Weekend Watchlist | Guilty Pleasures vol. 2

By The Pitt News Staff

Maybe you believe in the concept of guilty pleasures, maybe you don’t. One thing’s for sure — we love this week’s streaming recommendations, even when we know they’re not exactly groundbreaking works of art.


The Kissing Booth 2 (Netflix) // Hayley Lesh, Staff Writer

With the release of “The Kissing Booth” a few years ago, “The Kissing Booth 2” provides the perfect amount of cringey romance you never knew you needed. This sequel follows Elle (Joey King), Noah (Jacob Elordi) and Lee (Joel Courtney) as they navigate the ups and downs of both platonic and romantic relationships. To make matters even more complicated, Elle must decide if she wants to apply to the same college as her best friend Lee, or if she wants to attend college across the country to be closer to her boyfriend, Noah. “The Kissing Booth 2” answers many of the questions that its predecessor does not. The film provides a more intricate look at the characters’ relationships than the original movie, while including suspenseful scenarios that keep the audience interested. It even adds more drama this time around with the addition of new character Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez). Though the movie features talented young actors, I cannot say that this sequel is a cinematic masterpiece by any means. Yet the sweet, embarrassing and heartbreaking scenes make it difficult for the viewer to look away from the screen. “The Kissing Booth 2” is a light-hearted watch that you will end up (secretly) loving.


Forrest Gump (Amazon Prime) // Nadiya Greaser, Staff Writer

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures; I think the phrase was coined to belittle women and the things they find interesting. Objection out of the way, “Forrest Gump” is my pleasure. 

It’s not good, except in all of the ways that it is. It’s ridiculous that one man would be part of nearly every important event of the 20th century and invent the smiley face, but when that man is Tom Hanks, I suspend disbelief. If I were reviewing it, I might point out the absurdity of interpreting the Civil Rights movement and the anti-war protests through the perspective of a straight, white southern man, but I won’t. I will just watch and rewatch it without objection because it is an excellent movie. Forrest Gump is a disabled everyman who unintentionally inserts himself into major events with a sweet humility and total lack of awareness. Tom Hanks and Robin Wright as Forrest and Jenny are sad and sincere, and their performances anchor the absurdity and leave me in tears every time I watch it. It is the perfect movie for when you need to cry and don’t know why. “Forrest Gump” leans into every kitschy and overused feel-good movie trope, and the score is emotionally manipulative, and Tom Hanks’ accent is ridiculous, and it is a pleasure.


Dead Snow (Amazon Prime) // Nick Suarez, For The Pitt News

If there’s a refutation to those who don’t believe in guilty pleasures, it’s the foreign cult horror-comedy film “Dead Snow.” Originally “Død snø,” the story follows a group of Norwegian medical students who find their Easter vacation plans complicated by the intrusion of a horde of reanimated German soldiers from the second World War — and really, that’s about as far as the plot goes. Sure, watching it for a third time, I can pretend to myself that the movie’s justified by its off-beat humor, or its striking white and red color palette, or even just the cultural experience of watching a Norwegian horror film. If I’m going to be honest with myself though — however much it hurts — that’s not what I’m watching it for, but rather its wholly predictable combination of Nazi zombies, chainsaw-and-shotgun fights, college students’ trysts interrupted by horrific monsters, a cursed treasure and lots and lots of gore. It’s one of those films that doesn’t do anything to expand on the genres that comprise its niche sub-drama, and certainly isn’t more than the sum of those parts (although I will maintain that the punchline to the chainsaw-amputation scene is pure dark-comedy gold), but somehow it doesn’t fail to satisfy.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Amazon Prime) // Vikram Sundar, Staff Writer

You might be asking yourself, who is the pride and who is the prejudice? Ah yes, the age-old question for people who’ve never read Jane Austen or picked up a book in general like myself. Well guess what, it doesn’t matter because there’s ZOMBIES! You heard that right. Forget about tranquil Elizabethan landscapes and steely romantic gazes. In this iteration of the tried-and-true feminist masterpeice, director Burr Steers takes us through a thematic journey of class and gender amidst a zombie pandemic. We’re introduced to the Bennet sisters with all their elegance and snarky wit, but with a twist: they’re trained assassins. No one knows how or where the zombies emerged, but they’re there and are interfering with the grandiose balls and courtship rituals in which these characters would usually be partaking. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is by no means a stout examination of a bourgeois pariah penetrating a patriarchal social bubble, but it doesn’t have to be. Burr sets out to create a fun, revisionist tale with mainstream appeal that could be your potential “guilty pleasure” movie. In fact, I would argue the film elevates the source material by deviating from the ingrained tropes of white fragility in its female leads and empowering them through 108 minutes of badass zombie killing without the aid of men.


How Do You Know (Netflix) // Simon Sweeney, Staff Writer

As others have mentioned, there is, of course, no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If a movie is good, it is good, and I like it–– no distinction between “things I like” and “things I think are good” (this is, as anything else I claim to hold to, malleable and should never be held against me). “How Do You Know,” widely maligned and financially catastrophic on release in 2010, is a good movie, and I like it. James L. Brooks, who has made works as disparate in quality as 1987’s “Broadcast News” (a masterpiece for the ages) and 1994’s “I’ll Do Anything” (do not watch this movie), settles here into a middle ground built on pleasant romance. It suits him, making “How Do You Know” a completely solid, often charming time at the movies. Brooks knows, as we do, that Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson have presence and charisma. As such, he lets them carry a fairly thin story (Jack Nicholson doing some white collar crimes, the politics of national softball team selection, among other things) into the territory of a winning story. It’s not a resounding success at every level, but it is nice enough at the level it’s chosen to operate on to put a smile on your face for 100 minutes. If you’re looking for a “guilty pleasure,” that should be plenty good enough.