Guns’ Guide to Movies: The Best of Me

Here’s a fun game: name this movie..

Our main characters are two impossibly beautiful white people, but, there is something stopping them from being together, but they fall in love anyway.

Eventually a ridiculously dramatic event happens that devastates both of their lives. In the end, one of them dies (or almost dies).

Extra hint: the movie poster is the two people seconds away from a passionate kiss.

If your answer was “every Nicholas Sparks movie,” congratulations! You’re right! And your prize is you get to read this review instead of seeing his new movie, The Best of Me.The-Best-Of-Me Poster

Let’s jump right in and start breaking down the plot of this big ol’ basket of crazy.

There will be spoilers.

Don’t worry about it, every plot detail was mind-numbingly predictable so it’s not like I’m telling you things you would not have figured out 20 minutes into the movie anyway.

Meet Dawson (James Marsden): your average off-shore oil rig worker who reads the works of Stephen Hawking in his spare time. One day there is an inexplicable explosion on the rig that manages to break every conceivable law of physics to send Dawson flying hundreds of feet in the air and into the ocean. He wakes up in the hospital where a doctor tells him that he was in the water for four hours and somehow didn’t die and has no signs of hypothermia. Apparently Dawson has super powers (not really, but that would be a way cooler story). He later receives a phone call from a lawyer for the estate of an old friend of his.

Meet Amanda (Michelle Monaghan): a poor, repressed woman with a cartoonishly evil husband. She also gets a phone call from the same lawyer about the same person’s estate. Now She has to return to the town She grew up in to receive what this old friend left her in his will. When she tells her caricature of a husband that she has to go, he lists functions and dinner parties that they have to attend as reasons why She can’t. When she makes a (extremely clichéd) remark about letting his secretary know next time a loved one dies, he doesn’t say anything, but She apologizes! Amanda apologizes for pointing out her husband’s incredibly insensitive comments. Oh yeah, he’s also an alcoholic. Of course.

I already hate the movie by this point and we’re about ten minutes in.

So these two people have a mutual friend in common who has passed. They return to their friend’s old home and see each other for the first time in 20 years. Something terrible happened between them many years ago and they haven’t spoken since.

Suddenly it’s 1992 and Dawson and Amanda are in high school. We learn that Dawson is the son of a drug dealing scumbag of a father. The movie never actually specifically mentions drugs, but it’s pretty easy to tell that “stuff” is code for “meth.” Amazingly, Dawson has grown up perfectly well adjusted and has suffered no psychological effects from growing up in a meth house with a mentally and physically abusive father. He is also not a drug addict in any capacity even though the likelihood he would be after being surrounded by the stuff since birth is astronomical. No one ever talks about this and no explanation is given. He’s also a physics wiz for some reason?the-best-of-me-couple

Amanda is (of course) the most beautiful high schooler to ever exist. She also comes from a very wealthy family, making Dawson from the “wrong side of the tracks.”

The two fall in love despite having wildly different life experiences and seemingly nothing in common, which would make relating to one another very difficult.

I’m going to go ahead and skip the entire middle section of the movie. None of it mattered or was remotely interesting. All you need to know is that their mutual friend was an old man named Tuck who took Dawson in after he ran away from his father.

These two crazy kids have been in love for a while and now it’s time for senior prom. Dawson, his best friend Bobby and Bobby’s girlfriend leave to pick up Amanda but realize they forgot her corsage at Tuck’s house. They return to find Tuck on the ground, apparently beaten up by Dawson’s father Tommy and his lackeys. In a blind rage, Dawson grabs the shotgun with the intention of going after the men. Bobby jumps in the passenger side of Dawson’s truck to try and stop him. When Dawson arrives and He and his Father eventually struggle over the gun, Bobby is accidentally shot directly in the center of his forehead, and killed instantly. Of course. Also, Bobby’s girlfriend was pregnant. Of course.

Dawson agrees to help the police put his father in jail in exchange for a reduced sentence, but somehow still gets eight years. I don’t know that much about Louisiana law and clearly neither does Nicholas Sparks because giving an 18-year-old a ‘reduced sentence’ of eight years for what I can only assume was categorized as involuntary manslaughter (also in self defense) seems a bit excessive to me.

Dawson goes to jail. Amanda visits him every day. At some point, Dawson decides that it’s a bad idea for Amanda to wait for him and starts refusing to see her. My favorite part of this is that when Amanda comes to the jail to see Dawson, instead of the officer telling her that he isn’t taking any visitors, she says, and I quote, “he doesn’t want to see You.” Brilliant.

Cut to present day. Dawson and Amanda have fallen in love all over again. Of course. But they soon realize that they simply can’t be together. Amanda is married and has a grown son. She had a daughter, but she died of leukemia. Just to be clear this fact has nothing to do with the actual plot at all and only serves to manipulate the audience’s emotions even further.

Amanda returns home and tells her husband she’s had enough. All of the sudden she gets a call telling Her that Her son was in a terrible car accident. She rushes to the hospital where She learns that Her son now needs a heart transplant, and soon, or he’ll die. Of course. Happily, a donor is found and he lives.

Cut to Dawson. His car is almost pushed into the path of an oncoming train by his father’s new lackies. Also, his father is now out of prison. He manages to fight them off and call the police. The train that has been going by passes to reveal Dawson’s father with a sniper on the other side of the tracks. He shoots Dawson in the right shoulder. This normally not fatal wound manages to kill Dawson instantly without damaging his heart.

You guessed it. Dawson is Amanda’s kid’s heart donor. OF COURSE.

And that’s it. There’s just one last thing I want to leave you with. Remember Bobby’s pregnant girlfriend? You learn she’s pregnant in the first few scenes of the flashbacks, before Dawson and Amanda fall in love. Then at prom she says she is eight months along. That means that Dawson and Amanda manage to form an unbreakable bond of love that lasts over 20 years in around seven freaking months.

I’m done.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars