Film Review – The Kissing Booth

Source: Wikipedia

I finally watched The Kissing Booth on Netflix. And I have to say… it has a lot of issues. And these issues are sugarcoated by the obvious choices of very good looking people to play the characters and the supposed true love they find with each other. But all those good genes and true love can’t completely cover up just how toxic 90% of this film is.

The premise of the movie (and the book it was based on, which I have yet to read) is that Elle and Lee have been best friends since the moment they were born — which was at exactly the same time at the same hospital, to mothers who had already been best friends for ~10 years. They have friendship rules, which in my experience is rarely a good thing, and one of those rules is that relatives are off limits romantically. Also from experience, you can’t dictate who people are allowed to fall in love with. That’s just not how hormones or actual love work.

Now, the weird part of these rules? Lee is the only one with an older brother. They also came up with these rules when they were six. SIX. Elle’s little brother wasn’t even born at that point, and anyways, who decides their friendship is threatened by a brother (who is only a year older, btw) at six years old? Everything about those rules was ridiculous. Obviously, Elle has been in a tizzy over the older brother, Noah, since forever. Noah has always looked out for Elle and Lee, but he is also shown as always getting into fights (and winning). The fights, for the most part, are presented at first as in defense of Lee and Elle, but throughout the film they become meaner and more aggressive.

When Noah is a senior (and of course on the football team) and Elle and Lee are juniors, the Dance Club hosts a Kissing Booth at the annual school fundraising fair, and Noah kisses Elle while she’s blindfolded. She takes off the blindfold right after and they start making out, which is nice and all, but he’s also spent the first half of the film basically calling her his little sister and telling all the boys in the school not to ask her out or he’ll break their noses.

After a beach party post kissing booth, Noah gets into a fight with a dude who tried to drag Elle off to a hot tub. When Elle runs off Noah follows her and tells her to get into the car. She continues walking away and he pounds on the hood of the car and yells at her, demanding that she get in the car. I don’t care that he said please after that. Elle stopped walking away the second he yelled, obviously scared. And then she lets him drive her home. Not only that, but he doesn’t even take her home! Noooo, they go to the Hollywood sign and decide they’re going to date in secret until Elle figures out a way to tell Noah’s younger brother and her only friend that she’s breaking their friendship rules. Then they make out and sleep together. On their first date. Because you should always sleep with someone who got into a fight, screamed at you, said they would drive you home and then didn’t, and then agreed to date you in secret while lying to their brother and your best friend about it. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

When Lee eventually finds out, he insists that Elle doesn’t know what Noah is like, or what she’s getting into, and that is just the most ridiculous piece of crap in the entire film because A) She grew up with both Lee AND Noah. There’s nothing she doesn’t know. and B) Even if she hadn’t grown up with them, she’s gone to school with them both forever, has seen Noah in fights every other day, and has spent the better part of four months dating him every second they’re not at school. There’s no one that knows him better. And yet when Lee sees a cut on Elle’s face he jumps to the conclusion that his brother punched her?! Where does he get off? Sure, Noah has anger issues and gets into fights, but Lee would get into a lot more fights if Noah didn’t keep stepping in and ending them before Lee could get a swing in.

I appreciated the beginning, which was cute, and the ending, which was also cute. The whole middle though — which the entirety of the plot — was a mess. Noah’s anger issues became full-on terrifying and were probably toned down from the novel if I had to hazard a guess. Lee has his own anger issues, but what got me the most about him was his inability to share. When he finds out about Elle and Noah the thing he is most upset about is that Noah always gets whatever he wants and that the only thing Lee had that Noah didn’t was Elle. And he can’t stand it. That, to me, is just disgusting.

This is a film that only gets by because of its good-looking actors. Even I was eventually drawn in to watch it, despite thinking the premise sounded like bad news since the first trailer. And reader, the chemistry was there… but so was the violence. 3/10, would not recommend without a trigger warning for violence attached to it. Might be good fodder for a psychology class though.

If you would like to judge it for yourself, you can find The Kissing Booth streaming on Netflix. Trailer below.

HHC Rating: 3/10, or 1.5 Stars.

Trailer for The Kissing Booth

Film Review – Mamma Mia Here We Go Again

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Picture courtesy of: Universal Pictures/Relativity Media/Littlestar/Playtone/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock/MetroUK

 

Picking up a few years after the original left off, Sophie and Sky have married and are rebuilding Donna’s hotel in her memory. Sophie is overseeing the finishing touches for the grand opening while Sky is training with a large hotel chain in NYC. Sophie is sad becasuse Sky, along with two of her fathers – Bill and Harry – are unable to make the festivities. The plot centers on the theme of family as the story bounces back and forth between Sophie in 2018 and Donna’s own journey in 1969 to finding her place on the island of Kalokari.

The cast is perfectly completed with Lily James as young Donna, Alexa Davies as young Rosie and Jessica Keenan Wynn as young Tanya. Josh Dylan appears as young Bill, Hugh Skinner as young Harry, and Jeremy Irvine as young Sam. Returning, of course, are all of your favorite ABBA songs, combined with an emotionally deeper plot and an appearance by Cher.

 

Film Title: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Photo courtesy of: Jonathan Prime via Variety

 

HHC Rating:  5 Stars

This multi-genrational saga will run you through the gamot of emotions, and it is so good. I am actually having trouble writing this post because I keep tearing up, and I saw it weeks ago. I’ll try to keep this short since I’m having trouble reading what I’m typing. Aaaaand now the Starbucks I’m sitting in and has been playing musical soundtracks just turned on Mamma Mia. #dead.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again was perfection. The entire theatre sang along, the plot had intricacies and twists we didn’t neccessarily see coming, and then the credits song brought us all to tears while dancing our feet off. We loved it so much that two of my friends and I have decided to be Donna and the Dynamos for Halloween. Luckily, I had already been thinking about going blonde for the past three months. The next time you see me, I’ll be blonde! (if all goes well. Which it should.) If you have any leads on the Dynamos awesome pants (seen above) please send them my way.

 

 

Now please excuse me while I practice for our three-part harmony of Super Troupers.

~Amanda

 

*P.S., the theatre was giving away books when we went to see Mamma Mia and I didn’t even know that was a thing? The book they gave us is called The Lido, and my review is impending. So far it’s also great.

Film Review – Wonder Woman (2017)

 

 

Wonder-Woman-IMDB
Source: IMDB

 

 

 

Patty Jenkins directs Gal Gadot as the title character in this origin story of DC’s greatest hero. Diana grew up on the island of Themyscira, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the last child of the god Zeus. As a young woman, Diana saves a man from drowning and exposes the world of the Amazons to the tumults of World War II. Determined to do her duty as an Amazon and rescue the world from a never-ending war, she sets off with her new friend for the frontlines.

 

I had originally planned to see this opening night, but I was trying to coordinate schedules with someone and it just wasn’t working out. During the month I was waiting to see it, I saw a lot of hype online about how strongly feminist the film was, and how it does such a good job of how it portrays Diana as her own person rather than a sexualized object, and it all just made me insanely excited to see it.

When I finally saw it for the first time last night, I had to admit it was not as overtly feminist as I thought it would be, but Diana’s sense of equality is pretty fantastic, and it does clearly influence those around her. Having grown up knowing about men but never meeting one, she doesn’t have any of the ‘men are more important’ mentality that most women have ingrained by the age of five, but neither does she have an awe of them that would impede her in any way. Her mentality is very body positive and inquisitive as well as focused. When faced with something new and scary like guns, bombs, and crazy people in general, it is this mentality that keeps Diana on track to achieve her goals.

In the past week I’ve started hearing of a few people who didn’t love the film, but so far I’ve been able to chalk that up to them either being let down by the huge hype, or the fact that they are not typically superhero movie people and only saw Wonder Woman because its protagonist is female. I didn’t love the “romance” aspect, but I can completely see and understand how important it was to the overall story and helped mold Diana into the Wonder Woman we all know and love. Honestly, that’s my only gripe about the entire film. Everything else was phenomenal, I’m going to see it again as soon as my schedule allows, and I’m going to buy it the second it comes on out on DVD. I already purchased the soundtrack.

I came out of the Wonder Woman ready to take on the world, run a million miles, learn all the fighting styles and languages there are, and with this crazy need to make an impact in the world. Wonder Woman is a princess, a goddess, a warrior, a superhero, a scholar, a catalyst for peace, and she works in a museum. What more could you ask for in a role model? Ever since watching Lynda Carter in reruns of the Wonder Woman TV series from the 70’s as a child in the 90’s, Wonder Woman has been one of my heroes, and I consider myself beyond lucky to have her handed back to me in the form of Gal Gadot.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Film Review – Midnight in Paris

Midnight-In-Paris-IMDB

Source: IMDB

I have wanted to watch this movie since it was released in 2011. Paris? Check. Artists, writers, and time travel to some of the most iconic times to be alive? Check. Great cast? Check! It just had so much to recommend it.

I should probably tell you that aside from Antz, which I hated, this is the first Woody Allen film I’ve ever seen. I swear that Annie Hall is on my list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I finally watched Midnight in Paris at the beginning of this month, and I was not disappointed. The imagery is beautiful, the premise and plot are very well done, and the intermingling of the present day with the past was just fantastic.

Owen Wilson’s character, Gil, is a screenwriter turned struggling author. He dreams of moving to Paris and renting out an attic like Hemingway and Fitzgerald did in the 20’s. In effect, he is living Fitzgerald’s life in reverse, since Fitzgerald was an author and became a screenwriter. Gil’s fiancé, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, comes from a wealthy family and dreams of living a lavish lifestyle in California. She thinks Gil would do well if he would just concentrate on what he’s good at – writing and rewriting scripts for big blockbusters.

Gil and Inez travel to Paris with Inez’s parents, who are in the country on business. At dinner one evening they run into Paul, Inez’s close friend and biggest crush from college, and his fiancé Carol. Paul is in Paris to give a lecture series at the Sorbonne and invites the couple to accompany them on various sight-seeing expeditions. After each trip, Gil decides to walk home rather than cram into a taxi, and each time he walks home he comes across a Peugeot Type 176 (a car from the 1920’s) that picks him up and takes him to famous places in 1920’s Paris. Along the way, he meets the likes of Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, and Picasso among others.

In between trips to the 20’s, Gil makes progress with his novel and in his life, and the film ends with his decisions being made and feeling a sense of accomplishment and happiness he hasn’t had in years.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys movies about writers and time travel and love, but most of all stories of self-discovery.

 

Highlights and Hot Chocolate Rating: 5 Stars