Booksmart (2019)

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On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night. (IMDb)
Feels a little contrived as it sets itself up but the payoff is well worth it: the oddball central duo have great chemistry (see their mutual flattering outside the party) and the rest of the diverse character ensemble all have their moments and even arcs (see Jared’s tear-jerking vulnerability). Good writing is made even better by stellar direction: Wilde’s theatrical flair (see the ceremony entrance) and excellent use of music perfectly capture the extreme drama and emotion of teen life.
8/10 (Great)

 

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

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In the 1970s and ’80s, National Lampoon’s success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Doug Kenney. (IMDb)
I guess it was just his personality, but the modern-Doug narrative device (his words, to the film’s credit) unfortunately tends to laugh off some of the more disturbing elements of his rise to fame (namely death, drugs, and sexism). Still, it’s one of a few fun bits that add some freshness to what is mostly a formulaic (though funny) biopic. Forte and Gleeson are great (with a shout-out to McHale’s on-point Chevy) and an effectively emotional final scene is a testament to their character work.
7/10 (Good)

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

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Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V. But he’s forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational, and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. (IMDb)
Amped-up animation featuring the fantastically imaginative foodimals (the accompanying puns were a delight as well) keeps this thing afloat in spite of the generic and painfully predictable plot (the left-hanging dad neglect thread probably would have been more interesting; the environmentalist sub-theme that came to a head in another wacky climax certainly was). The main characters lost a little of their luster, but Chester V was a pretty funny addition (see his super bendy arms).
6.5/10 (Alright)