Love, Simon (2018)


Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity. (IMDb)
I’ll leave judgment of the overall portrayal of being gay to non-hetero people (though it’s encouraging that the director is one), but to me it sure was refreshing to see the gay love story happy ending (even if it was a little cheesy), and I thought the complicated internal tension of Simon’s coming out process was captured really well (the proof was in my sobbing at the beautiful line “You can exhale now”). Robinson is excellent, and the underlying high school dramedy is perfectly quirky.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

13 Going on 30 (2004)


A girl makes a wish on her thirteenth birthday, and wakes up the next day as a thirty-year-old woman. (IMDb)
Garner and Ruffalo are both pretty adorable and genuine in their roles, which is in the end what keeps you engaged in what is only a so-so story: There are a few fun moments (see the Thriller dance) but any of the significant and/or meaningful plot points (see Matt’s speech on his wedding day; Jenna coming home to her parents) are kind of butchered by the dues ex machina–which still could have salvaged what had been built up if it hadn’t promptly and unrealistically jumped 17 years ahead again.
6/10 (Mediocre)

Juno (2007)


Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.  (IMDb)
For all of the film’s briefness, the characters have remarkable depth–the most surprising being the supporting Bateman and Garner’s cool but flaky Mark and uptight but sympathetic Vanessa. Their shaky marriage adds an intriguing layer of drama to the already witty yet genuine teen pregnancy/love storyline, featuring the awkward but gentle Cera and the offbeat quick-talking Page, and dressed with a quirky screenplay and an ever present soundtrack both cutely whimsical and sugary sweet.
8/10 (Great)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

Alexander’s day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. However, he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother and sister – who all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (IMDb)

Genuine and funny turns from Carrell and Garner lead this short and sweet family comedy with a refreshingly simple slapstick story that offers plenty of laugh out loud moments to go with a nice little heartwarming message about getting through tough times that’s rarely distasteful in its straight-forward delivery, although it is watered down a bit by the easy happy ending–but hey, it’s for the kids, and adults can still appreciate the authenticity of the “sometimes life is hard” aspect of it.


Draft Day (2014)

At the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams. (IMDb)
An insightful glimpse into the scouting and management of an NFL team leading up to “draft day”, with Costner and the rest of the charismatic men in suits driving forward a briskly paced screenplay spiced with split screen phone calls and unique NFL city title screens, and given depth by brief glimpses into the lives of potential draftees. GM Sonny’s irrelevant and unnecessary personal side plot is the only thing that mars this otherwise concise and engaging sports business drama.
6.5/10 (Alright)