Sunday evening Joy and I were in Southport where they filmed the movie Safe Haven. We decided that would be the perfect place to actually watch the much anticipated movie based on another of Nicholas Sparks’ books. We got there twenty minutes before showtime and found two of the last five open seats in the theater. By the time the movie actually started there literally was not an empty seat in the theater. And did I mention they were showing the movie on two screens at the same time?
Of course, being in Southport, interest was heightened, but I think there has also been a lot of pent up demand for a truly romantic movie without the gross out humor that prevails today. But, still, this movie was third in the box office on President’s Day weekend. It wasn’t just a local phenomenon.
Which brings me to my point. This movie did well despite the clueless panning of USA Today, Rolling Stone, and other professional critics. In the picture on the right, we see that the Rotten Tomatoes poll of critics found only 12% liked the movie. Yet a full 72% of viewers enjoyed the movie.
Safe Haven was very enjoyable as a romance movie. The element of suspense might even broaden the appeal beyond the usual romance movie fans. But since I have a home near Southport and love it there, I know I am biased. The biggest round of applause in the theater was when the movie did an aerial fly in on the little town of Southport, North Carolina. It isn’t often that a town of less than 3,000 souls gets to “star” in a movie. But, as I’ve already said, the number of consumers that enjoyed the movie shows that it was a good movie even beyond our local enthusiasm. Quite a while ago I shared an essay on critiquing romance movies with my family. I thought the big gap between critics and consumers for Safe Haven would be a good excuse to share those comments with my blog readers as well. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you
How to Review a Chick Flick
I went to see Letters to Juliet this past Friday. Like a lot of people, I read movie reviews before deciding to lay my tiny fortune down at the ticket gate of my local theater. Although no longer an account holder at Rotten Tomatoes after their merger with Flixster, it is a great site for a quick overview of critics’ opinions about my potential choices. Sadly, it is clear that many of these reviewers need to be schooled in the art of writing a movie review for a chick flick. Good news. I’m here to give them that schooling.
First let me tell you what not to do. Do NOT criticize a romance movie for a predictable plot or an inevitably happy ending. The genre requires either said happy ending (Nora Ephron) or a melodramatically weepy romantically tragic ending (Nicholas Sparks). A movie critic who complains about the plot being predictable or the ending being happy is kin to the moron who complains that comic book movies like Iron Man 2 or Spider Man 3 lack character development or war movies like Saving Private Ryan are too violent. Failure to grasp fundamental concepts underlying the genre inform us as consumers that the reviewer is an idiot and should not be taken seriously.