As a general rule for myself & this blog I try not to do really obscure movies because I feel like people only like to read/click on things they have seen/heard of, but maybe this one is just for me.
This is a movie I got on a whim from the library because I was interested to see if Bella Thorne could act (she can kind of?) and I love Mae Whitman (she can definitely!). I almost returned without watching but renewed instead (there’s some metaphor about life in that somewhere!!!) and just watched right now.
I loved this movie. And not in an ironic, ‘it’s so bad it’s good’ way, in a very genuine real way. The script is the best thing about it, it’s based on a book, and either the screen adapter person is incredible or the author did it and the book is really good too. I don’t even want to read the book though because I feel like I got it and I really liked the vehicle it was in and I liked the vehicle more than the ideas maybe?
Like ok, yes, there were some profound things in it but I didn’t feel I was connecting on a deep reverent “Art” level but something about this felt deeply personal to me and I loved it a lot and I DID cry and that’s fine but what’s weird is I feel bad now? Normally after watching a movie I really like I get a feeling of satisfaction but I kind of just feel empty and sad and I think it’s cause it was too real????? I’m also just in a place and very vulnerable to emotions right now.
This movie centers around the concept of one word/acronym, that also was a huge devastating blow to me when I found out about it- there are some words that truly are a terrible discovery because it means there’s this concept people are naming and calling out and aware of for this terrible feeling you thought was a secret that no one knew, and it makes you feel like ‘society’ is just a place that has categorizations and judgements for things that correlate with value and this is an example of where you fall short/fail. FUPA is an example of this. DUFF, the title of the movie, is also one. (Why are they always acronyms?)
DUFF stands for ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’ and it is used to describe a person (usually girl but the movie is very deliberate to point out it is gender neutral/can be used on anyone) who is less attractive than their group of friends who people trying to fuck the hot friends use to get to them. That’s probably too many ambiguous pronouns for one sentence (what is this German???) but you get it.
Learning what this word was in high school (and early college!) DEVASTATED me because I was like, “is that all I am to people??” and this movie is ENTIRELY that journey. Except, during this journey, the main character is actually very pretty and is best friends with the hottest guy in school and he’s helping her and they fall in love and they end up together. Oooh I think I just figured out why I feel terrible!
The whole point of this movie is to dispel that concept and say, “Labels are meaningless! Just be yourself!” which I agree with, but it kind of makes it hard to believe that when the narrative of the story uses things that align with societal values to validate an idea saying societal values are meaningless? Does that makes sense?
Like, ok. I shaved my head a few months ago. I did it to be ugly honestly. Because I wanted to get rid of the security blanket that hair is for me and just face my insecurities of being seen as ugly or unfeminine or undesirable, and I didn’t want to worry about what I looked like all the time and I thought if I just took it out of my own hands and looked ‘bad’ (by my own estimation) there would HAVE to come a time during the long growing out process when I just truly couldn’t worry/care anymore and I would be set free.
Then when I shaved my head people LOVED it and told me I was beautiful (which was tight as hell) BUT in my mind I kind of thought then that I would never experience the other, (then God was like NUH UH BITCH) because I moved and now it’s growing out and doing a weird goth Florence Henderson thing and I am having to meet all these people when I feel ugly and like a French boy going through puberty and it’s testing me!!!
During this time, I certainly don’t have the hottest guy in school (what is the New York comedy scene equivalent of that??? Conan O’Brien??) validating me, and that’s difficult. I’ve almost never had a guy (let alone the hottest one!!!) validating me and I forgot that that can be great too though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that experience in a movie where someone’s just validating themselves for the whole thing? (It doesn’t count if it’s a weird false empowerment thing for one scene, OR only in the beginning of the movie as a means of attracting the guy she ends up being with).
Part of me doesn’t want to post this because I aM meeting all these new people and this goes directly against the whole ‘sexy fun carefree!!!’ vibe I think I’m supposed to be committing to but I feel like my hair is already letting people in on that lil secret 🙂
The other part of me that doesn’t want to post this (it’s almost all the parts!) is because it reads more like a diary entry during a TED talk on body dysmorphia rather than a movie review but, it’s my blog bitch!!!! ( I really like saying bitch now!! It kind of came out of nowhere).
ALSO I’m realizing a huge OTHER part of this is when you’re body positive and plus size people want you to be Yas Qween all the time because they haven’t confronted the fucked up body stuff that they believe so when you feel insecure or have doubts they don’t know how to deal/comfort you at ALL because they believe all the fucked up bad things you’re feeling, but I’m not Yas Qween all the time!! I feel bad too and fat women are supposed to be CONFIDENT and sometimes sassy and it feels like you’re not allowed to have nuance of emotion publicly because it makes other people uncomfortable because then they have to acknowledge your body and they don’t know how to do that. ALSO sometimes people start to see you through your own insecurities and then you’re like, ‘damn I should be able to express this to you without it changing your opinion of me because I’m a whole person and I’m allowed to have flaws!!’ Whew!
I guess most of all I’m shocked that a movie with Bella Thorne in it made me FEEL things? But it did. I moved three months ago and am going through a breakup (yes STILL-until I get married and/or fingered in a car I will be going through it ok???) and I’m trying to hang curtains and a shelf by myself, and life is a highway and I’m gonna ride it all night long!!
Speaking of riding stuff, this movie DOES have a very classic teen plot arc we have all come to know and love. There is a HOPELESS (read: still very hot) nerd character who is just TOO smart to be appreciated by the immature idiots in high school. They (she in this case) finds a hot idiot who’s actually NOT an idiot after all—but full of insight and hidden wisdom—to teach them in something that starts off flippant (as a bet or a game or a challenge!) that turns into something REAL and emotionally intricate for both of them. There is a dance at the end where people’s true selves are revealed, usually by finding a dress that they added plaid to because they just can’t bear to conform any longer.
This movie literally has all those things in it and they’re great and satisfying. It’s like watching someone tie a bow made entirely out of cliched tropes, on a present that is your memory. The guy is very hot in a way I wasn’t ready for (because I’m so alt!!!) and that’s always good, to remind yourself that you’re still attracted to very hot people.
I’ll say again, my fave part was definitely the script, it was really well done, light and the dialogue felt natural and genuinely funny, something that is rarer than any gemstone. I will take a natural-sounding genuinely funny script over a diamond any day pal, and don’t you think I won’t.
Great cameo roles from Ken Jeong and Allison Janney and some other people I recognized but don’t want to look up.
This is the most personal one of these I’ve ever written, and I really hope I don’t have any of those Joe Rogan reddit guys who were mad at me a while back following still because I don’t want to open up for them but maybe this is exactly what they need to hear to realize that women-nah it’s not and nothing ever will be! Joe Rogan is a plague on this Earth that only female-centered novels and diva cups can even hope to cure. (To me!!! My opinion!!!! I’m glad he taught you it was ok to be weird!)
Well, I think we’ve all learned something, you have learned some of my deepest and most lingering insecurities, and I have learned that sometimes I need a D list comedy from 2015 to access my feelings!! Win win because I watch those all the time!!
4.9/5 plaid prom dresses that your friend in high school who just so HAPPENS to be into fashion design and able to sew on a professional level made for you in like one hour with no notice before The Dance, would masturbate again