The Never List
By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Teen acts out after friend's death; language, drugs.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If you apologize and feel remorseful, it's OK to hurt other people and behave stupidly. Everyone makes mistakes, but character is admitting what you've done and facing the consequences.
Positive Role Models
Eva is a well-behaved A student who suddenly disobeys her parents and breaks all the rules she used to respect. She hurts people needlessly, later feels remorse. As she wallows in the pain of loss, she insensitively causes pain in others. Finally, she comes around to apologize and do the right thing. A cartoonish mother always criticizes her daughter, even at times when some compassion and comforting would be more appropriate.
Violence & Scariness
A girl is killed in a car crash off-screen. A girl steals a car, gets in a fight, drugs a fellow student and causes him humiliation, and pinches the behind of a stranger.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens kiss. A wrestler has an embarrassing erection during a match. Graffiti features erect penis drawings.
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"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "crap," "hell," "screw," "nuts," "gizz," and "boner."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Students use, buy, and sell marijuana.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Never List is a combination of teen coming-of-age with The Bucket List, whose target audience was a considerably older demographic. After her 16-year-old best friend's death, a girl tries to honor her friend's memory by doing all the outrageous-to-naughty things they'd put on a list but knew they'd never do. Kids smoke marijuana and bake it into brownies that they then sell to unsuspecting faculty members. Car theft, class-skipping, and other questionable behaviors are showcased. In a mean-spirited prank, a boy is outed. Teens kiss. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "crap," "hell," "screw," "nuts," "gizz," and "boner." Graffiti features erect penis drawings. A wrestler has an embarrassing erection during a match.
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The Never List
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What's the Story?
THE NEVER LIST was compiled over the years by Eva (Fivel Stewart) and her longtime best friend Liz (Brenna D'Amico), a catalog of daring and outrageous acts that they, great students and well-behaved teens, would never do but that Vicki and Veronica, their cartoon alter-egos, would. When Liz dies in a car crash and leaves the grieving Eva behind, Eva implausibly decides that ticking every item off the list, no matter how self-destructive or hurtful to others, will honor her friend. She steals a car, smokes marijuana, bakes it into brownies, and sells them. She sneaks out her bedroom window to see a boy. She lies to a good friend. She gets a tattoo and then fails to study, resulting in a low grade on a test. She drugs the boy running against her for class president, which results in his school-wide humiliation. She feels bad about all the damage she does, but nevertheless continues to behave insensitively. Suddenly, although she has felt bad about her actions from the start, she publicly admits her wrongdoing and seems to be back to her old, normal, high-achieving self.
Is It Any Good?
While Fivel Stewart is a compelling performer, even she cannot inject sense into the insensible. After each time Eva does something she and her friend Liz clearly stated they would never, ever do, the movie's implausibility increases. Ridiculousness piles on, thwarting our efforts to remain interested in Eva and her antisocial and self-destructive acts. The worse she feels about what she's done and the less credible her actions seem, the more our desire to follow her diminishes. By the time she has unwittingly outed a classmate in the most humiliating way possible, it's difficult to empathize and follow her on her journey.
Teens do try on many personalities as they experiment their way to self-hood, but this high-concept gambit asks us to believe the school's most serious, rule-following, nice girl would recklessly act out, and it's unlikely anyone will buy it. Most implausible of all: Eva pretends great reluctance to cross the last item off the list, to "be a rock star," which apparently can be accomplished by singing one song on a stage in front of people. She acts as if she's terrified and unequipped, then goes ahead and belts out a well-rehearsed song in perfect voice.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about all the ways extreme grief can make people act. Do you think that deep grief could make a decent person behave badly? Does the movie persuade you that Eva would become her own opposite during emotional turmoil? Why, or why not?
As the plot focuses on Eva's rebellious antisocial acts, does it also underscore her basic decency? Can you think of an example?
When Eva steals a car and gets a tattoo, do her actions seem believable? Why, or why not?
- In theaters: December 11, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: January 1, 2021
- Cast: Fivel Stewart, Brenna D'Amico, Anderw Kai, Ryan Cargill
- Director: Michelle Mower
- Studio: Never List
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: for drug content, sexual material and some language - all involving teens
- Last updated: January 14, 2023
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