Spring 2018 Movie Lessons

Warning: These contain spoilers.

Every Day

1. If your boyfriend has a spontaneous personality change and spends the day with you as a funny, attentive, sensitive non-smoker, he may be temporarily under the influence of a more evolved soul who’s borrowing his body.

2. If you are a body-traveling spirit who wants to get together with a girl you fancy fast before your parents force you to go on a car trip, it’s best to avoid inhabiting a body of someone who never exercises.

3. Even without knowing that your boyfriend is under the control of a time-traveling spirit, your mom will freak out when she discovers that you’ve been spending an unsupervised weekend with said boyfriend at the family lake house.

A Wrinkle in Time

4. Bringing along a guy you barely know on a quest to save the planet is fine as long as your younger brother vouches for his “diplomacy” skills, he says he likes your hair, and he’s cute!

5. If you meet three odd women who dress like community theater actresses and/or homeless people, but have the ability to make your backyard ripple like a wave, they’re probably sincere about wanting to escort you on a magical quest.

6. If you teleport to a beach on an evil planet and sample the cuisine there, don’t be  surprised if it still tastes like sand.

Ready Player One

7. Life in the future may be so hopeless that multiple gamers will be willing to enact the same fatal scenario repeatedly, even though it hasn’t a chance in hell of moving them up a coveted level.

8. If you’re a socially awkward computer genius who is dating your colleague’s love interest, creating a game which enacts your dilemma might not help too much in real life – but will entertain future gamers determined to win the grand prize.

9. Virtual reality moves pretty fast – but literally going backwards can be the key to advancing a level.

Chappaquiddick

10. If you can’t quite remember driving off a bridge the night before, submerging yourself in a bathtub of water will do the trick and jog your memory.

11. If you’re a public figure and need privacy to make a condolence call, you can always hijack the local chief of police’s office.

12. If you’re going to make a heartfelt speech to your constituents, make sure your gestures are scripted by cue cards to be extra moving.

Isle of Dogs

13. If you’re a dog on a trash-filled island, it’s still best to take vote with your pack before doing such things as fighting for a food package, helping a child who’s crashed onto the island, etc.

14. Once you’ve survived an accident that leaves you orphaned plus an unauthorized solo plane crash, pulling a propeller blade from the side of your head won’t faze you a bit.

15. Haiku can move even the hardest hearts, if you insert one into an impassioned speech to save your city’s pets from banishment.

A Quiet Place

16. If you and your family find themselves in a post-apocalyptic world populated by monsters attracted to sound, you should just rely on a system of lights to signal danger, rather than build a shelter where they can’t easily sneak up on you.

17. Even if you live in a world where monsters may try to kill you at anytime, corn silos can be potentially lethal places for kids, too, so keep something they can grab if they fall in handy.

18. When looting a drugstore with young children in said world, it’s best to double check to make sure they haven’t snuck any noisy toys with them before you leave. You might also want to keep a closer eye on them as you walk back home.

I Feel Pretty

19. To avoid a humiliating discussion about spin class shoe size, in front of all the skinny women waiting to get theirs, it might be best to bring your own.

20. Falling off an exercise bike might turn out to be more disturbing for the gym attendant than you if you fall under a spell and suddenly are convinced that you have become drop dead gorgeous, rather than merely bruised and in shock.

21. Even the relative of the girl who defeats you in a bikini contest will envy your boyfriend if you execute your moves with enough chutzpah.

Tully

22. If you’re a school administrator dealing with the pregnant mother of one of your problem students, avoid diplomatic adjectives like “quirky” like the plague, or face a meltdown the size of Texas.

23. Even a “bad” mom will already have every ingredient in the house she needs to make fancy cupcakes on the spur of the moment for her son’s kindergarten the next day (including food coloring in every shade of the rainbow); she just won’t have the energy to make them – at least for awhile.

24. Thomas Wolfe was right when he said you can’t go home again – especially not to the hipster pad you had in your twenties.

Overboard

25. If you’re hired to clean a spoiled playboy’s yacht, and he orders you to bring him a mango, you should probably feign deafness rather than engage in a knock-down drag-out argument.

26. If you open your home to an adult male amnesiac stranger, two days without any major alarms, including the stranger spontaneously bringing home frozen yogurt, is enough to let him sleep on the couch rather than the shed – even if you have three daughters.

27. Even if your temporary amnesia abates to the point where you can successfully hold down a second job delivering pizza by car – a task which requires good reflexes and judgment – you will still have no idea your wife and kids aren’t yours – and the issue of your license will never come up.

Life of the Party

28. If you are going to inform your wife that you’re having an affair and selling the house you’ve lived in since you got married, using words like “facilitate,” won’t keep her from dissolving into anger, protests and tears.

29. If you are a middle-aged housewife, and you attend a college party, de-frumping yourself calls for bold measures, i.e. using a random hairbrush in the frat bathroom.

30. If you find yourself saddled with a roommate who never goes outside and is uber-creepy, it pays not to antagonize her because she might wind up saving the day big time and keeping you in college. She could even turn out to be the cousin of a mega-pop star!

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Movie Review: I Feel Pretty

In the movie “Shallow Hal,” the hero (Jack Black) who is resoundingly average in looks but who has stratosphere-high standards for the women he considers dating, gets hypnotized so he can experience the gift of seeing how beautiful people’s inner selves are right away. Post-transformation, Jack goes to a bar with his equally shallow pal (Jason Alexander) who has not been hypnotized and is therefore clueless. Soon Jack’s bogeying the night away with who he perceives as three gorgeous ladies, having the time of his life, and he’s baffled as to why Jason can’t see what he sees. But the camera clicks into Jason’s (i.e. reality’s eyes), and we see – lo and behold – three average women. Or what Hollywood considers average or below par anyway.

Now in “I Feel Pretty,” Amy Schumer tells the story from the side of one of the dancing women. What if one of them was also hypnotized and genuinely believed she was gorgeous (and perhaps being kind to Jack)? (Or maybe she was already empowered and having a good time anyway?) In what may or may not be a “Bridget Jones” reference, Amy plays a young woman named Renee, who like 99 percent of American women, has things about her appearance she wishes she could change. When we first meet her, she has great friends (Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips) who are in the same boat, and a go-nowhere job at a cosmetics empire which sticks her in a basement office because she’s not pretty enough for the actual office. The company is founded by Lauren Hutton, who is the grandmother of the current CEO (Michelle Williams), and when Amy discovers there is a receptionist job open, she wistfully wishes she could apply.

After a series of movie mishaps which include toppling off an exercise bike during a fully-attended class, Amy makes a wish in a thunderstorm (after watching “Big” on the couch with the requisite glass of wine – but no cat) that she would become beautiful. Sure enough, after she has an accident and bumps her head, she emerges fully convinced that she’s gorgeous – although the viewer and everyone else in the movie can’t see any change. However, Amy’s confidence soars, and soon she’s sashaying down the street convinced every stray whistle and smile is aimed at her. She gets a boyfriend (Rory Scovel) in record time (mostly by quasi-terrorizing him), and the longed-for promotion. In “Big” tradition by employing total bluntness, Amy catches the eye of Michelle by explaining that average women would really appreciate having a makeup brush included in the package, and so on. But alas, the magic has an expiration date.

I Feel Pretty” starts off strong, as Amy throws herself (sometimes literally) into her role, even participating in an impromptu bikini contest but gets surreal after Amy wakes up to the reality that she’s been bewitched. Everyone else in the movie assumes she’s just being her usual wacky self, which makes apologies about treating people shallowly difficult. But in the end, she rallies and achieves that most sought-after movie prize: wild applause after an impromptu speech on Being Yourself No Matter What. (This is Michelle’s second recent movie with this message following “The Greatest Showman.”) While this is a time-worn message, it’s still something that’s always good to hear. Especially served with a side of hearty laughter.