• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 92: Naomi


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!


Whenever I think about today in general as the date reads August 5th, I think about the release date of Suicide Squad which was released six years ago. I don’t think about that film in general, how would I knowing still haven’t seen the film?! I think about a potential movie date I had with this one girl by the name of Naomi.


In 2016 came a gal from Durango, who would just randomly follow me on Twitter one random day. Given the random girl who followed me, had a profile picture that looked like Halston Sage… You already know I followed her back instantly. The first time we ever converse, was about the Bryson Tiller concert. I can tell by her Tweets and the way she looked in her pictures, that she was a down to earth kind of person. Someone you would love to have around you all the time, as you’re guarantee she’ll make you feel good about yourself… Which is why I gave her that same kind of respect.


You would say our friendship developed over the course of time, as I would build up her confidence. Whether it be complimenting on her looks or expressing immense positivity she’ll be asked to Prom or expressing how proud I was for any little accomplishment she made… Little by Little, I would try to do my best to make her feel good about herself. Naomi had always expressed appreciation towards my way, I felt I made a simple impact on her well being, as my genuine kindness really helped her realize she’s simply beautiful inside and out.


Over the summer where we both would actually have free time: I’ve always had this urge to ask her out. I mean she had exactly what I was looking for in a woman: Someone who’s pretty, has a down to earth personality, and of course someone to have fun with… If you only knew Naomi, you would know how fun she can be. Of course: Fear of Rejection always gets the best of me, so it would be a challenge to actually express interest.


But one particular day as we both expressed interest in watching Suicide Squad… Naomi actually made a bold and unexpected move. She tweeted me a straight forward “Then Ask Me Out” kind of tweet, in which my mind was… Like what?! She actually has interest in going on a date with me?! This can’t be real right, it’s gotta be a joke?! So I did actually replied in asking her out to see Suicide Squad, as she did say yes… Which I celebrated!


So the first go around was my fault, as I didn’t arrange no day, nor time… Not too sure what was going through my mind, but the second go around we did arrange a day and time. As I tweeting off my send off to her best friend at the time couple days before the date, who was going off to Denver for college… She replied “Better take good care of Naomi while I’m gone.” It felt like one is giving me the keys to the city type of moment… I wasn’t too sure Naomi was into me like that, to where her best friend had to let me know, but that right there solidifies it.


So the day before the date: Naomi unfortunately had to cancel, due to her job needing her. I was a little bummed out not only because the date didn’t go through, but more so I wouldn’t be able to attempt arranging a date for several months. Some may ask: Why don’t you try to arrange a date, while she’s attending in-state college?! The reason being is I wanted her mind completely focused on her studies only, as I want to see her succeed in college. As much as I wanted to go out with her… I’m still her friend first, as friends must be willing to make sacrifices in order for their friends to succeed. I just didn’t feel the need to put my needs ahead of what matters most, sure romance is the most important value in life, however for this particular time her well being and future matters way more. 


I feel one important take away I’ve always gotten out of my friendship with Naomi, is how we as men and women when we’re romantically interested in someone, don’t tend to strive to at least have some kind of purpose in one’s life. One of the biggest mistakes is we tend to only think of a “Date or Bust” mentality, where if one doesn’t achieve in dating someone, that they’re atomically worthless to them. I feel we miss out on too many grand opportunities of at least having ourselves a friendship with the opposite sex, that’ll actually better our well being in so many ways.


Naomi is a perfect example: Though I’ve never met her, our friendship has been an absolute pleasure of mine. I say that because every single time we’ve ever converse with one another, it’s been nothing but care, supportive, and kindness towards one another. I’ve been supportive for Naomi through it all: Her accomplishments, her relationships, or any sudden little moment where I can express gratitude or boosting her confidence through the roof… I’ve always wanted to see her happy. 


It’s been an absolute honor watching Naomi grow and progress to the woman she is currently today. It’s been a swell six years of friendship, a friendship in which betters ourselves as human beings. I know deep down she has a lot of nice things to say about me, as she knows I’m always a reliable source in terms of helping her through a difficult day or needing someone to cheer her up, letting her know how much she means to a lot people including myself. Maybe one day I’ll meet her, but for now I’m just blessed we at least have a healthy friendship that has carried years on end.


Let it be known: Don’t allow your ego’s get in the way of developing something special with someone, even if it’s not romance per say, at least try to find some moral purpose you can make on someone’s life because who knows… They just might be a quality friend. Let’s talk about movies!


Hatching Grade: B-


As one encounters a still image, of a young girl caress over a dinosaur like egg… Your mind suddenly grows curiosity, as what the heck is this about?!


Hatching is a unique creature like horror film, that actually excels in the horror aspect but even so the dramatic aspect especially. The horror aspect of this film is well done, the creature design of this bird like creature is creepy and unsettling, as it’s transitions makes one feel very uncomfortable. 


When it comes to the dramatic aspect of this film, it’s actually a fairly told family drama story. Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) though has a loving family and all, her mother (Sophia Heikkila) however… Isn’t the best. She puts a great amount of pressure on the young gal, whether it be her involvement in gymnastics or keeping a secret and holding her composure of her mother seeing another man behind her fathers back. The mother basically is an intimidating force in which no one can tell her off, which is why I think the creature is what everyone is feeling on the inside. There is so much pain building up within her daughter, that eventually develops into a very horrific monster inside. Kind of feels like a deeper meaning of a mother/daughter relationship story, the pain, the angst, the heartache, all of the above. 


Hatching in terms of visual wise… I’m at odds with how it looks. I feel it’s an extremely well shot film, however sometimes it can come off as a parody, even though it’s not a horror/comedy by any means. Kind reminds me of the look of Ari Aster’s Short Film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons… Yes both films aren’t comedies, but the visual style comes off as if the film is a joke regarding plot wise and how it’s presented. 


There is some confusion in terms of rules of the creature and such. Not to mention I don’t understand why exactly the creature, wanted to harm a friend of Tinja’s when her friend has been nothing but nice to her. It’s not like the creature grew of jealously or the creature felt Tinja was at harm… It’s just attacked her just because. I also couldn’t believe that the guy whom Tinja’s mother is seeing, believed Tinja actually attacked his hand?! You can literally notice Tinja is right next to you, while this creature is coming at full force to attack you… Felt like a stupid moment that wasn’t executed properly.


Overall, Hatching was fairly decent. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on HULU.


Fire Island Grade: C


You can at least appreciate Fire Island, for showing the audience a whole new experience they may of not heard of before, in which that would be this resort like getaway island. The film showcases the island’s history in terms of moral purpose of being founded in the first place, as there is glimpses of what the island offers. If you like to party, meet new people, experience nature a bit, or just looking to have a grand time… Fire Island is the place to be, more so if you fall in line with the LGBTQ community.


The story of Fire Island in some ways isn’t half bad. The character development of one of our leads Noah (Joel Kim Booster) was developed fairly well, as you come to understand this character is quite insecure when it comes to having himself involved in a relationship type situation. Noah is hesitant considering he doesn’t want to get hurt and all, plus he likes his independence as well, so when Will (Conrad Ricamora) calls him out in one particular sequence… It’s effective, as over time Noah betters himself over the course of the film. 


You can also say the character development of supporting character Will was done fairly well, as a quiet individual whom looks like he’s having a miserable time on this island. I feel the reason being Will is in a bad mood, is because he’s learned the toxicity of this island, as he has witnessed a dark side in a lot of people. Will is more of a matured being whom would like to discover someone real, rather than just partake in the whole emptiness of the hook up scene in which that’s mainly what this island has to offer. Luke (Matt Rogers) maybe the only other character in Noah’s group that wasn’t entirely one dimensional, as the film finally had something to offer in terms of characterization, as in the third act they at least have him involved in a situation that speaks more volumes in terms of the toxic nature of this island.


The story has some nice moments here and there. You get to experience a wholesome bond between Noah and his best friends, I especially enjoyed the simple enjoyable moments the group has. Like when the group counts down the sunset or the group partakes in karaoke… Simple moments like that can really outshine the grand spectacle moments, probably because those moments were actually pure than the emptiness of the grand ones.


Fire Island does have many problems. The color contrast of the visuals that continually flicker on and off, was giving me a headache, not sure what was going on with the Cinematographers camera, but it was really annoying. The narration of this film was extremely unnecessary, especially when the narration doesn’t have much to say. I mean we would have moments where the narrator really says “I fucked up” or “Ah damn”... What’s the purpose of having narration, if we have moments, in which we already know how the character is feeling by watching them?!


I felt the whole romance side plot between Howie (Bowen Yang) and Charlie (James Scully) felt under developed, as you don’t really feel the romantic connection between these two. There’s not many subtle sequences, where the two actually converse intimately as it’s mostly just causal moments of being out in a party or out with the massive group. The film really doesn’t give us much significant time where the two actually grow a bond, which is why that whole grand finale at the end between the two… You don’t buy into anything Charlie says, because how can he possibly feel those things about Howie, without knowing much of him?!


Aside from Howie and Luke… The rest of Noah’s group was too one dimensional, as you honestly question the film as why exactly are these characters introduced in the first place?! I mean the other three characters really do absolutely nothing, as they simply fade away as you completely forget they’re names. I can’t help to think regarding this island, as it’s a getaway for the LGBTQ community to have fun and all… That this island mostly featured only gay men. I think I only saw like two maybe three Lesbians on this entire island, where’s the rest of the representation?! Do Lesbians just not go to this island, as it’s mostly for Gay Men?! I either need more inclusively involved or an explanation if perhaps this part of the island this group is staying at, is more centered around gay men, you say it’s an island for the LGBTQ community yet I only see one group involved. 


Overall, Fire Island was just ok. I would not recommend this film, not missing out much.


Purple Hearts Grade: D+


Apparently this film is gaining a lot of attention since it was released just last week. Not only currently the #1 film on Netflix even in both film and film/television categories, but the soundtrack done mainly by Sofia Carson is actually charting on ITunes… Why?!


Purple Hearts showcases an unlikely marriage, where the significance of the marriage is to help the other two financially. Cassie will be given full health benefits which she desperately needs in order to afford insulin, while Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) will be given funds to pay off a drug lord… So you see why these two would arrange a fake marriage, in order to receive the benefits the military offers if you’re married. Can’t really blame or fault these characters, considering their situation and all. The film highlights a pro about joining the military, while a con in terms of the system of this country as well.


I felt the character Luke perhaps was the best character in the entire film. He actually tries immensely to become a better person, while helping out others in need considering he was in a position where he was down and out, with no one to go to. I get his whole situation with the drug lord, but make no mistake… Helping out one who can die without their medicine, is very selfless indeed. Does he have his moments where he loses his temper?! Sure, that’ll come with the process of change… You’ll have some slip ups here and there, but as long as you continue the course in which Luke has did so often, then you can only acknowledge progress for this character.


The main flaw with this film is Cassie… She is a horribly written character. We have full understanding and sympathy towards her situation… But that doesn’t give her the right to act like an ungrateful piss pot. All Cassie does majority of the film, shows honestly little to none gratitude for Luke… I mean Luke is literally keeping yourself alive, I don’t care if you wish to not be in this situation, but show some actual decency. She really allows shallowness and selfishness over take her soul, like this is one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever seen in a romance film. The only justification Luke would have in terms of tolerating Cassie is she’s extremely pretty and nothing else… Take away her attractiveness, as you only have a bitter stubborn soul, like Luke can do so much better than this.


What annoys me about Cassie is her acting up, where you tend to question her mind. Like Cassie and Luke were actually building a bond while he was out over seas, they gotten to know each other more, they were getting along, and even Luke helped inspire her to write an original song which then led to an insane massive following. Like you would think when Luke comes home from a tragic accident, you would think Cassie would be more sympathetic?! Absolutely not: Cassie treats Luke like absolute shit, as she whines and complains about being in this situation. Did anything before this accident meant nothing to you? Does Luke serving his country where he’s risking his life for you and keeping your ass alive, mean nothing to you? Like if I was a girl, I would demand to slap this woman silly, the fact she’s acting like this way is purely disgusting like how dare you.


We can go on and on about how horrible and toxic Cassie is, but can we just acknowledge that the music sequences in this film are so baffling?! The songs are complete rubbish, the vocals in Cassie’s voice does not align well with the lyrics and it feels mumbled… Why is this soundtrack gaining any attention?! I was laughing my ass off how horrible the concluding musical moment was, like it’s so bad. The film also has some editing issues here and there. 


Overall, Purple Hearts was crap. I don’t recommend this film, I only recommend Men shouldn’t allow attractiveness to be a sorry ass excuse to be mistreated… Luke deserved better. -Mitch Smietana

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