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Starring: Victoria Justice, Midori Francis, Robyn Scott, Adam Garcia, Spencer Sutherland, Timothy Renouf, Kiroshan Naidoo, Gloria Garcia
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix supernatural comedy directed by Stephen Herek. Afterlife of the Party (2021) follows social butterfly Cassie (Victoria Justice), whp experiences the biggest party foul of all by dying during her birthday week. To her surprise, she’s given a second chance to right her wrongs on Earth by reconnecting with loved ones, and most importantly, prove that she’s worthy enough to get into the big VIP room in the sky.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Lisa: Instead of going out for your birthday, what if we just stay home, and we put on our stretchy pants, and we puzzle like we used to, and we order more noodles?
Cassie: No. No. We’re not staying in. It’s my birthday week. I have to ring in twenty-five with style!
Lisa: You’ve rung in the past four years with style. What? Taking one night in won’t kill you. Besides, we haven’t puzzled in weeks. I mean, look at Mona. She is missing her smile, and it’s kind of depressing.
Lisa: I’m around dinosaur bones all day, so I’m not really used to talking to people that much.
Cassie: She works in the Museum of Natural History.
Max: Oh, wow! Yeah, I compose music for video games all day, so not a lot of human interaction for me either.
Cassie: [referring to Max] I did notice a spark.
Lisa: There was a spark? No, there was no spark. I’m really focused on work right now, and I can’t have any distractions.
Cassie: Not even in the form of our new neighbor and his cute accent?
Lisa: Well, I’m on a path here. Nail this junior research position, get promoted to field researcher, and then work alongside my paleontologist hero.
Cassie: Hey, Lisa, I want to introduce you to my friend Fun. I don’t know if you two have ever met.
Lisa: I like having a good time too. Only I want to do it with people who’d actually care if something happened to me, or who would like me even if I didn’t rent a very dangerous waterslide.
Cassie: Don’t tell me you’re jealous.
Lisa: I am not jealous of people who look filtered twenty-four-seven.
Lisa: It’s like you think you aren’t worth anything if you aren’t seen.
Cassie: Okay. You know what? Well, at least I’m out making friends, and I’m not hiding at my desk.
Lisa: Because I think that there is more to life than partying, or getting to know knowing all the names of bartenders in town.
Lisa: We never hang out anymore. Just the two of us.
Cassie: We’re busy. We’ll just have to get better at making time for each other.
Lisa: I don’t know, Cassie. I don’t think being friends should feel like work.
Cassie: I don’t think it does, Lisa. But I can tell from your face that you do.
Cassie: I don’t want to stay best friends out of habit anyway.
Lisa: I’m a habit? That’s it? You’re just going to say something like that, and walk away?
Cassie: Maybe it’s time we both admit that we’ve outgrown each other.
Val: I’m Val. Otherwise known as your temporary guardian angel.
Cassie: You don’t look like a guardian angel. I mean, shouldn’t you have a halo?
Val: Oh, special occasions only.
Cassie: Okay, what about wings?
Val: Oh, no, we phased those out years ago.
Val: This isn’t a hallucination. Oh, this part’s always hard. How can I put this? Yeah, you died.
Cassie: Stop saying that!
Val: Yeah. Well, I mean, you saw it yourself, so.
Cassie: I died in the bathroom?
Cassie: Oh! Oh, this keeps getting worse!
Val: Look, it’s going to be okay. And the good news is that the worst is over now that you’re d… No longer living. You don’t have to deal with all of those human annoyances. You know, like heartbreak, or PMS. Just think of the afterlife as one long spa day. And if you’re one of the lucky ones, it could last for an eternity.
Cassie: So, I went up?
Cassie: Is this down? I went down?!
Val: You’re in the middle. We call this the In-Between.
Cassie: So like general admission?
Val: It’s a tiered system. Yeah. You want the Above. Trust me.
Cassie: That was like riding a roller coaster backwards and blindfolded.
Val: [referring to Howie] He can’t see or hear you. No one can.
Cassie: What? No, that can’t be right.
Val: Well, we can’t risk scaring people on Earth. They’re so fragile.
Cassie: How long have I been gone? Val, how long?
Val: A year.
Cassie: A year? It feels like a day.
Val: Well, time works differently up there.
Cassie: Maybe I should’ve taken a pamphlet.
Cassie: [referring to her list] Lisa? Really, Val? No. Pass. Hard pass.
Val: There is no hard pass. There isn’t even a regular pass.
Val: Why are you so afraid of seeing your best friend again?
Cassie: My former BFF, and I’m not. There’s just too much history between us. Besides, I don’t know if I want to. Some friendships just end, you know? Shouldn’t I have a say in who’s on my list? This is my afterlife we’re talking about.
Val: I believe in you.
Cassie: That makes one of us.
Val: You have the five Earth days leading up to your birthday to complete this list.
Cassie: Wait, five days? Oh. Sure. Why not? Hey, you know what? Why don’t we make it two days? Or better yet, we can just cram it all into one!
Val: Well, just think of it as Cassie-palooza, the afterlife edition.
'Look around. Everybody looks like they're talking to themselves. It's talking to each other that we have trouble with.' - Cassie (Afterlife of the Party) Click To Tweet
Cassie: Can I text? Tweet? TikTok?
Val: No. No. And definitely negatory.
Cassie: Do I at least get cool superpowers, like mind control, or something?
Val: It’s guardian angel level only.
Val: This is about you learning to really connect with the people closest to you.
Cassie: Yeah, and what if I can’t?
Val: Well, I’ll be here if you need me. Oh, except between noon and four. I’m kidding. It’s a joke. Look, I’m always going to be here for you.
Val: I know what you’re thinking. And, yes, you do get a wardrobe change. Yeah, yeah. You just close your eyes, and envision what you want to wear. But just so you know, you only get one wardrobe change a day, so make it count.
Cassie: Somebody call Marie Kondo, because joy is not sparking here.
Max: I’m in the process of scoring this game about post-apocalyptic, motorcycle-riding zombie Vikings.
Max: Yeah. It sounds kind of lame now I’m saying it out loud, but it’s actually pretty dope, if post-apocalyptic, motorcycle-riding zombie Vikings are your thing.
Emme: I haven’t seen much of the town yet. I should probably get out more. Baked goods aren’t the best conversationalists.
Lisa: Well, neither are bones.
Cassie: I miss brownies. Why couldn’t I have had death by chocolate?
Cassie: [referring to Lisa] You know, I don’t think this is going to work. She doesn’t seem to miss me. There’s no trace of me anywhere. Oh, and get this. I’ve been replaced by this roommate who is like full-on dark web. Why aren’t you saying anything?
Val: You’re saying enough for the both of us.
Val: Look, I know going back is hard, but you aren’t forgotten.
Cassie: Oh, I don’t know about that.
Val: Well, maybe if we cut out all the “I”s and “me”s and look harder, you’ll find that she actually does need you.
Cassie: [to Lisa] Why are you sleeping? There is a whole world out there, and you are missing it.
Cassie: [as Lisa and see and hear her] This isn’t supposed to be happening. This is awesome, and crazy, but mostly awesome!
Lisa: You aren’t here. Nope. You died.
Cassie: Yeah, that sucked.
Lisa: I don’t believe in whatever you are.
Cassie: I’m nothing scary! I’m like a junior guardian angel. Well, not officially. I don’t even know if that’s really a thing, but that’s how I make sense of it. Anyway, titles aren’t important right now.
Cassie: [to Lisa] I’ll be back. Not in an ominous way! In a good way!
Val: Making contact used to be fairly common, but now, with all the distractions, I mean it’s practically non-existent.
Cassie: Well, it happened. You never forget the first time your friend looks at you in sheer terror.
Cassie: Everyone’s staring at me like I’m a unicorn.
Val: This is the Angels Den. It’s the central command of the In-Between. Unicorns are in a different area.
Cassie: I’m usually the center of the party, not on the sidelines. This feels odd.
Val: You know the saying “angel on your shoulder”? That’s who I want to be. A guardian angel who’s there through all of these stages of life. Not just at the end.
Cassie: So why don’t you?
Val: It’s not my decision to make.
Val: [to the dog] Go back to your owner. Go on.
Cassie: So we can talk to animals?
Val: Not we. I can. Yeah, it’s above your power grade.
Howie: [looking at Cassie’s photo] I just feel so guilty going on like normal when you can’t. I miss you, kiddo. All I ever wanted was to protect you, and I couldn’t even do that.
Cassie: Oh, dad, but you did.
Emme: Would you like a calming tea, or…
Lisa: No. I don’t need calming. I need an exorcist.
Emme: Well, I can’t help you with that.
Lisa: [referring to Cassie] This is going to sound really weird, but she talks to me, and I can see her.
Emme: Well, that doesn’t sound weird at all. She was your best mate. She’s part of you.
Emme: Is she here now?
Lisa: Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah. She thinks your store needs a makeover.
Emme: Oh! Well, I’m open to anything that will encourage people to hang out here.
Emme: Look, everyone deals with grief in their own way. I like to think it’s a compliment when they come back.
Lisa: This doesn’t feel like a compliment.
Emme: Would your friend like an eclair?
Lisa: Don’t encourage her, please.
Cassie: I thought you’d forgotten about me.
Lisa: What? We’ve been in each other’s lives for as long as I can remember. I mean, how could you think that?
Cassie: Being dead brings up a lot of insecurities.
Lisa: Look, I don’t know what’s happening, and I probably need to schedule an MRI, but it is really, really nice to have you back.
Cassie: It’s really nice to be back.
Cassie: [referring to Piper] What do you think she does in there?
Lisa: Money laundering, hacking. You know, basic roommate stuff.
Cassie: [referring to Max] Oh, you still have a crush! So what are you going to do about this year-long crush?
Lisa: Absolutely nothing. We’re fine the way we are. I don’t want to mess things up.
Cassie: What’s to mess up? If you don’t go after what you want, how are you going to get it?
Cassie: You know, for someone who studies bones, girl, you need to get some in your back.
Lisa: How long have you waited to say that?
Cassie: That’s it. This is why I’m here. I’m going to get you together with Dreamy Max!
Lisa: I am sure that there are more substantial reasons why you’re here.
Cassie: Invite him in.
Lisa: Stop it.
Max: Stop what?
Lisa: I didn’t say anything. Did you say something?
Lisa: [referring to the wine] I found it in the back of the fridge, so I’m not sure if it’s good.
Max: Vintage. Nice.
Lisa: Only the best for you, neighbor.
Max: How are those dinosaurs of yours? They still extinct?
Lisa: Yeah. That happened.
Max: On a scale of one to ten, how big of a Jurassic Park fan are you?
Lisa: Like a twenty.
Cassie: Twenty! She watched it all the time!
Lisa: All the time. I watched it a lot. And Indiana Jones. I blame my geekiness on those movies actually.
Max: I like your geekiness.
Lisa: [referring to Max] I think I really like him.
Cassie: Well, then it’s good you kicked him out.
Lisa: Okay. I need to go to bed. And don’t watch me sleep tonight. It’s creepy.
Cassie: Aye, aye, Captain.
Max: [to himself] “Thanks for the wine?” Who says that? Like she’s my waiter for the evening. For God’s sake, why can’t I just ask her out like a normal human being? I had the chance, and I blew it. Oh, what was I thinking? It was like I was leaving a wake.
Cassie: They really are made for each other.
Max: [to himself] Oh. “I like your geekiness?” I mean, who says that? “Hi. I’m Max. I’m your weird neighbor, and you’ll never speak to me again.” Cool. Nice one, dude. Brilliant. Brilliant. What a corker.
Max: [to Lisa] I totally forgot, I’m actually in the throes of a pretty vicious eBay bidding war over the original VHS of David Bowie’s the Labyrinth, and I really should get back to that. No rest for the wicked and all that.
Cassie: Time to start Project Get Dad Out of his Funk.
Lisa: I don’t want people to think that I’m talking to myself.
Cassie: Oh. Look around. Everybody looks like they’re talking to themselves. It’s talking to each other that we have trouble with.
Lisa: Oh, that’s surprisingly deep.
Cassie: I have my moments.
Cassie: [referring to Sofia and Morgan] I want to be happy for her. I do. But seeing her so carefree, you know, it hurts, and I get angry, and it’s just, it’s not a very angelic reaction, huh?
Lisa: I mean, I wouldn’t know, but it does sound like a pretty human one.
Cassie: I don’t know how I’ll make things right before my time is up.
Cassie: Are you ready for your big date?
Lisa: Date? What date? Are you kidding me? I’m freaking out! Why do you think I’m stress eating?
Cassie: Oh, you’re so lucky I came back.
Lisa: I know.
Cassie: This is what you wear when you’re sick, and you go to CVS for more cough medicine.
Lisa: Okay. Hey, now, we don’t all have your never-ending supply of brand-new clothes.
Cassie: Way to angel block, Val!
Val: [referring to Koop] I know you like him, but he’s not on your list.
Cassie: Can we add him, please? He was right there. I couldn’t resist. Please stop glaring. Your disappointed look is weirding me out.
Val: You’re on track. Just stay focused. Open your heart.
Max: [referring to the wine] Possibly only a slight upgrade from the back of the fridge.
Lisa: Pairs best with regret?
Max: Yeah. To regret.
Lisa: To regret.
Lisa: Full confession. I have liked you since the first time we met.
Max: Oh. Well, full confession. I’ve liked you since then too. And I may regret saying this out loud, but I still have this overwhelming desire to kiss you.
Lisa: I like confessions.
[they start kissing]
Lisa: [referring to Max] We spent the entire night just talking. He’s so interesting. He knows all of these obscure bands. Plus, he even got me this blanket before I said I was cold. Oh, and he smells really, really good. Like pine and pizza.
Cassie: You’re falling for him.
Lisa: Yeah, I am.
Cassie: This is your time. It’s not about me. It’s just, I don’t know. I guess it’s starting to hit me that I’m never going to have a first kiss again, or go on an amazing date, or go on a bad date. But worst of all, I’m not going to be here to watch all your career successes. I won’t be here to watch you walk down the aisle and become a mother. And, you’re going to be an amazing mom, Lis.
Lisa: This isn’t fair. I mean, no one should have to die young.
Cassie: I have to believe there’s a reason for it. Even if I don’t know what it is yet.
Lisa: If I’d just stayed there with you that night, then none of this would’ve even happened.
Cassie: No! This was going to happen no matter what you did. It was my time.
Cassie: In a weird way, what happened is a good thing. I mean, now you get to live your own life, and don’t have to worry about taking care of me anymore.
Lisa: You don’t mean that.
Cassie: I can’t lie. I’m almost an angel.
Sofia: Cassie, she was an angel. It was all me. I was young. And I thought I knew more than anyone around me.
Lisa: Sounds like Cassie.
Lisa: If Cassie was here right now, what would you say to her?
Cassie: What are you doing? I didn’t ask that.
Sofia: That I regret not taking her to London. I should have been there to help her with her homework, hold her when she had a nightmare. I made a lot of selfish decisions. But one thing that never changed was my love for her. If Cassie were here, I would tell her that the day she was born was one of the brightest moments of my life. And running away, it was my worst. I just hope she knows how sorry I am.
Lisa: She does. She knows.
Cassie: [referring to Sofia] I have years of questions. Yet standing next to her, I found that I just wanted to yell, or run away. Like mother, like daughter.
Lisa: Yeah, but you didn’t. And that’s a really good thing.
Lisa: [referring to Sofia] I could tell that she needed to talk, and that you needed to hear what she had to say!
Cassie: You don’t get it! How could you? You know, you have a perfect life, and a perfect future. And I have none of those!
Lisa: You’re mad at your mom. That’s totally understandable. But, you know what? It’s not okay for you to take it out on me.
Cassie: Sorry. Does my messy non-life make you uncomfortable?
Lisa: Here we go again. Classic.
Cassie: I died before I ever got a chance to live!
Lisa: Well, I’m hurt too! Did you think about that, huh?
Lisa: God, after our fight, after you left, I had to carry around the guilt of our fight. I had to pick up the pieces, I had tp put my life back together without you!
Cassie: Well, you did a great job. Look around! There’s nothing left of me! I’ve been reduced to a box of knickknacks!
Lisa: After everything that’s happened, I can’t believe that we’re back to arguing.
Cassie: Yeah. Well, I’m dead, so you don’t have to worry about arguing with me ever again.
Val: If you really want this to end now, I can make that happen. But just know, if you leave the list unfinished, then all the good you’ve been doing will be undone. Poof.
Cassie: Everything? Lisa? My dad?
Cassie: Oh, that’s terrible. I can’t do that to them.
Howie: [to Sofia, referring to Cassie] She was a lot like you though. Fearless, independent. She’d dive headfirst into any situation. But more than anything, she was this force of energy who lit up every room she entered.
Howie: [to Sofia] Your leaving forced me to become a better man, a better parent, even when she didn’t want me to, and I hope that in some way I was able to minimize whatever scars she had.
Sofia: You know, I don’t know if it’s the palo santo in the air, or this dandelion tea talking, but I feel as though Cassie, wherever she is…
Howie: Brought us back together.
Cassie: [to Sofia] I forgive you.
Cassie: I need a favor. It’s for a good cause, I swear.
Val: No swearing.
Cassie: I didn’t actually swear!
Val: We’re not running a matchmaking service here.
Cassie: [referring to Howie and Emme] I know. I know, but I think that they could both use a kind person in their life. And this could also be like a thank-you to Emme for being such a good friend to Lisa since I’ve been gone.
Val: I’ve never had anyone want to add to their list before. I’ve also never had anyone like you before.
Cassie: You can see me?
Morgan: I saw you at the park too.
Cassie: Aren’t you scared?
Morgan: You’re my guardian angel.
Lisa: I thought you were done with me.
Cassie: There are no grudges in the afterlife. Are there any here?
Lisa: No. No, no. I do not want to lose any more time with you.
Cassie: Neither do I.
Lisa: [as Cassie goes to hug her] No, no, no! I don’t think that I can explain an air hug.
Cassie: Why are you hesitating? This is yours to lose.
Lisa: Yeah, exactly. Cassie, what if I don’t get it? What then?
Cassie: You’ll survive, and you’ll go on to something even better.
Cassie: Life is too short to be fearful.
Lisa: Yeah. I mean, Cassie, I eat, I sleep, I drink this job. I mean, if I got this job, I would crush it so hard that they would name a freaking fossil after me!
Cassie: Use that energy and go sign up!
Lisa: Right! Sign up first. Dominate second.
Cassie: Oh, I’ve created a monster. I love it.
Dr. Marion Redding: [to Lisa] Modesty’s a myth that was sold to women a long time ago. Be proud of your work.
Emme: Would you like a homemade fortune cookie?
Howie: Don’t mind if I do.
[reading from the fortune cookie]
Howie: “You don’t need to look any further.” I guess this is the right place.
Lisa: So this is Max. He’s my…
Max: Boyfriend. Hi. Uh, wait, sorry. Is that cool?
Lisa: One hundred percent.
Lisa: We’re obviously here because of our beloved Cassie, who left us a year ago this week. But I really don’t want this to be about loss, because this is also the week that she came into our lives. One thing we know about our Cassie is that her joyous life was a party. Especially the week of her birthday, or as she called it, Cassie-palooza.
Cassie: This entire time, I thought that I was the one helping all of you, but all this has me realizing that you were the ones helping me.
Lisa: I’m not ready to lose you again.
Cassie: We got a second chance. Not everyone can say that.
Lisa: I want you to know you’re more than just my best friend, and my puzzle partner, okay? You’re my family.
Cassie: And you’re mine. I couldn’t imagine going through this life, or any other, without you.
Cassie: [as Howie sees and hears her] I’m not afraid to go anymore, dad.
Howie: I love you, pumpkin.
Cassie: I love you too, dad.
Val: You’re cutting it a bit close.
Cassie: I always like to be the last one to leave a party.
Val: Well, you missed your deadline. There’s no getting around that. We also broke the rules by going off the list. However, you did those things in good faith. The fact you’d risk your afterlife to help someone not on your list, and take full responsibility to protect me, well, I mean, it’s just, it’s beyond selfless.
Cassie: So you’re not in trouble?
Val: Even better. Thanks to your testimony, I’ve been promoted.
Cassie: I’m going to miss you, Val. The world is a better place with you watching over it. I was your favorite, wasn’t I?
Val: Cassie, you know I don’t pick favorites.
Cassie: [as they’re in the elevator to the Above] We’re here together? Like, how can this be real? Is this real? Are you real?
Koop: Yes, I am. It’s nice to meet you, Cassie.
Cassie: You know my name? How? Why?
Koop: Funny story. So, I was volunteering in a disaster relief area, when disaster struck again. I was able to save a few people, but I didn’t make it.
Cassie: I am so sorry.
Koop: There’s worse ways to go.
Cassie: Yeah, there sure are.
Koop: Val was in the angel committee that sent me straight up. She said that we were supposed to meet. This is going to sound really weird, but I feel like I’ve always known you.
Cassie: So do I.
Koop: What now?
Cassie: I don’t know. I’ve never been dead before.
Koop: Shall we do this?
Cassie: [takes his hand] Let’s do this.