Culture and Entertainment

Read It and Weep

I just recently watched this Disney flick after seeing it float on my Netflix suggestion list and dismissing it for months. I ended up enjoying it; I should have realized by now that I frequently like things that I am uninterested in watching at first.

There were a lot more stereotypes both in people and plot in this movie than in Lemonade Mouth. At least I thought so. If you have not figured out by now that my reviews/gushes are spoilers, I will go ahead and issue a warning: I am going to reveal much of the plot of this movie. I will attempt to make this review more of a real one.

Okay, lets start with the characters.

This is Jamie. She and her friends Harmony, Lindsay, and Connor are everyday, normal teens. They have their small interests and crushes and problems. They blend in with the crowd; they are, do, and say nothing that makes them stand out. Jamie keeps melodramatic and rather caustic journal story of her days. She wants to be a writer, but not at the cost of her privacy.

Is is the imaginary Jamie. Is Saves the Word is the title of Jamie’s journal. This alter ego is supposed to be the good, successful girl who shows up the mean girls at school. The cool, smart, popular Is does and is everything Jamie wishes she could do and be. She is  perfectly poised at all times and has a response or retort for every unnerving occurrence in Jamie’s life. Is does everything right. “The populars” don’t have anything on Is; the mean girls can never triumph over her.

Speaking of mean girls.

Sawyer is the stereotypical snobby, nasty popular girl with the hot boyfriend (on whom Jamie has a crush). She regularly treats Jamie like a piece of trash, and everything seems to go her way. She is the head of the trio that Jamie dubs “the populars.”

Connor is the secret author of works that sing Jamie’s praise (one being a poem that causes Jamie to have a crush on Marco). He has a huge crush on Jamie that none of his friends suspect until he gets upset about Jamie ditching the quartet’s prom plans to go with Marco. He is the only one who offers her any support when her unpopularity soars.

Lenny is Jamie’s older brother who acts like Jamie is an embarrassing nuisance, but who really actually cares what she thinks of him. He dreams of being a musician but does not have enough self-confidence to play in public. Jamie’s friends acknowledge his talent before she gives him the time of day.

Jamie accidentally causes her journal to be turned in to class, and it wins a prize. Her journal becomes a bestseller, and she is very embarrassed. Eventually, she starts slipping into popular girl mode. She starts spending time with Sawyer, ignores her friends, breaks promises, and is cruel to her brother about his music. She agrees to go to prom with Marco. Everything culminates when she lets it slip that her story is her journal and the characters in the journal are real people in her school. She pretty much has no friends and no popularity at this point; Marco thinks she’s Is and calls her that all the time. Connor tries to help her, but he finally cannot take it anymore.

She realizes that Is is not a nice person and that she is letting the Is part of her take over. She tells her brother (through the door that he closed on her) that his music is good. She goes to prom with Marco fighting with herself the entire time. A teacher gives her the credit for decorating the event even although it was all the work of Lindsay and Harmony (she signed them up to decorate with her against their protests). After much internal struggling, she gives them their rightful credit and apologizes to everyone. She chases Connor down (Marco had revealed to her earlier that Connor wrote the poem) and kisses him. Her brother gets up in front of everyone and plays a song for her. Everything is happily ever after.

It was a sweet movie like most Disney flicks are. I had a lot of issues with it though. There was a lot of things that were not addressed correctly or at all. Jamie’s selfishness is dealt with, but no one else has their fault shown to them and no one else apologizes. Hardly any conflicts occur where only one person is wrong, and the same applies to this story. I would consider Jamie’s friends Lindsay and Harmony fair weather friends; they did not point out the wrong direction she was going, and they gave her the cold shoulder when she made mistakes, and I am sorry, that is as wrong as what she did to them. And I have to saw Sawyer did far more wrong to Jamie than Jamie ever did to her.

Jamie says in her apology that she should never have wrote all those nasty descriptions of her classmates; she said everyone is not as black and white as she described them as being. There certainly is plenty of grey areas in life, but that does not mean we should dismiss all the black and white areas. One black area in particular is Sawyer’s nastiness and selfishness. That issue is not dealt with at all, nor is the fact that Jamie’s friends stopped being real friends to her when she stopped being real friends to them. So its okay to do your friend the same wrong she did to you simply because she did it first? Yeah, I do not think so. I have yet to see a movie where more than one person apologizes; there is usually wrong on many sides, but only one person is emphasized as being in the wrong.

This movie followed the typical underdog gets the girl pattern, but I liked it particularly since Connor was the only one who made any effort to stick by Jamie. I also liked the twist that the reason (or one of the reasons) why Jamie liked Marco was because of Connor’s poetry.

Oh, and like many Disney flicks the characters have to be really blind for the plot to work. It is hard to believe absolutely no one figured out on their own that they were characters in the book; all the main characters would have even if she had not stated that it was her journal (which everyone might not have known anyway until she apologized). And Connor’s crush, at least Lindsay, Harmony, and Marco should have known about it. I would believe it if Jamie herself did not see it; she did not want to see it, and we can make ourselves blind to things we don’t want to see. To use that theory on the entire school would be a stretch though, especially since people already like imagining real people in the characters of fiction without any basis for doing so.

The issues that I mentioned were some of the reasons that prompted me to write a serious review. Another reason is that I feel like I should actually put some thought and effort into some of my reviews. I don’t have a problem with gushy reviews, but I want to spend some time on really writing about things as well as gushing over them; there is plenty of time for both.

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