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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chris’ Culture Corner

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


By CHRIS PONCE arts@theaggie.org


T.V. Show: “The Haunting of Hill House” dir. by Mike Flanagan (2018)

Mike Flanagan’s debut Netflix original “The Haunting of Hill House” is a horror T.V. show that I try to watch once a year when October rolls around. This show, which is loosely inspired by Shirley Jackon’s classic novel of the same name, is cut into two parts: the past, which features a group of five siblings during childhood living in a haunted house, and the present, which depicts the siblings as adults dealing with a recent tragedy. What sets the show apart from other T.V. shows about haunted houses is the mature tone through which it discusses grief, along with its powerful writing. The first five episodes each follow one of the siblings, revealing a piece of the story that requires the viewer to watch all the way through to put together. The siblings also each represent one of the five stages of grief, further portraying the story’s overall theme. This show has personally helped me deal with grief in my own life and reminded me of the importance of support from loved ones. “The Haunting of Hill House” is a beautiful show with so much more beneath the surface. 


Book: “Beautiful World, Where Are You” by Sally Rooney (2021)

While maybe not Rooney’s most popular book, “Beautiful World, Where Are You” was one of my favorite summer reads and the characters have stayed with me long since I put the book down. This book certainly has less drama than “Normal People,” but the characters feel well-rounded and just as authentic. The book follows two friends, an author and an editor, in their late twenties/early thirties as they navigate romantic and sexual relationships, work lives and adulthood. The book also provides meta-commentary on the purpose of writing fiction and why we buy books. After finishing the book, I felt as if I truly knew the two protagonists and wished I could check up on them in the future. It’s not my favorite Sally Rooney book, but it’s one I’d recommend to anyone beginning to navigate “adulthood.” 


Album: “Surely Tempo” by Surely Tempo (2023) 

Surely Tempo is a Chicano indie rock band from Southern California that you won’t regret listening to before they “make it big.” Their music has a familiar rock sound that is easy to bop your head to. Like many Chicano rock bands, Surely Tempo’s songs incorporate a mix of English and Spanish in their lyrics. Their latest album, “Surely Tempo,” is their music at its best. The songs are reminiscent of songs you would hear at a local garage concert. Discovering their discography will not let you down.


Movie: “Signs” dir. by M. Night Shyamalan (2002)

“Signs” is my favorite alien movie not because of its depiction of aliens or of horror, but because of its message of family and faith in your identity. The film follows a family trying to rediscover themselves after going through the death of a loved one, all with the backdrop of an alien invasion. “Signs” requires little introduction; it’s a classic for good reason. The setup of a distant protagonist, a former priest, who has lost his faith and belief in destiny is deeply compelling. This movie is a perfect October watch. 


Written By: Chris Ponce arts@theaggie.org