Thanks to the wonders of Netflix and Red Box, movie rentals are actually pretty affordable entertainment – especially when you factor in the cost of popcorn and your favorite candy. But even if you’ve only paid a couple bucks for a lousy movie, you’ve still wasted a far more precious commodity – your time.
So in the interest of preserving an hour and a half (or more) of needless suffering at the hands of a lousy film, we at gmclife.com are willing to sit through the good, bad and the ugly DVDs for rent, so you won’t have to (well, unless you’re in the mood for a guilty pleasure, of course).
The Contender: Marmaduke
The One-Two Punch: One adorably slobbery dog prone to canine hijinks (voiced by Owen Wilson) in a family-friendly update of the popular comic strip.
The Premise: Your average American family uproots from the Midwest and heads to Los Angeles (with their good behavior-challenged dog in tow) for a job promotion that goes horrible awry.
The Verdict: With lame scatological humor and a been-there-done-that storyline that’s cloying predictable, Marmaduke has way too few laughs to make it worthwhile.
The Contender: The Back-Up Plan
The One-Two Punch: After a two-year hiatus after having her twins, Jenny From the Block returns to her favorite genre of choice – rom coms – with a twist.
The Premise: Inching toward 40, J.Lo’s character decides she’ll have a baby – with our without the man of her dreams. Of course, she ends up meeting him a few hours after she’s already pregnant.
The Verdict: I don’t know how Jennifer Lopez agreed to star in something with such a lame script, but the lengths this movie goes to entertain its audience with lame comedic set-ups should be commended. Ok, maybe not.
The Contender: The Last Song
The One-Two Punch: Based on the Nicholas Sparks book by the same name, his latest weepie stars teen queen Miley Cyrus.
The Premise: A troubled teenager and her brainy younger brother are shipped off from New York City to their dad’s Oceanside home in South Carolina.
The Verdict: In true Nicholas Sparks’ fashion, it’s best to have some tissues nearby. And depending on your tolerance for his past work (The Notebook, Nights at Rodanthe, Dear John), you’ll either hate it (or fall under its spell). Funny enough, I expected to land in the first camp, but actually ended up enjoying it more than I ever thought possible.
The Contender: Furry Vengeance
The One-Two Punch: Brandan Fraser gets schooled by some really annoyed animals who’d prefer that he didn’t destroy the planet.
The Premise: A suburban couple relocates to the Great Outdoors for a job offer the husband, played by Fraser, simply can’t refuse. But as it turns out, the construction site he’s supposed to work at is riddled with wildlife with a vengeance (hence the title).
The Verdict: Scraping the bottom of the barrel for humor (case in point: the bucket of urine that gets dumped on Fraser’s head, for starters), Furry Vengeance is harbored by a tasteless script and a story that goes nowhere fast. Not surprisingly, it didn’t do well at the box office either.
The Contender: Letters to God
The One-Two Punch: Letters to God is a little movie with a big heart – and perfect for the whole family.
The Premise: When a young boy with cancer starts writing letters to God (yes, actual letters, not e-mails), the people living in the surrounding neighborhood are affected in ways they never expected.
The Verdict: Sweet, heartwarming and remarkably well made considering the low budget, Letters to God is a great example of Christian moviemaking done right. While definitely made with believers in mind, it never is overly preachy or so unrealistic it’s difficult to really buy into.
About the Writer
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved from Minneapolis to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities as an editor, columnist and website guru for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own Dallas-based freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including Salem Publishing, Crosswalk.com (she review movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media, Songs4Worship.com, PassAlong.com and also helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. In addition, she also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers for NavPress.