‘Toy Story’ Will Always Have A Friend In Me

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

I find there no need to introduce a movie that has captivated all ranges of people since 1995. Toy Story is an animated movie that blew people so far out of their shoes that it has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.

It’s nice to look at the brilliant accomplishments behind the franchise that changed the animation industry and Disney all together, but it’s even more fascinating to think about why they achieved what they did. What was it about Toy Story that makes everyone so powerfully shout a ‘yes!’ when they are asked whether they like it or not? Well, that reason can be answered with many responses.

The animation itself was one of the many factors that people love. It was something unique that wasn’t shown prior to 1995. I mean, it was a bunch of talking toys. How often did you see such a thing in a beautifully animated film?

That transitions perfectly into the second aspect of Toy Story that people fell in love with. That would be the story itself. It adds to the uniqueness of the already living toys with backstories that only benefit the characters. Being able to witness of a chipper young cowboy doll become friends with a plastic astronaut was the perfect amount of funny and happiness. On top of that, we have a dog who doubles as a slinky, a dinosaur scared of his own shadow, and so many more.

It’s a mesmerizing piece of family-friendly artwork that warms the human soul on even the saddest of days. It didn’t stop with the first one, either. It ended up being one of the only franchises ever to prove that a sequel can be better than the original.

It’s ridiculously important to understand just how powerful animation can be. Toy Story is yet another animated family movie that stood in its place – which was high up on an ever evolving pedestal.

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‘Eighth Grade’ Is Brilliantly Real and A Must-See

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Eighth Grade follows the awkward and lonely Kayla as she tries to make her way through the eighth grade. Kayla wants what anyone wants which is acceptance from her peers. The film is framed with videos that Kayla makes for YouTube. These videos consist of Kayla giving advice on topics such as how to be yourself and how to be confident, and play as Kayla is trying to do those things herself.

The film revolves a lot around the internet, as most of our lives do these days. But the use of technology is not overdone and out of touch as it is in many films and TV shows, instead it serves to show the place technology holds in Kayla’s life and how it contributes to the anxiety and nervousness she experiences.

My favorite thing about this film was how real it was. From the panic Kayla faces as she enters a pool party, to her conversations with her dad at the dinner table I related to all of it. I literally felt as though I was transported back in time to when I was that age.

For me, however, this film isn’t just relatable to eighth grade me, but to current me as well. Writer and director Bo Burnham did a masterful job creating the stress and anxiety many people face daily through the story of an eighth grader, which is a stressful age for anybody to be. Also, all the questions Kayla faces, such as how to be yourself, are struggles that any age can relate to.

One of the reasons Kayla’s feelings came through so well was through the choice to focus the camera mainly on Kayla’s face during anxiety inducing situations. This happens at one point during the pool party where the camera is entirely focused on Kayla’s face although you can hear a fight happening in the background. Another instance of this is when Kayla is in the car with her dad and is telling him to “stop looking like that”. Instead of panning over to the dad’s face to see what Kayla is talking about, the camera focuses on Kayla so that we can see the dozens of emotions going through her head through her facial expressions.

On that topic, I can’t talk about the emotion the audience gets from Kayla without discussing Elsie Fisher’s acting. She pulls off this role phenomenally. In most films about kids this age they are so out of touch and the kids don’t seem genuine, but that is not the case at all in this film. Fisher’s slight eye movements and the way she smiles and nods as her character tries to fit in really sell the realness of the film and how relatable it is.

Not only is this film relatable, but it is also funny. Burnham does an amazing job placing humor so effortlessly throughout the film simply through everyday actions that we all can relate to.

Honestly, I must applaud Burnham for making perhaps the most relatable and real movie about growing up that I have ever seen. Eighth Grade will have you laughing, crying, and saying, “wow I didn’t know other people did that”.


My Rating: 99%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

 

‘The Kissing Booth’ is So NOT Cute

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Let’s just start off by saying that I know that teen movies are meant to be unrealistic and sappy, but The Kissing Booth was much worse than that. It took those descriptors to another level and made it to where I could care less about any of the characters, even the hot ones.

So basically, it’s about a teenage girl named Elle (Joey King) who develops a crush on her best friend Lee’s (Joel Courtney) hotter older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi). Pretty basic storyline until you mix in the conflict of Elle and Lee’s rules of friendship that forbids her from dating Noah. Most girls have been through something similar so the story should make for a decent and cute movie. Except for the fact that nothing was believable.

If you don’t know who Joey King is then here’s a little description of how she looks: like a 12 year old girl. If you don’t know how her love interest, Jacob Elordi, looks then here you go: like a 25 year old man. This isn’t to knock King’s looks or anything because I can relate (considering I’m often told that I appear twelve years old) and honestly she fits the teenaged role perfectly. The only weird one was Elordi who I did not believe for a second that he was in high school. He’s 6’5 (give or take), muscular, and overall looks like an NFL quarterback.

So the two of them together seemed very off and resembled more of a brother-sister duo than two lovers. I would’ve rather seen King and Courtney’s characters end up together rather than sit through the awkward love fest that I just watched.

Not only that, but everyone besides the main characters were overly stereotypical. Mean girls acting dumb, jocks treating girls like dirt, nerds being gross nose pickers, and bad boys riding motorcycles and making out with everyone

Blah, blah, blah. The list goes on.

Not only was this deeply unrealistic but the romance was a major eye roll. Every line was something I’d heard from other romantic comedies and was completely predictable. Not to mention the big grand gesture at the end with Noah saying ‘I love you’ to Elle at prom, resulting in her rejecting him to “save her friendship” with Lee. But don’t fret because they end up together, anyway.

I understand that this movie was targeted towards a specific audience (my teenaged sister), but I love chick flicks too. Teen dramas and romantic comedies are my favorite genres which is what The Kissing Booth was classified as. But instead of making me laugh and filling me with wonder, it left me wondering why I decided to spend my time watching this… thing.


My Rating: 18%

Acting: 1/4

Cinematography: 1/4

Story: 0/4

Enjoyability: 1/4

Film Forecast Friday: June 29th

On June 29th we have…

1. Sicario: Day of the Soldado

2. Uncle Drew

3. Escape Plan 2

4. Black Water

5. Woman Walks Ahead

6. Leave No Trace

Julia’s Prediction:

This week there aren’t really any big blockbuster movies coming out.

The movie I have seen the most marketing for is definitely Uncle Drew, and it has a lot of big names in it like Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and more. So based on that I think this could be the biggest movie out of those coming out this week.

However, there have been so many big releases this month I doubt any of these movies will make a big impression at the box office. Between Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom these movies will have a hard time coming anywhere near the top of ticket sales.

Anthony’s Prediction:

I’ll start with Uncle Drew, which will make the most at the box office this weekend due entirely to its insane marketing and constant advertising on every platform.

Then we have Sicario: Day of the Soldado which is a sequel, so it’ll make nearly as much as Uncle Drew, even if it’s horrible.

Those two are going to be pretty much the only relevant ones this week, given that there hasn’t been much advertising or anticipation for the sequel to Escape Plan or whatever the heck the other movies are.

Top 5 80s Movies

Who doesn’t love a great 80s movie – timeless and worth watching more than once. Today at BFS, we’re taking it back in time to one of the greatest decades of filmmaking from the most popular to the underrated. The 80s.

1. Sixteen Candles

A 1984 coming-of-age film that follows angst-filled Samantha (Molly Ringwald) on her sixteenth birthday that is being overshadowed by her sister’s upcoming wedding. Samantha longs for Jake (Michael Schoeffling), yet is stuck with constantly trying to fend off Ted (Anthony Michael Hall), the only boy who appears to take an interest in her.

2. Dirty Dancing

As one of the 80s most memorable teen movies among many, Dirty Dancing is an immensely charming and heartwarming romantic movie that tells the story of Baby (Jennifer Grey) away on summer vacation where she meets Johnny (Patrick Swayze) who teaches her how to dance and with whom she falls in love.

3. Pretty in Pink

Another 80s movie starring Molly Ringwald. Pretty in Pink is about an outcast named Andie who either hangs out at work or hanging out with her friend Duckie who has a crush on her. When Blaine asks Andie out things become a little more complicated.

4. Back to the Future

A classic sci-fi film that is lighthearted and full of adventure. In a small town in California Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time after an unsuccessful experiment. He travels through time recounting old memories only to return to the present to save Doc (Christopher Lloyd).

5. Stand By Me

An underrated, yet brilliant film written in the form of a memoir that is based on a novella by Stephen King. Seeped in realism this film is narrated through four young boys as they venture on a journey to discover a murdered body near their homes. A must-watch as it is unconventional, yet emotional.

While these were hand-selected and few in number, there are many more 80s films that are just as memorable and worth being seen. But, of the five chosen, I hope readers will enjoy them just as much.

‘Alex Strangelove’ Tells a Touching Coming Out Story

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Happy Pride Month everyone! This month we have seen an outpouring of celebration and support for the LGBTQ community and it seems Netflix has joined in with its release of Alex Strangelove.
Alex Strangelove follows the sexually confused high school senior Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny). Alex has been with his girlfriend and best friend Claire (Madeline Weinstein) for a while and after the prodding of his friends he decides to rent a hotel room and finally lose his virginity to her.

Soon after he makes these plans he meets a guy named Elliot (Antonio Marziale) at a party. As Alex and Elliot and the day he plans to lose his virginity to Claire get closer, Alex begins to question his feelings and his sexuality.

Alex Strangelove is a sweet and intricate coming out story with more layers than your average coming out movie. As the movie progresses, we see that Alex’s struggle with his sexuality stems from not only an inner struggle to admit to himself that he’s gay, but also past experiences with bullying.

This movie is different from other recent coming out movies like Love, Simon in the sense that Alex’s struggle lies mostly within himself and figuring out his sexuality, and less on how people will perceive him.

I really appreciated how this movie focused on the high school kids’ perspectives and didn’t go too much into bringing the adults into the story. I think it contributed to the authentic feel of the movie.

This was a conscious choice by director and writer Craig Johnson who has been trying to get this movie made for ten years, but hasn’t been able to because there wasn’t a big adult role to attach a big name to.

This movie did a lot of things right. It felt authentic and real which really brings you into the story. It could have so easily have fallen into the realm of clichés, but it didn’t. It stayed true to itself and its purpose and gave us an adorable yet, engaging story to watch.


My Rating: 83%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 2.8/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

 

The Mesmerizing, Grace-filled ‘Moonlight’

By Therese Gardner, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Surprise! The film for this Time Warp Tuesday happens to be the Oscar award-winning film ‘Moonlight’. That’s goes without saying, this happens to come after the La La Land review from two weeks prior, which is suggestive of La La Land accidentally being announced as winner for Best Picture. A moment that would not soon be forgotten in Oscar history.

Considering Moonlight won Best Picture, it is highly likely that many are aware of this groundbreaking film. For those who have not yet heard of this film or have chosen not to see it, I highly recommend for all to do so.

Based on the unpublished play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight chronicles separate stages in the life of a young, gay black man, Chiron, growing up in Miami, Florida. Each chapter displayed throughout the film is portrayed by separate actors and are presented as his youth (Little), adolescence (Chiron), and early adult life (Black). As a coming-of-age film, written and directed by Barry Jenkins starring Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Janelle Monae among others is a beautiful presentation of what it is like to be a young, black man growing up in America. Another interesting piece of this film relates Jenkins and McCraney, as the story is a mere reflection of specific moments within each of their lives as they grew up in Miami.

Within the first chapter, Juan finds Chiron, or Little, hiding from a group of bullies and allows him to spend the night at his place where Janelle Monae as Teresa, the girlfriend of Juan, is introduced. Despite Chiron returning to his mother, Juan and Chiron continue to spend time together and eventually Chiron admits he hates his mother. This stage in Chiron’s life is patchy and marked by Little being taunted for being ‘different’ in the eyes of his classmates. As a teenager, Chiron continues to struggle with being bullied and understanding who he is. Once Chiron reaches adulthood he goes by the nickname ‘Black’ and revisualizes previous wet dreams he had of one of his earlier classmates, Kevin. He returns to Miami to visit his mother and then reunites with Kevin. The two embrace one another as Chiron recalls standing on the beach in the moonlight.

Throughout the film, there are many aesthetically pleasing and simply breathtaking moments in which one cannot help but be in awe of the brilliant minds behind this masterpiece. From the beginning, it is clear that this is no ordinary film with a cliche meaning. It goes far beyond surface level in order to better display the challenges faced growing up in America as a black, gay child.

One of the most memorable moments in Moonlight is during the beach scene. It is raw and real, it solidifies the bond between Chiron and Juan, performed by Mahershala Ali, whom becomes a father figure for Chiron. During this scene, Chiron and Juan are seen playing in the water and then found sitting by the waves overlooking the beach when Juan tells Chiron, “at some point you gonna have to decide who you want to be, you can’t let somebody else make that decision for you.” Although a seemingly insignificant moment to many, this moment details concisely an important message within this film. It signifies the journey Chiron is on for the entirety of the film, as he is becoming who he is meant to be and creating his own path in life all while grappling with the difficulties of growing up.

Moonlight is a monumental film in that in winning Best Picture, it has now become the first film with an all-black cast and the first LBGT film to ever win Best Picture. It’s quite sad that it’s taken this long to do so, and alludes to the notion that while we have made a lot of progress, we still have so much more to make.