The other night, my friend Cornbread was on an internet call, looking at each other from two thousand miles away. Very spooky if you think about it, just ghosts in each other's machines. Then Cornbread goes all glitchy saying, "You believe in ghosts?"
You can talk to about such topics with a certain type of friend. This type of friend does not have the name of a demon tattooed on them. This type of friend does not own two or more crystals they believe have any kind of powers. This type of friend does not have a sword nearby.
If you are talking ghosts and goblins with a friend holding a sword in one hand, a glowing crystal in the other, and has the name JERRY tattooed on his or her bicep, find a new friend.
So I told Cornbread no, I did not believe in ghosts. What did he think? He told me to hold on a minute and got himself another beer, cracking open the cold can and saying, "I saw a man exhale a mighty big cloud of vapor and walk into the dark."
I asked a few questions. What kind of vapor? What kind of dark? Do ghosts exhale? I have not been a resident of the South in several years and while not sure, I doubted they had changed the rules on breathing ghosts.
Turns out, they have not changed southern ghost rules. They just got hipsters that vape. I encouraged Cornbread to try it out before his two pack a day habit of Camel Wides catches up to him.
So the film Booksmart had me tricked. I went in looking for an edgy comedy like the ones I was raised on. The ones where one or more Corey had adventures in high school.
The plot follows Amy and Molly, two smart as shit kids going to better places after high school who find out so are all the assholes they look down upon. The slutty girl, the theater kid, the stoner guys, all the archetypes of school are going off to Ivy League or equivalent. Amy and Molly face the fact that while everyone else was partying and studying, they were just studying. Stunned by this revelation, Amy and Molly plot to go to the crazy high school party and have one last fun night. Along the way they meet a serial killer, confront their crushes, and learn that all they really needed was to be less up their own asses.
The plot is clever in its simplicity. As Amy and Molly get to know the kids they dismissed, they learn the kids are three dimensional people. The direction of Olivia Wilde and the script pivots with nimble dexterity around Amy and Molly's point of view. From the beginning to the end the audience goes through the same emotional growth as the girls seeing their peers as more than they first appeared. Add in amazing shots such as the pool scene (which could have been a Radiohead music video from the 90s) and the following oner shot that ends in silent screaming, and the film amazed me even more.
Like the best John Hughes movie, Booksmart leaves the audience thinking the characters are going to be okay. Maybe it leaves them one too many times, the ending drawn out far too long, but I wish all these kids well. That's not too bad.
Special awards go to Billie Lourd who has the best "having sex in a graveyard" story in recent memory.
The library says check it out.