Valentine’s Marathon BEGINS with Netflix A-Z: Hope Floats (1998)

I had a few days to get back on track a little and we’re officially kicking off the Netflix A-Z selection: Hope Floats! I had originally wanted to watch Her and well, that probably might’ve been the typically better choice. However, I have a girl crush on Sandra Bullock since I saw her in Speed and I also have a love for romance back in the 90s. I’ve only ever heard of Hope Floats and never saw it so when it landed on Netflix, I just couldn’t resist. It might not be the light and fluffy movie that should be in a Valentine’s Marathon but forget about it.  I just looked at my rundown and its not very light and fluffy.  Its might still change but who knows.

Lets check this one out! 🙂

Hope Floats (1998)

Hope Floats

Director: Forest Whitaker

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman, Michael Pare, Cameron Finley

Birdee Calvert must choose between her morals and her heart after her husband divorces her and a charming young man, who her daughter disapproves of, comes back into her life.-IMDB

 Okay, after watching Hope Floats, it really isn’t quite suitable for the Valentine’s Marathon but it is romance as much as it is a drama. Let’s start from the beginning.  Hope Floats is a decent romantic drama.  Its a little bit of soul-searching and a little of just moving on and figuring out what our main character, Birdee is made of after the first half of her life seems to be wasted. Its about finding hope after it feels like everything’s been destroyed from your original beliefs.  But then, isn’t that life? What would be the fun of it if it was all expected, right? I’m not saying divorce and death are anything needed to be part of our life but on a broader spectrum, you can take Hope Floats as a little journey to find out what is important and how to move on and still have hope.  Its a good message, that is what I’m trying to say.

hope floats

The cast here is lovely.  I think it might even be the whole mesh of the characters portrayed by this outstanding cast that lifts the rather cliche storyline.  Sandra Bullock is lovely as always.  Its actually the few times I’ve seen Harry Connick Jr. and he is quite good as well.  The best scenes are their scenes together where they fully show their amazing chemistry together. There is one dance scene that totally swept me away and his tender eyes and all that makes him such a dreamy male character. I mean, that says a lot since he’s not exactly my type of attractive so its more his charisma that catches me more than his looks.

Hope Floats

On another note, its funny how recently for The Duff, I was saying that I hadn’t seen Mae Whitman in anything and one of you told me that she was in Independence Day.  Well, it turns out she’s in Hope Floats playing Sandra Bullock’s daughter, Bernice.  As much as its a romance, this is also a lot about this little girl and her mom’s relationship and just picking up the pieces and facing the wreck of a divorce.  She does a fantastic job especially with the help of the little boy who plays his cousin by Cameron Finley and holding a balance with Gena Rowlands playing Bernice’s grandmother.  There’s no point where I found her annoying as it happens frequently but rather I learned to really feel for her character and want her to see that her mother was working so hard, especially when it was even harder for a young girl to face the reality of the situation as her mother struggled with those same emotions in a different level.

Hope Floats

Overall, Hope Floats is a lot of things as I think about it more.  Its about family and love all at the same time.  It was about a mother and daughter relationship, a father and daughter relationship and a guy and a girl relationship.  While Hope Floats might not be anything more than average, its rather decent especially with its great cast that lifts the story to another level so that we can connect with the characters and make us care, especially when the deeper meaning is so significant, reminding us to stay hopeful even in the most dire situations. I really like movies with a good message and this one definitely qualifies as a decent choice.

Have you seen Hope Floats? Are you a fan of Sandra Bullock?

Next selection is a romance in I! Can you guess what it is?

Valentine’s Marathon: The Notebook (2004)

Its been almost 10 years that this has been out and exactly that same amount of time that I’ve seen it.  The Notebook is one of those adaptations which was great when I saw it but over the years, something has stopped me every time I want to do a repeat viewing.  Finally, because of this marathon, I picked up the dread this weekend and checked it out again.  Lets see how it was, shall we?

the notebook posterDirector: Nick Cassavetes

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Gena Rowlands, James Garner, Kevin Connolly, James Marsden

Duke is telling another senior woman the story of young love many years ago.  Its the story of a young man who knew exactly what he wanted called Noah (Ryan Gosling) who saw the girl he was attracted to called Allie (Rachel McAdams) who had just gone there for the summer.  Soon after, they became lovestruck but as the summer drawn to a close, Allie’s parents pointed out their social differences and they had to separate from each other.  After Noah went to war, he learned that Allie was already engaged to Lon Hammond (James Marsden) while he was still hoping to win her back with preserving what they had memories of.

I have no idea how to write a synopsis for this story.  Either way, Nicholas Sparks story all have this little funky twist ending of sorts and this one has a sad but beautiful one.  I remember seeing this in the theatres with two of my friends.  I had, of course, already read the book so I knew where this was going but at the same time, it had been a while and I remember having foggy details.  Who am I kidding, right? We chose this movie solely because it was the only one that matched the time when we went, you know, a spontaneous movie hang out with friends.  Whatever the reason, the theatre was packed with people older than us in our late teens and we pretty much had a feeling that we wouldn’t like it.  Turns out, as silly and corny as some of the sequences are, they had sweet moments and at the very end, I shed some tears.

the notebook 2

I still can’t pinpoint why I didn’t want to see this movie again maybe its because the last 30 minutes touched me more than the first part did and honestly, this time around, I was cooking for the most of the beginning sequence and just listening and glimpsing at the screen.  My boyfriend downright sat down for a few minutes and then just walked away to play computer games instead and then when I told him which were the good parts, he’d come back down to watch it. The movie irritated him for the most part I think except for the ending.  I think he thought that was alright.  So far it doesn’t really seem like a review, right?

the notebook 1

Its really because I don’t know how to say how I feel.  Its really mixed in my mind.  For one, the ending blows this thing way into awesome territory but then to get to the end, I do need to watch the beginning and as much as I love watching a very shaggy rugged Ryan Gosling, love struck and handsome, who I realized has evolved so much over the last ten years as well, the movie does hit a bit of meh for me.  However, taking into the parallel with Duke telling the story and you all know the actual ending of it, it really does tug on those heartstrings.  That part was just out of the world touching.

the notebook

What was really cool was that, I never realized that James Marsden was in it until this time watching it and hey, I love that guy.  Its a really good actor, so it was a nice little bonus find that boosted this movie a little too 🙂

Before I start running in circles, The Notebook shows a great, long-lasting romance.  One that believes in miracles and that pulls each other together regardless of the consequences.  If you enjoy an epic romance tied with some sappy and some heartwarming and some cute scenes, this is a good one.  Make it through the whole thing and I promise the ending is one of the best I’ve seen.   However, I’d tell you to go ahead and read the novel because it does a better job.

Have you seen The Notebook? Have you read the book?