safe Haven (BMT); The Choice; The Best of Me; The Longest Ride; A Walk to Remember; Notes: His films have been in box office decline the last few years (his last three are the lowest grossing of all 11 adaptations) and unsurprisingly shuttered his production company last month.)
Actors – Benjamin Walker – (Known For: In the Heart of the Sea; Flags of Our Fathers; The Notorious Bettie Page; Kinsey; BMT: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; The Choice; Notes: Started his career as a stand-up comic. Turned down the role of Beast in X-men: First Class in order to star as Andrew Jackson on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.)
Teresa Palmer – (Known For: Lights Out; Triple 9; Knight of Cups; Warm Bodies; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Wolf Creek; December Boys; Wish You Were Here; BMT: The Grudge 2; Point Break; I Am Number Four (BMT); Bedtime Stories; Kill Me Three Times; Love and Honor; Take Me Home Tonight; Cut Bank; The Choice; Notes: Was supposed to star in Jumper (one of the early early BMT films), but was replaced by Rachel Bilson before filming began.)
Also stars Maggie Grace (recent star of The Fog 2005).
Budget/Gross – $10 million / $19 million
(Has the 72nd worst opening ever for a film released in 2500+ theaters. It came in just worse than Everyone’s Hero(!). That animated film about a talking baseball bat? What?! You lost to a film about a talking baseball bat? No wonder Sparks shuttered his production company.)
#72 for Romantic Dramas
(Wow, look at that mid-2000’s collapse! I think it has to do with a couple bombs in a row, but it could easily be that some other genre was sapping things up. Everyone knows that the trough there is the true heyday of bad movies! The dizzying heights we live in now I think is the result of micro-budget film companies. But it is hard to tell. To put all of this in perspective there was a single romdram in 2006, and in 2016 there has been four already so far (9 last year, 12 the year before, it is slowing down). All very interesting. Especially how consistently profitable the genre has been through thick and thin.)
It is also 11/11 for Nicholas Sparks movies on box office mojo.
Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (9/73): Like the 10 Nicholas Sparks movies before it, The Choice finds tragedy striking star-crossed lovers in the sun-dappled South — yet even for those who loved its predecessors, this gauzy melodrama may feel painfully formulaic.
(Really? Considering I’ve already read the book for this one I have to say: this is probably a horrible consensus. I’m sure it doesn’t score a 12% by just being a bit too formulaic.)
Poster – From the Best-Selling Author of The Sklogbook and Sklogwagon … The Sklog (D+)
(While this poster is the worst, I couldn’t totally pan it because I actually think the color tone is surprisingly pleasant. Unfortunately that zoom is bizarre, the text font is too simple, and the spacing on the poster is not working for me.)
Tagline(s) – Let your heart decide. (D)
(Cool story, bro.)
Keyword(s) – lawn chair; Top Ten by BMeTric: 41.5 A Dirty Shame (2004); 36.4 Track of the Moon Beast (1976); 30.5 See Spot Run (2001); 19.2 Swing Vote (2008); 16.4 Hail, Caesar! (2016); 9.9 The Choice (I) (2016); 9.8 Jodi No.1 (2001); 9.0 Snowtown (2011); 6.3 Desert Blue (1998); 5.8 All Over the Guy (2001);
(An inaugural entry into the booming lawn-chair genre! I don’t know how the hell this is the top keyword for this film. It makes no sense. But I look forward to finding out. I’m also incredibly intrigued by the 1976 flick Track of the Moon Beast. A BMeTric of 36.4 is incredible for such an old movie. It was a Mystery Science Theater film, which pretty much explains that I suppose. Lawn chair has to be a joke keyword. But what kind of sick weirdos find making a mockery of IMDb’s prestigious keyword system funny?)
Notes – Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott Eastwood, was originally cast in this film but was replaced by Tom Welling. Eastwood ended up starring instead in The Longest Ride (2015), another Sparks adaptation, which came out in April 10, 2015.
The Choice (2016) is Nicholas Sparks’ eleventh book made into a movie. (I threw up in my mouth, but was kind of happy too, you know?)
Second film where Tom Welling and Maggie Grace co-star. The first was The Fog (2005). (Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes)
This is the first Nicholas Sparks adapted film where no character (whether they’re main or supporting) dies by the end of the movie.