Double Feature: The Boy Next Door (2015) & How It Ends (2018)

DOUBLEFEATURE (68)

Welcome to this week’s double feature! A very random combination, right? Its actually quite random in terms of how it all came to be as well. The Boy Next Door was really just because it looked like something that didn’t need a ton of energy to watch while How It Ends was a random Saturday night movie choice of my husband’s. Nothing deliberate but let’s just say both of these were at certain degrees…left a bit to be desired.

The Boy Next Door (2015)

The Boy Next Door

Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Ian Nelson, John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth, Lexi Atkins

A woman, separated from her unfaithful husband, falls for a younger man who has moved in next door, but their torrid affair soon takes a dangerous turn. – IMDB

Call me crazy but I’ve been meaning to watching this one for a while, of course, knowing that its been rated pretty poorly. Honestly, its not too surprising. After all, there are few factors here that have almost always failed me in films. The first being my constant search for an erotic thriller that works well, the second being that I don’t find Jennifer Lopez as a good actress and third, these movies always have bad dialogue and predictable execution. I’m going to say right away that The Boy Next Door fell into exactly what I expected of it. So I guess, it can’t disappoint but at the same time, it was kind of a waste of time, luckily, I had it on for a multitasking moment so that kind of worked out.

Where to start with this, right? The Boy Next Door is a predictable erotic thriller. Its erotic bits are really just based on that one scene between Ryan Guzman’s Noah and Jennifer Lopez’s Claire. Granted, that scene was pretty steamy and sexy so I’m not going to take that away from it. It does help that these two are pretty people and the chemistry there was pretty on point. The majority before and after it: the dialogue, the start of the film, the ending, the overacting was just ridiculous. Its the usual thing you’d expect. Its a been there done that sort of thriller which doesn’t offer much of anything new.

I gave this movie one star on Letterboxd and that was based on the fact that there was that one steamy scene that was done well and Ryan Guzman and Jennifer Lopez are pretty-looking people to look at.

How It Ends (2018)

How It Ends

Director: David M. Rosenthal

Cast: Theo James, Forest Whitaker, Kat Graham, Grace Dove, Nicole Ari Parker

A desperate man tries to return home to his pregnant fiancée after a mysterious apocalyptic event turns everything to chaos. – IMDB

How It Ends is categorized as an action disaster film. I can see how it would fit into there but then its more of a road trip film if anything and the disaster happens but then remains the background mystery that hinders the road trip. Looking at the ratings for the movie right now, its really low. Thing is, Netflix movies are a lot like this its strong at the beginning and then as the movie goes along, it just falls apart. The same can be said about How It Ends. The beginning and the set-up does work as it sets the stage for how the characters involved are in terms of relationship and gives them a basis of their personality and where everyone stands before setting up the turning point which is the mysterious event that breaks connection to one of the characters and uniting the other two, the fiance and the father together to go through all obstacles to reach her.

On many levels, How It Ends isn’t really that bad. In fact, Forest Whitaker does a good job as the father and Theo James also did a decent job as well. Together in their roles together, as with a lot of road trip movies, their issues get sorted out as their deeper personalities do start showing as they get through one obstacle to the next. The story gets a little awkward when more elements move into the picture like picking up a third person to join into the road trip, which has its good and bad points to it. At the same time, some of the events that happen do help pad out the situation at hand and start piecing together what has happened while keeping the big reveal for the the ending. If we talk about the “big reveal”, its never fully explained what happens and only hints at the possibilities, making the ending in some ways open-ended, possibly giving it space for a sequel (maybe?).

Its always hard to talk about movies like these where it starts off with all the premise and elements that do it a lot of favors and then as the movie goes along, more things get added in and it just seems to break away those good points. The way its set up still works in a way but it would be more of like a prequel to a TV series or something. At the same time, the movie is not for those who dislike coincidences, for example, you drive by a ash-filled location and coincidentally a fire truck was abandoned there with the one gas mask to use. They can definitely be ignored or admired as forethought but deal is, are there that many coincidences to make it believable to a certain extent or is every event set to create obstacles and feels very deliberate? That’s an issue with How It Ends. If you don’t mind all that, this movie is alright.

That’s it for this Double Feature!
Have you seen The Boy Next Door and/or How It Ends? Thoughts?

Mermen (The Mermen Trilogy #1) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Coming off reading The King Trilogy by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, I decided to just go ahead and wrap up any other books from her in my Kindle. I believe I had gotten this one in a deal on Amazon or free offer or something. I can’t remember anymore but its how I came up on it.

Let’s check it out!

Mermen (The Mermen Trilogy #1)
by: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Mermen

SOLE SHIPWRECK SURVIVOR LIV STRATTON had been adrift at sea for ten grueling days when salvation miraculously appeared: an uncharted island. Only, the deceivingly beautiful men who live there aren’t interested in saving her. No, not at all. Because they somehow believe she is their property, a gift from the ocean to do with as they please. This is not good.  Her only hope? Billionaire Roen Doran, of all people. A man who’s said to care for nothing and no one. But if he’s so heartless, then why is he about to risk everything to help her? – Goodreads

There are days I start off this genre of books and I get worried. I only read on trilogy from Mimi Jean Pamfiloff and honestly, I enjoyed it fairly well. If you didn’t see the reviews, it was something of a slippery slope as it fell into some aspects I didn’t like but what I enjoyed about this author was her dedication to making her characters (all of them) not feel disposable. I’ve never read anything about mermen so I don’t know what is expected about it. My vision of it is still from movies like The Mermaid and The Little Mermaid, so when her plot is about these men without tails on this hidden island, well, it sets up quite an intriguing premise.

If I’m being completely honest, the world-building and lore behind the mermen was much more fascinating than any other part of the book. It sounds harsh but its really not cup of tea. The characters here were pretty generic. The rich billionaire Roen was quite one dimensional. The only reason he seemed more than that was because of the effect of the mermen lore and that doesn’t contribute back to who he is. Then we have Liv who turns into this exactly what you’d expect sort of damsel in distress. She tries to keep herself up for a while but essentially just breaks down into the ladies in this genre that I really don’t like, like falling for the man..but then maybe it had to do with the lore a little.

Either way, I don’t have an incredibly huge amount of things to say about Mermen. It was pretty disappointing see as King trilogy had some really strong aspects to it. You probably can guess that I’m not going to continue this book series. I’m just not really a fan even if the potential for the mermen back story could have had a lot of potential if it wasn’t in this genre. I’ve been watching a lot of cool movies lately and in a fairly decent mood from all the sunny weather and loving the summer, so I don’t feel like ranting more about this one. If I was you, I’d stay away from it. The only reason I gave it 2 stars out of 5 was because I saw some potential in building the mythology of this tribe of Mermen and having some interesting creations on the island itself. Everything else, I honestly could care less about.