Tina Kakadelis
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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Lady Bird and the Idea of Something

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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.

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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.

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