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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Culture Corner

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

By SIERRA JIMENEZ — arts@theaggie.org

Movie: “The Power of the Dog” dir. by Jane Campion (2021)

Within five minutes — yes, five minutes — I was drawn into the Western allure and ominosity of this Netflix film. Benedict Cumberbatch does it again, playing extremely complex and mysterious characters effortlessly. A Western addict myself, this film incorporates the classic themes that we all know and love: toxic masculinity (although we don’t love this, per se, it tends to be a crucial part of Western film), a life of outdoors and freedom and some type of war waged between characters. What makes this Western film special in particular is the exploration of queerness in an typically hetero and rugged macho-man genre. The inclusion of a rather unfamiliar influence on a masculine-driven Western creates a domino effect on the psychological intricacies of the film’s plot. Pay close attention to detail in this film. Nothing is randomly placed, nothing is randomly said. It all connects in a strange way with an even more strange and disturbing ending. 

TV Show: “Peaky Blinders” 

Thomas Shelby has been stuck on my Netflix watch list for a while now, almost begging me to engage in the Peaky Blinders gang life himself through his watchful eyes and secretive presence. Despite the series’ hype, I have not dabbled in the British criminal world until now, and I think it’s safe to say that I am now addicted. Whether I am cooking, taking a break between classes or just wanting to relax and wind down before bed, I’m a fiend for the captivating British crime drama. This series has mystery, romance, humor, drama, violence and pretty much every adjective possible all wrapped up into five thrilling seasons. The suave and sophisticated chaos makes the viewer wish they could join the family of the Peaky Blinder gang: a life full of adventure, family loyalty, trickery, gambling and booze-filled pubs with whiskey and cigarettes. Highly recommend (if you are of legal age) to sip on your favorite whiskey on rocks while getting blown away by the intoxicating cinematography, acting and soundtrack of the series — it makes you feel the prestige and control of being a Shelby yourself. 

Album: “Pulp Fiction: Music from the Motion Picture” (1994)

The iconic song “You Can Never Tell” from the infamous dancing scene at Jack Rabbit Slims naturally makes you shake your hands and feet like the duo Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega, but coupled with the legendary snippets of dialogue that seem to mistakenly be attached to the album, it elicits a full-body experience. The movie can’t be encapsulated by the simplicity of a few songs, perhaps because it is not a film but an experience. The bridge between song and spoken word come together to create a chaotic masterpiece. Classic Quentin Tarantino: unpredictable yet brilliant. If accessible, slap the vinyl on and indulge in the patchworked soundtrack that will surely transport you into the “Pulp Fiction” experience without a need for visual aid — the scratch of the record, bangers from all ages and dialogue that sends shivers down your spine as if the characters from the film were talking directly to you. 

Book: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley (1932)

A dystopian world where humans are hatched and citizens are engineered into an intelligence-based society, you wouldn’t think that this novel was published in 1932. Although these concepts may seem foreign, the science fiction novel depicts a technologically advanced futuristic society in which humans are dependent on a tech-driven world. Sound familiar? Written as a plea for help, Huxley essentially predicts a drastic future of an industrious and accelerating society that is so obsessed with progress that it ends up being its own downfall. It is an interesting and relevant read despite its antiquated terminology, especially with the rise of environmental degradation and dependency on technology for everyday life. If the film series “The Matrix” didn’t do it for you, try to digest this one, then get back to me.  

Written by: Sierra Jimenez — arts@theaggie.org

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