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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Culture Corner with Alyssa Ilsley

The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for television, movies, novels and music

Television: “Good Trouble” 

Freeform’s “The Fosters” was a mediocre family drama, but its spin-off “Good Trouble” is a well-crafted and intelligent drama about young adults. The show follows the two best characters from “The Fosters,” Cierra Ramirez’s Mariana and Maia Mitchell’s Callie, and focuses on the two girls’ post-college lives, as they move into a co-opted living space and navigate adult life. There is a diverse cast that offers numerous and varied perspectives and gives the series a unique voice. The characters are three-dimensional and flawed, but overall, they’re easy to love. 

Movie: “Brittany Runs a Marathon”

This Amazon Prime original is based off of director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s real-life roommate. The film follows Brittany Forgler, a 29-year-old whose lack of self confidence keeps her from taking care of herself and others. In order to regain control over her life, she commits to running the New York marathon. Although the plot is simple, the film is endearing and the cast is great. Jillian Bell is wonderful as Brittany and demonstrates that she has the emotional range to be a leading lady. The message is positive and Brittany’s journey is deep and poignant. This film is great for a Friday night in or when you’re down in the dumps. 

Book: “Egghead: Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone”

Comedian Bo Burnham’s book of short poems, released in 2013, is reminiscent of Shell Silverstein — Burnham’s writing is both comedic and contemplative. “Egghead” is perfect for people who tend to get frustrated with the pretentiousness of poetry. Burnham keeps it short, simple and funny. Artist Chace Bone also created some incredible sketches to go along with the eccentric tone of the poems. It is a fast and entertaining read that will leave readers thinking and laughing. 

Album: “Narrated For You” by Alec Benjamin 

Twenty-five year-old singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin rose to fame for his unique voice and his ability to tell a story through his lyrics. His soft voice is captivating and forces listeners to think about the lyrics. Benjamin’s debut album “Narrated For You” is entertaining, but it is also  profoundly sad. The focus of the songs range from a detailed breakup in “Water Fountain,” to a story told from the perspective of a school-yard bully in “Boy in the Bubble.” The standout song on the album is “Death of a Hero.” It warns its listeners that those who we admire most may not be who we think they are. Benjamin brought something different and interesting to the singer-songwriter genre with this album.

Written by: Alyssa Ilsley — arts@theaggie.org


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