5 Things To Do Before Seeing ‘The To Do List’

by Jessica Marshall

Yes, we realize the meta-irony of issuing a to-do list in preparation for a movie called “The To Do List,” but hey, it’s happening.

“The To Do List,” starring the incomparably droll Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”), is the story of innocent and anal-retentive high school valedictorian Brandy Klark, who gets it in her head to sew some seriously wild oats during the summer of 1993 before she ships off to college. She drafts a “to-do list” of various lascivious activities with the help of her friends (“Arrested Development”’s Alia Shawkat, among others) and older sister (Rachel Bilson), and sets out to shed her uptight shell (a.k.a. de-virginize herself). It’s based on the real-life misadventures of the writer/director, Maggie Carey, during the early 1990s.

But before you check this movie off your summer blockbuster to-do list, we’ve already drafted a list of prerequisite activities necessary for you to make the most of it. Here are five things you should do before seeing “The To Do List.”

Watch “Parks and Recreation”
Aubrey Plaza has a very distinct on-screen personality that only gets funnier the more you watch her perform. “Parks and Recreation,” the thrice Emmy-nominated NBC series that also stars Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones, made Aubrey’s characteristic monotone hijinks famous—so there’s no better place to start getting your laugh on.

Watch “Sixteen Candles”
First-time director Maggie Carey told the L.A. Times recently that she was envisioning a dirty version of the John Hughes classic when she set out to make “The To Do List.” Imagine Samantha (Molly Ringwald), trying to do a lot more to get Jake Ryan to “notice” her. Giving away her underpants would only be the beginning…

Go back to the ’90s
That’s right, dig out your old Trapper Keepers, skorts and scrunchies, because the 1990s are where it’s at—at least in this film, which takes place during the summer of ’93. When flannel was cool.

Make a ’90s mixtape
Or dig one up. If you weren’t born yesterday, we know you made one. Maggie Carey confessed that the soundtrack to the film was inspired by her early ’90s mixtapes, which included the fabulous Salt-n-Pepa, Gin Blossoms and 2 Live Crew, among many others.

Make your own to-do list
Whatever the contents of your own summer activity log may be, spell it all out neatly and precisely with colored markers, stickers, glitter and highlighters, just like Brandy Klark. And check off each item meticulously, one by one.

Bonus: Watch the “Daria: High School Reunion” trailer
College Humor recently produced a joke movie trailer based on the offbeat MTV cartoon, “Daria,” in which Aubrey Plaza plays a live-action version of the titular character—who basically was a cartoon-version of Aubrey Plaza in the first place. If you loved the show and you love Aubrey’s humor, you’ll appreciate how dead-on hilarious this is.

Do you plan to see “The To Do List”?