62.3 F

Davis, California

Friday, April 12, 2024

Culture Corner with Liz Jacobson and Mathilda Silverstein

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

Movie: “GoodFellas” dir. by Martin Scorcese

“GoodFellas” is one of two Scorcese films we watched during Spring Break, and it didn’t disappoint. This almost three-hour film was entertaining and engaging the whole way through. The story of Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill, an associate of an Italian-American mob in Brooklyn from 1955 to 1980, gave us insight into a genre we’re not incredibly familiar with. Joe Pesci (whom Liz had only previously known as the villain in “Home Alone”) and Robert De Niro’s performances had a chaotic energy we couldn’t take our eyes off. Oh, and the outfits! 

Television: Sex and the City

It’s fast food television — bad for you, tastes good, but you can only take so much of it. “Sex and the City” follows Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte — four thirty-something women, each with a few key character traits, who speak only in far-reaching sexual metaphors as they navigate their relationships and their taboo sexual problem of the week. It’s entertaining to see which now-famous celebrity is the love interest of the week, and the outfits are interesting, to say the least. There’s never a shortage of designer strappy sandals. It’s definitely out of date and borderline offensive in some episodes (see Season Three, Episode Four about bisexuality), but it will make for an entertaining drinking game if you count all the times Carrie says, “And then I wondered.”

Album: “Jolene” by Dolly Parton

For weeks now, The Aggie’s Creative Media Coordinator, Caroline Rutten, and I (Liz) have been singing the praises of Dolly Parton to our fellow Arts Desk writer, Andrew Williams. But alas, he has yet to embrace the Tennessee legend, so I find it necessary to recommend her here for any other Dolly deniers. Before I talk about her album “Jolene,” I would be remiss not to first recommend “Coat of Many Colors.” This biographical song has profoundly shaped the outlook I hold in life and makes me smile everytime I hear it. “Jolene” is the perfect introduction to Dolly Parton — her melodic vibrato and Southern twang come through crystal clear on “River of Happiness,” “Cracker Jack,” “I Will Always Love You” and, of course, the title track “Jolene.”

Book: Joy Luck Club

If you’re a product of the American public school system, chances are you’ve read a passage from Amy Tan’s 1989 novel “Joy Luck Club” — or, at the very least, you might have watched the 1993 film adaption (the first major motion picture to feature a majority Asian American cast). This novel follows four American-born Chinese daughters and their complex relationships with their immigrant mothers in San Francisco. It’s easy to read and simply written, but still poetic and beautiful. And during this shelter-in-place when neither of us can be with our mothers (Hi Joanne and Clare), it’s comforting to read about mother-daughter relationships and the traits we share. 

Written by: Liz Jacobson and Mathilda Silverstein — arts@theaggie.org


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here