A Letter and a Kiss

With 2021, Netflix brought two of its popular teen romcom trilogies to an end – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth.

Both the movies are in a way quite similar in their central theme – Protagonist has an unreciprocated crush on the unattainable and hot jock in high school. By the end of movie 1, the couple are together. Movie 2 introduces a “new guy” and toys with the practiced formula of a love triangle. In movie 3, both Lara Jean and Elle are trying to balance between saving their relationship and choosing a college.

And both movies are based on books!!

For Lara Jean it began with a letter and for Elle it began with a kiss.

Is one of the movies better than the other? Well, I kind of liked both!! Both the movies have some good moments.

Firstly, To All The Boys:

There is something cute and romantic about writing love letters to your crushes. And it was super scary (for LJ) but super fun for us when Kitty posted all her secret letters!!

The contract between Peter and Lara Jean and all that happened because of it made the first movie a great watch for me.

Movie 2 had some epic visual treats like,
The sky lanterns from Peter and Lara Jean’s first “real” date


John Ambrose and Lara Jean’s dance

I also liked the idea of the time capsule buried below a treehouse!

The scene between Gen and Lara Jean where they resolve their conflicts and Gen tells Lara Jean that Peter is crazy about her.

Watching Lara Jean fall in love with NYU

Peter’s letter to Lara Jean in their yearbook– complete with his memory of their meet-cute and it genuinely sounded like a sincere apology too.

The Kissing Booth:

Number 1: LISTS!!
For someone like me who loves lists, this was perfect.
I would have certainly liked to include these rules on my friendship rule list (if I had one):
Rule #6: If you can’t tell your best friend about something you’re doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Rule #7: No matter how mad you are at your best friend, you have to forgive them if they give you ice cream.

And the Beach Bucket List!!


I mean, stuff like paragliding and swimming with sharks!!
Hell, I’ll be happy even with the small stuff like a sandcastle and a blanket fort.

Number 2: The Summer Montages
I loved the memory montages at the beginning of Movies 2 and 3 that show what Elle did over the summer.

Number 3: Lee and Elle’s Friendship

Oh Thank God that this wasn’t another one of those movies where the best friends fall for each other. I specifically liked the scene in the third movie when Lee leaves for Berkeley and Elle is waving him goodbye and the camera pans out and shows us all the Elles from their childhood till now saying goodbye and all the Lees from their childhood till now driving away sadly.

Number 4: The Dances!!
Each time Elle and Lee dance on the DDM machine


Elle and Marco’s winning performance at the DDM competition


The Flash mob to Shut up and Dance with me

Number 5: Mrs Flynn’s words of advice to Elle in each movie.

Number 6: The bike rides at the end of each movie.

Lucifer

In the world of supernatural TV dramas, I found another gem.

Lucifer, the fallen angel, decides he has had enough of Hell and leaves his throne to settle down as a nightclub owner in the City of Angels.

Destiny puts him in the path of Detective Chloe Decker and they form an unexpected partnership solving crimes for the LAPD. Meanwhile, Lucifer’s return to hell is demanded ASAP by God.

I am a partial believer but I do love watching a supernatural interpretation of the concepts of Heaven and Hell. According to the show, Hell is nothing but an amplification of our own guilt. Looks like, I am damned!!

I like cop dramas and watching Chloe and Lucifer threw me into a “Castle” flashback. Decker is no Beckett but I like following the murder mystery and how the case relates to something that is happening in the lives of the characters.

The cast is great but some I admire more than the rest. For starters, Maze.

She is, please pardon the cliche, but she is “aMazeing”!!! She’s badass with killer moves and looks, impulsive, sarcastic, straightforward and the best demon from Hell 😈

Hers and Lucifer’s friendship is one of my favorite relationships on the show, closely followed by Chloe and Trixie. She is doing quite a good job of raising that kid.

Even though Linda does theraphy for characters, her words of advice seem to give me stuff to reflect about.

And now, speaking of the Devil, himself!!

He is arrogant, a womanizer, a “man-child with daddy issues”. And he is also; charming, has superb singing skills, does effortless fight sequences and has a sexy British accent. Uff!! 😍

But what I like best are –

His Angel wings 😇

I swear to God, when he burnt them, I was like – No! NO!!! Give them to me!!

Tier ranking all the Black Mirror Episodes

Black Mirror is described on Wikipedia as a “dystopian science fiction anthology television series” – i.e. what if we were living in a world where technology got the better of us, and most of the time, not in a good way.

Since I had a lot of time on my hands and since I recently caught up on all the episodes that I had skipped, I thought of Tier ranking all the Black Mirror Episodes.

It was very difficult to come up with the tiers because most of the time, I was at a loss deciding how to describe particular episodes. I tried my best with it.


Tier Level: Punch to The Gut
(Episodes where the end could not have been expected and left me thoughtless afters)

The National Anthem
Playtest

They say that the pilot episode (The National Anthem) is so grim that many are advised to not start watching Black Mirror with it. And I agree! Well and Playtest really surprised me with it’s end.

Tier Level: Popcorn
(These are like any other sci-fi webisodes you would otherwise binge-watch)

Fifteen Million Merits
Hated in the Nation
Striking Vipers
Crocodile
Smithereens

All are good weekend watches though Smithereens was by far a good pick and I must say I was expecting Crocodile to be a Badla rehash but it spiraled out of control (in a horrific type of good way) very rapidly and very subtly.

Tier Level: Not very impressive
(Episodes that were quite average for me)

Men Against Fire
The Waldo Moment
Metalhead

Now when I say average I mean the concept wasn’t something that I haven’t come across before – humans deemed as roaches, cartoons being favored for the Senate run, machines taking over the world – yea, I think we have done and dusted these topics.

Tier Level: Innocuous
( Not very provocative and kind of easy on the eyes..)

Arkangel
Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

Arkangel was actually quite a straightforward story of an over-protective mom and a teen rebelling for her privacy. The touch of technology did not change the mood of the story much. While Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too, Ah hah!! Felt like I was watching a cute YA movie!

Tier Level: Disturbing
( Okay, these are disturbing in the sense that the technology is creepy and I do not ever want these devices to exist in the near future)

The entire history of You
Be Right Back
White Christmas
Black Musuem

A Grain implanted in human brain that allows to record, store and replay every thing we see and experience — A service to recreate the simulation of your dead loved ones — Mind Cookies to detach the consciousness of your mind from your body( Well, I think Dumbledore got it right with just the Pensive) or even sharing your consciousness with someone else or feeling someone else’s stimuli > Gosh, I am never doing any of these things! Pinky swear!!

Tier Level: Unsettling
(These didn’t quite sit right with me)

White Bear
Shut Up and Dance

I understand twisted justice, but it was just confusing to watch White Bear unfold. And while Shut Up and Dance was comparatively easier to watch I don’t know what was more uncomfortable – the ending or the reason for that kind of ending.

Tier Level: Appealing
(These were enjoyable to watch and thought- provoking in some measure and some of my favorite Black Mirrors are from this category)

Nosedive

Nosedive was just so relatable as if we are just clicks away from ending up like their society. Well, I always felt social media was no good. Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie Pound is brilliant and I just loved this one!!

San Junipero

Imagine what if your afterlife was to be uploaded to a digital party town? This episode was good and it subtly explored a lot about what choices we make in our lives and how they affect us.

Hang The DJ

All those who are tired of the Tinder, Bumble kind of dates – meet Coach – a dating app that matches you with a partner with 99.8% accuracy. It was a refreshing take on whether you should trust dating algorithms or your heart.

USS Callister

I did not expect to like this episode when in started in like the 1960s style but as it progressed, oh my god, it was so much fun. Coding an exact replica of the space is no joke, y’all! It was super fun and Nanette kind of reminded me of Sridevi!!

Just for the heck of it, I ranked them all as well :p

  1. USS Callister
  2. Playtest
  3. Nosedive
  4. Smithereens
  5. Hang the DJ
  6. San Junipero
  7. Crocodile
  8. The Entire History of you
  9. Rachel, Jack and Ashely Too
  10. Striking Viper
  11. Be Right Back
  12. White Christmas
  13. Arkangel
  14. Fifteen Million Merits
  15. Hated in the Nation
  16. Black Museum
  17. Men Against Fire
  18. The Waldo Moment
  19. Shut up and Dance
  20. The National Anthem
  21. White Bear
  22. MetalHead