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.
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.
- Each character’s bedroom helps tell the person’s story.
- “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.”
- At times the camera stayed still and did not move to follow characters.
- Zeke keeps telling stories from high school, even when he is 23 and should have more stories to tell by then.
- “I liked you, I don’t like you anymore.”
- Kids make mistakes.
- “I don’t want to end up like you man.”
- Mo’s dad wonders why his son likes Zeke more than him.
- Mo shuts a door and a picture falls, as a symbol of things beginning to change.
- Mo is driving away while Zeke is visible in the rearview. Mo is moving on from his old life.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.)