Sierra Burgess is a Loser (Film) Review

Netflix is currently in the throes of a rom-com renaissance. Finally giving us smart new romantic movies, directed mostly by women, we’ve been spoilt lately with the mighty To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and to a lesser extent Claire Scanlon’s Set It Up (2018). Both movies are better than most films of this nature and I am loving it. So when I heard about Sierra Burgess starring my one true love Shannon Purser I got super excited.

SBIAL is not directed by a female director though and it’s also sadly not nearly as good. Are the two connected?

Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.

*Minor spoilers*

My Review

Sierra Burgess sets itself up in the usual way, establishing roles early on and leaving us in no doubt of who’s who in the social hierachy. Sierra (Purser) is the daughter of a famous literary father and a self-help guru mother (Alan Ruck and Lea Thompson) and ‘isn’t like other girls’ – or at least she prides herself on being one of the only girls who doesn’t care about her appearance. She’s smart basically and not distracted by such trivial things. (Yes there’s a slightly superior air to her but why not when she’s treated like literal dog shit by some of her peers?).

Veronica (Kristine Froseth) by contrast is a stone cold fox but a shitty person. She’s super mean to anyone ‘less’ and pretty horrid to her friends too. She absolutely has her sights set on humiliating Sierra just for the pure fun of it – which is how this whole tale begins.

Barb wire

Let me tell you that I will always root for the underdog. Sierra isn’t always likable but she is motherfucking Barb from Stranger Things and therefore, I’m her homegirl for life. She isn’t ugly by any stretch but I get that we’re supposed to consider her the lowest of the low on the looks and body beautiful scale (e.g. she’s completely normal). When Veronica pinches some of Sierra’s tutoring flyers and gives out her number to a hottie Jamey (Noah Centineo) who believes it’s Veronica’s – well, you’ve got yourself a modern-day retelling of Cyrano.

You didn’t think Sierra could pull this off on her own with her hideous ginger face and oafish stature did ya?

Sierra starts romancing Jamey by text very quickly but soon hits a wall when he asks her to face time. Being the resourceful brainiac that she is, she quickly sees a window of opportunity and goes for it. Veronica, you see is trying to impress a college boy who thinks she’s a dummy. If only someone were on hand to school her in the ways of the ancient philosphers in exchange for a borrow of her face and body for a couple of hours?

So our unlikely duo team up to pull the wool over the eyes of their boy crushes – and fall in love with each other instead. Well, sort of, unfortunately not in the way I was cheering for – but in the friendship sense. For me this is the most important relationship to come out of the film, who needs boys?

Bitch Force Three

Sierra quickly learns that Veronica’s picture perfect life is very far from it (her mother, played by Chrissy Metz, is bitter, miserable and extremely hard on Veronica) which doesn’t excuse her behaviour but does explain some of it. Meanwhile, Sierra suffers for the pressure placed upon her by a brilliant and famous dad. She’s also just found out that she can’t just walk into her chosen college with straight As – she needs to stand out.

As the girls scheme and Jamey falls deeper and deeper for the Veronica/Sierra hybrid, things get increasingly elaborate (and stupid) – and Sierra’s friend Dan (RJ Cyler) implores her to come clean. Look, I don’t buy most of this and although I want to believe that the geek can get the hot guy (because I know it happens), this set up just doesn’t ring realistic at all. The cat fishing is creepy and nobody is as good and pure as Jamey is. We’re supposed to examine teen stereotypes here and realise that that’s all they are but surely the dishonesty would render forgiveness impossible – or at least never as quickly as it pans out onscreen? I know that’s a boring take but sue me.

Anyway, there’s a bit where Sierra pretends to be deaf and it’s really stupid. Then she does something horrible to Veronica proving that she’s no better than the school mean girls. The film is not terrible but it just isn’t in the same league as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I resent it for that.

The final prom scene is very much a homage to John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, down to the music and Sierra’s frock but it’s still not a good enough vehicle for my babe Shannon.

Justice for Barb (still)!

My Rating

3.5/5.

What does my girl think of this one? Would she catfish the fudge out of it or remain honest and true throughout? Find out here.

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Weekly Digest #4

What I’m digging this week.

Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer & Poster

Season Two is coming around Halloween and could there be a better show to hunker down with as the nights draw in? I don’t think so.

So damned excited.

Fat Girl (2001)

This film, man. I can’t believe I’ve only just picked up on it (via the medium of Letterboxd, naturally).

It tells the tale of two sisters, the youngest of whom spends most of her time jealously watching her sibling as she gives in to adult desire. Oh, she’s also fat and constantly eating so right away I’m with her. It’s not at all what I was expecting but it is a satisfyingly accurate study on adolescence, teenage desire and the rivalry between girls.

It’s also one of the most shocking films I’ve seen recently – make of that what you will.

Darling (2015)

Another bloody gem.

Blissfully disgusting, genuinely creepy and stunning to look at, it might not be everybody’s cup of tea as it sometimes veers into hammy territory but I loved it. Very fucking cool.

Both this and Fat Girl will be coming to a podcast episode near you soon!

The 13th Doctor Who & the Men Who Can’t Stand It!

I’m not a regular Doctor Who viewer: I dip in and out sometimes because my step son likes it. Despite this, I could not be more stoked for the first female doctor!

Even though I was holding out for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, I’m happy with the choice made. From what I know of Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block, Adult Life Skills) she’s cool and more than capable of making the role her own. She must feel incredible right now. I think I might start watching again.

As for the men, I know I should be cross about all the misogynistic comments about having a woman Who (and I am) but they’re just so pathetic. Like, honestly, get over yourselves. This is Ghostbusters all over again and you’re turds.

These memes are fucking fantastic, though.

What are you digging this week?

Big Screen Girl Gang 

I stole this idea from last month’s Cosmopolitan, not going to lie. It was lying around in the gym last night and I take my inspiration where I can get it. Cosmo’s version has more of a single girl flavour though, choosing to celebrate the solo babes of cinema in line with the release of Bridget Jone’s Baby.

I’m just picking the 8 movie women I’d most like to hang with and why, because why wouldn’t I? It’s an awesome plan.

In no particular order:

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Who? Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Why? Look, Lisbeth isn’t exactly warm and fluffy, I know this. Hugs might be a little light on the ground but when it comes to loyalty, there’s nobody more so. I’m all about that and appreciate it in friends. Plus, if I accidentally ever send a dodgy email to somebody, who better than Lisbeth to intercept it before it gets read?
What she’d teach me: How to actually use my laptop for more than just streaming Netflix and buying toot.

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Who? Beatrix Kiddo AKA The Bride (Uma Thurman, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2)
Why? She’s just very cool and focused. I could use inspiration like that in my life. She also has the whole revenge thing down pat so I know, if anyone ever really hurt me, she’d have some tips on how to deal.
What she’d teach me: How to be handy with the Japanese steel, or failing that, a stick from the park.

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Who? Alabama Worley, née Whitman (Patricia Arquette, True Romance)
Why? Alabama is sweetness personified with, like me, a love of martial art movies and pie. She also believes in true love and girl, you got me there. Love is the only thing that really matters in life as far as I’m concerned, be it romantic, parental, whatever – there’s a reason it makes the world go round.
What she’d teach me: How to be creative and strong in a fight, whilst rocking the shit out of leopard print and candy-coloured Lycra.

My tribute to Alabama, here.

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Who? Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle, American Mary)
Why? Mary would be the hot friend I had a bit of a thing for. She’s an academic but she’s also open to trying new and bizarre things. The desire to accompany her on these adventures would hopefully rub off on me. She’d likely be the most open-minded of the gang and ferociously feminist, which is fine by me.
What she’d teach me: To express myself better. How to be braver when I get piercings.

My review of the film, here.

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Who? Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy, Ghostbusters)
Why? She’s so fun and smart, and rocks a boiler suit like nobody’s business. She’s also not afraid to fight for what she believes in (ghosts), even when the rest of the world is rolling their eyes at her and her team. She’d probably make me look cleverer just by association.
What she’d teach me: Sciencey shit and how to wield a proton pack (like I wouldn’t ask to try it).

My review of the film, here.

Gilmore Girls TV Series starring Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann as Emily and Richard Gilmore - dvdbash

Who? Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls)
Why? Not technically a ‘big screen’ character but Emily stays. (She was in Dirty Dancing and a load of other films, what more do you want from me?). Em might seem like a controversial choice with a few decades on the rest of us but man is she good fun. Appreciates a damn good drink, always comes through for her loved ones and is the sassiest person in the Stars Hollow area (yes I know she’s a way out of town). You’d always be drunk and/or laughing your arse off round Emily’s.
What she’d teach me: How to burn my haters with the flick of my tongue (not like that, you pervs).

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Who? Margaret (Lisa Haas, The Foxy Merkins)
Why? Why not? She’s so adorable. A bit bumbling but then so am I. She’s a hooker in the loosest sense of the word and one could argue, the worst of all time which just makes her more endearing. Margaret would most certainly be the ‘Bad Sex’ storyteller of the group. TBH I’ve just been reminded of the single best quote in cinematic history, uttered by Margaret about her plus size vagina to “The Mumbling Erotic Accessory Salesman” trying to sell her a merkin.
What she’d teach me: How to be resourceful when I’m down and out.

My review of the film, here.

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Who? Barb Holland (Shannon Purser, Stranger Things)
Why? Barb’s another small screen sensation but I was hardly going to exclude her from my dream girl gang, was I? Every squad needs a sensible type and Barb’s not a great drinker, is the designated driver and will worry about my morals for me (although p. sure that ship has sailed and circled the globe several times already). I’d keep her away from pools and beer cans though, she’s a bit of a liability.
What she’d teach me: To make the right decisions. Maybe. Probably not. But she’d try.

My tribute to Barb, here.

~

Who do you choose for your Girl Gang? ❤

We Could Be Heroes #3: Barb Holland (Fictional)

tumblr_ob5j4zwxaj1s9au7co1_r2_1280**This love letter contains Stranger Things spoilers**

A couple of months back I fell in love, and I fell hard.

Sadly, this love was never fully realised as, a) it was for a fictional character and b) the object of my affection was coldly snatched from me before it could develop any further.

Still, that’s not going to stop me waxing lyrical on how great she is. So without further ado, let’s hear it for The Barb.

Barb Holland (of Stranger Things), on the face of it, comes off as a bit of a drag. I mean, she’s sensible and protective and that comes from the best possible place but she also has a judgmental air that isn’t becoming. But she’s the ‘mom’, she cares about her BFF Nancy Wheeler, worries about her virtue and means well.

I know how she feels for I was Barb back in the day, and this is undoubtedly why the character means so much to me. Slightly off in the looks department, terrified she will be dumped for the cooler crowd and not at all attractive to the opposite sex (yet) so therefore without a frame of reference as Nancy gains sexual experience and maturity. Me.

And millions of former awkward kids across the world, which again has to be part of the reason why she’s become such a stand out from the series, despite only being in three episodes.

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Mom-core

Barb has a style all her own, all mom jeans and ruffled checks, ginormous snooker-player spectacles and ginger helmet hair (which I remember only too well from my own follicle history). She is resolutely herself and that’s what I like. Had she not been dragged into The Upside Down perhaps this would have changed and Barb would have swapped the Dennis Taylors for contacts and lowered her waistlines, fallen more in line with the new crew. This would have been fine if that’s what she wanted, but Barb is/was perfect already.

The only fly in Barb’s ointment, apart from the death and all, is that when she was gone only one person visibly cared. Justice was never served for Barb Holland and it’s an outrage of epic proportions. When Will Byers disappears, the whole town gets involved and his mother Joyce doesn’t rest for a second. Neither do his friends. When Barb goes missing, only Nancy notices her absence and only Nancy mourns her when her fate is casually revealed. Barb deserved better.

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The Duffer Brothers promise #justiceforbarb in Season Two, coming up in 2017 and I bloody hope they deliver. In the meantime though, this one goes out to The Queen of the Upside Down, the slightly annoying but caring friend, who would have lived had she not tried to fit in, or if she’d been a worse friend and just left Nancy to her own nocturnal devices.

RIP my sweet friend, we hardly knew you ❤