NERVE IS THE FEMINIST TEEN THRILLER WE NEED

Nerve, the late-summer flick starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco hits the nail on the head when it comes to tech thrillers. Set in present day New York City, the film trails introverted high-school photographer Venus “Vee” Delmonico (Emma Roberts), who wants to attend Cal Arts after a life lived in Staten Island. Living with her single mother (Juliette Lewis), Vee is helping to make ends meet after the death of her older brother. She hangs out with a typical high school movie crew – the wild one (Emily Meade), the nerdy dude (Miles Heizer), and the nice girl (Kimiko Glenn), but lives a thoroughly predictable life, until she’s drawn into Nerve.

Vee Delmonico, portrayed by Emma Roberts.

The game is straightforward – complete user submitted dares and get cash in your bank account. You’re a watcher (submitting dares) or you’re a player (doing them). You make your choice and live with the consequences. You can probably see how this could go wrong. The movie takes a couple of interesting twists and turns after Vee meets Ian (Dave Franco), a mysterious Nerve player who provokes her wild side and urges her to play the game.

Ian (Dave Franco) and Vee Delmonico (Emma Roberts)

Nerve‘s story is moderately predictable, there really isn’t a song in it that hasn’t been sung before, but the development of the characters is perfectly interesting, and the cinematography is bold, bright, and inviting. Roberts brings life into Vee, creating an emotional, multi-faceted character who has clear motivators & a relatable personality. Franco shines in his own ways, bringing dimension to a bad-boy character we’ve all seen before.

The supporting characters shine too. Tommy (Miles Heizer), Vee’s hacker-boy BFF who is totally in love with her, brings the audience into the film through funny dialogue. He pretty much says out loud what the audience is thinking. Machine Gun Kelly also appears as Ty – a Nerve player who refuses to lose, and it’s an unexpected, but awesome, cameo.

Tommy (Miles Heizer) and Sydney (Emily Meade)

The thing that rocks about Nerve is that female characters are constantly slaying the people around them. Vee and wild-child Sydney (Emily Meade) are totally badass throughout the game, and they’re not even taking down other girls (for the most part). Samira Wiley (yes, Poussey from Orange Is The New Black) also plays a brilliant female hacker – literally named Hacker Kween, who runs New York’s largest underground hacking ring – feminist AF. Not to mention Vee’s single mother, who is shown working full time as a nurse to save up for Vee’s impending college tuition. Basically, the ladies in this movie are amazing, supportive of one another, and smart – something you don’t often see in summer teen flicks.

The thing that rocks about Nerve is that female characters are constantly slaying the people around them.

We also get a super realistic representation of the internet. Nerve players gather an audience – one that can be rude, racist, and sexist, like many live-streamers on YouNow, Twitch, Facebook Live, and YouTube see everyday. We see comments flash across the screen as the characters play the game, we watch Periscope-like hearts flow from the users, and we see the usernames of the community players – all of which are really damn accurate (and hilarious). The depiction of the internet as a community is very real – and not as ominous as we see it portrayed on shows like Mr. Robot. The internet of Nerve is full of memes and trolls.

All in all, the ladies come out on top in this film, and Nerve is definitely a fun spin on something that could totally happen to our generation. The shots are colorful, and overall the film is one of the best teen thrillers I’ve seen. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

WHAT TO WATCH: AMERICAN BEAUTY

Man it’s been a while since I’ve done a movie review. I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this one yet. This has been one of my favorite movies for YEARS. For me it is a cult classic and a major essential to any art film-lover’s stash. Directed by Sam Mendes (Spectre, Skyfall, Cabaret), it’s an iconic portrayal of love, fear, and regret in anonymous suburbia.

American Beauty stars Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham, a disillusioned and depressed suburban father and husband. His life picks up speed when he begins to notice Angela (Mena Suvari), his daughter’s mysterious and sexy friend. The movie follows Lester’s family through the bores of suburbia, tackling themes of entrapment, infatuation, and regret. Annette Benning and Thora Birch shine as Lester’s stressed wife Carolyn and rebellious daughter Jane, who is stalked by their strange neighbor Ricky (Wes Bentley). Chris Cooper shines as Ricky’s strict military father, in another of the film’s more complex roles.

The movie features gorgeous cinematography (by Conrad L. Hall), with a dark Sofia Coppola / Tim Burton ethereal vibe.

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Overall, without giving away too much, American Beauty is a gem. It’s thought-provoking, darkly humorous plot bring meaning to the gorgeous visuals & music. It’s my favorite performance of Kevin Spacey’s, and again – is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s on Netflix now, so if you’ve finally finished Stranger Things, this is what you need to click on next.

MOVIE REVIEW: WILD

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post talking about a movie but I feel like this one is long overdue. As we already know, I love a good self-discovery movie. I especially love one that takes it’s characters into the wilderness to discover themselves (See: 127 Hours, Into The Wild, etc). I think maybe this comes from my own personal desire to do such but that’s off topic.  Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: WILD

MOVIE REVIEW: MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight is solid, charming proof that sometimes, life’s magic can’t be explained. Starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone as a skeptical magician and raving spiritualist, respectively, the story is a brief, unexpected romantic comedy set in the French Riviera in the 20s. What ensues is wildly inspiring, raucously funny and, in typical Allen style, unabashedly witty. Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

MOVIE REVIEW: THE SHINING

As a self-proclaimed cinephile, I have long been ashamed of the fact that until today, I had not seen Stephen King’s legendary The Shining, mastered by the visionary Stanley Kubrick. If you don’t know, Stanley Kubrick is the man behind iconic films like A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket. Also, if you are not familiar with Stephen King, please become familiar. The ingenious author has crafted works of all genres, though he is famous for his horror stories (If you are looking to jump in, try It or Misery).  Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: THE SHINING

MOVIE REVIEW: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

It’s been a good while since I’ve done a movie review and I feel like this one deserves a mention. If you’ve not read the book (I reviewed it here), I think this movie is still worth a watch. I think it’s always wise to read the book before it’s adaptation but you won’t be horribly lost if you haven’t read it. I won’t include any spoilers here, so if you’re looking for an honest opinion before you spend ten bucks, read on. Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

MOVIE REVIEW: DIVERGENT

I didn’t know much about Divergent before I went to see it. I’d read a little of the first book, but that was it. I actually really enjoyed this movie enough for me to want to see it a second time! The movie follows Beatrice, or Tris, as she goes through the process of choosing which faction she wants to be in for the rest of her life.

Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: DIVERGENT