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

Valentine’s Day Watchlist

By: Amanda Guarragi


Happy Valentine’s Day to my fellow Lovers out there. Today is a day to spread love, joy, kindness and most importantly POSITIVITY. Valentine’s Day is no longer just for intimate relationships, it’s for everyone in your life that shows you how much they love you, every single day. It’s also a day to take care of yourself and treat yourself because self love is also important.

The best thing about Valentine’s Day isn’t even today, it’s the day after because all the chocolates are half off ūüėČ

In all seriousness, today is a day to spread love and the love language I speak is expressed through my love of films. So, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite romantic films, for whatever mood you’re in today.

If You Want To Laugh…

  1. Just Friends

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    If you haven’t seen¬†Just Friends,¬†then you have missed out on one of Ryan Reynolds’ best performances. This is one of the most underrated romantic comedies and I don’t know how it’s not on more watchlist’s. It has Ryan Reynolds being incredibly sassy, Anna Faris being whacky and a high school romance for the ages.
    **It also has one of the best opening scenes, EVER.**

  2. The Proposal

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    When¬†The Proposal¬†came out 11 years ago (damn, already?) it was on everyone’s radar. It was one of the highest grossing romantic comedies of 2009 and brought us the dynamic duo of Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds. It’s the classic tale of pretending to be in love with the other person for some personal gain. In this case, it went a bit too far, and by far, I mean a whole trip to Alaska. Their chemistry was undeniable and it’s definitely one of the reasons everyone loves this film. Also, Betty White is the best in this film and her connection with Reynolds was amazing.¬†

  3. Deadpool

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    Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Deadpool¬†is an R rated, comic book film, with plenty of violence and gore BUT many people forget that it all started with Wade and Vanessa’s love story.¬†Deadpool¬†is definitely a romantic, action comedy and it has become a tradition of mine to watch it at midnight.¬†

    *I’m pretty much saying to have a Ryan Reynolds marathon….*


     

  4. When Harry Met Sally

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    When Harry Met Sally is the ONE film I will always recommend when someone needs a pick me up. Nora Ephron wrote fantastic screenplay about multiple relationships and how they can change over time. Then Rob Reiner’s vision brought it to life, when he called up Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan to play Harry Burns and Sally Albright. The lovely Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby are in this as well, they both bring so much to the table. The cast is great, the structure is different and the Reiner/Ephron dynamic has solidified this as the best romantic comedy of all time.¬†



    If You Want Teen Drama…¬†

  5. Sixteen Candles

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    Our “Eighties Queen” Molly Ringwald definitely set the bar high for romantic teen dramas.¬†Pretty in Pink is also a great one but nothing beats a classic like Sixteen Candles. No one will ever forget the moment Samantha walks out of the church on her sister’s wedding day and sees her crush Jake Ryan, leaning against his car, just staring at her. Your heart will definitely flutter and deem Jake Ryan as the official romcom high school hottie.¬†


     

  6. A Cinderella Story 

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    A Cinderella Story¬†had EVERYTHING. We had Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray at their peak. We had the wonderful Regina King as a “fairy godmother” and Jennifer Coolidge as the evil, botched step mother. It’s one of the best because it shows that just because you’re “stuck” with certain family members, it doesn’t mean that you deserve that treatment from them. Family can also be the friendships you keep and they are more important than you think.¬†

  7. Some Kind Of Wonderful 

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    Some Kind of Wonderful¬†ended up on my radar because of another romantic comedy (which will also be on this list), called He’s Just Not That Into You. When I watched this for the first time, I felt the pain Watts went through. If you were always treated as a second option or kept on a shelf whenever someone needed you, then you will definitely see yourself as Watts. There will always be a popular girl like Amanda Jones but never fret, being Watts is just as awesome. It’s your typical teen drama and that’s why I love it so much.¬†


  8. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before¬†

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before¬†is by far one of the cutest, modern day teen romantic comedies. It definitely pays homage to the classics I’ve mentioned above and puts a spotlight on an Asian American teen, who writes love letters for her crushes. It’s definitely an old fashioned mentality but it’s still refreshing to see that being done in this generation. Somehow, Peter Kavinsky became everyone’s boyfriend and Noah Centineo is definitely riding this wave, BUT he’s no Jake Ryan.¬†


If You Want To Sob Uncontrollably…¬†

9. The Notebook 

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The Notebook¬†is the most heartbreaking romance film EVER. Noah and Allie’s love story is so pure and their ending will make you cry for hours. I watched The Notebook¬†for the first time, when my grandmother was suffering from Alzheimer’s and I had no idea that the ending of this film, would have affected me this deeply. I’ve only watched it once because I couldn’t bring myself to go through that again. It’s undeniable that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams had beautiful chemistry, they made us believe in true love.¬†


10. Call Me By Your Name
 
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Call Me By Your Name¬†absolutely destroyed me. It’s starts off as this beautiful summer romance in Italy. You could feel the lust, infatuation and the natural pull between Elio and Oliver. It was sensual, seductive, romantic and then heartbreaking. When you’re a teenager, every feeling is amplified and that’s why it’s so incredibly hard to express any feelings. Timoth√©e Chalamet is fantastic in this and the last half hour of this film, will leave you in shambles. The final shot will stay with you for a very long time.¬†


11. Portrait of a Lady on Fire 

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire¬†is a beautifully shot piece about an artist and her muse. This French Foreign Language Film also explores the relationships of women and the many ways love can be perceived. There are such soft, tender moments between H√©lo√Įse and Marianne, their chemistry was beautiful and it made me want to see them together in every scene.¬†


12. Her 

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Her¬†is written and directed by Spike Jonze. It’s such a fantastic concept about how this generation is dependant on technology. The general form of dating is now through our phones and Jonze takes that to another level. This is also one of my favourite Joaquin Phoenix performances because of how vulnerable he is as Theodore Twombly. It goes through the motions of lost love, forgiveness and the concept of identity.¬†


If You Want That Warm Fuzzy Feeling…¬†

13. 13 Going on 30 

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13 Going on 30¬†has Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo being adorable during the entire film. It also shows what happens when you become an adult… some people lose their inner child and others try to hold onto it as long as they can. This film also has Andy Serkis like we’ve never seen him before and the always lovely Judy Greer. It also has one of the best dance numbers ever!¬†


14. How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days 

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How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days had another dynamic duo, which made this romantic comedy legendary. Not only was the concept a whole lot of fun, this movie wouldn’t have been the same without Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. The film is hilarious and will leave you feeling so full after watching it.¬†


15. Crazy Rich Asians

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Crazy Rich Asians¬†brought back the major studio romantic comedy and it broke records at the box office. It also introduced the world to the lovely Gemma Chan and the dapper Henry Golding. It’s a lovely film about the meaning of family, true love and the power of a connection, no matter where you’re from.¬†


If You’re in a Bad Mood…¬†

16. He’s Just Not That Into You¬†

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He’s Just Not That Into You¬†has an incredible cast and it also shows you multiple scenarios, about how people treat each other in relationships/dating. It’s brutally honest and anyone who says they don’t overthink about situations, are definitely lying to themselves. The storyline is very intricate and if you don’t pay attention, you could lose track of who is connected to who. It’s a film that anyone can relate to, especially when you’re feeling down.¬†


17. Gone Girl 

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If you want to release yourself from the VDay woes, then my advice to you, is to watch¬†Gone Girl.¬†You’ll forget about whatever has you troubled and your focus will be on the mystery of Amy Dunne. It’s a film that will leave you feeling a certain way, I can’t even describe it, you’ll somehow feel stronger and free.¬†


If You’re in a Spicy Mood…

18. Magic Mike XXL 

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Magic Mike XXL¬†is a FANTASTIC sequel. It’s a road trip movie mixed with stripping. The dance routines are choreographed so well and the cast brings it! The film honestly has something for everyone, so grab those singles and enjoy a film that is BIGGER and BETTER than it’s predecessor.¬†


19. Fifty Shades Darker 

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Yes, the Fifty Shades trilogy is filled with sensual moments but everyone knows the best scenes are in Fifty Shades Darker. The book was also the best in the trilogy, so naturally the adaptation would do it justice. 


These films have gotten me through so many tough moments in my life and have been a staple around Valentine’s Day. So if you’re feeling any type of way today, I wanted to share the films that spoke to me and I hope they speak to you as well.

Sending all the love and positivity out there today! 

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Review

Dear Reader,

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is a wonderful teen romance, that will leave you wanting another sequel. In this story, we have Lara Jean finally going on her first date with her jock boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky. The first half of this film is filled with romantic gestures, cute dates and a blast from the past. Everything was going swimmingly in Lara Jean’s new relationship, until she received a response to her love letter from John Ambrose McClaren.

Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s relationship is definitely put to the test when John Ambrose starts working with LJ at the retirement home. A few missteps by the jock Kavinsky and some insecurities from LJ, land her in a questionable position with John Ambrose. Let’s face it, we all enjoy some love triangle drama and this sequel captures the best of it.

The good thing that this series does is modernize the teenage romantic drama. The beginning of this one brought me back to the time, when I watched Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles for the very first time. It’s a film all about LOVE and the many different ways you can love someone. Your soulmate could be your best friend, you could love two people at the same time for different reasons and crushes are more than okay. Love can be anything with anyone, it’s YOU who has to give meaning to the word, with your actions and words.

This film also made me cry. It had nothing to do with the love triangle or Kavinsky’s/Lara Jean’s relationship. Instead the part that got me the most was the friendship between Gen and Lara Jean. There’s a moment in the treehouse that made me shed actual tears and I’m still tearing up as I write this.

‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a Korean word my grandma taught me. It‚Äôs called jung. It‚Äôs the connection between two people that can‚Äôt be severed, even when love turns to hate. You still have those old feelings for them; you can‚Äôt ever completely shake them loose of you; you will always have tenderness in your heart for them.‚ÄĚ

– Jenny Han, P.S. I Still Love You.

Friendships are powerful. You don’t realize how powerful they are until you lose someone because things change. This scene exchanged was such a pure moment between the two of them and it showed how deep connections can run, without either of you realizing it. Even if too much time has passed between friends and things go unsaid, the love and joy of friendship that was once very evident will linger and the wave hits all over again. You never really lose people because they shaped you into the person you are today. I’m just happy that they incorporated that scene, to show how friendships can change but still maintain a level of civility.

This is a very good sequel and Lana Condor was stunning as Lara Jean. They managed to capture her adorable essence and beauty in such a natural way. She owns this film and I could watch her in anything. Also, whether you are #TeamKavinsky or #TeamJohnAmbrose (If you’re not #TeamJohnAmbrose then you should do better) you’ll get the best of Noah Centineo and Jordan Fisher.

So this Valentine’s Day, cozy up with your other half, or your girl squad, or your bros, or your singles crew and argue over who Lara Jean deserves more.

Yours,

Amanda Guarragi xo