I have a tendency to romanticize my life a bit too much. My summers are no exception, so while I had the intentions of the summer of 2020 to look like something out of those painfully cheesy high school movies, I had to vicariously live up to those expectations through them. I made a spreadsheet accumulating all of the movies that I had watched and came to a total of 74. Not a lot but definitely a lot of time invested. Needless to say I went through some pretty bad movies *cough cough Spring Breakers* but some that subsequently became some of my favorites.
Mr. Roosevelt (2017)
Premis: Your typical struggling LA comedian goes home, when a family member becomes ill and faces her ex boyfriend and his obnoxiously perfect new girlfriend.
Take: I remember when I first finished this movie I immediately wanted to watch it again. The movie is so light hearted and comical yet has such a prominent message behind it. I feel like the main character was going through a lot of self revelations that I think as the viewer can find relatable, or at least in my case. Very coming of age type of movie, would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a movie that doesn’t gloss over some tough realities of life. Also, anything shot in film is cinematic perfection.
Frances Ha (2012)
Premis: Follows the story of a woman in New York who’s not really stable in anything. Doesn’t really have an apartment and is an apprentice in a dance company, even though she’s not a dancer. But she lives on the edge and follows her dreams
Take: This is the type of movie that I hope can score me some points with the cool looking film kids. Brace yourself for an incredibly cheesy comment — this movie is genuinely art. The cinematography and choice of black and white is stunning. Every single scene is eye catching combined with a main character that I feel a part of everyone wishes they could be. It reminds me of a photography book in the way that if you pause at any point in the movie it makes a perfect picture compositionally. It’s a bit slow paced but stick through it and watch how perfect the ending ties the whole movie together.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)
Premis: Jimmie and his best friend, Mont, venture into a journey trying to reclaim a house built by Jimmie’s grandfather.
Take: Hands down has one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard (please do yourself a favor and listen to this soundtrack, seriously). The film feels so incredibly personal, you get to experience a different perspective on San Francisco. Friendship plays a big theme as Jimmie and Mont’s friendship is questioned on multiple different occasions. Really highlights the capitalistic ways of property ownership. Cinematography is top notch from opening scene to closing shot. Perfection.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Premis: Two men and later, their sons have to face the consequences that their fathers made in the past
Take: I personally thoroughly enjoy movies that have multiple plots going on at the same time and somehow tie together at the end. Its like Crazy, Stupid, Love in the way that the endings tie together unexpectedly. Definitely a tearjerker and a lengthy movie but more than worth it at the end. I’ve seen a lot of movies in my life but I don’t think I know another movie where the title is so incredibly fitting — it sounds weird but trust me. This is the type of movie that you keep thinking about days after watching.
Premis: Goes through three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a black man growing up in Miami.
Take: Remember how back in the 2016 Oscars there was the infamous mixup where Warren Beatty read that La La Land had won the “best picture award” when it actually was Moonlight? Yeah… Being a La La Land enthusiast, this occasion really left me with a bad impression and led to me to never watch Moonlight. However, after hearing some discourse around the film I decided to finally watch it and I realized why it gave La La Land a run for its money. This film is incredibly emotionally striking with every performance being brilliantly delivered. In terms of cinematography, the color really plays an important premise during the first “stage” (and is my personal favorite segment of the movie) and really stood out to me. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie.
PS: Please take these commentaries lightly, there is a reason I am not majoring in film.
Xoxo, a political science major.