Never Goin’ Back – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for Never Goin' Back.
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Never Goin’ Back holds itself back from the many things which could have made this either really funny, insightful, or heartfelt.


Director(s) Augustine Frizzell
Written By Augustine Frizzell
Date Released (VOD) 10/30/2018
Genre(s) Coming of Age
Good If You Like Girls Behaving Badly

Movies Which Focuses On Working Class People

Films Which Almost Feel Like A Stoner Comedy

Noted Cast
Angela Maia Mitchell
Jessie Camila Morrone
Dustin Joel Allen
Brandon Kyle Mooney

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Summary (Ending on 2nd Page)

17-year-old Angela and 16 year old Jessie are high school dropouts, have no real adult supervision, and a bit of a drug habit. But, with living in a no-name town with very little to do, what is there to look forward to but parties, drugs, and boys? But, in this adventure, boys are the least of these two girls concern as their worry is making the rent. For with Jessie’s brother Dustin being an idiot, alongside his roommate Brandon, it may just be up to the girls to make sure they don’t end up homeless. Also, that Jessie’s 17th birthday can be a hell of a lot better than her 16th.

Highlights

A Beautiful Friendship

Angela and Jessie, in juvie, interlocking fingers as they sleep.

One of the main things you’ll love about this movie is Angela and Jessie’s friendship. Though it isn’t gone over how they became friends, part of the reason is they never have some dramatic breakdown. These two are each other’s ride or die, each other’s everything, and while there is something queer going on, when they are high, their bond seems to be rooted in the other person providing what they formerly lacked. That is, consistency, dependability, and some form of accountability as well.

Boys Are Such A Minor Part in Jessie and Angela’s Life

While the girls like to have a fun time, boys are the least of their worries or concerns. Outside of noting one boy they found cute, pretty much the whole movie is about their friendship, Jessie’s dumb brother and his friends, and trying to get the rent money. Making a nice change of pace from what you usually get.

The Struggles of Small Town Life

It isn’t clear of the exact town in Texas these girls live in, but what is clear is that the town is a bit of a dead end. At least it seems that way when minimum wage, sex work, or trying to become a drug dealer is the only occupations we see. Thus explaining why parties and drugs are such a big deal for that is the only escape and fun to have. For with no other sources of entertainment, what else would a bunch of teenagers and young adults do? Especially with the adults working their asses off or just flailing in life?

On The Fence

While It Has Its Moments, It Is Not Downright Funny or Emotional

Jessie (Camila Morrone) laying on Angela's (Maia Mitchell) shoulder.
Jessie (Camila Morrone) and Angela (Maia Mitchell)

Though the film has comical moments, mostly when this movie veers towards being a stoner comedy, generally speaking, it is kind of a bore. Not so boring you’ll want to watch something else and forget you even started this. More so a bore because it often comes off generic.

I mean, two girls who spend their day doing drugs, dealing with stupid boys, and working long enough to party sounds like so many movies – TV shows as well. But, the problem with this movie is it doesn’t have anything to really stand out. Despite it being clear Jessie’s mom is not in the picture, the film doesn’t contain any real drama or emotional performances. Then, in terms of the jokes, while there is this stoner comedy vibe, you don’t get anything which may make you think of a Seth Rogen style or like this movie is carving its own lane.

The Ending Is Kind of Weak

Arguably, the ending for the movie felt like a climax right before things started to go bad. Giving Never Goin’ Back an almost TV series supercut vibe. Like if Frizzell dreamed of a series, start to finish, maybe even a mini-series, couldn’t get the funding for that but enough to make a film. So, this is what we got and we got left at a point of Jessie and Angela’s life where fan commotion could lead to more.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive) | Available on Amazon (with Prime) | Sign Up For A Trial

The problem with Never Goin’ Back is it has good characters placed in a lackluster story. One which may have a beginning, middle, and end, but no part of the journey fully taps into the potential you see in the characters. Be it handling Jessie and Angela being minors with no adult supervision, Jessie’s mom being a sex worker, both drowning out their free time with drugs, or even finding the funny of small-town life. Ultimately, Never Goin’ Back feels like it is holding back. Hence the mixed label.



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