For our fifth release of movie reviews, we take a look at the story of childhood best friends whose lives come crashing down when Abbie is given a terminal cancer diagnosis, to Gus’ story, a guy who has is a brain injury that prevents him from making short-term memories, and finally to the Georgia state debate with Bennett and Lona as they compete together all the way to the state championship finals.
Irreplaceable You: Yeah, Too Soon
(Netflix. Director: Stephanie Laing. Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Michiel Huisman)
Geek god rate: mortal worthy (3 out of 5 stars)
Abbie and Sam have been best friends since childhood and are engaged to be married. However, their lives comes crashing down when Abbie is given a terminal cancer diagnosis. Faced with the prospect of an uncertain timeline, Abbie begins a search for a new love to take care of Sam. Along the way, Abbie makes unlikely friendships with three patients whose one thing in common is that they focus on living, while they are dying. Abbie dies at the end without living to her full potential, but manages to come to terms with her situation and those she is leaving behind.
There’s always a dash of sadness about movies with characters destined to die, and if we put it in a context of a love story, that would make the emotion more powerful, right? Yeah, Maybe.
But when you watched countless of movies about this theme, what could make another one, a new one, stand out? Right, the characters, and the script. Irreplaceable You tried but mostly failed to connect. But there is something raw about how they depicted this story about a dying girl. The attempts of this movie to veer away from the pitfalls of this genre worked in some ways, but not that quiet.
First, we really have a problem with the major characters, who from scene one to the end credits failed to connect with the audience. Second, the attempt of the movie to describe, in detail, the emotional process of someone who is dying seemed to be dragging, which at some point makes the story a bore.
Irreplaceable You attempts to impart an important message that was already delivered by countless movies of this genre. What else is new? Sadly, it failed to show just that.
Remember Sunday: Nothing was lost at all. They’re found
(Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions. Director: Jeff Bleckner. Cast: Zachary Levi. Alexis Bledel)
Geek god rate: mortal worthy (3 out of 5 stars)
Molly (Alexis Bledel) is a perpetually short-on-cash waitress who one day waits on an unusual customer: He carries thick scientific textbooks, he records his thoughts on a portable mini-recorder, and he seems just generally out of it. When she meets Gus (Zachary Levi), he’s sweet and charming, but also weird and preoccupied. What gives? Does he have another girlfriend or something? No. What Gus has is a brain injury that prevents him from making short-term memories. Each day he wakes up not knowing where he is, and he can no longer work as an astrophysicist. Though he can navigate daily life, he can’t connect with other people.
“Sometimes comets are thought to be lost and few come back into orbit and scientists find that nothing was lost at all. They’re found.”
This is another cheesy film and we were already laughed at Twitter for watching this one. True this is no Oscars or Call Me By Your Name type of film. After all a Hallmark movie, no offense. This might sound like a horrible version of 50 First Dates but in some ways Remember Sunday shines far more than it. In short, this is not a pushover movie.
Zachary Levi’s performance as Gus in this movie is just fantastic. The pure raw acting and its depth kept us hooked until the end. Molly’s character is also deeply interesting. Together their chemistry on this movie is great if not perfect. Also a shout out to Gus’s best friend Jerry who endured the former’s questions about being divorced from his wife every day.
There’s a bit of a timeline problem here, for example, Molly finds out sickness in the middle of the movie thru Gus’ sister then travels to LA then meets former fiancé of Gus who was just treated as a trivia. Then Molly learned that Gus will not be cured then severed ties with him then goes back to him (the last sequences were ok but needed a bit of clearing up).
The timeline will leave you somehow tired but at the same time, you didn’t want the movie to end, which is weird. Many dismiss this movie as mediocre at best but as the scientist in the space laboratory where Gus used to work said: you only need to look at the telescope and witness a miracle amid the darkness.
Candy Jar: That is why you have to vote AFF
(Netflix. Director: Ben Shelton. Cast: Sami Gayle. Jacob Latimore)
Geek god rate: sun god worthy (4 out of 5 stars)
An introverted high school girl from a working-class background (Sami Gayle) and her wealthy debate team nemesis (Jacob Latimore) can’t agree on anything, but when they’re forced to work together to compete in the state championship, they discover opposites can sometimes attract.
“What did we do it for? I mean, I don’t think we were ever really high schoolers. How many football games did you go to? How about parties? What about goofing off in class? Or passing stupid notes? Or laughing at a joke so hard you start crying? Is that high school to you? I don’t know. I was busy with homework, tests, and debate. If (homework, tests, and debate are) high school, how come you don’t have tons of friends? What if everything we went through will be the exact same in college?”
There’s this single scene that hit us on this movie. The lead girl, Lona, dons her prom dress, picked up by her mom, and walked from her house to meet her friends. But she continued walking, taking of her high-heel shoes, and proceeded to a movie theater to watch (not once but twice) a horrible French movie. Alone. “I have friends you know,” she claimed to her mom beforehand.
On that single scene, Candy Jar shows us the lonely world of achievers, standing alone on top, while using it as a prelude to asking the important question, the theme of the movie: what did we do it for?
We admit that its kind of disappointing that the writers somehow spin it off as a love story instead of focusing on what really is their message, eroding the realness of the movie. And also the conflict is quite expected, with their rival school in the debate finals being somewhat out of the ordinary. And they have to beat them.
But they failed. Sometimes you lose, they say. At the outside, the movie could look like just another garbage Netflix movie, full of cliches about high school and teen love story. But as we delve deeper into the story, we find ourselves watching our own story unfold.
The movie didn’t answer its question in an Indie-style way, full of deep sh*t and intellectual nothingness. But by capturing just a snapshot of the lives of two young school achievers, who are so determined to fulfill their ambitious plans to get into the colleges of their dreams, and make them ask the question of “what did we do it for?”, the movie did not just mirror back to us the reality of the lonely world of these school geeks but nudged them to think, to look back, and to ask themselves: what really is high school? what really is life? The debate starts now, and that is why, in some way, you have to vote AFF.