Movies of the Week #40 (2020)

Spontaneous (2020): This was a week dominated by teen movies and rom-coms, all enjoyable, none quite exceptional. Well, that is, until Spontaneous, which is, at least, something completely different. Starring Charlie Plummer and Katherine Langford as Dylan and Mara, two high-school seniors who have their lives rocked as colleagues start combusting for no apparent reason. This puts life into perspective and the duo ends by hooking up, making for one of the more endearing high-school couples I’ve seen in movies. It’s amazing how the absurdity of the situation almost makes sense from the perspective of a high-schooler encountering first love, all the explosive drama taking literal form. Which is why Brian Duffield’s adaptation of Aaron Starmer’s novel is definitely worth its time and the moments of bloody gross-outs. 8/10

Music and Lyrics (2007): Staying down a similar path as yesterday’s selection, Music and Lyrics is a similar feel-good rom-com, with a bit less escapism and another enjoyable leading duo. When I first saw Marc Lawrence’s movie on release and really had fun with the music, I had no idea who Adam Schlesinger was. His musical work in Crazy Ex Girlfriend really made him stand out, but I only got to read more about him when he tragically passed away due to COVID-19 in early April. In Music and Lyrics, all the original songs are zippy, as are so many of the one-liners the characters produce, in a movie that is just fun to watch. 7/10

It Could Happen to You (1994): Movies as detached from reality as It Could Happen to You are a rare thing. There’s just so much wish-fulfillment and feel-goodiness to Andrew Bergman’s film that it gets difficult to bear at times. Yet, a story about a Mary Sue and a Gary Stu (idealized character types) would have no right to work at all, and in spite of this, ICHtY actually does. It sure helps that Bridget Fonda and Nicolas Cage really bring it, have great chemistry, which pushes you to just root for them and their happiness. So you’ll either be swayed by the wholesomeoness of it all, or it will make you want to puke, but I’d say the odds are more towards the former, than the latter. Hey, must be why I’ve never really won anything. 7/10

Unpregnant (2020): After watching Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always earlier this year, Unpregnant feels like…yesterday’s dinner after I ate. While the movies are very similar thematically, the first is gritty and focused on social stigmas, whereas the second is an over the top road trip about two teenage girls rekindling their friendship. Also, abortion, of course. For whatever reason and in spite of its good intentions, Unpregnant was tiresome, every step as predictable as the one before, and not at all engaging, even with the benefit of a couple of likable leads in Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira. 5/10

Enola Holmes (2020): The Sherlock Holmes spin-off featuring the notorious detective’s sister is exactly what you might expect of a tame Netflix production. With a charming lead in Millie Bobby Brown, you know there’ll be some enjoyment to be had, and thankfully there are a few scenes that really give this thing a pulse. However, I got the acute sense of box-ticking and the 2hr+ runtime leads to an inevitable trudge given the slight source material. So more of a “meh” than “yay”. 6/10