Tag Archives: entertainment

20 travel movies to get you through quarantine

Got cabin fever? Take a fictional trip and live vicariously through these movies. While most of us are staying at home when possible, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Here’s a list of movies to watch when you need that extra dose of travel and adventure without actually leaving the house.

Crazy Rich Asians 

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Youtube

What its about: Join Rachel Chu and her fiance as they travel from New York to Singapore to visit his family. With a star-studded cast, immaculate costumes and setting, over the top drama, and the adventure of a lifetime, you can say less!

What a Girl Wants

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Google Play

What its about: An early 2000s rom com with Amanda Bynes on a journey to find her estranged British father, gain a sense of identity, and find love and adventure along the way. 

Black Panther

Where you can watch it; Disney+, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s aout: Okay, we all know Wakanda isn’t even a real place, but don’t we wish it was? Join T’Challa and his journey to becoming leader of Wakanda and exploring his purpose as the Black Panther

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Where you can watch it: Netflix and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: This is a Hindi film so yes, you’ll be reading subtitles, but it’s worth it! Its about three best friends who go on a bachelor party trip to Spain. This movie is full of love, laughter, personal growth, and some fire music you’ll definitely want to dance to.

Sisterhood of the Travelling pants

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Youtube

What its about: Okay, I used to think this movie was corny too, but rewatching it as an adult, it’s such a touching film with an authentic portrayal of girlhood and coming of age. Not to mention, Lena’s trip to Greece is such a dream vacation. 

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Where you can watch it: Disney+, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: An absolute c l a s s i c. You may not be able to study abroad this semester, but at least you can live vicariously through Lizzie McGuire as she lives a double life during her summer trip to Italy.

Parasite

Where you can watch it: Hulu, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: This movie isn’t as light hearted as the other movies on this list, but is still an excellent film that chronicles wealth disparity in South Korea and very much deserved the Oscar for “Best International Film”.

Spiderman Far From Home

Where you can watch it: Disney+, Amazon Prime, Starz, and Hulu

What it’s about: Zendaya. That’s all the reason you need to watch this movie. But if that’s not enough you also have your friendly neighborhood spiderman and the gang going on adventures in europe!

Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement

Where you can watch it: Disney+, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: A young Anne Hathaway andChris Pine go from enemies to lovers as they  challenge antiquated royalty laws in the beloved state of Genovia… need I say more?

Desperados

Where you can watch it: Netflix

What it’s about: A woman in her 30s, on the brink of her life falling apart, goes on a trip to Mexico with her friends to delete a drunk email she sent to her boyfriend. If you’re a fan of New Girl, you’ll love seeing Nasim Pedrad and Lamorne Morris in this movie. Not to mention, the drone shots of the beaches in Mexico were breathtaking.

Tigertail

Where you can watch it: Netflix

What it’s about: Tigertail highlights the generational divide between a Taiwanese immigrant father and his first generation American daughter. In this movie, you’re taken back and forth between the father’s youth in Taiwan, his immigrant journey to America, and his current life after his children have grown and started their own families. 

Monte Carlo

Where you can watch it: Hulu, HBO, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: Another underrated feature, Monte Carlo has a similar storyline to the Lizzie Mcguire movie but is a bit more realistic. In this feel-good movie, three girls go on a trip to Paris and find love, adventure, closure, and purpose.

Lion

Where you can watch it: Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: Based on the autobiography of Saroo Brierly, a man who was lost from his family in India as a child, was adopted by an Australian couple, and sets out to find his family years later as an adult. The story is gripping, emotional, and really comes alive with the amazing Dev Patel’s portrayal of Saroo.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: An 1980s classic with Harrison Ford, go on an archaeological adventure with Indiana Jones!

Cheetah Girls 2

Where you can watch it: Disney+, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: The Cheetah Girls, an American ICON of the early 2000s and a sequel that didn’t disappoint! Their trip to Barcelona was full of BOPS, adventures, and friendship.

Love Rosie

Where you can watch it: Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: Lily Collins and Sam Claflin excel in a film set in the UK and Boston which tells the story of Alex and Rosie, lifelong friends, who spend their lives searching for their true love: each other.

The Hangover

Where you can watch it: Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: Another 2000s classic. Combining Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, with Zach Galifianakis, and introducing Ken Jeong onto the comedy scene produced an iconic comedy about a bachelor trip gone wild.

The Karate Kid

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime

What it’s about: The original and the remake are both amazing and either are worth the watch. But if you’re a fan of Jackie chan, Jaden Smith, the song “Never Say Never” by Justin Bieber, and you’d rather take the journey from Detroit to Beijing (instead of New Jersey to California in the original), then the 2010 remake is the one for you.

Queen of Katwe

Where you can watch it: Disney+, Youtube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime 

What it’s about: This biopic showcases Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess player, and her amazing journey becoming an international chess champion. We love to see it! (Of course, we also love to see Lupita Nyong’o) 

Nacho libre

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Youtube

What it’s about: Another underrated childhood movie with Jack Black playing an aspiring luchador while working as a cook at a church in Mexico. And I promise you, there’s tons of jokes that probably went over your head as a kid.

Super. Dysfunctional. Representation.: The Women of “The Umbrella Academy”

Why I love “The Umbrella Academy” but not the way it treats women

Illustration by Serena Rodriguez

**WARNING! This post contains spoilers for the first season of Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy.” Reader discretion advised.**

Christ on a cracker! Gerard Way fans rejoice because “The Umbrella Academy” is set to premiere its second season on July 31. The Netflix original show received an outpouring of fan love upon its initial release last February. 

“The Umbrella Academy” is smart, funny and full of action. What it is lacking is positive female representation. All the women in this show are either killed off or their roles are determined by the men around them.

The show follows an adoptive family made up of seven siblings, each equipped with their own unique superpowers. Number One has super strength, Number Two can hold his breath indefinitely and is very skilled in close-quarter combat, Number Three can alter reality with a simple lie, and so on and so forth. At the center of the family is the harsh, foreboding father figure, Sir Reginald Hargreeves. He brought the siblings together and exploited their powers without giving them the love one usually receives from a father. 

Being a single father is no easy task, even for a rich British man. So, Reginald created a mother figure for the seven children: Grace (played by Jordan Claire Robbins). Grace is a smiling, doting robot…literally, she’s a robot. She cooks, cleans and plays the role of “mother” perfectly. A perfect foil for Reginald’s stern demeanor. And the beginning of a very troubling pattern in the “Umbrella Academy” array of characters.

Grace (Jordan Claire Robbins) – Source: IMDb

When Number Seven (her real name is Vanya and she is played by the incredible Ellen Page) was younger, her powers made her completely unmanageable. Reginald tried to introduce her to a multitude of nannies/”mothers” but she destroyed all of them. The only one that stuck? Grace, the blank-staring 50s-style housewife whose only purpose is to listen to her man (her creator, mind you) and take care of her children.

This is not an attack on mothers or wives; I’m addressing a harmful stereotype that has perpetuated for decades. A stereotype that’s troublesome to see in one of the most popular shows released in the past few years. I would hope there would be more dimensional roles for women at this point. 

I would also hope women of color wouldn’t be seen as expendable in this day and age. But writers let me down all the time. Helen Cho (played by Emily Piggford) was the first chair in the orchestra Vanya was auditioning for. She was barely seen in the show before she was killed off and her body was left to rot in an attic. Cho felt like a plot device rather than an actual character. We were briefly introduced to her and then she was used for furthering Vanya’s journey. It makes you wonder why the writers chose to use a woman of color as a character destined for tragedy.

Helen Cho (Emily Piggford) – Source: IMDb

Then there’s Detective Eudora Patch (played by Ashley Madekwe). I really liked her. She was intelligent, independent and she was not afraid to put Diego (Number Two) in his place. It was a bit irritating that one of her main purposes was to be Diego’s love interest but Diego is my favorite Hargreeves so I, personally, was not too bothered by it. I wanted him to be happy. 

Patch was looking into strange murders around town that seemed to be linked to the Hargreeves family. This fateful investigation led to Patch’s untimely death. She was shot after finding the show’s two antagonists in a motel. Patch went from a strong female character to being another woman of color killed off for plot progression.

detective

While the scene where Diego cries over her body serves as a great moment for the audience to sympathize with the second Hargreeves, it is incredibly frustrating that Patch died for seemingly no reason. Patch didn’t have to die but, unfortunately, women of color are apparently still seen as dispensable in media.

As previously mentioned, there were two main antagonists for “The Umbrella Academy”’s first season: Hazel and Cha-Cha. They were assassins sent to kill Number Five, the sassy youngest sibling whose history is too intricate to get into right now. (Just watch the show, they explain it better than I ever will.) Cha-Cha was played by the incomparable Mary J. Blige. She was strong, ruthless and seemingly indestructible. That is until Hazel falls in love with a local waitress. Once Hazel becomes distracted, Cha-Cha becomes enraged. Despite their mission to kill Number Five, she vows to kill the couple, punishing them because Hazel abandoned his job. 

She is focused on getting the job done, which I can respect. What bothers me is that it is heavily implied that Cha-Cha has romantic feelings for Hazel and that’s part of the reason she loses her shit. If Cha-Cha were a real person, not a fictional television character, she would probably ditch her lovey-dovey partner and get the job done herself. But, no. She’s a woman in a television show so her entire persona is dependent on the man she’s with. The man she probably has feelings for. To quote Miranda Priestly: groundbreaking.

Cha-Cha (Mary J. Blige) – Source: IMDb

Another, perhaps unsuspecting, antagonist of the show is Vanya. Vanya’s character troubled me in two ways and neither of them had anything to do with the fact that she was a villain. In fact, I think the world needs more female villains. First, Vanya is completely undermined for most of the season. She supposedly “doesn’t have any powers” but it was actually Reginald repressing her powers with medicine since she was a child because she was too strong. (Again…watch the show if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) Anyway, because she has “no powers,” everyone treats her like she doesn’t exist. They speak down to her, think she has no spine and generally gaslight her into silent submission. It is a horrid routine that many women are all too familiar with.

Vanya meets Leonard. Leonard is a dick. He is the second issue I have with Vanya’s characterization. Throughout the season, Vanya doesn’t have the confidence to stand up for herself. Leonard gives her that confidence through his “love” and “support,” which, of course, we find out is all a ploy to weaponize Vanya and get revenge on the Hargreeves for an age-old grudge Leonard has. Men really ain’t shit, huh? (Kidding…sorta.) Anyway, I wanted Vanya to find strength within herself. I always want women to find strength within themselves. I’m tired of men ostensibly handing it to them or helping them achieve it. We are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves and I want to see that reflected in the content we consume.

Vanya Hargreeves (Ellen Page) – Source: IMDb

Finally, we get to the most atrocious act of them all. One of the strongest Hargreeves is Number Three (her real name is Allison and she’s played by Emmy Raver-Lampman), the sibling who can alter reality by saying the words “I heard a rumor…”. Allison also has this weird romance with Number One (whose real name is Luther and whom I have a strong dislike for) but that’s not my biggest grievance, although it is a grievance. Allison was flawed, this is true, but I was also very fond of her. She was a strong leader, a loving sister and someone who had gone a little mad with power. I thought she was a well-rounded character. Which obviously meant to the writers that she had to silenced. Literally. Towards the end of the season, Allison had a falling out with Vanya as she began coming into her powers. In the skirmish, Vanya accidentally slashed Allison’s throat. For a terrifying moment, we were left wondering if Allison was even alive. 

Allison thankfully survived the ordeal but she was left mute. Her vocal cords must have been severed by the blow. (I don’t know how anatomy works or if that’s even possible, but it happened.) The one Hargreeves constantly using her voice to stand up for herself and others was quelled by violence. Not to mention the fact that Allison is yet another woman of color harmed within the show. It’s very upsetting to see but at least she wasn’t killed off, I guess? It sucks that I have to say that.

Allison Hargreeves (Emmy Raver-Lampman) – Source: Netflix

Ellen Page, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Mary J. freaking Blige. The cast was brimming with talented women and they were all let down by poor writing/character development. I’m not the first one to notice the unfortunate trend of female representation in “The Umbrella Academy” and I hope I’m not the last. Here’s to hoping the new season brings positive change.

Things to do, see, & eat in colorado springs

Colorado is gaining popularity as both an ideal place to live as well as an Instagram worthy travel destination. Not only is Colorado absolutely gorgeous (I mean come on- it inspired the song “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates) but it also has something for outdoor enthusiasts, shoppers, and foodies alike. This summer I was lucky enough to go on a road trip through Colorado and stopped in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Boulder. Since Colorado Springs was my personal favorite and first stop, this guide will focus on what this scenic, vibrant city has to offer. Keep reading for some major travel inspiration and tips.

Things to Do & See

Hike at Garden of the Gods

Photo by Courtney Smith

Garden of the Gods is home to stunning sandstone formations and boasts an array of activities from hiking to Jeep tours. While there is no wrong way to explore this famous national landmark, hiking it is a truly special experience. Upon entering the park are some of the tallest formations that create impressive views both up close and far away as you venture onto different trails. The Perkins Center Garden Trail begins at the main parking lot and is an easy 1 ½ mile round trip journey that is paved and accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. If you don’t have time for much exploring at least do that trail to get up close and personal with some beautiful formations. Other great trails to take include the Palmer Trail (3 miles and away from traffic) as well as the Buckskin Charlie Trail (dramatic distance views). The park is free admission and parking so on top of being a classic Colorado Springs activity it’s easy on the wallet.

Visit the Manitou Cliff Dwellings 

Photo by Courtney Smith

Manitou Springs is located across the highway from Colorado Springs and is an adorable, culturally rich mountain town. It’s also home to Native American architecture known as the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. You are allowed to go inside the dwellings as well as touch them which makes it a really unique and interactive place to visit. Unless you’re a total history junkie the Cliff Dwellings are a pretty quick place to visit and go through which makes this an easy thing to fit into your trip. The cost is only $10 for adults and is free to those in wheelchairs.

Shop in Downtown/Historic Manitou Springs

Photo by Courtney Smith

Downtown Manitou Springs is home to many interesting shops that both locals and tourists can enjoy. Parking is not too hard to find and everything is quite close together which makes this an easy thing to do to fill up a morning or afternoon. The storefronts range from new to old and have a ton of character so it’s never difficult to find a picture-worthy spot or a fascinating store. Mixed in amongst the unique shops are souvenir shops that also allow you to pick up any souvenirs you want or promised to others. The Penny Arcade is a fun stop where you can play old fashioned arcade games for low prices and for all ages.

Drive to the Pikes Peak Summit

Photo by Courtney Smith

Pikes Peak has an elevation of a little over 14,000 feet and has been a Colorado travel staple for years. The drive to the summit includes breathtaking views, places to stop and shop/eat, photo opportunities, and hiking trails. It is extremely chilly at the top (it was 32 degrees when I went in June) so be sure to bring a jacket and dress in layers. Right now there is some construction so there is a park and shuttle system that is explained as you make your way to the top. This is an absolute must while in Colorado Springs and costs $15 per adult.

Challenge Yourself and Hike the Manitou Incline

Photo by Courtney Smith

The Manitou Incline is rated as “difficult” and isn’t for the faint of heart. With 2,744 steps and a 2,000 foot incline in slightly less than a mile, it takes some serious grit. Reaching the summit depends on fitness level and crowdedness on the incline but usually takes around an hour. It can get very steep so if you’re short (like me) or want some extra stability, I recommend hiking poles and good shoes. There are places along the incline to pull off to rest, refuel, and take pictures. The views are incredible and you definitely feel accomplished after reaching the top. After you climb the steps you follow the famous Barr Trail down to the parking lot for about 4 ½ miles. Plan on taking plenty of water, snacks, and a charged phone. There is a shuttle system to take you from Hiawatha Gardens building parking lot to the base of the incline for free. I did this and it was easier than finding a meter. Admission to the incline is also free. Good luck!

Places to Eat

Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe

Photo by Courtney Smith

Not only is this the perfect stop on the way to the park itself but it has an incredibly nice aesthetic inside. If you’ve ever been to Magnolia Table in Waco, Texas, this cafe has a similar feel. It’s light, airy, and perfect for brunch. The menu has a lot of tasty options and includes things like a daily quiche (my selection), hash, pancakes, french toast- basically all of your brunch essentials. Pricing is definitely moderate (about $13 per plate) but the quality and quantity of the food is well worth it. 

Urban Steam

Photo by Courtney Smith

Okay…maybe I’m brunch obsessed, but maybe Colorado Springs has an awesome brunch scene. Urban steam describes itself as selling “espresso, waffles, whiskey, [and] good times.” While it isn’t in the heart of downtown and you will need to drive or Uber it still packs a major brunch punch. The waffles were some of the best I have ever had and the coffee was smooth and delicious. With menu item names like “monkey-wrench” and “greasy granny” you know it’s going to be good. My waffles came with Nutella, bananas, whipped cream, walnuts, caramel sauce, and chocolate sauce. Needless to say it was an easy 10/10. Urban Steam also offers plenty of other items and cocktails to make it worth your while.

Sahara Cafe

Photo by Courtney Smith

Located in Manitou Springs, Sahara Cafe serves up tasty Middle Eastern cuisine. They feature all of the classic items you’d expect such as falafel, gyro, delicious salads, hummus plates, and chicken/beef shawarma. Pricing is really affordable here- make any sandwich a combo for $10.99 including a drink and a side. Portions are great for fueling your day or for sharing. It’s conveniently located near all of the shopping and sightseeing to do downtown as well.

Josh & John’s Ice Cream

Photo by Courtney Smith

What’s better than ice cream that’s slow churned with high quality ingredients? Nothing. Literally nothing. Josh & John’s Ice Cream is full of satisfying, dense flavor- but be prepared to wait if you go at a peak time. Locals love this place and once you have their Colorado Cookies and Cream or other signature flavor, you’ll be hooked too. 

Colorado Springs is a perfect destination for those looking to beat the Texas heat, get out in nature, do a little shopping, or explore a tasty local food scene. While Colorado is the perfect road trip destination, flight costs aren’t bad either, making it a solid choice for spring or summer travel on a college budget.

The Oscars: South Korea’s Biggest Night

The 92nd annual Academy Awards, or Oscars, took place last Sunday night and featured surprising wins, historic moments and rap.

2019 saw an amazing year in film with gems like “Jojo Rabbit”, “Knives Out” and “Parasite”. Hollywood’s biggest and brightest filled the Dolby Theatre to celebrate these amazing films and hopefully win the industry’s most coveted award. The hostless show kicked off with an energetic number from Janelle Monae, and then the star-studded night was underway.

The first award of the night went to Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actor, a win that surprised no one who’s been following this awards season. The “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” actor has been winning that award all season.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Other anticipated wins went to Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor, Renée Zellweger for Best Actress, and Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress.

However, the true stars of the night were the “Parasite” team.

“Parasite” swept the ceremony taking home, Best Screenplay, Best Director and the top award of the night — Best Picture. Making history as the first non-English language film to win the award.

Director Bong Joon Ho thanked fellow director, Martin Scorsese, for being his inspiration and said he would celebrate the night by drinking a lot.

Producers of “Parasite” also thanked the Academy for the historic win and shared their respect towards the Academy for voting for their film.

There were some comedic standout performances of the night from Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.

James Corden and Rebel Wilson presented the award for Best Visual Effects in cats costume. A fitting decision to make a joke about their roles in the critically panned film, “Cats”.

There were also a few musical surprises throughout the night, most notably from Eminem who took the stage to perform “Lose Yourself” from the movie “8 Mile”.

Overall this year was a very different Oscars, and it showed their attempts to be a more relevant ceremony in the eyes of the youth. As well as show their ability to truly celebrate film regardless of its origin and the 1-inch subtitles.

The Shiniest Moments at the Golden Globes

The 77th Annual Golden Globes kicked off the 2020 awards season with surprise wins and heartfelt speeches from the industry’s best.

On Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton hotel, stars gathered to have drinks, eat food and celebrate achievements in film and television. Hosted by the vulgar and non-apologetic comedian Ricky Gervais, it was sure to be a night full of laughs and special moments.

Gervais opened the ceremony with his typical monologue, using jokes to rip into Hollywood icons, and even companies like Disney and Apple. Reactions to Gervais’ jokes ranged from uncomfortable groans to laughs.

Tom Hanks reacting to Ricky Gervais at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards Jan 5, 2020, photo courtesy of NBC Universal Media

The biggest award of the night was Best Drama Motion Picture, surprisingly going to “1917” beating Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman”.

Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture for “Joker”. His speech featured a few f-bombs and a plea for true action to end climate change. Phoenix wasn’t the only winner who had a political message in their speech. Michelle Williams gave a powerful speech encouraging women to vote and Patricia Arquette spoke of the Australian bushfires and President Trump’s attack on Iran.

“Women, 18 to 118, when it is time to vote, please do so in your own self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years,” Williams said.

Ellen DeGeneres was awarded the Carol Burnett Award and Tom Hanks was awarded Cecil B DeMille award honoring their iconic and impactful careers in entertainment.

Comedian Awkwafina won Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for “The Farewell” becoming the first Asian-American to win the award.  

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS — Pictured: Awkwafina accepts the award for Best Actress – Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for “The Farewell” at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Critically acclaimed, “Parasite”, won for Best Foreign Language Film and director Bong Joon-Ho took a moment to remind the audience about the importance of seeing foreign films.

“Once you overcome the 1-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” Bong said, translated from Korean.

From great looks to great laughs, The Golden Globes is an amazing night and a wonderful way to start the new year. Next up is the Critics Choice Awards on January 12 and Screen Actors Guild Award on January 19.

Featured Image courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images.