Movie Review: ‘Harriet the Spy’

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Oh, I remember fondly of the 1990s movies, especially the ones that were made from Nickelodeon. Those VHS tapes were orange and you weren’t anyone unless you had a couple of orange tapes in your collection. One of the first movies made by Nickelodeon was “Harriet the Spy.”

Released in 1996, “Harriet the Spy” was an adaptation to the book series of the same name. It also introduced the world to Michelle Trachtenberg, the girl who would go on to be the whiny brat that will end the world in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and a bitch on “Gossip Girl” (who isn’t a bitch on that show, am I right?). The movie also introduced children to Rosie O’ Donnell, who was/is still the face of the Kids Choice Awards for many. Rosie hosted the award show from 1996 until 2004.

The movie follows Harriet M. Welsch (Trachtenberg), an inspiring writer that literally creeps on people and writes down what she observes because her nanny Golly (O’Donnell) told her that she needs to write down everything if she wants to become a great writer. Everything is good in her life until her nanny is fired and her life is turned upside down. Harriet must overcome and adapt to the changes to her life as her parent’s think she is crazy, friend’s turned on her, and she doesn’t have the support system of Golly.

The movie itself isn’t a bad movie at all when you take out the nostalgia. It was cleverly written so that parents/adults will enjoy it while still catering to their child demographic. It’s also a kids movie that doesn’t suffer from any major plot/storytelling issues. Usually it suffers from “how does this happen?” But it doesn’t occur here. Everything happens in the real world. The outcome and the cause and effects of the actions are how they would actually happen in the real world. The only real thing that wouldn’t happen is Harriet pretty much getting off without any trouble for terrorizing her classmates. She cuts off a classmates ponytail and nothing happened to her at school.

As an adult, this movie is an extremely fucked up movie, which is why it’s the perfect kids movie. Golly is allowing Harriet to commit several crimes like breaking an entering and stalking. I totally understand and okay if it was in a public place, but some of these are just wrong. Like at one point, she’s starting into a store from the back alley and watching one of her friends have struggle to buy groceries. How is that okay? Golly is also the one that tells her to write down all of her observations which are just sometimes mean and cruel. She rudely wrote about how her friend’s father should just get a “real job.” Her white privilege shows so bad. Harriet has carves a hit list style list of all the people she “wants to get revenge.” I’m very shocked this is kids movie.

Where the movie fails is with some of the adult acting and how the adults were written. The only good adult was Golly, who had slightly questionable morals. An example of this was Harriet’s teacher. There’s a scene where a girl spills paint on Harriet on purpose. The teacher thinks the children are being helpful by grabbing paper towels but it’s very obvious that they are spreading paint around and making it worse. Another example of this is when the parent’s instruct the teacher to make sure Harriet doesn’t have her notebook when at school. The teacher literally pats her down in the middle of class, which no one would do because it’s demeaning and embarrassing. It’s stuff like that hurts the movie. Especially when everything else is true to real life.

“Harriet the Spy” is a classic movie that will bring on full nostalgia trips. The movie is well done in most aspects, especially when it comes to making the kids movie also appeal to adults with the writing. The writing and acting of the adult characters/actors is what hurts the film. It’s the most unbelievable part of the film that is based in real-time and does it well.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Unreleased single review: “Sad Serenade” by Selena Gomez

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One of the most beloved songs off of her debut solo album “Stars Dance,” “Sad Serenade” is an unreleased song that many have wondered why Selena Gomez didn’t include it. So I thought that it was time this #MemoriesCureMondays to review this song that is I believe is a missed opportunity for a single. It’s time to reminisce about our own Sad Serenade with what never was.

“Sad Serenade” follows the EDM/europop style that is pretty much present throughout “Stars Dance.” The arrangement of the song is something that is rather addictive. The beat is catchy and just makes you want to dance. This contradicts the lyrics, which takes more of a sadder nature. The song is about relationship that ended badly. The progression in throughout the song is great. It’s builds up to the chorus and then let’s loose. The lyrics are classic pop lyrics that will get stuck in your head for days. It’s the most upbeat heartbreak song. The vocals on the song are the best because you can feel how vulnerable Selena is in the song. It’s the most open and honest song that Seleners did for “Stars Dance,” which was pretty much what Selena’s ode to hating Justin Bieber.

The song itself is a Selena classic that really should have been on the album. It could have easily replaced one of the tracks that wasn’t that great because this song is addicting to listen to. It’s sheer pop perfection, something that you would have to wait to hear from Selena until years later. It just one of those song that never gets old. It’s been four years since the song was “leaked” and I still listen to it. It’s just something about the song that makes it so good.

No one is really sure why it didn’t make the cut. Selena Gomez never let us know nor actually acknowledge the existence of the song, I don’t think the SoundCloud below is her  actually hers. It’s a shame because it’s the best song off of “Stars Dance” which is ironic because it didn’t make it. Don’t get me wrong, the album is a classic with a lot of jams. They just don’t match up to what “Sad Serenade” could have been. Can you picture an acoustic version or a live version of it?

https://soundcloud.com/theofficialselenagomez/selena-gomez-sad-serenade

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Old School Movie Review: The Princess Diaries

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I’ve never seen Disney’s “The Princess Diaries” mainly because I was never really a big Anne Hathaway fan. She’s very talented, don’t get me wrong. But when this movie was released, she was starting the era was she was literally in everything. It was probably because of this movie. So, I decided to watch the movie in my mid-20s and review for people who were like me and haven’t seen it. Let’s relive it this #MemoriesCureMondays.

“The Princess Diaries” follows as Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, learns that she is the princess of a small, yet fruitful country in Genovia. Genovia is the land of many accents, but you won’t learn that until the second movie. Mia is pretty much the socially awkward clumsy wallflower that her Queen of a grandmother, played by Dame Julie Andrews, transform into a slightly more eloquent girl next door that is trying to be a princess. Her two world of being a princess and normalcy collide when it becomes public. Mia must try to decide if she’s ready for the crown, who are real friends are, and her new-found fame.

The movie itself isn’t anything too great. It’s a then-modern twist on a classic plot. At times, it’s a little too much. Like you want to punch Mia’s best friend because she’s a little bit way over the top at the certain time and you wonder why she’s friends with her. The same thing goes Mia. Mia is probably one of worse characters in the movie. It’s mainly because of the transformation. It just happens way too fast and makes it unrealistic. If she was really unlike a princess like as she was in the beginning, there’s no way that she would become one in like a month. I know it’s a Disney movie but still. The movie is though a charming movie once you get past the rough edges. It’s not a horrible time watching it.

The acting is okay in it. It’s a Disney movie so you can expect cheesy and not very good acting. Julie Andrews is amazing at this but that is to be expected when you look at her resume. Sandra Oh, Cristina Yang from “Grey’s Anatomy,” is also in the film and pretty much steals every scene she is in. She’s a minor character but you want to see more of her because that’s how well she does her character. Like I said before, Mia’s best friend starts out as the least likable character but does eventually win you over. Mandy Moore is also in the movie and she plays a bitch. She’s really good at it. It makes you wonder if she learned from past experiences. And you can’t have an early 2000s Disney movie without Erik Von Detten. For those who don’t know about him, he was one of the top male actors in the Disney folds next to Ryan Merriman, he was in “Smart House.” Erik played a villain for one of the few times and he actually did rather good at it. It didn’t come across until mid-movie that he was a dick but he did pretty well when it was time to shine.

Now let’s discuss the message of the movie because it’s one that is very much messed up. The movie main message is about being yourself but it’s covered up by the changing yourself in order to fit in and impress. Mia changes herself in order to fit in to become a Princess. That’s just a great message to send out to the millions of people watching this movie. I mean, I expected this with a Disney movie. There moral of the stories don’t have a good track record, but I mean this is two totally conflicting messages. At least, not have conflicting messages.

Overall, it’s not a bad movie. It’s just one that you can live without seeing. It’s the better out of the two movies. The acting isn’t great, the plot is one that’s overdone, but it does have redeeming qualities. It’s a quality movie with a positive message of being yourself that is hidden behind a bad message of changing yourself to impress others. If you have nothing else to watch, then I recommend it but it’s not a Disney classic like people say it is. It’s just an average 2000s Disney movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Album Review: Joe Jonas lived the ‘Fastlife’

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Before joining DNCE, Joe Jonas was a “Love Slayer.” In 2011, Joe Jonas released his first, and only, solo album entitled “Fastlife” but no one really calls it that. I refer to it as “Love Slayer” or “Joe Jonas’ sex album” because that was what it was. It was the promise ring wearing Jonas’ ode to getting it on that just came out of nowhere. Because nothing says sex like getting a gun pulled on you in the bathtub. See?

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If that doesn’t scream sex, then I don’t know what does. “Fastlife” is the first Jonas album to have a Parental Advisory sticker. Why? Because Lil Wayne raps on the album. Yeah, see how it just comes out of nowhere? Wasn’t expecting Lil Wayne to appear? Neither was the rest of us. At least Nick got his sticker all by himself by saying naughty naughty words and talking seductively to the point that women were throwing panties at computers/mobile devices hoping he will get them by magic.

The songs on the album aren’t bad, they just aren’t what someone was expecting from him. The main problem is that Joe didn’t slowly/give any warning that his album would be dirtier than a child’s sandbox until it was literally too late. “Just in Love” was the only indication of it and that was nothing compared to some of the other songs on the album. Can you picture being the parent that bought their child a Jonas Brother’s album that was laced with sexy sexual lyrics?

Lyrical matured, the songs were catchy and made you dance. “See No More” is probably the standout song from the album because it shows what the album could be. It’s very obvious that  Joe did this album in order to shed his purity ring image…and the ring itself. Like I said, the songs aren’t bad they just were unexpected. It also doesn’t really sound like him, at least that that time. Just a year earlier, Joe and his brother were starring in the sequel to their Disney Channel original Movie “Camp Rock.” The Jonas Brother were even on an unofficial break. “Fastlife” was literally something that no one expected because of that. It hurt the album like a Taylor Swift break-up song.

If the album was released now,  then it wouldn’t be that big of a change and probably would have been more successful. Overall, it’s not a bad album. It just the one that makes you go “Is that Jonas Brother talking about sex?”  I wonderful if this album is what made Nick release his sexy time albums?

Here’s the album for you to enjoy:

Rating: 3 out of 5

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