Archives for posts with tag: Woody Harrelson

As this new teen flick opens, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is rushing through the high school halls, reflecting emotions racing from hitting “send.” Life couldn’t get any worse after she accidentally texts desires to her crush. Both that and the exchange between Nadine and her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) drew me to “The Edge of Seventeen.” It made me wonder what it would be like if texting was around during my high school years. The “what if” scenarios my best friend and I talked about made us glad we missed a slip-up such as Nadine’s. Of course, we also had the tradition of passing paper notes, hoping not to get caught by the teacher. But that almost happened when my best friend tried to pass me a note, asking what was going on between me and a certain guy. That was only part of what she wrote. She had to quickly crumple it up to avoid the embarrassment of a teacher seeing it, reading it to everyone and revealing a secret to the entire class…my crush included. So, despite the difference in communication, Nadine’s dilemma was already very relatable to us.

The facial expressions and body language Nadine shows as she relays her troubles to Mr. Bruner are that of absolute teen mortification. All I could think during this scene was, If my best friend had been caught, what would I do? I only know that I’d be rushing out of school. Or wishing I could do so, since it wasn’t local to my town and I didn’t yet have my license to drive off and escape from my own Nadine moment. It was all too close to happening.

Then, Nadine backtracks through a long line of misfit moments and family tragedy, which makes her feel as though nothing goes right. At least not in her life or from her perspective. It doesn’t help that Darian (Blake Jenner) is her win-at-life brother. In sarcastic, attitude-filled narrating, Steinfeld captures the tormented experience of teen life.

Yet there are easy-going moments, such as when Nadine and Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) are talking about boys as they hang out at school. What Nadine says reveals that she’s got a thing for a bad boy, Nick (Alexander Calvert). Not only could I relate to that, but also to the chit chat about imagining that first time. It reminded me of girl talk between my best friend and I during many high school sleepovers.

Tension mounts between the onscreen best friends because Krista ends up with Darian; it’s just another way in which he wins at life. Nobody could understand how she felt, why it added to her isolation. Then again, she did encounter an awkward moment that shocked her, along with that aggravating sense of Darian getting what he wants as usual. If she had experienced some wins here and there, the budding relationship between her best friend and popular brother wouldn’t have been so troublesome. It just wasn’t as easy for her. Nadine herself longed for a certain guy, although he seemed out of reach and in his own circle of friends. So, unless something happens with him, it counts as another loss for her in life. A partygoer inadvertently rubs it in Nadine’s face how she and her brother differ in image, referencing a comedy movie that she happened to enjoy. The meaning and its parallel to herself and Darian is all too glaring. I figured, Well, I guess that’s no longer one of her favorite flicks!

Despite her feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood, Nadine has another person who seems like an escape from drama. The torment is gone as she spends time with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a classmate with artistic talents. He’s witty, hilarious and even adorable, in the way that his feelings show for Nadine. As an overall good guy, he likes her and seemingly has no chance because she is blinded by feelings for bad boy Nick. It’s that circle of high school crushes and reminded me of when someone liked me, while my good-girl heart was bursting over another guy. I just couldn’t help but fall for his smoldering eyes, up-to-no-good grin and wild antics.

The issues Nadine has with her brother and best friend dating lands her time in the office where her mom (Kyra Sedgwick) works. As the angst-filled teen acts defiantly and goes berserk with a hole puncher, she brought to mind the image of Bender, in “The Breakfast Club,” as he just keeps pushing for more saturdays under the principal’s watch. For that matter, Nadine speeding off in her mom’s car was similar to Bender leading his detention friends as they sneak through the school. Much like running into their own problem along the way, Nadine races headlong into yet another personal drama…that humiliating text message to her crush. To think that she tried to change her mind, only to have the worst thing happen! Nadine understandably freaks out. This is yet another moment in which Steinfeld perfectly displays the emotion of such an embarrassing moment of feelings for a teen crush. It’s in her verbalized disbelief and angered physical reactions, banging on the playground slide. I could feel that she just wanted to tear her hair out, wishing she was able take back the racy message to Nick, never to be seen.

In misery and hanging out alone, she gets the most unexpected reply and it’s her crush. All too excited to take it any other way than something finally going right, Nadine is readying for date night. As her mom arrives home, my mind was racing with, Hurry up, Nadine…or you’ll never get out of the house! Let this work out for her!

I couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous for Nadine as she meets up with Nick, following their back-and-forth texts. He even came across as sweet as they rode through town. It stirred me that way as I thought about my own high school crush and how I would’ve felt going for a drive with him. Not only that, but in school he gave me, the shy type, subtle and maybe innocent flirty attention. Back then, I’d get a rush from thinking, Oh, my…he likes me…maybe…I couldn’t possibly be his type…how could he…but? How do I know for sure? It was an ongoing mystery, which I kind of loved to ponder. Luckily, there was never anything racy falling into his hands that sparked wilder situations. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted something to happen just because a guy thinks it’s a sure thing with me. I’d want a guy, especially the high school guy of my dreams, to really feel the same way that I felt for him if things had gone further. In Nadine’s case, what with her bad luck, there is the element of the guy noticing her totally out of the blue because of what she texted. She didn’t interpret his reply that way and hopes for romance, while he is one-track-minded in a bad way.

After what happened, I thought, I was hoping he wouldn’t turn out to be a jerk! If things had turned out that way with my crush, it would’ve been total heartbreak. Watching the outcome of that scene, I could still feel what Nadine felt, as though I’d gone through the same exact ordeal. It brought to mind how I also wished for alone time with my crush. As Nadine hurt, I wondered, What would’ve happened? Would it have turned out different, with a budding romance? Or would it be a similar situation? It seemed like a cinematic message for teen girls to not fall for the bad boy type. Even with that rep, though, they can’t all be the way Nick was in how they treat a girl. Right? I fell for a guy in high school who I guess many would say had a bad boy image. Yet, I never had a moment in which my heart felt broken to the point of seeing him as a creep in the end. There were times when I thought he was helpful and sweet, making my heart melt. Unfortunately, I never dated him, always too nervous and shy to make an approach and tell him how I felt. Earlier in the movie, as Nadine tried to talk to her crush in Petland, I could relate to that barrier of awkwardness she showed in her steps toward the guy. But there was a determination, as well, to at least say something. So, I rooted for her in that moment.

Fast-forward to the film festival, Erwin’s sense of humor continued to show in his entry for the event. Between what Nadine read into it and the good guy’s response, my heart sank once more for her…Oh, no! My eyes teared up in the closing scenes after everything that the tormented teen had been through, followed by a new day and new possibilities.

Congrats to Steinfeld on her nominations for “The Edge of Seventeen” this award season!

A movie about individual tricksters, brought together and carrying out heists, “Now You See Me” had a lot of great elements. Among those that drew me into the story, as the on-screen audiences were drawn into magic acts, the movie included some of my favorite stars. They take you through a story mixed with mystery, suspense, action, humor and a bit of romance. The special effects were impressive as elaborate shows were performed for fans of magic.

Early on in the movie, Henley’s (Isla Fisher) tank trick freaked me out shortly after she began to pound on the glass. I read something in an article about that scene and after knowing what was stated in it, I’d see what happened differently. Any move made by Fisher in that moment, it would simply appear as a way for her character to really convince the on-screen audience of the stunt’s authenticity. And to scare them into believing any danger.

J Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) also have scenes that introduce their magic talents into the story. Like Henley, they each obtain particular playing cards and are gathered together with Merritt (Woody Harrelson) for the first time. Inside an apartment, they seem bewildered at a magic trick message left for them, which made for a cool transition into the movie title.

Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), who investigates the magicians collectively known as The Four Horsemen, is very skeptical of them. He meets with a man named Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) for assistance in learning how the popular tricksters put on a show with more going on behind scenes. An “A-ha!” moment, but in real-life, it creates a sense of wanting to be extra careful with simply passing others on a street or how much a person can reveal. It was another element that made this movie very interesting, with lessons of caution. Rhodes, although tough and grounded as he questions J Daniel, is floored by the sharp-tongued magician when he least expects it.

The scene of bank totals, between an audience and Kressler (Michael Caine) was another instance that reminded me of real-life issues. In this case, it was in regard to differences between the average working-class people and how a rich CEO could impact their lives.

On a lighter note, one humorous moment for me was when Evans (Common) turned out to be not quite himself. I wondered, when did he fall prey to any magic tricks? It happened out of nowhere. But I think it worked as a means of distraction that The Four Horsemen used to gain every minute possible for their getaway.

In the apartment, a fight between Jack and Rhodes was pretty impressive, in part because of the young magician’s quick moves. I couldn’t help but cringe over the one FBI agent and his predicament. Then there is the following car chase; I felt disappointed about the outcome, yet was wondering if it was a trick. But how? That’s what I loved about the storyline; it kept me guessing and had clever reveals. To top it off, I just saw the trailer for “Now You See Me 2” on IMDb; can’t wait for this sequel!