Afterlife of the Party (2021)

Afterlife of the Party (2021)

Director: Stephen Herek

Cast: Victoria Justice, Midori Francis, Robyn Scott, Adam Garcia, Timothy Renouf, Gloria Garcia, Spencer Sutherland, Kiroshan Naidoo

A social butterfly who dies during her birthday week is given a second chance to right her wrongs on Earth. – IMDB

Afterlife of the Party is a supernatural comedy film. There’s a certain trajectory for these films which focus mostly on the person who has lost their life trying to redeem themselves. In this case, its about Cassie (Victoria Justice) who is stuck in the in-between with a deadline to resolve three issues with three people on her list: her dad, her mom and her best friend, as they all cope with her death as it approaches its one year anniversary, each with their own sets of skeletons in the closet. With the help of her “guardian angel” almost like an emotional support, she starts to figure out how to connect with the living and move forward through her observations to figure out how to help them and herself to move on before the window of opportunity to amend her ways passes.

The journey for Cassie is one that is expected but feels less heavy-handed and fairly natural in Victoria Justice’s portrayal of her growth as it shifts from her self-centred party girl living self to the after death version which slowly starts to face up to the hard things and making this journey about helping them than about herself moving on. In that sense, the story does hit some good heartwarming notes as she does connect and resolve those feelings bit by bit. Victoria Justice fits into this role incredibly well and a lot of what makes this film fun to watch is her dynamic along with her best friend’s Lily played by Midori Francis. Midori Francis did a great job when she was leading the Netflix series Dash & Lily and it carries forward here although an older but still more closed character. However, the contrast of these two characters does keep them relatively grounded especially as Cassie tries to pull together Lisa and her little crush with the neighbor Max (Timothy Renouf). Those moments are definitely the more comedic moments. Much like the “guardian angel” role, Val played by Robyn Scott which is absolutely charming and fun to have around, it gives the film an overall fun vibe.

On the other hand, Cassie’s face-up to her dad (Adam Garcia) and her mom (Gloria Garcia) individually brings up a whole other element. The mom bits actually don’t pull the heartstrings as much as the connection she has with her sister, which ends up being a nice little surprise. While her relationship with her father which gets a good idea of where they stand from the beginning of the film actually rounds it up in a fairly heartwarming manner.

Overall, Afterlife of the Party is a pretty simple premise and relatively formulaic. However, it does feel better executed as its more natural trajectory and the characters are more appealing to watch. As much as Cassie feels like she isn’t great in the first impressions, she still has moments that do redeem herself throughout which feels well-transitioned and comfortable to watch. Plus, the cast all around is fun overall and does a decent job which makes this film a pretty entertaining.

The First Time (2012)

The past week or so, I’m been in kind of a rut.  Why? I guess it primarily comes from stress but its also the fact that I’m highly competitive and I haven’t really had much inspiration for this Nanowrimo so everyday passes by and I write like 300 words on the bus and stop.  Its hard to write a romance and be stressed at the same time.  I usually don’t go seeking out anything romantic but I figured what better time to watch a teen movie, my mind thinks about Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and how that was quite quirky and cute. Still, it seems recently, I always dive back into older movies for this sort of fun, cute teen romance thing but The First Time has caught my eye since it hit Netflix so I decided to check that out.

the first timeDirector & writer: Jonathan Kasdan

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Britt Robertson, Craig Roberts, James Frecheville, Victoria Justice, Lamarcus Tinker, Joshua Malina, Christine Taylor, Maggie Elizabeth Jones

Aubrey (Britt Robertson) and Dave (Dylan O’Brien) meet under awkward circumstances outside of a crazy party that they were both dragged two for different reasons.  As they sat down to know each other, they feel more and more attracted to each other. However, Dave is pining over this beautiful girl Jane (Victoria Justice) who only treats him like a good friend that she can talk to about everything and Aubrey is dating Ronny (James Frecheville) an older emo sort of rock band guy. As their feelings take a hold over them, they experience an eventful weekend together.

the first time

This is how they started: meeting in an back alley of a party when she startles him as he’s trying to figure out how to tell the girl of his dreams how he feels.  The First Time is sweet, cute and so magnetic to watch.  Its been a few days that I’ve seen it and I can’t get it out of my mind.  In a certain way, its real but not sure how high school real it is.  Love is something that changes to everyone so this sort of movie probably won’t appeal to everyone especially if your romantic experiences are different.  For me, high school felt like how the character Dave was: unrequited love. His was a girl of course while I had this guy that wasn’t all that great (now I know) but we were good friends but essentially it was unrequited love.

the first time

At the same time, I could relate to Aubrey because man, was it scary to think about stepping into the world and really have enough of this high school thing, even if I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do.  Although it didn’t happen in high school but man, what the hell is love was what I thought back then also, up to college, even after having short relationships and lets not even talk about elusive “the first time.” But thats what makes this movie fantastic because regardless if it all happened over a weekend and whether it was in high school, the time frame doesn’t matter.  Its about the feelings this movie invokes making it feel real.

the first time

Although, there’s this subtle awkwardness that shows up between them, which is normal when you meet this guy randomly for such a short time, Aubrey and Dave, portrayed by Britt Robertson and Dylan O’Brien, have this amazing chemistry.  Teen romances are simple and that gives this extra points because thats what being in high school should be.  Thats what makes it great also.  Nothing in the romance has to be overly complicated especially in chance meetings like this, where emotions take the best of you.  I’m going off on a tangent but thats really to support why I think chemistry is the most important in these sort of movies.  Man, do they pull it off? When the movie ended, and perfectly where it should in my opinion, I actually connected with Dave and Aubrey so much that I wanted to know whats next. I was kind of all touched and getting misty by the last few parts when they were talking about meeting that right person and all that.

the first time

There’s so much to love about The First Time: the great chemistry, the cheesy moments (because you know they have it), the awkwardness, taking chances, being young and in love, being passionate.  Just a mountain of that surge of emotions that there is.  Its smart, cute, sweet and the connection is so real and so honest.  The characters are lovable.  Its done with so much awesomeness and I totally hope that you give this a chance. There’s going be cliches, but you know what, Britt Robertson and Dylan O’Brien will make you fall in love right along with them (at least I know I did).

Have you seen The First Time?

A Little Christmas Medley…

Music is my source to make me happy.  This week has been a tough one and it ended particularly hard.

This morning, I saw this video from some Youtube independent artists.  Both Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider I follow for the past two years or so and they put out beautiful covers.  Recently this year, Kurt collaborated with Victoria Justice (she starred in recent Halloween flick Fun Size) and Max Schneider to make fun medleys.  They have done two before.  One was for Bruno Mars Medley and the second one is Maroon 5 medley. Both are really fun.

This one is their newest addition called Holiday Medley.  Its pretty awesome! I love it a lot and it makes me extremely happy to hear it!

Hopefully, this will put a smile on your face! Enjoy!