I just finished watching Netflix’s new film The F**k-It List, and I can safely say that it’s my new favorite movie.
It’s about a high-school senior, Brett, who shares a fuck it list of things he wishes he had done differently after a senior night’s prank blows up.
He is studious and moves on the right path of life academically. He has a 3.65 GPA and 1590 on the SATs. He makes it to seven Ivy Leagues and gets wait-listed from Harvard—every student’s dream life, right? But he makes one mistake and all colleges drop him. One prank goes wrong, and he loses everything he had worked so hard for.
“One mistake and everything goes away. Total bullshit.”
The movie is beautifully made. All the loose ends seamlessly tie in together at the end and everything falls into place. The cast is also excellent, especially Eli Brown. No one could’ve played Brett better than him. He acted perfectly.
The movie fully encapsulates the life of a teenager. Everything a teenager feels, wants, goes through, gives up on. Everything that matters to them. Love. Relationships. Family. Friends. Transition. Expectations. Hopes. Mistakes. Failures. Adulthood. Dreams.
Brett feels liberated when he finally says fuck it and puts his list out there.
“By themselves, relatively harmless. Put them together and they’re life changing.”
His dreams on the list are so real. Wanting to skip school. Punching his PE teacher in the face. Learning guitar. Falling in real love. Kissing his childhood crush.
Throughout the movie, Brett delves deeper into the depths of what saying fuck it really means. What his list really stands for.
Brett’s video of the list goes viral on the internet and other children, inspired by him, start making their own fuck it lists. And in fact, they start following their lists. His idea spreads like wildfire around the world. It becomes bigger than himself.
“You ever just want to say fuck it?”
Brett’s friend and childhood crush, Kayla, for instance, breaks her mother’s boyfriend’s car with a baseball bat. He got drunk and came for her when she was 11. When she told her mother about his sleazy behavior, she told her to shut up and stop provoking him. But then inspired by Brett, Kayla finally found the strength to stand up to Steve. This makes me think about how there’s so much that all of us give up for one reason or another. What we endure. What we let go. But what does it take to finally give up all excuses and do what we want?
People call Brett boring because he’s studious and focuses on studying all the time. I know how many times I’ve been called boring for prioritizing school work over having fun. But they didn’t realize that my grades mattered more to my parents than they did to me. And how could I ever let them down?
“Do what you’re told,” they tell you. “Stay on the right path.”
I’ve felt the pressure of making my parents happy, fulfilling their expectations. They sanded down my dreams. I didn’t know when they started living through me, but when that happened, I fell into an abyss. If I deviated just a little from the path they had chosen for me, they felt hopeless—like they had lost everything. They cared about how I was perceived. They paved the road in front of me, making me feel so small. Their desperation, expectations, and hopes settled inside me, holding me back from doing the things that I wanted to do. It was always about get this and get that and get there. Somewhere in between, I stopped caring about what made me happy.
I keep thinking now, just for once, I should’ve let go and said—fuck it.
At the end of the movie, Brett is given another chance to attend college. But it comes at a cost. He’s told to write a college essay based on the theme of contrition—contrition, really?
Brett made some decisions on his own and his life came crashing down at his feet like sea waves. And then he was told to fix his life. Move ahead. Do as he was told. His parents checked on him, again and again while he wrote his essay because they didn’t want him to blow up his last chance of ending up at college. They told him that they had invested 18 years into making his life. And he was so close now. But then, Brett blew it up saying Harvard wasn’t for him. He told his parents point-blank that he wanted to live his life in his own way.
“Your frustrations—they’re real, as they should be.”
Sometimes, our parents viscerally start living through us. They don’t realize that we need the independence to make decisions, to choose for ourselves, to be on our own. Sometimes, we don’t want what they want. Sometimes, they just don’t get it. And it’s not just parents, it’s everyone, including our friends and teachers. It’s hard to put together pieces of your life when they don’t belong to you.
Life is like what’s beyond the sea—the unknown. We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what’s to come. But sometimes, taking a chance is worth it. We shouldn’t kill the pursuit of the unknown. What if everything we want lies in it? The F**k-It List shows us that it’s important to hold on to things that matter even if we don’t understand them fully.
I loved the movie for how real it was.
Brett’s character is every other teenager—stuck in a life that he doesn’t want to live.
But I think I’ve learned to say from him what I should’ve said so many times before. Fuck it.