Palo Alto is an indie film directed by Gia Coppola, based on a series of short stories by James Franco. The film was Coppola’s first feature length film, after years of artistic fashion films. Her previous projects seemed to influence the way she worked with Palo Alto in that she was able to use aesthetics and “artsy shots”(the strawberry milkshake on the road) to really nail the mood of what it is like to be a teenager. April played by Emma Roberts, is the sweet class virgin, torn between a crush on sweet stoner Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and her soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco). Teddy is an artist who carries a torch for April. He spends his time with his reckless friend Fred (Nat Wolff) attending one high school party after another. While April navigates a dangerous affair with her soccer coach, and in the midst of getting in trouble Teddy tries to figure out April’s feelings towards him. Fred seduces, uses, and mistreats Emily (Zoe Levin), a girl who seeks validation though sexual encounters. Fred begins to spiral out of control, Teddy and April continue to flirt, while she navigates a strange relationship with her soccer coach. The movie is a look at the teenage wasteland that is rattled with angst, joy, pain, confusion and heartbreak. Don’t go looking for a plot, its spontaneous and erratic like adolescence. The film accurately displays teenagers–the boredom we experience in our bedrooms, the way not every word we say is thought out or quotable, and the intense emotions and confusion that comes with all of it.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Safety Not Guaranteed(2012) is a dramedy starring Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass. Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is an intern at Seattle magazine who joins one of the magazine writers, Jeff ( Jake Johnson), to investigate a classified ad that reads:
“Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”
The team uses Darius to befriend the person behind the ad, a man named Kenneth–played by Mark Duplass in order to find out the truth and meaning behind the ad.
The film is based on a last-minute content joke filler created by a magazine to look like a classified ad, looking for someone to travel back in time with. The creators of the film decided to look at the situation realistically, instead of as the joke it was meant to be. The movie manages to remain comedic without forcing anything. The movie thrives on its witty lines and quirks. As expected with Aubrey, her character is quiet sarcastic and strange. While slated as a comedy, the film offers more than laughs while watching this feel good movie that feels both sincere and real.