Saturday, August 15, 2009

Degrassi Goes Hollywood Review

Yes, last night was the night! Degrassi has gone Hollywood and it was nothing short of phenomenal. (She's totally right.)

Now, Degrassi obsession aside, Degrassi Goes Hollywood was a great movie (anything Degrassi is great). It moved at a good and relatively consistent pace, so it managed to accomplish something without rushing and leaving the audience in the dust. It kept my attention the whole time, and even our friends Flannie and... Ashley... watched the whole movie and enjoyed it (although they'll never admit the cursed Degrassi was... *gasp* enjoyable). Well, no, Ashley only stayed in the room for commercials but that's because she loves to be annoying and jerk-ish (try jerk to the 10th degree). Anyway, my point was it was engrossing whether or not you're a die hard Degrassi fan.

The movie opens up on a relaxing Paige on the phone with Marco talking about her glamorous Hollywood life (is it glamourous in Canada?) only to reveal that she isn't a stylist but a personal assistant to a boss who enjoys terrorizing her (you know, like the people who get pushed around like the characters from that bizarre show The Assistants; dude, that show is annoying but high-larious). Then we cut to Canada (with a clear representation of snow versus sun to clarify where you are... useful but annoying towards the end of the movie) and there's Manny in drama class. And then after class she goes up to her teacher and kisses him... oh, how very disturbing. In a sense, that is the definition of irony if you're making Mr. Oleander and Paige reference. Well, anyway, after that terribly awkward moment, Manny tells her incredibly slimy-looking teacher (one of those guys who you look at and go "sex offender" - ha ha pedophile!!) that as much as she'd love to be with him, she's gotta go see Kevin Smith at some event thing for Jason Mewes' movie "Mewesical High" (God that name bothers me). When Kevin Smith spots Manny in the audience he announces to everyone that she was in their film, Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh! and later on Jason Mewes tells her to come to an audition to play Trixie in his movie. Okay, cut back to LA, where Paige has told her boss that she can set her up an audition for Trixie in Mewesical High. Okay, now cut back Degrassi, where Studz has just landed the part of the band in the movie and Manny has just screwed up her audition. Oh, but wait, Peter just punched the lead in the face for flirting with Mia, so they're fired. Okay, now cut back to Hollywood where Paige was just offered the opportunity to audition for Trixie.

It's all coming together now, isn't it? Suddenly, everyone going to Hollywood isn't this awkward and inexplicably coincidential nonsense. No, Degrassi managed to provide a believable and consistent plot.

Now, it's Degrassi, so of course, they don't just go to Hollywood and do stuff. No, it's Degrassi, and everything is an adventure... even the bus-ride to LA (Sav was being a mango here).

There are three primary plots to the movie, and anything else that happened was just completely useless (although, there was minimal fluff, the movie was pretty to the point and managed to really emphasize the important stuff without diluting it was nonsense).

Plot 1: Paige. Paige lands the role initially, so her conflict is not about earning the role, it's about finding her place in "the place where the only thing bigger than their dreams is their drama." After some not-so-great advice from a not-so-great mentor (are you kidding? I l-u-v Perez! I'm not talking about Perez, I'm talking about that spazzy old boss of hers), Paige winds up believing that a diva attitude it the way to survive in that town. She goes to premieres with her old boss (and new mentor), eloquently forgetting that she used to be a jerk. Then, believing her friends "don't understand," she proceeds to boss them around and reject them when she finds out "Ellie's hurting." Too involved in her own little identity crisis, she is completely oblivious to the Degrassi-esque problems surrounding her and is struggling to maintain a reputation. But when her reputation winds up to be below the par she had originally set, Paige sinks to lower and lower levels to get publicity, leading to that much awaited smack across Marco's face when he confronts her about the stupidity of what she's about to do. But can Paige get her feet on the ground in time or will the ground fall in under her as she sinks to levels of no return? (Sorry, just had to end with one of those ominous and unnecessary questions things always end with so not to spoil the ending.)

Plot 2 will be Ellie, I guess, since I've already mentioned her. Okay, so Ellie joins Marco and Paige on their Hollywood vacation from reality, but unfortunately her reality is harder to run from than everyone else's. The initial foreshadowing takes place in Canada, when she looks at the picture of her and her father on her desk and then agrees to go on vacation. The next bit of foreshadowing is at the airport, when Ellie sees a family greeting their soldier father as her returns from the war and as they hug and laugh, Ellie tears up. But you don't truly understand what's happening until Marco gets a phone call from Ellie's mom, who explains what's happened to Marco and tells him to tell Ellie to call her since she's not picking up her cellphone. It turns out, Ellie's father has returned from Afghanistan with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Ellie's in denial. She's trying to convince herself he isn't sick and Marco isn't helping with his relentless urging of Ellie to go see him. Eventually, it becomes too much and Ellie leaves Paige's estate (although it's unclear if Paige even notices) and goes to stay with Craig, who's been off crack for a year and even wrote Ellie a song in rehab (how sweet is that?). She has a perfect day (at least that's what I gathered as I watched the music montage accompanied by a song about Craig's affections for Ellie) on the beach, as far away from reality as she could hope to be... until Craig's girlfriend comes home. Yeah, then things just get awkward (she was in a TOWEL!). So Ellie excuses herself after dinner only to be chased by Craig who asks her to stay. She tells him she still has feelings for him (that's what tells you it's TV, because in reality we'd just go, "Um... I've gotta go... there's this... fish I need to... look over there! *runs away*") and that she can't stay with him, thanks him for the song, and then walks away. Apparently Craig is so shocked by her words he forgot all about chasing after her and just walks back into his little house. Later on, at Paige's fake 18th birthday (thank her wonderful mentor for that), she receives a call from her mother accusing her of not caring which pretty much emotionally destroys her. Since her mother promoted such good morals earlier on, she decided to follow her footsteps and drink her problems away. So when Craig comes to talk to her, he's greeted by a very drunk and very sad Ellie Nash who tells him to leave her alone, she ruins lives, he'll be better off without her. Thinking she'd misunderstood him when he'd said something to the extent of "I thought my life was perfect, but then you came along and suddenly... it's not so perfect anymore" he reaches over to explain. And yes, the much awaited scene from the previews where Marco pushes Craig into the pool occurs. But we've got it all wrong! Craig isn't the bad guy, he's trying to help Ellie, and Marco's just being annoyingly overprotective! So while the only people who can help her are having a marvelously unnecessary semi-aquatic brawl, Ellie sneaks off to the beach Craig showed her, where she walks crying in circles with an empty bottle and a shawl (which she apparently grabbed on the way out or was just always wearing in a very un-shawl-like way) and then proceeds to drop her shawl and bottle and walk into the ocean fully clothed, leaving a very Hansel-and-Gretel-esque trail of her belongings. When Marco and Craig figure out what's happening, they follow Ellie's breadcrumbs and run out (also fully clothed) to pull her back to shore where she collapses crying, and apparently falls asleep, since the next scene features Ellie sleeping on Craig's couch and Craig telling Marco to go, he'll wait for Ellie. Craig and Ellie have a heart to heart conversation and he winds up walking her to the airport so she can fly home to see her father. Will Ellie-? Oh, forget that question, we all know Craig's gonna turn around and run over to Ellie in a very awkwardly-romantic way considering they're at an airport and grab her in a passionate and meaningful kiss. You'd have to be blind not to see that coming... but it is deceiving when they run over and hug first...

Plot 3: Manny. The greatest plot of the whole show, just because it has Life is a Show and Crash My Party in it. Oh, and One Saturday Night Away. Yes, now we get down to the music! Of course, we touched base on that with Craig, but for a guy who's supposed to be a musician, Jake Epstein did less performing than Cassie Steele. Not that it bothered me, since Cassie Steele has T-A-L-E-N-T. And yes, when you spell it out in letters, it means more than when you just write out the word like a regular human... don't question me. So anyway, Manny find out Paige got the part and is completely emotionally crushed. So the last thing she's expecting is a phone call from Jason Mewes stating that "Paige isn't working out." But we've known that was coming since we first saw the preview. So a regenerated Manny runs to meet Jay at the bus which is driving Studz to LA. And yes, commercial shot again, the memorable running and shouting "I'm coming with you." So hope aboard the Jay Hogart Express, where you're guaranteed some beautiful emotional breakdowns, fabulous music, hilarious Sav-ness, and some deliciously fake drumming from Mike Lobel.
Now, I can not put my love for Stefan Brogren's amazing ability to direct. The movie was really well put together and just flowed marvelously. The movie as a whole was amazing, it fits right in with the whole Degrassi series, but stands well on its own. Basically, no matter who you are, boy, girl, tall, fat, short, thin, dying, living, black, white, purple, walking on your hands, paralyzed, blind, ugly, gay, straight, or anything, you need to see this movie.
This movie is pretty sweet. I mean, it was different than expected, but hey, what's life without some spicy surprises? (Yes I enjoy alliteration.) The music is ah-mazing, Sav has proven himself compatible to me, and it shows that not everything is hunky-dory in La La Land (diva drama!).
For those of you who care, the Be On Degrassi sweepstakes that has been advertised time and time again on the N ended on August 17. So invisible bloggers, you'll be seeing what JJ and I look like in the flesh (on TV), because we are SO going to win that contest!
Mwah! Fir milenge! (That's Hindi for "see you"!)

1 comment:

  1. Guys, guess what i found in the bushes? A PHONE!!! <--Mango moment!!!