I don’t remember the summer after my senior year that well. High School was a blip on a radar that I would rather forget, so I guess I have blocked a lot of it out of my brain.
But I know that the summer after graduation is a big thing for most people. You become entranced with the life that you once had and the endless possibilities that are out there. You are planning for a future and trying to not be caught up in the past.
But you have one last summer to make the world your oyster before the responsibilities of adulthood are there, waiting for you, like a root canal that you never wanted to have.
The Last Summer – Netflix’s new movie – is supposed to explore the tales of a bunch of graduating seniors and their last year before heading off to college. It’s a wanna be romantic comedy of the teenage kind, where we’re given a bunch of intersecting stories that somehow all fit together, and yet are all so different that you kinda wonder exactly what these kids are thinking.
Now, I chose to watch The Last Summer in spite of the fact that I am not the biggest fan of KJ Apa. Sorry, I will forever hold his fat shaming incident against him. But I regress. I am a fan of Maia Mitchell’s, and I thought that if anything she would be a saving grace in the movie. And she was – but there was so much more. Apa and Mitchell star as Griffin and Phoebe, two classmates who connect after years of not talking. Phoebe is concentrating on her film and Griffin is just trying to find his way in a family that sent him away.
But here’s my issue with the story-line surrounding these two. At first we see Phoebe as this strong character with goals and her head on straight and focused. Now, I am not saying that you can’t be focused when a boy comes along, but Last Summer lets her easily cave and forget her focus because Griffin was helping her out.
And that’s what every story line in this movie is – a cheese filled wannabe Can’t Buy Me Love trying to obtain the notoriety of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Maybe I am jaded after watching Someone Great and seeing that the girl in the film is not always going to be drawn back to the boy. Maybe I am a believer that the world deserves strong characters and diversity. Maybe I think that a good story nowadays should be believable and give the watcher something good and reasonable. But what Last Summer does – for me – is miss the mark on the way that kids nowadays are.
Now, The Last Summer isn’t totally at fault here. It’s following the formula of YA movies and trying to copy everything that has been successful, but is totally out of touch with the reality of what is important nowadays.
Sure, you’re going to have the kids struggling with parental issues, friendships, breakups, and such. But you’ve also got a generation that is more focused on achieving more than any generation prior. You’ve got a generation out there that well – expects and deserves more.
The Last Summer isn’t that. It treats relationships as a transactions, lies as normalcy, and sex like it’s the most important thing on the planet. Every time this movie shows a glimmer of hope of being good, you are quickly reminded that this isn’t that movie.
It has mixed messages and characters that can’t seem to find growth. It’s as if they took the strongest character plots, felt that they were too strong, and decided to mix some bullshit in with them. The Last Summer attempts to be a coming of age story, but falls flat on its face.
It is a shame too. With Netflix turning out such great teen content, this is a mark on their roster that shouldn’t have been. Their big names in teen dramas couldn’t overcome the story that was boring and missed the mark. It’s filled with cheese factor – which we normally like, but couldn’t handle here.
Yup, it’s not the worst movie in the world, but not one that I would carve a bunch of time out to see.
The Last Summer is streaming on Netflix now.