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I’ve learned these days to have low expectations when I go to the movies. I continue to prescribe to the notion that we are in the golden age of TV and that simply television series are generally of a higher quality than films these days. So I went in with low expectations to Paper Towns. This may be an unpopular opinion but I’m not the hugest fan of John Green novels. I really did enjoy The Fault In Our Stars (both the film and novel), but I might’ve been the only person on the planet that didn’t cry reading or watching it (do I have a soul? idk).
What I’ve discovered, though, is that I never seem to cry in a book or a film when I feel as if the writer is trying too hard to make me cry. The things that get me tend to be unexpected. Like when my mom “didn’t wanna watch something too sad” so she popped in Life Is Beautiful, and me not knowing anything of the plot said with big tears as the credits rolled, “well I’m glad we didn’t watch anything too emotional…” (this became one of my favorite movie btw). Okay I’m getting off track here, but my point is, I don’t like when authors/writers try too hard to make me emotional. I call their bluff and I’m like ha! I’m not gonna cry because I know you want me to. And that was how I felt about The Fault In Our Stars and his 2005 novel Looking For Alaska. So I was a little worried Paper Towns would do this as well. But guys it didn’t and I actually really enjoyed this movie.
First, we’ll discuss the cast. I was worried how I’d feel about Cara Delevigne. I was neither that impressed nor that disappointed with her performance. I thought the look of her was perfect though, which was really the most important thing. I loved Nat Wolff in Stuck In Love and in The Fault In Our Stars. I do kind of feel like he plays the same character over and over but hey, it’s a good one, so I’m not complaining. The ones that stole the show for me though were the two friends Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith). They were adorable and clueless and hilarious. It did however bug me a bit that they looked like they were 13?? I actually went on IMDB to check how old they were in real life and they shockingly are 19. Usually they cast like 35 year olds as high schoolers so it was nice to see that in reverse I guess.
The best part of the movie tho? The MUSIC. Holy cow. Entertainment Weekly listed the soundtrack on their top 10 must list on their August 7th issue. Season Kent, the music supervisor, also assembled the soundtrack for The Fault In Our Stars, The Longest Ride, Revenge (ABC Television Series), The Spectacular Now…to name a few. The movie was filled with Santigold, Vampire Weekend, The War On Drugs, and I forgot how much I loved “Falling” by HAIM until Nat Wolff was running slow mo down the halls of his high school to the Annie Lenox-reminiscent duo.
Full disclosure, I didn’t read this book. And that is probably why I did indeed enjoy it. It’s hard for me to decide these days to read books that are going to be made into movies because 90% of the time you are disappointed with the film adaptation. Anyway, I did get annoyed with the unrealistic nature of this movie, of course. Like WHAT parent would allow their kids to drive a million miles their senior year right before prom with all their friends and not even have a place to crash…? But I’ll tell you why I liked this story though.
When Quentin finally sees Margo in the paper town and slowly comes to terms with the fact that he wasn’t anyone special to her, they weren’t really in love, and she didn’t want him to come find her necessarily, you’re not really let down or confused because you know EXACTLY HOW THIS FEELS. People are just people and Margo was just a person. We so often project onto the people we think we’re in love with when really we’re just in love with what we don’t know about them. It’s the whole are you driving me crazy because I like you or are you driving me crazy because I don’t know enough about you to know if I like you. I loved that she was his “miracle” or whatever but not because she was someone for him to attain or fall in love with. She was someone to get him out of his comfort zone and actually go after what he wants, whether he discovers he does in fact want those things or not.
I’ll tell you why I also liked this movie. The writers could’ve easily been like okay yeah this is the real message of the movie but let’s make them get together anyway because that’ll make the viewers happy. I was really worried they would do this and they didn’t! He got to kiss her and then go home to his friends, the ones that really mattered and were vital players in his story all along, with a new wisdom and perspective. I think it’s so important not to romanticize the people you admire and that everyone needs to learn that in some way. So don’t go in with too high expectations, because movies are just movies (…see what I did there??), and hardcore jam out to that soundtrack.