Weekend Movies: The Calm Before the Summer Storm

What a wasted opportunity. Today is 4/20 and not a single studio thought to release a stoner comedy. I’m more shocked about that than I am about the weak movies that actually open today.

The widest opener this weekend is ‘The Lucky One‘. Considering that it’s based on a Nicholas Sparks book and stars Zac Efron, I deem myself “the lucky one” for not being able to attend my local press screening. Efron plays a Marine who has safely served three tours in Iraq. (I already don’t believe this story.) He finds a picture of a cute girl and believes that she is his good luck charm, so he hunts her down, and romance ensues. Like every other Sparks movie, two people fall in love and death plays a role somewhere in there. I asked a critic friend to spoil the death details and, from what I’ve been told, Sparks has written a story even more contrived and laughable than ever. I suspect that the female audiences who’ve been flocking to ‘The Hunger Games’ for the last four weeks will finally want to see something else this weekend, and that may be ‘The Lucky One’.

The second wide opener is ‘Think Like a Man‘, an ensemble comedy about a group of guys who discover that their wives have been reading Steve Harvey’s book about relationship advice. How can you tell that this is a work of fiction? Because the people in it are actually reading and heeding the advice in Steve Harvey’s book. Not screened for press, I haven’t heard a single thing about ‘Think Like a Man’.

DisneyNature’s latest documentary is ‘Chimpanzee‘, which follows a baby chimp in a Uganda rainforest as his group is confronted with hunger and an opposing gang of antagonistic chimps. Tim Allen gives a bland narration.

A huge cast has assembled for Sony Pictures Classics’ limited release of Lawrence Kasdan’s ‘Darling Companion‘. The IMDb plot synopsis is great: “The story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband. And then her husband loses the dog.” The film stars Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass and Sam Shephard.

Michael Sheen and Toni Collette star in ‘Jesus Henry Christ‘, a comedy about a kid looking for his biological father. The thing is, this ten-year-old is a test tube baby. With this cast and story, I’m sold.

The closest thing to a stoner comedy opening this weekend is the documentary ‘Marley‘. From the Academy Award winning director of ‘One Day in September’ and filled with interviews with the people who knew reggae star Bob Marley the best, ‘Marley’ is supposed to be a documentary worth going out of your way to see.

Another nature documentary goes head-to-head against ‘Chimpanzee’. ‘To the Arctic 3D‘ is an IMAX exclusive film that follows a small family of polar bears and is narrated by Meryl Streep. With her track record, Streep will probably get another Oscar nomination for her voice-over.


  1. JM

    “I’m going to interrupt you there. There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I generate authentic emotional power.”

    – Nicholas Sparks

    “If you look for me, I’m in the fiction section. Romance has its own section. Love stories — it’s a very different genre. I would be rejected if I submitted any of my novels as romance.”

    – Nicholas Sparks

    “I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies.”

    – Nicholas Sparks

    “What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from Greek tragedies, to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ That’s what I write.”

    – Nicholas Sparks

    “Good stuff. That’s what I write.”

    – Nicholas Sparks

  2. mlemaire

    Jane, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time…those quotes are solid gold, probably billions times better than anything Sparks has ever written as a so-called ‘story’. Thanks for that. 😉

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