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Friday, April 19, 2024

Culture Corner

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


By LORENA ALVAREZ — arts@theaggie.org


Book: “The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren (2019)

“The Unhoneymooners” is the perfect romantic comedy for this season. Though it is filled with romantic cliches, it follows a woman’s character development as she realizes her worth and finds herself falling in love with her “enemy.” Through the depiction of this protagonist, who is always comparing herself to others (such as her “lucky” twin sister), the story comments on the types of relationships and lifestyles you can have when you are open to new things. The plot follows a bride’s realization that her long-term partner is not who she thought he was — all while depicting the “unlucky” twin’s trip to Hawaii with her twin’s brother-in-law. Through this turn of events, “Unhoneymooners” explores the development of an unexpected love and life. As someone who does not like cliches, I was weary when reading this novel. However, I ended up finishing it in one sitting, and strongly encourage romance lovers or anyone who enjoys the enemies-to-lovers trope to read this rom-com.


Movie: “Holidate” dir. by Tiffany Paulsen (2020)

Starring Emma Roberts (Sloane Benson) and Luke Bracey (Jackson), this film follows two strangers’ year-long experience as each other’s plus one to holiday parties. It opens on Christmas day, with both protagonists feeling uncomfortable towards their new partner and feeling conflicted with their family’s preconceived expectations. They agree to be each other’s dates in hopes of escaping their family pressures and having someone to spend the holidays with. While spending celebrations like Valentine’s Day together, Sloane and Jackson catch feelings for each other, threatening their no-strings-attached deal. This rom-com is more than just your classic romance movie; it features the platonic fun two adults can have and the unexpected relationships that can form over time. 


TV Show: “The Artful Dodger” by James McNamara, David Maher and David Taylor (2023)

Transforming classic literature into a TV series may be controversial, but it is not always disappointing. While I cannot speak to how well “The Artful Dodger” portrays Charles Dickens’ characters from “Oliver Twist” (a monthly series published from 1837 to 1839), I can say that the first two episodes are entertaining. Admittingly, the chemistry between Belle and Jack is what caught my attention when I first saw Hulu’s trailer, but the social and economic inequity discussed in the series makes this show more than just a romance drama. In the first episode, we are introduced to Jack, a conflicted man returning to past habits (stealing) to repay his debts and save his future as a surgeon. In a time of crisis, he steals from someone in high society and is given an ultimatum by Lady Belle Fox (the Governor’s daughter). The ultimatum leads to many of the climatic events of the series, depicting a woman’s struggle to enter a male-dominated medical field. The show’s main format follows Belle and Jack’s reunion in adulthood. That said, be aware that this is a storyline with two potential surgeons, so there are a lot of scenes that may make you physically flinch if blood makes you queasy.


Song: “Black and White” by Niall Horan (2020)

In his album “Heartbreak Weather,” Niall Horan explores the beautiful side of relationships. This romance and fuzzy feeling is best depicted in his single “Black and White.” The pop-rock ballad’s upbeat tone and catchy lyrics depict eternal love and devotion. Horan sings that while he cannot promise a white picket fence, he can promise to always be devoted to his partner. The chorus, “I see you standing in your dress / Swear in front of all our friends / There’ll never be another,” depicts a person envisioning marrying their partner and spending the rest of their lives together. Overall, this is my favorite love song as it depicts love as something that should be obvious to the naked eye.


Written by: Lorena Alvarez — arts@theaggie.org


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