Bleats

Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe Is The Back-Up Plan We All Need For Love

Ali Wong and Randall Park's natural chemistry makes the movie a joy to watch.

Always Be My Maybe, Netflix’s most recent rom-com, premiered on May 31st, and if you haven’t already watched it this weekend, you should definitely make time to remedy that ASAP.

The movie stars Ali Wong and Randall Park, who also wrote the film together, and whose friendship dates back years, back to when both were doing stand-up in the Bay Area in the mid-2000s.

It’s directed by Nahnatchka Khan, who created Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23, as well as Fresh Off The Boat, the ABC sitcom in which Park stars as Louis Huang opposite Constance Wu.

The movie focuses on Sasha and Marcus, two childhood friends who had a falling out and stopped speaking for years, only to reconnect after Marcus and his dad are hired to install air-conditioning at Sasha’s San Francisco home.

A lot is made of the different paths they took in life – Sasha became a successful celebrity chef, while Marcus still lives at home with his dad – and a lot of the tension between them is a result of the disparities in their incomes, interests and life goals.

A key theme of the movie is food – obviously, since Sasha is a chef – and how food not only brings Sasha and Marcus together, but also highlights the disparities between the directions their lives have taken.

Writing for Vice, Bettina Makalintal observes:

“To say that food brings people together is an easy narrative, but Always Be My Maybe doesn’t fall into that. Instead, it allows food to also be a point of disagreement and a stumbling block, highlighting their divisions in money, ambition, and success—at some points, food undermines the possibility of a relationship.”

The film includes several exciting cameos – Daniel Dae Kim plays Sasha’s lacklustre fiance/manager, and Keanu Reeves plays himself on an incredibly uncomfortable and bizarre double date with Sasha, Marcus and Marcus’ girlfriend, Jenny. (Read about just how much Keanu improvised in this interview with Ali in Rolling Stone, he is low-key a comedic genius.)

While the basic narrative – childhood friends/crushes reuniting later in life – is a familiar one, Wong and Park use their comedic abilities and personal history to great effect, making Sasha and Marcus’ relationship feel wonderfully natural and realistic, and it makes the film incredibly enjoyable to watch.

Always Be My Maybe is the latest in a long line of Netflix romcoms – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Someone Great, Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, Set It Up, heck, even A Christmas Prince – and the latest in a shorter line of Hollywood films with majority-Asian casts – primarily Crazy Rich Asians and Always Be My Maybe. It’s a welcome addition to both of these genres, and this is the kind of romcom I’d like to see more of from Netflix – heartwarming, entertaining, and authentic.

Netflix Debuted A New Format Led By The Lonely Island And Honestly, It's So Crazy It Might Work

They're calling it a 'longform visual poem'.

The Lonely Island just dropped what they’ve dubbed a “visual poem/love letter” to their childhood heroes on Netflix, called The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, and it’s pure, unadulterated Lonely Island nonsense, in the best possible way.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with 1980s American baseball players, the ‘Bash Brothers’ are Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, who played for Oakland and helped lead them to victory in the 1989 World Series.

They became known as the ‘Bash Brothers’ because they took to “celebrating homers by bashing each other’s forearms”, and the moniker has since been applied to a number of sporting duos, including two Brisbane Heat players and two players from Disney’s The Mighty Ducks.

If you’re not sure what a “visual poem” is, one writer for the Guardian described it as “Like Beyoncé’s Lemonade… but for 80s baseball players”, and that description is pretty accurate, tbh (please don’t come for me, Beyhive).

It’s available as an album as well as a visual experience – the album includes collaborations with Sia, HAIM and Maya Rudolph, while the visual poem features cameos from so many of your faves, including Jenny Slate, Hannah Simone, Steph Beatriz, Sterling K. Brown, and Jerry/Gary/who-knows-at-this point from Parks & Rec, AKA Jim O’Heir.

It’s been in the works for over a year, if this video of Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer performing the opening track, ‘Jose & Mark’, in LA in May 2018 is anything to go by. Keep watching, and you’ll also enjoy a cameo from Jorma Taccone as Joe Montana.

You don’t need to be an expert in 80s baseball to appreciate this love letter to the era – just being a fan of The Lonely Island is enough. The visual poem is typically hilarious, and a fantastic homage to the incredibly decadent 80s lifestyle enjoyed by multimillionaire sports stars.

Plus, Jose Canseco has already responded via Twitter, and given out his manager’s number to the entire internet in the process:

I’ll leave you with one of the best songs from the Experience, featuring Sterling K. Brown as Sia. You’re welcome.

Noah Centineo Is Struggling To Win Your Love With His Latest Rom-Com For Netflix

According to critics, 'The Perfect Date' is no 'To All The Boys'.

Noah Centineo’s latest Netflix romcom, The Perfect Date, dropped on Friday. Since then, the reviews have been rolling in, and they’re… not exactly glowing. Ouch.

The movie stars Noah, obviously, as well as Riverdale’s Camila Mendes and Laura Marano of Austin & Ally fame. With the help of his best friend, Noah’s character, who possesses what has to be one of the fakest-sounding names ever, Brooks Rattigan, creates an app that allows girls to book dates with him, all in an effort to earn enough money to go to Yale for college.

While going on all of these dates, Brooks is also pursuing the rich, popular girl (played by Mendes) but ends up realising that the girl of his dreams was right beside him all along.

If it sounds generic, that’s because it is, and most reviewers seem to agree.

Writing for Vox, Constance Grady deemed the movie ‘fine’, ranking it below To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before but above Sierra Burgess Is A Loser. 

Vice’s Nicole Clark calls the movie ‘mediocre’, but adds that it delivers on its main purpose – to fulfil the audience’s desire to see Centineo play the Dream Boyfriend, again and again and again.

The movie has a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, compared to To All The Boys’ 97%, which still puts it ahead of Sierra Burgess’ 64% rating.

For the first half-hour of the movie, Brooks is pretty insufferable, and hard to root for. As the movie goes on and he learns more about the kind of person he is and wants to be, he improves, and the movie does too, but it’s a big ask to expect audiences to sit and wait that long for a romcom to become enjoyable when there are so many wonderful romcoms out there.

The script tries to be funny by including a lot of banter, sarcastic quips and pop culture references in the characters’ dialogue, but the delivery feels forced and as a result, falls flat.

The movie does give Centineo more space to explore his funny side, particularly with all of the dates his character goes on, and Nicole Clark agrees, writing that “the film’s funniest bits” can be found in these scenes.

One refreshing aspect of the film was the inclusion of a (presumably) gay best friend, who isn’t a camp caricature and whose sexuality isn’t the sum-total of his personality – there’s no big ‘coming out’ moment, just a moment when Brooks realises his friend is blushing after serving a customer he likes.

Laura Marano, who plays Celia, definitely piqued my interest – younger readers may know her from Austin and Ally, but since I wasn’t watching Disney Channel originals while at university, I’d never seen her before now. She does a great job as the dry and at-times-abrasive Celia, and I hope this isn’t the last we see of her.

Sidenote, but apparently this isn’t Centineo and Marano’s first time working together: Noah appeared on Austin and Ally back in the day. Talk about a glow up!

Overall, I enjoyed the movie more than I expected to based on the reviews, but it’s not something I’d necessarily come back to like I would with To All The Boys, and that definitely seems to be the consensus amongst critics. It’s an enjoyable enough way to spend a Saturday night, especially if you somehow still can’t get enough of Noah Centineo.

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