Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Longest Ride

Bulls and Brawn
Director: George Tillman, Jr.

Cast: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Alan Alda, Lolita Davidovich, Oona Chaplin, Jack Huston

Review by James Colt Harrison

Like father, like son so the saying goes. To prove that statement we have Scott Eastwood looking like an exact replica of his Oscar® winning father Clint Eastwood when he was young. Both are handsome, both are striking, and both are knockouts on the screen. A new generation has arrived, and Scott is fully equipped physically and professionally to take over the reigns of his well-loved father. All he has to do is ask.

The Longest Ride is adapted from a book by Nicholas Sparks, the great purveyor of weepies and woes by the gallon. There is no lack of that in this film. Add in the adventure, romance and rodeo action and you have more than two hours of entertainment pleasure. That is, if you go into throes of ecstasy at maudlin situations and tear-invoking scenes.

The tear-duct scenes are only part of the film, so don’t think it is all weeping. There are actually some fun scenes, some laughs (usually provided by scene-stealer Alan Alda) and certainly some thrills at the rodeo.

So where does the rodeo come into the story? Scott, as Luke Collins, is a championship bull rider on the world circuit. A head injury put him out of commission for awhile, but now he is trying to make a comeback. Mom Kate Collins (Lolita Davidovitch) is not happy with the situation because she wants Luke to come home after every ride in one piece. Mom’s who love their sons are like that.

Luke has his fans who scream and yell as he is getting tossed about by the bull like a rag-doll. He survives to great acclaim and the girl fans scream with delight. Among the fans is the most adorable and the prettiest of all of them---Sophie Danko, as played by beautiful newcomer Britt Robertson. Of course, she and Scott “meet cute.” They make for a very eye-pleasing couple; he’s handsome as can be and sweet-natured, and she’s gorgeous and smart and waiting for her internship in New York at an art gallery. Their lifestyles seem at odds with each other as they have nothing in common. Except sexual attraction. That’s enough for sparks to kindle.

On the way home from their first date they find a crashed car that has gone off the road. They act quickly and save an old man—Ira Levinson (Alan Alda) from certain death just moments before the car explodes into flames. Alda plays an old curmudgeon whose heydays were in the 1940s. The two youngsters become attached to him and his stories of his wife Ruth (Oona Chaplin). They find Ira and his stories enchanting. Alda, of course, has been in show business longer than the two lead actors’ ages combined. Having come to prominence in the TV hit show M*A*S*H decades ago, he knows every trick in the acting book to steal scenes right out from under Eastwood and Robertson. No matter---the kids are still cute and are a pleasure to see brightening the screen.

What would a romance be if there weren’t storm clouds every so often? The kids conflict over their opposite lifestyles. Sophie wants to go to New York and be in the Art World; Luke wants to remain on the rodeo circuit amongst the smelly bulls and dirt. She’s high-class and he’s just a regular guy. Can they ever agree? Lots of tears are shed—mostly by the audience--- and resolution to the problem is difficult. Women’s Liberation members would have a fit if Sophie decided to give up her plans and settle down to have babies with Luke. And men would look down on Luke if he traded in his tight jeans for a tuxedo and the fancy world of New York artists.

Nicholas Sparks has the talent to wring all emotions to their limits, and he stops at nothing to grab the audience by the tear ducts at every corner. This gives director George Tillman, Jr. ( Barbershop) the go ahead to put the lead actors in jeopardy every chance he gets. Both Eastwood and Robertson, in their first big leading roles, are attractive enough for the audience to look beyond the pathos and see young love blooming with joy, delight, wonder and awe. The two actors rise above Sparks’ doom and gloom tendencies and make us laugh, cry and jump for joy when things go right.

Both Eastwood and Robertson are destined to become major stars provided they are cast in the proper roles. 

Find ArtsNFashion on FB and Twitter:


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants For Single Moms