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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > Movie Rentals

by Jennifer Brown Banks

What's Hot and What's Not in Movie Rentals

Whether you're kicking back and relaxing by yourself, or spending time with your sweetie, the right movie can make for an entertaining and engaging evening. It's one of my favorite ways to unwind. (I'm not a big popcorn fan, so I usually have a good cup of herbal tea and a dessert “to die for”, to round out the experience.) How about you?

Over the last few weeks, I've seen some flicks that clicked and some that fell short of capturing and maintaining my interest.

What goes into the making of a four star movie? (in my opinion):

  • A good , believable plot
  • Convincing, talented actors
  • Good on screen chemistry of the actors and actresses
  • Proper pacing to sustain interest
  • An effective ending
  • A mixture of emotions evoked

Here's a round-up and a low down of what's hot and what's not based upon my recent viewing...

What's HOT!

P.S. I Love You---Know this: anything that has Hillary Swank in it is sure to be a winner! I kid you not.  I'm not sure if it's her acting ability, or her ability to choose good scripts as projects, but here's someone worth watching. Whether it's Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry, Freedom Writers, or any other movie, she truly delivers! Anyhow...

I liked this movie, so much that I did a double-take and watched it several times. Why? Well, first of all, the male actors in the movie were really cute.:-)  Not only that, but here's a picture that has a great mixture of emotional elements--- funny moments, (like the karaoke scene and the make-up session), sad scenes, (when her hubby dies, when she tries to reclaim her life and find romance).

Storyline?   Hillary Swank loses her husband through a brain tumor. Their romance is continued beyond his death, as he leaves her various letters to convey his “undying love” for her and to help her heal and find joy in her life again. This is a must-see movie!

The Brothers McMullen---This flick was a pleasant surprise. (Before watching it, I was unfamiliar with any of the main actors). Three Irish-Catholic brothers deal with life, love, and loss in this one. It starts off kind of crazy with a scene from the graveyard, but it picks up beautifully after that. Well written and developed, it addresses some hot topics like infidelity, personal choice, moral conflict, and religious dilemmas. It's definitely worth a watch.

What's NOT Hot!

Reign over Me---Sorry, but a more suitable title would have been “rain over me.”
Stars Dan Cheadle and Adam Sandler as two former college chums who reunite after Sandler loses his family in the World Trade Center attacks.  Cheadle tries to help Sandler to regain his sanity and serenity, as the movie shows the challenges of their friendship. The storyline was basically a good one, but the development was a little frantic and disjointed, if you ask me.  “I coulda' had a V-8!” 

Possession---On a positive note, Gwyneth Paltrow does a decent job in her role's portrayal, as usual. But, what the movie didn't “possess” was enough intrigue and interest. I picked It out because it dealt with two of my favorite subjects: romance and poetry. Story line? Two scholars are brought together in their research of two poets that had an affair in former times, and as a result, the researchers have a few steamy moments of their own.
You be the judge, but it didn't win me over.

I think that part of the problem is that when writers view creative works, we have a more critical eye than an average audience member, because we have some knowledge of the creative process and how things should unfold.  Many times I find myself rewriting plots in my head, or thinking that I would have applied a different treatment of the topic than the one chosen by the author or director. 
Everybody's a critic, right?:-)

Well, that's my take on things. 

What do you recommend in movies? What makes you laugh? Makes you cry? Challenges your way of thinking? Inspires you to live differently or heal?

What movie would you recommend to friends?

Let me hear from you.

Send your picks for flicks to:


Jennifer's Gems
is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday.
Click here to read her welcome letter.

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