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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Culture Corner

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

By LEVI GOLDSTEIN — arts@theaggie.org


Song: “This Is Why” by Paramore (2022)


Paramore is back, and Hayley Williams is once again rocking the iconic orange hair that we all know and love. Paramore’s new single “This Is Why,” which is also the title track for their next album set to be released in February 2023, is a perfect blend between the pop-punk of “Riot!” (2007) and the synth-pop of “After Laughter” (2017). According to NYLON Magazine,“This Is Why” is an account of the band’s frustrations that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of its relatable lyrics and stellar guitar riffs, I have been listening to this funky anthem on repeat since its release. 


TV Show: “Dead End: Paranormal Park” (2022)


Who says cartoons are just for kids? This whimsical comedy has quickly become one of my favorites. Struggling to find a place where they feel as though they fit in, Barney and Norma start working at an amusement park themed around actress and movie star Pauline Phoenix (voiced by drag persona Miss Coco Peru). But they soon discover the park is haunted and full of ghosts, vampires, witches, demons and more, such as Courtney, a demon banished to the mortal plane just trying to find her way home. The three friends (plus Barney’s talking dog, Pugsley) soon uncover an evil plot that could flip their worlds upside down. “Dead End” gets an A+ for representation, with transgender, neurodivergent, Pakistani American, Iranian American, Vietnamese American, Muslim and Jewish characters, as well as multiple on-screen queer relationships. The best part? The second season is already out on Netflix!


Book: “The Good Daughter” by Karin Slaughter (2017)


“The Good Daughter” perfectly blends an exciting plot with exceptional writing to make it the very definition of a page-turner. When sisters Charlotte and Samantha were young kids, they were forced to witness their mother’s murder. Now, 28 years later, Charlotte is assigned to be the defense lawyer for a girl accused of orchestrating a school shooting and must prove her innocence in a case everyone seems to think is open-and-shut. But when the trial begins to reveal the truth about the attack that tore their family apart, Charlotte and Samantha must revisit traumas they would rather keep buried. This mystery thriller will have the gears in your brain turning from cover to cover. Plus, when I read the book’s major plot twist, my jaw literally dropped; I genuinely never saw it coming. (Content warnings: graphic depictions of violence and sexual assault)


Movie: “Let Me Fall” dir. by Baldvin Zophoníasson (2018)


This Icelandic film expertly grapples with the hardships of substance abuse. Fifteen-year-old Magnea is introduced to a life of sex, drugs and crime by friend Stella, whom Magnea is harboring a crush on and would follow anywhere. The pair quickly become lovers, but the facade of a peaceful future together fades as they discover the difficulties that accompany a life of drug use. Eventually, they are arrested and forcefully separated from one another. When they meet again as adults — Stella fully recovered and Magnea falling deeper into her addiction — they must come to terms with their tangled past. “Let Me Fall” is not a lighthearted movie by any means, but the moving story and important message make it worth the watch. Bring an extra box of tissues because you’ll need it. (Content warnings: suicide; sexual, emotional and verbal abuse; graphic depictions of substance abuse)


Written by: Levi Goldstein — arts@theaggie.org