1. The Longest Ride (Fox, 3,364 Theaters, 139 Theaters, Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action, Rotten Tomatoes: 28% Fresh [70 Reviews]): Hey, kids! It’s time for another “Nicholas Sparks Movie Checklist” where we run down the latest adaptation of Sparks’ work and see how many of his overused tropes the film has (using the lovely template Cracked.com came up with as a guideline)! Ready? Let’s go.
1. Does it have a romance between two pretty, white people? Yes, Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson are two pretty, white people.
2. Is there an obstacle that makes their love impossible? At least two. He’s a bull rider, and the danger is too much for girl. And she has a job in New York, which will keep them separated.
3. Is there a flashback to World War II? Yes. Alan Alda’s character’s reminiscence of his wartime romance guides the young lovers.
4. Is one of the lovers holding back a deep dark secret? Yes!
5. Does somebody die? Come on, it’s Nicholas Sparks! He’s killed more people than malaria! I don’t know who, but either Eastwood gets stomped on by a bull or Alda dies of a heart attack. If not both.
6. Is there schmatzy sentimentality? In droves!
7. Will people go see it? Sigh. Yes.
2. Woman in Gold (Opening in Wide Release, The Weinstein Company, 1,504 Theaters, 109 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes: 53% Fresh [93 Reviews]): When the Nazi drove the Jewish people from their homes, they swooped in and stole all of their possessions. Many priceless works of art were confiscated this way, and many of this artwork made it into state run galleries. Since many of the original owners didn’t make it out of World War II alive, you can find a number of these gems in German and Austrian galleries to this very day.
But what if the owner or their descendant survived? Certainly these galleries would rush to return the stolen art to their original owners, right? Not so in the case of Gustave Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. When Bloch-Bauer’s niece tried to retrieve the painting from an Austrian state run gallery, instead of the painting, she got a ten year legal battle.
This movie tells the tale of of that battle. Not to throw a spoiler at you, but you can view the painting in New York’s Neue Galerie today.