No Alternative (2018)
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The camera work is really on point! Michaela's Cavazos performance is fantastic! She has a well written character. Bri Da B's music is great - the music in the movie in general is perfect!
I loved all the scenes at the coffee shop!
No Alternative takes one on a ride through a life, that while still close to reality, is one heck of a ride. The setting and the scenery arent that different from one would find at his own home, this warrants an emotional connection with the Characters, Thomas and Bri-Da-B are teenagers following trends of their time and channeling their expression through music, how their lives at first seemed uneventful, usual, and unworthy of being told makes one wonder what is yet to come
As the scenes go by transitioning smoothly in neat editing, one goes through teen rebellion, strict parents, parental hypocrisy putting their childs mental health behind to keep appearances, neatly showing how theres more than meets the eye at first, that, precisely makes us -as a community revisit our need to take a deeper look at mental health and the stigma associated with this, which is brilliantly hidden in the undertones of each scene until it is revealed how our protagonists are mentally afflicted with depression, an illness that was cowered to live in the shrouds of stigma in the 90s
No Alternative is in my humble opinion, a period piece, essentially captivating the most iconic era of contemporary history and doing that effortlessly, even when the plot felt heavy at some scenes the flow was natural and it balanced comic relief with emotional scenes, most importantly the neat twist that wrapped up and gender bending on the real life story that inspired the movie.
What was really remarkable about No Alternative was how great attention to details was brought to the foreground with even the slightest details looking just out of the 90s something thats worth praise considering the fiscal limitations it had being a crowdfunded indie movie, small details like Free O. J. shirt on Bri Da B during her open mic scene added a sense of chronology to a scene one can with no doubt consider the best, the aura of freedom and teen angst present in that scene was delivered to the audience
No Alternative is another teen movie about rebellion, self discovery, coping with parents, yet its not another teen movie with a happy ending where everything falls back into place, it is bitter and sweet with equal measures, with finely curated soundtrack, great acting, and refined cinematography, its a good watch and it raises our need for recognizing mental health awareness
I was moved by the characters and their individual story lines..
Great use of music from the era to help carry this heartbreaking, intimate portrait of the difficulties of adolescence and having a voice amidst the turmoil of growing up..
That being said, I have never understood why being born in 1980 made me an '80's kid. Most of my "growing up" years were spent during the 1990's. Back then and not much different from now, you felt your way as you went. You waded through community and pop-cultural standards as you attempted to morph yourself to fit their mold. I do not know if you could ever really "fit in" one way or the other, but you did you damndest.
As I was in the process of finding myself, I was sort of like a Magic 8 Ball. I had a bunch of Mee all floating around inside and I never really knew which one was going to pop up each day. My style as I graduated grammar school and into high school was a weird morph of so many influences. I rocked a mix of the following cringe-worthy get-ups:
* The Valley Girl (purple leggings and a neon tee, tied up in a knot of course)
* The Hip-Hop (dressed like Aaliyah - God rest her soul - with a sports-bra-type tank, layered by a plaid flannel with matching boxers that were not-so-unintentionally sticking out of my baggy jeans)
* The Alternative -ish (Long-Sleeve Offspring SMASH Tee - "Bad Habit" was my angry jam! Don't hate - I was tame. LOL!)
* The IDKWTF (when I ventured to a local, popular high school's Battle of the Bands one year, dressed in my gangsta attire but sporting a "wallet chain" to maintain my essentials and could be seen head-banging my long dark hair to alternative music. It was perplexing to all around.)
Yes! I was very confused! I was also an artist who was trying to "find herself." I have hit so many lows in my life, as well as highs. This story - this movie - not only brought me back to relive my youth, but also woke me to a stark and polarizing realization. Even now, even at my age, having somehow survived and (dare I say) thrived, sometimes you just need to reach out. That goes both ways!
-> If you are feeling lost, low, hopeless, scared: REACH OUT!
-> If you know someone feeling lost, low, hopeless, scared: REACH OUT!
This story awakened me to a stark reality. I have floated around the universe and never even known a fraction of the passion that these siblings have. I am extremely moved and inspired.
NO ALTERNATIVE brings light to mental illness and depression, something that I am keenly familiar with, as are so many of us. It also beckons to each of us to find our deeper self. It is a wake-up call asking two questions:
"What are you doing with your life?"
"What cues are you missing in someone else's life?"
The movie is beautifully shot, BTW. DP Robert Kraetsch's handheld camera gives juts the right touch of being there without intruding. Cavazos, Proft, Hamlin, and Erbe are well cast & deliver dimensioned, kitchen-sink performances.
I'd love to see this movie open wide ... somehow, somewhere!
In the middle of all this is Bridget "Bri Da B" Harrison. Actress Michaela Cavazos steals the show as a young girl battling mental illness who uses rap as a means of channeling her outsized, and turbulent, emotions. Cavazos manages to not only deliver an authentic performance of a teenager swimming through a sea of uneven, and pharmaceutically altered, brain chemistry, but also touch on the realm of the genius with her provocative persona Bri Da B. The movie pulls at the heart strings, while also making you LAUGH OUT LOUD; thanks primarily to Cavazos and the deft handling of her character. It will also have you rocking out to an absolutely superb soundtrack that features the likes of Mudhoney, Sebadoh, Lisa Loeb, Failure, seLf, and so many other staples from the period.
The movie has so many layers and it's the type that begs for repeat viewings. And this is a good thing. I highly recommend watching it. In a time when independent films have been marginalized in favor of "spectacle" comic book films, this movie is a breath of fresh air. We need more them. Watch. Review. Support. 10 Stars.
it was brave and extremely powerful to see somebody channel their personal suffering into an authentic film, thanks director and author William Dickerson for sharing this personal story!