Everything, Everything By the Books

There’s probably spoilers down below. Don’t take any chances.

Another late review, I know–make sure you check this out if you were planning on renting this one from the local Redbox (the DVD hits stores on August 17th).

I love cliches; so much so, in fact, that I am practically a walking cliche. However, Everything, Everything really takes the cake in this competition.

Book-to-movie adaptations typically have a very fine line between artistic changes from the pages and complete overhaul of story lines–the film in question, albeit, took absolutely no risks. I dig a good adaptation, don’t get me wrong–I read this novel before the film hit theaters, and to be honest, that may be why I don’t have the best things to say.

Everything, Everything–both the film and the novel– was marketed towards fans of John Green’s latest novel/film adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars, and justifiably so. Both stories have similar plots: boy meets girl, girl is sick, death scare, break-up, rekindling of romance, plot twist, the end. The true differences only lie in two places, being Augustus Waters’s death and the fact that Maddy isn’t actually sick. Called a ‘do-not-miss’ for John Green readers, the book gained incredible amounts of attention, spending over eight months on the New York Times Bestsellers List. While fans will find the nostalgia within the film itself entertaining, the rest of the movie is really a bust in terms of originality, and here’s why.

While the romance is the blockbuster issue within the film, the internal plot of “I’m sick and I can’t go outside otherwise I will die” remarkably resembles that of the 2001 B-movie Bubble Boy, a movie about a boy who goes outside to chase after the girl he loves when he realizes she is getting married. In fact…these films are exactly the same in their dynamic, and while Bubble Boy was not impressive in its acting, it was praised for its originality on the silver screen. Everything, Everything is wrong in the newer ‘adaptation’, simply because the storyline truly had nowhere to go. Why? The book had no more pages, and the screenwriter clearly wasn’t going to create their own.

After reading the novel, I had decently high expectations for the screenplay–there are several buried plotlines throughout the story that I believe should have seen the light of day, including her father’s past and the reasoning as to why she writes spoiler book reviews. The “could have” moments I have chosen aside, the far-too-direct book adaptation was boring for those who have read the novel, and predictable even for those who hadn’t. While sitting in the theater, murmurs were heard, such as “Her mom lied, didn’t she?” or “She isn’t even sick.”, and this was before the ‘big reveal’ was even mentioned. I’m sure that somewhere in the world, someone was shocked, but that person was not me, or anyone else at the 4:30 showing on that particular Saturday in The Village at Meridian.

There are many factors as to why I believed the film was such a flop; maybe there wasn’t enough notable romance quotes, or perhaps my expectations were too high before entering the theater, but I believe that while Everything, Everything was certainly by the books, it will not be one for the books.

Grade: C+

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A Night Under the (Hollywood) Stars

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. (Just so you know.)

Don’t get me wrong; I know that I am about eight hundred months late to the La La Land party, and for that, I apologize. However, after watching the movie three times over the course of six days, I believe I am fully prepared to give you a thorough review on everything from character to costuming. *insert entrance music here*

Before I even go straight into the factors that made the movie great, I want to give a brief synopsis:

  1. Aspiring actress goes to several auditions, inevitably fails.
  2. Aspiring jazz musician plays jazz music in a club where Christmas (??) music is the only type of music that is allowed, is promptly fired.
  3. Actress and musician meet in traffic, actress flips off musician, beginning of love story.
  4. Lots of other plot lines happen, and by the end, actress has a successful audition and jazz musician opens a jazz club.

Let’s be honest: historically, movie musicals are well-hyped on social media but fail about 77% of the time when they hit mainstream theaters (made-up statistic, real-life results). Take, for example, Jem and the Holograms, the most recent flop. The film had such a horrid crash landing, in fact, that it was pulled from the public only one month after its initial release date. This nickel of a nostalgic “masterpiece” is a prime example of reasoning to NOT release a movie musical in this day in age. However, following in the footsteps of Rent, Chicago, and The Sound of Music, director Damien Chazelle takes a risk and hits the ground running.

Despite the failure of its predecessors, La La Land became, unarguably, the most successful film of the 2017 awards season, breaking the previously held Golden Globes record and meeting the record for most Academy Awards for a single film. Chazelle can credit these wins to an incredible score and a ridiculously likable cast–especially in the interviews. With chemistry (even friendly) on screen and off, we all knew even before the premiere that La La Land was going to be a film to watch out for. We were right. (Also, ICYMI, here’s the best interview, because Vanity Fair always does it right: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/09/la-la-land-ryan-gosling-emma-stone-damien-chazelle-interview).

The most redeeming factor of the entire film, however, is the remarkable ending. Sorry, you hopeless romantics out there–the leads do not live happily ever after, the end. In fact, our lovely aspiring-now-famous actress is married and has a child with another man, and only ever lays eyes upon our jazz club owner once she accidentally steps foot in his club, where a montage of their relationship plays with a smooth jazz score riding through the background. They smile at each other, and then the credits roll. Incredible.

Long story short, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling will steal your hearts, stomp on them, and the tears left over will ruin the makeup that you paid good money for. Even knowing this from experience, I still highly recommend a watch. Seriously.

Grade: A