Image: Di Novi Pictures
The Best of Me was one of the most painstakingly predictable, boring, sanctimonious pieces of rubbish I’ve had to sit through in years. Not only is the script a sickly sweet mess of folksy good ol’ fashioned wisdom, but also full of heavy handed, vomit-inducing dialogue about ‘fate’ and ‘the stars’, which make the films’ two hour runtime almost physically painful.
The biggest problem of all is that the characters in the flashback sequences look nothing like the characters in the modern day. Normally this is a minor issue that can easily be worked around, but the decision to cast the oldest looking ‘18’ year olds they could find and the lack of clarity in the script makes for a confusing and disorientating first act. It is one of the most egregious examples of ‘Dawson’s Creek Casting’ that I have seen in a long, long time, so much so that one of the characters is actually called Dawson. Upsettingly, Clarke Peters of The Wire fame (what are you doing in this film you poor, poor soul?) is part of the general poor casting.
The set and costume designers have a disturbing obsession with anything retro; Dawson, in 2014, still inexplicably uses cassette tapes, all the women seem to wear nothing but tea dresses, and in the flashbacks there is a Chevy full of preppies clad in letterman jackets, bullying the shy high school kid, a trope that has been around since at least the 1940’s. The product placement was also utterly laughable; it may as well be called The Best of Me, Sponsored by Budweiser™. The performances of the cast are average with no stand out performers and no real deadwood either, but the underwritten nature of anyone other than the two main characters doesn’t give the actors much to work with. Avoid, avoid, avoid.