Tina Kakadelis
YA Author

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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

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

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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.