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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Culture Corner with Itzelth Gamboa

The Arts Desks’ weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows.

Television: “Dirty John” 

Based on the real life story of Debra Newell, this Netflix true-crime series came from the podcast of the same name. 

Debra Newell is a successful woman in her 50s. She has it all: a lasting career, a home in Newport and the kind of money that everyone hopes to make one day. The only thing missing from her life is a loving husband, so when John Newman miraculously pops up in her life, it’s a dream come true. He seems perfect: He is loving, caring and handsome. But as red flags pop up, it’s hard to distinguish between his different fronts. 

This short crime series was the most interesting show I watched last summer, which means a lot because all I did last summer was watch Netflix.

Movie: “Life Itself” dir. Dan Fogelman

I watched “Life Itself” late at night over Winter Break at my mom’s request. She promised it was going to be the best movie I have ever watched and she has never been more right. The movie begins with college sweethearts Will and Abby (played by Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde) starting their life together, but as their story progresses, their life intertwines with a couple from Spain, a wealthy landowner and a troubled young boy with a tragic life story.

The movie is beautiful,heartbreaking and strangely fulfilling. Fogelman bases the plot on the classic butterfly effect, how one person’s impact comes full circle. I’ll admit that the first 20 minutes or so are too slow for my liking, but when it picks up, the plot itself grows legs and starts running. 

Book: “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini 

Ned Vizzini writes his life story between the lines of this book where we meet Craig, a boy who studied all night, got into the school of his dreams and checks himself into a mental health clinic in the hopes of washing his depression away. But when the youth wing closes and the hospital has to put young and old together, Craig meets Bobby. Bobby shows him a new way to look at life, to go through it day by day and make it all a little better — and funny enough, Bobby is also a patient. Through the halls of the clinic, Craig gains a sense of who he wants to be and comes to terms with his life. 

What’s best about this book is when people ask, “What book are you reading?” the answer is “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” and whoever asked the question waits in anticipation for the funny story. 

Album: “Bank on the Funeral” by Matt Maeson 

Any Matt Maeson album will do, but for the sake of this article, let’s go with his newest album. “Bank on the Funeral ” was released early last year, but Spotify just recently blessed me with this alternative, indie music a few weeks ago in my Discover Weekly. Maeson’s music brings me down to earth and adds a dramatic flair to my walk to class.

Written by: Itzelth Gamboa — arts@theaggie.org


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