Off the Shelf: 20 Random Observations from ‘Easy A’

As a Blu-ray reviewer, my life revolves around the weekly new releases. That’s just the nature of the job. However, like most of you, I also have a sizable collection of movies that I like to revisit time and again. “Off the Shelf” is meant to be a somewhat recurring feature here on the blog where I’ll watch random movies from my collection, hoping to learn new lessons, observe new observations, or simply just enjoy a familiar movie.

My wife has been sick for the past few days. Bed-ridden, she’s been plowing through Disney movie after Disney movie. Out of the blue, she asked for ‘Easy A‘, claiming that, apropos of nothing, the “Pocket Full of Sunshine” montage popped into her head.

And that’s how Off the Shelf was born.

The Details:

Title: ‘Easy A’
Director: Will Gluck
Blu-ray Release Date: December 21, 2010

The 20 Random Observations:
  1. Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m supposed to be amazed or surprised about the quirky opening credits, which are placed slyly around the scene like floating words from a Ford truck commercial. Are they supposed to be eye-catching, interesting, or mysteriously hidden?
  2. How come there was a huge backlash against ‘Juno‘ and its hipster dialogue, but no one complained about ‘Easy A’? Don’t get me wrong, personally I think the writing here is fun and energetic. Yet straight from the opening monologue, you know that this is going to be one of those witty banter movies where characters try to one-up each other with clever quips.
  3. ‘Easy A’ requires a pretty hefty suspension of disbelief. We are forced to accept that Emma Stone would actually go unnoticed by the opposite sex. I’m pretty sure the filmmakers understood this well, which is evidenced by their attempt to hide her behind Aly Michalka’s generic blonde-bombshell looks and “big tits.” (Their words, not mine.)
  4. The “Pocket Full of Sunshine” montage is indeed an ample reason for revisiting this movie. If anything, it’s a hilarious short film about how an annoying song can violently attach itself to your memory banks and never let go. Sidenote: I never actually paid enough attention, but Olive spends all of Sunday in the shower.
  5. Women don’t use the term “lady balls” nearly enough.
  6. What is it about Amanda Bynes that makes me want to slap her? She’s the perfect person to play the role of a sinner-hating religious wacko, though. However, those skin-tight mini skirts she wears don’t seem Jesus approved.
  7. I loved the clever jab at political correctness during the backstory of how the high school had to change its mascot from a blue devil to a woodchuck.
  8. This is yet another movie that illustrates Stanley Tucci’s ability to be effortlessly funny.
  9. Along that same line of thinking, we’re also reminded of Thomas Haden Church’s ability to be effortlessly monotone.
  10. I know that Olive admonishes everyone to watch the original version of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ in order to get the gist of the book. I’m going to go one step further and say just watch the ‘Easy A’ Cliff’s Notes version of that movie. That lets you in on all you need to know about the story.
  11. Why is Malcolm McDowell in just about everything? It’s like he wanders onto a set and just gets placed him into some random role. The principal of a public high school in California? Really? By the way, Malcolm McDowell would be the most intimidating principal ever.
  12. The scenes with Olive’s parents are classic. While her parents are the “cool” parents, they don’t try too hard, which is what makes them loveable. Watching them try to guess the word “twat” is one of the many instantly classic scenes in the movie.
  13. Innuendo is a great thing. In a sex comedy, you can say completely random things and disguise them as sexual acts. Some of my favorites from ‘Easy A’ are “butterbean,” “cowbell,” and “reverse melon bag.”
  14. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that ‘Easy A’ contains the very first angry sewing montage ever filmed.
  15. I’m glad that, even as fans of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, we can still laugh at its nonsensical musical scene.
  16. There’s a scene that’s so easily forgotten in ‘Easy A’ (I know I forgot about it until revisiting the movie just now) where Thomas Haden Church recounts a Facebook status about some random student getting a Coke Zero. This gave me a fail-safe million dollar idea. Thomas Haden Church Reads Mundane Facebook Statuses: The Album. I’m going to be rich.
  17. I’ve never liked Lisa Kudrow. Ever. She’s annoying in ‘Friends’ as Phoebe, and I can’t get Phoebe out of my head whenever she plays someone else. I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t matter what she does, whether she’s mean or nice, I still picture her singing “Smelly Cat.”
  18. Olive shows empathy like I do, with short, too hard “There there” pats on the head. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one.
  19. After watching Olive’s family pick a movie for family movie night, I had to wonder if anyone in the world actually had “Watch The Bucket List” on their bucket list. And if they did, how sad a life that must be.
  20. ‘Easy A’ deftly switches tone without missing a beat. When it’s time for the movie to get all serious on us, we totally buy it. It isn’t a jarring experience like you might expect it to be. It’s actually a really sincere and satisfying conclusion. Plus, the multiple shout-outs to John Hughes are wonderfully welcome.
Favorite Previously Forgotten Quote:

Olive talking to religious freak Marianne: “We’ve had nine classes together since Kindergarten… ten if you count Religion of Other Cultures, which you didn’t because you called it science fiction and refused to go.”

Final Thoughts:

I’m not totally sure how Will Gluck made such an enormous jump from the dismally unfunny ‘Fired Up!’ to the genuinely hilarious ‘Easy A’, but I’m glad he did. Bert V. Royal’s pithy script certainly helps matters. However, ‘Easy A’ is only as good as its lead. This may very well be that special movie in Emma Stone’s career that we look back on and recognize as the moment that she became a viable leading lady.


  1. Drew

    This is a bit off topic, but this post seemed to be the only one that had any relevancy to my question at all.

    I’ve noticed many of the newly reviewed titles on the main site now have a “HOT!” moniker next to them.

    Is there any reason for this? I noticed it for the first time a few days ago. I don’t think it was ever there before that.

    I don’t ever recall seeing it in the past. Why are so many of the titles marked, “HOT!” now? Is this a result of the technical problems you experienced last week? Did someone hack into your mainframe, and start branding things with, “HOT!”

    • Drew, our corporate owners have been making some design changes to the site. We in the staff are often not consulted. In this case, I think they’re trying to draw attention to reviews that are the most popular (probably determined by page views).

      If you go into our forums, the “Feedback” forum is the best place to ask questions like this. Representatives from Internet Brands monitor that forum and occasionally respond to questions.

      • Drew

        Thank you Josh.

        I had tried the feedback forum with no luck. I know that the HDD staff actually pays attention to the Bonus view, so I figured this would be the next best place to ask.

        It’s pretty tacky, but I suppose I can see their reasoning behind it.

        • Mike Attebery

          I read the feedback all the time. I just don’t have much to add when it comes to some of the current questions like:

          “Where are my photos?” Answer: I don’t know.


          “Check out what happens when you click on my profile.” Response: Why is this in Feedback?

          BTW, Josh is right about the HOT! designations, only I’m the one who gets to highlight them. You don’t think Prom is HOT!? It’s the HOT(!)test!

  2. Keegan

    Great observations Aaron. If I may comment on item #14. The first disgruntled sewing scene actually occurred in 1966 when the Grinch set out to exact revenge on the residents of Whoville by tailoring a imposter Santa Clause ensemble. However, since you DID specify “ever filmed” I will have to let this one slide on a technicality.

    PS: I hate Phoebe too.

  3. Jane Morgan

    The hipster parents, for me, fell in the uncanny valley.

    Like, back at university, when I went from ‘The West Wing’ to ‘Gilmore Girls,’ where the dialogue had the same velocity, but sounded three degrees more artificial. I had to stop watching.

    I netflixed ‘Easy A’ on blu-ray, but I doubt I’ll ever revisit it.

    ‘Juno’ too, I found to be single-use only.

    And yet, I’ve watched ‘State & Main’ like 37 times. It’s a mystery.

  4. Dyslexia for cure found, Aaron! It’s “PhOEbe” instead of “PhEObe”. I love your funny typos (“read our reveiw” is a classic).

    Excellent article, as always. I haven’t seen “Easy A”, though. Unlike Jane, I consider “Juno” to be very rewatchable. In fact, it’s one of my favourite movies of the past decade.