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Sierra Burgess

Sierra Burgess is a Loser: another ugly duckling story

Netflix movie ‘Sierra Burgess is a Loser‘ is the classic tale of the ugly duckling falling for the handsome jock-guy. In this cliché riddled modern teen drama the high school ‘kids’ are, as always, in their twenties and speaking like they have an autocue nearby. Fact: in real life people do not. And we never have. If you’re planning on watching Sierra Burgess, SPOILER ALERT.

Believe me, we like the ugly duckling story just as much as any other former ugly duckling, but it’s getting so damn stale by now. Truth be told, the ending was clear within the first ten minutes. If you mix She’s All That, Ten Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls and 13 Reasons Why, you’re pretty much there. Except the supposedly losery girl is actually quite obese in this movie, in stead of a damn supermodel wearing glasses or overalls. But Sierra is witty and intelligent as fuck, of course. And beautiful, in her own way. Of course. And she can sing. There is some Cyrano in there as well. (Or, Roxanne, which is basically the same story.)

We can sum up this movie in two sentences. 1 Witty Fat Girl is texting and calling Handsome Guy, who thinks he’s texting and calling Dumb Pretty Mean Girl. 2 After some obvious misleading misunderstandings Mean Girl turns to Nice Girl and Witty Fat Girl gets Handsome Guy.

Real life

As someone who actually was that ugly (albeit slender) loser girl between the age of 4 and 15, this movie pisses me off. The volume of unrealistic bullshit is staggering and the amount of teen romcom drama cliches curled my toes. No, Netflix. It doesn’t work like that in real life. Not in the late nineties, not today. No matter how witty or smart you are, you never get The Guy if there is a more pretty girl around who is also witty.

Sidenote:
As a pretty okay-ish looking adult, I actually asked my ‘The Guy’ what that pretty girl had that was so damn special. “Nothing.” he said, “I don’t even remember her. I remember you more than I remember her.” It was quite satifsying to meet him after I grew into a normal adult, to be honest. It is also *very* satisfying to see that the popular girls who bullied me have turned into unattractive fat housewives… but I digress.

Back to high school drama. Real life doesn’t work like all those movies and series show us. It’s rare to be the ugly duckling and actually turn into that swan. Or rather a normal, happy, healthy duck. Quack.

Fake versus real: a list of things

I’m going to make a list about the… lets call them ‘Fake High School Romance Drama’s’. I have named a few movies (and another Netflix-serie) which are similar to Sierra Burgess is a Loser. Which boxes do they tick off and what is the difference with real life?

1 Age of the actors

The young actors having to play high schoolers are mostly in their early- to midtwenties, something that sticks out like a sore thumb. Of course we’ve seen this in Grease, when a 30-year old had to play 17. Come on, Hollywood. Is it so hard to find decent actors who actually look like teenagers? Apparently. The massive Shannon Purser, who plays Sierra (and Barb in Stranger Things), is born on june 27, 1997, which means she was at least 20 at the time SBiaL was filmed.

2 Way of talking

I’ve said this earlier. The way the ‘kids’ talk is way too mature and witty. Nobody talks the way the teenagers do in movies and series. The worst might be Ellen Page as Juno, (Juno) who talks like she’s reading a philosophy book out loud all the time. In real life we mess up our lines. We stutter or shut down. We talk like human beings, especially when we’re teenagers. Okay, we may get a few good lines every now and then, but it’s mostly improvising the crap out of everything.

3 Peer groups

The jocks, the losers, the cheerleaders… It appears people fall into very sharp categories in Fake High School Romance Drama’s. Real high school is less divided, at least where I’m from. Birds of a feather flock together, so you probably have some things in common with your friends, but in my experience it’s not that extreme. The majority of us don’t really fall in any category anyway.

4 Adults

The parents and/or teachers in the FHSRD’s are mostly divided into two groups: understanding and cool or aloof and dense. They appear to be completely oblivious to the lives and struggles of their kids/students, giving the most unhelpful advice or grounding someone for no apparent reason. Adults in the real world are just people, in stead of stereotypes. Personally I have never even heard of someone who was actually grounded.

5 The same story

All those stories have the same premise. There is a high school where nearly everyone is ridiculously pretty. (Have you seen the actors and extra’s in 13 Reasons Why? My. Effing. God. It’s like a model bomb exploded over there.) There is an unpopular girl, she falls for a handsome guy and there are popular kids who act like assholes. In the end the unpopular girl overcomes her loserness and the mean ones learn their lesson. In real life this does not happen. Mostly because the mean jerks don’t even realise what assholes they are and ugly losers just don’t get their overly goodlooking love interests. They get other ugly losers and that’s okay.

6 Prom

I’m sure you can name at least 3 scenes involving a prom. Carrie, anyone? The ugly duckling is wearing a lovely dress and has transformed into the beautiful swan she was meant to be. The love interest is stunned by her new appearance, after which there is a shared dance and/or kiss. Don’t we just love extreme make overs… In reality nobody suddenly shines like a diamond at the prom. Either they were good looking to begin with or they stayed themselves, but in a better outfit.

7 Happy ending

Most endings are happy ones. Well, except for 13 Reasons Why, of course, but that’s a whole other story. In reality there is no end. Life doesn’t magically stop after the prom. Most people don’t end up with their high school sweethearts anyway and the naive ones that did, have turned into single parents by now. I’m quite glad I didn’t marry one of my high school sweethearts. The thing is: you’re a child and your brain and personality are in no way finished before the age of 25. So it’s fine to date and to learn what you want out of a significant other before tying the knot. There are no end credits in real life.

Why so serious? It’s a movie, Wordy!

I hear you. In reality the guy would be appalled, hurt and offended by the blatant catfishing the girls pulled off. But this is a movie, so the pretty guy takes the loser girl to prom. Of course things are totally unrealistic in movies, because we enjoy watching the FHSRD’s. We root for the loser to get the guy and we wish we could indeed turn out crazy pretty at our prom. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy watching Sierra Burgess is a Loser, but it was just so painfully predictable. I said: “Both of you.” out loud at the exact moment the pretty boy did. Every plottwist came at the exact moment I expected it and the end was precisely as all those other movies. (Except for the obese thing, but the guy said he liked that. Real women have curves, y’all! If curves mean having your belly hanging over your belt… Muffin-tops are the new six pack, I guess.)

I’d like to see a FHSRD where the actors are actually teenagers, where not everyone is beautiful and where the lead just gets over his or her crush and goes on with life. We at Reasonish did and we turned out pretty fine.

Roll credits.

By the way

The title is stupid. Sierra does very well in school and she has a sweet best friend who’s there for her. She’s a tutor, she speaks multiple languages, she plays an instrument, she can sing and her parents are caring, wealthy, succesful and happily married. Sierra may be unpopular, but she is NOT a loser.

 

Making a Murderer - Season 2

Spoilers: Making a Murderer Season 2 – Is there justice in Wisconsin?

Anyone who has watched the entire first series of the Netflix-documentary “Making a Murderer” will at least vaguely remember the rollercoaster of emotions that is generated by watching this series. When the first season ended, viewers were left wondering about the guilt of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, but anyone with an ethical bone in his body and anyone with any respect for the judicial process couldn’t help but being marvelled, shocked and appalled by the way this investigation and its subsequent court proceedings ended with two persons being jailed.

Making a Murderer – Season 2 is that same rollercoaster of emotions. We’ll try to summarize what we learned. If you’re planning on still watching the new season: there will be spoilers. Lots. In this season Kathleen Zeller is hired as Steven’s new lawyer. Remember that he tried to become his own lawyer in the first season of Making a Murderer? Well, she’s taking over, and she’s doing a tremendous job. Right from the start, she starts doing a serious investigation. She buys the same car as Teresa Halbach had. Then, she starts by trying to reproduce the narrative that got Steven convicted.

Not enough blood, too much DNA and way too clean

And she does that with attention to detail. The blood in the car? Turns out – it should have been on a lot of places, but not where there was blood. The DNA under the hood? Way more DNA was found there than opening the hood would explain. Also, the sample was squeaky clean. Not at all the way a swap from under the hood of a car would have looked. She then discovers that there was actually DNA taken from Steven’s groin (try and unsee that). It was never entered into evidence. Yeah, it probably got swapped. The DNA on the key was also 10 times more than you would find on a key that a person held. And every time the results were way too clean for a normal crime scene.

Blood spatter patterns don’t match the story

The blood spatters on the back door of the car matched a pattern that was different from what the DA said might have happened. She wasn’t thrown in the back of the car. The blood doesn’t have the right pattern. Someone probably hit her with a hammer while she knelt at the back of the vehicle. So, that rules out shooting her in the garage.

Bullet didn’t have skull fragments

Which does explain the fact that there was no bone residue on the bullet that had her DNA on it, the one that supposedly went through her skull. It probably only went through a piece of wood. So how did her DNA get on it? Well, the DNA-samples that were taking from Teresa’s apartment didn’t follow the rest of the evidence but made their way onto the Avery-territory. And they included a chapstick, which probably explains the greasy substance seen on the bullet.

So now there’s no murder bullet, the blood spatters indicate the murder wasn’t inside, Steven’s blood in the car couldn’t be reproduced by someone bleeding from a cut and the DNA sample from the hood is too clean. Also, an expert on burning bodies indicates that the firepit Steven is supposed to have burned Teresa in with two tires isn’t possibly enough to destroy an entire body. So what happened to the rest of Teresa?

Wait, there’s more (bones)!

Turns out there were more human bones, far outside of the Avery property! Well, how convenient.. maybe somebody should have said so during the trial? I mean, human bones. With cut marks, even. They were spread out over the terrain near where the cell phone records said she was last – so, no longer on the Avery property. That means they found evidence that she was cut up and not burned in a huge fire. Leaving that out of the trial… at some point you can no longer conclude that “hey, maybe he did it and they were just incompetent?”

Pure, diabolical evil

During the 10 episodes that this season of Making a Murderer offered, the feeling of evil really started to take a hold. Pure, diabolical evil of the dark overlord-kind. The system decided that Avery was guilty and nothing could stand in the way of that. Not the lack of evidence, not the evidence to the contrary. At one point in the documentary, a witness came forward that had spotted Teresa’s car by the side of the road. This was before they found it at the Avery site. Sure enough, he reported it to a cop. Which cop, you ask? That couldn’t have been a cop involved in his previous wrongful conviciton, right? Well… you might very well think that, but you’d be wrong. Remember: Avery served 18 years for a previous crime that he didn’t commit and was suing the police at the time. A detective had rung the officer in the 90s saying that he had found the real perp…. and the agent answering the phone didn’t act on that information.

Of course it was!

Yes, that was the same cop who now got information from a truck driver on the whereabouts of Teresa’s car. And he verified that it was Teresa’s car via phone, but never reported seeing the car standing by the side of the road. IT WAS THE SAME DAMN COP!

The rollercoaster is real…

You can’t help but be convinced that malificent wrongdoing got Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey into jail, not just astonishing incompetence. The above is just a summary of evidence that Kathleen Zeller collected. The season is so much more than just that. It tells the tale of the suffering of families, particularly the mothers of both Steven and Brendan. Zeller looks at possible other suspects. Making a Murderer makes you feel the frustration of the elderly Avery’s as they are missing their son (56) who has now been in prison for more than half his life and the clock is ticking for them. It makes you feel anger at Ken Kratz, who has stepped down as DA for unprofessional behaviour, but is actively doing a media tour with the highlight of him doing a press conference at the day of an appeal where he has no business being.

The soundtrack does an amazing job of supporting this rollercoaster of emotions in what is, in essence, a slow-paced documentary. It’s made to make you feel the importance of each discovery and it does exactly that.

No justice in Wisconsin

But the most astonishing thing about Making a Murderer – Season 2? At the end of the season, both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are still in jail, wasting away their life while Zeller is bent on proving Averies innocence and Dassey’s legal options to fight against the heartwrenching so-called “confession” have apparently run out. None of the facts line up and yet, it looks like no-one on the side of the prosecution is willing to take a stand and start looking for the real killer. Ultimately, it makes you feel like there is no room for justice in Wisconsin, and maybe not in America.