To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Find it on: Netflix

Year: 2018

I keep leaning towards teen romances lately, I don’t know why. It may be because of the innocence and naivety. So many romcoms are just so unreal that it’s hard to take any stock into it; it’s all so modern fairy tale. But, teen romances are more believable. Hormones are going crazy and everything does feel like it’s world-stopping amazing or horrible. It’s relatable. “To all the boys I’ve loved before” had that feeling. It was down-to-earth though, simple but real, and the emotions felt on-point. The diversity didn’t feel forced either, it felt realistic. I hope other movies mimic that natural diversity in the future.

The plot itself is cute, although a familiar trope. Lara Jean is a simple high school student, not in the popular crowd and has mainly one best friend, but she’s secure and mainly has her feet on the ground. Besides her affinity for romance novels, she’s pretty much avoided all-things love related. Any crushes have been carefully hidden, known only to her in love letters she’s never sent. But Lara Jean’s life is turned upside down when somehow those forbidden letters are sent. Five embarrassing letters have been sent out and she now has to deal with the overwhelming and even detrimental consequences they have caused.

Honestly, it’s so fun. Lara Jean is such a great character because she really has this vivid imagination, but she’s still working out how her inner self relates to how she acts on the outside. In general, she’s such an easy going character it’s easy to love her. Being a Netflix movie it’s not surprising that there are a couple things that could’ve flowed better or been expanded on, but all in all it was very well done. I don’t have many complaints on the actual actors either. They all played their parts very well. I think her friend, Josh, could’ve been a touch better; he just felt awkward at times and it doesn’t feel like it was supposed to be intentional.

Mamma Mia!

So just watched this film and I was pleasantly surprised. I’d watched it before years ago, but I found myself finding new realizations. The first time I thought it had such a basic plot, but it’s really not so. A lot, I feel, was kept for in-between-the-lines, but honestly I was surprised once I found it and it really seemed to run deep. It is a musical based on Abba and would usually be something more for the theatre, but I think that vibe is what made it great. If you’ve ever been to a great theatrical performance you’ll know that there is a longing for more; a way for the stage to become more, to step into the world. Mamma Mia does that.

The base of the movie is that a young woman, Sophie, is about to get married, but she doesn’t know who her father is. She was raised by her mother on an island villa in Greece, but she’s always longed to know who her father was especially as she’s about to walk down the aisle. When she finds her mom’s diary she founds out that there are three possibilities. Desperate, she invites them all to her wedding, assuming she’d know which one once they arrived. Sophie’s mother becomes more then startled when her three summer time romances of 20 years ago appear at her villa. It arouses feelings she’d put aside in all her years being a single mom and a business owner. But the question remains: who is Sophie’s father and should the past just stay in the past?

I think this movie speaks volumes. You have Sophie’s mother and her two best friends; they’re older in years but they all are fiery, saucy, independent women. Honestly, it’s refreshing. If you want feminism embodied then these are a few great examples. They aren’t ashamed of their sexuality, they take risks and they are proud, independent women. If you watch the movie really watch and look. Sophie’s mom alone is a shining example. When she got pregnant she didn’t chase down one of the three men and straddle them with the responsibility, her own mother told her to never come home, but she didn’t give up. She raised Sophie on her own, even buying her own villa hotel within 5 years. But you can also see how her past has haunted her. Her first romance was really the one that stuck with her. The pain and resentment when it ended becomes obvious throughout the film. She goes through so many levels of emotion. Happiness, sadness, anger, confusion and finally during one song at the end she finally tells him how it destroyed her (it’s the song “Winner takes it all”). You can see through natural progression how after he left her 20 years ago she probably ran to the other two relationships for comfort and out of anger towards him.

Sophie is also interesting. She’s clearly the doting daughter, but she’s also confused. She wants to be there for her mom and help her out at the villa, but she feels this emptiness inside. Sophie thinks that emptiness will be filled if she finds her father, but when faced with three real possibilities she becomes panicked. She doesn’t know which one is her father, and she’s terrified of her mom founding out. Sophie’s conflicted. Too many things are happening all at once and it throws everything into confusion. She grows to like all three men and she connects with each on a different level. But she’s also faced with her own wedding. She feels she’s doing the right thing. but learning about her mom’s past makes her feel uneasy. She wants to prove she’s not her mother, but also she begins to realize how special and beautiful her mother’s past was.

Throughout the film there’s a lot of little things. I think if you watched it once and didn’t see some of those things then you need to watch it again. Look for the meaning behind the words, look at their faces. These are some great actors in these films and a great actor not only use his/her words but can also speak with facial expressions and body movement. So, keep an eye out. There is a lot more to this movie then Abba music.

You’ve Got Mail

A classic 90’s romance. But really more then that. I recently read Buzzfeed post that had some completely unfounded and biased opinions about it that I finally had to rewatch the movie and, I’m happy to say, the post was completely and utterly wrong. This movie has more depth and insight into the human soul then almost any romance I’ve ever watched (including, Sleepless in Seattle). The characters are flawed individuals who have back-stories and complicated lives. The two main leads show how complicated real love is.

The movie is about man and woman who have met online and been emailing one other for a while; but their real lives are mysteries to one another. They’re friends who share little tidbits of their souls, somewhat becoming anchors for each other. In real life though their lives are unknowingly about to collide. Catherine is a small bookstore owner. Joe owns a bookstore monopoly (like Barnes and Noble). When Joe starts building only a block away from Catherine’s bookstore, it threatens her business. Their lives collide.

MILD SPOILERS:

Although it would be a rarity if you hadn’t seen this movie yet, if you want to remain surprised, read not ahead.

I think the movie was brilliant, though. It showed love in some really interested aspects. For one, Joe and his girlfriend. This has a lot of layers. It’s clear from the beginning that the relationship really doesn’t have a lot to it. He’s just going through the motions. What becomes clear as the movie goes on is that the reason he’s in the relationship is because of his dad. His dad wasn’t much for romance but continuously got married and divorced over and over again. Joe grew up with that (as the bulk of the wives had been his nannies) and was just going through the motions just like his dad. It’s probably what he thought he was supposed to do. His girlfriend was also not that great. She was selfish and conceited.

On the other hand, Catherine and her boyfriend were going through similar motions. He wasn’t a bad guy but you could really feel that there was something missing. They seemed to fit, but it just wasn’t there. Something they both realized.

Then you have the online relationship between Catherine and Joe. I feel like they both went into as the people they wished they were. Catherine had taken over her bookstore from her mom and was really kind of living her mom’s life; it was clear in her writing that she had this fire in her that really wasn’t being met by the bookstore. Joe grew up with people who didn’t care, they were businessmen who were accustomed to flickering out small businesses; he was surrounded by people where money and status were the most important thing. It’s clear though that he really didn’t feel that way. He could do it, but it wasn’t really him. The online relationship between them was where they spoke their souls.

Now, the relationship in real life. Catherine and Joe butted heads and argued. Because in the outside world, they were both playing their parts still. Joe was the big bad businessman and Catherine was the loyal bookstore owner protecting her shop. When Joe realized who Catherine was it made him stop and really think. He had to figure out who he really was. Was he NY152 or was he Joe Fox? He couldn’t stop being Joe Fox, but for the first time he could look past his influences and see that he could also be the man he was online.

Honestly, the story really showcases some great things about relationships. Things about change and being your best person. About accepting hard and sometimes painful life changes, but finding the good in what you have. About fighting for what you want and when to accept defeat. Just remember when you watch the movie, it’s not about fantasy. It’s about two people with flaws finding each other and accepting one another.

It Takes Two

 

 

It take Two Pic

My Review:

This movie from the nineties brings back all the memories. Honestly, it’s a fun watch even now. It has what a lot of romcom movies lack: kismet. It’s actually a Mary Kate and Ashley film. I don’t know if many really remember them and the storm of popularity they had for a while. The Olsen twins got their start as the infant sister in Full House. Their innate acting ability catapulted them into stardom with their own shows and line of movies before they stepped out of the limelight to pursue careers in the fashion industry.

This movie is a sweet film about two girls (who happen to be identical, but not related) who decide that their consequent parent figures belong together. Amanda is an orphan, her home leader is a kind, spirited woman who would love to adopt Amanda, but can’t because she doesn’t have the money and she’s single. They head to a week-long camp created by the Calloway foundation with the threat of adoption looming over Amanda’s head by a not-so-appealing family, the Butkis’. Alyssa Calloway has just returned from boarding school and is meeting her father at their summer home where she finds out to her dismay that he’s getting remarried to a woman who is as two-faced as they come. By some strange kismet Alyssa and Amanda meet. They realize that they might be able to help each other out if only they can get Alyssa’s father and Amanda home leader together. Of course, it bears the question. Can kismet be created between the two strangers or are Alyssa and Amanda’s fates out of their hands?

It’s no heart pounding romance or crazy rambunctious comedy, but the emotions and feelings between the characters are strong. It feels so natural and reflexive. The story line goes at a nice smooth pace with a nice resounding finale that leaves me feeling satisfied. It’s also something that can be enjoyed at any age. It’s not too childish or too adult. Definitely leaning towards more a girl movie, but not to the point it couldn’t be enjoyed by the male species.

Mr. Right

So, this was one of those finds that really show me that I like the odd stuff and I might be just a little crazy. This movie is off-the-wall love between two extreme personalities (dare I say, psychos in a very loose term). But I loved it. I thought that the story and characters were fantastic; the plot was fluid and fun. It’s definitely violent, but I mean, seriously, it’s a movie about an assassin, it’s somewhat expected. The tone of the movie is also very laid back. It’s clear that it wasn’t made to be some blockbuster, but I think that’s what I like about it. In one portion of the movie they are just talking about each other’s lives (her more then him, obviously) and it’s just so simple, natural. I like the awkwardness, because it really showcases reality and humanity. Not the Hollywood version of what they think ‘life’ is. I also want to point out that it shows that people may not have everything together and they may suffer from mental illnesses that make them seem like they are crazy, but in the end they are just humans. Messed up, sure, but who isn’t? There’s no line of ‘normal’ and ‘crazy’; and everyone deserves to find love and be happy.

I’m not going to go on too much about the plot, because with movies there’s not a lot I can say without giving too much away. It’s about a woman who falls in love with an assassin who has developed a moral code and has been killing the people who hire him. So, yeah, in essence, that’s the ‘main’ idea of the plot. Of course, there is so much to it than that. Most interesting to me is Sam Rockwell who plays the male lead. Now, I have nothing against Rockwell, honestly, I think he did an awesome job in this. I really like when these actors/actresses who have been type-casted into side characters for so long get back into the lime light. The female, Anna Kendrick, was also very good. Her scope as an actress was fantastic for this. She really was able to express the eccentric personality in this so well (now, only if she could have played Bella in Twilight, maybe there would have been hope in the shiny vampire future).

Age of Adaline

Age of Adaline is a different sort of movie. I can imagine that it’s not in the main stream of popular films as the ending almost has a bitter sweet finish that leaves one feeling reminiscent for the characters’ possible and missed futures. The actors were good, demonstrating several levels of depth that was needed for this sort of plot. The story was something different, a fantastical/sci-fi twist that kept a reasonable level of credibility in the realm of possibility.

The story is about Adaline. She lived in the 1900s when she was in a terrible and unusual accident from which she awoke frozen in time. From the day forward until the present time she would remain 29 years old. Because of this, Adaline was forced to change her identity every ten years; moving from place to place. Her life has been a stagnant one, living on the fringes of society but not truly participating. Things change when she meets a young man and she suddenly becomes unsure if she can leave it all behind this time. Her decision almost seems set until she meets his family and his father ends up being someone from one of her previous lives.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Proceed at your own risk.

The story is good. I’m unsure about the narrator though. His voice wasn’t bad, but it was like listening to a documentary commentary and it took away from the flow of the story at times. The most troubling part about the whole thing was the somewhat triangle between Adaline and Harrison Ford’s character and his son. It’s obvious as the story goes on that the real love of Adaline’s life was William (Ford) and the same for him. So it left it somewhat bittersweet at the end. They both had other people at the end who they did love but their hearts weren’t in it completely. It’s just such a sad story really. Good, but sad.

Warm Bodies

This off-the-wall different movie is one of my favorites. Certainly the plot of it is somewhat illogical, but when you are dealing with zombies, what’s really logical about any of it? I like this film because it’s one of the only ‘walking dead’ movies and tv shows that’s about hope. Most of the time, it’s always about accepting that the world has, in essence, ended. The inner monologue of R, the zombie main character, is really what makes the film. It has a good feel to it and a great soundtrack.
The movie is about R, a zombie who has an interesting way of looking at the world. That is, he can think at all. When he meets a young living woman he feels something shifting inside of him. Together, they try to figure out once and for all what zombies really are.
I have to say, this is one of those films that most critics agree was pretty well done. It played off the incredulity of it with a subtle underlying light-hearted humor that really gave the entire feel of the movie. It didn’t overstate the importance of the moral, but didn’t downplay it either. The characters were interesting and enjoyable. The movie was to the point and didn’t go off on any side plots. Definitely suggest this one to anyone.