Always Be My Maybe
Going to start this recommendation off by saying I have an unhealthy obsession with Ali Wong. For those who do not know, Ali Wong is a comedian best known for her stand up comedy specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife (both on Netflix) and her role as a writer on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. If you ever heard someone say the words “Imma trap his ass,” they know Ali Wong. So, naturally, when it was revealed that Ali had written and starred in her own Netflix movie, it became one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. And, personally, it exceeded expectations.
Childhood friends, and later sweethearts, Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) have not spoken in 15 years, after a bad falling out. When Sasha, now a successful chef and restaurateur, returns to San Fransisco to open a restaurant, she runs into Marcus, who still sings for his band “Hello Peril”. The two realize their romantic chemistry has not faded, and weave through breakups, crazy significant others, and other issues towards each other. However, regardless of their chemistry, Marcus’s fears and Sasha’s fame and demanding career challenge their potential new relationship. The movie also stars James Saito, as Marcus’s dad Harry, Michelle Buteau, as Sasha’s sassy best friend Veronica, Vivian Bang as Marcus’s crazy girlfriend Jenny, Daniel Dae Kim as Sasha’s ex-fiance Brandon Choi, and Keanu Reeves as himself and Sasha’s new boyfriend.
It’s no surprise that this movie is freaking hilarious. There are so many one liners and unique characters that will have you laughing the whole time. While Randall Park and Ali Wong are seasoned comedians, Vivian Bang’s portrayl of Jenny will have you rolling on the floor, even more than the comedic protagonists (seriously, go watch the scene about asian braids). Another great inclusion is the sound track; Randall Park really nails down that old style, 90s rap. The official soundtrack, on Spotify, includes the three songs the band performs in the movie, each uniquely, and hilariously, focusing on a new topic (one of the songs is actually called “I Punched Keanu Reeves”). Speaking of, this is probably the weirdest, yet greatest performance I have seen from Keanu Reeves. Regardless of his more serious roles, Keanu really adds onto the comedic tone, by adding an overly dramatic form of comedy, along with a ton of great moments. While you probably will root for Marcus in the end, you have to give Keanu credit for his brilliant performance.
Finally, the greatest part about the film is its refreshing interpretation of the romantic comedy genre. While the ending is somewhat predictable, the overall development strays from cliches and stereotypes. Especially following Crazy Rich Asians, having a film with two asian leads already breaks the standards we normally see in romantic comedies. While the movie focuses a bit more on the comedic end, as opposed to the romantic, it does so in a unique style, that helps the movie flow smoothly. As a whole, this is an incredible film that does not receive enough credit. Also, bit of a disclaimer, the food in the movie is mouth watering and amazing, so don’t watch on an empty stomach.
The End of the F***ing World
After a 2 year hiatus, Netflix’s The End of the F***ing World premieres its second season on November 5th. This British, dark comedy has been one of the most anticipated series this Fall, especially after the cliffhanger ending audiences were left with in season one. However, in two years time, the series has transformed into a Netflix hit, dragging in all types of audiences. Regardless if you are a fan of the book or from the very first season, this is a series that is easily addictive and will have you yearning for more. If you’re me, you’ve been waiting since high school for this. Needless to say, I’m dying for this season.
James (Alex Lawther) is a 17-year-old who believes he is a psychopath. He kills animals as a hobby, but grows bored of the practice. He decides he wants to try killing a human. He settles on Alyssa (Jessica Barden), a mouthy, rebellious 17-year-old classmate with issues of her own. She proposes that they run away together, hoping for an adventure away from her turbulent home-life, and James agrees with the intention of finding an opportunity to kill her. They embark on a road trip across England, and begin to develop a relationship after a series of mishaps, including murder.
While this show is a bit quirky, it truly is a Netflix gem. Not only does it deal with serious issues that the two protagonists encounter, the series is underscored with the pains and struggles of growing up. Personally, the series is a mixture of a Huckleberry Finn esque bildungsroman and the dark wit of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. The aesthetic, while simple, perfectly matches the tone of the movie, enacting somewhat of a retro feel overall. The cinematography also follows this tone, beautifully capturing each scene, truly putting audiences in the actual moment.
However, the main triumph of the show is the actual story. While extreme in its nature, the story is dark and captivating, with a plethora of wild twists and turns. Seriously, you won’t be able to see half of the plot coming. Regardless of the darkness and somewhat gory details, Alyssa and James’s characters truly bring insight to the power two children have in a dark world. By far, one of the most powerful, yet overlooked, moments in the series is when Alyssa is hooking up with another guy and decides to change her mind in the moment. When the man complains, she tells him, “[w]ell, then, respect me changing my mind, and fuck off, please,” demonstrating something not yet explored in television: a woman demonstrating her consensual power. This is only one of many powerful lines delivered throughout the series, all captivating the destroyed innocence of youth, as a result of the dark world they inhabit.
At the end of the day, this series is unique in its flavor, but all the more enjoyable. It will make you smile, laugh, maybe ever cry. And, while the details of season 2 are fairly vague, it will without a doubt be equally as great.