Big Time Adolescence (2019)

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Starring: Griffin Gluck, MGK, Sydney Sweeney, Thomas Barbusca, Pete Davidson, Emily Arlook, Jon Cryer and more.

Director and Screenwriter: Jason Orley

As someone who keeps up with film festivals, I became aware of this film when it premiered at Sundance last year. There was hype around it, but it has calmed down now. I recently started a free trial on Hulu, so I could watch new films. After reading the summary of this film, I was not intrigued. But I thought I would give it a try anyway. Just a heads up: Pete has great hair in this movie.

Movie Coverage from YouTube

Movie Talk:

I was skeptical. I thought this film would be like any other teenage coming-of-age story with over-the-top characters that do things I would never do as a teenager. Although the movie does have some generic teenage jokes and events, something about this film stands out to me.

Most of actors in this film are great, especially Griffin Gluck (Mo) and Davidson (Zeke). I think it is important to mention that Davidson’s character does not seem far off from who he is as a person in real life. His character, Zeke, is not a far stretch from the characters he usually plays on SNL. That being said, most of the characters in this movie are dynamic and provide a nice balance of comedic relief and drama. The relationships between the characters are at the center of the film.

Zeke becomes a mentor to Mo, a high school student. Even though Zeke might not be the best mentor to have, he really does care about Mo. Zeke is an example of what happens to those cool kids from high school after they graduate. Even though Zeke is older, Mo sometimes acts like the older, more mature of the pair. However, Zeke has more life experience than Mo, and that becomes quite obvious. Together, they balance each other out and show how one personality trait can manifest and escalate to become a major problem, or a major contributing factor to one’s success.

Something I found funny about Zeke’s character is when he says, “Ok.” A simple word, but the way Pete says this line reminds me of his character Chad from SNL. One thing that I did not like about this film was the music. It was cheesy sometimes and took away from the film. One thing that I did like about this film was how it chronicled a part of life that is often glossed over in films: the time after high school when kids do not know what to do with the rest of their lives.

Get a little deeper.

The characters in this film truly care about each other. Not on a childish level, but on a deep level. When Mo needed help in the pool scene, Zeke pulled him to safety and was a true friend, when he could have easily left Mo behind. Zeke can be a bad influence, a very bad influence, but he also cares more about Mo, than the fact that his girlfriend left him. Mo would follow Zeke anywhere. That kind of bond is unique.

Mo lives with his family and does not need to pay for his own things, while Zeke has to live on his own. Zeke teaches Mo through his mistakes and helps him grow into an adult. Mo acts in juxtaposition to most of the other characters, until he starts to become just like everyone else he is surrounded by. Zeke is willing to take the hit for Mo, but at some point Mo realizes that he needs to move on from Zeke.

Symbols and Lessons:

There are a lot of lessons and symbols that are mentioned/used in this film. Here are some of the stand out moments/quotes or scenes that stood out to me.

  1. Each character’s bedroom helps tell the person’s story.
  2. “The world doesn’t care about what you might do if you really put your mind to it, it cares about what you actually did.”
  3. At times the camera stayed still and did not move to follow characters.
  4. Zeke keeps telling stories from high school, even when he is 23 and should have more stories to tell by then.
  5. “I liked you, I don’t like you anymore.”
  6. Kids make mistakes.
  7. “I don’t want to end up like you man.”
  8. Mo’s dad wonders why his son likes Zeke more than him.
  9. Mo shuts a door and a picture falls, as a symbol of things beginning to change.
  10. Mo is driving away while Zeke is visible in the rearview. Mo is moving on from his old life.
from Variety on YouTube

What to think about:

This movie made me think about the things I did and did not do as a teenager. It also made me feel the importance of the people you are surrounded by on the daily basis. You become who you spend your time with, and if you are not careful, they may have a negative effect on your future. Sometimes friends can help you emotionally and make you feel good short-term, but in the long-run, you might need to leave them behind in order to reach your full potential.

I enjoyed how this movie started with the ending, it is clever and interesting. It makes you wonder about your potential future and if you will be happy with it, or not.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Watch this film: 6.4/10

This film wasn’t incredible or awful. I laughed at times and there is heart to this movie, it isn’t just an empty comedy. However, it is not my favorite genre. I normally watch drama, or action/adventure films. Keep that in mind when you read my review. I am not an avid comedy watcher because I often do not find comedies very funny. Thus, I think it is significant that this film actually made me laugh a few times.

Sentence Summary

When a high school kid starts to hang out with new, older friends, his life starts to change: in some ways for the better, and in some ways for the worse.

What happens when high school is over?

See ya!

Thanks for reading! I appreciate you. I want to see Pete in more serious roles. He has been through a lot and I would love to see him in a role in a deeply moving movie.

I also want to start writing about movie premieres, actors, upcoming shows, and trailers, so let me know what you want to read! Send me a message on my Instagram, or let me know in the comments below.

Arianna x

P.S. tongue daddy. (You will only understand this reference if you have watched this movie, otherwise you will just think that I am weird, but I am fine with that.)

The Devil All The Time

One of the most anticipated movies of the year came out a few days ago. Like most mainstream films, I started off very skeptical. Popular movies tend to lack depth and have regurgitated story lines that have been seen many times before. However, I was pleasantly surprised by The Devil All The Time (2020). The movie is suspenseful, every moment leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting to find the glue to put the story’s puzzle pieces together. Let’s talk about it.

What a story!

I want to start off by mentioning that the genre of this film is not something that I normally watch. I was originally drawn to this film because of its all-star cast, but I stayed because the story sunk its teeth into me. Horror, love, revenge, and the battle between what is good and what is evil.

Much of the story is up for interpretation, many of the characters are not clearly “good” or “bad,” they are a bit of both. This balance beam walking act kept me engaged with the film for its entirety and almost made me forget to breath.

All of that being said, this film is a thriller, a mystery, and plays with your mind. There is death, heartbreak, and some themes that made me feel uneasy, but throughout the film, I focused a lot of my attention on the characters. While most films focus on plot, this film had a nice balance between the characters and plot, and how they carefully intertwine. For instance, Willard (Bill Skarsgard) has some slanted beliefs, but underneath it all, he seems to be a nice man. He loves his son, he loves his wife, and he loved his dog. But something about him is not right. Something about him cannot be trusted. So, what does that mean about Arvin?

There are very few definitive answers in this film. There are no super heroes. No ghosts. Just setting, plot, and characters. This is one of those films that I will be thinking about for weeks. Right after watching the film, I did not think that I liked it. It was weird. Strange. But now, a day later, I appreciate it’s intricacy and its attention to detail. I also acknowledge the great acting and directing. The screenwriting was also well done because I was never confused. I felt happy when I could put the clues together for myself and was not simply told plot points. Well done all around!

from Netflix on YouTube

Something to think about:

Willard has this saying that is repeated throughout the film, “There’s a lot of no good sons of b***hes out there.” This saying made me think about how our psychology and inner dialogues affect our everyday lives, and thus, our lives as a whole. We tend to see what we think we will see. We tend to find what we think we will find.

In other words, if in the morning we think that we are going to have a good day, we will remember the instances in that day that are good. However, if we think we are going to have a bad day, we will remember the parts of the day that are bad. A single saying laid out the structure for Willard’s life and in some ways, Arvin’s life as well. If you think people are out to get you, you will find people who are. If you think people are kind, you will find people who are.

The way you look at the world changes how you experience it. I wonder how Willard’s life would have turned out if he had a different catch phrase.

Sentence Summary

When Spiderman comes back from Thanos’ snap, he finds himself surrounded by corruption and a gone-rogue Edward Cullen.

Now, onto the real sentence summary: Arvin’s family history is engraved in him and leads him down a path that his father started for him many years ago.

See ya!

Thank you for reading. You are awesome.

What did you think of this film? Did Tom Holland surprise you, or did you always know that he had the acting chops in him?

I knew that Tom was something special. His Spiderman is goofy and adds just the right vibe to the Marvel Universe.

However, some of the other actors in this film could work on their southern accent! Ahem. I think you know who I am talking about… not Pattinson, he was incredible, as usual.

Arianna

P.S. Let’s talk about Pattinson.

I wrote this post and realized that I did not even mention the brilliant Robert Pattinson. He can truly play any role. In this film, he plays a preacher who is entrancing. His character is despicable, but somehow he also has this magnetism to him.

I cannot think of an actor who is as versatile as Pattinson. What a brilliant artist. And a fellow weirdo. I appreciate that. But his character in this film was brainwashed and had no sound moral compass.

He played the character incredibly. Round of applause for him! But not for his character, because he was a d-bag.

Exciting news!

Hi all! I have taking a few weeks off blogging because I have been up to some exciting projects. One of the projects is ready to share with you and *drum-roll please* I created my own shirts, mugs, and hoodies! I have always liked designing humorous graphic tees, almost as much as I like wearing them. I decided to share some of my designs with you guys because I think that we could all use a nice, funny graphic tee right about now.

All of the products are available on Redbubble! I have some of my photography for sale on my profile as well, but I am most excited about the movie related graphics that I just added. Here are some of the products:

The two graphics say: “Let’s watch a movie together” and “You can talk to me when the movie is over.” The face mask is perfect for going to the move theatres and not wanting to be bothered while you are watching the movie, especially as many movie theatres are just starting to open up again.

Here are links to some of the products:

Click on the product that you are interested in and it will bring you to the web page. These are just some of the products, for all available products, you can check out my dashboard on Redbubble.

Lightweight Hoodie

Classic T-shirt

Pullover Sweatshirt

Essential T-Shirt

Let me know your feedback and I will apply them to future designs! I made the prices as affordable as possible.

As always, thank you so much for your support. It means more to me than you will ever know. If you decide to purchase something, let me know on Instagram! I would love to know what you got!

Sending you some sunshine,

Arianna

Gifs and Giggles ft. Conan

Let’s review some gifs. Time to laugh! Film lovers, writers, and creatives unite! Let’s laugh at our creativity and small successes that make us so happy. Get ready to have some fun and hopefully laugh a little. And thank you Conan, you make some pretty great gifs and your facial expressions are pretty unique.

1. When someone says your writing sucks.

from GIPHY

2. *New email*: Your film was accepted.

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3. Plot twist!

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4. Off to accept my award… in my dreams.

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5. When the audience understands your joke.

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6. When you get a little too nervous…

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7. When a horrible film wins the award.

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8. When the ending of a movie is perfect.

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9. When the director is explaining their film and it is a masterpiece.

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10. Pose for a picture! (aka shy people on a red carpet)

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Thank you for being here. I like you. Go for your dreams. You can do this. Come back and look at this post when you start to doubt yourself. Laugh a little. Know that you are not alone. You got this!

Come back next week for a better post! But, laughing is pretty fun, too. 🙂

Have a splendid day!

Arianna

Moe N. Reed and Bern Houston

This week I had the incredible chance to interview the writer, Moe N. Reed. She is a CSU Northridge alum and has a M.A. degree in screenwriting. One of her past projects premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in 2018 in the best documentary category! She loves collaborating with other creatives and working in a variety of genres.

When asked why she got into filmmaking she replied, “I decided to write and produce my own content because I have a passion for storytelling. I enjoy coming of age stories and depicting characters in a non stereotypical fashion. I think it is important to have diverse images in the media.” I agree, so many main-stream movies have duplicate characters that are seen over and over again in different films. Diversity needs to be better displayed in film, and it is because dedicated creatives like Reed, that media is starting to become more diverse. What a great achievement!

Next, I asked what is something she has learned on her filmmaking journey. Reed replied, “I learned to trust and believe in my instincts. Filmmaking is a creative process and not everybody will see my vision, but it is important to be persistent.” I have also learned this lesson. Being a creative can be hard when others do not see your vision, but ultimately, it is up to you to accurately represent your ideas and stay loyal to your vision.

When I meet filmmakers, writers and creatives, I like to ask what their favorite tv shows and movies are. You can tell a lot about a person by watching their favorite stories. Reed enjoys Atlanta on FX. She “initially liked the show because of the cast,” but continues “to like the show because of its high production value.” She enjoys the acting, writing, and would love to work on the show! One of her favorite films is Love Jones “because it has the perfect balance of romance and comedy.”

Lastly, I asked Reed what is some advice she would give to a new filmmaker. She had some great words of wisdom:

It is important to have a plan and a back up plan in order to deal with the mishaps that often happen within indie filmmaking. 

It is important to be flexible when it comes to scheduling and have a budget for the entire film process (pre production – post production).

In addition, it is important to know just because the project didn’t come out perfect, still celebrate the victory of completing it.

Moe N. Reed

Reed’s Current Projects:

She has a 6 part web series, called “The Life of Bern,” that is available to watch on YouTube. You can support the series by following them on all platforms, click here to follow their Instagram.

Overall, this is what Reed had to say about the web series: “The web series follows the life of Bern, a teen who was diagnosed with Selective Mutism as a child, but after winning a rap freestyle contest, Bern must learn how to navigate the challenges of his new found fame. The episodes will document Bern’s journey, from an introvert to the hottest sought-after rapper in Los Angeles, as he tries not to become another gimmick emcee.”


Thank you for reading and supporting independent writers, cinema, and diverse stories. I enjoy getting the chance to meet new creatives and share their wonderful work with you! And, thank you Moe for giving me the chance to interview you. I appreciate your time!

Arianna 🙂

*All photos in this post belong to Moe N. Reed.

Nice to see you!

I know that most of you are probably expecting a film review, or an interview with a filmmaker, but this week is going to be a little different. In the past weeks, I dealt with a power outage, just after starting an online class, so my schedule has been a bit crazy. I figured that because a few more people have been reading my blog, I wanted a chance for you to get to know me a little better.

When I created this blog, I was focused on being a filmmaker and an actor, but my goals have changed from the process of learning and gaining new experience. Currently, I am focused on writing, school and keeping my mind happy by spending time in nature. Today I am going to share with you some of my current projects, announcements, and achievements! Let me know some of your wins in the comments!

1. Feature Screenplay

For so long I was trying to think of an idea good enough for a feature-length film. I started writing a story, then contemplated turning it into a novel, and then I gave the story a break. I set it down. Something about it wasn’t right, so I wanted to move on for a little bit. Then, in a dream one night, an idea came to me, and I have been writing about it ever since. It is a sci-fi, family drama, adventure story, and I am excited to write it (and eventually film and direct it one day)! More details to come in the future!

from GIPHY

2. Publishing my poem book

I have been working on this poem book for more than five years. Yes, you read that right! Five years. While I was recovering from my concussion, I wrote poems to express myself. When I healed, I started to compile my poems and edit them. Now, the book is almost ready, and it is on schedule to come out this December!

The poems are heavily inspired by my healing journey, nature, learning, growing and just appreciating the beauty in every single day. I was going to wait until after the pandemic to release it, but I think it has the ability to help some people realize that they are not alone in their feelings, and everyone goes through ups and downs, even if they look happy on the outside.

from GIPHY

3. My Short Screenplay was accepted into a festival!

When I started screenwriting, I was under the impression that it took years to get accepted into festivals and years to learn how to write a compelling film. Although I am not an expert and I have so much to learn, getting accepted into a festival makes me feel like I am on the right path with my goals. A small victory is still a victory! BOOYAH!

from GIPHY

4. My Short Screenplay is nominated for an award.

My screenplay, Will Power, was accepted into another film festival and was nominated for an award in its category. This is very exciting and makes me want to do a happy dance. I found out I was nominated on my birthday, and it was such a great birthday gift for myself. I am very excited! If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I could have been possibly accepting my first award in person in the next few months, but the festival is postponed to next year.

from GIPHY

5. Finally, I am a Sophomore in college!

I had to wait a few years after high school to start college because of my concussion. But, after I complete my current summer class, I am officially a Sophomore! It is kind of surreal to be honest. When it took me 5 years to recover from my concussion, I thought that I would never be able to go to college. But here I am. I am very thankful.

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6. Completing more collaborations.

I love meeting filmmakers, creatives and small brands online. I also love helping connect them with other people in my network. It is fun to support other creatives and watch their dreams come true. Hard work and dedication pay off. And so does being supportive and cheering other people on!

from GIPHY

7. I went to the eye doctor.

This is not an achievement, or a celebration, but my eyes got a lot worse. Boo. My doctor says it is probably from all of the time I spend on my computer doing school work and researching and learning. This kind of thing happens. My eyes got significantly worse after my concussion and an encounter with a terrible eye doctor (that’s a whole nother story), but now I do have the chance to get some snazzy new glasses, right?

Sometimes things happen that can easily be labeled as set-backs and negative occurrences, but if you look at them from a different angle, maybe they aren’t so bad. I mean, I still need to wear my glasses, or I will trip down the stairs, but I DO get to choose some new, fun glasses, so is it really that bad? Anyone with bad vision will understand. LOL.

from GIPHY

Thank you for reading.

Thank you to everyone who has subscribed to my blog. I appreciate it so much. I have been having so much fun interviewing new filmmakers, and I hope you have been enjoying those posts, too! If you have any questions you would like me to ask the filmmakers I interview, email me and let me know!

Also, if you have a friend who is a creative, tell them to contact me through my contact page. I would love to interview them! They could be a writer, director, filmmaker, producer, etc. Let’s support each other. Lastly, if you are a blogger, I would love if you interview me and make a blog post to help support my poem book! I would be so grateful! If you are interested, email me at alohaarianna@outlook.com and I will get back to you ASAP. The poem book also includes poems about my passion for filmmaking and story-telling!

Have an awesome day. That’s an order! 🙂

Arianna

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Queen Media Collective

I always enjoy getting to know filmmakers because all of their stories are so different. Some filmmakers have been making films since their childhood, while others get into filmmaking in their adult years. This week, I had the chance to interview the inspirational Michaela P. Shelton. Her brand and production company, Queen Media Collective, focuses on women of color who create quality content and provide media services for entrepreneurs.

Shelton graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism. Since graduating, she has been “building her portfolio in writing and editing for various publications.” She is the creator, director, writer and star of Reckless Behavior The Series that is currently in its pre-production stages for its 2nd Season. The first season premiered January of this year, and was screened at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival! Shelton says that the 1st Season was created with the goal of being “light hearted” and something that people could relate to. But, Season 2 will explore “deeper” topics that are very present in the lives of black millennials. You can watch all of Season 1 here.

Season 1 tells the the story of Michaela Holloway. She is “a post college black millennial and aspiring writer, who navigates through life attempting to find herself and avoid reckless behavior.” This series was created with the intent “to create something for us and by us that promotes the beauty and culture of the Bay Area.”

Shelton’s brand also produces motivational, genuine and authentic lifestyle pieces, “reviews, exclusive interviews and pieces targeted to men and women of color.” The intention of her content is “to inspire, intrigue and create awareness.” I even had a chance to ask Michaela a few questions. First, I asked her what made her want to get into filmmaking:

I started wanting to get into film after writing reviews for a few web series. It made me wonder if instead of solely writing blogs about my life, I could create a web series and reach a larger audience.

Next, I asked what her favorite part of the creative process is:

My favorite part of the creative process is definitely the script writing process. I love creating characters and bringing their stories and personalities into one cohesive narrative.

I am always interested in learning what a filmmaker’s favorite shows and movies are. Michaela said that her favorite movie is Rush Hour and her favorite show is The Game. Lastly, I asked Michaela what is one piece of advice she would give to a newbie in the film industry.

I would tell a new filmmaker to make sure to do their research and try to find a mentor who they can go to for guidance and advice throughout the process.

Before you watch Shelton’s web series, I think you to check out the blog series from five years ago that inspired Reckless Behavior The Series. If you want to learn more about Shelton and her work, you can check out Shelton’s production company on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can also visit her personal accounts on Twitter and Instagram, where she posts updates on her current projects.

Thank you for reading! I want to continue to support independent cinema by showcasing up-and-coming creatives. As always, I hope you and your family are safe and healthy. Thank you Michaela for giving me the chance to get to know you a little better. I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors!

*All photos in this post are not mine, they belong to Queen Media Collective and Michaela P. Shelton.

Onward Movie Review

Onward (2020) is a magical story about two brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt). They lost their dad, but go on a crazy adventure to be able to spend one last day with him. The story has many laughs along the way, but there are definitely some sad parts. (But, it is a Pixar film, so you know you will cry at some point.)

This film came out in March, but was stunted by the pandemic. So, shortly after its release, it was made available on Disney Plus. I was hesitant to watch this movie after the trailer left me unfulfilled, but I wanted to watch a feel-good, chill movie, and I think this movie filled its purpose.

Why should I watch this movie?

Besides the fact that this film stars the voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, I would say that this film is a great movie for a child to watch. The story evokes creativity, encourages imagination, and thinking outside of the box. The main characters also go on a fun adventure, which would have intrigued me immensely as a child.

Yet, there is a serious side to the story. I remember clearly crying at multiples points, but the sad parts of the film might be overlooked by a child. There is one sad part that has to do with a cassette, that made me cry profusely. It touches on the significance and preciousness of someone’s voice. But, maybe I only cried because I am older, and see the significance in some of the scenes. If I watched this movie as a kid, there would be a good chance that I would have been able to watch it without crying. Oh, to be a kid and believe in magic and the unmatchable beauty of the world! What a time!

There are also some clever scenes that were clearly directed with meaning and thought behind them. For instance, when the dragon mascot of the school becomes the face of a rock dragon, that was pretty cool! Also, when Ian crosses out ‘laughing together’ on his list of things to do with his father, I realized the incredible importance of being able to laugh with the people you care about. Sometimes we don’t realize the value in some things, until we do not have it anymore.

from Pixar on YouTube

What to think about?

This movie contains many cheesy, predictable plot twists, but the essence of the movie touches on the magic of being a child. When you get older, the “magic” fades away. It is a sad metaphor that is made in the film, but it is true. It got me thinking about when my childhood ended, and when I became an adult. In many ways I still feel very young, but in other ways, I have clearly grown up. I think I will always have my creative, imaginative side within me, and that is something that I am proud of.

One thing that I also liked about this movie is how the mom saves the day. I think that this part is very realistic, and shows the power and importance of mothers. However, at the finish of the movie, even though the father disappears again, I think that the ending image should have had the mother, her two sons, and their father (as a transparent spirit) to symbolize that he was with the family all along. Yet, I still like the meaning of this film, and the title “onward,” meaning to keep going and getting through the challenges that life throws at you.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Watch this movie: 6/10

This movie’s animation is incredible and the details in the outfits and rooms is great. I like the arc of the story (for the most part) and the ending’s message invoking the characters to do what they were destined to do. I also enjoyed how the brothers are opposites of each other, and how their love for one another is shown throughout the film.

The cheese puff boat was also pretty cool (if you have watched the movie, you know what I am talking about). However, for a good part of the movie, I was distracted by Pratt’s voice, I almost think that his part would have been better if someone less-known would have played that part. I think that his voice sounded like it was trying a bit to hard to be funny, and it made me less immersed in the film.

There are also plot holes throughout the film, but it is a kid’s movie, so I do not want to be too annoyed by this. But, for instance, the boys’ father has his legs for most of this film, but he cannot see where he is going– or can he? Sometimes the father walks as if he can see or hear, and other times he walks as if he cannot. This confused me throughout the film.

Overall, this film is a mix of fairy tale lore, dragons and curses, swords and flying, and the power of family. The film creates a sense of appreciation for our family, who cares about us through everything we go through. In the last few scenes of the film, Ian watches through rocks as he sees his brother greet his father and hug him. It is such a precious moment, and framing the scene with rocks between them shows Ian’s distance from his father, and emphasizes his longing to be with him. This movie has a lot of meaning, and I admire that. I know that the creators behind this movie created this movie out of their personal experiences in life, and I respect that greatly. You can buy the movie here.


Thank you for reading this blog post and supporting my blog! Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with my Instagram, blog, school, family, friends, work and more, but my love for movies keeps my posting. I love talking about films and sharing my thoughts with you. I hope you enjoy reading my blog, and hope that it brings you a little joy. 🙂

Arianna

P.S. Some moments of the movie that stood out to me: It was really sad when Ian and Barley’s father disappears while Barley is hugging him. This part particularly hurt. But, early in the movie when their father shows his dance moves with his feet– that was funny and heart-warming. It really showed their father’s personality and their connection to him and his spirit.

P.S.S. Some of the links are affiliate so I make a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting my creative work.

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