Film Corner: Easy A

Since Netflix keeps shoving it in our faces, we'll be taking a look at Easy A (2021) directed by Will Gluck. "A clean-cut high school student relies on the school's rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing." I've also heard something about those rumors including having sex, so warnings as needed for that, I guess.

The movie makes sure we know this is taking place in a high school located in Ojai, CA. Our protagonist, Olive, gives us her video diary intro. She swears that this isn't another Lost Girl Teen Movie and she's going to tell us the truth starting now. I think it should be pointed out that this movie is very dialogue/monologue-heavy. That's not a bad thing, but it's something to definitely be aware of going in.

We start with Olive talking about how she "lost her virginity" and how it's false. It starts with her friend Rhiannon wanting to go camping, but Olive refusing because Rhia's parents is the bong-hitting, patchouli-eating, nudist type of people. Olive lies about having a date that weekend. Come Monday morning, Rhi wants the details. In fact, Rhi wants the details so bad that she pressures Olive into lying about losing her virginity.

I can't say I've been in this situation before, but someone *insisting* that you did something very naughty when really you haven't... I've been there. It's very frustrating. And already Olive is different from me for lying about it instead of holding her ground. Turns out that Marianne, the self-righteous and overbearing Christian-Girl, overheard everything. And spread the rumor everywhere. Because that'll teach her for having sex? I think it's time we did a good run-down of the characters so far. Get a good feeling for their personality and stereotype. I'll probably do this for any other characters that pop up and seem important.

- Olive: protagonist, white-liar, Good Girl but no too good, not that popular, still learning about herself, typical teenager.

- Rhiannon: self-proclaimed "Super Slut" for letting a guy motorboat her in public, pushy and nosy, pretty preppy, cares about the usual Girl Gendered Things (TM).

- Marianne: Good Girl To A Fault, teenaged Worried Mother (has no kids), is worried about "Satanic Worshipping", probably Christian but not showing it, rumor mill, Fun-Ruiner.

Okay, back to the story. So now the whole school knows that Olive "lost her virginity". And she's getting a lot of attention that she's not sure she likes. She also has some internal whorephobia she needs to get over. So someone tells Olive in class that she's a skank. Olive responds with a name that gets her sent to detention. I will say one thing about this movie: it has some fun dialogue that really needs to be experienced. Typing it in a tweet doesn't do it any justice. In detention, she talks to Branden, the Kinsey 6 gay guy who called the principal a fascist (LOVE HIM). They clearly bond. He goes to her house and asks a personal favor: be his beard through high school.

- Brandon: Kinsey 6 gay guy (his words), bullied constantly, just wants some peace, is willing to lie just to get that peace, actually really cute, male foil of protagonist.

So Dan Byrd, actor playing Brandon, is not out as a gay man. He does well not to do the over-the-top gay BFF, but why couldn't this role be someone who was currently out as queer? Nothing on Dan Byrd, all on the casting choices. Olive agrees to help, so long as they do it at the rich girl's party. They show up "drunk" and ask for a room to do it in.

Some warning, already there's a pretty fucked up line about gay men being disgusted over vaginas. Fortunately it lasts that one line, but WOW is that all kinds of transphobic! Oh, and some people call him a "Homo" instead of just "gay". So be warned. The term "micro aggressions" come to mind, but unsure if I can use it to describe this movie. I'll let Twitter be the judge. Olive and Brandon make a lot of porno noises for their "audience". There's times where she has to hit him to make sure he makes the right noises. She even lets him have her sexy panties "for evidence".

Here I have a problem with the writing: it's not queer enough to deal with this situation in a comedy. The parents are so busy trying to be accepting cool allies that they don't add anything to this part of the story, except some examples of bad ally-ship. "Oh, your boyfriend is gay! I was/dated a gay boy too! What a coincidence!" No questions of why they're still dating, or what their plan is, or if the dating is a lie. Just unquestioning acceptance and then making it about themselves. I get that it's a comedy, so sometimes serious talks don't happen, but we've seen this movie handle serious conversations with fast-talking hilarity! I think the writers didn't know how to handle the queerness, so proceeded to fake it.

I mean, they didn't even use the word beard! I put that there because that's exactly what's going on! This whole mess could have been fixed with an out queer actor or an out queer sensitivity writer, or something similar! Opportunity wasted! ANYWAY, Rhi calls Olive up to ask "why did I have to her about your sexcapades from some nobody?" and then breaks up the friendship with her. Olive says "got it" and makes a huge wardrobe change. The next day, Olive has a bright red A on her chest and proceeds to make herself a walking distraction for the rest of the school. And it works!

Another guy comes up and asks her to do the same for him. This one hurts me on a personal level because I'm probably going to look like him after another couple years on T. Hearing him call himself a "fat PoS" is a little personal. At the same time...the actor is already clearly fat. No fat suit needed either (he's shirtless). But he's eating a candy bar during the convo. There's implications he's unloved and unsexy. She talks about how she feels "better than cake". In short, the fatphobia is still present. I feel like this whole movie is going to be "how can we talk about the point, but still completely miss it?" and I'm annoyed by this as I'm a fat non-straight trans man.

We continue on with Olive now getting a LOT of customers who want to say they had sex with her, while the general populace knows her only as the really busy sex-getter. But she says it gets worse, as she became a Home Wrecker, too.

- Mr. Griffith: teacher of literature, doesn't like to take his job seriously, married to the guidance councilor, tries to be the cool teacher and succeeds by not going overboard, knows something is up with Olive, likes Olive's company, hates Facebook.

Olive finds herself in the counselor's office via Mr. Griffith's referral. She proceeds to NOT to listen to Olive and just hands her some condoms. Great counseling there, Phoebe. When Olive leaves the office, she ends up accidentally making Marianne feel better about her boyfriend's parent's divorce, which leads to Marianne thinking that she brought Olive around. Not that Olive is a good person already, no, that she *made* Olive a good person.

That lasts all of 24-hours as big things now happen. We find out that Marianne's boyfriend has chlamydia. He panicked and said he got it from Olive. He actually got it from Phoebe, the guidance counselor. (I call her Phoebe because the actress plays Phoebe in Friends.) Phoebe tells Olive everything and Olive says that she'll keep the secret and "have chlamydia" for her. The Christian posse makes signs and starts a protest against her. So she goes to a confessional so she can talk to someone.

For a movie that wants to talk about a girl fake-sleeping around, there is a LOT of whorephobia going on here. Again, my mind goes back to the words Micro Aggressions. It's not saying it hates fat people or gay people or "sluts", but it certainly acts like it. The confessional was empty and since the other option is Marianne's father (because of course she's a pastor's daughter), Olive is out of luck. Or is she? Rhi's ex boyfriend asks her out on a date, so why not? Unfortunately, Rhi is there and this guy wants to pay to bang Olive. Like, for real--not as a "story" to tell others. And it takes a while for her No to sink in.

[TW: Sexual Assault] He doesn't do anything more than force some kisses on her, but it was said he wanted more. [/TW]

Olive's crush, Todd, was working at the restaurant and saw her in tears, so he offers her a ride home and asks if she wants to talk about it. Todd tells her that she's wonderful and he doesn't believe the rumors. She seems happy to hear it. Then he asks for a kiss. She says no, but not because she doesn't want to, she's just not ready for one right now. And he accepts it. They hug instead. It's sweet.

- Todd: Olive's crush, mascot for the High School, might like Olive back but unclear, generally a nice guy so far.

Olive now thinks it's time to set the record straight and get people to believe the truth. Problems: Brandon skipped town, second guy won't drop the lie, and Phoebe is comfortable with the fact no one will believe Olive. So Olive does something impulsive. Olive runs into Mr. Griffith's room, tells him about his wife in a hurried way, then runs out apologizing. Not the best way to tell someone bad news, and she apologizes for it in her v-log.

Now Olive tells her mom the truth. Turns out her mother was in a similar situation because she was actually a "slut" (her words). Again, more whorephobia. But her mom gives her an attagirl and tells her she'll be just fine. Todd pulls some strings and gets her to advertise her webcast to the whole school. And here we are. Olive ends the confessional webcast with Todd blasting speakers on his neighbor's mower and they drive away into the midday sun. The End.

There's a LOT of little issues with this movie, but otherwise it's alright. The actors were having fun and the jokes mostly land well. 6/10, it's off Netflix come this Sunday (2/28), so watch it now if it sounds like your cup of tea! Just mind the warnings.


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