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Endless Love (1981) vs. Endless Love (2014)

Let’s say you HAD to watch either the 1981 Endless Love or the 2014 Endless Love. Maybe Hezbollah is holding you hostage and forcing you, Clockwork Orange style, to watch a terrible, terrible movie. Or maybe you are going to be a contestant on Jeopardy!, and someone told you the Final Jeopardy category is “Endless Love?” What then? What will you do? WHAT WILL YOU DO?


Endless Love (1981)

A long time ago Brooke Shields was considered something of a sex symbol. No, really. Of course she was gorgeous (admit it, she was totally hot – remember that Calvin Klein ad?). Unfortunately she came across with all the raw eroticism of, say, an assistant youth pastor from Dubuque, Iowa. Brooke was cast in a series of movies, Pretty Baby, The Blue Lagoon, and Endless Love, that required a sensuous Lolita, and not the plastic spokesmannequin that she really was. Endless Love was the pop-cultural breaking point, when America realized our sex kitten had no sexiness.

Shorter Endless Love: Nerd boy David falls in love with Jade and her entire boho family. Jade loves him back, so everything is cool on that front. The big conflict: can Jade’s post-hippie family deal with their own ‘if it feels good, do it’ ideology when their precious daughter is the test case? SPOILER: They can’t. First James Spader shows up in a preview of his Pretty in Pink douchy cockblocking character. Next Jade’s dad loses it, and all sorts of trouble ensues.
The movie almost works as a period piece, capturing the late ’70s-early ’80s vibe, with bonus cameo appearances by future stars like Tom Cruise, Jami Gertz, and Ian Ziering. But the whole thing is sort of leaden and just goes on too long. Martin Hewitt as Romeo is no fun to watch, and his career tanked after this.

Better teen movie that starts in a planetarium: Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Better movie with Tom Cruise: Risky Business (1983)
Better movie with James Spader and Jami Gertz: Less than Zero (1987)

(musical interlude for sanity)

Endless Love (2014)

Did you ever space out during a boring drama, and start to fantasize about, say, a penguin walking into the scene? Or maybe you were watching a teen romance, and you thought about how much fun it would be if one of the leads was played by a veteran NFL quarterback? Well, that’s what this movie was like (the quarterback one, not the penguin).
Playing high school senior David is actor Alex Pettyfer, who is allegedly 23 years old, but looks like a 34-year-old football player. Acting opposite him is Gabriella Wilde as Jade. Gabriella is 24, but looks like a 16-year-old model. The whole casting thing is awkward and distracting.

In this go-round, David is a working class Joe who is just not good enough for rich girl hottie Jade. Bruce Greenwood gets to chew some scenery as Jade’s control-freak Dad (WITH A SECRET!) but the James Spader older-brother character is dead of cancer when the action takes place. Instead we get a best friend played by Dayo Okeniyi, who is most likely going to be the Tom Cruise breakout star of this Endless Love. The evil father breaks up Romeo & Juliet, somebody’s house burns down, and two precious hours have passed by the time this stinker ends.

Better movie about overprotected high school graduate discovering love and the world: Say Anything (1989)
Better teen movie with Dayo Okeniyi: The Spectacular Now (2013)
Better movie called Endless Love: Endless Love (1981)

So there you have it. The next time Jamaat-e-Islami kidnaps you and forces you to watch Endless Love, pick the 1981 version. Though you might just be better off converting to Islam and denouncing the Great Satan instead.

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