A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Stands out for positive role models.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Hate New Year's is both an LGBTQ+ romantic comedy and a modern day musical. It follows two musicians who hit the clubs in search of an ex-girlfriend in Nashville on New Year's Eve. They drink, but they don't get drunk -- and they have a driver. They're comfortable with their sexual identity and so are their fans, who post only positive and accepting comments on social media; overall, the movie's LGBTQ+ representation is encouragingly positive. Music is a big part of the story, with several of the actors coming from music competition shows The Voice and American Idol. Iffy content is minimal -- there's a bit of kissing, but it's not what you'd call making out. It's not very good, and its production values aren't fancy, but I Hate New Year's may still be meaningful to LGBTQ+ teens who want to see themselves in onscreen love stories.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In I HATE NEW YEAR'S, pop star Layne (Dia Frampton) is struggling with writing the songs for her follow-up album. Before she heads back to her hometown of Nashville to try to clear her writer's block, a psychic (Candis Cayne) advises her to resolve her past, present, and future.
Is it any good?
This LGBTQ+ romcom is a giant step in the right direction with one big fault: It's not good. Frampton (of the band Meg & Dia) plays an out pop singer who found success writing about heartache, but her creativity has dried up. In hopes of finding inspiration, she spends her New Year's Eve barhopping in search of her ex while completely unaware that her best friend, Cassie (Ashley Argota), is in love with her. This is definitely a romance, but "romcom" may be a stretch -- I Hate New Year's is lighthearted, but you're unlikely to physically laugh. The concept is cute, until you realize that it was better executed in both Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Scott Pilgrim vs The World -- which makes this film's thud resonate more loudly.
As far as the actual filmmaking goes, it seems like all expenses were spared. Bad photography and lighting, dead audio, roomy editing, awkward acting, a lack of chemistry, and a lame script that occasionally has one character winking at the camera combine to give off "student film" vibes, rather than the work of an experienced director (Christin Baker). Maybe the entire budget was thrown at the music -- and given that it's set in Nashville, that may be most relevant. The music put together by Emer Kinsella is phenomenal, with several original songs by impressive songwriters Billy Steinberg (Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" is just one of his hits) and Josh Alexander (Demi Lovato's "Give My Heart a Break") smashing expectations. While there's no harmony here, as a piece of well-intentioned progress, this movie does hit a couple of high notes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Famiies can talk about the fact that, historically, most mainstream Hollywood romantic comedies have promoted heteronormative values. Do you think that's changing? Why are inclusiveness and representation important in the media?
Did you notice that not one line of dialogue in I Hate New Year's was spoken by a straight man? Why is that unusual?
Do you think drinking is glamorized here? How does including elements of responsibility (having a driver) affect the impact of the way drinking is portrayed?
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