Tag Archives: pop culture

A LOVE LETTER TO ANDREW GARFIELD

A tour de force actor capable of portraying both the zany and the conventional. An inventive performer with impeccable grace and gravitas in any scene they’re in –an artist sporting a pure soul with a passion for love. There are only two people in the world that fit the bill, and they’re both named Andrew. Today, I’m taking a break from professing my love for Andrew Scott, and instead, I’m penning a love letter to the one and only Andrew Garfield.

I love you. I’m so sorry; I had to get it out of the way, I couldn’t play it cool. I fold immediately under any pressure. I’ll try to remain more composed for the rest of this article. Anyways, I loved you before any of these fakers (Burnt X’s beloved readers) ever did.  I watched the 2017 Hollywood Reporter Roundtable Interview during the pandemic, and I fell in love with Andrew Russell Garfield. The real Andrew Garfield fans and I had to pull the bandwagon over to let the dilatory lot on after they saw you in Spider-Man: No Way Home and discovered what we (stans) already knew, that Andrew Garfield is a shot of espresso bathed in sunlight. 

If you were to cut Andrew Garfield’s chest open, you would find the biggest heart in the world. Seriously, have you heard this guy talk about anything at all, ever? Every time he opens his mouth, floating stars and hearts begin to swirl around him as he generously gives a piece of his infinite heart to this cold and dark rock. Whether it is examining his romantic relationships or speaking about the relationship between him and his mother, he serves as a shining example of fulfilled and unconditional love. Speaking about a bully who picked on him when he was a child, Garfield explains to Stephen Colbert (linked below) that he used to defend the bully, believing “hurt people, hurt people”. He learned to love others unconditionally from his mother, much to the chagrin of the bully. His love for others is also found in the unconfirmed fan theory that Garfield built a handmade chair for his former partner, Emma Stone. The dual-citizen actor continually proves he is as loving as he is talented.

Every character with the gift of being imbued by this talent has their truth expressed beautifully with a vulnerability to all of the senses. Whether it’s playing a Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese’s religious epic or losing himself Under the Silver Lake, this cat cannot miss. Then, of course, his performance as Eduardo Saverin back in 2010 thrust him into the spotlight, serving as the audience’s anchor to Eisenberg’s arrogant and cold Mark Zuckerburg and Justin Timberlake’s narcissistic, eccentric portrayal of Sean Parker. Proving himself to be a talent capable of keeping up with director David Fincher’s exhausting number of takes and finding the rhythm of infamous screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s sped-up script, he then went to bigger and New York-ier skies. 

His next big role was as Peter Parker in Sony’s reboot of Spider-Man in 2012. In a role that he was cut from too soon, Andrew’s Peter Parker finds himself haunted by his relationship with his father and grounded by his love for Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. While their love on-screen was also real off-screen (as is the case for all three live-screen depictions of Spider-Man and their love interests), TASM’s love story remains the best part of his portrayal. While the two films rank lower with critics than other takes on the web-slinger, I maintain that Garfield’s nuanced performance allows the audience to more deeply connect with the character as compared to Tobey Maguire’s campy 2000’s films and Tom Holland’s contemporary take, which is constantly drowned out by other characters in the MCU franchise. And who can disagree with his ideological take on the character: “What I believe about Spider-Man is that he does stand for everybody: Black, white, Chinese, Malaysian, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender. He will put himself in harm’s way for anyone. He is colourblind. He’s blind to sexual orientation, and that is what he has always represented to me. He represents the everyman, but he represents the underdog and those marginalised who come up against great prejudice which I, as a middle-class straight, white man, don’t really understand so much.”

Recently, Andrew Garfield held a nomination for an Oscar for his role in tick, tick… BOOM!. Training with a vocal coach for over a year, Garfield was snubbed when the Academy did not recognize his powerful and complex capture of playwright Jonathan Larson. However, I can assure you, he is a future Oscar winner, having already won a Tony, BAFTA, Golden Globe award, and previously been nominated for the Oscar in 2017.

A laugh-filled with innocence and intelligence. A smile too big for his face. A voice so full of passion, it could make this entire article sound good. But, at the end of the day, perhaps there is nothing more alluring than Andrew Garfield’s spirit. The comfort and trust one can feel when watching him in interviews or on the big screen– it’s a feeling. You can feel his flaws, his restricting idealistic tendencies, and his overanalysis of the little things. You can feel his pain, his joy, and his truth, but you know it’s only a fraction of the whole picture. When you hear his voice come through the IMAX speakers for your fourth viewing of Spider-Man: No Way Home, you know what to expect, but you can’t prepare for the palpable passion he has for his art form. He can express anything he feels, and he frees those listening with the truth. Nothing sums up the loveliness of the “agnostic pantheist” more than Stephen Colbert going in for a second kiss with him. 

Thus concludes my love letter both to and about the singular Andrew Garfield. May he serve as a beacon of light and truth during these trying times. Moreover, note that Andrew Garfield’s personality type is INFP, as according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, and guess who also happens to be an INFP… me. I. I..saac. Author Isaac Hermosillo. So, scientifically speaking, if you now love Andrew Garfield or were already loving him before reading this, you are now welcome to love a shorter, fully-American INFP, should you be prone to any impulses that arise in you at any time.

Featured Image By Francessca Conde

How mysterious doors lead to a new Harry Styles album

 A mysterious Instagram and Twitter page called “youarehome” appeared out of nowhere a few weeks ago. Harry Styles fans immediately took it upon themselves to uncover the meaning of this account and if it was possibly related to Harry himself. 

The accounts had a link to a website that was a door, yes, just a door. Once you clicked on it, an image appeared, and it would be something new every day. 

Fans were going crazy to uncover what the images were and what they meant, but they knew that this had to do with Harry one way or another.

After a week filled with suspense, the answer was finally revealed as Harry posted on all platforms his new album cover with the caption “Harry’s House. May 20th.”

Just in Harry Styles’ fashion, giving a heart attack to everyone with no prior warning, he announced his new album just like that. 

Everyone’s wish came true– well, for sure mine. So, after a long two years, we’re finally getting new Harry music. 

I remember being at work and literally gasping for excitement when I saw the post. 

Since then, we knew soon after a song would be released, and, of course, one week later, we got the “As It Was” song and music video on April 1st.

In a short part of the video, Harry is dancing around in a sparkly one-piece, and then, later on, is only his underwear for the rest. Yes, you read that right, just his underwear, allowing fans to see it all. 

If you are much like me, “As It Was ” is all you have been listening to since it came out. How could we not? The song is simply amazing, just like everything else Harry does. 

From now until May 20, when the rest of the album is released, I’ll be listening to “As It Was ” nonstop in anticipation of what’s to come. 

Featured Image by Talisa Trevino

All Too Well: A Love Letter to Inequality

Whether you’re a Swiftie or an innocent bystander whose TikTok For You page has been hijacked by Swiftok, you might have stumbled across the cinematic masterpiece: All Too Well: The Short Film. The film acts as the music video for the 10-minute version of the marquee song from Red (Taylor’s Version). Swift wrote the song about her relationship with ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal and many fans across the country related to its sincere and gut-wrenching lyrics, but this did not spare the short film from criticism.

All Too Well: A Love Letter to Inequality

Taylor Swift; courtesy Universal Pictures

While the singer is re-releasing albums to create her music the way she intended, Swift was accused of holding grudges and parodied for being vindictive and petty.

 The short film puts those critics to shame by taking the audience on a visceral journey of a toxic relationship through the eyes of the young woman subjected to emotional trauma. Audiences are able to visualize the intricate imagery embedded in the lyrics of the song. Those who criticize Swift for holding a grudge are able to see how deeply painful the act of remembering this period of her life must be, and those who accuse her of fabricating details are reminded that one never forgets trauma inflicted upon them.

The film has sparked a conversation about age gaps in relationships and their impact on an individual. Swift, herself has been criticized for dating Conor Kennedy, who was four years younger, and Taylor Lautner, who was three years younger. However, the bigger criticism was the fact that Swift was an adult dating a teenaged Lautner. It is also worthwhile to note that comparing these relationships to the one with Gyllenhaal is unfair and inherently sexist, especially since their relationship had a nine-year age gap.

Power inequality in a relationship is often experienced when one partner has more power over the other’s emotions, financial security, or life in some severe cases. The inherent toxicity in Swift and Gyllenhaal’s relationship stemmed not only from their age gap but the fact that Swift was in her early twenties while Gyllenhaal was nearly in his thirties. The profound life changes between those decades not only shape you as a person but alter your perspective and outlook on life. Furthermore, there is a profound difference in confidence and comfort with yourself between the two ages. This means the older partner always has the upper hand in contrast to the volatile and emotional younger partner in the relationship.

A scene in the middle of the film highlights this imbalance in the relationship as the younger actress (played by Sadie Sink) fumes about how her older boyfriend failed to pay attention to her during a dinner with his friends. He dismisses her concerns and anger, calls her selfish, and gaslights her emotions. While the fight is resolved after he apologizes, a particularly telling moment is when the young girl says she feels embarrassed and her boyfriend says nothing. His refusal to admit he was wrong and that he has a responsibility to not make her feel isolated, shows he truly is an emotional manipulator whether it is unconscious or not.

The film does a fair job to portray him not as a villain, but rather as a damaged man who is unable to recognize his problematic behavior due to his own trauma. Despite criticism, the film captured the truly flawed nature of human beings and is a  warning to be wary of relationships with age gaps at different stages of their life. It is not different life aspirations as the final nail in the coffin of these relationships, but rather the older partner’s ability to manipulate the younger one’s emotion because they have experienced similar emotions and feelings in the past.

The UT Colleges as Adele songs

The season of Fall is synonymous with perfectly winged eyeliner, classic black silhouettes, and ballads that make you want to pour your heart out; that’s right, it’s Adele season. In preparation for this period of heartbreak and deep interpersonal questioning, soothe your troubled soul and enjoy this light take on the UT colleges as Adele songs based on the majors within them.

Moody College of Communication- Hello

Moody School of Communication; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

Hello is possibly one of the most well-known Adele songs of all time. The exhilarating song focuses on the failure of communication between two lovers. Moody intends on changing the world by rectifying miscommunication and enhancing current communication. The song embodies what Moody is trying to rectify in the world– miscommunication.

School of Architecture- Skyfall

School of Architecture; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

The uplifting tune, the drama, and the intrigue of mystery that surround Bond movies; these elements all paint a picture of artistry depicted in the tallest skyscrapers you can imagine. Bringing creativity to life and building the impossible are two traits that the School of Architecture and this Adele song have in common.

College of Liberal Arts – Chasing Pavements

Robert L. Patton Building; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

From governance to psychology, the College of Liberal Arts focuses on the pursuit of excellence through taking risks emphasized by its competitive majors. Chasing Pavements is a song about a woman taking a risk by confessing her feelings despite knowing how unlikely her chances for happiness are within that relationship. CoLA encourages its majors to hope and take risks within the humanities to discover the one true truth about what it is to be human within society at large.

College of Fine Arts- Sweetest Devotion

In order to have a successful career in the arts, one must be dedicated to the point where they are devoted to their craft. This Adele song harps on the triumphs and failures of giving all of your heart and soul in the form of purest devotion, something that is personified by the College of Fine Arts.

College of Natural Sciences- Set Fire to the Rain

College of Natural Sciences; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

Only the College of Natural Sciences could set fire to the rain with their intellect and ingenuity. Students within the college are able to achieve the impossible and indeed give meaning to a mad genius and in that making, this metaphor come true.

College of Education- First Love

First love ,with its idyllic and nursery rhyme elements, reminds one of happier days on the school playground. The cheerful tune is similar to the genuine and kind nature that is a hallmark of the College of Education.

McCombs School of Business- Send my Love to your New Lover

McCombs School of Business; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

It’s common knowledge that McCombs’ students enjoy the thrill of the chase and rarely pursue stability. It’s that attitude which ensures success in business. As a result, they harbor no ill intent to those they have woed in the past and are more than willing to send their love to your new lover after they have ended things with you.

Steve Hicks School of Social Work- Make you feel my love

Showcasing your loving nature and social work go hand in hand and so does this college and Adele song.

Cockrell School of Engineering- Easy on Me

Cockerell School of Engineering; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

It’s not easy being a Cockrell major, as they will let you know, and I can say with utmost confidence they would greatly appreciate it if their professors and the world at large took it easy on them. This new song by Adele not only allows them to drown their misery, but also fulfills their pleas with artistry and grace.

School of Information- Rumour has it

Rumors are the basis of all human interaction and this school looks to facilitate and enhance that interaction. They focus on user experience and design which rumor has it will be the most useful tool in the future of technology.

College of Pharmacy- Remedy

College of Pharmacy; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

Remedy is a song about healing and overcoming difficulties, something which we all accomplish with the help of our friends at the School of Pharmacy.

School of Nursing- Tired

Both the majors in this school and Adele find their true state in this song as they like to remind us after excessive all-nighters that they are, indeed, tired.

Jackson School of Geosciences- Rolling in the Deep

Jackson School of Geosciences; Picture by Nicholas Muniz

Rolling in  the deep is a song that not only references the hard work that students of this school have to put in, but also vaguely reminds you of a boulder rolling down a hill. Something which is not only poetic about the song but is similar to the plight of many of the majors in this school.

Featured image by Nicholas Muniz

Reality Dating Shows: Why Do We Like Them So Much?

Living vicariously through strangers’ lives and then judging them for it? Sign me up!

Reality dating shows have started to take over mainstream television. Shows like Love Island, Too Hot to Handle, and Are You the One? have garnered large fan bases throughout their respective runs, which include many college students. 

So, why do we like this subgenre so much?

According to an article by the Hollywood Reporter, TV and streaming viewership has had a 25 percent increase since the pandemic began. Many of the shows that have seen this increase in viewership include reality romance shows, such as The Bachelor, Love Island, 90-Day Fiancé and more.

Since there was a general increase in viewership for all types of shows, it makes perfect sense as to why the reality romance subgenre has also had a surge in popularity recently. But the question now is why is it so popular among the college-age demographic?

Political communications major Cindy Muñoz said that it’s due to being able to see other people make decisions that make you feel more “normal” in comparison.

“I think partly it’s projection When college kids see these shows, they’re able to see people like them make some of these decisions and it makes you feel like maybe you’re not the only one out here making dumb choices,” Muñoz said. “Personally, my favorite show is Too Hot to Handle. It makes me feel a little more sane in this world [when comparing myself to people on the show].”

Since people are able to picture themselves within the contestants on these shows, they quickly become invested.

“Sometimes these shows make it hard to believe [these people’s lives are] true so it lets you escape your stressful everyday life,” Muñoz said. 

Considering these shows often feature groups of 20-somethings that are attempting to figure out how to form genuine and meaningful relationships, it makes sense that college-aged people can relate to their decisions and feelings, despite how outlandish some of it may be. 

But, hey, that’s what makes good television.