Okay, so it’s Thursday and I’ve been off the blogwagon for a few days. In other words, Memorial Day took it’s toll and I spent the entire 3-day stint thanking people for their service, especially the good men and women at Bud Light who graciously sponsored my mercurial endeavors over the weekend.
That said, I’m back with another movie review. On Tuesday morning, I had every intention of seeing Aladdin. It’s easily the biggest draw in theaters right now, but to be honest, I couldn’t have been less pumped. These new live action Disney remakes are solid, but that’s pretty much where they end. Dumbo and Beauty and the Beast were serviceable, but that’s part of the problem. They’re cookie cutter safe, to the point where I feel they’re exclusively intended for parents who want to introduce their children to what they grew up with.
Luckily, when I surveyed my local cinema’s website, I noticed some movie called Booksmart playing around the same time. Following a quick Google search—compounded by a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes—I decided to jump on the opportunity to bail on 2 hours of Middle Easterns surfing rugs in favor of yet another coming of age high school comedy.
Booksmart follows the story of two academic overachievers who, after realizing they may have wasted their high school experience, decide to cram 4 years of fun into one night (basically stole that synopsis from IMDB).
So yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve seen this movie 1,000 times before.” And you’re right, but only partially. Why? Because this is the same movie you’ve seen 1,000 times, but done differently.
For those keeping score, I fucking LOVE coming of age films. Lady Bird was the best movie of 2017 and I’ll have passionate sex with anyone who argues otherwise. It was just an all around excellent film that shares quite a number of parallels with Booksmart. Most notably, Beanie Feldstein (who compliments Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird) was fucking fantastic and I guess I’ll start there…
The most difficult task when attempting a coming of age movie is typically casting. It’s tough to find kids with chops but that’s probably the strongest aspect of Booksmart. As I mentioned, Beanie Feldstein was remarkable but the chemistry between her and Kaitlyn Dever was what ultimately drove the film. Aside from that, I couldn’t help but be blown away by the entire cast. Strong performances all around from a collection of unknowns and I’m sure it won’t be the last we hear from them. Mark my words: In 10 years or so, this is going to be one of those Freaks and Geeks or Arrested Development-type productions you watch and go “Holy shit, they’re in this too?”
Outside of that, I thought Olivia Wilde’s directing is what really gave Booksmart its fast-paced, youthful charm. Without giving much away, there’s a one-take shot during the climax of the film, as well as an underwater scene that looked absolutely fantastic. Not to mention, the soundtrack bumps and gives the movie the feel of a 2-hour music video.
Not to mention (X2), it’s REALLY fucking funny. One of the smartest comedies I’ve seen in a long time, which brings me to my next point…
I have a axe to grind with the masses right now. I did some research following my screening and I guess the studio took a gamble with this film to the tune of a widespread release and it’s getting absolutely HANDLED at the box office. And yeah, that fucking bothers me.
Everyone and their mother loves to complain how Hollywood lacks originality. Everyone loves to complain how everything released in theaters these days is either a sequel, prequel, spinoff, or reboot. Well you want to know why? Because any time Hollywood puts out anything with even the slightest sense of originality or genuine heart, NOBODY FUCKING SEES IT.
Point Blank: This movie deserves better. It’s arguably the best coming of age pure comedy since Superbad, and I would go as far as to say it’s a top 5 pure comedy of the last decade with The Other Guys, Bridesmaids, and both Jump Streets. Go see it for God’s sake…
Final Score: 9.3 Boats out of 10
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)