Double Feature: Lady Bird (2017) & A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish (2019)

DOUBLEFEATURE (76)

Welcome back to Double Features! Its been a crazy 2 months or so of festival season so double features has been tucked in the back. Its December so also time for the festive films to start. Slim pickings most of the time so this time, we’ll be having a little mix and mash of festive films, Marvel/Disney/Pixar last hurrah before they leave Netflix month in December. The first taste of Christmas films, A Cinderalla Story: Christmas Wish is paired with Lady Bird, a movie that I saw was expiring on Netflix this month as well.

Let’s check it out!

Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird

Director (and writer): Greta Gerwig

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedge, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lois Smith, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodrigues, Marielle Scott

In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California. – IMDB

I always wonder why I put off watching movies for so long because Lady Bird had been on Netflix for quite a while. Being a huge fan of Saoirse Ronan (and I have a few more of her films to catch up on), there’s something truly fun about this one. I love coming of age films especially with girls and then 2002 was also my graduating year in high school so all the things from posters to style to lingo all became very nostalgic especially with all the feelings of finding the path and future, romance and friends.

Lady Bird, as her character calls herself instead of her given name Christine, tackles all of these things with her somewhat of a drama queen personality and a determination to do whatever she can to get what she wants regardless of the consequences which she will deal with afterwards. She’s a bit of a reckless character without actually realizing that she is in many cases. In the struggle between trying to break free from Sacramento and get to the East coast much to her mother’s disagreement and always being inconsiderate on how much she dislikes her current situation whether the place or constantly thinking that her mother doesn’t like her, its a bit sad to watch this character try to find love and care. Saoirse Ronan takes on this role with so much charisma. There’s this over the top and bizarre sort of character that Lady Bird is that no one else understands who she is and she tries to act very confident about who she is and yet there’s this extremity to her and it starts right off the bat when an argument with her mother in the car results in her plunging out of the moving car. That sets the tone of this mother and daughter relationship right from that moment between these strong characters.

Lady Bird focuses primarily on the family dynamic of Christine and her family especially the mother and daughter relationship and the desire of breaking free from a place to pursue her dreams and wanting to be acknowledged that she can be more than she is and the acceptance and having someone to share those grand dreams. In the process of finding who are her true friends and what the value of love is in her mind (or how little it matters to others). There’s this greatness of how her character is presented that makes those genuine moments even easier to connect with. Everyone on this part of her last year of senior high sets her in the right direction to her future and finding the confidence to be herself and mending or expressing herself .

Lady Bird is a really great movie. All the pieces from performances to the time to the different experiences she goes through and the coming of age moment when she finally embraces who she is is a journey and one that is a mix of drama and comedy that connects really well.

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish (2019)

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish

Director (and co-writer): Michelle Johnston

Cast: Laura Marano, Gregg Sulkin, Isabella Gomez, Lilian Doucet-Hope, Johannah Newmarch, Chanelle Peloso, Barclay Hope, Garfield Wilson

Its really hard to believe that A Cinderella Story is a film franchise at this point with this latest film, A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish as its fifth film. While I completely am behind the first one original A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray which is a fun one to watch even now, and can relatively get into its second one with Selena Gomez. Skipped the third one mostly because it wasn’t available and I didn’t want to buy it and then watched the fourth one (review) which was very disappointing and now we get to this one…and I ask myself why I put myself through these things. I didn’t think it could get worse than the last one but it really is.

The performances are completely wooden. The story has nothing new to it and simply predictable. Even the whole evil stepmother and stepsisters were really uninspiring like it didn’t really matter to whoever made this one either. Not to mention, not much of it logically made sense even in how a girl becomes unidentifiable with a pink wig and pointy elf ears and an elf costume and not some kind of special makeup or anything.

Its really hard to get behind this one. I’m trying to find something good about it but I don’t know what to say. It is set during Christmas so the Christmas setting is nice, I guess. These just need to stop (and I don’t say this very often about the worst of franchises).  Maybe the pretty leads and some of their musical numbers (there is one that was okay) could appeal to someone maybe younger than myself. Sometimes, we just outgrow these things I guess.

That’s it for this double feature!
We kick off the Christmas month with a rather lacking movie but hey, its only going to go up from here (probably just jinxed myself). 

Have you seen any of these movies? Thoughts?

New Year’s Eve: A Long Way Down (2014)

I think I might have skipped this last year. I just might have…but I’m a little lazy to search for it now.  The holidays kind of murdered me a little but I’ve been thinking about watching a movie set around New Year’s Eve. I did watch one earlier this year called Jump that might have inspired this thought. You can check out that review HERE.   Its funny (well, not really) that New Year’s Eve inspires so many of these sorts of dramedy centred around suicide. While a lot of us are thinking about the new year bringing on new beginnings, some people just think its time to end it all before we let our failures continue on. I say this because Jump focuses on that sort of messed up night which starts in the same way and dramatically ends differently than this one does.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and check out the synopsis!

A Long Way Down (2014)

A Long Way Down

Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Rosamund Pike, Sam Neill

Four people meet on New Year’s Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another weather the difficulties of their lives.-IMDB

Dramedies are hard to master.  There has to be a balance.  Plus it has to embody the comedy and the dramatic style that works for the individual audience that its aiming for. I’m guessing its because of that IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes has such a huge difference in their scores. A Long Way Down may be a little cliche and could have worked harder to make you connect to the characters but the effort and message and heart that this story has is really great.  It doesn’t force you to feel anything.  You have to observe the characters and listen carefully to their dialogues and their reactions.  Maybe I think too much and read more between the lines than I’m supposed to but I watched this once and enjoyed it, then watched it a second time and got a little more out of it and turned it on a third time and realized that the message this one has is actually really good. Sometimes, wanting to watch a movie over and over again is not a bad thing and in this case, its because I wanted to get something more out of it, wondering if I missed something (because I do tend to multitask when I watch movies).

A Long Way Down

There’s a few things I truly love about A Long Way Down, which has me wanting to grab a copy of the book because I’m sure it outlines each of these characters even more thoroughly.  First, in setting up this movie, it gives time to showcase our four main characters here and their backstories to let us understand them a little more.  Whether you catch the reasoning of why they were on top of that tower is totally your experience but they do answer it in the end.  While showing them apart, it also takes time to build on their dynamic together and how their oddball relationship grows as they fulfill their pact of postponing their suicide attempt till Valentine’s Day. Second thing, I really like is the relationship between the characters Jess and JJ, played by Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul respectively.  They are almost completely different characters but they have a much deeper sorrow that weighs them down and they both live with it in a different way.  While it doesn’t make sense that they become incredibly affectionate and close with each other very quickly, I didn’t really mind because their chemistry worked for me.

A Long Way Down

The entire movie is pretty predictable but while Imogen Poots’ Jess is all sorts of unpredictable and crazy and desires attention. She really just has to feel desired and important but in the background, Aaron Paul’s character is the one we focus on.  He doesn’t talk much and many things happen but we soon realize that he is the one that is broken.  Something doesn’t add up for him.  We found him in the most casual on the roof at the start and he doesn’t really stick out during the movie but this leads to some of the best dialogues that he says throughout the whole movie. It gives the movie meaning and a look at what depression is, when there’s something that doesn’t quite work inside and there’s nothing that seems to help. While the other three all have reasons to be up on that roof at the beginning, we never really learn the reason of why he wants to be there until the very end. Maybe this is really spoiler-filled, but there are a lot of powerful scenes, a few bittersweet moments and a movie that holds some truth to what its trying to say, maybe because I’ve been implicated into a situation similar to this one that I can relate a little to it.

A Long Way Down

I’ve been going on and on about Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul but fact is Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette are the older views with a much more mature situation that has lead them to where they are.  I have to admit that I’m still trying to coming to terms with Pierce Brosnan in drama/comedy and not the action James Bond that I see him in. It get a little cheesy feelings sometimes but that isn’t saying that he doesn’t have a good character and he does a decent at delivering the person who kind of grows a lot in his views.  Toni Collette is the one that seems most unlikely to get back on the roof.  The older characters have concrete solutions to their problems and they just kind of need to open up and see things in a different light.  They have good back stories but they are the supporting to the young two who seem to be a little more lost.

A Long Way Down A Long Way Down

A Long Way Down is about finding hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.  It sends a message of the underlying depression that sometimes is the culprit to undefinable feelings. Its finding people that unexpectedly help you experience things that allow you to see things differently.  Its a journey of friendship, finding a second family who helped them find themselves or just see themselves a little more clear.  Its not a perfect dramedy that works hard at making how to feel obvious but its all about how much you can connect to these characters to fully enjoy A Long Way Down and since I was able to do that, I found this one rather meaningful and it pulled up some feelings that I have been tucking away for a while.  While it seems like it kicked up some bad feelings, this one does have a positive touch to it and its the ending of it that really brings meaning to what “a long way down” refers to.

Have you seen A Long Way Down? 

Have a great New Year’s Eve!!!
I’ll be back tomorrow with the New Year’s Special Weekly Adventures! 🙂