I am not sure that there could be a bigger example of white privilege out there than this new movie on Netflix. The F**k-It List has come out in the most unlikely time in the history of our society and gives a big F**k-It to everybody.
I mean… high school senior Brett Blackmore (Eli Brown) is the soon-to-be valedictorian of his senior class and has spent his entire educational career studying and placing his nose to the proverbial grindstone to get ahead. His friends pick on him for his single-mindedness but it does not affect his choices and he was having great success as he had been accepted to 7 out of the 8 Ivy League colleges, with Harvard only placing him on the waiting list.
However, when he was talked into attending senior prank night, things get out of hand. Several of his friends accidentally unloose a gas main (very easily, for a very expensive looking high school administration building) and they run to get Brett to fix things. Brett realizes quickly that there is not much that can be done and they get out of the building, moments before it explodes.
The few cameras that survived the massive explosion gave authorities a picture of Brett running through the halls of the building prior to its ignition. Brett takes full responsibility for the explosion (despite him not being responsible at all) and his potential future opportunities went up in flames with the building.
After this, he unintentionally posts a video to social media of a rant of his saying that he felt free and that he was creating a f**k-it list. This video, of course, goes viral and suddenly Brett is a social media superstar inspiring other kids to take the attitude of f**k-it.
Brett’s parents (Jerry O’Connell and Natalie Zea) are shocked by their son’s behavior but continue to let him do whatever he wanted to do. The film wants you to believe that Brett’s entire life was ruined, but watching him think about his life options while floating on a device in their pool kind of defeats that purpose.
The parents are shown to be totally tone deaf to their son and utterly privileged in their thought process as they tried to use their money to get Brett into college. In fact, the parents here could be the worst characters in the movie as they even cooked up a scheme for the mom to do “whatever” one of the Harvard board members wanted, going more than implying that she would have sex with him to get Brett into the college.
Then, perhaps I missed it, but the fact that Brett took the full blame for the accidental explosion was never referenced by his friends again, even when Brett, who was not allowed to graduate, comes to see them at the graduation ceremony. If they did express their gratitude to him, it was certainly subtle enough that I did not catch it.
Eli Brown and Madison Iseman, who played Kayla Pierce, Brett’s longtime crush, are both solid and even charming at times, which takes the coming of age story to a little higher level. The movie’s problem is that it never sets Brett up to feel as if he were ever in jeopardy. He looked to be nothing more than angry about having mom and dad push him to academic excellence for his youth. Kayla has a more interesting back story which is the strongest part of the film.
At one point in the movie, Brett tells his father, who is preparing to tell his son something he had done as a child,” not to claim that he knows kids because “he was one once” and that “nobody’s had it like we do these days.” Could he be a little more pretentious?
The film wants to pretend that it has some deeper message about school and about money, but it is nothing more than surface level at best. The F**k-It List is the worst of the entitled world these days. But hey, just float in your pool. It helps.