Netflix Review: The Society

Netflix’s new teen drama is a 10-episode series from Chris Keyser that follows a group of privileged teenagers who embark on a school field trip, only to return to their New England town with all of their parents missing. This “Lord of the Flies” meets “The 100” series combines mystery and teen angst to bring a surprisingly complex story that deals with parallel universes and conspiracies. So if you’re the type of person who says “that’s not humanly possible” whilst watching fantasy shows, you’re likely to roll your eyes at the concept. However, I’m all for conspiracy theories and the darkness that comes with parallel universes, so I was on the edge of my seat the entire ride through. Here are some of my thoughts after watching.

Spoiler’s Ahead:

When I was 12, I remember there was this American show called “Kid Nation”. The premise was basically the same with teens running a society on their own with a designated “mayor” and “working class” roles distributed among the town. What I learned from the show is that there’s a lot of teens willing to step up to be a leader, and there’s a lot of teens who will shell up and hide.  I really liked seeing how characters reacted to the absence of their parents. It was obvious that all hell would break loose.

There’s a lot of political undertones in the series as characters debate whether a democracy is the best way to run their town. Additionally, other issues such as physical abuse, mental illness, and the death penalty are brought up for teens to face head on. Even the state of women’s rights are brought up as 16-year-old pregnant Becca utters the words “I didn’t even get to choose to be a mother.” The intensity of the show surprised me in that retrospect.

Kathryn Newton’s character, Allie, is the presumed main character who has one of my favorite story arcs as she goes from the rebellious little sister to the fearless heroin. Her performance was one of the most nuanced, as her sister’s death fuels her to become the leader of the town.

In fact, for a teen drama, the acting overall was fantastic. Other standouts include Alex Fitzalan, who plays the spoiled “sort of” villain. What I liked about his character is that he could’ve been the straight up psychopath like Campbell, but instead, he dives into an unexpected depression. Additionally, Jack Mulhern plays my favorite character from the series, Grizz, who’s the kind-hearted expedition leader and a closeted teen who starts a romance with Sam. It’s sweet and probably my favorite romance among the teen angst, although I’m weirdly hoping Allie and Harry work things out as well.

There’s so many other likable characters such as Kelly, Gordie, Helena and Will, but I like that a lot of them encompass some gray area to their morality, such as Luke and Harry. My one issue with the series is that there’s a LOT of characters to the point where I’m confusing some of the boys and girls. Don’t get me wrong, I love that there is representation of the LGBTQ and deaf community, but if there’s going to be 15 main characters, I’d would have liked more women and men of colour.

Finally, let’s talk about that ending! OK- so what’s up with the dog? Are we sure we know who killed Cassandra? And what universe are the kids in? Purgatory? It’s too soon to really come up with a coherent theory, but I think there’s some sort of parallel universe that the kids were sent to after discovering what the “smell” was all about. It’s so intriguing to me, but I imagine fans are dying for some more clues. Hopefully, the committee on going home can sort something out soon because I want answers. Let me know what you thought of the show below!

Netflix Review: Elite is Gossip Girl on Steroids

Elite (TV Series) - Stills
Photo: Netflix

Elite is a Spanish web television series about three working class teens that attend a wealthy school. With all the drama that ensues, episode 1 reveals that there is a murder that takes place as someone from the main cast is responsible for the death of another main character. This series caught me by surprise, and it’s sort of like if Gossip Girl and Big Little Lies had a baby. Also, times the drama by 15 because there’s a lot packed into this eight episode series. I’ll be breaking up the review into the sets of characters who shared a story line. Read with caution because this does contain spoilers. Let’s start with the romance and then we’ll get to the murder.

Everything Marina, Samuel & Nano: So Samuel likes Marina. Nano likes Marina. And Samuel and Nano are brothers. Cue the drama. At first, I thought Marina was miscast because I did not feel the chemistry with Samuel, but then I realized that maybe we as an audience weren’t supposed to buy them as a couple because her chemistry with Nano was so much more intense. I feel bad for Samuel, but I also wished he stood up for himself more because as much as Marina was going through, she was a terrible girlfriend to him. Also regarding Samuel, I adored his friendship with Omar. I actually liked Samuel supporting his friends way more than his interactions with Marina.

Polo, Christian & Carla: Okay I was not expecting there to be a story line like this. Polo and Carla have been together forever, but they’re bored. So enters Christian who becomes obsessed with fitting in with the elite crowd, and we’ve got a throuple. It’s a pretty messed up story line because both Polo and Christian would do anything for Carla, include share her with another man, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from this captivating plot. You can tell that Christian enjoys the luxury and I have to hand it to the actor because he’s kind of like a cartoon character. But with Polo, there’s much more of a darkness with his adoration with Carla.

Guzman and Nadia: Guzman is the top dog at school. We establish that he’s supposed to be the rich popular guy. He starts off dating Lu, his other popular counterpart, and they make a bet to take new girl Nadia’s virginity. Nadia is a Muslim girl who struggles with her family values and her school life, but she’s one tough cookie. Her romance with Guzman was so innocent and sweet. To see the chemistry build episode after episode without ever sealing things with a kiss makes them such a rootable couple for the second season. I like that they’re both pretty imperfect as well. Guzman can be materialistic and lose his temper. Nadia can be close minded sometimes. But somehow, they work.

Ander and Omar: I saved the best for last because I loved watching these two on screen. Ander is the classic “athlete rich kid” who feels all this pressure from his family to be a tennis star. What I really liked about Ander was that he would always be the quiet or neutral one among the popular crew but when he blew up, you knew he was a lot more layered. While Ander seems to be angry a times, Omar is simply living his life  in fear. Omar is Nadia’s sister who happens to be a gay drug dealing Muslim. They’re from two completely different worlds, but the chemistry between them is electric. The actors are really fantastic, and their forbidden romance is hands down my favorite plot of the bunch because they’re so darn cute together. Who’s down for a double date between, Guzman and Nadia and Ander and Omar?

Photo: Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix

The Murder: MAJOR SPOILERS* So Marina dies. We find out in episode one and we’re supposed to believe it was either Samuel or Nano because of all the relationship drama. For some reason, my dumb ass believed it was the teacher for some reason. Once Samuel accused the teacher of sleeping with Marina, I thought we were going to get real dark considering it cost him his job.

Similarly, in Big Little Lies, I thought the father of Ziggy was going to be Madeline’s ex for some reason, and I thought Noel Kahn was the first A from Pretty Little Liars. I was wrong again. It was Polo. And it was actually done pretty masterfully in terms of storytelling. We get this threesome story line that very much feels separate from the other plot points, but it all makes perfect sense as things escalate over a watch that Carla is desperate to get back. Polo is so madly in love with Carla that it leads him to murdering Marina after a heated argument. I also was so in love with characters like Nadia and Ander that I was praying it wouldn’t be one of my favorite characters. And we also slowly learn that Polo is a bit messed up himself so it all ties together well.

Something that Pretty Little Liars failed to do was give people the correct motives, but by the final episode, everyone has a motive and a damn good one at that. And something Gossip Girl also failed to do was stay on track with its original mystery after a few seasons. This show really impressed me, and I’m shocked it doesn’t get more attention because it really deserves it. The acting is great. The murder was a great premise, but all the drama that ensues in between is gripping as well. I cannot wait for a second season.

Black Mirror Review & Ranking All of Bandersnatch’s Endings

Bandersnatch

Netflix’s Black Mirror unleashed its much anticipated choose-your-own-adventure episode “Bandersnatch”, where it allows the viewer to make decisions throughout the film, which alters the ending. After watching the episode, I must say, it’s mind blowing. It’s not the best installment of Black Mirror,  but it is a one of a kind experience. My mind is still processing the endings, but I do want to break down and rank all the endings I found. If I’m a bit off or wrong about certain aspects, please forgive me as I spent three hours watching through a lot of the possibilities. Here’s my ranking and needless to say: SPOILER ALERT

8) Too safe for good reviews: If you were too scared to see Stefan go completely insane, then you probably clicked on options such as “spill tea on computer” or “take pills” which both result in poor reviews of “Bandersnatch” with an unhappy Stefan watching his game fail. I grouped these all together because ultimately, you decided to play it safe, rather than go down a twisted path.

6) Stefan works for the company: To me, this isn’t even a real ending as Will Poulter’s character, Colin, lets you know right away that you made the wrong move already. This is literally 15 minutes into the episode, so there’s no way you’re content and decide to leave it at that. So is it really an ending? Wrong choice mate.

6) Stefan falls to his death on acid: This ending means you followed Colin back to his apartment for a drug-induced night. While they’re on drugs, they go out to the terrace where Colin says one of them is going to jump. What. And you have to choose who. WHAT? This is one of the first really intense choices you have to make, and I chose wrong as I chose Stefan, thinking he’d have a Birdman moment and start flying. Anyway, you’ll want to go back and choose Colin after making this fatal mistake. Just remember to stay away from drugs kids.

5) Stefan’s father drags Stefan out of his therapist’s office: This is one of the first set in stone endings as Stefan and his father fight his therapist. Stefan learns that Netflix is watching over him and controlling his every move. The fight is actually pretty badass and crazy, but to me, it ends so abruptly and we don’t get to know how the game turns out. Weird, but at least it’s a final ending.

4) Stefan buries his father, goes on killing spree: This was the first ending that I got that didn’t give me the option to go back. I closed my eyes as I clicked “Kill Dad” and watched as the “White Bear” symbol determined pretty much the rest of the ending. He kills his father, Colin’s wife shows up to his door, but then the dog discovers his father’s body. Apparently though, there is a path where Colin comes to his door and you get the option to killing him too. I didn’t get that, but Stefan is sent to jail before finishing the game and he gets poor reviews.

3) Stefan goes back in time to join his mother on the train: This ending was really interesting and it definitely has potential. Stefan gets to the safe and picks the option “TOY” and out pops the white rabbit he was looking for right before his mom’s death. It’s surprising as he travels back in time to that moment so he can board the train with her. Stefan dies in present time because of this decision and the episode ends. I’m surprised this ending led to tying in his mother’s death because it was the only one that did. However, everything about the video game proves to be irrelevant after the episode ends, so it leaves me missing some sort of conclusion to the game Stefan was working on so intently.

2) Dr Hayne’s office is revealed to be a movie set: This is such a cool ending. Instead of the therapist brawl that ensues, you can choose to climb out the window, and it leads to a way more of a meta ending. At this point, Stefan is aware of Netflix making his decisions so he asks his father to take him to Dr Haynes. When Stefan goes to climb out the window, someone says cut, and it becomes clear that the entire episode is being filmed as a director tells “Mike” that he’s doing the wrong action. I know it ‘s supposed to be a bit light-hearted but it’s pretty satisfying and funny because it shows how emotionally stunted the actor was as he got too into his character “Stefan.” If there was more to this ending that involved the video game, maybe it’d feel more satisfying. As a whole, it’s not the best ending, but I found the most joy and watching this ending.

1) Stefan chops up his father, gets in the right mindset and gets rave reviews: I love the Netflix ending. It’s so interesting, but it’s another storyline that sort of ended. This is the darkest of the endings, as you choose to chop up his own father’s body. It started to dawn on me that the uglier more gruesome choices led to more interesting paths, so Stefan kills his father, chops up the body and has plenty of time to finish the video game. This is the only ending where Stefan gets rave reviews, but his moment is short lived as he’s arrested shortly after. Colin’s daughter Pearl takes over the game years later, and we think the episode is over, but when there’s a glitch in the game, we have to choose to destroy the computer or spill the tea, and either way, it ends the episode. What makes this ending the true ending to me is the fact that Stefan concludes that he needed to make people think they had a choice, when in reality, he chose the ending. And in reality, we as viewers think we have a choice, but we’re often pushed to complete certain actions like killing his father and refusing to work with the company. It’s mind-boggling and I loved it.

  • My favorite moment from the whole episode was Will Poulter’s monologue about Pac-Man making you think you have all these choices and free will in life, when in reality you simply don’t. Everything he said about alternate timelines was exactly what happens, making his character more self-aware than anyone else’s. When he said “wrong choice” he’s talking more so to the audience. When he said “you’re down the hole” he’s telling the audience you’re deep into the path you’ve selected. His character was definitely a scene stealer for me. Loved the acting. Also it breaks my heart that people were bullying the actor on social media after the episode aired, so much so, that he quit Twitter. People are so cruel.
  • The acting in general was all very good. Apparently every path was filmed separately meaning they had to film similar scenes multiple times. I guess I get why because it made every moment to moment choice feel very seamless, but that sounds incredibly difficult production wise.
  • Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. While the plot suffers because of all the choices you have to make, I’ve never had the joy of choosing what happens in an episode, and it was exhilarating to have unfold. All of the endings sort of leave you lacking in other subplots and points, but I feel like they did the best with what they were working with.
  • There’s also a PAC ending, where Stefan finds out his father and mother are working for the government, but it actually leads back to Stefan having to choose to kill his father, so to me, it wasn’t exactly needed.
  • My ranking is purely based on my own opinions, and if you disagreed, that’s totally fine. To me, it was important to have certain moments like what the heck happens with the video game which happens to be the title, so if it didn’t include that, I was just more inclined to rank it lower.
  • I want to know other people’s thoughts. What’s your favorite ending?

Netflix Review: You

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You

You was a series I was excited to watch immediately after its episode one airing on Lifetime. Then, all of a sudden, I was in the UK, and there was no way of watching the series legally. I was bummed after seeing what could be a great guilty pleasure. Then, I hear the entire season is on Netflix, and I waste no time binging through the remaining nine episodes. And boy, it was exhilarating.

The series stars Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley who plays Joe, a book store worker who meets a young graduate student, Beck, and instantly falls for her from first sight. Joe starts finding out more about Beck (Elizabeth Lail) , such as a mild social media search and a quick address search in Google maps. Sounds like stuff we’ve all done right? But something isn’t right, as Joe starts stalking her, watching her, breaking into her apartment and a variety of creepy activities in his all black getup and a cap. His infatuation turns into an obsession and the scariest part is that from Beck’s perspective, Joe seems like the perfect gentleman.

The series definitely has a Lifetime feel, don’t get me wrong. The show is not something that is always the most smartly crafted series ever, but it really embraces that guilty pleasure feel that I miss in a series. Every episode is unpredictable as Badgley shows Joe’s erratic behavior perfectly through his eyes and clenched demeanor every time something doesn’t go his way. It’s a social media horror story, as Instagram and Twitter become key mediums for Joe to pull off some of his shenanigans. Additionally, it’s relevant more than ever as dating apps and “sliding into the DMs” are the new ways of meeting people these days.

The show largely benefits from the fact that Joe is the one narrating every creepy thought he has, and it’s twisted that we can actually empathize with him at times, especially when we see him care for his neighbor, Paco.

Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell also stars in the series as Beck’s spoiled Queen Bee friend who is smarter than she appears, as she catches on to Joe’s sketchy behavior quite quickly into the series. John Stamos also makes a surprise appearance as Joe’s therapist late into the series. These guest stars add to the overall drama and both play key roles in how the story unfolds.

The 10 episodes fly by quickly, and the ending left me pretty satisfied as the finale escalated to a point when I started saying “How are they possibly going to wrap this up?” If a series has me asking that by the final episode, that’s a good sign. With the twist at the very end, I’m not sure how strong a second installment of the series will do, but I’ll definitely be tuning in to see how the second chapter will go down.

The Incredible Jessica James Review & Talking Diversity in Rom Coms

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I’ve been binging romantic comedies all summer, and while I’ve been enjoying them more now than ever, I find myself seeing the same female leads. I remember watching The Spectacular Now and completely identifying with Shailene Woodley’s character. That was back in 2015 when I watched that movie. She played the shy Amy who slowly came out of her shell through the eyes of her love interest, which reminds me a lot of Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved. And while I adore these female leads, I find myself not relating to them anymore, mostly because I’ve grown out of that phase of not truly knowing myself yet. Now bring in this little gem of a movie starring a black female who knows she’s dope but for whatever reason doesn’t have her life figured out quite yet. Jessica Williams shines as she plays a total bad ass whose insecurities are shown through actions and body language rather than talking about it. Not only is this the perfect display of showing rather than telling, but it really does emulate what twenty somethings are going through.

Everyone is all about talking about what they’re passionate about, but at the same time, everyone is struggling to pursue that same passion. James works at a nonprofit and wants to pursue play writing, but the movie itself is more or less about her trying to get over a breakup. She meets Boon played by Chris O Dowd who is totally opposite from her but also getting over a breakup so they begin a weird relationship, including a pact to follow each other’s ex. It’s a story we’re all familiar with, but it’s a more modern take. Chris O Dowd brings the same charm he had in Bridesmaids and it really works because he feels much more like a real human being instead of a Prince Charming. He makes mistakes and doesn’t make some sort of grand gesture for them. Instead, the two leads talk through their shit like normal adults would, and it’s refreshing to watch. In addition to the romantic elements, there’s a great side storyline that shows James interacting with one of her students. It’s simple but a great display of why Jessica James pushes some of her students so much to pursue their dreams.

Overall, I really loved how realistic this movie felt, and I love seeing more interracial couples come to screen lately. Growing up, a lot of my friends assumed I liked people with skin like mine, and it really upset me when I was younger but I couldn’t quite pinpoint why so I kept my mouth shut. I remember my friends in 5th grade asking me if I liked the only other colored person in my class and I couldn’t express back then why it was so wrong of them to say that. However, when I saw the backlash with To All the Boys I’ve Loved with some people saying they should of casted an Asian male lead to play Lana Condor’s love interest, I resonated so much with the actress’s response.

“You are being racist unknowingly and continuing to put us in a box that we don’t need to be in. It’s really unfair. People should be able to love who they want to love. It’s offensive to me — you’re continuing to promote tribalism. So I can’t be with who I want to be with? These are probably the same people who have an issue with the LGBT community. It’s the same thing — you telling me who I can love is unfair,” Condor said.

Anyway, I went off on a bit of a tangent, but my point is that I love that we’re seeing more diversity because growing up all the love stories seemed to happen to people that didn’t look anything like me, so I hope young women and men are inspired in a way that I wasn’t able to be when I was growing up.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Review

Starring Lana Condor , Noah Centineo and Janel Parrish, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a teen romance about a girl named Lara Jean who writes five letters to all the boys she’s ever liked. Mysteriously, they get sent out to them, and drama ensues when one of the boys, Peter, strikes a deal with Lara Jean to fake a relationship so that he can get back together with his girlfriend. On the flip side, Lara Jean wants to fake a relationship so that her neighbor doesn’t suspect her feelings for him.

I really liked this movie. When I watched the trailer, I thought it would be cute and man, it was so stinking cute. I have to hand it to the actors because for me, the way they craft the characters and dialogue is what makes this movie so likable. If it weren’t for Candor and Centineo’s chemistry, I’m not sure if I would have bought them as much as the central couple, but there is a ton of chemistry between the leads. I’ve always been a fan of Noah Centineo because I religiously watched The Fosters every week, but I’ve never seen Lana Condor before, and I think she really carries the movie whether it’s her innocence coming across at a party full of mean girls or talking to her dad about missing her mother. It’s all very awesome stuff from this actress.

I also adore Janel Parrish and thought she was fantastic as the outgoing older sister to Lara Jean. But the little sister to Lara Jean and the father are also quirky and total scene stealers too.

The plot is pretty predictable. That’s probably the weakest aspect of this movie, but the movie makes up for its lack of originality with the conversations the characters have. I also like that in the main conflict, it’s not so much about the guy messing up and then making a grand gesture. It was always about Lara Jean and her internal struggle. It feels fresh and authentic, and I’m pretty content with the way it ends as well.

There’s a lot of sentiment in this flick, and it’s definitely a pretty solid movie for its message of taking risks in life. I remember being in high school and reading novels where I would imagine myself as the main character, so I completely related to Lara Jean. But just like me, she learns that she can keep reading or watching fairytales, or she can go out and create her own.

The Bachelorette Review: Team Jordan

I know. I know. It’s a controversial stance to be on Jordan’s team, but honestly, David annoyed me so much almost like when Evan used to instigate Chad all the time on Jojo’s season. This episode was a million times more interesting than last week’s so let’s jump to my top 5 after this episode along with my thoughts on the dates.

Garrett: Garrett is still going strong as Becca and him have a couple cute moments. When he was reading his song to her, they were cuddling like a real couple, and you can just tell Becca still really likes him.

Blake: Blake is so charming. Him telling Becca he was falling in love was so genuine. It was almost like a movie moment as they went outside of the building to kiss and be all cutesy. I’m a big Blake fan, and to me, he’s got the strongest connection so far.

Jason: I personally have a big crush on Jason because he just seems like a Ben Higgins type of guy. I think he might be able to squeeze in the top 4 maybe, but it’s kind of a stretch considering how little time he has gotten.

Colton: The Colton date was sort of boring for me. It had the classic hot tub in the middle of nowhere gag, along with a very vey vague timeline of when Colton first said I love you to a past girlfriend. I don’t get the Colton hype like I said in my recap last week, but he can do no wrong in Becca’s eyes. At least that’s the way it comes off on the show.

Wills: Wills is the biggest surprise of the season. I have to give him so much props for how he handled the Chris confrontation. He handled it like a boss, and you can clearly see that Becca was annoyed at Chris interrupting their time together. He made a good point that he never even had to give him those 2 minutes in the first place. Also, I’m loving Wills’s outfits so much. His blue two piece was so dope.

Other Thoughts:

  • Okay okay, do I think Jordan is self-absorbed? Yes. Do I think he is a little socially awkward and maybe doesn’t pick up on social cues? Yup. But I have this weird need to defend him a little almost like I did with Corinne. He never targeted anyone. He never said anything mean to anyone. Even with David constantly instigating him all the time, Jordan tried to diffuse the situation by saying he was focusing on his relationship with Becca. And ya know what? I think Becca felt the same way. At least Jordan used his time to open up. David used his time to talk about Jordan. And he crashed and burned because of it, and I’m not mad at the outcome. I also think Becca didn’t really take offense to what Jordan said because he’s all about joking around, and David really dropped the ball because he told Becca all these half truths. Becca handled this date and Jordan in general really well. When he started talking about modeling, she had fun and entertained it. Jordan leaving wasn’t really a surprise, but he’s more for paradise anyway.
  • For Vegas, I kind of found the dates boring. We had two singing dates this season already?
  • Chris, oh Chris. I sort of understand what Chris was thinking. He felt neglected and then after talking to Becca, he was like “ok, gotta take charge now.” But he went about it all wrong and couldn’t quite read Becca that well. She was clearly annoyed at the cocktail party, and it looks like there might be some drama with Lincoln next week too.
  • I really liked Becca this episode. She handled everything really well, and I love that she calls people out when she needs to like David and Chris but also knows when to entertain certain people in their delusions like Jordan who is ultimately harmless.
  • So we basically only have narratives for four people. Like Leo has no shot. Connor doesn’t either. I wish there was a little more moments with other people. I remember on Arie’s season, he at least had really awesome moments with Seinne, Chelsea, Tia, and Kendall. His top 8 at least was more suspenseful of who was he going to choose.
  • Can’t wait to get down to some of the other relationships and build upon the existing ones in episode 6!

Netflix Review: Set It Up

Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell in 'Set It Up'

“Set It Up” is a modern romantic comedy starring Glenn Powell and Zoey Deutch who both work for demanding bosses and decide to set them up to alleviate their hectic schedules. When I say modern, I really see it being one of the best romantic comedies in a long long time. And it really surprised me.

When I see Zoey Deutch, I think of Maya who played Zack’s girlfriend in the Suite Life on Deck. She was a badass relatable character then, and she really shines as the quirky but awesome Harper. From seeing her delight over free food and pizza to seeing her kill a game of beer pong with Pete Davidson, she became a great female character to root for. Glenn Powell plays Charlie the 28 year old assistant who thinks he wants to live a life similar to his boss Rick. He has the classic romantic comedy arc, where he messes up, but somehow through grand gestures, fixes everything.

Despite having the predictable format of a class rom com, this film largely benefits from a likeable cast. But it also has characters that have great dialogue that sort of poke fun at the stereotypical romantic comedy lines. One of my favorite scenes took place in a ring shop, where Harper leaves dramatically only for the alarms to go off and the store clerk making an awkwardly funny scene even more funny. Additionally, the “will they or won’t they” gag isn’t completely played out. You know it’s coming, but the journey to get there isn’t frustrating through unnecessary miscommunication. It’s through their own insecurities, which both characters eventually face.

The supporting characters are great as well. Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu play hilarious bosses as they change their mind and make rash decisions as a typical no nonsense boss should. Pete Davidson makes an endearing performance as Charlie’s roommate and the actress who plays Harper’s was really awesome too as she delivered a sentiment about loving someone despite their differences. The ending is super cute and it might be predictable, but it works in its simplicity.

All in all, this movie is truly a New York City romance. It’s actually funny too. The jokes made me laugh every now and then, and I think we’ve been missing the string of classic romantic comedies. Go watch “Set It Up” on Netflix because it’s a gem of a movie, and it’s a feel good one at that.

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Review

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13 Reasons

SPOILERS AHEAD:

13 Reasons Why Season 2 has received quite a bit of backlash with critics saying there was no need for a second season. Additionally, there is that one scene at the end that many deemed unnecessarily graphic. While the show definitely has some flaws, to me, I think it was a descent season. I’ll separate the good, the bad and the confusing from the season. Also, let me reiterate that this show is not for everyone, so before you start the series, watch the warning they have in the beginning of season 2, noting that if you’re struggling with any of the issues discussed, you should be watching with an adult or probably not watching at all.

The season picks up five months later, where all the characters are in different places in their life. Alex is recovering from his suicide attempt. Clay is dating Skye. Hannah’s parents are preparing for the trial against the school. Bryce is dating a cheerleader names Chloe.

This season was teased with creators saying Polaroids would replace the original 13 tapes, which we’ll get into. However, the testimonies seemed to be the new narrative as we saw everyone’s perspectives on their relationship with Hannah. This led to some interesting revelations.

Apparently, Hannah and Zach had a whole relationship? This was sort of out of a left field, and it really doesn’t make sense. More importantly, it sort of takes away from her relationship with Clay, who we know has the hardest time letting go of her. But if all this really happened, shouldn’t Zach be the one who sort of takes on the “Clay” role? Anyway,  it didn’t bother me too much, but the more I think about it, the more it doesn’t make sense.

The story with Justin was a bit more believable, as his family issues come into play when he meets Hannah. Speaking of Justin, his entire story arc is very strong, probably one of the strongest apart from Alex and Jessica. His friendship with Clay is so sweet, and it’s one of my favorite character interactions considering they hated each other in season one. Additionally, Alex’s friendship with Zach was adorable as well.

That’s something that was head and shoulders above season one. Season one established the cliques. Season two provided a back drop for certain friendships and relationships to begin. Alex and Jessica became each other’s support system. Hannah’s mom and Tony vented to each other. Tyler found friends to bond with as well. For me, this is why I liked the season so much. When Clay and Justin popped up on the screen, I was excited because I knew the interaction would be funny.

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The Mercury

In terms of the relationships, it’s clear Jessica and Justin have a special bond together as they reunite to Selena Gomez’s song “Back to You” (which is really catchy) shortly after she kisses Alex. I adore Alex, so I was not about it at first, but I get why she was finally able to be vulnerable with Justin. But it’s okay for Alex because everyone went wild on the internet for Zach and Alex, which I’m not opposed to because they slow danced in the finale, and I sort of jumped on the bandwagon of couple theories. Honestly, I don’t care who ends up with who, but I want this group to be happy.

Now, in terms of the storytelling, I think the narrative was a bit more confusing for a second season. While there was a driving force for Hannah to get justice, the loss of the tapes format led for a messier narrative. Additionally, Hannah’s ghost being there just didn’t work. It didn’t add anything other than allowing Clay to go insane every now and then. We already had flashbacks of Hannah, so I didn’t get why we needed her ghost there as well. The polaroids fell flat, and didn’t serve as super important for the season, which was a bit strange since that’s what producers and creators were advertising.

For everyone complaining about Bryce basically getting a slap on the wrist for raping two women, it’s pretty realistic. This happens a lot with someone as privileged as Bryce. We even heard it in the finale. While Jessica is basically traumatized and scared everyday, we hear Bryce’s lawyer saying he lost his scholarships, which is infuriating. This is life, and it would’ve been nice for her to get justice, but she felt stronger after, and I appreciated that sentiment.

And let’s talk about the scene. The scene. The one all over the media. Basically, Tyler comes back to school after getting some counseling. Monty and his friends are pissed for losing their sports season and they confront him in the bathroom. Monty smashes his head in a mirror and slams his face in the sink right before dragging him to a toilet to hold him down and sodomize him with a broom. It was unnerving to watch, and I was honestly a little bit shaken up after watching it. While there was a warning in the beginning, I wasn’t ready for that sort of assault scene. I know people are demanding for the show to be canceled after that, but male rape is definitely a thing. This happened a year ago in Texas and is used in hazing practices as well. I think it’s similar to Hannah’s suicide scene that was shown last season. I didn’t need to see it, and it can be so triggering, but I get why it was included. It made the audience get what pushed Tyler to the edge.

As far as the ending, there are so many cliffhangers. I kind of wish it ended differently like having Clay help Tyler report the incident, but I understand the allure of having another season.

I’m looking forward to another season, and I think it wasn’t nearly as bad as critics are saying, but let me know below what your thoughts are on the season. And if you haven’t watched it, go ahead and binge it if it’s the show for you.

Netflix Review: Dude

Netflix

Spoilers Ahead:

Dude stars Lucy Hale as she and her three best friends prepare for high school graduation. The film opens with best friends Chloe (Kathryn Prescott from Finding Carter) and Lily (Hale) who are hanging out with Chloe’s brother, Thomas, played by Austin Butler. Butler’s character is killed off pretty early on in a unseen accident and from there, the movie takes shape as it flashes forward one year to the four girls being seniors and getting into college.

The death of Chloe’s brother looms over the movie as Lily can’t seem to get over the past. I’m going to admit that I had low expectations going into the movie, but what I like about it is the fact that everything seems very real from the way teens are portrayed to the emotions they experience.

There’s a lot of ugly things about this movie including a very realistic portrayal of rape, an imperfect love interest, and the irrational fighting the girls go through. It’s ugly because it’s all very real and isn’t glorified in any sort of way. The girls struggle to find their place after high school especially Lily who has grown attached to her high school routine.

I’m currently in college about to graduate and I’ve definitely had my “Lily” moments when I grow frustrated holding onto something that is simply meant to be a memory in the past. A lot of my friends graduated last semester, and I felt so similar to Lily in a lot of ways, especially her still coping with the loss of Thomas. Going from one phase in your life to another is scary, but holding onto the past is not the answer, and I think this film really hones in on that.

The other two girls, Rebecca and Amelia, are also fleshed out a bit, but the main focus really sticks to Chloe and Lily. Chloe also has a sweet love interest, and it works because it makes Lily freak out when Chloe endures all these changes at once. Lily’s love interest is also sort of fitting as his indecisiveness and back and forth with Lily makes sense since she is equally confused about the state of her future. Overall, the supporting characters worked for the most part, including Lily’s mom who snaps her back to reality.

Overall, I really like the simplicity of the plot. Some may say it may not even have one, but the characters feel real and authentic, and I found myself relating to a lot of the different aspects of the core four girls. I would recommend this movie for sure. Is it the best movie? No, it’s not, but it is a nice feel good movie and if you’re graduating, then you should watch it for sure.