Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Easy A

Easy A screens at Toronto Underground Cinema on Thursday November 18th at 9pm, Friday and Saturday November 19th and 20th at 7pm, and Sunday November 21st at 9pm.

It is hard for me to admit at times, but I am extremely burnt out. I have bitten off more than I can chew in terms of my professional and personal life. I really began experiencing a rough time starting at the beginning of October, but thinking back on the beginnings of this rough patch I remember one of the few bright spots was watching Easy A. I have been waiting ever since the last time I saw it to watch it again. Easy A is a film so charming and likable that it could warm the coldest of crappy days. It is the greatest John Hughes clone ever made because it follows the Hughes template so closely that even the film's flaws add to the feeling that you are watching a John Hughes film. It is hot chocolate for the soul.

Up and coming actress Emma Stone stars as Olive, a teenage girl who unwittingly gains notoriety around her high school campus when she tells her best friend that she has lost her virginity. In truth, she really didn't. Olive just wanted her best friend to shut up and stop bugging her. Through a series of events that prove profitable and because of her approachability, Olive begins to embrace her new found slutty image to help awkward boys increase their image on campus. As per usual, nothing goes exactly to plan and she has come under scrutiny from a kindly English teacher (Thomas Hayden Church), the school principal (Malcolm McDowell), and the school's resident God squadder (Amanda Bynes, clearly relishing the chance to play a jerk).

While also being a very clever take on The Scarlet Letter (which Olive is being taught in Church's English course), Easy A feels like as much of a throwback to classic teen comedies as The Expendables was a throwback to 80s action or The House of the Devil was a throwback to old school direct to VHS horror flicks. Easy A wears its heart and its influences on its sleeve for the whole world to see. Scenes are directly lifted from numerous John Hughes films (particularly Ferris Beuler's Day Off, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles) and even from other well loved 80s flicks (Say Anything, Can't Buy Me Love). In many cases, such references become grating, but Director Will Gluck and writer Bert V. Royal have structured the film around a character who has an unabashed love for those films and wishes that her own life (and films today) were of the more nostalgic variety.

Next to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Easy A is the most quotable film of the year. The dialogue is fresh and snappy without sounding unrealistic or pandering. The cast is also more than game and everyone seems to be having a great time with the material, particularly Stone, Church, and Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive's parents. The characters themselves are fully realized and the relationships between them (especially that of Church and his guidance counsellor wife, played by Lisa Kudrow) are complex. The script also take a pretty major twist about half way through that I kinda saw coming, but adds layers that make it far worse for our heroine.

Easy A was a film that I saw at the right point in my life and for that I will always have a soft spot for it. I went into the movie heartbroken, stressed, and hurting, but left hurting because I simply could not stop laughing. Sure, it is pretty lightweight, but not every film has to be a heavy and brooding masterpiece. Easy A is quite possibly the most fun I had at the movies all year. Maybe not the best, but definitely the most fun.

Also, today I heard this song on the radio and I immediately thought of this scene and started doing the same thing. If you want to mimic a movie, it is a sign that you truly love it.

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