In the summer of 1991, a sheltered teenage boy comes of age during a wild summer he spends in Cape Cod getting rich from selling pot to gangsters, falling in love for the first time, partying and eventually realizing that he is in over his head.
Jessie and Angela, high school dropout BFFs, are taking a week off to chill at the beach. Too bad their house got robbed, rent's due, they're about to get fired, and they're broke. Now they've gotta avoid eviction, stay out of jail and get to the beach, no matter what.
"Dude, I puked him to death!" and other (mis)adventures with Angela and Jessie
"Never Goin' Back" (2018 release; 85 min.) brings the (mis)adventures of Angela and Jessie. As the movie opens, Angela has a surprise for Jessie: for Jessie's 17th birthday next week, Angela has bought them a stay in Galveston. "How did you pay for it?", asks Jessie. "I used the rent money", confesses Angela. But the girls can make up for the shortfall if they do all the shifts that week as waitresses. Ala, things don't go quite as planned... At this point we're less than 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: the movie is written and directed by Augustine Frizzell, better known for her acting. This is her feature-length directing debut. Here she brings us the story of these two BFFs who are high-school drop-outs, and share a small apartment with Jessie's brother and a buddy of his. From all the looks and feels of it, they are all losers. But take a closer look, and instead you'll see two teenagers who are at the doorsteps of adulthood, and for whom anything is possible still. We never find out anything about either's parents or other clues as to how they got to where they are now. Beware, there are some very crude scenes in the film, so if that is not your kind of humor, better stay away from this film. I thought there were some truly hilarious scenes. "Dude, I puked him to death!" (comment from one of the girls when she accidentally throws up on someone) is an instant classic line. The best sequence in the film comes when the girls accidentally eat spiked cookies and end up high as a kite just before they need to be at work. Hilarity ensues.... just watch! The two leads (Australian actress Maia Mitchell as Angela and Camila Morrone as Jessie) are charming and have obvious screen chemistry. Last but not least, there is tons of great music in the film, both as the the original score (courtesy of singer Sarah Jaffe) and the many song placements in the film.
"Never Goin' Back" premiered at this year's Sundance film festival to good acclaim. It finally reached my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this weekend, The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (3 people, including myself). Probably the picture-perfect weather outside had something to do with it. Regardless, if you are in the mood for a truly indie film about the lives and times of two teenagers on the verge of adulthood, I'd encourage you to check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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