So, a Hollywood love story doesn’t have to be sappy



There is still room in Hollywood for a big love story.

Gina Prince-Blythewood proved it to me with “Beyond the Lights.” I have to admit I was a little gunshy after taking in my first Nicholas Sparks movie ever a while back with “The Best of Me,” but I chose this first-run drama and music over the slapstick sequel of the Farrelly Brothers DADT for this week’s Syracuse New Times Film Blog review. That one I shall catch on HBO or another way.

You can read my review of “Beyond the Lights” at the attractive Syracuse New Times site by clicking the link below.

So what did Prince-Blythewood’s work do for me on the chilly Saturday afternoon in Syracuse? Why, it restored my faith in Hollywood love stories, that’s all.

She gave it all it needed. A deep plot rooted in stereotypes of romance, modern tracks, an old hit at the center, familiar faces and great young stars. One, of which, I think may be a big star to behold. Yes, I think Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who played singer Noni, is rather something. She’s got looks and personality and that inner something. Yay.

Nate Parker played off her like a charm, too. He’s a cool customer. This performance should allow his phone to ring with offers, too.

Danny Glover? Thank you for his comfortable presence. Minnie Driver? Her part was quite annoying, and she was perfect in it.

But the give and take, yes and no, will they or won’t they, save her or leave her, well, that all was there in abundance. A love story that didn’t make me flinch or giggle or guffaw. Whaddya know.

Hollywood love stories, take them or leave them, and why? What are your favorite love movies, and why? Who would you call a next-big-star young actress and actor, and why?

Fish of Gold

42 thoughts on “So, a Hollywood love story doesn’t have to be sappy

  1. Generally not a fan of cheese ball romances, whatever form they may take. I don’t get to watch many movies these days. I don’t like to watch movies alone. My husband has the attention span of a hamster (when it comes to movies), although he reads academic history books like they are pop thrillers. This means I almost only watch movies with my BFF when I see her, which is hardly ever. Those movies are almost always cheese ball romances; this is truly a tragedy.


  2. From your description, Mark, “Beyond the Lights,” does sound like a good movie to catch. I’m not sure if Dave is up for a chick flick but he is a good sport.

    Some that were mentioned before, I also love. Plus, “Sleepless in Seattle,” and, forgive me, “Lady and the Tramp.” πŸ˜‰


    • Tell Dave that I endorse this as not a chick flick. Not that there’s anything wrong with a chick flick. But this one is a drama for all. Good call on ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ and animation old-school with ‘Lady and the Tramp.’ Nice pick, Judy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I may have to say, “Ditto” to the ones that Beth mentioned, but I had a longer list on my post awhile back of tear jerkers, love stories and romances. I will see this since you recommended it, while it sounds unusual and different from the regular love stories. Good ideas everywhere around here! Smiles!


  4. “Hollywood love stories, take them or leave them.” Leave them. I’m always up for a good drama, a good suspense thriller, a good comedy, or a provocative tale about societal issues. But a sappy love story? Nope, not for me. I don’t even mind if a subplot in a movie of different genre has a love story aspect to it. But a movie that is solely a love story. Nah. I feel the same way about movies whose sole intention is to make the audience cry. I don’t like manipulative tear-jerkers. What can I say? I guess I’m not the warm-fuzzy type.


  5. I will probably think of others after I comment but one of my faves is ” Out of Africa” with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Based on the true story of Isak Dinesen, the Danish baroness, who had a farm in Africa and falls in love with a game hunter. God that woman had guts fighting the elements and traveling around Africa on horseback. In the movie she is married to someone else. But it was a marriage of convenience. She then has her big love with the game hunter. I liked Chocolat with Johnny Depp as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m a fan of Sparks’ books but not the movies. The books allow you to see the motivations and personalities of the characters whereas the movies don’t. Books have many more tools to describe character development than movies do. Action stories are better on film – character in books. In my estimation. Movies where the characters just declare their undying love for each other bore me. In real life, it is so much more complex and played out against a backdrop of other fatcors. So, i do enjoy certain love sories – others not. I can’t say that i am enamoured of the genre, just the writer’s work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I dislike Nicholas Sparks’ based movies. Most love stories, actually, and that was even when I was actually in love. I can believe that there are galaxies far, far away and other such things, but suspension of disbelief is something I can’t apply to this genre. πŸ™‚


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