Cancel Your Plans Tonight and Watch Eighth Grade Instead

Cancel Your Plans Tonight And Watch 'Eighth Grade' Instead

A review of "Eighth Grade", the recently released film written and directed by Bo Burnham

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"I forgot how much acne eighth graders have."

This was one of my initial thoughts as the first scene of Bo Burnham's "Eighth Grade" began to unfold. The movie opens with the main character filming a YouTube video, and I reluctantly cringed, wondering if the whole movie was going to be an exaggerated telling of how different childhood is now that technology plays such an active role in the lives of young people. But, I placed my trust in Bo Burnham and A24, and I continued watching.

I quickly made note of how awkward and genuine Kayla, the main character, appeared. So often in movies or shows about young people, kids suddenly state facts about life that no real children would ever be able to develop on their own. This movie was a much rawer depiction of youth than anything I normally come across. Kayla looked like a real girl, with imperfect makeup, flawed skin, and a simple graphic tee. She stumbled over her words and uncomfortably looked away from the camera periodically as a normal, insecure middle schooler would. I appreciated the authenticity.

As the movie continued, I slowly felt myself slipping deep into the memories of what it was like to be in middle school. As Bo Burnham put it in a recent interview with IndieWire, "a regular day to an eighth-grader feels like life and death," and that exact feeling is what he captures with Kayla's character. Nothing that an adult would consider particularly life-shattering happened to Kayla over the course of the film, but each scene had me on the edge of my seat empathizing with the struggles Kayla was facing in everyday life.

The film also included an exposing portrayal of anxiety, and, while it was never explicitly stated in the film, Kayla appears to have what may be the onset of an anxiety disorder. She speaks about her uncontrollable "nervousness" in one of her many YouTube videos, divulging her frustrations on camera and reframing the idea of the "quiet kid" she is often perceived as. This aspect of the film adds a certain complexity, and it reveals with startling honesty and accuracy the hidden strife that can complicate the social growth of someone of Kayla's age.

There are undoubtedly hundreds of cinematic depictions of middle school life, and this film does not deviate far from those stories. The main element that separates this film from others like it is that it is simple, and, in its simplicity, unprecedentedly sincere. "Eighth Grade" is only about an hour and a half long, but that hour and a half points towards basic truths that apply to adults and children alike in one way or another. Elsie Fisher, the actress who plays Kayla, perfectly summed up one such truth in an interview with IndieWire when she said the film is intended to communicate that "you should just be yourself because everything sucks." In the same interview, Bo Burnham points out a parallel theme that the movie conveys perfectly: "how intense small things are." This movie is simple and yet very communicative and thought out, and I highly recommend it to anyone as a quick, heart-wrenching watch.

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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11 Amazing TV Shows That Are Ending in 2019

All good things must come to an end.

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It might just be the beginning of 2019 but there are many TV series wrapping up already. There are many breathtaking and original pilots around along with several reboots coming. This might be one of the greatest year for TV.

However, all good things must come to an end. Some series have been planned out and are going to be finished while others have been cut short. Sadly, here's a list of TV series to say goodbye to this year.

1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Final Date: May

12 Seasons//279 episodes

2. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

www.youtube.com

Final Date: End of 2019

7 seasons//91 episodes

3. Jane the Virgin (CW)

www.flickr.com

Final Date: Mid-late 2019

5 seasons//100 episodes

4. Games of Thrones (HBO)

HBO

Final Date: Summer

8 Seasons//73 episodes

5. Broad City (Comedy Central)

Comedy Central

Final Date: March

5 seasons//50 episodes

6. VEEP (HBO)

HBO

Final Date: Spring

7 seasons//67 episodes

7. Homeland (Showtime)

Showtime

Final date: Summer

8 seasons//96 episodes

8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Final date: January 25

4 seasons//52 episodes

9. The Affair (Showtime)

Amazon

Final Date: End of 2019

5 seasons//42 episodes

10. Friends From College (Netflix)

Final Date: End of 2019

2 seasons//16 episodes

11. Crashing (HBO)

HBO

Final Date: End of 2019

3 seasons//24 episodes

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