65.3 F

Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Culture Corner

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


By SARAH HAN — arts@theaggie.org


Song: “Traffic Light” by Lee Mu-jin (2021)

Amidst an upsurge in the popularity of K-pop songs, “Traffic Light” by Lee Mu-jin is one you do not want to miss. The tune opens with a catchy beat played by trumpets, which immediately creates a bright mood for the song. Lee has a very soothing yet distinct voice, which complements the song’s vibe. My favorite part is the use of instrumental breaks because they mix different genres of music together: there’s a hint of jazz thrown in with the classic pop beat. Although this song can be heard any time throughout the year, I highly recommend listening to it near the end of spring and the entirety of summer because it’s an upbeat tune that will definitely help you transition into warmer weather.


Literature: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson (1948)

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite short stories of all time. It is about a community that annually selects one member to be stoned to death. The process involves every community member picking a sheet of paper; the one that picks the paper with the black dot is the “winner” and thus is stoned to death by friends and family. Although highly disturbing, the book touches on the theme of how traditions and rituals blind individuals from considering the morality of certain actions. Jackson does a wonderful job communicating this message in a very succinct manner, so if you are looking for a quick yet thought-provoking read, I recommend checking out this short story. 


Movie: “Tangled” dir. by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard (2010)

Rewinding to our childhood, “Tangled” recounts the story of Rapunzel, who sneaks out into the outside world after living in a tower for 18 years. Along the ride joins Flynn Rider — also known as Eugene Fitzherbert — a notorious criminal wanted for theft. This movie is so nostalgic and I never get tired of it no matter how old I am. Part of this is because of the more mature humor embedded throughout the story: Rapunzel and Flynn’s relationship lies somewhere between love interests and rough friendship, which many can relate to. Additionally, “Tangled” felt like the first Disney princess movie that excelled in designing realistic characters; for example, a lot of the characters’ expressions and reactions were subtle but accurate. If you want to revisit a timeless classic, I highly recommend rewatching “Tangled.” Also, shout out to the best casting — Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi play Rapunzel and Flynn respectively. 


TV Show: “The Queen’s Gambit” dir. by Scott Frank (2020)

The final contender on this list is the beloved Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit.” The episodes uncover the tumultuous life of Beth Harmon, an orphan who becomes a chess prodigy. Despite her overwhelming success, she deals with drug addiction and perfectionism throughout her career. This series is so novel yet relatable in a broad sense: it reestablishes the status quo of life having ups and downs through the eyes of a chess game. The series also touches on the challenges of women triumphing in male-dominated fields, which further adds to the complexity and nuance of the story. Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays Harmon, does a phenomenal job encapsulating the character’s sensitive and strong-willed traits. Overall, if you’re looking for a new series to add to your watch list, I highly recommend “The Queen’s Gambit.”

Written by: Sarah Han — arts@theaggie.org