The 2017 Oscars are approaching on Feb. 26. Among the nominees for Best Picture is Moonlight, a stunning and mesmerizing tale of the black queer experience in America, as well as La La Land, a bright new musical from Damien Chazelle starring Hollywood royalty.
The other nominees include stories of parents, aliens, soldiers, orphans, and scientists.
Because this year’s Academy Awards will offer a refreshingly diverse sampling of innovative filmmaking, this review will focus on the atrocity that is the non-Oscar nominated movie Hope Floats, a film made in 1998 starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr.
Hope Floats, directed by Forest Whitaker, tells the story of “Birdee Pruitt,” played by Bullock, after she finds out on a Jerry Springer-esque national T.V. show that her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend. Birdee and her daughter “Bernice,” played by Mae Whitman, pack up their things in Chicago and head down to Texas to start anew.
The pair moves in with Birdee’s mother, played by Gena Rowlands, and slowly begin to confront their emotional distress brought on by the divorce, Birdee’s hometown and her familial history. While home, Birdee is reunited with a young and charming high school acquaintance, “Justin Matisse,” played by Connick Jr.
The film is a disaster. At 114 minutes long, Hope Floats subjects its viewers to almost two hours of the most lackluster storytelling to ever grace the silver screen. This story could have been told in half that time, and it still would have been too long.
The romance, though the main plot of the film, is arguably the most tragic element. Bullock is undeniably beautiful and talented. Connick Jr. tries his best. He is young, tan and wears flattering jeans throughout the movie, but his unexpressive face and flat acting distract from Bullock’s effortless performance as a divorcée in various sundresses.
The movie follows their reunion and romance, but leaves out one vital element of any halfway decent romantic movie—a kiss. Connick Jr. and Bullock do not kiss a single time on screen in this movie. The one time Harry leans in to finally kiss Sandra on the mouth, the kiss is cut off before their lips meet.
“It’s like making a movie about bowling and fading to black right before the pins fall down,” said Mia McGlinn, acting sophomore.
Another egregious element of the film is the ratio of romantic scenes to scenes about old people and taxidermy.
The film, which is formally categorized online as a “romantic drama,” dedicates almost half of its time to plotlines involving Birdee’s boring mother.
This undesirable focus on secondary characters simply distracts from the plotline that the audience came for—the romance—and considering the aforementioned lack of kisses in all 114 minutes of the film, the romantic elements of the plot are guaranteed to disappoint.
Do yourself a favor and watch the 2017 Academy Award nominees instead of this horrible movie.