A bunch of us just watched the movie The Best of Me (2014) staring Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden.  It’s a great movie to watch with your girlfriend, wife, or mistress, as long as you can keep from sobbing hysterically.  Women like a guy that shows some sensitivity (a little watering of the eyes at the appropriate times) but don’t do much more than that or she’ll think you’re gay.

The movie is about a pair of high school sweethearts who reunite 21 years later.  When they were young the girl introduced the boy to her rich dad who pretends to be impressed with the boy’s high grades and outstanding SAT scores (1520) and then offers to show the boy his car collection.  Once they’re alone, he informs the boy that someone like him can’t afford college, but he’ll make it easy by giving him $80 K (big money in those days) if he stays away from his daughter.  The boy tells the rich dad to buzz off (using more vulgar language) and continues to date the daughter, but at the same time he is constantly encouraging the girl to dump him because he loves her so much he’d rather let her go then impede her bright future.

It was a good movie but it would have been a lot better had they not had Luke Bracey (born in 1989) play the male lead at age 18 and James Marsden (born in 1973) play the male lead at 39.  Marsden doesn’t look like an older version of Bracey he looks like a completely different person.  They don’t even look like they’re related, let alone the same individual.  Hard to maintain empathy for a character when he suddenly looks like someone else entirely.  It’s not like one actor is a child and the other is a man; both are fully grown men so the massive physical transformation is very distracting.  The casting for the young and old female lead is much better done.

The movie was fiction but in reality there’s a great tradition of paying people not to date your kid.  I was watching an episode of Life Story Project on the OWN network…a show where they place a purple couch on a busy street, park or beach, and ask strangers to talk about their lives.  On one episode a woman talked about how much she loved a black boy when she was young but in the morning he was gone, never to return.  “If he loved you he wouldn’t have accepted the money,” her mother explained.