meg says watch this

Watch This: Eighth Grade

mv5bmzvlyzgxyjatyzhhzi00mdc1ltlkzdmtmtrhzwi0mtg5ytrjxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntazmty4mda-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_After seeing the trailer in theatres a few times, I was excited to finally watch Eighth Grade last week. (Let’s not even get into the chaotic logistics of Movie Pass, right now.) I’ll admit the trailers made me uncomfortable at times, but I think it was because of how relatable the material was. I don’t think middle school was an easy experience for anyone, (even the people who made it look like it was.)

Bo Burnham’s writing and directing debut was a standout. Not only did he capture the awkwardness of adolescence, but he did it from a girl’s perspective, and he did it well.

Kayla (played by Elsie Fisher) was painfully brilliant in this role. A girl with few friends, keeping herself company making YouTube videos in her bedroom, after school – full of motivational messages to her subscribers that she hasn’t quite figured out how to practice herself yet.

The tenderness in Kayla’s relationship with her Dad (Josh Hamilton) was heart wrenching. I’ve been a thirteen year old girl, I get where all that angst and attitude is coming from – but to watch her dad try and help her, and communicate with her? Well, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I could see talks I had with my own parents, while I watched theirs on screen. If I’m honest, the bonfire scene made me think of conversations in more recent years because if we’re lucky those relationships with our parents can continue.

I don’t think you had to have social media in middle school to relate to this film. (Though, I’m insanely grateful we only had AOL instant messenger, MySpace, and LiveJournal back then, and we used them all after school.) The tween and early teen years are hard to navigate regardless of what decade you’re living them in. Trying to figure out yourself in a sea of a million other things, and craving acceptance or approval, or just to feel like you’ve found your people can be a lot.

We get to see the excitement unravel on screen when Kayla makes friends with an older crowd, (and the absolute joy when she gets invited to “hang out.”) We get to see her flopping attempts at Googling some subject matter for instructional tips. We see the panic inducing anxiety of figuring out what to do at a pool birthday party with the “cool kids” (an entirely too specific one came to my mind with that scene.) We’re reminded just how young the pressure of sexual encounters really start (and when you’re watching it unfold in front of you, it’s so disturbing because it’s the same girl in other scenes decorating craft projects with glitter glue.)

It was refreshing to see something so real in film, right now. From acne, and smeared mascara to the overuse of the word “like” – everything about this film was spot on. Eighth Grade did what some of the best movies do – found a way for you to go through a roller coaster of emotions, and be smiling when you get off the ride. (For all the angst fueled scenes in the film, there was a perfect mix of ones that made you laugh.) So, If you haven’t seen it yet check out Eighth Grade, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. (You can see the trailer here.)

(Image credit: IMDB.)

 

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meg says watch this, Watch This

Watch This: Burnt

I’m late to the game, but recently I was sick in bed and doing what you do – scanning movies on Netflix. I saw they finally added Bradley Cooper’s 2015 movie Burnt. It’s a bit intense, but I really enjoyed it. The acting is fantastic, the score is moving, and it had great energy. The film follows Adam Jones, a chef who’s downward spiral into drugs  and jerky behavior cost him his career, and a slew of burned bridges. Adam is determined, after getting clean, to gaining respect in the industry again, and chasing the ever elusive three Michelin stars. With some charm and hustle, he puts together a pretty great team, and is on his way to working through his issues, and achieving his goals. One of the things that tugged on my heartstrings the most was the relationships people had with Adam. Even though he’d burned them in the past, there were people in his corner rooting for him to be the best version of himself, they knew was possible. Such an example of unconditional love and forgiveness, even on a friendship level. Burnt was refreshing because it was a little bit different than anything I’d watched recently. Plus, make the setting London for any film and you’ve definitely got my interest. If you haven’t seen Burnt already I say, check it out!

meg says watch this, Watch This

Watch This: The Disaster Artist Teaser

Tallahassee used to have this great spot called The Hop Yard. They had a beer garden, and an entertainment stage, and pretty white lights and picnic benches, and they served a variety of craft beer. Many a night were spent there – in my last few years in the city it was definitely one of my favorite places to hang out. We had celebrations, goodbye parties, random weeknights, and occasionally I’d go by myself (which wasn’t ever a big deal because the people who showed up were awesome, and would I be me if I passed up an opportunity to see a summer screening of Almost Famous on the big screen? I think not.) One of the coolest events they’d put on, was throwing up a big projector screen and having movie night. (Everything from Elf to Rocky Horror Picture Show to Clueless.) It probably comes as no surprise that this was right up my ally. Well, my friend Jackie and I were pretty much regulars, and one night they were showing the 2003 movie The Room. Neither of us had ever seen it, (or heard of it at that point) and had no idea what to expect. Boy were we in for an entertaining evening. Admittedly this film is kind of horrible, but it definitely brings truth to the “so bad it’s good” idea. Some have even called it, “the worst movie ever made.” I say it’s a viewing experience.
All that being said, James Franco is directing a movie that is “the story of the making of The Room” based on Greg Sestero’s book. Awesome idea right? The film stars James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Josh Hutcherson,  Zac Efron, Hannibal Buress, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, and more…. There’s been chatter about the film floating around for a while, but the first teaser trailer for The Disaster Artist was released today. I might’ve already watched it three times. We have a while until the December 8th wide release date (info from the Wiki page), so you have time to watch The Room if you haven’t seen it yet. In the meantime, enjoy this teaser trailer…
meg says watch this, Watch This

Watch This: Gifted

I have barely gone to the movie theater in 2017, but there was one movie I saw the trailer for several months prior to its release, I just knew I wasn’t going to miss. Gifted starring Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, and also included Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, and Lindsay Duncan in this incredible cast. I tend to go to the movies by myself, but this one I saw with my parents, and it was great to know I wasn’t the only one that went through several tissues during this drama. McKenna Grace plays Mary, a spunky, spirited, brilliant little girl being raised by her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans) in Florida. Frank unfortunately gets into a custody battle with his mother, but it’s not any usual custody battle – Evelyn wants Mary because she’s basically a child prodigy and she wants to exploit her abilities. Jenny Slate plays Bonnie, Mary’s teacher who recognizes her unmistakable talent, but also gets Frank’s desires for Mary to have as normal a childhood as possible. The film is just beautifully done.  You can tell that the cast seriously bonded with one another, and the chemistry is so palpable, I forgot that all of these characters aren’t related to one another in real life. (Isn’t that the goal of a film – make the whole story undoubtedly real?) I really loved the message in this story too. Frank so badly wanted Mary to really get the chance to be a kid. I won’t ruin the story, but it explores plenty of themes – the value of family, finding balance in life, figuring out ways to acknowledge a gift but not make life ever be about only one thing. The soundtrack was amazing, the cast was astonishingly talented, the story was beautiful and it’s funny but some of the parts that made me sob in the theater weren’t even “sad” they were just so incredibly touching. I laughed, I cried, I got mad at characters, I thought about relationships and life, and the little things. I know I haven’t recommended a movie in a while, but if there’s one you’re going to add to your To Watch list, this should be it. The cast deserve some major awards for these performances!

Watch This

Meg Says Watch This “Paper Towns”

o-paper-towns-poster-570Paper Towns is my third favorite John Green novel. (First being The Fault in Our Stars, second Looking for Alaska.) I was raised in central Florida, and a lot of my late teens and into my twenties years of adventures involve Orlando, so I was happy to the sunshine state as a setting for the book. Also, I personally don’t care that people think Margo is a fantasy manic pixie girl – every story does a little better with a spark of mystery, and something alluring to chase (and hey, that chase gives plenty of time for self-discovery.) Also, Nat Wolff did an amazing job in the role of Q. The friendship between Quentin, Radar, and Ben felt really genuine, and provided a lot of comic relief in the film (and some seriously touching moments). Nothing will successfully compare to TFiOS, but I don’t think it’s fair to try and judge these against one another. Paper Towns is a separate story, with a different message, and I don’t think the content is meant to be as heavy. For all of these reasons, I think Paper Towns was a success in the transition from book to screen.  The soundtrack is fantastic, and they didn’t make you feel like you had to read the book in order to keep up with the story (though I highly recommend doing so, anyway!)

Here’s the gist: senior in high school, Quentin, has grown up across the street from Margo in their nice little Orlando neighborhood. In their younger years, they were partners in crime, until popularity sent them on their ways to separate social circles. Q has had a hopelessly devoted crush on Margo all these years. He’s got two best friends Radar and Ben – and they live pretty tame teenage lives, band and video games filling their days, and getting good grades looking forward to college. Margo on the other hand, lives life a little on the wild side. One night, for old times sake, she convinces Q to assist her in a night of wild revenge tactics and escapades all through out town – she’s trying to teach him how to live on the edge. Cautious Q comes out of his shell a bit, and is  as enamored as ever with Margo. Following their night of mayhem, (resulting in some pissed off victims at school), Margo disappears. This leads to Q searching for clues in the pieces she’s left behind, and with Margo’s former best friend Lacey in tow, along with Radar, Ben and Radar’s girlfriend Angela – the crew is on a mission to build some last minute memories as a farewell to high school, and an unforgettable road trip in pursuit of finding Margo. Of course there are some teaching points along the way, and reminders to be true to yourself in whatever capacity that means for you.

This isn’t the kind of movie I would choose to watch over and over again, but if you’re looking for a light-hearted film, with some hearty characters I definitely recommend giving Paper Towns a go.

(Image source.)