Monday, February 29, 2016

The Remake Comparison Project - A Love Worth Fighting For


Cody and Priscilla watch two very different versions of a love story with Endless Love 1981 and 2014.


The first February Priscilla and I were working on the Remake Comparison Project, we had an obvious choice: the slashers My Bloody Valentine. We shifted gears and covered a love story for the next February, writing about the Footloose movies. Now we've reached the month of Valentine's Day again and we're focusing on another love story, this time perhaps one of the most intense love stories ever made, as well as its less intense 2014 remake.

ENDLESS LOVE (1981)

Adapted by Judith Rascoe from a novel by Scott Spencer and directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Endless Love begins with the intense first love between 17-year-old David Axelrod (Martin Hewitt) and 15-year-old Jade Butterfield (Brooke Shields) already in progress. We're introduced to them as David sneaks in to visit Jade in a planetarium during a school field trip to a museum. As they look at the display, Jade contemplates mortality, and David says he would die if she were to die.

This is an unusual approach; love stories would usually show the buildup to characters reaching the "I'd die without you" point.

The next scenes show a stark contrast between Jade and David's home lives. David's place is stuffy and serious, his parents are intense lawyers who barely seem aware of his presence as he makes his way around their house, they're so busy plotting court cases and thinking of social issues. His father Arthur (Richard Kiley), however, is aware that their son is very in love, and seems pleased to know it.

David's parents seem too preoccupied and cold to really care about what's going on in his life. Seems to me like the sort of parents who pretty much have their kids "raise themselves" with so much freedom, that it usually ends up being a bad thing. Freedom is one thing; not caring for your children properly is a different one.


Ann (Shirley Knight) and Hugh (Don Murray) Butterfield run a much different household. Their place is noisy and active, they are bohemians who are very open with their children - they've had frank discussions about sex, they let their teenage kids smoke and drink wine in the house, Ann might be found dressed up like a geisha, and some evenings might be crashed by Keith's girlfriend Susan's band showing up and performing an impromptu show... with Hugh joining in with his trumpet.

What looked like a nice, dress-up, intimate dinner soon becomes a big party with live music and drugs. Very weird stuff.

The Butterfield life is appealing to David, he wants to be part of this world, but it's a little too lively for my taste.

I agree. They do seem very interested in David though, which is something he needs, considering the lack of attention he gets from his own family.


As such a party plays out, David goes off by himself to watch Jade from a stairway as she sits with her father. The "Endless Love" theme song by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie kicks in on the soundtrack as Jade sees David watching her and decides to leave her father's side to go to him. She will later say that this was a pivotal moment in her life, leaving her father for her boyfriend.

The theme song is probably the biggest, most lasting cultural impact this film has had, more popular than the movie itself. It was #1 for nine weeks and was nominated for awards. It's not exactly something I would sit around and listen to, but it has a nice, romantic sound to it.

The song is very sweet, I like it. But what's with Susan's workout clothes? That was really big in the early '80s it seems. People put that on to go sing at parties.


When the party has died down and emptied out, David pretends to follow the rest of the guests out the door. With the other Butterfields upstairs, David meets Jade by the living room fireplace and there they have sex on the floor. They don't have the privacy they expected to. Ann starts to come downstairs, but stops when she sees what her daughter is up to. Rather than chase David off or mind her own business, she instead lurks on the stairs and watches them.

Being open-minded and permissive is one thing, being creepy is another, and Ann crosses that line.

She just stands there and watches her daughter having sex. It gives me the creeps. But we soon learn that it wasn't just about Jade, she was actually into David. So, she was probably picturing herself there instead of Jade. Not cool.

This movie has some inappropriate stuff going on. I also get the vibe the Jade's dad was a little more fond of his daughter than he should've been, if you know what I mean.

Things go downhill from that moment. While David and Jade are having the time of their lives, the other members of the Butterfield family begin to get annoyed at how much their romance is overwhelming their lives.

Annoyed and jealous. The only one who seems to be happy for them is David's father, surprisingly. He only even saw Jade and David together once, for a very brief moment, but he could tell how in love they were, and he seemed glad.

Although Jade's brother Keith (James Spader) was friends with David first and brought him to their home, he's tired of David being around all the time, trying to work his way into their family - Jade says he already is part of their family - and when he's not physically at their house, Jade is keeping the phone line busy talking to him.

Ah, the old days, when only one member of a family could be on the phone at once.

I want to say I remember those days, but that would make me sound so old. But yeah.


Most upset is Hugh, who is deeply disturbed to catch a glimpse of a nude David in Jade's room one night, although Ann tries to tell him that he should be happy that Jade has someone rather than upset about the situation. "Someone finally had the courage to wake up Sleeping Beauty."

Jade's schoolwork is suffering because David keeps her so preoccupied from her studies and always sneaks into the house to keep her awake all night. Even on a night when Jade actually agreed that she and David needed to spend the night apart so she could study, he still comes by after 2 in the morning, encouraged by his father having told him that he'll remembering his time with Jade down the line but not the grades he got in school. He and Jade make love until dawn and talk about their feelings for each other. David will never stop loving Jade, and her love for him keeps getting stronger. So strong that it's scary to her.

I do get the overwhelming teenage love they're experiencing. Sometimes you're so in love that nothing else seems to matter, especially at that age, but it definitely was too much, and they weren't being very careful either. Letting everyone know what was going on. Not very wise. But again, they were teenagers, and Jade's parents were too liberal.

These sex scenes start to get disturbing when you take into consideration that Zeffirelli is showing so much of a 22-year-old Hewitt making out with Shields, who really was only 15. Apparently these sequences even had to be edited down so the movie wouldn't receive an X.

I'd hope something like that wouldn't happen these days. 15 is way too young.

Zeffirelli shot a nude scene with a 15-year-old Olivia Hussey in his 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet and Shields had already done nude scenes in two movies (Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon) by this point, so age clearly wasn't much of a concern to them.

Hugh is a doctor and has an office in the house. After he hears David sneak out in the morning, he catches Jade in his office, trying to steal some sleeping pills, desperate to get some sleep. Hugh blows up on her.

Jade's crying when confronted is quite annoying.

It seems accurate though. A 15 year old girl, so in love and sexually active that she can't get any sleep. I guess that's the behavior you'd expect.


The next time David comes by the house, Hugh tells him that he doesn't want him and Jade to see each other for the next thirty days. School will be over then, then they can take another look at things. David reacts so poorly that Hugh has to physically shove him away from the house. Before things can get worse, Ann comes out to talk to David in a calm and reasonable manner. David is forced to accept the fact that he won't be able to see or talk to Jade for a month.

I don't think this was the right decision. Jade's parents should've talked to David and Jade, and basically tell them to tone it down some. But doing what they did was too extreme, especially knowing how involved Jade and David were by then.

This is the end of the world for David, but I totally understand every complaint Jade's family has about him. Hugh's reasons for being upset are the most obvious, but I get why Keith would be annoyed with him, too. He's way too enthusiastic about everything going on with the family. Like Ann says, it's like he's trying to court all of them. He's a suck up and it's grating.

Maybe that's just how he was. And I still don't think Hugh made the right call. First they're too liberal, then they're too strict. Couldn't end well.

It isn't until after David has been kicked out of the Butterfield house that his mother learns what sort of household that place is, and if she had known she would have ordered David to stay away from it anyway. David doesn't take well to hearing that, standing up for the Butterfields - at least they're a family who does things together and talks to each other.

Hurting, David seeks advice from a couple of friends.

And here's the main reason to watch the movie.

For Cody, anyway.


One of those friends is played by a teenage Tom Cruise in his screen debut. Cruise's character, credited as Billy, tells a story about lighting a stack of newspapers on fire when he was 8. When he alerted others to the fire, they thought he was a hero who had saved a whole block from going up in flames. This story gives David an idea.

Tom Cruise is only in the movie for a minute, but in that time he changes the course of the whole story.

Seeing such a young Tom Cruise whose voice hadn't even changed completely yet, makes Cody's heart beat faster.

No, my heart doesn't beat faster. Cruise does appear to have been a "later bloomer" with the voice change, though. He sounds quite different in this movie.

David lurks outside the Butterfield house while another party is thrown by Keith. There's another guy who has shown interest in Jade, and when he sees that guy talking to her he knows it's his time to try to be a hero.

This seems very unfair to me. They sent David away so Jade could rest and focus on her schoolwork, and yet they still allow Keith to throw parties where other boys can hit on her. Those thirty days until the end of school should have been kept calm and quiet. No parties. I'll run this family, let me at 'em.

Exactly. It became personal. They seemed to love David, then they hate him for acting like a fool in love. Give him a break, he's a teenager. Plus, I feel like Jade agreed to the whole thing too fast. She should've tried harder.


After the party has emptied out and the Butterfields have gone to bed, David sets aflame a stack of newspapers that have been left on the front porch. Unfortunately, the fire is much bigger than he expected it to be. He is unable to extinguish it, and by the time he has alerted the Butterfields and they've gotten out of the house, the whole place has gone up in flames.

Convicted of arson, David faces twenty years in prison. Instead, the judge sentences him to five years probation and a stay in a psychiatric clinic until he's cleared by the doctors as being harmless. If he attempts to contact any member of the Butterfield family during the next five years, he will be serving the balance of his probation sentence in prison.

What?! This movie took a very sudden serious turn. It goes from two kids in love to this? I did not expect that at all. I've only seen Endless Love 1981 twice, and I was really shocked at this, the first time I saw it.

That thirty day wait sure is looking good now.


The next ten minutes of the film depict David's stay in the psychiatric hospital, where he stays for nearly two years. During his stay, his mental state seems to deteriorate rather than improve, to the point where he hallucinates that he's seeing and hearing Jade, dreams of her, and cries to his parents that he's dying in there.

Instead of helping him, being institutionalized for this long is doing a lot of harm to his state of mind.

After David rants and cries to his parents, Arthur talks his doctors into letting him out, but the conditions of his probation remain: he can't travel, he can't get a driver's license, he can't talk to any Butterfields.


The first thing Arthur does when they get David back home is give him a talking to about love, trying to convince him that he can accept that Jade is in the past and move on. Arthur knows you can let go of your first love because he is doing it himself: he and David's mother have gotten separated and he is seeing someone else. He reminisces how the sight of David and Jade together, the one time he ever saw her, made him believe in love again.

The parents in this movie are pretty dumb. Arthur, you're defeating your purpose by building up the romance of seeing David and Jade together while trying to convince him to move on!

I love what Arthur says about the past; that no one can take it away from you, but it's gone. It's so true. And it feels like Arthur is being a little too self-centered here, like he's so interested in talking about his new found love that he doesn't realize what message David's getting from it.


Still obsessed and in love with Jade two years later, David immediately breaks his probation and takes a bus out of his hometown of Chicago to New York City, where Ann lives in an apartment by herself, happily divorced from Hugh. Ann is shaken to see him but still takes him in. They spend the day catching up and drinking wine. Ann eventually confesses that she saw David and Jade making love by the fireplace and it dazzled her. That sight changed everything she believed about love and marriage. She made love to Hugh after, but imagined she was with David herself. She tries to seduce David now and even kisses him, but he turns her down. He's committed to Jade.

I'm so glad he turned her down!

The fireplace scene was even creepier than first thought. So all those times Ann defended David and Jade's relationship to Hugh, was it just because she was horny?

Horny for young guys who were dating her teenage daughter, yes.


David finds Jade's Vermont address in Ann's address book, and the next day heads out to catch a bus there. He doesn't get on that bus. Instead, he's spotted on the street by Hugh, visiting the city with the fiancee he lives in New Jersey with. Hugh has always been furious that David's punishment wasn't more severe, and when he spots the kid who caused so much trouble he looks ready to kick his ass. Seeking revenge, Hugh runs toward David across a street... and gets hit by a taxi cab. Killed instantly.

Like I said, the parents in this movie are really dumb.

David returns to Ann's apartment, where he finds Ann, Hugh's fiancee, and Keith in mourning. Angry to see him, Keith rants at him and tells him that Jade hates him now. David leaves, leaving the letters he wrote to Jade while he was in the hospital, which the institution never mailed, behind with Ann.


On his way out of the building, he sees Jade get on the elevator to go to her mother's. He sees her again that night when she shows up at the door of the hotel room he's staying in. She's on her way back to Vermont, but stopped by because she read his letters and feels like she ruined his life. They talk about their past, the fact that their love happened at an age when they weren't prepared to handle it, and what Jade believes is their lack of a future. They'll never see each other again. She had to say goodbye to her father, they should be able to say goodbye to each other.

They try to make Jade look older with her hair up and everything, but this is still a very young woman. 17 is still too young to handle something so intense.

Jade goes to leave, but David physically restrains her while crying out, "It's not over! We're not finished!" He overpowers her and she gives in, admitting that she still loves him. And they spend another night making love.


By morning, David and Jade are officially back together, she's going to accompany him back to Chicago. There's just one problem: Hugh's fiancee saw David at the scene of the accident and she recognized him when he stopped by Ann's. She and Keith meet the reunited couple in the hotel lobby. Jade is shocked by the revelation that David saw her father die, and as far as Keith is concerned David is a killer now. A fight breaks out, which ends with David being arrested. He broke probation, now he's going to prison.

Jade doesn't believe she'll ever be loved by anyone else the way David loves her. Reading his letters made her feel like she didn't deserve his love. After a teary conversation with Ann, during which Ann tells her that she deserves anything/everything, Jade makes a decision: she goes to visit David in prison.


I did not like Endless Love at all the first time I saw it. That time, it seemed to me like a movie that was nothing but a guy making a series of terrible decisions and destroying his own life. That is still what it is, but I've grown to enjoy it more over repeat viewings.

David is just so unlucky. He's overpowered by his extreme love for Jade, and that's what the movie is about. I wouldn't say I love the movie, but I enjoyed it more the second time around.

Another person who didn't like Endless Love was the author of the novel, Scott Spencer. You'd think that the director of the most popular adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, at least until Baz Luhrmann's insane 1996 version, would be the perfect person to handle your tragic love story, but Spencer felt that Zeffirelli didn't understand his material. I've never read the book, but apparently it was much darker and David came off as crazier. Spencer started writing it while going through a divorce, so it's not a happy tale.

I haven't read the book either, so I can't give any kind of comparison. That being said, I don't think I'd want the movie to be any darker. David already goes through a lot, during what should've been the most magical time of his life.

I can't compare the movie to the book, but what's there on screen is an intense, extremely melodramatic love story that can be entertaining to watch if you're in the right mindset for it.

And if you can relate to the characters. To that feeling of loving someone so much, you don't know what to do with yourself sometimes.


The film asks its actors to reach emotional levels that could have come off as utterly ridiculous if they weren't up for the challenge, but I think everyone pulled it off quite well, Brooke Shields' crying in the pills scene aside. It's somewhat surprising that Martin Hewitt didn't have a bigger career after this, because he manages to carry a lot of this crazy movie on his shoulders.

I have no problem with the acting whatsoever. I think the cast did a great job, and everyone was perfect for their roles, especially Martin Hewitt. It is shocking that he didn't have a bigger career, he was outstanding as David.

It's easy to get caught up in all the emotion, but taking a step back I would say that one area where the movie isn't quite successful is in getting it across to the audience just why David thinks Jade is so spectacular. For an overwhelming first love it makes sense, she's a girl and she likes him and that's all that matters, but if this is truly an endless love, maybe they could have done more to make Jade an outstanding character.

I think it had to do with her physical appearance, honestly. And that's why Brooke Shields was the perfect Jade. She had the sweet, young, innocent and extremely beautiful looks the character called for, and I think it's mainly what got David so hooked. Because if you think about it, there isn't much to Jade at all. She doesn't even fight for David when her father keeps them from seeing each other. Makes me question whether or not she was as into David as he was into her.

Endless Love is not well regarded, but I think it has more merit than it gets credit for. It deserves a higher ranking than the 4.7 it currently has on IMDb and I definitely don't agree with critic Leonard Maltin, who said it did "everything wrong". If you like emotional love stories, it's worth watching.

It's not perfect, but it gets a lot of things right, and I think that anyone who had a deep and at times tumultuous relationship can relate to what the characters - especially David - go through. It's not a movie I feel like watching all the time, but definitely worth revisiting.



ENDLESS LOVE (2014)

Twenty-nine years after the release of Franco Zeffirelli's take on Endless Love, distributor Universal Pictures pulled the property out of their vaults and hired Josh Schwartz, the creator of teen television dramas The O.C. and Gossip Girl, to develop a new film based on Scott Spencer's novel. It took around four years, but a Schwartz-produced Endless Love did make it to screens in 2014, directed by Shana Feste from a screenplay she co-wrote with Gossip Girl writer Joshua Safran.

The remake begins with David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) pining away for a girl named Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde of Carrie 2013) as their high school days come to an end. David has wanted to approach Jade for years, but never found the opportunity, largely because she withdrew from the social scene after her brother Christopher passed away from cancer when she was a sophomore.

The opening scene and we can already tell that this is going to be a very different story from the original, and from Spencer's novel.

I like how we get to see the "before" this time around. I find it weird that in all those years David never had a single opportunity to talk to Jade, but apparently these things happen.

With college looming, her surviving brother Keith (Rhys Wakefield) is hoping that Jade will be more social there. Christopher would want her to live more, not less.

David doesn't talk to Jade before graduation, but when her family arrives to have dinner at the restaurant where he works as a valet, he takes the chance to exchange some words with her. Their first personal contact comes when she drops her yearbook, which no other students signed, while getting out of the car. He helps her pick it up and she asks him to sign it. He does, "Maybe we don't wait another four years to talk again."

Here's the love story "meet cute" moment that the original skipped over.

This is a great scene, it's indeed very cute, and endearing.


The film quickly gets it across that David and Jade have different home lives from each other, and also from the characters in the '81 film. Rather than overly permissive bohemians, these Butterfields - with Bruce Greenwood and Joely Richardson as parents Hugh and Anne - are a very wealthy, high class family. Hurting from the loss of his son Christopher, Hugh has become overly judgmental toward Keith and extremely overprotective of his daughter, attempting to run every aspect of her life. By contrast, David is a working class kid, his father Harry (Robert Patrick) owns an auto shop and is very loving and supportive of his son.

I love how sweet David's father is. They seem to have a very nice relationship.

David makes a bad first impression on Hugh. Stepping outside the restaurant to invite David to the party she has just convinced her father to throw for her, Jade ends up in the middle of a dispute between David, his friend and co-worker Mace (Dayo Okeniyi) and a rude, condescending customer. To get back at the guy, the three teens take his Maserati for a joy ride. The angry Maserati owner is waiting for them when they return.

Jade does her best to defuse the situation, but when the guy makes a rude comment about her, David punches him. Something the other Butterfields are outside to witness.

A wish fulfillment moment for the working class viewers; who wouldn't want to punch a rich, loudmouth douchebag in the face?

I would! What a jerk. Having money doesn't mean you can treat people that badly, or that you're better than anyone else, in this case especially.

Jade wanted her classmates to come to her party, but it instead ends up solely populated by her parents' friends, plus David.

The turnout for this party reminded me of Willard's birthday party in the original Willard.

Very sad, but true.

A competing party is being thrown that night by David's ex-girlfriend Jenny (Emma Rigby), so he calls in a false noise complaint to the police, with Pettyfer using his own British accent in this moment. Jenny's party is shut down and soon teens are streaming into Jade's home, a fact which Hugh isn't too happy about.

Not exactly a nice move by David, but from the little bit we get to know Jenny, I do not feel sorry for her.


The teens play a game where they have to choreograph a dance routine to assigned songs. Fun is had, David and Jade dance together, then things come to an end when the power goes out. David sneaks Jade off into a closet so he can try to kiss her. Before they can, Hugh is calling for her, and he - and everyone else - sees them emerge from the closet together.

Both Endless Love movies have parties going on. This party is very different from the one in the original though. Mainly just a lot classier, and lets us in the fact that the people attending are semi-professional dancers, at the very least.


After the party has ended and Hugh has ushered David out, Jade sneaks outside and catches up to David so they can have their first kiss.

There are some sweet romantic moments in this movie, including this one. In the time between my first and second viewings, this part is what I most remembered about the movie.

It is a sweet moment, I like it as well.

To try to win over Hugh, David fixes a broken down car that had belonged to Christopher. That earns him an invitation to dinner and the chance to be evaluated by Hugh - Keith calls this "the inquisition", and his girlfriend Sabine had to pass it as well.

And how else would you win over someone like Hugh, unless you suck up to them or just happen to have a ton of money. Although David seems genuinely nice in the remake, as in...he seems to have taken interest in the Butterfields for real.

Through his answers, David reveals that he wants a simple life running his dad's shop and coming home to a girl he loves. Love is the most important thing in life to him. Love like his parents had. Hugh tries to bring him down with harsh reality, but Jade is dazzled by David's words.

David's ideas don't seem that outlandish to me. A love worth fighting for, that makes you want to do better and be better - who doesn't want that, other than a jerk like Hugh?

Hugh is a jaded middle-aged man struggling with the loss of a son. Also, I've noticed that having too much money can numb people sometimes.

Hugh is not won over. He doesn't want to encourage Jade to fall in love and have her heart broken.


After the other Butterfields have gone to bed and all the lights are out, Jade has David sneak back into the house, where they make love by a fireplace.

And, thankfully, are not spied on by either of her parents.

What a relief!

David wants to spend every day of the summer with Jade, but their time together will actually be quite limited. She's following her father into the medical profession and will soon be leaving to start an internship before school begins. So they decide to make the most of the time they do have, and a love montage ensues.

Could also be called the "young skinny people having fun" montage. I don't relate to most of the activities here, but as a country boy the moment when they're riding home at dawn in the back of a pickup truck does resonate. That's my favorite shot in the montage.

Skinny people having fun...that's exactly what it is. They did have a lot of fun, it seems. Looks like the actors were enjoying themselves for real.

The montage ends with Jade deciding to skip the internship, news that Hugh is very disappointed to hear and belittles her for.


When Jade wakes up in the morning, she finds that Hugh is taking the family out of town for a couple weeks, on a vacation to their lakehouse. He knows she's staying home for David, so he's taking her away from David. His plan doesn't work, though, because she secretly invites David along. Hugh wants her to send David away when he arrives at the lakehouse, but Jade stands up to her father and says he's staying. A shocked Keith marks this as the moment when Jade officially becomes a woman.

The lakehouse is amazing. I want to go there every time I have a "problem".

The important moment where she chooses her boyfriend over her father, but in a much different and more dramatic way than Shields' Jade did. This is a moment that is more clearly a pivotal one.

Remake's Jade has more voice than Jade from the original, that's for sure. Different times as well, so that plays a part, too.

Anne defends David to her husband and supports his relationship with Jade while Hugh freaks out. It's time for Jade to experience something like this, she already missed out on the high school experience.

Anne's defense of the relationship here is much better than '81 Ann's motive of "I like to watch my teenage daughter get humped."

I like Anne much better in the '14 version. You can see that she just wants Jade to be happy, she just wants to see her family happy. No shady reasons whatsoever.


Hugh actually apologizes for the way he reacted to David's arrival, but their interaction doesn't remain cordial for long. Hugh invites a work colleague to the lakehouse, and that night David catches him making out with this woman in the dark garage. The next morning, before anyone else is awake, Hugh takes David out to the middle of the lake on his speedboat. Hugh starts out with some chit-chat, but David cuts to the chase: he saw Hugh with the other woman, but won't tell because he doesn't want to hurt Jade. Hugh responds to this by denying that anything happened while threatening David not to tell.

This scene is like something out of a thriller, like Hugh is about to whack David in the head with an oar and dump his body into the lake. I mean, he probably wouldn't have an oar on a speedboat, but still...

You almost expect something like that to happen. By now Hugh is just completely despicable.


David and the Butterfield siblings go to a party, but are quickly whisked away from it by Mace, who has other plans. Knowing it's a bad idea, David initially turns down Mace's invite, but Jade, having skipped out on everything fun for the last few years, talks him into joining Mace on a foolish adventure of getting high and hanging out in the zoo after hours. Their fun times are interrupted by the police when Jenny, out of jealousy, gets her revenge and calls the cops. David distracts the cops and gets arrested so the others can escape.

Hugh agrees to bail David out under the condition that Jade take the internship. As soon as David exits the police department, Hugh starts antagonizing him. He has done a background check on him and throws it in his face: how his parents' marriage ended when David caught his mom with another man, snapped and beat the guy up. When Hugh puts down David's father as being "not good enough", David snaps again and punches him in the face.

As disastrous as this momentary loss of control could be, Hugh definitely fits the description of being a rich, loudmouth douchebag who deserves to get punched.

It felt like Hugh was trying to get David to lose control. He manipulated David into giving him the argument he needed, in order to try and convince Jade to stay away.

This tendency for snapping violently does lower my opinion of David, though. Makes me trust and root for him less. If he can't control his fists when he's angry, what's to stop him from hitting Jade someday?

I'm sure he wouldn't go that far, or at least I'd hope not.

Jade finds David talking to Mace and Jenny in a local diner, and while the sight of him with Jenny is shocking to her at first, it's the conversation she and David have after that causes things to fall apart. He does the opposite of what he said he would do - he doesn't fight for her, he walks away, saying he's not good enough for her.

David is kind of noble in the remake. He takes the high road and never tells Jade about her father's affair or about the mean things he told him the night before.


As she drives off, the vehicle Jade is driving is hit by a pickup truck, and she is hospitalized with injuries.

This is one poorly shot car crash. For the direction she was driving, the camera angles and positions of the vehicles in the crash make no sense to me.

The crash is the last time David and Jade see each other for a while. At the hospital, Hugh serves David - through his father Harry - a restraining order that will keep him at least 50 feet away from Jade, and Harry does his best to enforce the order to keep his son out of trouble. Jade even stops by their house to say goodbye, but Harry keeps her outside, while displaying regret and sympathy.


The couple attempts to move on. Jade leaves their state of Georgia to attend Brown University in Rhode Island and tries to see other people. David goes to therapy to try to get over her. He continues hanging out with Mace and Jenny, and Jenny is obvious in her attempts to get close to him again.

I don't want to sound mean, but the actress playing Jenny has the perfect look for the annoying girl that the audience doesn't want to see get in the way of things. If she had more scenes, I think it would have been very easy for viewers to develop a major disliking for her.

The scenes she does have are more than enough for me not to like the character.


When it becomes clear to Harry how much David is hurting, he has a heart-to-heart with him. He never fought for his wife, but he saw how much David and Jade loved each other, and encourages David to fight for her.

On his mission to reconnect with Jade, the first person David contacts is Anne. Over coffee, Anne reveals that she knows about Hugh and his other women, but she still has hope for him. If they can get past the loss of Christopher, they can get over anything.

Like the original's Ann, this film's Anne is a writer, but what this one ends up writing isn't a sex story, it's a letter of recommendation for David when he decides he wants to apply to a college. In this letter, Anne notes how David's light and love have sparked laughter in her son, an awakening in her daughter, and a desire in her, a desire to be in love again and start over with Hugh.

Hugh never mails the letter, so David doesn't get into college. When Jade makes a return visit from Brown, Anne confronts Hugh about the letter while they're waiting outside the airport. It's a true grievance, but the timing also allows David to be the first to greet Jade in the airport.


Hiding behind a pillar, David and Jade kiss and talk about what's going on between them. Saying "It isn't over", David presents her with a plan to run off together that night. Jade has a new boyfriend, but she doesn't love him like she loves David. She agrees to the plan.

Poor Miles the pre-med student. Good thing the audience never really got to meet him.

Returning home, Hugh is shocked to find that Keith and Sabine are burning candles and listening to records in a room that is supposed to be off limits, Christopher's old bedroom. Throughout the film, Keith has made it clear that his father's attitudes are hurting him deeply, and Hugh's reaction this time is enough to drive Keith and Sabine off, and Anne with them.

Instead of running off with David without saying anything, Jade tells Hugh that she has chosen to live her own life. She chooses David. When Hugh finds David lurking outside the house, it's his turn to become overly violent, going after David with a baseball bat... although he stops short of hitting him.


The characters barely have time to recover from this moment before they realize that Hugh had accidentally knocked over a candle while storming out of Christopher's room and now the whole house is going up in flames. In the original film, Hugh got David out of the burning house, and this time Hugh saves David twice during the fire, leaving behind Christopher's things to do so.

And with that, Hugh redeems himself. Finally the guy does something good.

Saving a person's life is a solid way to get on their good side. Keith's lucky Hugh seems to have been humbled by this event, otherwise I think he'd be getting kicked out of the family for lighting all those candles.

In the aftermath, Anne and Hugh are separated. After saying goodbye to her mom, who reiterates that she's inspired by the love David and Jade share, Jade is driven to the airport by Hugh.

There she's met by David, who is taking her on a surprise two day trip to California before they go to Rhode Island. Earlier, Keith had confided in David that he was thinking of eloping with Sabine, and in California David and Jade attend their surprise wedding. Over these images a voiceover from Jade talks about how great and lasting her first love is. It's the kind of love that you fight for.


The remake of Endless Love is an odd project, because I'm not sure this needed to be a remake. It's not based on Spencer's novel at all, so why claim that it is? It's a completely different story that has echoes of the original, but they're not that substantial. It's sort of like they boiled the original story down to key phrases, then mixed them all up and figured out the script from there, building it from concepts like "different backgrounds", "disapproving father", "car accident", "fire", "therapist", etc. If this didn't have the same title and character names, most people probably would not have realized it was based on a book/another movie.

They simply can't get over the remake bit. I thought it wouldn't last half as long as it has, but yes... they still cash in on that word even when they have no reason to. At least some things about the two Endless Love movies are similar, we've covered "remakes" that had absolutely nothing to do with their "originals", like Prom Night.

Questions of "why is this a remake?" aside, I do think Endless Love 2014 is an enjoyable love story, it's just one that's told in a much more typically Hollywood way. It's glossier, much less intense, and follows the standard "boy meets girl", "boy loses girl", "boy gets girl back" structure.

It is basically just another cute love story, with sweetness overload at times, but it's fun. I like that it's lighthearted and has a happy ending. Things can't always be bad, dark and heavy all the time.

The performances are decent here. Interviews have given me a negative view on Alex Pettyfer in general, but he handles the role of David well. Gabriella Wilde is also good as Jade, who has more to do this time around. There's nothing incredible here, but it works. With Wilde's casting, Jade also remains really tall - Brooke Shields is 6 foot, Wilde is 5'10".

I don't know whether or not the things I've read about Alex Pettyfer are true, but either way, he's a good actor. He's great at being the sweet, humble, "saves the day" type of character he usually plays. I've seen him as one of those a few times, and I always believe him. Gabriella Wilde is very good as Jade. She's not as pretty as Brooke Shields was back in 1981, but she pulls off sweet and innocent very well. I can't get over how long her arms and legs are... makes her look even taller than Shields to me.


Rhys Wakefield has some good, emotional moments as Keith. The performance that overshadows all others, though, is Greenwood's as Hugh. Sure, the character is suffering emotional turmoil, but the side effect is that he is an over-the-top, tyrannical jerk. Greenwood makes him appropriately infuriating.

I really like Rhys Wakefield as Keith, I was surprised at how well he played the character. I agree about Greenwood, very inspired acting as Hugh, he almost steals the show at times.

Endless Love '14 isn't great, it doesn't make much of a lasting impression, but it's a fine piece of entertainment in the moment. It keeps me interested and involved, so it does what it needs to. It offers something very different than the '81 film. When you want some extreme drama, Endless Love '81 is the one to go with, and when you want some pleasant romantic fluff, '14 is there.

Like the '81 version, I've only seen the remake twice, and even though it's not the best movie ever, it did keep me interested throughout and I cared about the characters enough to root for them. The soundtrack gets a tiny bit annoying every now and then, but it's nothing major. All in all, I feel like the movie is pretty decent and worthy of repeat viewings every so often.

2 comments:

  1. This was a really interesting way to review these films - I liked the different perspectives of the two people watching them. I've seen the original Endless Love and also read the book and you were right; the author didn't like Zeffirelli's version at all (I don't know if he's seen the remake). I think Spencer thought that Zeffirelli got the David character all wrong. As you mentioned in your review David was much darker in the book and I believe Scott Spencer did a better job of showing how dangerous obsessive love can be. I liked both the book and original film even though they're quite different from each other. Anyway, great review :-)

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    1. Thanks for the comment, we're glad you liked the article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book vs. the film as well. I'll have to get around to reading the book someday, it sounds like it will be interesting to see what David is like on the page.

      - Cody

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