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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Dear John’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


Oh, please, not another Nicholas Sparks movie. The romantic confession in the rain! The snuggling on the beach! The wondering who’s gonna live and who’s gonna die and who’s gonna be sad, so so terribly terribly sad when it happens!

Lasse Hallström sure has come a long way from My Life as a Dog

I’m thinking of starting a new feature here called People I Don’t Know Why the Fuck They’re Famous, and Channing Tatum would be the first entry. I understand that some people find underwear models appealing, but is that honestly all it takes anymore to land a role in a major motion picture? Is talent, just the tiniest slip of an iota of a breath of a sliver of talent, no longer a requirement?

Reason No. 1,458 I’m preparing to hate this movie: Is Amandy Seyfried reading a letter in a movie theater? In the dark? Holding it up into the light from the projector while people are trying to watch the movie around her?

*grrr*

Dear John opens in the U.S. and Canada on February 5, and in the U.K. on May 7.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • Nathan F

    I have to admit, by chick flick standards this doesn’t look that bad.

  • See, THIS is why I don’t like “chick flicks”. It’s not that they deal with romance (because I do like a good love story) or that they are “for women” (and therefore frivolous. Not.)

    It’s the blatant emotion-wrenching and the tired conventions that everyone and their grandma think of when they think “romance”. Like MAJ said, the confessions in the rain, the doomed-ness. Bleah.

    When I feel emotion for a story, I like it to come from a genuine love of the characters and a geniune caring about their lives. I DON’T like to be bludgeoned with the emotional cudgel. Being manipulated sucks.

  • riley sebesta

    If people wouldnt judge this film out to be like “every other chick flick” , then they might find an insight beneath the surface. If any of you ingnorant critics actually read the book, you might give it a bit more credit.

  • JoshDM

    Ralph Bates turning over in his grave…

  • j

    Is the writter of this article on something?

    It’s a great book and will be a great movie. Sorry, but the underwear model is staying PUT.

    I suggest you get over yourself and watch the movie before you write this trash. Have you got a romantic bone in your body? I think there is nothing much to hate about this trailer hence you are going for this angle instead, how very sad.

    This is why the public generally hate critics they talk a lot of crap.

    I’m thinking of starting a website called Why the fuck do we have critics as they are a waste of time. I bet mine is more successful than yours.

    Just watch the movie and chill. You might just surprise yourself and LIKE IT especially with the director involved.

  • j

    Just to add, if I have made any spelling mistakes it’s because I get extremely mad when I read crap like this.

    No worries my website will be correct.

  • So j is going to start a website criticizing critics for being so critical…

    The irony of that concept is just astounding–and not in a good way.

  • CEEDEE

    I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEM IS WITH CHANNING TATUM BUT HE IS MORE THAN AN UNDERWEAR MODEL AND IF YOU WEREN’T SUCH A HATER YOU COULD SEE THAT CHANNING TATUM IS AS I HAVE ALWAYS SAID AND ALWAYS WILL SAY A PHENOMENAL ACTOR AND HE WILL SOON SHOW YOU ALL JUST AS HE HAS SHOWN ME SO STOP BEING SUCH AN IDIOT AND OPEN YOUR EYE’S TO WHAT IS THE BEST HOLLYWOOD PERSONALITY EVER AND IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY I USED ALL CAPS IT IS BECAUSE I AM VERY PISSED OFF SO STOP BEING SUCH A DUMB A— AND REALIZE THAT MR TATUM IS WHAT HE IS THE NEXT ACADEMY AWARD WINNER

  • It always surprises me which of your critiques will touch the nerve of the crazies, MAJ.

    I’m thinking CeeDee, j and Riley are part of an online Channing Fan Forum. They dutifully scour the internets for any word of dissent! WOE BETIDE any who blaspheme the name of their beloved idol.

    I’m on a TVTropes kick today, all to irritate JoshDM. >:)

  • i’m trying desperately to think of another term for this type of movie than “chick flick”… grrrr.

    manipu=flick?

  • Alli

    MAJ, looks like you’ve pissed off three 14 year-old girls at their MLK weekend sleep-over.

    I understand that some people find underwear models appealing, but is that honestly all it takes anymore to land a role in a major motion picture? Is talent, just the tiniest slip of an iota of a breath of a sliver of talent, no longer a requirement?

    Taylor Lautner (the werewolf kid) was offered $7.5 Million to be in a movie with Tom Cruise. So basically the industry is now using men as sex objects like they’ve done to women for years.

  • LaSargenta

    i’m trying desperately to think of another term for this type of movie than “chick flick”…

    ABC Afterschool Special?

    Actually, I don’t find Channing Tatum nearly as affectless and annoying as whoever that is playing Savannah. But, I won’t be going to see this.

    And, dear “j”,

    I suggest you get over yourself and watch the movie before you write this trash.

    Why should any of us wait to watch the whole thing before having an opinion about it? A trailer is meant to show us the best, most attractive part of a film to entice us to go and see it or buy the DVD or get it on Netflix. IT IS ADVERTISING! It is intended to make us have an opinion!

    Do you literally watch everything out there? I really doubt anyone would have the time! We all pick and choose. Good grief.

  • Fuggle

    Am I the only one who looks at this as apparently the soldier and the girl hook up and are happy, and thus wonder how much everyone who picks the title of the book and movie are familiar with what “dear john” means within a military context / to a soldier?

    It’s kind of funny, but I can’t articulate how.

  • Neil

    I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEM IS WITH CHANNING TATUM BUT HE IS MORE THAN AN UNDERWEAR MODEL AND IF YOU WEREN’T SUCH A HATER YOU COULD SEE THAT CHANNING TATUM IS AS I HAVE ALWAYS SAID AND ALWAYS WILL SAY A PHENOMENAL ACTOR AND HE WILL SOON SHOW YOU ALL JUST AS HE HAS SHOWN ME SO STOP BEING SUCH AN IDIOT AND OPEN YOUR EYE’S TO WHAT IS THE BEST HOLLYWOOD PERSONALITY EVER AND IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY I USED ALL CAPS IT IS BECAUSE I AM VERY PISSED OFF SO STOP BEING SUCH A DUMB A— AND REALIZE THAT MR TATUM IS WHAT HE IS THE NEXT ACADEMY AWARD WINNER

    Ha ha ha!! Ah ha ha hahahaaaaaa!!

    And if I may expound on that:

    Ha ha ha!! Hee hee!! Hoo hoo hoo!!

    “Next academy award winner”…oh, that’s rich…

  • Orangutan

    Why should any of us wait to watch the whole thing before having an opinion about it?

    This is how fans operate nowadays. I used to see it a lot when I frequented an anti-Twilight forum. The fans would come in, TYPE ALL IN CAPS, abuse grammar, the works. Their go-to argument was usually along the lines of “u haven’t even read/watched it, how do u know you hate it?????”, to which people would respond, “I did read/watch it, it sucked, hard.” The fans would then follow up with ‘well if u hate it so much, y did u watch/read it???!?’ Or the ever-popular ‘well when u rite sumthing as poplar then u can talk!!!!!!’.

    This phenomenon seems to be growing, to me. I’ve seen it from random commenters on this site, too. The notion that you’re only allowed to criticize something if you, yourself, have achieved an equal or greater amount of success/recognition as the subject of your critique. Otherwise, you’re only allowed to be positive and lavish praise on the subject.

    If I were still studying psychology (hell, if I was still in college), I’m sure I could form a theory and write up a nice paper on this. I think it stems from the recent parenting method of unconditional praise.

    As for the subject at hand, Channing Tatum should not be allowed to act under any circumstances. Based on what I’ve seen, he has all the emotive capacity of a block of wood.

  • Victor Plenty

    Pretty faces who can’t act are appealing to viewers who have no empathic imagination.

    Skilled actors vividly portray the emotions of a character, which can be troubling when their emotions are slightly different from our own (as all genuinely human portrayals inevitably are). It is much easier to watch a blank slate with a pretty face, so that we can project an exact copy of our own emotions into the actor’s perfectly empty eyes.

    That way we avoid any challenges to our preconceptions.

  • LizeCK

    Channing Tatum…he was the guy in GI Joe, right? That’s about all I need to know right there.

    Given the calibre of some of the comments, this movie has already found its audience, and they won’t be needing me to buy a ticket.

  • I was actually kinda impressed by Tatum in this trailer. Maybe they took all the best bits of his performance, but he looked way better than I’ve ever seen him. And if you’ve seen “GI Joe” or “Fighting”, you know what I’m talking about.

  • @Victor, I never thought of it that way, but that makes perfect sense! Also explains the prevalence of Mary Sues in fandom: they don’t want real characters, just vessels onto which they can be projected.

    This phenomenon seems to be growing, to me. I’ve seen it from random commenters on this site, too. The notion that you’re only allowed to criticize something if you, yourself, have achieved an equal or greater amount of success/recognition as the subject of your critique.

    You’re right, it’s extremely common. But I never got it. By that logic, none of us could decide whether food tasted good unless we were world-class chefs.

    Critical thinking: get some. It’s okay, it won’t bite. It doesn’t make you a “hater”. Someday, you’ll even find that you can level a critique against something even when you like it!

  • LaSargenta

    Someday, you’ll even find that you can level a critique against something even when you like it!

    Right. But, for some it seems that will happen about the same time as dogs start talking and cockatoos start cooking dinner for us.

  • Orangutan

    @Accounting Ninja: Yes! Exactly! People don’t seem to get that not only is critique necessary, but that it’s a Good Thing. I’m a photographer, and I love critique. I have learned so much from good, honest critique. Without it, I’d be stagnant, just doing the same thing I started off doing.

  • Am I the only one who looks at this as apparently the soldier and the girl hook up and are happy, and thus wonder how much everyone who picks the title of the book and movie are familiar with what “dear john” means within a military context / to a soldier?

    It’s kind of funny, but I can’t articulate how.

    Yes, it is funny.

    It’s also funny that although it appears to be set during the current Iraqi War–which is supposedly the first war in American history in which a soldier can communicate with his or her significant other via webcam or e-mail–he chooses to communicate with her via snail mail.

    Then again, I’ve been using e-mail for over a decade now and even now I still have enough fondness for the letters I received from my first two girlfriends back in the 1980s–letters that obviously weren’t sent via e-mail–that I have yet to throw any of them out.

    Then again, I grew up with snail mail. And it’s going to be interesting to see how future audiences who grew up knowing nothing but e-mail and similar items respond to conventional letter writing scenes in future movies.

    Then again, if science ever develops a way to genetically endow humans with telepathic abilities, forums like this one are going to seem quite old-fashioned. (“Those old-timers used what to communicate across long distances? A computer? Why would any numbskull want to use a computer for that?”)

  • jbella

    Forget the movie, it’s amazing to me how people worship celebrities. Ceedee, what has Channing Tatum shown you, the light? No, just that he can pretend to be someone else on camera. Honey, from high brow actors to low, they are just actors, not Gods. Don’t get so emotionally invested, and please stop bowing down.

  • MaryAnn

    Taylor Lautner (the werewolf kid) was offered $7.5 Million to be in a movie with Tom Cruise. So basically the industry is now using men as sex objects like they’ve done to women for years.

    Sex object? *sob* I love men and sexy men and sex and all that as much as everyone else, but there’s nothing in the least bit sexy about Taylor Lautner. Maybe in 20 years, when he’s got a bit of life under his belt. But not now. Not to anyone older than him. Which is a fair bit of the moviegoing audience.

    Buff teenagers are not sexy. Channing Tatum (whom I know is not a teenager, but he might as well be, he’s so unformed and personality-free. which is not fair to many teenagers, actually) is sure as hell not sexy. Sexy requires brains and experience and a sense of what it is to be living a full life. (And in fantasy settings, derring-do helps, too.)

    Harrison Ford as Han Solo is sexy. Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine is sexy. Paul Gross as Satan on *Eastwick* is sexy.

    I don’t really believe that treating men as nothing more than sex objects would be a good thing: I love men too much to wish for that. But that would be a step up from what’s happening here.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s also funny that although it appears to be set during the current Iraqi War–which is supposedly the first war in American history in which a soldier can communicate with his or her significant other via webcam or e-mail–he chooses to communicate with her via snail mail.

    You can blame fuckwad Nicholas Sparks for that. I swear to god, I figured he must be an old fart* to be so stuck in outmoded notions of what’s “romantic,” but it turns out he’s only four years older than me.

    Of course, he’s a millionaire worldwide best-selling author, and I’m wondering how the fuck I’m gonna pay the rent this month, so what do I know about what people want to be diverted by?

    *”Old fartism” isn’t an age thing, by the way. It’s a state of mind. Young people can be old farts. No disdain of those chronologically older than me is intended.

  • JoshB

    Then again, if science ever develops a way to genetically endow humans with telepathic abilities, forums like this one are going to seem quite old-fashioned.

    That would more likely come from cybernetic implants. Brainwave reader > radio transmitter > cell tower.

    Resistance is futile?

  • Victor Plenty

    Cybernetic implants wear out, and can be removed or replaced. Genetically engineered telepathy provides much more reliable monitoring of the popul– er, I mean… much more reliable interpersonal communications!

  • EffyGreen888

    I personally cannot wait for this movie.I loved the book and mostly all nicholas sparks books and channing tatnum i think would be good as john. He looks the part and acts the part.
    Amanda seyfried…i dont mind her,but it will be interesting to see how she portrays the role of savannah.
    Its just a shame i live in the uk and have to wait till may to watch it :(

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