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?

The Duff (2015)

The Ugly Truth landed on Netflix recently and despite acknowledging that its far from a great romantic comedy, I happened to turn it on while I was cleaning and you know what I realized? One, I miss watching Gerard Butler.  Where did he go? Don’t even tell me about Gods of Egypt trailer.  Second and more importantly, I miss romantic comedies or just comedies, in general.  Its been lately about action and thrillers and horror.  I find myself rewatching old comedies more and more and nothing released catches my eye nowadays.  But then, can you blame me? It’s probably why I sit around and watch things like San Andreas and Sharknado.  Point is, I wanted to watch a comedy and had heard that The Duff was pretty good and had bought it during Boxing Day so I decided to give it a watch 😉

Let’s check it out! 🙂

The Duff (2015)

the duff

Director: Ari Sandel

Cast: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A. Santos, Skyler Samuels, Nick Eversman, Allison Janney, Ken Jeong, Romany Malco

A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts. – IMDB

I’m not the hardest crowd to please when it comes to teen comedies.  Okay, well, maybe I am, especially when it includes comedy.  I like smart stuff and things that make me feel like there was some thought in it or just you know, making fun of incidents that you can picture or relate to.  I haven’t been in high school since forever but it has to be believable that they are in high school, right? The DUFF does a really decent job at making an enjoyable and funny comedy.  I never knew what a DUFF was and never heard of the source material its based on.  Regardless, The DUFF was really fun to watch.


The DUFF stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”.  Its the easy and approachable one in the group that isn’t as pretty as her group friends is and Bianca Piper learns about it one day.  The DUFF is a little of coming of age and a little about finding yourself and not caring about the labels and just being happy with yourself in its core.  Sure, its still a teen comedy so there’s some friends and fights, mean girls and gossip and rumors and a cute jock that turns into someone who is a little deeper.  However, in its little simple cliche-like exterior, it carries a story that mixes up a little of Easy A and Mean Girls.  It never quite reaches the awesomeness of those two movies but it does really resound and makes you connect with Bianca. It holds a good message and has some silliness that her character carries which can makes us like her and cheer for her. They really add some nice touches of the story like enhancing social media like ending the credits with the social media handles (Twitter/Instagram) for the cast as they are listed out along with blooper reels.


Mae Whitman, who I’ve never seen in anything else, is absolutely great as Bianca.  She makes us love and connect with her character as she tries to find herself and break out of being the DUFF and getting the guy instead of being her friends.  As she works alongside her neighbor, who is that cute jock I mentioned before called Wesley, played by Robbie Amell, they have some really cute and funny moments as they can convince us that the most uncommon and opposite people actually work really well together. I personally think there’s a moment where they grow fond of each other really quickly and some dialogue is kind of like, “Duh? Is that even a question?” when they say it but for the most part, I can forgive it because it is a story about the awkward teenager.  Robbie Amell and Mae Whitman play their characters well off each other and that is what counts.  I had some decent laughs and some pretty endearing and feel-good moments.  On the note of Robbie Amell, aside from the Amells having some pretty great looking genes, they also are rather decent actors.  At least, I’m liking it quite a bit.


The DUFF is full of talent that supports this young cast. For starters, Allison Janney plays the divorced self-help mother of Bianca who is a little odd but does end up being rather funny in her own way.  Her best friends are new to me played by Bianca A. Santos and Skyler Samuels and for the small part they are in, they are rather likable as well. Bella Thorpe, which I recently saw in a cameo in Scream: the TV series as the high school mean girl also plays a full-on mean girl here called Madison.  And she takes it with so much dedication.  The last mention goes out to Ken Jeong who plays a teacher that runs the school newspaper that really supports and guides Bianca through this whole thing even if he is really weird.  I’m always a little iffy about Ken Jeong’s humor but somehow it works well here.

Overall, The DUFF is truly an enjoyable and feel-good teen comedy that holds a good message about being true to ourselves and ignoring the unnecessary labels.  It has good humor and a lot of not so subtle references.  Its been a while that I’ve found a teen comedy that works and has decent rewatchability value and this one definitely has it.  As I’m writing this, its after watching it a second time and fully loving it all over again.

Have you seen The DUFF? Did you like it? What is your favorite teen comedy?