Double Feature: Always Be My Maybe (2019) & Dog Days (2018)

Valentine’s marathon is here! Well, at least some form of it! There will be TV Binges and some other double features lined up. However, its a much more casual deal this time around. Kicking off will be 2019’s Netflix romantic comedy release Always Be My Maybe and paired with 2018 romantic comedy Dog Days, because anything with dogs are going to be fun, right?

Let’s check it out!

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

always be my maybe

Director: Nahnatchka Khan

Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim

Everyone assumed Sasha and Marcus would wind up together except for Sasha and Marcus. Reconnecting after 15 years, the two start to wonder – maybe? – IMDB

Ali Wong is truly a fantastic comedian and while this is stepping out of the comedian path and into acting, Ali Wong and her co-star Randall Park both take part in penning the script for this romantic comedy. It probably is why the script itself has some very quirky elements that somehow all come together in a random way. Randomness can bring in spontaneity and its what makes this romantic comedy rather fun and unique. Sure, the story feels about the same if you strip down the storyline but because Ali Wong and Randall Park are quite decent comedians, they adds a little more humor to their roles and works in the rom-com world.

Its this randomness in the script that actually does end up being a fun romp. Just like adding in a random Keanu Reeves cameo that honestly was super funny and probably the best part of the movie as the whole exaggeration of how the upper class things are rather silly. The movie takes that effort to play both sides as 15 years later, the two characters Sasha and Marcus have changed from Sasha being a known chef and rich and Marcus still doing the same as before in a somewhat starving artist sort of deal. Its the contrast that also creates a few sparks.

Always Be My Maybe is a fun romantic comedy. Striping it down, the main story is rather predictable but its the little comedic elements of both Randall Park and Ali Wong that give this flick a lot of heart and laugh. Its a feel good movie and one that is rather unique. Plus, they do have a few other more comedic roles especially with Michelle Buteau who plays a supporting role here as Sasha’s friend who after watching The Circle US as the host definitely was nice to see her here.

Dog Days (2018)

dog days

Director: Ken Marino

Cast: Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Adam Pally, Eva Longoria, Rob Corddry, Tone Bell, Jon Bass, Michael Cassidy, Finn Wolfhard, Ron Cephas Jones

A group of interconnected people in Los Angeles are brought together by their lovely canine counterparts. – IMDB

Set up as movies like Love Actually with different people in Los Angeles connecting through their dogs, Dog Days is a decent offering. The stories involve some great casting that has to take on most of the fun elements of this film. Vanessa Hudgens plays a woman who finds an abandoned dog and through this ends up volunteering at the pet shelter and connects with the socially awkward owner who happens to have a crush for her. Nina Dobrev plays an uptight morning show host who ends up being paired with an ex-football player to lighten up the show and connects through their two dogs. While Eva Longoria’s character and her husband are adopting a new girl who isn’t connecting with them but does through a lost dog who happens to belong to the fourth character of a widower who loses his dog accidentally and a pizza delivery kid (Finn Wolfhard) helps him look for it.

All pretty normal stories but because the characters themselves are well-casted, it adds a little something to it. It has its fun moments and a lot of cute moments as expected when working with a bunch of dogs and then some pretty heartwarming moments as connections build and love sparks and the likes, as with most romantic comedies, right? Its nothing super special but it does still have that feel good element when the film ends and everything generally pans out.

That’s it for this double feature!
Our first Valentine’s double feature to kick off this year’s “marathon”!
I’m a bit not sure where this is going so I’m aiming for another 2 double features in this marathon with some other tidbits like TV binges and such. 

Netflix A-Z: Everything Before Us (2015)

I’m going to go on record right now to say that I’ve been looking forward to watch this since I first saw the trailer last year. Of course, things got busy and it kept slipping my mind to get this online to watch earlier but things always work out and it landed on Netflix! I’m not going to lie that this was part of the reason why Indie films was the theme for this round of A-Z. If you haven’t seen any videos of Wong Fu Productions, its probably because you haven’t been following me for that long. Or you just don’t care for it or you just missed the post. Whichever the reason is, I’m a huge fan of their short videos. My fave still goes out to this one that I did a post in my early days of blogging HERE.

Everything Before Us (2015)

Everything Before Us

Director: Wesley Chan & Philip Wang

Cast: Aaron Yoo, Brittany Ishibashi, Brandon Soo Hoo, Victoria Park, Randall Park, Ki Hong Lee, Chris Riedell, Joanna Sotomura, Katie Savoy

The Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI) documents all relationship activity. A ‘relationship score’ is given to keep people accountable for their choices. The score is public for all to see, and affects various aspects of daily life. Two couples, teenagers and early 30s, face different but intersecting challenges in their relationships within the rules of the DEI.-IMDB

 Everything Before Us takes an original take on love and relationships. Can you imagine if a Department of Emotional Integrity actually existed? Love wouldn’t be exactly love because now, an individual may force themselves to be happy in a relationship or stay in one to raise their score in order to keep a job or sustain a certain level of lifestyle. Its almost like the privileges of being a part of a club or being rich. Our relationships would affect our score and that score can affect getting a better job. Everything in a relationship and seeing a person is not about the person but they turn into a number. You can’t take risks and you are judged because of a number. The feelings would be overly calculated and maybe even coerced. Its on this foundation that we should start this review. Everything Before Us sets up a feasible system for us to view the parallel stories of a young couple about to experience a long distance relationship and a broken up couple that is reuniting to sort our their issues and ends up finding something more perhaps.

Everything Before Us

Everything Before Us may be an incredibly small film. Wong Fu Productions is kind of a big deal if you know about them. In my circle of friends, only a few do talk about their work. For me, I’ve been following them for a while so its amazing to see them make a film. They are really great at building meaningful and fun short films/snippets/scenarios and I’ve always wondered how it would turn out as a full feature. Everything Before Us is one that makes me want to see what they have planned in the future.

Like I said, its a small independent film and probably a lot of you haven’t heard of it before. But it does have some familiar faces. One of the more popular would be Aaron Yoo who has been in a lot of movies I adore like Disturbia and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. He does a fine job here as Ben. We follow his character for a lot of the movie as he suffers from the low EI score and has to figure all this out. Right next to him in  popularity would be Ki Hong Lee who has a smaller role as a teacher’s assistant is known recently for The Maze Runner movies. This role might a little empty as it felt slightly as a buffer role to just keep the story rolling. Also known to me was Brandon Soo Hoo who plays Seth, the boyfriend in the younger couple and I know him from Ender’s Game and the Netflix series From Dusk Till Dawn. I personally think Brandon Soo Hoo has some acting chops that needs to be refined over time but definitely the potential is there. And its obvious that he does a fine job here.

Everything Before Us

However, no romantic drama is about just one angle. Its how the couple do together. Brandon Soo Hoo’s Seth was opposite of Victoria Park’s Haley. Their young love is cute and fun but also deteriorates with lack of communication and distance and different goals. They took a risk bravely and never thought they would see their love end when they registered naively. However, they also demonstrate the true essence of how relationships should be. Its a chance and a risk. Its genuine and honest and its takes hard work to maintain. All of this is shown extremely well through the script and the characters themselves.

On the other hand, crossing their paths is the other couple who once used to be like them but not anymore and have moved on, Aaron Yoo’s Ben and Brittany Ishibashi’s Sara. The standout of this story goes to them. The story seems to focus on them a lot and maybe because they are closer to my age that I can relate more to where they are after separating and both trying hard to rebuild their lives and follow their own dreams and then having to face their past again. They have learned to control their feelings better and make better choices for the sake of their future in terms of their EI score but it is also an inner struggle for them. The way their relationship is shown is beautiful and bittersweet and filled with all sorts of memorable moments that tugs at our heartstrings a little.

Everything Before Us

In the end, nothing quite wraps up Everything Before Us like this quote in one of the last bits:

…you guys – try to make love easier. But you’re missing the whole point. It’s not supposed to be – – easy. It’s supposed to test you. Break you down and hurt like hell. And who you choose to go through that with – that’s whats really important.” -Ben (Aaron Yoo), Everything Before Us

Overall, Everything Before Us is a pretty great romantic drama bringing up a very good message on relationships and loved delivered with some charming characters that are real enough for us to relate to, whether its the younger couple jumping optimistically into a relationship or the adult couple healing and moving on from a relationship that meant a lot to them. While there are certain roles that felt slightly meaningless, there are other roles that help push the story forward in this meaningful and heartfelt story about two people, further enforcing that there is no risk management in the world of love and relationships.

Have you seen Everything Before Us?
Can you guess what movie is for F selection. Hint: Netflix Original Movie