Review: Booksmart

This is the time of year when people commemorate the closing of an era of academics and transition into a new phase of life. I’m talking about graduation, which happens to play a pivotal role in Booksmart, which happens to be the directorial debut of film and television actress Olivia Wilde.

This gist of Booksmart is relatively simple to follow: best friends Molly and Amy have worked hard to get into elite colleges and have assumed that their classmates spent too much time partying to get into college themselves, but the students who did party also were accepted into prestigious colleges, much to their surprise. The two decide that they don’t want their high school reputations to be all-work and no play, so on the night before they get their diplomas, they want to live a little and crash a popular guy’s party and they certainly get more than what they expected!

Word of mouth practically compelled me to check this movie out and I gotta say it’s worth it and so much more! Olivia Wilde and writers Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Katie Silberman have crafted a pulls-no-punches, colorful, energetic and hysterical film that sneaks up on you, delights you and doesn’t apologize for it! I was blown away by Booksmart!

The writing of this movie is so well-paced, mainstream, mature but comes from a pure place, and so vibrant that it just opens your eyes to a perspective of the world that you hardly see anymore and in ways it’s nostalgic because you may flash back to when you were graduating high school and who you were at that time and it’s effectiveness is practically effortless. This movie features an exemplary level of storytelling that just hooks you and takes you for a ride!

What rivals the storytelling of this movie? The direction. Olivia Wilde knocked it out of the park in her feature length debut! She took a very lively screenplay and brought it to stunning and technicolor splendor! This was funny, but at times it was suspenseful, shocking, heartbreaking, badass and altogether, beautifully well-done!

This cast was awesome! The leads, Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, were great, Billie Lourd, Jason Sudeikis, Skyler Gisondo, Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow, Jessica Williams, Michael Patrick O’Brien, Mason Gooding, Diana Silvers, Molly Gordon, Eduardo Franco, Nico Hiraga, Victoria Rusega, Austin Crute and Noah Galvin, round out an incredible cast of players.

The music, courtesy of Dan Nakamura, serves as a spirted and rhythmic backdrop to this picture. Jason McCormick’s cinematography was delightful and Jamie Gross’ editing was superbly done. Katie Byron’s production design was eye-popping, Rachel Ferrera’s set decoration was excellent, Erika Toth’s art direction vivid and catching and April Napier’s costume design was very fresh.

I firmly believe that Booksmart should be in the discussion as one of 2019’s best pictures so far! Whether you know what to expect in Booksmart or don’t, either way, you are in for an incredible treat that aims to excel and shatter every standard you can think of and passes with invigorating aplomb!

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The Book That is 2018-2019 Awards Season is Finally Closed!

The Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and, of course, the Academy Awards are finally history and upon reflection, they couldn’t have ended fast enough!

2018 was a very good year for films but Awards Season? I have no idea what some guilds and voting bodies were thinking! Some honors were rightfully deserved. Others? Mind-racking. Now that the dust is settled let’s examine what I think went right and what went wrong:

The Good:

  • Of course “the firsts”-As Hollywood celebrated the achievements in film from 2018, many notable accomplishments from Black Panther being the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture in any ceremony, to Spike Lee receiving his first crop of nominations including the Oscar nom for Best Director for BlacKkKlansman, Roma doing Netflix proud as an awards season darling, including being the first production from the streaming giant to be a Best Picture nominee, there is a lot of good to take in from this year’s class of elite films of the year!
  • Diversity-though women-directed movies fell short of recognition, women themselves made a splash when it came to great accomplishments in film. From Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler making historic wins at the Oscars, to Regina King and Olivia Colman winning their first Oscars for If Beale Street Could Talk and The Favourite. Diversity in the film industry may be making slow progress but the impact women are making in the film industry cannot be denied.
  • A faster pace?-Surprisingly, the Oscars without a host worked! Watching the ceremony on Sunday night, it felt faster, there was no filler, it was somewhat entertaining; I didn’t expect to like the fact that there was no Master of Ceremonies but I wound up enjoying the format of an Oscars without a host and I wouldn’t mind seeing them roll with no host going forward.

The Bad:

  • Some pictures didn’t get their due-All of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture went home with at least one win but to be honest, some of the nominees should have went home with more than one! Some pictures like A Star is Born should have been recognized for more than just Best Original Song and it would have been nice to see Roma, The Favourite or BlacKkKlansman go home with more than what they received.

The Unforgivable:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book-I have no idea what the hell Hollywood was thinking! I would not bestow accolades upon a movie as messy as Bohemian Rhapsody or as mediocre as Green Book. Period! When Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody won big at not only the Golden Globes but the Academy Awards, my respect for the entities known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plummeted from the sky!

That is a wrap on 2018 and it was just ugly to see how Hollywood honored the elite films of last year! I’m sorry but it’s true!