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I was born with, raised on and spent the first 20 years of my life living with, and believing, in Hollywood movies. I believed all young male lovers were handsome (and hairless) and all young female lovers were pretty and both had beautiful, usually blue eyes. Their stories consisted of meeting, falling in love, having something come along to break them up and, most important of all, everyone lived happily ever after. I knew all older folks were played by first class character actors and everything took place in beautiful towns, cities, counties, States and countries.
The difference between films of yesterday and those of today, like “The Longest Ride”, are that in today nude bodies and sex scenes are seen where in the past all were hidden by fireworks, drapes blowing in the wind, shower curtains, all indicating what was taking place and leaving it to the imagination. Oh yes, in the 1930s to the 1950s men’s chests were shaved clean.
You will either hate or love “The Longest Ride” but you will know what you are seeing before you walk in as Nicholas Sparks books and movies follow a well tread formula. There is nothing new and you know from the moment Luke (Scott Eastwood) sees and hands his black cowboy hat to Sophia (Britt Robertson) what will happen. Here you get two love stories for the price of one because due to circumstances we also get to follow the love story of Ruth (Oona Chaplin) and Ira Levinson (Jack Houston 70 years ago and Alan Alda today) told in old Ira’s memories and letters he wrote every day to his wife.
Just for the record Scott Eastwood is the son, and in my opinion, better looking than his dad Clint was at the same age, Jack Houston is the grandson of John and Oona is the granddaughter of Charlie and daughter of Geraldine.
As in most movies logic has to be checked at the door and in this case whether the 1940s or 2000s it seems Black people don’t/didn’t exist in North Carolina and in each case of the couples both males and females are from different worlds but don’t really present a problem unless the plot requires it.
There are cameos by Gloria Reuben (and, no, I am not contradicting my statement about Black people in North Carolina) and Lolita Davidovich, who are always welcome on the screen.
The younger actors acquit themselves well though Jack Houston seems lacking personality while Alan Alda walks away with the acting honors. Scenes of the mountains, beaches and lakes of North Carolina are sometimes breathtaking.
“The Longest Ride”, like Luke’s comfort food of mac ‘n cheese, is a comfort movie of yesterday.

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