n Olivia Wilde’s 2019 directorial debut “Booksmart”, two bright high school seniors learn that they mess up. Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are Ivy League school-bound and learn on their last day of school that the partiers and burnouts, also got into those same schools. That is because, as one character said, they are “incredible at handjobs but got a 1560 on the SATs.” They did both. Molly, more distraught than Amy, resolves that their last night of high school should have the two most studious girls go to a house party.
The plot sounds simple. The early presented troupes seem familiar. But “Booksmart” is more than just your typical high school movie. It is a wild ride about self-discovery, learning that the cover doesn’t always match what’s inside, and love. Continue reading ITOL Top Films of the Decade, Entry No. 3: Booksmart
Given how much the late night talk show has been revitalised in recent years with the advent of online video, it’s shocking it has taken Hollywood this long to make a modern comedy set within that world. After all, there’s nothing more tantalising for a comedian to write than a movie about the nature of comedy. But with “Late Night”, the filmmakers have gone beyond merely dramatising the ins and outs of putting on a show and made something of a landmark to the current state of media; an encapsulation of everything both great and terrible about it, and a clear vision of how we can make it better.
“Late Night” hits a lot of the expected beats of the workplace comedy: the fresh-faced newstart comes in, the veterans are dubious of them, they make their early mistakes but learn the ropes, they bring fresh ideas to the table, and eventually gain the trust of their new colleagues. However, getting past the formulaic structure, it’s clear that the filmmakers are using the familiar platform as a building block to share topical ideas. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.50: Late Night