The To Do List

2013: A Year of Girls Behaving Badly

While YA girls have had their fun saving their families from constant supernatural and dystopian peril, a new sort of teenage girl has emerged in cinema, fueled by the age-old mantra of “live fast, die young, bad girls do it well.” 2013 was the year that young women found a different kind of representation in film through characters who took a different approach to life. Without the YA label, there was a decent crop of films centered upon teenage girls who not only lived in the real world, but also experienced real dilemmas (as for realistic, we can get into that later). Free from being the heroine that the people desperately needed and the love interest that some bland boy thought he deserved, these new teenage girls were free to be – and eagerly were – selfish, brutal and unapologetically uninterested in saving anyone but themselves. And why shouldn’t they be? After years of being relegated to the punch lines and stereotypes of the teen comedies that populated the 1990s and early 2000s, then taking up residence in the present day literary dramas, it was time for a change. 2013 was the year of girls behaving badly — and for being portrayed as real people on screen.

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discs the worlds end

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The World’s End Twenty years ago five friends attempted an epic pub crawl, but their effort fell apart before reaching the final bar, The World’s End. Now the group is reluctantly back together again to try and rewrite history, but the past is an ever-growing obstacle thanks in large part to how much remains unchanged in their old stomping grounds of New Haven. Things get worse though when they realize why exactly that is. Edgar Wright‘s final entry in his thematic Cornetto trilogy found a divisive reception from fans of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, but in many ways it’s the best of the three. It’s incredibly funny, highly energetic, and perfectly cast (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Pierce Brosnan, and Rosamund Pike to name a few), but it stands out for two other reasons too. First, the film’s structure and execution are incredibly deep and detailed to the point that multiple viewings continue to reveal new connections. Second, and most surprisingly, it has the best fight scene of any film this year. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries, storyboard, trivia, featurettes, deleted scenes, outtakes]

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The To Do List

Volunteering to review a movie starring indie darling Aubrey Plaza, one that is at its core a movie about navigating the world of sex, is sort of a no-brainer. It makes a great date movie, allowing me to lure a lady-person into a potentially vulgar, laughter-filled evening. It also counts as a business expense. Take that Uncle Sam, I will take my handjob humor with a side of a deduction. So we set off, my lovely companion and I, expecting the promise of nostalgia in the trailers for The To Do List. What we got was that and a whole lot more — more of the weirdness, the awkward Aubrey Plaza fearlessness, more nostalgia, some emboldened female sensuality, a great soundtrack and plenty of that potent vulgarity. But most of all, it was great laugh. A harkening back to summer sex comedies, with a bit of a gender twist. Something that you might see come right out of the self-proclaimed progressive 90s.

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  The 1990s were a very distinct decade in music – Seattle became the birth place of grunge, putting on a memorable live performance became just as important as releasing an amazing album, and boy bands dominated the end of the decade with a fever pitch that reverberates to this day (see: The Package Tour). The 1990s also saw a number of movies with fantastic soundtracks that truly represented the decade (Singles, Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait), but The To Do List is one of the first films to come out in the aftermath of the ’90s that takes audiences right back to the days of Naughty By Nature, The Cranberries, Mazzy Star, and Salt-n-Pepa. The soundtrack for The To Do List is, as one would imagine, filled with “sexy” songs which play to the plot of the film which has Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) running through a laundry list of sexual exploits with a laser focus on losing her virginity before heading off to college. While the soundtrack is certainly tongue-in-cheek, the film takes things one step further by choosing to have two of its characters also reflect the music scene that permeated this decade.

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trailer to do list

I know what you’re thinking. “Sexy women are one thing, but funny women? Next you’ll be telling me there are women who are both sexy and funny!” Well I’m here to tell you it’s true. History is filled with examples, but for the sake of argument let’s go ahead and label this new redband trailer for the upcoming The To Do List as exhibit A. It’s the feature debut of writer/director Maggie Carey who, as the name suggests, is in fact a woman. The film stars Aubrey Plaza in only her second lead role as a recent high school grad named Brandy who allows peer pressure to lead her down a very dirty road indeed. Convinced by her older sister (Rachel Bilson) that college is just wall to wall penises Brandy decides to spend her summer vacation doing all the naughty things she’s never done (and in some cases never even heard of) before. Set in 1993, the film looks to be filled with reminders of a very special time in most of our lives. Interpret “special” how ever you’d like. Take a stroll down memory lane (or not) with the new trailer for The To Do List.

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The To Do List Red Band Trailer

A movie about Aubrey Plaza giving out hand jobs, under any other name, would be just as sweet. So it’s with great anticipation that we’ve been awaiting Funny or Die vet Maggie Carey’s debut directorial effort The To Do List. The good news is, today that wait got a little bit easier, because not only has CBS Films released a red band trailer for the film, but they’ve also revealed that it will be this Valentine’s Day (February 14) when we finally get to take in this story of a virginal nerd who tries to systematically experience all the sex acts she missed out on in high school before entering college. So, based on this first teaser, does it look like The To Do List will live up to the lofty expectations that its premise creates? Maybe. Honestly, it looks a little low rent, like we’re looking at a trailer for a series of web short rather than a feature film, and while there are some amusing moments in this 90 seconds of clips, there aren’t really any of the big belly laughs that one would expect from a raunchy comedy.

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It’s been a few months since we’ve heard anything about the upcoming Aubrey Plaza starring comedy The Hand Job. The film, written and will be directed by Maggie Carey, is about a virginal and studious high school girl (Plaza) who decides that before she goes away to college she needs to run down a checklist of sexual acts she has yet to accomplish. Joining Plaza in all of the fun are some big comedic names like Alia Shawkat, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Donald Glover. Needless to say, everyone who hears about this project is pretty enthused. But what’s up with the production lately? Two things, actually. First, somebody has finally seemed to recognize the fact that they’re not actually going to get away with widely releasing a film called The Hand Job, so the title has now been downgraded to the much lamer and more generic The To Do List. The change is disappointing, but inevitable. The second bit of news is less depressing. Clark Gregg and Rachel Bilson have been added to an already bursting cast. Gregg is best known for playing SHIELD Agent Coulson in Marvel’s recent string of super hero movies. Bilson is best known for being the girl that I have a pathetic, schoolboy crush on. Both of their presences are very welcome, as far as I’m concerned, and I leave this article looking even more forward to eventually checking out this film. Even if it does now sound like it should be a crappy […]

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