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Monday, April 15, 2024

Culture Corner

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

By SUN YIE — arts@theaggie.org 

Album: “Inside” by Bo Burnham (2021)

Directed during the pandemic, Bo Burnham’s “Inside” is an honest and raw multimedia experience. It explores the mind of a comedian who has been disconnected from the rest of the world and has struggled to maintain his identity without the energy of a live audience. Though Burnham’s last special before “Inside” was released six years ago, it feels as if he hasn’t taken a hiatus at all as he shares his perspective on an assortment of sociopolitical topics, like white privilege and police brutality, through catchy piano tunes and lyrics dripping with satire. In “White Woman’s Instagram,” he captures his distaste for performative activism through the lyrics, “A bobblehead of Ruth Bader Ginsburg… Some random quote from ‘Lord of the Rings’ incorrectly attributed to Martin Luther King.”

TV Show: “Heartstopper” (2022)

Adapted from Alice Oseman’s graphic novel, the show “Heartstopper” follows the journey of 14-year-old Charlie, the only openly gay student at Truham High School, as he navigates his growing feelings for his new friend Nick, the popular “Rugby King.” Their ostensible differences are far outweighed by their heartwarming moments of intimacy, accompanied by little animations that nod to its graphic novel origins: when Charlie and Nick first hold hands, doodle hearts appear in the background. Though the lack of adult presence suggests that this show might be a typical high school coming-of-age story, labeling it as such would be a disservice. Instead, I’d like to think of it as a story that is yet another milestone of representation for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Book: “Song of Achilles” by Madeleine Miller (2011)

Fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series should consider turning to Miller’s “Song of Achilles” for another contemporary and romantic — albeit gut-wrenching — take on the classic Greco-Roman myth. Though Miller’s novel is titled “Song of Achilles,” the narrative is centered around Patroclus as he finds himself falling inexplicably in love with the legendary demigod Achilles. Miller blurs the boundary between friendship and love in prose that rivals Homer’s poetry. Those who are familiar with Achilles’ classical tale will remember that it is only Patroclus’ death that fuels Achilles’ rage and drives him to rage in the war at Troy, where he, too, dies. Although Miller’s adaptation of this tale is revolutionary, it doesn’t save the two star-crossed lovers from this tragedy, leaving nothing but their honor to remain in the hearts of the audience. 

Movie: “Ladybird” dir. by Greta Gerwig (2017)

“Ladybird” is a coming-of-age film that revolves around Christine “Lady Bird” MacPherson’s growth in her last year of high school, approaching conventional high school crises with a depth that isn’t typically seen in other films of the genre. For instance, Christine’s growth is instigated by issues that reflect real-world problems, like her tumultuous relationship with her mother and her desire to attend colleges unattainable to her because of her family’s financial instability, demonstrating its timeless relevance. Though Gerwig’s audience seems to be intended for high school students who hope to live a life like “Lady Bird,” as Christine so christens herself, the movie’s blend of bittersweet wit render it a movie that can be enjoyed by all audiences. 

Written by: Sun Yie — arts@theaggie.org



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