Emo the Musical

Welcome to our Oddballs and Weirdos month, in which we root for the underdog and fight for the freaks. Last time we did this, we called it Films About Fuck Ups and included the gem Welcome to Me, so who knows where we’ll end up this year? Hopefully uncovering some new heroes. As Jillian says though, most of our films could fall into this category anyway. We’re big fans of the weird and the wonderful round these parts.

Onward!

Ethan, a sullen high-school student whose life is defined by what he hates, finds love with a blindly optimistic Christian girl Trinity, much to the annoyance of his angst-filled band mates and her evangelistic brethren.

Benson Jack AnthonyJordan HareRahart Adams

High school sucks.

*Minor spoilers/TW: suicide attempts*

Ethan (Anthony) has been kicked out of school for trying to kill himself in the very public courtyard. Forced to downgrade from his posh private school to a new rundown one, Ethan makes it his business to get in with the Emo kids and into school band, Worst Day Ever. The only trouble is, he looks like a square so when he makes his intention to try out clear, the band mates scoff.

Led by dangerous (and sexy) Bradley (Adams), the band also consists of Roz (Lucy Barrett) and a blond kid who’s name I didn’t bother to learn (Jay. It’s Jay). After a successful audition, in which Ethan confides that he’s been expelled for trying to hang himself, he’s accepted into the fold – if only for his backstory. So begins his journey into full-on Emo-ness, all black eyeliner and over-sexed girlfriend (the predatory Roz).

On his first day, Ethan also meets Trinity (Hare), a Christian babe keen to convert him to Jesus’ way of thinking. Ethan’s not into it obviously but the pair form a bond anyway. Kicking it with Trinity – and forming rival band the Christian Hope Group are; Isaac (Jon Prasida), secretly pregnant Jamali (Geraldine Viswanathan) and closeted Peter (Craig Hyde-Smith), who’s (also secretly) madly in love with hot jock, Josh (Kevin Clayette).

Obviously, we need a bit of action round about now and it’s clear that there’s more between Trinity and Ethan than is socially acceptable. When they’re paired together by the school’s only teacher, Mrs Doyle (Bridie Carter) on a project to write a love song, things start to hot up. Ethan is able to open up to his new friend, despite all their differences. Could they be Romeo et Juliette for the modern day?

As they get more involved, it becomes harder for Ethan to keep up the Emo lifestyle. He’s maybe not the apathetic misery guts he’s made himself out to be. In turn, Trinity starts to question her attitude towards her sexuality and where it fits in with her faith. But how will Worst Day Ever take the news of the two of them together? Well, since Bradley’s most hated thing is other people pushing their agendas and optimism, I’m guessing not well.

Roz meanwhile has a filthy secret of her own, while the father of Jamali’s unborn baby is rumoured to be a very preachy member of the Christan Hope Group. Interesting. When a fire starts in the school, the rivalry between factions heats up quite literally and the bands battle to the death. Will our lovers learn valuable lessons along the way? Well, what the hump do you think?

And, incidentally, will Bradley’s Emo idol, Doug Skeleton (Dylan Lewis) live up to his lofty expectations? Well, they do say never meet your heroes…

This isn’t the worst film in the whole world but I really wish it was better. It is a musical and a couple of the lyrics raised a smile but can you imagine this done by the brains behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? The songs would have been 7000 times cleverer. As it is the best song is Trinity’s ‘Would Jesus’:

Do you think Jesus smiled all the time?
I don’t think so, I don’t think so
You think he locked himself in his room and cried
I think so, yes, I think so
Do you think there might have been a chance
he liked my Chemical Romance?
Yes, I think so
Could Jesus have been an emo?

His blood it fell in crimson shades
His crucifix a razor blade
Was Jesus an emo?
He felt the pain of all mankind
but emos do that all the time
Was Jesus an emo?

Which totally would have been better had it been a duet between the two lovebirds. But what do I know? It means well, it’s sweet enough but it’s not as smart as it could be, which is a shame.

Film details:

Emo the Musical
Year: 2016
Director: Neil Triffett
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
My Rating: 3/5

What does my Emo princess think of this one? Would she lend it her favourite black kohl or cover it in honey and throw it to the Christians? Find out here.

Yesterday

A struggling musician realises he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.

Himesh PatelLily JamesSophia Di Martino

Everyone in the World Has Forgotten the Beatles. Everyone Except Jack…

*Minor spoilers*

Jack (Patel) is an aspiring musician who isn’t setting the world alight. In fact, the only person who really seems to believe in him is BFF Ellie (James), who also happens to be his manager. After a disappointing gig at Latitude festival, Jack decides to call in quits and go back to teaching. Ellie has strong views about this but his mind is set.

On the way home that night there’s a mysterious global black out and all electricity goes off for 12 seconds across the world. During this tiny window of time, Jack is knocked off his bike by a bus. Smashed up but otherwise okay, Jack slowly heals and things go back to normal, but for one thing: nobody but Jack seems to remember The Beatles.

WHUT.

A frantic Google session reveals that there is no record of John, Paul, George or Ringo – and the only beetle of any note is the multi-legged kind. This means that the entire Beatles back catalog is available for plagiarism, if only Jack can remember the words. When he starts pulling it all together, his career (gradually) starts to take off. He becomes locally famous at least.

Despite this gift of true art at his fingertips, Jack laments that it must be him, destined only for mediocrity. Until he gets a call from the Ed Sheeran (as himself) and in turn, meets Ed’s manager, Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon). Debra whisks Jack to LA to work on his image and an incredible double album primed to change the face of music forever.

But none of this sits right with Jack and his guilt begins to weigh on him. Meanwhile Ellie, now stood down as his manager, reveals her true feelings. Is Jack capable of giving her what she needs? And, when two oddballs come out of the woodwork as the only other people who remember the band, will Jack’s deep secret be revealed for him?

Well, there are some lovely touches here and it is a feel-good movie, as you’d expect from its screenwriter, Rom Com godfather Richard Curtis. None of the story line is explained which I really like. Along with The Beatles, there are lots of iconic popular culture references that no longer exist, including Coca Cola which is crazy to even comprehend.

I enjoyed Yesterday a lot but I fear it might disappear quickly from my memory. While Danny Boyle has done a fine job with it – particularly some of the grander scale scenes, specifically the roof top gig – I don’t think it’s as iconic as Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary or Notting Hill (all penned by Mr Curtis).

Regardless, I enjoyed the character of Jack. He’s not awful to look at all – and Lily James is always quality, even though she’s quite underwritten as Ellie. I would have liked more for her character. But all in all, colour me happy with this higher-end Rom Com, which I watched on my own straight from work on Friday night. The perfect solo date.

Film details:

Yesterday
Year: 2019
Director: Danny Boyle
IMDB Rating: 7/10
My Rating: 3.5/5

What are you watching?

Toy Story 4

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Tom Hanks • Tim AllenAnnie Potts

On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You.

*Minor spoilers*

It could be argued that Toy Story 3 tied up the franchise perfectly, with a giant, emotional bow. Despite not really needing a fourth installment, how many of us wouldn’t jump at the change to spend just a little more time with Woody and pals again?

Toy Story 4 carries the toys from Andy – who’s all grown and gone off to college – into Bonnie’s world, where she’s just about to start kindergarten. Noting that Bonnie is traumatised by the thought of entering the world alone, Woody (Hanks) sneaks to orientation day with her. When she doesn’t make any friends, our cowboy secretly saves the day – and she literally makes a new friend of her own: Forky.

Forky becomes her ride or die, very much against his will – and Woody makes it his life’s mission to keep Forky and Bonnie together, at all costs. You see, Woody recognises how important toys are to children and how they help to form life long memories. Sadly, Woody senses that he might be on the out himself, having been left in the cupboard three times that week alone.

When Bonnie and family go on a road trip before kindergarten starts for real, the toys come along for the ride. You’re expecting an epic adventure, aren’t you? Well, buckle up, kids – because Forky and Woody get separated from the group, find themselves in hot water, meet up with some old friends (and an old flame) and make some new ones. This is a ride and a half and let me assure you, we might not have needed this movie – but it is utterly magical and heaps of fun.

Woody of course meets up with Bo Beep (Potts) again (we recap on their heartbreaking separation at the beginning of the movie) and she’s a hardcore survivalist now, identifying as a ‘lost toy’. Along with her rag tag crew of misfit friends, she does what she needs to get by and is planning to get the heck out of dodge, just to see the big bad world beyond the RV park she finds herself in. Along with her sheep, Billy, Goat and Gruff, Bo hangs with Giggles McDimples (Ally Maki), an excellent new character molded on Polly Pocket.

When Forky is taken by an evil doll named Gabby Gabby (voiced by the high priestess Christina Hendricks) and her ventriloquist dummy henchmen, Woody must enlist Bo and team to help him get him back, before Bonnie wakes up and loses her shit. Gabby has a sinister endgame in mind and it involves something only Woody can give her. Will the gang get Forky back and rejoin the toys in time?

With the help of new characters, Duke Caboom (King of the World Keanu Reeves), Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (blog favourite Jordan Peele), the friends head off to take on Gabby in the Second Chance Antiques Store where she rules with an iron fist.

Honestly, there’s just something about Pixar and its not just the unbelievable quality of animation. It has something so many animated films just don’t have, a secret ingredient. I think it’s actual magic. How we all came to love these characters so much is obvious but how it gets under your skin every single time, that’s a gift. Woody, Buzz (Allen) and all the favourites could never fail to tug at the heartstrings.

I love the addition of Gabby Gabby, who takes her inspiration from Talky Tina, the antagonist from the The Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll“. Her heavies are amazing and the whole antique store aesthetic is so dreamy. I love her cabinet and her scenes with Forky, her hostage. Ducky and Bunny also add a welcome humour to proceedings and work well with the established crew. Obviously Caboom is a highlight, his tragic backstory is a running joke and it’s wonderful.

The fourth TS film gives a major character the closure he truly deserves and that’s beautiful. It’s a tearjerker to be sure but these are happy tears, I swear. I can’t wait to see it again.

Film details:

Toy Story 4
Year: 2019
Director: Josh Cooley
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10
My Rating: 4.5/5

What are you watching?

Home Safe Brighton

I really wanted to share this local resource because it’s so important. I don’t need to add anything else, Home Safe Brighton’s manifesto speaks for itself:

HOME SAFE BRIGHTON

There have been far too many incidents of assault in Brighton recently, but as most of us know it’s always been happening. It’s now to the point where women and the LGBTQIA+ community in particular are scared to leave the house alone. EVERYONE deserves the basic right to feel safe in our own city. It’s not always an option to get a taxi home, or to walk with someone – so here is our solution to connect people with options, resources and support.

Worried about walking home on a Saturday night? Can’t afford a cab and wish someone could walk with you? Come find us!

A bunch of us will be standing down by Old Steine with signs to help you get home. Whether that’s calling you a cab, helping you find your friends or two of us walking you to your door and listening to you about your night – we’re here to help. This is our first buddy-up night and it is designed to get vulnerable people home safe in the St. James Street and surrounding area, so you don’t feel that you have no option than to walk alone in the dark, fearing for your safety just to get home.

Everyone has a right to go out, have fun and get home safe. No matter what time.

Home Safe Brighton is a community response to a much wider issue, and we are working closely with local authorities and organisations to ensure improvements in safeguarding our city.

Join the Home Safe Brighton Facebook group and be a part of of something wonderful.

facebook_1561665274585

The Home Safe Brighton Facebook page is a closed group. If you would like to join, be aware of a few introductory notes:

  • This Saturday night (29th June 20199) we’ll be operating a buddy system focussed around the Pavilion Gardens/Old Steine/St James Street areas. We will be patrolling these areas in pairs so do look out for us or post in this group if you’re walking home alone or feel unsafe in any way. If this gets enough interest we aim to operate it every weekend and be able to expand the areas covered. If you’d like to become a buddy, please message us or email hello@clapbackclub.co.uk.
  • This groups primary objective is safety. So please use it for any means of support; if you’re looking for someone to walk home with, if you’re available to walk people home, if you have any experiences/resources to share that will be useful to the wider community.
  • We should not have to look over their shoulder walking around our city, and we are working closely with the relevant authorities and organisations to improve safeguarding. But for now it’s important to remember that there is a lot of love and support in our community and that is powerful. We hope for this group to reflect that!
  • This is a closed group and we are monitoring all members to ensure every one’s safety and privacy. Nothing said in this group will be shared outside of it and should anyone feel this being compromised the admins will deal with it immediately.

Please be safe out there. Be mindful of getting yourself and friends home safe – and share the Facebook page if you can.

Child’s Play

A mother gives her 13-year-old son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.

Aubrey PlazaMark HamillGabriel BatemanBrian Tyree Henry

Friends to the End.

*Minor spoilers*

This is one of my most anticipated films of the year and I’m delighted to report that it was heaps of fun and I was not disappointed at all.

The end.

Kidding. There are still a few things to be said about the new-and-not-so-improved Chucky. I need to make it clear first that my love for Chucky runs deep. I’ve been in love with the trashy AF Child’s Play franchise since forever and genuinely found the first few films terrifying. The way the little guy ran around, pushing unsuspecting baby-sitters out of windows, ramming knives into his victims – it was the stuff of nightmares.

Chucky is my icon, my love – and if it wasn’t cultural appropriation, my spirit animal. Perhaps I identify because we’re both ginger and look good in dungarees, whatever – he’s up there in the horror big leagues and he’s my friend to the end. So having him rebooted is kind of a big deal. Thankfully, the creators have brought us a familiar tale while making it just different enough that it doesn’t compete with the originals. As if anything could.

Karen Barclay (Plaza) and her son Andy (Bateman) have just moved to Chicago to start a new life. Karen works retail at the local Walmart-type store where toy-of-the-moment, the Buddi doll is flying off shelves. The Buddi doll is a fully interactive doll created by global giant The Kaslan Corporation – and it seems there’s not much it can’t be trained to do.

One day, Karen blackmails her boss into letting her take home a faulty doll for Andy’s birthday. Andy’s also been struggling to get out of the apartment since they arrived in town and Karen wants to cheer him up. The range is about to be usurped by Buddi 2, the next model so she figures nobody’s going to miss her broken doll.

Did you say Chucky?

Andy’s dubious about Buddi at first, being too cool and too old to play with dolls but mum persuades him to at least have a look. Buddi quickly renames himself ‘Chucky’ and after imprinting on Andy, becomes his shadow. Andy finds Chucky one creepy motherfucker but they soon bond when it becomes clear that the doll actually gets him.

Oh, didn’t I mention that Chuck is faulty for a reason? A disgruntled worker at the Vietnamese factory where the Buddi dolls are assembled has disabled all Chucky’s safety guards before taking his own life. I do hope none of this comes back to haunt anybody…

As Andy and Chucky get friendlier – and start hanging out with some of the neighbourhood kids – Fay (Beatrice Kitsos), Pugg (Ty Consiglio) and Omar (Marlon Kazadi) – things seem to be on the up. Except for Karen’s douchey boyfriend Shane (David Lewis), who Andy despises. But horror movies aren’t usually charmed and happy for long and Chucky begins to display some possessive tendencies which start to have dire consequences for anyone who crosses Andy. Bless.

Also living on the same block is neighbour Doreen (Carlease Burke) who is frequently visited by her son, Detective Mike (Henry). Mike strikes up an acquaintance with Andy and his mother – which is handy when Chucky takes violent action against somebody they all know. With hilarious consequences – it has to be said that I laughed a lot during this murder sequence and the subsequent aftermath. It’s stretched out quite a lot but it fits the childishness of the story, also giving me Stranger Things/Stephen King vibes. You’ll know what I mean when you see it – it’s incredibly macabre and I ADORE IT.

Unfortunately, Andy can’t just be living in sweet harmony with his homicidal best pal and action must be taken. Which betrays Chucky’s trust and makes him mad. Really mad.

If they don’t let us play, they all go away.

The film climaxes at the Buddi 2 launch and I’m afraid it’s brilliant. Disgusting, creepy, tense but ultimately, so much fun. I love the new Chucky, I’m sorry Classic Chucky. Nobody’s ever going to replace you in my heart but Buddi Chuck is pretty adorable. The A.I. has a very saccharine look and I thought it would jar on me but oddly enough, I settled quite quickly into the new aesthetic.

Child’s Play: Reloaded succeeds in making our antagonist a sympathetic one which is impressive given he’s essentially just a hunk of plastic and metal. His reasons are pure and true – he just doesn’t have boundaries.

While I did miss the supernatural angle, this was lighthearted and silly, making me LOL several times. Hamill’s voice work is lovely and subtle, Plaza is her usual gorgeous kooky self – and Bateman as Andy is really good. In contrast to Jackson A. Dunn in Brightburn, Bateman is a natural who easily carries the film. The children are all great and they’re the main fixture for me. The A.I. is bad messaging is irritating though it has to be said.

I want more and I also really want to watch the originals again. STAT. Bravo, team.

Film details:

Child’s Play
Year: 2019
Director: Lars Klevberg
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
My Rating: 4/5

What are you watching?

Brightburn

What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?

Elizabeth Banks • David Denman • Jackson A. Dunn

He’s Not Here To Save The World.

*Minor spoilers*

Brightburn is essentially the Superman origin story, had Supes not been the earnest jobsworth that he is – and had been bad to the bone instead. Which is a cool direction to take such a well-known and well-loved story.

Tori (Banks) and Kyle Breyer (Denman) long for a child of their own. One night they get a visit from a mysterious meteorite that crash lands in the middle of their farm. Several years later we meet their son Brandon (Dunn), a slightly odd (soon to be) twelve-year-old doted on by his adoring mother.

Brandon as it happens is on the cusp of his teen years but clearly doesn’t fit in with the other kids. Mildly bullied by his peers, he finds comfort in his classmate Caitlyn (Emmie Hunter), who tells him smart guys get into good schools. Brandon also likes to doodle which might be a detail we’ll come back to later.

On Brandon’s twelfth birthday, something changes dramatically. He starts reacting to something the Breyers have stored in the barn. He’s woken in the night and drawn to the locked hatch that leads to this mysterious secret. It’s not a spoiler to say that it is of course an alien spacecraft of some kind. The very craft that delivered Brandon to earth from wherever it is he came from.

So Brandon is special in every sense of the word and his parents grow frightened that he’s about to discover his unique origin. Unfortunately, this awakening in Brandon – stirred up by an alien transmission from the ship – has a very negative effect on the boy. Shit starts to go down as he finally starts to figure out a few things for himself.

Brandon becomes creepier and creepier, behaving inappropriately around Caitlyn and, after lashing out violently, ends up in session with his aunt, the school councilor Merilee McNichol (Meredith Hagner). Along with her husband Noah (Matt Jones), Merilee forms Brandon’s small family unit. Which is shame when the McNichols become more concerned about the changes in their nephew, with devastating consequences.

When local diner owner Erica (Becky Wahlstrom) goes missing after what looks like a robbery at the restaurant, Sheriff Deever (Gregory Alan Williams) finds some intriguing evidence at the scene. But what does it mean? Well, there aren’t many surprises here in terms of twists and turns, Brandon is a bad guy with a mission to “Take the world” – whatever the cost. But is there still good in him, as his hopeful mother suggests?

Well, I enjoyed this much more than anticipated. If I’m honest, the trailer gives away a lot but there is enough in the film to make up for it. The most notable thing about Brightburn is how relentlessly (and deliberately) gory it is. Like for real, I had to watch several of the scenes through fanned fingers. There’s one scene that turned my stomach enough for me to put down the giant chocolate buttons, which is no mean feat.

Elizabeth Banks is terrific. I really bought her as a mother who will stop at nothing to protect her kid. It’s devastating to go through the gamut of emotion that she does, as the penny drops about what a turd her boy is. Pretty sure he never told her to fuck off when she asked him to mow the lawn though, Timothy James Martin.

Ultimately, however this isn’t the most memorable movie of all time. Dunn doesn’t have a lot of range as an actor yet – and that does affect things. I get that he’s strange but I would have liked to feel some empathy for him. I really do appreciate how little we know about where he’s from and what may happen next. And the climax was great, dark as shit and poignant.

Special shout out to the brilliant Michael Rooker in his pre-credit scenes. As conspiracy theorist The Big T, he sites several sightings of other familiar comic book characters around the world, including a witch that strangles people with ropes… I want to hear more about her.

Film details:

Brightburn
Year: 2019
Director: David Yarovesky
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
My Rating: 3.5/5

What are you watching?

Black Mirror – Season 5: Striking Vipers

Season 5 of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror has been getting mixed reviews. I agree that the three episodes in the new set aren’t as strong as some of their previous counterparts but it’s still innovative and interesting television, and shouldn’t be written off completely.

They’ve actually inspired me to go back to the beginning and review a few of the best episodes over the years so I’ll start examining those soon. For now though, to Season 5, Episode 1 – Striking Vipers.

Two estranged college friends reunite in later life, triggering a series of events that could alter their lives forever

Anthony MackieYahya Abdul-Mateen IINicole Beharie

*Minor spoilers*

Karl and Danny are old buddies from college. They’re also gamers who enjoy playing the fighting game Striking Vipers in their down time. The pair always play as Lance and Roxette. Danny (Mackie) lives with his girlfriend Theo (Beharies) – and one night the pair pretends to be strangers in a bar to spice up their lives. After they’ve done the business back home, Danny gets up and goes to play Vipers with Karl, who is crashing on their sofa.

Fast forward 11 years and the landscape looks very different. Danny and Theo are still together, married with a five-year-old. At a birthday barbecue for Danny, hosted at their house, Karl arrives after a long period of the friends having lost touch. He brings a present: Striking Vipers and a virtual reality kit which is needed to experience the game as it is now intended.

Ooooh!

That night the pals have a game wearing the kit, which transports them into the Striking Vipers world while their earthly bodies lay motionless in their respective homes. Danny’s surprised and exhilarated to find that not only is he fully immersed in his character’s environment, he can also experience pain from the fighting blows.

When they’re done fighting, Roxy (Karl) and Lance (Danny) share a passionate kiss – Danny and Karl then promptly leave the game, shocked and appalled at what they’ve done. But one thing leads to another and the characters start having a sexual relationship within the confines of the game. All the while the men can’t get enough of their virtual affair. At one point Danny remarks that he guesses they’re gay now and Karl responds that he thinks what they have goes much deeper.

“That’s us gay now.”

Danny starts to grow distant from his family, and when Theo calls him up on his strange behavior, he tells Karl they have to stop the affair. This is not before his wife tells him that she gets plenty of offers thanks very much and likes the attention she gets from sexy strangers – so he’d better shape up. (To paraphrase).

Well for a while the boys don’t see each other but things change when Theo throws a surprise dinner for Danny and invites Karl. The pair are frosty at first but then Karl admits that he’s tried everything to recreate the affair Lance has been having with Roxy. To no avail. I don’t want to spoil the conclusion but it stands to reason that the friends decide to meet and work out whether there is a true attraction between them in the flesh.

I’ll let you find out which way it goes. Striking Vipers was an interesting premise to start with – delivering quite the emotional dilemma. It examines masculinity, friendship, sexuality, monogamy – and it does so with the same bittersweet sheen of my favourite episode of all time, San Junipero.

One of the biggest issues with Black Mirror is that I find myself double guessing everything and expected this to take a much darker turn. I’m glad it didn’t in the end and I enjoyed the way it turns outs.

It was also cool to see Mackie in a different role to Falcon, who I’m just not that crazy about.

Episode details:

Striking Vipers
Year: 2019
Director: Owen Harris
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
My Rating: 3/5

What are you watching?

Free Activities July

I’ve grossly overspent this month so have already put myself on the back foot come pay day. I know I have a shopping addiction but I have tried really hard to curb that by sending most of it back and just not looking at my favourite websites. But life is expensive and I also live in one of the most pricey cities in the UK so spare cash is sometimes a bit of a joke.

Instead of crying about it though I’ve decided to challenge myself to Free Activities July to try and keep my head up. I can’t be sipping cocktails in the hottest bar this month, it’s fabulous of course but hugely irresponsible. (Lol at the idea that I do this regularly anyway).

If any of my local friends read this, I’d love to see you but we’ll have to do something free or incredibly thrifty. I’m thinking long heart to hearts in the park or on the beach, dinners at each other’s houses and soda water in beer gardens.

I’m also going to spend as much time as I can on creative endeavours – lots of blogging and podcasting, lots of dreaming – and also I’ve just about to embark on an exciting new project/course which I am really keen to start sharing with you guys. It’s something that has always interested me and now I get to study it in a bit more depth.

I really feel I need ‘something more’ at the moment so the timing of this course is perfect.

So yes, expect a lot of activity around these parts as I stay in a lot or do more creative things with my time and energy. Being all boujee is not an option. If you know me though you’ll know that I’m actually not-so-secretly pleased about staying in more. Like I need an excuse.

How’s your July looking?

Always Be My Maybe

I’ll be quite honest, I suggested this film just so I could watch THE VERY SPECIAL CELEBRITY CAMEO segment again – it is pure perfection. But more on that momentarily.

The film itself is pretty standard fare but its depiction of American-Asian culture is joyous. These details are not shown nearly enough on the big screen and I’m here for it. We’ve done the white experience a millions times. Which reminds me of Jordan Peele’s vow to keep using his position to explore stories that aren’t led by white people.

A pair of childhood friends end up falling for each other when they grow up.

Ali WongRandall ParkKeanu Reeves

There’s Always Been Something Between Them.

*Minor spoilers*

Marcus Kim (Park) and Sasha Tran (Wong) are childhood BFFs who do everything together. Sasha’s parents are largely absent but what she doesn’t get from her own family, she gets from the Kims, who live next door. While she and Marcus are besties, Sasha is very close to Mrs Kim, who teaches her all about authentic Korean cuisine.

Tragedy strikes when Mrs Kim passes away suddenly when the pair are teenagers. As Marcus grieves for his mother, Sasha comforts him and they end up having sex in the back of his car. Unfortunately, Marcus lashes out at Sasha shortly afterwards and the pair stop being friends. Sasha eventually moves away from their hometown of San Francisco and they never see each other again.

LOL. That would be a short review, wouldn’t it?

As with any great Rom Com, that is so not the end of it. In 2019, Sasha is a celebrity chef, engaged to world-renowned restaurateur Brandon Choi (Daniel Dae Kim). Things are all looking groovy until Brandon suggests a separation in the lead up to the wedding. He believes this will help them really appreciate one another and be sure they’re doing the right thing (SURE, BRANDON).

The ‘break’ coincides with Sasha’s return to the Bay Area to oversee the opening of a new restaurant. With assistant/pal Veronica (Michelle Buteau) in tow, Sasha returns to her old stomping ground and would you believe it? By chance meets Marcus and his father again. Marcus has never left San Fran, instead opting to stay on as his widowed father’s carer. The pair have a heat and air business – and Marcus is also the front-man of a very good but not very successful band on the side – Hello Peril.

Little by little the friendship flourishes again and Sasha also joins the dating pool, after dumping Brandon Choi once and for all. Marcus has a girlfriend called Jenny (the brilliant Vivian Bang) who his friends don’t particularly like – and no-one is more dubious about Jenny than Harry (James Saito), Marcus’ sexy dad – and all because of Sasha Tran. Pa has clocked his son’s true feelings, even before Marcus has.

*Bit of a bigger spoiler here*

Unfortunately, Marcus has to get past one Keanu Reeves before he can get into Sasha’s heart.

NB: It occurs to me only this morning that maybe I should have been a bit more discreet about this surprise appearance, especially since it’s absolutely the highlight. So I’ve added extra spoiler warnings.

Sasha and Neo are enjoying a steamy fling – and let me just assure you that this whole section is magic. As KR reveals himself to be wonderfully kooky and a bit of a douche, Marcus’ true feelings become more obvious. Will the most bizarre double date in cinematic history (probably) result in something really good?

Well of course it will.

But you didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? Marcus doesn’t naturally fit into the same circles as Sasha and when she has to return home to NYC, he’s not keen to follow. He doesn’t like the work events he’s required to attend, he doesn’t like holding Sasha’s clutch bag and he sure as shit doesn’t like being referred to as an ‘ordinary guy’. This leads to fights and ultimately, the pair part ways again.

Will this prompt Marcus to really examine his life choices? Will losing Sasha be the push he needs to take more chances with his art, accept that his father doesn’t really need a carer and take a giant leap of faith for once in his life? We’ll see. But yes.

Again, this film is formulaic but it has a lot more heart that 80% of romantic comedies and the more I watch the more I like it. Both leads are likable but not too saccharine and you can totally buy them as a couple. The supporting characters, including Sasha’s parents, Marcus’ dad and band mates – and dread-locked Jenny are so much fun. Jenny is a real highlight in the Keanu scenes as her reactions are all of us.

Again, I love all the little nods to Asian tradition and authenticity, and there’s a gorgeously touching tribute made to Mrs Kim right at the very end that gave me a lump in my throat.

I recommend this movie stat if you have a free Saturday afternoon. There are worse ways to spend 1 hour 42. Oh and also, did I mention Keanu?

Film details:

Always Be My Maybe
Year: 2019
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
My Rating: 3.5/5 – 100/5 for Keanu

What does Wifey think of this week’s pick? Would she leave in alone in Burger King never to speak to it again – or hold its bag forever? Find out here.

Other People’s Blogs

I’m a very bad blogger. I mean, I post regularly on my own blog which is fine but I’m bad at commenting and keeping up with other people’s blogs and I wish to change that. We’re a community after all and spreading the love is the right thing to do.

Here are a few blogs I read as much as I can – some obvious additions and some real hidden gems. Go give them some love, why don’t you? We could all do with some new and enriching viewpoints. Oh, and they’re all women. Go figure.

Lightle-tainment

Obviously I’m hugely biased here given that Lightle is my homie but she is very clever, I swear. Talking about most of the things that float my boat too, my girl has a way with words and her love of all things entertainment is really fun to be part of.

Best recent posts:

I’ll Work Something Out

Natalie doesn’t blog all the time, more’s the pity. She seems to have this thing called a real life. Nevertheless, the essays she has written to date are lovely, honest, relatable and funny. Everything I ask for in a blog.

Best recent posts:

Lady K’s Movie Dialogue

Kath might be this blog’s biggest cheerleader and for that I am honestly so grateful. Kath shares my taste for movies and books so almost all her content is my jam. I’m a particular fan of anything that examines an original film/book and its adaptations/sequels which is lucky for me ‘cos Kath has done some absolute bangers.

Best recent posts:

The Pink Panther Snipes Again

As if I’d write a list and not include Wifey. Jill’s blog has been a source of constant joy for me for years now – and her friendship even more so. It blows my mind that I have a Librarian friend that I’ve only met once across the Pond but it’s the best thing ever. I love Jillian’s appreciation of terrible B-movies and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Best recent posts:

Screen Queens

I love Screen Queens, a blog created and written by young women and members of the LGBT community. Their content is brilliant and thought-provoking. Also quite often horror themed which of course is a bit of me.

Best recent posts:

Which blogs do you love?