Hall of Fame Speech #24: Endless Love (2014)

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well, we might just have found the sequel, Here on Earth 2: Endless Lurv. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Endless Love (2014)

Earlier this week I was shaken to my core. Because I prepared the preview for this film and I just couldn’t quite figure out how we ended up picking it as a Hall of Fame candidate. All the reviews say it is boring. Even our own reviews from five years ago say the movie is worthless if you don’t watch the original film. I was preparing for the worst: a realization that we made a horrible mistake and would have to go and find another candidate for the Hall of Fame. But then … I watched the film. And I saw Alex Pettyfer and a bunch of other British people trying to specifically not do a southern accent in a film set in Georgia and I realized that we didn’t make a mistake. No, we merely matured into the correct and indisputable BMT opinions: this is a Hall of Fame film, you just need to know where to look.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what did I remember?

  • Right there up front. Much like Billy Zane’s insatiable desire to go to Fashion Week, this film ended up becoming something of a catchphrase for BMT. Endless Lurv, always stylized as Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuurv, hit us right at the perfect moment where we were becoming more rigorous in our BMT reporting and definitely watching the 1981 film as a bonus. I think Jamie even read the book? The whole thing was a new paradigm for BMT and well well worth it.
  • The more I think about it and the endless blandness of Endless Love (2014) I can’t help but think we’ve made a mistake … but no, that can’t be possible, we never make mistakes. Instead, I have to assume that this film is basically Here on Earth 2.
  • And then I realized … wait, is Bruce Greenwood, BMT legend, the father of the leading women in both Here on Earth and Endless Love (2014)? Yes, he indeed plays both Earl Cavanaugh and Hugh Butterfield. Now those are some names!
  • And the film stars Alex Pettyfer of Beastly fame. This year’s class is definitely very actor driven. He’s an interesting actor just in that we watched all of his leading man BMT films at a good clip, Beastly in 2011, I Am Number Four in 2013, and then this in 2015. He hasn’t been in another (although he has a small role in In Time with JT, so we can still get our BMT fix if we wanted).

So which do I think is the most important? I think there is only one thing that could possibly be important here and that is just how much it evokes the feeling of Here on Earth. That combination of “I am not the audience of this film”, and “this film is amusingly cheesy” and “I kind of dig this in the same way I did The O.C. except The O.C. is good, fight me IRL.” If there is even the tiniest nugget of that in the film it will be well worth the rewatch. There is the outside shot that our enjoyment was completely driven by Endless Love (1981) and how unabashedly crazy that film is as well, so I might have to watch that again.

The genre of the film might as well be called Here on Earth, and it is an important micro-genre for BMT history. There are only so many hits. Here on Earth, of course, but this seems like it definitely was a hit, and I would argue that Midnight Sun and After both hit just the right note of teen melodrama to be an incredibly fun ride. Initially when looking through the preview a bit I had a moment of wondering whether I would watch this film and be sad realizing that we had overblown how good it is. Now I’m getting excited thinking of all the teen romance films we’ve watched and how good most of them are.

How did the rewatch go? Wonderfully. As Alex Pettyfer’s generic American accent washed over me and held me close I knew I was home. Is this Here on Earth? No, primarily because unlike that film the kids somehow aren’t the main characters. Instead, the main character is Bruce Greenwood. Come for the Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde teen romance, and stay for Bruce Greenwood being the biggest dick in the universe 100% of the time. There isn’t even a single moment where Bruce Greenwood isn’t a colossal dick to Alex Pettyfer. Alex Pettyfer, who, by the way, is the nicest, most down to earth teenager on the planet in this film. Here’s my impression of some dialogue:

Alex Pettyfer: “Hi, Mr. Butterfield. I just really appreciate you having me over to your house. I just want your daughter to have a good summer before going off to college, and gee, I sure do like her ever so much!”

Bruce Greenwood: “You got some goddamn nerve breaking up my family like this! I will ruin you and your father’s lives for what you’ve done.”

Alex Pettyfer: “Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?”

He is one bad sad dad.

In the original recap for this film (which was email-only at the time, we were technological marvels) I stated matter of factly that you could not enjoy Endless Love (2014) without watching Endless Love (1981). I think as my BMT skillz have matured I disagree with that, there is plenty to enjoy from the 2014 film (see below). But the original certainly makes the 2014 film more confounding. You see, the original and the book are about obsessive love between two teenagers. This … is about just teenage love. Run of the mill teenage love, and tragedy, and … that’s it. I will declare this now: this is the worst adaptation of a book ever created. And that is hard to know without seeing the original which, it turns out, did an okay job at adapting the book. So it wasn’t impossible to adapt, instead the writers took a look at the plot and decided “but what if it was The O.C. instead?” Obviously, being the worst book adaptation of all time is some serious street cred.

But this film stands on its own, outside of the source material and original film, via a multitude of amusing little things you’d only really notice after multiple viewings. The fact that the main cast is basically all British and are constantly struggling to keep their non-southern American accents together. The fact that this film is the second BMT film in which Alex Pettyfer breaks into a zoo (I rediscovered that fact and now feel ashamed for not considering Beastly for the Hall of Fame as well). And finally, possibly the funniest prop in the history of filmmaking, the mugshot of the very obviously 25 year old Alex Pettyfer where it states matter of factly “age: 14” … if I saw a 14 year old who looked like this I would flip out, my mind would break. It makes no goddamn sense!

So no, Endless Love (2014) isn’t Here on Earth 2. But nothing can be. Instead it is maybe the most confounding adaptation of a book ever created, with the biggest dick of a dad ever put to film, and Alex Pettyfer looking like a 25 year old cross fit coach on the worst prop in movie history. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Endless Love (2014).

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