“From the The Driftwood, a student-centered e-newsletter created by the students in Professor Tracy Fernandez Rysavy’s Practicum in Literary Publishing class. The Driftwood goes out to the Marinette campus every two weeks, and you can find it online at https://blog.uwgb.edu/driftwood/.”
Welcome to the Trash Vortex, the entertainment black holes that never fail to suck you in and won’t let go until the trashy, so-bad-it’s-good end.
Trashy Movies Based on Young-Adult Novels
I’m sure everyone has uttered the words, “The book was better,” after watching a movie adaption, but sometimes both are just equally bad. Here are the Driftwood staff’s picks for movies based on books that are trashy all around.
The Kissing Booth: Elle and Lee are best friends in eleventh grade at a prestigious school in, of course, Los Angeles. They have been friends since birth as their mothers were best friends as well, and their friendship is based around a running list of rules. Elle has a crush on Lee’s older brother, Noah Flynn, and after the two share a kiss during a kissing booth, set up by Elle and Lee’s Dance Team, the two run around in a passionate and secret relationship. When Lee discovers their affair, he is enraged that Elle would betray one of their rules, “Rule #9: Relatives of your best friends are off-limits,” and claims he can no longer be friends with Elle or associate with his brother. Elle must decide whether she should save her relationship with Noah or Lee.
The Kissing Booth was a novel by Beth Reekles on the website Wattpad, which I mentioned in my previous Trash Vortex article, and it was published officially by Penguin Random House in 2012. The movie and its dialogue sound as if the script was the printed out copy of the Wattpad novel, mixed with phrases a 47-year-old man thinks are popular among Generation Z (baller, lady-bump, a clique called the “OMG Girls” who are as bad as they sound, etc.). The actors hired look far too old to be playing 15-18-year-olds, and their performances are average at best. The drama and cliches are packed to the absolute max in this movie, which makes it nearly unbearable to watch. Noah Flynn is known for being aggressive within the school, yelling and swinging punches at the slightest rise in his temper, yet Elle follows after every single one of his explosions. This movie doesn’t really advertise the best ideals for high schoolers, yet the over-the-top acting and disconnected dialogue makes you want to keep watching, which is why both the book and movie adaptions fit so perfectly in the Trash Vortex. Available on Netflix.
—Kira Doman, Entertainment Editor
Whip It: Bliss Cavendar’s mom dreams of her daughter following in her footsteps and becoming a beauty pageant queen. Bliss dreams of something else entirely: though she’s not sure what, she knows prancing around in gowns and bikinis before a panel of judges isn’t it. Then, a chance meeting with three members of the Hurl Scouts, a local roller derby team, leads her to sneak out of her parents’ house to attend one of their bouts. Even though the Hurl Scouts unceremoniously lose to the Holy Rollers, she’s hooked.
Going behind her mother’s back, Bliss tries out for the Scouts and makes it. She’s immediately christened “Babe Ruthless,” the team’s alternate “jammer,” whose job it is to score points by lapping members of the opposing team on the raised circular track. The rest of Whip It involves her realizing her talent for skating, romancing a deep-and-misunderstood guitar player, and fending off the heavy-handed intimidation attempts of the Holy Roller team members. Meanwhile, the Scouts seek to pull themselves out of the bottom of the local derby standings and win their first championship. Will Bliss get a chance to prove herself on the track? Is her new boyfriend too good to be true? And can her team beat the annoyingly smug Holy Rollers to win it all—before her mom finds out what she’s been doing and pulls her away from roller derby for good?
I haven’t read the book that Whip It is based on—Derby Girl by Shauna Cross—but the film is ridiculous, of course, and also fun and empowering. Whip It is directed by Drew Barrymore and stars Elliot Page (then as Ellen Page). Available on Starz and to rent on other streaming services.
—Tracy Fernandez Rysavy, Driftwood Advisor
Monte Carlo: Monte Carlo was one of my favorite movies when I was young—I mean, what little girl wouldn’t dream about going on an exotic European vacation, falling in love with a cute boy, and getting to live like a princess for a few days? What I didn’t know back then was that this 2011 Disney-esque young adult film is based on a book called Headhunters, written by famous director/author Jules Bass a decade earlier. This movie’s plot is so unrealistic, and it’s full of an abundance of clichés and eyeroll-inducing moments, but that didn’t stop me from re-watching it (for the hundredth time) last week. Monte Carlo is so bad that it’s good—perfect for the Trash Vortex!
Grace Bennett, a recent high school graduate from small-town Texas, has been saving up for years to earn a trip to Paris with her best friend, Emma. Joining them begrudgingly at the behest of Grace’s worried parents is her older stepsister, Meg. After a disastrous first few days in the City of Lights, the girls’ luck suddenly turns around. Grace is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress named Cordelia Winthrop-Scott and, deciding to go along with the ruse, the trio finds themselves being whisked away on a luxury vacation to Monte Carlo. It’s all fun and games at first, as they enjoy the opulence of their all-expenses-paid trip. But things get tricky when the girls’ guilt about lying starts setting in, when real romantic feelings for their foreign suitors develop, and worst of all, when Cordelia discovers their scheme…. Starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy, along with their accurately dubbed “ding dang delicious” love interests—Luke Bracey, Pierre Boulanger, and the late Cory Monteith—Monte Carlo is the perfect fun, silly, guilty-pleasure book-turned-movie! Available to rent on Amazon and other streaming services.