Tag Archives: Lucy Hale

Fantasy Island

I take it that Fantasy Island was a show once upon a time, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it. I can tell you a little more about the movie, available to rent on VOD.

2020’s Fantasy Island is luxurious and exclusive. Guests arrive on a private plane and the enigmatic Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena) is there to greet them. Mr. Roarke is there to facilitate fantasies, but it’s the island that fulfills them. For Gwen (Maggie Q), a second chance at happiness; for brothers Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) and J. D. (Ryan Hansen), it’s a pool full of models; for Patrick (Austin Stowell), a chance to play live-action Call of Duty; and for Melanie (Lucy Hale), some good old fashioned revenge.

But the island isn’t just some tropical paradise, it’s the physical embodiment of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Fantasies quickly turn into nightmares, and before long, the guests will either have to figure out the island’s sinister motives or pay with their lives.

It has been well-documented on this site that I am a chicken. I don’t usually elect to watch horror movies, but then again, I don’t usually elect to stay confined to my home for 9 weeks either. This pandemic has been an unprecedented time and I have been more willing to seek thrills outside my normal parameters. But if you’re an actual fan of horror movies, the truth is, you’re going to find this extremely mild. Even I wasn’t afraid!

I mean sure, people are being chased, tortured, gunned down, electrocuted. Bad guys bleed black, suffer eyeball bursts, and re-animate at inconvenient times.

But scary? Not exactly. The island is the bad guy. It’s evil, but not exactly subtle. Fire will try to burn you. Water will try to drown you. Men will drag you out from your hiding place, kicking and screaming. Everything bad that can happen will happen and so there’s no suspense or thrill.

Worst of all, no one opts for crazy sex stuff. Really? REALLY??? I wouldn’t mourn the lack of crazy sex stuff if anything else was entertaining me. As it is, Fantasy Island is just a so-so way to pass the time, and it’s best to temper your expectations.

Dude

I’m glad that teenage girls are finally having their moment as three dimensional characters in film. Shopping and boys, that was the John Hughes model. Teenage boys were the hunters and girls their prey, and it’s taken until 2018 to flip the script, first with Blockers, which dared to show young women actually in charge of their own sexuality. Dude follows in its footsteps.

Lily (Lucy Hale) and her friends are in their last year of high school. That’s all that I knew going into this film that recently popped up on Netflix. That, and they were stoners. Not promising, I thought. So colour me surprised when, in between masturbating and getting high, they made friends with me.

Amelia (Alexandra Shipp), Chloe (Kathryn Prescott), and Rebecca (Awkwafina) have MV5BMTk5MDk1NTQ0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM4ODk5MzI@._V1_been super tight as far back as they can remember, and can hardly envision a future that doesn’t include each other – like, on a daily, hourly basis. So the ultimate theme of this movie is not so unusual: it’s letting go. Letting go in more ways than one, sure, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff.

But what is remarkable is the depth to the characters and the way the script (by director Olivia Milch) refuses to infantilize them. These ladies are EMPOWERED. Their virginity isn’t idolized. They can smoke pot AND be valedictorian. These girls are me (like 4 minutes ago, when I was in high school). Portraying young women as they are shouldn’t feel so monumental, so brave, but it is. This may be how lots of girls act, but it’s not how society wants to see them, and so we don’t. We pretend that girls don’t want these things because it threatens the status quo.

The cast is good, with Awkwafina being a particular stand out for me: I’m crushing hard. And I can’t wait to see literally everything Milch does for the rest of her life. But most of all I’m just kind of feeling all puffy-chested that a movie like this can finally exist. And that you can still find diamonds amongst the usual Netflix coal. And that someone, somewhere, is willing to take a risk on a movie like this.