Love Simon and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Greg Berlanti
Does anyone else think we’re at the point where we need to come up with a better way of describing movies like this one other than “Like a John Hughes movie”? As much as those movies are a touchstone in popular culture, the phrase a bit played out at this point, and on top that movies such as this one, despite being quite faithful to the overall formula and tone that he developed, feels like something that couldn’t have (even if it SHOULD have) been made in his time. I mean I GUESS we could go with “teenage coming of age story”, but that still doesn’t feel like it fully encapsulates the specific high school angst and post puberty struggles of self-discovery that made us develop the term in the first place. Anyway, I’m just rambling here as I honestly had no idea of this movie’s existence until it showed up at my local theater, but I am happy that we’re getting an ACTUAL LGBTQIA+ teen comedy as that kind of movie is a lot more in my wheelhouse than the super serious LGBTQIA+ films like Moonlight or even Carol. Does this manage to succeed in being just as good if not better than its straight peers in the genre, or is its good intentions just not enough to carry this film all the way through its run time? Let’s find out!!
Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is your typical teenager, in that he’s not quite sure about his place in the world and has secrets that he doesn’t feel like sharing with the rest of the world. As the audience though, we’re privy to ALL that information and we find out right away that Simon is in fact gay but hasn’t come out yet; not to his friends Leah, Abby, and Nick (Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr), nor to his parents (Josh Duhmael and Jennifer Garner) and little sister (Talitha Bateman). He has his reasons for doing so and it’s not like there’s a LAW that says you have to do it as soon as you know, so his plan is to just continue pining after hot dudes while hiding any trace that he’s actually doing so! Simple enough, right!? Well… not necessarily. It turns out that there’s ANOTHER closeted gay dude in school who posts an anonymous letter on the school’s blog under the pseudonym Blue and leaves an e-mail address for people to contact him at. Simon on a whim decides to reach out to him (using a pseudonym as well) which leads to a flurry of back and forth e-mails as Simon starts to develop feelings for this unknown “Blue” person. However, since this IS a movie about teenagers, there has to be SOME sort of disaster and in this case it’s the nerdy kid Martin (Logan Miller) who finds Simon’s letters and tries to set up an “arrangement” (*cough* Blackmail *cough*) where Simon will help him clean up his act, take better care of himself, and become a much more attractive and emotionally available person which will help him meet awesome women who think he’s awesome and they can have awesome dates together. At least that’s what I’m sure is going through MARTIN’S head to make this sound so much more innocent, but what it breaks down to is Simon (under threat of being forcibly outed) having to arrange dates between Martin and Abby who the former has a crush on. Yeah, not the BEST situation to be in all things considered, and worse yet he might end up losing his chances with Blue who might get scared off if Simon is forcibly outed; thinking he might be next if he keeps contacting him. Can Simon juggle this rough situation with his everyday duties of being the typical American teenager? Will Martin make good on his threats and just how far will Simon have to go to keep that from happening? How is it that EVERYONE’S teenage years suck!? You’d think at least ONE person would luck out at some point!
Everything, Everything and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Stella Meghie
I understand that not all movies are going to be for me, and one of the genres where this is most true is the bittersweet romantic drama; hence why I have yet to review a Nicholas Sparks movie on here. For the most part, this also applies to coming of age teen films like Paper Towns, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and The Fault in Our Stars; none of which I’ve seen even though I’ve heard MOSTLY good things about them. Will this manage to stand out from the pack the same way The Edge of Seventeen did for me last year, or will this be a bitter reminder of why I’ve been avoiding these for the most part? Let’s find out!!
The movie is all about the life of Maddy Whittler (Amandla Stenberg) who has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, also known as SCID. Basically, her immune system is so weak that she can’t fight off ordinary germs and viruses, so she has to stay in the specially designed sterile house that she and her mother (Anika Noni Rose) have lived in since she first discovered Maddy had this disorder. Everything seems to be going fine with her finding ways to pass the time and even having a nurse visit her fairly often (Ana de la Reguera), but all that changes when a boy moves in next door! The strapping young lad is named Olly Bright (Nick Robinson) and they immediately hit it off despite not being able to get close to each other; otherwise he’d probably kill her with his dirty boy diseases. That said, having opened Pandora’s Box so to speak has made it harder for Maddy to just keep on living her life the way she’s been doing up to this point, and she wants to see more! Will Maddy risk her life just to experience the rest of the world; albeit for a very short time? Will Olly be able to accept Maddy despite all the barriers that built between them? Didn’t John Travolta already make this movie like a hundred years ago?
The 5th Wave and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by J Blakeson
I’ve been able to avoid a lot of the Young Adult adaptations until now. Never saw a Hunger Games movie, any of the Divergent films, not even The Giver. I can’t avoid these films forever though, so here I am reviewing the latest entry into the genre. Could it possibly be one of the better examples though? Well they released in January, so I’m gonna say no but I have had at least one surprise this month with The Boy. Hope for the best but expect the worst I guess.
The movie begins in an idyllic all American town where Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) is living the Teenage American Dream, i.e. partying, meeting boys, and being the perfect daughter for their parents. Okay, technically the movie begins AFTER all this, but we flashback within five minutes of the movie starting. Anyway, things are going great for Cassie until the Earth is visited by a bunch of space ships that just hover overhead. No communication from the aliens; no attacks; no nothing. The aliens are dubbed The Others (I guess we ran out of ACTUAL proper nouns to use) and their silence doesn’t last forever as four strange events (which are called Waves) happen around the globe. Electricity goes out, natural disasters occur, and it all ends with most of the population decimated and fighting for survival against the aliens who are finally revealing themselves but look just like humans. Now in all this chaos, Cassie loses both her parents and her younger brother (Zackary Arthur) is drafted by the military to fight the alien menace. I mean, there are PLENTY of adults around or even older teenagers, but the military is taking in the kids too. I guess shit gets real once the aliens start attacking. Cassie however is none too thrilled about all this and resolves to walk her way to the military base in order to get her brother out of it… somehow. On top of all this, the boy she liked in high school Ben (Nick Robinson) has also been conscripted and is now her younger brother’s commanding officer (I guess he has seniority being sixteen and all) and on her way to the base, some mysterious guy named Evan (Alex Roe) saves her ass and decides to help her on her journey. Will Cassie save her brother from the military industrial complex? What secrets is Evan hiding from Cassie? What is the fifth and final Wave that the aliens are planning for humanity? Has anyone actually read this book!?