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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Culture Corner

The Arts Desk’s weekly pick of movies, TV shows, books and music

Movie: “Crazy Stupid Love” dir. by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (2011)

This 2011 classic comedy stars Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone and is now streaming on Netflix. We are introduced to a dysfunctional family, who—despite being racked with cheating, divorce and betrayal—shows how familial ties often cannot be broken no matter how messy life gets. Steve Carell gives a daring and endearing performance as a wronged husband on the rebound, Emma Stone is witty and encompasses what being in your twenties is really like and Julianne Moore effortlessly plays a loving mother who screwed up at her family’s expense. As a pre-teen watching this movie, you might’ve missed the good one-liners, jokes and definitely the inappropriate innuendos that you’ll truly appreciate now as an adult and that will make you wonder how this movie is only rated PG-13. This is a must-see if you are currently an emotional college student living through a pandemic and would like to feel some childhood nostalgia. 

TV Show: “Behind Her Eyes” (2021)

In this six-episode Netflix series, viewers follow the lives of Louise, David and his wife Adele. Louise is a single mother who feels as if her life is passing her by and wants to reclaim a love she lost. David is a psychiatrist who seems far too keen on controlling the actions and mental state of his wife Adele. On the surface, Adele is the perfect wife but there seems to be something dark and broken hiding behind her beautiful face. When all three of their paths collide and interconnect, scenes of betrayal, forbidden love and secrets slowly unravel. There’s this gentle darkness about the show, like you are always waiting for the sinister truth to be revealed. There’s a blossoming relationship between two adulterers, an unexpected friendship between Louise and Adele and a twist that no one saw coming. It makes you really wonder what we all are trying to hide. 

Album: “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” by Lana Del Rey (2021)

The queen of alternative pop, blues, jazz and sad girl hours is back again, somehow, with her seventh studio album. It is definitely an acquired taste—I didn’t fall in love with her songs the first time I heard them. However, with the pandemic blues and life continuing to be a mess, I found myself pressing the replay button on Spotify. One of the songs I absolutely love is “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” which makes me feel like I am being transported into another era where our decisions are affected by our astrological signs, I am falling in love in a dead-beat town and there’s this lightness to life again. Another song that makes you want to just sway in the wind at a dimly-lit park on a spring night is “White Dress.” The feeling you get is that of being a waitress in a white dress during the summertime who managed to snag a rich man while also being “down at the Men in Music Business Conference.” Simply put, you don’t really know what she’s singing about but her voice, the melodies, the unexpected drops and the harmonies make it the signature Lana Del Rey experience.

Book: “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling (2015)

Mindy Kaling is simply quite talented. She created and starred in her hit show “The Mindy Project,” was a writer, executive producer and actor in the incredibly successful show “The Office” and has appeared in countless movies. On top of that, she is a comedian and New York Times bestselling author. In her collection of essays in “Why Not Me?” Kaling recalls her experiences growing up Indian in the very state of white Massachusetts, the cultural shock to her parents for her attending an Ivy League college for anything other than medicine or law and going on to pursue a male-dominated career as a show writer. Kaling recalls the seasons of her life, her many successes, the incomparable loss of her mother and what it feels like to be the actual representation in Hollywood that she always wanted as a child. This book is a vulnerable and witty perspective of an adult learning to adjust to her fame, discovering self-love in unexpected places and figuring out how to navigate the many messy and beautiful moments of life. 

Written by: Muhammad Tariq — arts@theaggie.org


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