To the Best Mom Around

First of all, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I contemplated doing a post today about all of the fictional moms I love, but I thought it’d be better to just talk about the mom in my life.

I talked to her yesterday and she was like, you don’t have to call me on Mother’s Day and that seemed like a test, so I called her anyway. I also called her because I would be genuinely lost without this lady. She has supported me at every single turn, and I would not have been able to do so many of dreams had it not been for her.

I wouldn’t have gotten my dream job at Disney World.

I wouldn’t have fulfilled my high school dream of working at both TIFF and Cannes.

And I sure as hell wouldn’t have written two books with another one on the way.

(And, yes, Dad, you get credit, too. Just not for another month. You gotta wait for Father’s Day.)

My mom puts up with a lot. She listens to me talk about movies all the time even though she hates movies. She puts up with me moving all the time because I’m indecisive and still have no idea where my life is going. You always seem to have an idea, though, Mom. I may not have faith in myself or what I can do, but you do, and I don’t know how to tell you much that means to me.

Thank you for passing on all the wisdom and warmth and light to Michelle and me. (Also, did Michelle call you for Mother’s Day? Did I call first?) I hope one day I can pass all of those things along to my kid and they write a blog post about it, too.

You’re not getting grandkids tomorrow, or maybe even for a very long time, but eventually. Maybe. We’ll see.

So, thank you, Mom, for being the best mom around. I can’t wait to see you in a few months. My Mother’s Day gift to you is all the grammatical mistakes that I probably made in this post. Love you.

And here’s a picture of Chris Hemsworth for you because I know that’s the gift you really want.

Advertisements

The Changing Images of Masculinity & Femininity in 2018 Film

My mother says I should be writing for this blog at least a couple times a week. Obviously, that has not been happening. She also said I shouldn’t be writing about movies as much because this shouldn’t be a “movie blog.” She wants me to write more about what’s going on in the world or something like that.

Well, sorry, Mom. I’m writing something, but it’s going to be about movies.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I set out on a quest to watch a movie every single day of 2018. I have since failed and fallen off the wagon, mostly due to food poisoning that hit me back at the beginning of April. I’ve still been seeing a lot of movies, but I lost my Movie A Day streak.

I’ve seen some great ones (please, somebody on this planet go see Lean On Pete and give it the love it deserves), some mediocre ones with very cute actresses (I plead the fifth on how many times I saw Tomb Raider in theatres), and some that were painful.

However, one of the movies that surprised me the most was Blockers.

blockers.jpg

Blockers was being billed as the female Superbad, AKA my literal nightmare of a movie. I just can’t get behind the dumb gross-out humor. I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ll ever get the appeal. If you haven’t seen the trailer for Blockers, it’s about three teenage girls who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Their nosy parents find out their plan and do everything in their power to sabotage the girls’ night because they don’t think their daughters are ready to be sexually active. The trailer is terrible, and features John Cena butt-chugging a beer. If you really want to see it, here it is.

I was ready for this movie to come and go from theatres without me seeing it. However, early reviews were coming in saying that it was shockingly feminist and so,  begrudgingly and solely because of MoviePass, I saw this movie. Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised.

Were there still scenes that were mind-numbingly dumb? Yes. Basically, every single scene with the parents falls into that category. Too much time was spent on the parents, and that’s a shame because the second the movie lingered on the teen girls, it rose above itself.

One of the girls, Julie, was planning on losing her virginity to her boyfriend. Another, Kayla, didn’t care who she lost her virginity to. The third, Sam, was cautious about joining in. Julie and Kayla were very adamant that Sam didn’t have to participate if she didn’t feel she was ready. The movie took painstaking measures to always let the girls be the ones in charge of their bodies.

Spoiler alert: only one of the girls ends up going through with it. It’s Julie, the one with the long-term boyfriend.

Kayla finds a guy to have sex with and spends the whole night excitedly saying how ready she is. While she and the guy are making out in the hotel room, she ends up changing her mind saying she didn’t need this moment to be special, but she wants it to be slightly more special than with a guy whose last name she doesn’t even know. Despite her saying how ready she was, when the time came, her consent changed and the boy honored that. It was a subtle way of teaching consent.

The audience learns that Sam is actually gay and has absolutely no interest in the guy she’s taking to prom. She’s got a crush on a girl, and they get to have a sweet moment after Sam comes out to her dad and friends. Did I cry? Yes, of course. Her dad has a very sweet line when Sam expresses concern about coming out to Julie and Kayla. He tells her that this is something she should share with the people she loves. That scene got me good.

Each of the girls also had a distinct personality, and I think they were all great examples of strong female characters. For a female character to be strong, she doesn’t have to do insane feats of heroics, she just has to proudly be herself. I truly can’t believe I’m saying this, but Blockers did that. They had three strong teenage girls stand up and proudly proclaim who they are. The movie never once resorted to having them start fights with each other. They were best friends who had each other’s backs. Always.

So thank you, Kay Cannon, for making a movie that lets teenage girls be unashamedly themselves.

I know, I know, Mom. This is getting long. Let me just talk about Lean On Pete really quickly.

pete.jpg

Aside from being one of the prettiest movies I’ve seen this year, it also surprised me. I saw it two nights in a row. Again, thanks, MoviePass. I don’t want to give too much away because it is so much better the less you know about it. All I’ll say is that it’s a modern Western love story between a boy and his horse.

Most Westerns created this idea of masculinity that is a strong, emotionless man who wants to take on the world alone. Lean On Pete takes every single one of those tropes and inverts it. Charley is a boy who has a million emotions going on inside him, and all he’s ever wanted is someone by his side to take on the world with. He finds community in his dad, the guys at the racetrack, the people he meets on his journey, and, most profoundly, in Lean On Pete. It’s a heartbreaking look at America and how the harsh ideals of masculinity have hurt young boys. It’s also one of the best damn movies you will see this year.

(You happy, Mom? Under 1,000 words! That’s what you meant by short, right?)

The Aftermath of ClexaCon

So it’s been about a week since I got back to LA after ClexaCon and wow, what a weekend.

First of all, to anyone reading this who bought my book or took a sticker or a flyer or politely declined or talked to me for a little, THANK YOU. This was my first convention of any kind and my first convention selling these books of mine. It was a very overwhelming experience, in a good way, and I am so thankful. Also, a big shout out to Melanie for going on this journey with me. You only recognized one person (and not even for the show they were invited to ClexaCon for), but I’m glad you got to see the gym teacher from Lizzie McGuire.

Second of all, the whole atmosphere of ClexaCon was dope. Like it was so cool to be surrounded by so many positive, loving people all weekend. I could not have felt more welcomed. Also, a shout out to Dominique from Wynonna Earp for chatting with me about my book for a good couple of minutes. You are very charming and I’m sorry I don’t really watch your show, but thank you.

Third of all, if any of y’all out there who bought the book have opinions on it, leave a review for it on Amazon or Goodreads? Maybe? Please? I’m trying to build some cred and it’d mean the world to me.

Fourth of all, the weekend finally inspired me to start watching The L Word for the very first time. That’s right. Ya girl has been out of the closet for roughly seven years and has never seen The L Word. How is that possible? Who even am I??? Well, I’ll tell you who I am: Dana Fairbanks’ Number One Fan and Jenny Schecter’s Number One Enemy. Seriously, Jenny is the absolute worst and I don’t know how I’m supposed to live with her nonsense. Especially after her manatee GARBAGE. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel self-conscious about my writing after having to endure the utter trash that is Jenny’s meanderings about manatees.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m almost through a seven-day work week. I can’t say I recommend coming back from ClexaCon and going into a seven-day work week. Not that my job is insanely taxing, but I’d just like to be seeing movies and not working. I think that’s how most people feel.

ClexaCon or Bust

The time is almost here, kids. It’s almost time for me and one of my best friends (what’s up, Melanie?!) to put this show on the road and head out to Vegas. That’s right, I’ll be there selling my two books at booth 220. Come say hey!

Orrrrr maybe you found your way here because you picked up a free sticker at my table at ClexaCon and wanted to know what I’m all about. In which case, hi, hello, hope you’re enjoying yourself in Vegas and I hope you said hi and didn’t just grab a sticker silently. (Although, if you did, I don’t blame ya, but I promise I’m not scary.)

Anyway, I’m here to let you know that I’ve got a fancy new website: tinakakadelis.com. I may have a new website, but I also ordered a whole bunch of stickers with this URL on it and hindsight is 20/20. So, stick around on this blog for my musings on pop culture and checkout my website to see how fancy I can be.

Until next time ✌️

I Wrote a Book (Again)

What’s up, world? I’m back again with another novel to talk about ad nauseum, at least until the third and final installment of the Carly Allen Trilogy comes out. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even talked to you about the second book and here I am jumping the gun.

So let’s circle back around to book numero dos.

It’s called I Didn’t Start the Fire and it picks up a couple months after Burn Before Reading ends. Carly and all her friends are heading off to college in different parts of the country, and it’s the first time any of them are on their own. It’s the end of summer and the beginning of the rest of their lives.

The book’s sweet and a little sad, just like life is. There are plenty of new characters and all your favorites return. (Hi, if you don’t have any favorites, may I suggest you read the first book in preparation?)

It’s also got a bunch of songs in there, like Dave Matthews Band’s Crash into Me, Springsteen’s Growin’ Up, and a Rick Springfield deep cut or two. I make some dumb jokes about Transformers, so it’s really just an all-around great time.

If you don’t believe me, check out these rave reviews from the first book (and a look at the back cover):

IMG_7535

Check it out maybe?

Also, ClexaCon, the LGBT convention in Vegas, is just a few months away and ya girl is gonna be there. I’ll have stickers, both books, and a hot pink record player with me. That’s right. My little table is going to be dope as hell. Come visit and I’ll hook you up with a sticker and an autograph.

Oh, and in case ya’ll were wondering about my film watching habits, here’s your round-up since we last talked:

3/08 – Thoroughbreds

3/09 – Carol

3/10 – A Wrinkle in Time

3/11 – The Edge of Seventeen

3/12 – Thoroughbreds

“It is the Titular Role!”

It’s been a while since we chatted about my New Year’s film resolution and again, I know everyone is on pins and needles. So let’s get into it, shall we?

2/24 – Mistress America

2/25 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

2/26 – Clueless

2/27 – Frances Ha

2/28 – The Host

3/01 – Frances Ha

3/02 – Sweet Home Alabama

3/03 – Creed

3/04 – Frances Ha

3/05 – Game Night

3/06 – The Cured

3/07 – Lady Bird

You may have noticed that Frances Ha shows up a grand total of three times in six days and you may think that doesn’t count to my movie a day quest, but I never said I couldn’t re-watch movies. I don’t know. Frances Ha just seems like the kind of movie I need at this moment in my life.

Lady Bird‘s there again because ya girl finally owns a copy of the DVD and what a pretty DVD it is. Shoutout to A24 for being responsible for the vast majority of my DVD collection. I watched it the day after I got it because it’s very nice to be able to cry in the comfort of your own home as opposed to a theatre with strangers. Also, if you haven’t read the screenplay, please look it up. I read the screenplay and then watched it and the way Greta describes everything is just such an absolute treat. I don’t want to spoil it for you. I think you need to experience it for yourself.

Game Night was a movie that pleasantly shocked me. I went in with the lowest of low expectations and because I love Billy Magnussen. He plays the bimbo so beautifully well and his comedic timing is unstoppable. I also didn’t realize I had a crush on Rachel McAdams, but like…wow. My only real issue with the movie was having Rachel McAdams be married to Jason Bateman and not to me. I just really hate large age differences like that. Also, Jesse Plemmons. What a performance. Why did I thoroughly enjoy this movie??

So basically all my life I’ve been pretty confident I’m gay. HOWEVER, Michael B. Jordan…like I get it. I understand straight girls and gay men now. Like I GET it. Michael B. Jordan could get it. Anyway, I watched Creed because I’m in love with both Tessa Thompson and Michael B. Jordan. I still don’t really understand boxing and why they randomly embrace in the middle of boxing matches, but I enjoyed myself.

The Cured was basically just the poor man’s iZombie. Which, by the way, please watch iZombie. They’re doing real cool stuff over there and no one’s watching it. Please don’t let the zombie thing turn you away from giving it a chance. It’ll fill the Veronica Mars-shaped hole in your heart, I promise. But was The Cured a metaphor for the potato famine?

Sweet Home Alabama. I’m sorry, Mom, I deeply love southern accents. I don’t how I could disappoint the family name like this, but I’m sorry. I was born this way and I can’t change. Please try to find it in your heart to accept me.

The Host was just rough, and I don’t know if I can ever forgive Diane Kruger and Saoirse Ronan for putting me through this. (I’ve already forgiven them.)

I guess that’s it for now. My mom thinks I should write more often, but that seriously cuts into my aimlessly strolling through Target time so I don’t know if that’ll happen. I hope someone gets a movie recommendation from one of these posts, or at least learns what movies to stay away from. As always, follow me on Letterboxd because that gets updated every day with the new movie.

ALSO. HOW COULD I FORGET????

The proof of my second book arrived the other day. Look how pretty it is!

book2.jpg

The second book should available to you the first week or so of April. Get stoked.

Greta the Great

(Hi, the Academy is a joke and not hella tight at ALL.)

I raise your Marvel and DC cinematic universes and introduce you to the Greta Gerwig Cinematic Universe™️. An idea that I did not personally use those words to describe, but an idea that’s been circling around in my head since my first viewing of Lady Bird.

The films are as follows:

Lady Bird

Mistress America

Frances Ha

The order of the films released is actually the opposite of how I just listed them. Frances was first, then Mistress, and finally Lady Bird last last year. The first time I heard of Greta Gerwig was when I was visiting my parents on a holiday from college and I was up late browsing their on demand channels. Mistress America popped up and it sounded like the kind of indie movie I would love. Little did I know that it would hit me like a freight train.

The story’s about Tracy, who moves to New York to go to college. Her dream is to be a writer and she’s having a hard time figuring out where exactly her place is in New York. It’s a huge city and she feels very small. Her mother recommends calling her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke.

Brooke is the embodiment of New York City. She lives in Times Square because when she got off the bus, she thought that’s where all the cool people lived. She’s “the last cowboy, all romance and failure.” Gerwig may not have the sole writing credit on the film, but I would bet everything that line was hers.

Frances Ha is the story of a woman in New York City trying to make it into the dance company she teaches for. Its style is very similar to Lady Bird in that we don’t see every single day of Frances’ life, but we see little vignettes that add up to her life. We see her bounce from apartment to apartment and lose her best friend to her new fiancé.

Gerwig shares a writing credit on Frances and Mistress and stars in both. Lady is all her own. Written and directed by her. It’s the only one she doesn’t star in. Having now seen Lady, it is so clear that so much of Frances and Mistress came from Gerwig.

At their hearts, they’re each about love stories that rarely get shown in pop culture. Lady is about a mother and daughter, Frances is between two best friends, and Mistress is about stepsisters. They’re also movies that are deeply embedded in their place. Frances and Mistress HAVE to take place in New York City and Lady HAS to take place in Sacramento.

They’re also about women falling in love with themselves, which is something not a lot of movies focus on. Lady Bird, Frances, and Tracy are by no means perfect, but the thing that unites them all is that they’re trying. Lady Bird is eighteen, Tracy is a college freshman, and Frances is twenty-seven. Ages where it feels like they should know who they are, but they’re still figuring it out. All of them are very unashamedly searching for what they want. We see Lady Bird fearlessly go after the boys she likes, Tracy goes after her writing dream (but remains indecisive about the right pasta), and Frances goes after being in the dance company. All of them stumble and all of them triumph in their own way. All of them are embarrassed they’re not real people yet and that’s okay. None of us are.

All of these movies tug on my heart because they’re so specific and honest. I think when you’re able to hone in on personal feelings so intensely, you end up creating something that’s universal. Again, Gerwig only shares writing credits on Mistress, but I’m willing to bet all the money in the world she’s responsible for this:

I think I’m sick, and I don’t know if my ailment has a name. It’s just me sitting and staring at the internet or the television for long periods of time, interspersed by trying to not do that and then lying about what I’ve been doing. And then I’ll get so excited about something that the excitement overwhelms me and I can’t sleep or do anything and I just am in love with everything but can’t figure out how to make myself work in the world.

That feeling is so specific, and as soon as she said those words, it was like something clicked in my brain. That was how I felt then and how I feel sometimes now. There are all of these really great things I’m sure I could be doing and I’m ready to do them, but it’s so easy to lose myself in feeling like there’s not enough time in the day. You push your dreams to tomorrow and always tomorrow and then before you know it, you don’t have anymore tomorrows. I am in love with everything and sometimes the fear of figuring out my place in all of this feels insurmountable.

Just for fun and because I have no self-control, I’m going to share with you my favorite quote from Frances Ha. It shows exactly what I mean about creating something so specific that it becomes universal. Just like the quote from Mistress, Frances has this moment where something very personal and in-character is said, but something that is like a freight train to the heart. Again, I’m willing to bet the credit belongs to Gerwig:

It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.

One thing about her writing/directing process that I found fascinating is that so little of it is improv. And by so little, I mean none of it. Her writing is so strong that everything that needs to be said is already on the page. That only adds to her honesty because she understands who her characters are on a fundamental level.

I was reading the script to Lady Bird last night and it was absolutely magical. Only a few small things changed, but it’s all there. Here’s Greta describing one of my favorite moments in the film:

Marion drives back home. It is romantic somehow. She loves these streets, loves the turns she knows so well. When she’s not resenting the stuck-ness of her own life she has an enormous capacity to love it. Remember this moment with Marion.

I’m not sure this blog post adequately describes the love I feel for all three of these movies. They’ve come into my life at very specific times, but I wrote this post-Oscars while re-watching Frances Ha for the third time in five days. To steal Lady Bird’s last lines, thank you. Some of the winners from last night will fade into obscurity, but Lady Bird won’t. This is the type of movie that our kids will watch and their kids will watch and their kids will watch too. The technology and the look of the world will change, but the love that courses through that movie won’t. It’s a movie built on love, and unless there’s a day where there’s no more love in the world, Lady Bird will always ring true.

Make America Greta Always

Brunch or Bust

Hi. Hello. I’m back. It’s been a while again. I’m aware. I have just returned to my apartment after a relaxing time in Palm Springs.

I’d never been before, but consider me a big, big fan now. Palm Springs is still stuck in the seventies and eighties and I live for that architecture and commitment to neon.

Anyway, I’m not here to tell you about the atmosphere of Palm Springs. I’m here to tell you about the ridiculous morning I had.

First of all, shout out to Elyse and Alex for experiencing this with me. Second of all, shout out to Alex’s hotel discount. Third of all, no shout out goes to our brunch establishment.

The plan was to get breakfast somewhere on the main little drag of downtown and then wander around there for awhile. The two of them found a place they’d been to in another part of California and we agreed to try out the Palm Springs location.

Now, before we go forward, lemme talk to my mother. Hi, mom. I promise we were being safe.

We ordered mimosas. We weren’t planning on driving back until much, much later in the afternoon and since I was the only one who could drive the stick shift car I drove us in, I did not partake in the bottomless mimosas. I did, however, order a mimosa flight because 1. that’s the best thing I’d ever heard of 2. it was 9 a.m. and we were at least like seven hours away from driving, and 3. we were about to eat a heavy, heavy breakfast.

Our waiter takes our order and we wait. The mimosas arrive and look how cute my flight was:

img_7390.jpg

We’re enjoying ourselves drinking and chatting and then our waiter comes back over looking a little nervous. Now this is entirely irrelevant to the story, but our waiter looked exactly like a young One Tree Hill-era Chad Michael Murray.

So Chad Michael Murray comes up to the table and is like I’m so sorry, but the health inspector just came by and failed us because of the water pressure, so we can’t serve you guys your breakfast.

At this point, we’re all about a mimosa in on an empty stomach, banking on this breakfast to negate the champagne. Chad Michael Murray assures us we don’t have to pay for anything…except the alcohol, which is the only thing we’ve had at this point.

Not one to abandon alcohol, we all commit to finishing our drinks, with the other two getting another mimosa so their bottomless mimosas makes sense financially.

One lady apparently tried to discourage Chad from bringing us drinks, but just like Lucas in every season of One Tree Hill, he didn’t listen to the woman.

I can say with utmost confidence that having three pretty generously poured mimosas on an absolutely empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. We were a giggling mess in downtown Palm Springs. I had to take a seat outside the restaurant to let the wave of nausea pass. Later, I laid down in front of a random fountain and then bought a new jacket at H&M. Elyse almost bought weird $5 spy glasses that would’ve let her see behind her. We talked her out of it, but I think she still regrets not buying them.

Every time I had to speak to someone, this gif was just playing in my head:

dbs.gif

I’m sure everyone knew we were out of our minds.

Somehow, we walked a MILE to this Mexican restaurant where, after copious amounts of chips, salsa, guacamole, tacos, rice, and water, I became a sober member of society again. Four hours after the whole health inspector debacle.

We later decided to go to this cool hotel where we think a convention was being held? I have absolutely NO idea what the convention was about except La Croix was there. Because I’m California trash, I enjoy a La Croix now and again. Waterloo is my preferred sparkling water brand because I am terrible and have a preferred sparkling water brand. Anyway, I now have a La Croix keychain, so it’s safe to say Palm Springs was a weird time.

And since I’m sure you’re all dying to know my movie progress, here ya go:

2/14 – The Last Five Years

2/15 – The Witness

2/16 – Black Panther

2/17 – Newtown

2/18 – What to Expect When You’re Expecting

2/19 – Hercules

2/20 – Mother’s Day

2/21 – Lady Bird

2/22 – Annihilation

2/23 – Moonstruck

2/24 – Mistress America

2/25 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

2/26 – Clueless

2/27 – Frances Ha

Hi, 911, an Animated Movie About a Boy Named Zucchini Made Me Feel Too Much

Alright alright alright. Back again with the movies. In case you were worried about my well-being, yes, I am going out to see the sunshine. Yes, I am socializing. I sadly could not become a hermit to accomplish this task. If I could somehow finagle it so I don’t have to socialize and don’t have to work and don’t have to see the sunshine and just watch movies all day, I would. Alas, I cannot.

My mom called me today and said I should write more on this blog again like I used to. She said my posts were getting too long. Oops.

On February 7th I watched Princess Cyd. I’ve been waiting for this movie to become available for a very long time. I think it did a little bit of the festival circuit and was generally well-received. Plus, it’s gay so it’s basically a given that I’d eventually watch it. The movie is about Cyd, who spends a few weeks over the summer with her aunt who’s a famous author. Cyd’s mom and brother died when she was young and she and her dad don’t get along. They decide to let Cyd stay with her aunt for a couple weeks because she’s contemplating college in Chicago. I thought it was okay. A solid three outta five.

The main downfall to this movie is that I feel as though the writer/director had a very good idea, but he just didn’t know how to execute it. A lot of movies and pop culture feel like in order for their movie to be interesting, Something Big has to happen. On the flip side, lots of smaller-budget indies don’t feel like anything needs to happen for a movie to be interesting. There’s a difference between having something happen for the sake of having something happen and having everything stay stagnant.

Does that make sense or did I just say “happen” eight hundred times for no reason?
When it comes to Princess Cyd, it seems like certain events occurred not for any added meaning to the story, but because the filmmakers got worried that not enough was going on. Not to bring everything back to Lady Bird, but I’m going to bring everything back to Lady Bird. One of the things Greta does exceptionally well is recognize that the movie doesn’t have to be hinged on a big dramatic moment, that life itself is honest enough to keep our attention. I wish Princess Cyd had let Cyd’s life speak for itself a little more.

The next movie I watched was My Life as a Zucchini, which was nominated for an Oscar a couple years ago. I was not expecting a movie about weird, misshapen, clay children to make me feel that much and YET.

The movie’s about a boy named Zucchini who lives with his mother who drinks too much. Due to circumstances that I won’t spoil for you, he ends up being taken to an orphanage with other kids whose parents are no longer part of their lives. Listen, this movie is great and I cried and I have zero complaints. What a MOVIE.

I also watched one of Netflix’s original movies, When We First Met. I don’t know why. I usually watch trash like this for cute actresses, but I didn’t know any of the actresses going in. Honestly, I clicked on it because it was the banner on Netflix and it looked mindless, and mindless garbage was exactly what I needed.

The movie is about Noah, who met a girl named Avery at a Halloween party three years ago. He’s dressed as Wayne and she’s a Rockford Peach. They have the most perfect night, but it ends with a hug and Noah bemoans the fact that he’s now in the friend zone. Fast forward to three years later and Avery is marrying Ethan. Noah gets very drunk at their party before stumbling to the jazz bar he works at and collapsing into the photo booth. Coincidentally, it’s the same photo booth from that fateful first night with Avery. Magic things happen and suddenly it’s three years ago on the morning of the party where he meets Avery. It’s pretty much Groundhog Day: The Rom-Com from there on out.

As the movie progresses, he learns that the Rockford Peach Halloween costume was Carrie, who is Avery’s roommate. Carrie is the reason Avery knew jazz, and he learns that all the things he liked about Avery actually were from Carrie. Here’s the thing. I’m all for the trope of realizing you’ve been in love with someone else the whole time, but it has to be earned. In the real timeline, he spent no time with Carrie. How is he best friends with Avery and yet never really spoke to Avery’s roommate and best friend? That just seems like a damn lie. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for a time-traveling photo booth, but if you expect me to believe that Noah wouldn’t know Avery’s roommate even though they’ve been friends for three years, you’re a FOOL.

I guess one of the things I have to applaud this movie for is that they kinda say that the friend zone is a lie. Half-heartedly, at least. Noah spends the majority of the movie believing he’s the one who deserves to be with Avery and he keeps fucking with time because he thinks this is the outcome that’s right. Never mind the fact that Avery ends up meeting and marrying my boy Robbie Amell, who’s just the best dude. It takes the whole damn movie to realize that maybe they’re just supposed to be friends. As though the concept of friends is wildly new to him.

Everything Before Us was next. It’s one of those movies with a very interesting premise that would’ve been a really great movie if the script and lead actors were better. The movie takes place in the distant future where you have to register your relationships with the Department of Emotional Intelligence. Based on how the relationship goes, your score either decreases or increases. Like, if you cheat on somebody, your score plummets. If you want to break up, you have to go to the DEI, which looks as miserable as the DMV, and file a report. A non-biased third party will decide how much of the blame for the termination belongs to you. It’s basically that Black Mirror with Bryce Dallas Howard, but with an almost entirely Asian cast so that was pretty cool to see.

It was a fine movie. Not one I’ll rave about, but not one that felt tedious to watch like When We First Met. As far as movies with companies looking after love lives, I think Timer is a much better option.

I watched The Circle exclusively for Emma Watson. How a movie with John Boyega, Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan could be so profoundly terrible is a genuine mystery that will haunt me until the day I die. Also, I don’t think I’d seen Karen Gillan in a movie before and now I’ve seen her in two movies in two weeks. Am I a Karen Gillan fan now?

But like, what was The Circle actually trying to say? Were they supportive or transparent or is technology bad? Why did Emma Watson have five computer screens in front of her at one point in time? Also, logistically, that whole total transparency didn’t make sense. It turned off for three minutes for her to go to the bathroom and that was seemingly the only time. So was Emma Watson just wildly broadcasting herself naked when she showered/changed clothes?? Anyway, this movie was as bad as everyone said it was.

The next movie I watched for this round-up was The Way He Looks and ohmygod it’s the cute, heart-warming LGBT movie I’ve been looking for.

It’s about a blind boy named Leo who has an overprotective mother and desperately wants to feel like he has every opportunity to live his own life. A new boy comes to school and they become fast friends. In the beginning of the movie, Leo’s friend Gi bemoans the fact that they don’t have grand adventures and romantic loves. Well, I’m not gonna spoil things for you, but by the end of the movie, Leo might have some adventures and some grand love.

Last movie was Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Listen, I’m not even sure I knew what was going on at any point in the movie. I saw the other two movies when they were in theatres, and I remember the first one was pretty good for a dystopian teen flick. However, I still don’t even know why they were running in the maze to begin with. I just read all three Wikipedia articles for the movies and there’s still no good reason why they had to run in a maze.

About midway through this movie it dawned on me that we’re probably never going to get the final movie in the Divergent franchise and it’s wild to me that we’ve all just let that slip from our minds. Like how badly did the second and third movies do that they didn’t feel it warranted an ending? I mean, did Maze Runner really do that much better? At least Divergent made sense.

Lady Bird and the Idea of Something

So I’m going to try to do at least an update every seven or so days. I’m not sure anyone at all is invested in my quest to watch a movie a day for a year, but on the off chance someone is, I got ya covered. At the very least, maybe you’ll get a movie recommendation out of this.

I started off the month with Sadie’s Last Days on Earth. This was a tiny little Canadian indie film that I eventually found out was directed by the dude who used to be in the Canadian TV show Life With Derek. The Canadian film/TV industry is actually quite tiny it seems. Anyway, since I’m sure this movie is on none of your radars, I’ll give you a brief rundown.

Sadie has always struggled with anxiety and a school project about natural disasters kicks her worry up a level. She becomes fully convinced that the end of the world is coming and goes into disaster prepping mode. She converts her bedroom into a bunker and takes precautions to make sure that when the earth ends (when, not if), she’ll be ready. She only leaves her bunker for school and even then, she only shows up as long as she needs to be there.

Since the world is ending, she decides to make a bucket list of things she wants to do before she’s one of the last survivors. The movie becomes an endearing adventure of Sadie trying to overcome her anxiety to let herself become a part of the world for however long it’s got left. At the end of the day, high school kinda feels like the end of the world, too.

February 2nd was Atonement. I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a teenager when I probably, unknowingly, had a crush on Kiera Knightley after Pride and Prejudice and Pirates of the Caribbean. I don’t think I knew what was going on in the movie at ALL back then. If you haven’t seen it, the movie’s on Netflix and it is GOOD. Li’l baby Saoirse Ronan (talk about never finding your name on a keychain) is in it and Kiera Knightley was born to be in period pieces.

The movie also has one of the most spectacular single shots I have ever seen. All last year, I talked about how great some of La La Land‘s long takes were, but how FOOLISH I was back then. Honestly, Atonement‘s sweeping five-minute single take of the beach at Dunkirk is better than any moment in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. There. I said it. I don’t get what all the hype surrounding Dunkirk is when Atonement already went and made that masterpiece.

February 3rd was I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Did they get this title from a list of rejected Fall Out Boy song names because good lord is it long. As for the movie itself, I still don’t really know how I feel about it. The story is a bit odd and the ending took a massive left turn and I think I was okay with it? This is one of those movies that I watched and I’m not really sure how I felt about it. Like it didn’t really make me feel anything.

Also, when did Elijah Wood start doing these bizarre bit parts?? Like good for him, I guess. Fun fact about Elijah Wood. One time I talked to him about firewood. Gotta love Los Angeles.

February 4th was The Cloverfield Paradox. I don’t get why everyone’s all upset about this movie. Like was it the best movie I’ve ever seen? No. Was it a fun, suspenseful movie in space starring the light of my life, Gugu Mbatha-Raw? Yes. I thought it was a good time for what it is and maybe that’s because I don’t watch too many sci-fi monster movies. I’ve heard a lot of comparisons between this and Life and maybe if I’d seen Life, I would’ve been let down.

I’ll be honest, despite having seen both The Cloverfield Paradox and 10 Cloverfield Lane, I haven’t actually seen Cloverfield. I could care less about how these stories all connect. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t being overly critical about it. I mean, I personally think everything about 10 Cloverfield Lane is phenomenal except for the part where they turn it into a monster movie. The tense drama of three strangers living in an underground bunker is much more fascinating than any monster movie in my opinion because John Goodman’s fragile masculinity is the greatest villain of all!

So, yeah, I thought it was fun. There were questions that didn’t get answered and usually that bugs me, but I guess seeing Tom Brady cry put me in a forgiving mood.

February 5th was Lady Bird. OSCAR 😭 NOMINATED 😭 DIRECTOR 😭 GRETA 😭 GERWIG. I’m so proud of her. The amount of love that went into this film is incredible. The way Greta Gerwig feels about this movie is the way every single director should feel about the movie they’re making. I’m rooting for her for Best Director mostly because of the letter she wrote to Dave Matthews.

Something struck me this viewing (viewing number five for those keeping score at home) that I don’t think really dawned on me before. Hunter Harris, an associate editor for Vulture, said this about the movie:

in the first scene, lady bird complains that she wants to live through something. it’s nice to see a movie suggest, in every scene, that being seventeen and ambitious and messy and selfish and madly desirious counts as Something

Watching this movie, not that many obvious Something moments happen. I mean, when people say they want to live through Something, they mean a grand adventure. That’s certainly what Lady Bird means when she says it in the car at the beginning of the movie. To her, nothing ever happens in Sacramento. Even her brother seeing someone get knifed in front of the public high school isn’t that life-altering. It’s more just a nuisance because it’s the reason she has to go to Immaculate Fart Heart.

However, like Harris points out, Gerwig spends the entire movie compiling important moments, and while the movie moves in a linear fashion, the style stands out because we don’t see each day. We may see today and tomorrow and then skip to next week. It’s almost like Lady Bird is looking back on these memories when she’s older, seeing now that she did live through Something.

That eating Communion wafers and talking about masturbating with your best friend is Something. That kissing a sweet boy in a cowboy outfit is Something. That losing your virginity to a lying boy is Something. That spending a Sunday morning looking at Open Houses with your mom is Something. That riding to school with your dad is Something. That sharing a Clove with your brother’s girlfriend is Something. That getting high for the first time on Thanksgiving and giggling and eating microwave dinners with your friends is Something. That being young and foolish and angry and energetic and happy and lonely and stupid and fearless is Something.

Teenage girls don’t get enough credit. They’re ridiculed for feeling too much and being loud and for liking what they like. Lady Bird is a love letter to the miraculousness of being a teenage girl and that is Something.

My parents have now seen Lady Bird and the gist of their feelings toward the movie can be summed up in one word: Sad.

On February 6th, I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and my expectations were low. Everyone kept saying this movie was very good and eventually I just had to see for myself. It was…fine. I probably laughed a total of four times and I’m shocked that Jack Black was my favorite part of it?? I do have to give the movie some credit for letting a seemingly super-vain teenage girl save the day, even if she did it as Jack Black.

I will say that I wish a couple more jokes could’ve been at the expense of the ridiculous outfit they put Karen Gillan in.

kg.jpg

Video games are known for the ridiculous, impractical outfits they put their female characters in, and with all the other cute video game references, I really wish they would’ve gone a little harder on the critique. I mean, they had her ask for Jack Black’s jacket because she felt like she was basically wearing a bikini and then didn’t even put it on?? She just tied it around her waist, leaving the same amount of skin exposed, so that seemed weird to me. All that being said, for a movie that had Karen Gillan wearing basically nothing for two hours, the camera never once inappropriately lingered on her.

My boy, Nick Jonas, was also in this. Nick and I are buddies because 1. I met him and the rest of the Jonas Brothers and I looked like the missing JoBro, and 2. He was my go-to celebrity crush when I wasn’t out of the closet yet. So there’s a soft spot in my heart for him. Plus, Burnin’ Up is still such a total JAM.

Keep doin’ you, buddy.

nick.gif

As always, follow me on Letterboxd to get film jokes and the most up-to-date diary of my movie watching.