Hope Springs (2012) -vs- It’s Complicated (2009)

August 6, 2012 Caroline Levich

At my ripe young age of 20, I look to my favorite Hollywood movies to reaffirm my dream of falling in love with a flawless man who will whisk me off my feet, complete with a perfect wedding. We will grow old together, reveling in our joy, and telling the new 20-year-olds all the secrets to our perfect marriage. Sadly, It’s Complicated and Hope Springs are putting a bit of a damper on my life plan.

In David Frankel’s new film, Hope Springs (written by Vanessa Taylor), Meryl Streep plays Kay, a woman who finds herself 31 years into something that doesn’t quite resemble a marriage anymore. Back in 2009, Meryl co-starred as Jane Adler, a divorcee who tumbles into an affair with her ex-husband in Nancy Meyer’s It’s Complicated. After fully investing in these two films, I feel like my only options are to be an unhappy divorcee or an unhappy wife. Either way I’m unhappy — yet, either way I’m Meryl Streep, so I suppose I’ll be alright.
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Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012) -vs- Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

February 29, 2012 Ben Silverio

My generation has been whining for years about our childhoods being collectively over, in light of the end of the Harry Potter series, the death of the creators of The Berenstain Bears, and countless other life-passages coming to a close. It’s good to know, with the theatrical release this weekend of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, that something important from our childhoods—and previous generations of childhoods—has survived and is still going strong. Though the good doctor himself, Theodor Geisel, has passed on, his legacy is still alive, well, and ready to be tested in Smackville.

If you want to get technical here, The Lorax should be the reigning champion, because his original movie debuted in 1972. However, he then went into a long hibernation, vacating his title. Now, the one who speaks for the trees has made a comeback, but times have changed. In the realm of computer-generated Seuss, the reigning king is Horton Hears A Who. Horton meant what he said and said what he meant, so when he says he’s coming for the guardian of the forest, The Once-ler chopping down trees for thneeds should be the last of The Lorax’s worries. […]

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) -vs- Dan in Real Life (2007)

July 28, 2011 Jackie Zabel

Is it better to give than receive? Before you answer, the question’s not asking about sex or birthday gifts but relationship advice. Newly liberated Office-mate Steve Carell finds himself on both sides of that equation in our Smackdown between a couple of romantic dramedies, Crazy, Stupid, Love., opening this weekend, and 2007’s Dan in Real Life.

Crazy, Stupid, Love., with its period at the end that causes my auto-correct fits, is probably the most grammatically irritating film title since Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Carell portrays boring, straight-laced Cal Weaver, who gets dumped by his wife and taken in as a charity project by Ryan Gosling’s barfly/man/god, Jacob Palmer. In Dan in Real Life, it’s Carell’s Dan Burns dispensing the advice in a newspaper column with the same name as the film, while trying to raise three daughters in various stages of meltdown after the death of their mom and Dan’s wife a few years earlier.

Two depressed guys, two lost wives, two sets of three quirky kids, and two comedies based on a Steve Carell character’s ability to roll with the romantic punches. So it comes down to Cal versus Dan, and it should come as no surprise that no matter who’s giving the advice, love makes a fool of them both. […]