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Monday, July 15, 2024

Culture Corner

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


By OWEN RUDERMAN — arts@theaggie.org 


Album: “The Head on the Door” by The Cure (1985)

I know that for a lot of people, choosing a favorite album is hard. It’s difficult to pick between albums that are consistently good throughout and albums that have a few mind-blowingly good songs. For me, though, the decision has never been difficult. That’s because The Cure’s sixth album, “The Head on the Door,” consists purely of mind-blowingly good songs from start to finish. Robert Smith’s legendarily ethereal, tragic and sometimes whispered lyrics are accompanied by swinging guitar, pounding drums and sinking bass. And you don’t even have to be emo or goth to enjoy the album — there’s something on it for everyone. Give this all-time classic album a chance.


Book: “The Stories of John Cheever” by John Cheever (1978)

This book, possibly more than any other, changed the way I view everyday life. Cheever’s stories evoke a sort of universal American nostalgia, featuring unforgettable imagery, scarily realistic characters and plots that leave you thinking, “Uhm, what just happened?” The book consists of 61 short stories, making it easy to read just a chunk or two at a time. It’s a timeless book that contains some of the best stories ever written by an American author. But don’t just take it from me — in 1979, “The Stories of John Cheever” won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and in 1978, the book won the National Book Critics Circle Award.


Movie: “The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000) dir. by Mark Dindal

I’ve been watching “The Emperor’s New Groove” almost every year since its release in 2000, and let me tell you personally that no movie has aged so gracefully. This semi-hidden gem from Disney is hilarious and incredibly quotable. But it’s also incredibly well-acted, with heavy hitters like David Spade and John Goodman starring in the film. Trust me, this isn’t just a kid’s movie — there’s something in here for all ages to enjoy.


TV Show: “Spongebob Squarepants” (1998 – 2007)

Let’s get something clear right off the bat: I’m talking only about the first five seasons of “Spongebob Squarepants.” These are the quintessential episodes I grew up with. Now, I’m not trying to discredit the neo-modern episodes — in fact, I hear they’re pretty good. But for me, nothing comes close to the first few seasons. The humor and writing are just so incredibly well done, and the art and visual gags still hold up today, even if some think otherwise. Recently, I’ve heard deplorable comments like, “Phineas and Ferb is just a better Spongebob.” First off, the shows aren’t really comparable, and it isn’t against the law to enjoy both. But also, watch the second season of “Spongebob Squarepants.” You’ll be surprised at how much it makes you laugh.

Written by: Owen Ruderman — arts@theaggie.org