TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE
Covering our bases with this recent release getting high-marks (93% | 7.1/10) from the usual gallery and as expected, it is a tough watch. After Harvard University was accused of actively discriminating against Asian-American applicants, the Hollywood community suddenly began embracing films catered to the Asia-American market (e.g. Crazy Rich Asians). And as with this film, the quality is certainly not deserving of the praise. Compared to any high school film by John Hughes, this is complete trash and deserving of the Netflix Original release.
The film is about an Asian girl without any discernible features who enters a completely non-sensical pact with the presumed Prom King to pretend-date in order to attract another identical looking future bachelorette contestant and of course, his being white was problematic for the intersectionality community. Having spent enough time together, they both, predictably, decide to forego their other options and just date each other for realz. The main character (Lana Condor) has a stereotypical free-spirited single best-friend who goes to EDM-shows and wears black Panama hats sold at her local Urban Outfitters.
The film adds nothing new to the old genre tropes of the inexplicable female high-schooler loser who ends up with her school’s top prize except this film has none of the creativity of former like-minded attempts and none of the quirky dialogue in John Hughes’ films.
I almost euthanized myself 45 minutes in, but decided to stick it out in hopes that at least the soundtrack retained its early quality (e.g. Wild Nothing, Blood Orange), which, of course it did not. Unless you’re a teenager or Joe Reid (“Netflix manages to come out with their best rom-com yet”), this film is going to be a complete waste of your time. Here are three rom-coms better from just this year. But don’t waste your time on them, either.
Go watch Pretty in Pink.
Go watch Edge of Seventeen.
Go watch Lady Bird.
Avoid this film.
Another gem of the high-school blend. Certainly not as boring as the film above, but equally incompetent from the standpoint of writing and perfect frat propaganda for move-in day. There was an actual moment in the film where one of the characters goes on a rant dropping a number of feminist buzzwords like gender equality, which signaled early that we’re dealing with immensely superficial writers. And yet the critics largely embraced the film, for obvious reasons like:
(1) It promotes the hook-up culture for girls — congratulating them (“a woman among girls”) for losing their virginity like boys congratulate themselves in the locker rooms after every “conquest.”
(2) It advocates for ending the so-called double-standard window that women shouldn’t demean themselves by being as promiscuous as boys and portraying parents, like John Cena, as traditional rubes stuck in the 1920s.
(3) Endorses the idea of coming out as gay in high-school (which the film above also had), which makes Love, Simon seem like an immensely competent and serious product.
Nothing about this film makes it any better than, say Neighbors but for this messaging that the critics continuously have to endorse with their inflated reviews — which begs the question why films averaging Ds are labeled as fresh on Rotten Tomatoes?
In the end, Brian & Jim Kehoe have proven very little as writers except their competence in making the next American Pie sequel. Justin Chang (L.A. Times) gets it right: “what derails Blockers in the end is a curious lack of imagination, an inability to think beyond the raunch-com genre’s most sentimental clichés.”
Others did not.
Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly) called the film “deep-down . . . pretty conservative,” which makes sense since The National Review has been publishing an awful lot of support for the lavishness of indiscriminate sex after a night of taking drugs from boys with ponytails whose last names you can’t recall or trying to test the waters of your heterosexuality by treating boys like lab rats. How about a new rule for Entertainment Weekly: anyone who uses “butt-chugging a 40-ounce beer” in the same breath as “hilarious new comedy” should be sent to cover cat shows instead of offering his opinions on teen comedies.
Just saying, kinda weird.