'Booksmart' and "Pokémon Detective Pikachu' take the screen

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Jay Walker | The Daily Wildcat

Two ticket stubs from the summer hit films Booksmart and Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

With several big movies hitting the box office this summer, it's important that we don’t overlook other noteworthy movies that have been released, such as “Booksmart” and “Pokémon Detective Pikachu.” Though they are leaving theaters, check them out as they enter stores and hit streaming networks. 

“Booksmart”

“Booksmart” is a female-lead, queer, female directed, coming-of-age film that follows best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) as they embark on their last night as high school students. Exploring how two girls who were all work and no play in high school dip their toes into the party scene the night before graduation, “Booksmart” manages to capture how the next generation is emerging into the world. 

This film is one of the first movies I have seen where there is a lesbian main character whose main trait was not being lesbian and it was refreshing. Amy was portrayed as a studious kid and supportive best friend who just so happened to be gay. 

They treated Amy’s love story like any other heterosexual one, causing it to stand out from most other gay-lead films. It didn’t hit you over the head with her coming out and she wasn’t seen as the one gay character. 

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Slut-shaming and being complicit in it is something that has been prevalent throughout my life and my generation. Recently, I have seen media try to move away from slut-shaming and instead encouraging women’s sexuality, as promoted by UNESCO and their empowering women in media focus. 

“Booksmart” points out how slut-shaming directly impacts one of the teenage girls. 

Spoiler alert: In the end, the character nicknamed "Triple A" reveals that being called this degrading nickname — referring to prior sexual experiences — hurt her feelings, especially when other girls like Molly also called her that nickname. 

Molly's feeling regret for calling the girl Triple A and apologizing for being mean helps to support the idea that women should empower and support one another, especially when others are trying to put them down. 

Along with promoting women supporting women, “Booksmart” captures a healthy female friendship that exudes platonic love. I always find it refreshing to watch a movie featuring a female friendship and was pleasantly surprised by Molly and Amy’s healthy friendship.

“Booksmart” shows that even though friendships have their lows, friends can support each other and love each other without the thought of something romantic. 

“Pokémon Detective Pikachu”

Light-hearted and witty with an important message, “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” follows Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu and Justice Smith as Tim Goodman while they solve Pikachu’s amnesia and Tim’s father’s death. Tim is the only person in the movie who can understand Pokémon, specifically his father’s Pokémon Pikachu. 

This movie deals with friendship and loneliness in a way that isn’t daunting for kids. Tim had been alone in the world, even before his dad died. Throughout the movie, he finds friendship in Pikachu and another Pokémon trainer, a reporter named Lucy Stevens portrayed by Kathryn Newton. 

“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” shows that people can always find a friend, even with someone unlikely. By delicately addressing the concept of loneliness, this film gives hope to those who watch it that they are not always going to be lonely and can find their person. 

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Family is another theme that “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” explores as Tim learns about his estranged father’s life by investigating his supposed murder. 

Spoiler Alert: When Tim discovers that his father was merged with Pikachu the entire time, he realizes that he was able to get even closer to his father than he planned.

This message of family instills the idea that people should never give up on those who mean a lot to them, which can be important to younger kids. The underlying message of "never give up on family" is presented lightly and brightly, making it easy to observe.

“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” may be a kids' movie, but the messages and humor it contains are for everyone.


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