‘Single All The Way’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

We all know how tough the Holidays can be. Sometimes it is nice to be around friends and family. Or sometimes, you can feel pressured by the expectations they put on you. The new Netflix movie Single All The Way flips the typical ‘fake boyfriend’ trope and makes the matchmaking a family affair. Even though some family members pressure you about being single around the Holidays, they do mean well. And great things can happen because of their meddling. This entire cast worked so well together and their chemistry made you feel apart of the family.

There are two best friends named Nick (Michael Urie) and Peter (Philemon Chambers) who live in sunny LA. On this particular Christmas, Peter doesn’t want to go home single, again, after another failed relationship. So Peter convinces Nick to be his pretend boyfriend. We are all guilty of loving this trope, especially when it’s done well! This was the most fun I’ve had with a Holiday movie in a while. It’s also one that you can revisit every single year. Oh, and most importantly, Jennifer Coolidge steals the spotlight. No, seriously, her part as the fairy godmother in the Christmas pageant is top tier Coolidge.

Peter comes from such a big, loving family, who just want to see him happy. He has this extraordinary life in Los Angeles but misses the wholesome family feeling in New Hampshire. It breaks his heart knowing that his nephews are growing up so fast and he doesn’t have enough time with them. There is nothing like the Holidays to make you feel grateful for having your family and friends around you. That is exactly what Single All The Way offers audiences. They show this love through meddling in Peter’s fake relationship. When Peter’s mother sets him up on a blind date with a handsome ski instructor, he is whisked away into daydreaming about life in New Hampshire.

His best friend Nick, sorts through his own feelings, and worries that Peter might move away, after living together for nine years. It pulls at the heartstrings because of the relationship between Peter and Nick. The entire family sees a different connection than they do, so it makes for a very interesting love triangle over Christmas. Most importantly, the queer representation in this film was refreshing and it is a Holiday movie that was definitely needed for this community. It’s pure joy and happiness surrounding very cute gay best friends, who don’t realize what they have in front of them.

Happiest Season Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

‘Tis the season to get your onesies out, drink some hot chocolate, and settle around your nearest screen to watch some Christmas movies. Thankfully Clea DuVall made a Christmas romcom that has been long overdue for the LGBTQ community.

Happiest Season is the film that all lesbians have been waiting for. It’s lighthearted, funny and a well rounded romantic comedy. For once there is no sadness, no yearning and no heartbreaking ending. The title of the film says it all and it is such a beautiful movie. Not only does it speak to, and on behalf of, the LGBTQ community but it touches upon family issues that are universal.

The reason why this film is refreshing is because lesbian characters are at the forefront. Two women are in a romantic relationship and they are following all the conventions of a typical romantic comedy. It was just great to see a romantic story about two women in this setting. It is definitely a feel good movie and the speeches in the final act of the film will leave you sobbing until the end. The cast is perfect, everyone fit like a puzzle piece in telling this great story.

Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis were adorable together and their chemistry was great. It felt completely natural and that is the difference. Kristen Stewart was in her element, she was fun, playful and gave a very emotional performance as Abby. Davis gave a complex performance because of the duality of her character Harper. She lived one life with Abby and was another person when she returned home to her parents. What really resonated with me was the idea of perfection and how some families expect so much from their daughters.

I do have to mention the brilliant comedic timing from Dan Levy because it was just effortless. There would be such tense moments and then Levy would just swoop in and make you bust a gut laughing. He was the perfect choice to play Abby’s best friend. Stewart and Levy also bounced off each other, even through serious moments.

Normally, I don’t compare films in my reviews but out of all the lesbian romance dramas we’ve seen, this one definitely felt the most realistic than the others, mind you the other ones were really sad, so maybe that’s the difference? Thanks to Clea DuVall and Mary Holland, they wrote such a great screenplay and brought forth many important conversations.

Happiest Season is a great Christmas rom-com that will hold a special place in your heart and will definitely be added to your annual Holiday watch list. It is a film that explores individuality and acceptance through a lens that the LGBTQ community deserves. Please make sure to watch Happiest Season on Hulu November 25th and it will be available on iTunes November 26th!

Pictures Courtesy of E1 Entertainment

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review

The Rise of Skywalker is the “final” instalment of the Star Wars Saga. George Lucas created a strong story about light and dark, good vs evil and had family relations put to the test. The Skywalker Saga has always been about lineage and how those who came before you, influence your power with the force.

Lineage, especially the Skywalker name, has been the central force in this franchise. From Anakin, to Luke and Leia and now Ben Solo/Skywalker. It’s an important name, it’s a name that is known by everyone, even if you’ve never watched a Star Wars film in your life, you know their story.

This is the first Star Wars trilogy where I actually cared about the storyline, well one person’s storyline in particular, Kylo Ren. Being the son of a Solo and a Skywalker and still turning to the dark side, is a character arc that can be played with. I waited for the impact Ben Solo/Skywalker could make on the Skywalker legacy and I’m still waiting.

The first half of this film was visually stunning, had wonderful banter between Poe, Rey and Finn, was fast paced and perfectly choreographed. Everything I have grown to love about Star Wars was incorporated in the first half. Then towards the middle, when we find out about Rey’s past, the story became weak and the entire franchise seemed to waste away. The powerful lineage, the deaths that came before, the power of the Skywalker name, were wasted by the end of this film.

The nostalgia, banter and force ghosts/voices couldn’t save the story that I had been so interested in, since we first found out that Rey and Ben were linked. Then we heard the words “balance, the light and the dark” in The Last Jedi and that lead to the idea that Rey and Ben were that balance, since they were tethered together. It wasn’t hard to carry on what Rian Johnson delivered in TLJ, Abrams and Terrio just didn’t want to go that route and the back-peddling was evident.

4 decades worth of Skywalker’s and this is how the name will live on forever? I can’t seem to stomach it. Due to the impact of the lineage and who holds the Skywalker name at the end of this, just doesn’t sit well with me.

Last Christmas Review

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart and the very next day, you gave it away”

Emma Thompson pens an adapted screenplay from George Michael’s Last Christmas. She takes the song, dissects it and add a completely different meaning to it. If you listen to the song, it’s pretty evident how the story unfolds between Kate (Emilia Clarke) and Tom (Henry Golding) but the important thing is the lesson that is learned by the end of this film.

It’s a sweet film about a family of immigrants, from former Yugoslavia, who currently reside in London, England. Emma Thompson plays the eccentric and overbearing mother quite accurately and Emilia Clarke is the youngest daughter, who can’t get her life in order. Clarke and Thompson had such great energy and complimented each other. The family dysfunction mixed with the Christmas setting is always fitting because the pay off at the end is more meaningful.

The mystery that flows in and out of Kate’s life, is much like a ghost and Tom Webster is more than just a tall, handsome stranger.Whenever Kate is at her lowest or she feels defeated, Tom tends to show up and create some positivity in her life. Slowly, but surely, Tom mends Kate’s broken heart and helps her find her true calling.

The film may not make complete sense but the sentiment behind it is heartwarming. It shows us that we need to look deep within ourselves to rebuild our mind, body and soul. It takes time to mend our thoughts and feelings, but there is always enough time to do so. It also delivers a Christmas message, which should be used year round and that is, without even realizing it, in order to make ourselves happy we enjoy making others happy.

I also want to personally thank Emma Thompson and Paul Feig for using the best George Michael songs for the soundtrack. It’s such a lovely Christmas film and it made me feel warm inside. He definitely deserved a film like this.