Scrunchies, skorts, and wonder bras, The To Do List revisits the look of the summer of 1993. Quirky young actress Aubrey Plaza plays Brandy Klark the high school valedictorian who is determined to master the fine art of seduction before going off to college. The innocence of the time is heightened by the absence of technology like smartphones, Google and Facebook. One of the most endearing moments in the film comes when the sexually inexperienced Brandy resorts to looking up the definitions to sexual slang words in an academic dictionary.
The fashions featured in the film are reminiscent of popular television shows of the 90’s such as Beverly Hills 90210, Saved by The Bell and Full House. Styles consisted of floral print dresses, sleeveless tops, and midriff ensembles which bared the arms & waistlines. This was prior to the boom in breast augmentation surgeries which gave way to plunging necklines and exposed cleavage. Stone wash was the finish of choice for cut off denim shorts, overalls, and trims. In one pivotal scene Brandy’s best friend tells her to "stop dressing like Tracey Gold" the actress who played Carol Seaver the sassy teenage daughter on the long running TV sitcom Growing Pains. Grunge fashion items such as button down flannel shirts, tie-dye t-shirts, and torn jeans were used sparingly. Strategically placed props like an early Macintosh computer, a talking Pee-wee Herman doll, and clunky VCRs helped capture the cultural spirit of the time. The film’s soundtrack boasts an eclectic mix of music which defined the first half of the decade from the controversial hip-hop classic cMe So Horny by 2 Live Crew to the ethereal alternative rock anthem Dreams by The Cranberries.
The To Do List is a laugh out loud feel good indie film about adolescence, sexuality and self-discovery in simpler times. It’s filled with hilarious one liners, crude dialogue and sexual content. This movie is sure to become an instant cult classic among young adults!
Reviewer: Jesse Negrete, Reference & Student Services Specialist FIDM San Diego Campus