Billed as an homage to classic 90’s films, Do Revenge (2022) tells the story of Eleanor and Drea – two high school students who’ve been hurt by certain classmates. After one meeting, they decide to “do revenge” on behalf of the other to ensure they won’t get caught. Being fans of certain teen films of the earlier decades, Forever Fangirls watched Netflix’s new entry into the genre to see how it holds up to those beloved cult classics.
First Kill adds a new twist to the Romeo & Juliet tale. Cal is a monster hunter. Her love, Juliet, is a legacy vampire. Can the two coexist, or will their families tear them apart? Forever Fangirls covers the first season in the hopes of a less tragic ending than the play.
Stranger Things finally came back to our screens after a long hiatus. The last time we saw everyone, the Byers had left Hawkins. Hopper was presumed dead and the ones who remained in Hawkins, were left to pick up the pieces. It wouldn’t be a Stranger Things season if the upside-down remained quiet… so what is it up to? Does this effect the kids and the future of Hawkins? Forever Fangirls goes through the themes of the season and what they think the fifth. and final, season might bring.
This year has been very… different. Due to the coronavirus, the entertainment industry found new ways to give us entertainment and further their streaming services. HBO launched all Warner Brothers films on day one, later in the year they released in theaters at the same time. Disney+ housed a premier access model. For an additional fee, you could see a few select fils that were released in the summer. They changed the model later in the year to allow for a 45 day lag between the theatrical release and when it was available via streaming. We like this recent model and hope it continues.
Note: There is a tie for first place. So technically there are 6… because why not.
1. Free Guy (Tie)
Who doesn’t feel like an NPC (Non-Playable Character) in real life sometimes? It’s why video games and social media have become lifelines during the pandemic. They allow us to live the idealistic version of ourselves and interact with others. Behind the wonderful effects remains a story with a lot of heart. You can be the good guy and be exactly who you were meant to be. You just need to have faith in yourself and take the chance.
1. Gunpowder Milkshake (Tie)
Of all the films released this year, Gunpowder Milkshake hit every mark. We’re not sure if it was the cast, if we were in the right frame of mind when we watched it, or if it was just that good to us. Either way, we would (and have) watched it more than once. It’s just that entertaining. Make a bowl of popcorn and just enjoy the spectacle of the entire feature.
The first Disney entry on our list is one that took us by surprise. Emma Stone was spectacular in the leading role and gave us everything we could want and more from the character of Cruella. The film suffers from some CGI issues that could not be ignored after a while, but overall, the film was really enjoyable. We understand many fans out there don’t want villains to have backstories, but we like them. Villains shouldn’t be one dimensional people. As Kevin Bachelder has said many times, “villains are the heroes of their own stories.” We really enjoy seeing them.
3. Black Widow
The Marvel film fans have been clamouring for finally released in 2021 and did not disappoint. Natasha Romanoff’s origin story gave us a truly heartbreaking film with funny moments. Between Yelena’s pose comments, and her subsequent disgust over using it, to the secret whistle between sisters, Black Widow had action, emotion, and comedy. Its biggest downfall was twofold. First, it felt really late to the MCU. The fans have been asking for an origin story for years and it felt that without the events of Endgame, this might never have happened. Second, the after credit scene felt like it cheapened the entire story and made it about one of the original Avengers. Everything fans were irritated about regarding Black Widow being overlooked or minimized was reinforced.
4. Raya & the Last Dragon
Raya & the Last Dragon had everything one could want in a fun Disney film. The battle for bringing an entire community together with dragons is a fun family film. Plus, Tuk Tuk is absolutely adorable. Where is seems to stall is in the overly idealistic overtones that were formulaic to a fault. With so much available in the story, we wanted more beyond the obvious message. Overall, it’s an enjoyable watch with stunning visuals with amazing actor portrayals.
5. Sweet Girl
Another surprise film was Netflix’s Sweet Girl. We’ve seen Jason Momoa in action films before, but never one like this. Playing a father and husband who fights to help his wife fight cancer. After insurance companies get involved, so do the conspiracies and back door dealings. The story isn’t perfect and requires some suspension of disbelief; however, the ending was something we did not see coming. That’s saying something for Kimberly, who usually sees twists in plot lines from a mile away.
Like we said, this year has been different from years past. The truth is, theaters are still not back to where they were before the pandemic. We don’t know if the larger 20+ screen multiplexes are approaching the end of an era. Maybe theatrical releases with the 45 day window before streaming services and VOD will be the new norm. With TV’s, sound systems, and theater seats wildly available, the landscape is quickly transforming.
So, what will 2022 bring? We’re unsure, but what we do know is that we cannot wait to cover the upcoming films for you.
Good television has always found a way to change the world. It can introduce us to fantasy/sci-fi worlds where a woman with a destiny can fight evil with a flaming sword. It can also have a massive misstep that offends the world over. These top five shows, some we have not covered in our podcast, are the Top 5 Shows we thoroughly enjoyed this year. Our top two on this list are almost interchangeable. The storytelling, the emotions… they gripped us, devoured us, and rebuilt us forever changed by the episodes we watched.
1. Wynonna Earp S4 – Series Ended
With the witty writing, engaging characters, expert portrayals, and a same-sex wedding, the season we Earpers fought for was worth it. The 4th season (& subsequently final one thanks to SYFY) was the culmination of everything the fandom needed, even if we didn’t know it at the time. We needed our wedding. We needed Doc & Wynonna to go off and find Alice. We needed Dark Waverly to do what this show had done for its entire run – break the rules. Now… has anyone seen Eve?
2. WandaVision – Limited Series
With the backing of Disney & Marvel Studios, WandaVision had very high expectations. It truly delivered. The first of the Marvel Series to hit the streaming service (due to the coronovirus), WandaVision led us through the stages of grief blended in a world of Wanda’s making. The depth of the characters, the gut wrenching scenes… it all led us to an end that is truly the beginning for Wanda Maximoff. We’re still discussing the Ship of Theseus Thought Experiment.
3. Motherland: Fort Salem S2 – Renewed for a 3rd & Final Season
The ending of season one left the fanbase clamouring for more. Season 2 did not disappoint. We delve further into Alder’s past and learn about the Mycelleum. Raelle, Tally, and Abigail all come into their own unique abilities as their strength as a unit becomes even stronger. Scylla’s redemption arc with Anacostia’s help is painful, powerful, and lovely. Time will tell where the fictional world of Fort Salem goes from here, but knowing it is the end brings mixed emotions. There are so many stories that could be told, yet the staff has time to put together an end they want to portray. They’ve been given the blessing of time. Here’s hoping the final season is everything and more.
4. The Equalizer S1 – Renewed. S2 currently airing as of this posting
This series is not a new concept. We grew up watching the original and Kimberly has seen the subsequent movies. All of them are good. Queen Latifa is better. Hands down. She brings an emotion to the role that no one has been able to capture before. There’s a humanity in her every move, every thought, that makes you feel a part of her journey. The cast, the writing, all of it is well done. Even in some slower episodes, you still feel invested enough because the character development is there.
5. Clarice S1 – Cancelled
Why enter a series on the list that’s been cancelled with no hope of ever seeing the light of day? Truthfully, because it should. Clarice was a slow developing series with a depth that pulled you in. Showing the gutsy emotions of Clarice after the events of Silence of the Lambs was a risk, and in truth it was brilliantly done. One can blame circumstance and delays in airing to why this show was derailed. It should never have been on main network television. This series screams for streaming. It screams for a short, tightly woven season… the networks (all of them involved in this) failed. In doing so, they removed a rich story with so much promise.
Special Nod to Midnight Mass
Midnight Mass was wonderful and could be considered on this list at anytime. The undertones, the story, the emotions… they were powerful. The only reason Kimberly pulled it off the list… the dog. When it comes to listing the best, sometimes it’s the little things.
Netflix’s original film Sweet Girl tells the story of a man who vows to bring justice to those he deems responsible for his wife’s passing. Jason Momoa and Isabel Merced star in this action film. Was it worthy of a watch or a justly deserved skip? Forever Fangirls finds out.
Moxie, based on the book by Jennifer Mathieu, was released on Netflix original film on March 3, 2021. Our niece saw this film and recommended it to us. To be honest, she was right. This was a fun watch.
This film tackles female empowerment in the archaic institutions of male dominated school systems based around athletics. It’s a difficult topic and one that Moxie does and does not cover fully. The fact is, no film that covers these topics will ever fully get it right. There will always be something that could have and most likely should have been addressed.
Looking at the film as a whole, it is about one voice being powerful enough to invoke conversation and action. A girl creates a magazine after being inspired by a new classmate who stands tall regardless of those trying to knock her down. Along the way, she has several missteps but in the end, finds her way.
Since we’ve never read the novel the film is based on, it is hard to judge whether the film took some creative liberties or not. Although a bit dated, the film is a fun watch with solid performances.
Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House & The Haunting of Bly Manor) unleashes his newest endeavor Midnight Mass to Netflix. The darker tale revolves around religion, devotion, desire, obsession, and forgiveness. Was it as thought provoking as Flanagan’s other two installments? Forever Fangirls delves into what the series and its symbolism meant to them. All from the perspective of two Catholic School girls.
Fear Street Part 3: 1666 the final chapter of the Fear Street Trilogy launched on July 16, 2021 on Netflix. The final entry is upon us. Will we learn about Sarah Fier and the reason behind the curse? Spoilers ahead because frankly we can’t talk about part three without significant ones.
It’s 1666 and we get to see where the curse began. Kiana Madeira who portrays Deena in the previous two films, brings Sarah Fier to life in part three. Olivia Scott Welch who portrays Sam in the previous two entries, brings Hannah Miller to life. It’s a perfect way to ensure the audience knows the relationship between these two characters without the need to develop it with two new actresses. We know Sam and Deena love one another. Is it centuries old love? One could argue the film lays this out but in a more sub-textual way.
During the course of the film, the water supply is poisoned, the pastor commits heinous crimes and the town’s peacefulness is destroyed by evil. Due to the time and the fact that women were to be blamed for a ton of things mankind couldn’t control, women are being hung for bringing this darkness to them all. Sarah and Hannah are strung up, but Sarah begs to save Hannah. She lies about being a witch and takes on the full responsibility. Hannah is saved, but Sarah Fier pays with her life.
The twist here: witchcraft is real and one who wields it lives outside of town. She has books of satanic spells and if one of her books got into the wrong hands… it would be very dangerous. Once Sarah dies, we’re thrust forward to 1994 and Deena knows what she has to do to save Sam.
The final battle reveals the big bad was Nick Goode and his family the entire time. His ancestors stole the book and cast a spell. Every generations eldest would need to select names of Shadysiders. Those individuals would go on a rampage and feed the curse. In return, Sunnyvale would be peaceful and the Goode family line would prosper.
While we were a little, ehh, about how the final battle ensues, the final installment is good. The ending was strong and very 90’s horror with the possibility for a sequel. It was an enjoyable series with the difficulties one expects from three films released within the same year. It’s not easy, but this was executed well.
One final thought. From part one, Kimberly kept saying Nick Goode can’t be good. He has to be the villain. His name, for her, was too on the nose.
Fear Street Part Two: 1978 came to Netflix on July 9, 2021. The second film in the Fear Street Trilogy continues building the suspense and terror of the Sarah Fier story. While the first film laid down the foundation with less visual bloodshed than we’ve seen in straight up horror films. The second entry into the series is darker, bloodier and leaves us with the feeling of helplessness.
At the end of part one, Deena receives a call from Cindy Berman, the only living survivor of the Camp Nightwing Massacre. Cindy meets with Deena, her brother, and a possessed Sam, at her house. We then crash back into the past and to Cindy’s nightmare.
Now that we’ve said that… welcome to Camp Nightwing in 1978! Once again, we’re shown that Shadyside houses deplorable teenagers, do-gooders who think they can get away from the stink of their hometown and the troublemaker tweens who don’t care anymore. On the other side of the tracks, this installment reinforces Sunnyvale as the good kids with bright futures. But death doesn’t discriminate… or does it?
Ziggy, Cindy’s baby sister, is a tormented camper. She’s bullied by other campers and almost strung up by Sunnyvale campers. She befriends Nick Goode, the future sheriff of Sunnyvale, and it’s revealed they have feelings for one another. He wants to protect her and maybe get a bit of revenge on those bullies.
During the course of the film, a counselor named Tommy becomes possessed and goes on a killing spree through the camp. Nick Goode gets the campers out of town, but not before Cindy and her sister Ziggy are attacked at the base of Sarah Fier’s hanging tree. When Nick finds them after the bloodshed has stopped, he revives Ziggy and tells police her name is Cindy. In a twist, Cindy Berman never survived. Ziggy did.
We are then left with a really excellent cliffhanger involving Deena.
That’s the short and sweet of the film. While many believed the first to be the weakest installment of all three, we think this film is. That said, it’s a good film and does what a second installment should, it gives us more information about what would be going on before passing us to the final one. It’s brutal, it’s harsh, and it works.