Film Review: Before I Fall (dir by Ry Russo-Young)


One of my favorite films of 2017 was Before I Fall, which was kind of a combination of Mean Girls, Groudhog Day, and Happy Death Day.  Two years later, it remains one of my favorite movies, even if I do end up crying whenever I watch it.

The film begins with an ordinary teenager named Samantha Kingston (Zooey Deutsch) waking up on February 12th.  We follow her throughout her day and watch her deal with family, friends, teachers, and all the drama that goes along with all of that.  We meet her boyfriend, Rob (Kian Lawley) and we automatically know that she needs to dump his jock ass.  (Whenever we hear him glibly say, “Love ya,” it’s like nails on a chalkboard.)  We all know that Sam should be with Kent (Logan Miller), who is sweet and sensitive and gives her a white rose for Cupid’s Day.  We also meet and get to know her friends, Allie (Cynthia Wu), Elody (Medalion Rahimi), and especially Lindsay (Halston Sage).  While being a close friend to Sam, Lindsay is still the stereotypical popular, mean girl, the one who decides who is accepted and who is destined to forever to be an outsider.  Sam, on the other hand, is not a mean girl (or, at the very least, she’s a not-as-mean girl).  Instead, she’s the girl who simply goes along with what everyone else is doing.  She may not instigate any bullying but she doesn’t do anything to stop it either.

February 12th was the night that Sam had been planning on losing her virginity to Rob but Rob pretty much ruins that by getting drunk and acting like an asshole.  Instead, at a party at Kent’s house, Sam watches as Lindsay humiliates an outsider named Juliet (Elena Kampouris).  After leaving the party, Sam, Lindsay, Elody, and Allie drive down a dark road.  They listen to music.  They talk about how stupid everyone at the party was.  And, eventually, the car crashes and….

Suddenly, Sam’s waking up in her bedroom!  And it’s February 12th all over again!  That’s right, Sam is in a time loop, destined to continually relive the final day of her life until she makes things right.  In the 2010 novel that this film is based on, author Lindsay Olivier makes it pretty clear that each time Sam relives her day, she’s going through another stage of grief, moving from denial to acceptance.  While the film doesn’t make that point quite as clearly as the book, it does do a good job of showing us how, each time that Sam is forced to relive that day, she comes out of it as a changed person.  She discovers that Rob wasn’t worthy of her love and that Kent was.  She discovers that her family wasn’t as terrible as she assumed.  And, perhaps most importantly, she learns that being a friend does not mean excusing casual cruelty.

Watching Before I Fall is always an emotional experience for me.  A lot of it is because I can relate to Sam.  In many ways, back in high school, I was Sam.  But, even beyond that, the theme of Before I Fall is universal.  It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your background may be.  It doesn’t matter if you were popular in high school or if you were one of the outsiders.  Everyone — every single one of us — has done something that they regret.  All of us have one day that we wish we could travel back to and do things differently.

Well-directed by Ry Russo-Young and featuring a lot of beautiful Canadian scenery (the film was shot in British Columbia and Vancouver), Before I Fall is a poignant and touching film.  Zooey Deutch, Halston Sage, Cynthia Wu, and Medalion Rahimi are all believable as longtime friends and, to the film’s credit, no one — not even Lindsay — can be reduced to a mere stereotype.  Before I Fall is a film about regret, denial, anger, acceptance, and finally, peace.  No wonder it makes me cry.

What If Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2017 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

Best Picture

Baby Driver

The Big Sick

The Disaster Artist

*A Ghost Story*

It

Kedi

Lady Bird

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman

*David Lowery for A Ghost Story*

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Andy Muschietti for It

Edgar Wright for Baby Driver

Best Actor

*Sam Elliott in The Hero*

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

James McAvoy in Split

Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Best Actress

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

Sally Hawkins in Maudie

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion

Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West

*Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird*

Best Supporting Actor

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories

Bill Skarsgard in It

*Patrick Stewart in Logan*

Jason Sudekis in Colossal

Best Supporting Actress

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Catherine Keener in Get Out

Sophia Lillis in It

*Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird*

Carey Mulligan in Mudbound

Ella Rumpf in Raw

Best Voice-Over or Stop Motion Performance

Will Arnett in The LEGO Batman Movie

Gael Garcia Bernal in Coco

Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Doug Jones in The Shape of Water

*Andy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes*

Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

A Ghost Story

*Lady Bird*

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before I Fall

*The Disaster Artist*

It

Logan

Their Finest

Wonder Woman

Best Animated Film

Cars 3

Coco

*The Lego Batman Movie*

Leap!

Best Documentary Feature

Karl Marx City

*Kedi*

Risk

Step

Strong Island

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide

Best Foreign Language Film

First They Killed My Father

Frantz

*Kedi*

Raw

Best Casting

The Big Sick

Detroit

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

*The Meyerowitz Stories*

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

*A Ghost Story*

It

Lost City of Z

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

The Beguiled

Free Fire

Thor: Ragnarok

Victoria & Abdul

*Wonder Woman*

Best Editing

*Baby Driver*

Before I Fall

Dunkirk

A Ghost Story

It

Wonder Woman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Lady MacBeth

Logan Lucky

My Cousin Rachel

*Thor: Ragnarok*

Best Original Score

Blade Runner 2049

A Ghost Story

*Good Time*

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Wind River

Best Original Song

“Buddy’s Business” from Brawl In Cell Block 99

“Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast

“Friends are Family” from The Lego Batman Movie

“How Does A Moment Last Forever” from Beauty and the Beast

“Myron/Byron” from The Meyerowitz Stories

*”The Pure and the Damned” from Good Time*

Best Overall Use Of Music

Atomic Blonde

*Baby Driver*

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Thor: Ragnarok

T2: Trainspotting

Best Production Design

*Beauty and the Beast*

The Beguiled

Blade Runner 2049

It Comes At Night

Logan

Thor: Ragnarok

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Stuntwork

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

Logan

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok 

*Wonder Woman*

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

*War For The Planet of the Apes*

Films Listed By Number of Nominations

9 Nominations — Wonder Woman

7 Nominations — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, It, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

6 Nominations — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Thor: Ragnarok

5 Nominations — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Meyerowitz Stories

4 Nominations — The Big Sick, Blade Runner 2049, Get Out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War For The Planet Of The Apes

3 Nominations — Good Time, Kedi, The LEGO Batman Movie

2 Nominations — Before I Fall, The Beguiled, Coco, Kong: Skull Island, Raw, Shape of Water

1 Nominations — Atomic Blonde, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Cars 3, Colossal, Detroit, First They Killed My Father, Frantz, Free Fire, The Hero, Ingrid Goes West, It Comes At Night, Karl Marx City, Lady MacBeth, Leap!, Logan Lucky, Lost City of Z, Maudie, Mudbound, My Cousin Rachel, A Quiet Passion, Risk, Split, Step, Strong Island, Stronger, T2: Trainspotting, Their Finest, 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Victoria & Abdul, Wind River

Films Listed By Number of Wins

3 Oscars — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird

2 Oscars — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, Good Time, Kedi, War For the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

1 Oscar — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Hero, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, The Meyerowitz Stories, Thor: Ragnarok

Will the Academy be smart enough to agree with me?  Probably not.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

 

2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks for the 26 Best Films Of The Year


Well, it’s time for the list that everyone’s been waiting for!  Today, I finish up my look back at the previous year by listing my 26 favorite films of 2017!

(Why 26?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!)

Now, I should make clear that I haven’t seen every film that was released in 2017.  Are you looking at this list and asking yourself, “What about I, Tonya?  Phantom Thread? Call Me By Your Name?  The Post?”  The sad truth of the matter is that, largely due to bad weather and a severe cold that I’m still recovering from, I haven’t seen those films yet.  (And, to be honest, everything that I’ve heard about The Post makes me suspect that it’s not going to be for me.)  I’ll probably see all of those films next week but the thing is, there’s only so long that a film blogger can put off posting their best-of-the-year post.  This is the end of the third week of January.  I supposed I could have waited until February but, by that point, who would care?

As I see those films that I still need to see, I’ll modify this list as necessary.  That said, I find it hard to believe that I’ll see any more 2017 films that I like more than the films in my current top ten.

(Unfortunately, because the previous year was a bit chaotic, I’m way behind in my reviewing.  So, I haven’t posted reviews for all the films on my list.  Hopefully, over the upcoming week, I’ll be able to catch up with that!  And, fear not, my resolution for 2018 is not to get any further behind in my reviewing and I plan to stick to that.)

  1. A Ghost Story
  2. Lady Bird
  3. Wonder Woman
  4. Kedi
  5. The Big Sick
  6. Baby Driver
  7. It
  8. The Disaster Artist
  9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  10. The Meyerowitz Stories
  11. Logan
  12. Dunkirk
  13. Get Out
  14. Raw
  15. Maudie
  16. It Comes At Night
  17. Megan Leavey
  18. Beauty and the Beast
  19. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  20. Thor: Ragnorak
  21. The LEGO Batman Movie
  22. Ingrid Goes West
  23. Before I Fall
  24. Colossal
  25. The Beguiled
  26. Detroit

(Want to see my previous picks?  Click here for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010!)

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017
  11. 2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy by Lisa Marie Bowman
  12. 2017 in Review: 10 Good Things that Lisa Marie Saw On Television in 2017
  13. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 12 Favorite Novels of 2017
  14. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2017
  15. 2017 in Review: The Best of Lifetime by Lisa Marie Bowman