When my husband and I were just starting to date, he gave me a tape to play on my long ride home from my job. A friend of mine teased me: that’s a mixtape, he likes you. A what? I knew nothing about making a mixtape. All I knew is that I loved the music and the order in which it was played. Learn more about mixtapes and get nostalgic with the Mixtape cast from last week’s Q & A with Julie Bowen and Gemma Brooke Allen.
Mixtapes used to be THE thing to give someone to indicate interest or show your love for a friend or a romantic interest. Now we create playlists the easy way in a digital app or on a device, which is also cool but there was something fun about having a special tape. Netflix’s new movie, Mixtape, highlights this in their new movie that will bring you all the feels and 90s nostalgia.
Gemma plays young Beverly, a middle-schooler being raised by her grandmother, Gail (Julie Bowen) since her parents died when she was young. Beverly has no real memories of her early childhood and seeks to learn more about her mom after finding a mixtape in a box in the attic. Tracing each song back to its roots includes developing a weird friendship with the elusive owner of a local music store, a man that goes by the name of Anti (Nick Thune), and two other young ladies from school. They come together to help Beverly find the story behind the music, which ends up bringing Beverly closer to her grandmother while giving Gail the chance she seems to need to deal with her grief while reminiscing in a happier way.
It’s an emotional movie in some ways, yet humorous. Anti steps up to help, meeting Gail in the process, and we get to see everyone grow together, reminding us all that there’s beauty in letting our flaws out, trusting others and being ourselves. (And we learn that sometimes bullies DO get punished. So many movies show bullies getting away with bad behavior, but it was refreshing to see Mixtape address it briefly and satisfyingly.) We also are reminded that grief isn’t something that can be forced; we deal when we’re ready to deal, and that’s different for everyone. I enjoyed seeing Beverly learn to be happy being herself, and I wish I’d dealt with school bullying with the grace she did.
Then there’s the music, a fun montage showing a slice of life from the 80s and 90s. If it doesn’t get you moving a little, you need to listen to music more! The mixtape is available on Spotify as a playlist HERE.
The Mixtape cast Q&A session was truly an enjoyable time. Julie has a charm and humor about her that sets you immediately at easy, and Gemma is a gem, no pun intended. She’s fresh, sweet and genuine, and that makes her a try joy to interview. The Zoom screen was full of smiles, and I’m sure they were all legitimate, based on the friendliness that both Julie and Gemma portrayed, along with their candor…and Julie’s story about doing splits in her mailman uniform. Somehow I can totally see her doing it! Julie has a way of speaking that makes everyone in the room feel like a friend, and I loved every minute of the Q&A.
I was fortunate enough to get a few questions in for both Julie and Gemma, starting with my ask of Julie about what her favorite part of reliving the 90s was. (I was an 80s-90s kid, without giving away my age, and I know I really loved being able to go back and revisit the music!) Julie explained how the movie took place in the PNW (Pacific Northwest), though filmed in Vancouver, and how everyone back in the 90s wanted to be a part of a garage band, something that was huge during that decade. There’s a garage band and a lot of that vibe in Mixtape, so they got to be involved.
Another favorite for Julie? Heading back in time to an era where no one was on cellphones! Heads were up and people weren’t on devices all day long. I can’t disagree! Cell phones didn’t play a part in that time and instead, we either drove places or used a phone with a long curly cord, which Julie gets wrapped up in, literally, in one of the movie scenes. I could totally relate! Ah, memories…good times, good times.
Young Gemma…I absolutely love her. She faced a group of us asking her a litany of various questions and she handled it with such grace! My second question asked her what her favorite song was from the whole mixtape. She said “Better Things,” initially, but also loved “Teacher’s Pet” and “Getting Nowhere Fast.” Overall favorite though? “The Wrong Song,” and I understand why. She quotes how the emotional significance of it had her and her mom bawling, and once you see the movie, you’ll be ‘all up in the feels’ as Gemma was when you hear it.
My last question was also for Gemma, who sings and plays guitar in Mixtape. Turns out, she’s got real talent and there are big things ahead for her! She wasn’t able to tell us what exactly, but keep an ear out…I can’t wait to hear her music!
Thank you to Netflix for allowing us to screen the movie and interview the Mixtape cast. They were fabulously fun and I had a great time with both. Watch the movie. If you have any 90s memories, this is one you’ll want to see..and if not, you’ll develop an interest in the musical genre from that time while rooting for Beverly and Gail to bridge the gap and deal with their grief and grow together.