Show + Tell: Booksmart


Some movies you want to see because they’re something you know you’ll like. Maybe you’re a Marvel Universe devotee or a fan of the Coen brothers, so watching the latest release is a question of when, not whether.

I tend toward that approach myself; I’ll watch anything that Tarantino puts out, along with a few other stars and directors. (This also works in reverse: I’m no fan of horror movies, so you probably won’t see me at a screening of Us, no matter how good the critics say it is.)

As a former film critic, I admit to some Metacritic snobbery in my viewing choices. I don’t trust any one critic, but if a bunch of critics say a movie is bad, I tend to believe them. This may keep me from seeing some hidden gems, but going to a movie these days requires a non-trivial amount of money and time, so I’ll take the “wait ‘til it gets to Netflix” route on marginal cases.

Tonight, we’re going to be discussing a movie that’s outside my comfortable genre/auteur ruts, but it has received a positive response from critics, including earning a spot on Best of the Year (so far) lists.

The movie is Booksmart, the story of two high school academic superstars on the eve of graduation who suddenly realize that they’ve been so responsible and goal-oriented that they’ve missed much of the fun their friends were having.

Accordingly, with perfect logic, they attempt to stuff four years of fun (by which they apparently mean bad behavior) into one night.

What could go wrong? Well, that’s the movie.

The repressed students are played by Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, both of whom get high marks for their transformational performances. The pace of this teen comedy is said to be blistering. But the real accomplishment, according to critics, is that it captures the joy of girls breaking the rules. Bad behavior has been done to death in teen comedies about guys, so it’s only fair.

Expect plenty of laughs, some heart-tugging moments, and even a few tears, I’m told.

As a guy who got all the way through high school without drinking a single beer, I’ll be looking for hints about what I missed. I hope to see you in The Loft at 7:00pm for Booksmart.

Paul Goodwin


And don’t forget to put a big red Sharpie mark on your calendar for September 18 (a Wednesday!) for our discussion of Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins. It should be a hoot!