The Longest Ride Blu-ray Review
Nicholas Sparks is the go to writer for romantic dramas. Up until this point, I had actually never watched a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks movie. Sure I’ve heard the horror stories. My guy friends recount their viewing of a Nicholas Sparks movie; much like a veteran recounts the horrors of war. So I guess like any good soldier, I must tell you about my frustrating 139 minutes journey through THE LONGEST RIDE.
Luke (Eastwood) is a good old-fashioned country boy. That means he’s good hearted and sweet, but he’s also an imbecile. A bull riding accident nearly takes his life, but that won’t deter him from getting back in the saddle. Personally, I think it’s noble when an athlete comes back from an injury, but in the instance of Luke, there’s is no awe-inspiring grace. To me, coming back from an injury to sport in which the goal is to sport dominance over another creature is not noble. So despite multiple doctor warnings, his mother’s wishes, and numerous people shaking their head, he continues his bull-headed attempt at getting back into his “sport”.
Enter Sophia (Robertson). She’s been dragged to one of Luke’s bull riding event because her friends “want a cowboy.” So against her best judgement, she attends the event with her airheaded sorority sisters. So they drink some product placements and have a giggly good time. Sophia crosses paths with Luke and on-screen sparks don’t fly. As to what she sees in Luke, is beyond me, and I don’t say that in spite, but I say that as a general person curious about the love story. What does she see in him?
Classic deduction would imply that they become smitten because they’re physically attracted to one another. That makes perfect sense. It’s not like they’re having any meaningful or interesting conversations the audience gets to eavesdrop on. The deepest their intellectual and emotional conversations go is to their favorite comfort food and a lot of stories about Luke’s home life. We don’t really learn a lot about Sophia. It’s almost like the movie understands Sophia is already likeable and that we need to really be sold that Luke is a good guy.
Now I know at this point, the expectation is that I’m going to give this movie the lowest rating imaginable and pick it apart more, but there’s another movie in THE LONGEST RIDE that pops up. This one surrounds the elderly Ira (Alan Alda). He’s rescued by the two nitwits in the movie after his car goes off the road. While his unconscious body is being removed from the wreck by Luke, Sophia finds a box in his vehicle and quickly grabs it, possibly suspecting it’s a personal heirloom of his. While Ira is being patched up, Sophia becomes a nosy young adult and opens up the box. Inside is a stock of letters written to Ruth (Oona Chaplin), the love of Ira’s life.
This is the relationship and love I would much rather follow. Their relationship is the stereotypical love at first sight, but their relationship and love has never been easy. From the moment he was drafted into World War II, up until Ruth’s passing, they’ve both made personal sacrifice after personal sacrifice to keep their enduring love ticking. It’s a very sweet and heartwarming story, but there’s nefarious reason for its existence. This story is there to help create this idea that if Ira and Ruth can work through their problems, so should Sophia and Luke.
But surprise, that’s not the case. Ira and Ruth’s relationship is believable because they both want the same things, but the challenges of life keep getting in the way. Instead of faltering and breaking apart, they always refocus on the rewards of their marriage. As for Sophia and Luke, they’re just not meant for each other. Sophia is ambitious, caring, and thoughtful. Luke, on the other hand, is obsessed over a “sport” that could kill him. He harbor secrets, is pompous and selfish, and offers nothing in return to Sophia’s constant sacrifice for her own personal dreams. Luke simply caresses Sophia and flashes his doofy smile, hoping to disguise the fact he’s a cretin. THE LONGEST RIDE is not worth the long time it takes to watch.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Some fantastic picture quality on this blu-ray. There are some noticeable differences when switching from the story of Ira and Ruth to Luke and Sophiay. The scenes are awash in vintage color tones and the picture quality isn’t as clear.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) There’s some good sound balancing and mixing at work during the bull riding scenes. The soundtrack is only noticeable in flashbacks involving the Ira and Ruth story. Everything works seamlessly without any problems.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (19:13): For a movie that could definitely need some trimming, this is an odd length of deleted and extended scenes. Some of the extended scenes do highlight minimal trimming in the movie itself and the deleted scenes seem to add a little more depth to Ira, which is disappointing that they would cut the scenes. You can watch these with commentary. The director and Chaplin provide some clout over why these scenes were taken out.
A Writer’s Journey: A Day in the Life of Nicholas Sparks (4:44): I can’t tell if this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek or an actually day in the life of Nicholas Sparks. If it is a day in the life of the author, he has some really short days.
Beyond the Ride (4:14): This feature interviews the cast and crew about the movie. There’s nothing groundbreaking or interesting in this.
Bringing it to Life (4:33): This is a short conversation between Sparks and Alda. Just like the previous behind the scenes feature, it doesn’t really offer anything interesting.
Meet the Real Bull Riders (6:08): It’s a fairly self-explanatory feature. It talks with actually bull riders and gives a couple of behind the scenes looks at how they shot the bull riding scenes.
Luke’s Bull Riding School (4:59): Almost like a continuation of the previous feature. This goes over Eastwood’s preparation for his role and a bit of his bull riding training.
Audio Commentary by George Tillman Jr and Oona Chaplin: An off pairing for the film’s commentary. They don’t really seem natural in their conversation when talking about specific scenes and a couple of the movie’s themes. They do seem more natural whenever they’re speaking from their experiences on the set.
Gallery (2:10): A collection of photos that you can manually scroll through or set-up as an autoplay feature.