Tag Archives: what to watch

Movie Musicals To Add To Your Watchlist Pt.2

Newsies (1992)

My favorite musical in existence, Newsies, holds a special place in my heart. This film, directed by Kenny Ortega, paved the way for the future Broadway musical of the same name and went on to win multiple awards like the Tony Award for Best Original Score and Best Choreography. The musical highlights the real events of the newsboys’ strike and union in the late 1800s. Every single cast member, both on-screen and on the stage, is a triple threat, and they’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Newsies this year!

Hairspray (2007) 

Hairspray is so good. If you haven’t watched it, what are you doing? The film has a star-studded cast and so many iconic songs like “The New Girl in Town” and “Good Morning Baltimore.” The colors and costumes are so bright and fun, and while the movie has a lighthearted theme overall, the movie touches on important issues like segregation and racial injustices in the 50s. 

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Mamma Mia! is every ABBA fan’s dream movie musical. Starring so many of the greats, this musical and romcom also has a star-studded cast. You’re transported to the Greek Mediterranean islands, and you can’t help but dance along to hits like “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” and “Waterloo.” The soundtrack is so catchy and perfect for the upcoming summer. The only question: who is Sophie’s father?

Les Miserables (2012) 

Oh, Les Mis, how you cause me so much pain. Who would have thought a nearly three-hour movie about 19th-century France would be so beautiful? The messages of love, compassion, selflessness, and more are shown in the movie by characters played by the likes of Hugh Jackman, Aaron Tveit, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and so many more. Looking for a pump-up song or a song to overthrow the government? Try “Do You Hear The People Sing?”

Sing (2016) 

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. So why is a silly animated movie about singing animals on this list? Well, first off we have to point out that UT’s very own Matthew McConaughey stars in this. The movie has great songs and an overall message about dreaming big and going after what you want no matter how hard! While many of the songs are covers of popular songs that are already well-known, Sing also has originals like “Faith” sung by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande and “Set It All Free” by Scarlett Johansson. 

La La Land (2016)

When I tell you I am obsessed with this movie… La La Land is a great look into the behind-the-scenes of Hollywood and the hard process it takes to get there as an artist. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, we see dazzling dance numbers and colors. I can’t say enough good things about this musical romance.

The Greatest Showman (2017) 

Me adding another movie to the list where Hugh Jackman sings? It’s more likely than you think. Showing the story of how PT Barnum started his circus legacy, we’re able to see the birth of show business in the 1800s. Of couse, the music was done by the same people who did Dear Evan Hansen’s music too! Songs like “A Million Dreams,” “This Is Me,” and my personal favorite, “Never Enough,” are such good songs; no wonder the film won big that year.

Hamilton (2020)

Would this movie-musical list be complete without mentioning the musical that took the world by storm and made people history lovers? Lin-Manuel Miranda is the genius behind the story, showcasing Alexander Hamilton with hip-hop, jazz, and R&B twist. Every single cast member is so talented and created one of the best show-going experiences in a long time. 

Tick, tick… BOOM! (2021)

Rounding out the list is Andrew Garfield’s hit movie tick, tick… BOOM! While we’re crying because he didn’t win at the Oscars, he is #1 in our hearts. Based on the life of Jonathan Larson, creator of the musical Rent, we see the ups and downs of a struggling composer wanting to get his work on Broadway. Lin Manuel Miranda directs this song, and this song has so many bops like “90/30” and “Boho Days” that I have definitely heard students humming around campus.

K-Drama Review: The Business Proposal

Imagine you’re forced to go on a blind date. Your rich best friend pays you hundreds of dollars to fill in for her. Maybe it won’t be so bad, and at least you’re getting paid unless your blind date turns out to be your company’s CEO. In that case, you should run. 

However, before Shin Hari had the chance to run, her company’s CEO, Kang Tae-Moo, asked for her hand in marriage. It comes to be quite shocking because after acting like the most terrible woman as her best friend instructed her to get rid of him, he still takes an interest in Hari. Tae-Moo later tells her that it’s a fake proposal and needs Hari to pretend to be his fiance, offering twice the cash her best friend gave. Hari accepts. After all, she needs the money.

Thankfully, Hari has gone under the fake name “Shin Geum-Hui” and has altered her appearance, so she’s almost unrecognizable to her CEO at work. But, on the other hand, it might be hard to play two people at once. 

It’s part of what makes the show so funny. Watching Hari struggle to hide from Tae-Moo at work while also keeping up with his fiance Geum-Hui, is entertaining but also hard to watch from the suspense. Nevertheless, the show keeps you on your toes, and certainly Hari as well after all the running from her CEO. 

Although the main couple is great, you also can’t help but love the side couple, Cha Sung-hoon and Jin Young-seo. What makes it ironic is that Young-seo is Hari’s best friend, and Sung-hoon is Tae-moo’s assistant. So instead of her father’s wishes, she falls in love at first sight with Sung-hoon, and not Tae-moo. But, of course, who can blame her when Sung-hoon is so attractive (seriously, he’s hot).

If you’re in the mood to watch a feel-good show, then Business Proposal is a k-drama to add to your list. It’s funny and cheesy, and the plot stirs as you watch. There turns out to be a love triangle, simmering the plot further. Also, even though it’s a romantic comedy, it definitely isn’t a slow burn where the story drags on. 

Working at a food company, who knows if Hari and Tae-Moo are cooking a recipe for love or disaster as they navigate their fake relationship. Watch Business Proposal, the k-drama based on a WebToon, to find out!

Featured Image by Allison Geddie

Spring Anime Film Recommendations

The flowers are blooming, the wind is breezy, and the days are longer. Surely enough, spring has crept upon us. What better way to take in the season than to watch beautifully crafted films that can immerse you in. 

The Garden of Words (Amazon Prime)

As depicted in the title, the film is centered around a garden, where Takao and Yukari often meet to stay dry during the rain. Underneath the rooftop, they bond and Takao, a shoemaker, offers to give Yukari new shoes. However, once the rainy season ends, it’s harder for them to see each other, with only the promise of new shoes to hold onto. Watching their relationship unravel, along with the beautiful graphics, makes the movie eye-catching and riveting. It’s as if you’re living in a spring romance novel (or manga).

Weathering With You (HBO Max)

After running away to Tokyo, Hokoda hopes for a better life compared to living in a small town. Except, it turns out Tokyo isn’t the perfect place after all. It’s constantly raining and flooding, with gray skies all around until he meets Hina, the ‘Sunshine girl,’ who makes the gray skies go away with her extraordinary power. Just like the falling rain, Hokoda and Hina can’t help but fall for each other, both things the forecast can easily pick up. The film is refreshing, as, during spring, we all wish for clearer skies and brighter days. 

The Secret World of Arrietty (HBO Max)

Basically, it’s Studio Ghibli’s version of Tinker Bell, except the characters aren’t fairies. However, they are indeed tiny and love handcrafting things. These so-called “borrowers” live beneath a home, taking items from the homeowners when they’re asleep, and creatively making them their own. Trying to live in secret backfires when young boy Sho notices and befriends tiny Arrietty. The two work together to protect the borrower’s way of living, hoping that both kinds can coexist. Additionally, the flowers and greenery throughout the film are very pretty, perfectly resembling spring. 

A Whisker Away (Netflix)

Miyo has a huge crush on her high school classmate Kento. Failing to get his attention, she resorts to turning herself into a cat, because who doesn’t love a cute furry animal. Also as a way to escape from her troublesome household, she goes out and wanders around in her cat form, which Kento grows fond of. However, the more she turns into a cat, the more permanent her cat form will be. Stuck between Kento’s admiration and her humanity, Miyo goes through a coming-of-age adventure. From kimonos, festivals, and vibrant trees, “A Whisker Away” is also a nice film to get lost in the season. 

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Amazon Prime or YouTube)

Makoto is almost done with high school but doesn’t want to face the future. Instead, she’s facing the past, as she’s given the ability to leap back in time. Little does she know that when she uses this power, there is a price to pay. Time travel is a complicated thing, but thankfully her friends are there when things go wrong. The clear skies and pretty sunsets are a nice reminder of spring, along with the fact that Makoto is sick of school, which is exactly how we all feel this semester. 

If you’d like some time to unwind, watching these spring anime films are great pick-me-ups. By the end of it, you’ll wish you were underneath the cherry blossom trees too. Unfortunately, we can’t all be the main character in a spring romance anime, but one can dream.

Featured Image by Francessca Conde

Thirty Years of Cartoons: A Fan’s Recommendations

When was the last time you watched a cartoon? Was it SpongeBob? Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy? South Park? When was the last time you even turned on Cartoon Network? Not recently, I’m guessing.

Or maybe you think you’ve seen everything already! Well, it can’t possibly be that bad. So what? Have you rewatched Avatar the Last Airbender enough to quote every scene? Or maybe you’ve rewatched “Simon and Marcy” from Adventure Time enough that it doesn’t make you cry anymore? Yeah, maybe it’s that bad…

What if I told you that there was a cartoon just for you? Really! There are hundreds of cartoons waiting for new viewers just like you. Fantasy, drama, niche internet dark comedy, there’s a little bit of everything in the world of western animation. It can be difficult to sift through it all with so much variety. But don’t worry. I’ve likely seen more cartoons than I can count and with more planned on the way. So, with me as your guide, here are three cartoon recommendations that you might not have heard of from almost three decades of cartoons.

2000’s – Teen Titans

Starting off easy, we’ve got Teen Titans. Aired in 2003 on Cartoon Network, Teen Titans follow five teenage superheroes from the DC Comic Universe as they fight crime and protect the world from evil while going through their own teenage problems like love, friendship, and their future. Every character has their own unique personality and powers. As they grow in the series, we grow with them, getting attached to their lives and stories.

I recommend the show if you love action, comedy, or need a good pick me up from time to time. Teen Titans hits the same today as it did almost 20 years ago. Each season has a well-developed storyline that shows the growth of every character and their relationships with one another. It also has intriguing villains, interesting side characters, and enough history and lore to leave you wanting more. Available on HBO Max, the characters and stories of Teen Titans prepare the viewer for hours of fun and content.

2000’S Runner Up: W.I.T.C.H

2010’s – Helluva Boss

With only one season and six episodes, Helluva Boss has definitely made its mark on adult animation. Aired in 2019 on YouTube, Helluva Boss follows the company I.M.P. (Immediate Murder Professionals), hitmen from hell who can kill the living on Earth. With an arrangement of gory tactics and weapons, I.M.P. gets the job done. The team deals with their silly antics and gushy romance (among other things).

I recommend this show if you love raunchy humor, a good story, and big, heart-wrenching cliffhangers that lead to bigger and better plot arcs. While there is only a limited amount of content, the series is still in development with creator Vivienne Medrano on YouTube and is free to watch. I can recommend this show if you’re willing to wait and watch history-in-the-making for adult animated content.

2010’s Runner Up: Young Justice

2020’s – Arcane

I know, I know. So when we saw the words “League of Legends,” we all ran for the covers. Rest assured, though, because this show is nothing short of perfection. Aired in 2021 on Netflix, Arcane follows the twin cities of Piltover and Zaun. One is a utopia, the pedestal of riches and beauty. The other lives in the shadows of ruin from their sister city. We follow a cast of colorful characters as we are torn between a story of sisters, lovers, and enemies, all along the border of light and dark.

I recommend this show if you love fantasy worlds filled with rich lore and world-building, love rooting for the underdog, and love intense stories that leave you on the edge of your seat. While only one season is out, another season is in the works and aimed for a post-2022 release. Available on Netflix, I can’t recommend the show enough for someone willing to immerse themself in a world of magic, tech, and plenty of twists and turns.

2020’s Runner Up –Inside Job

Visual Created By Talisa Trevino

Is it Good Representation or is it Conventional?: Sex Education Season 3 Review

Welcome back to Moordale Secondary! Back by popular demand, Sex Education Season three has received mixed reviews from both fans and critics alike. Here at UT, fans are split. One group of fans believe that the show has continued to push the boundaries of representation and have succeeded in accurately representing the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, while the others find themselves disappointed in the show writers and their inability to break away from the mold that dictates LGBTQ+ character arcs and interactions in media. So, the question is: does this season of Sex Education accurately represent the LGBTQ+ community or just follow the conventional arcs for the sake of representation?

This season picks up after the summer of the last season and it’s safe to say a lot of things have changed—Maeve and Otis are no longer friends, Jean is pregnant, Headmaster Griff is no longer Headmaster and Ruby and Otis are now dating? This season introduces a whole host of new characters as well. Hope, playing the cool-teacher-gone-wrong, acts as the villain of the series, but the biggest win in terms of diversity is the introduction of Cal, a new non-binary student. The season takes a dramatic shift from the prior ones as it focuses more on the character arcs of its LGBTQ+ characters, the fan-favorite being Adam Groff.

Image courtesy Netflix; Sex Education Season 3 Episode 8

Adam begins the season in a relationship with the love of his life and ends it single and enrolled in a dog competition. If that didn’t catch you by surprise, nothing will. Adam and Eric are by far the most beloved couple on the show. Their banter is iconic and they complement each other so well. In fact, their chemistry is so strong that it made Eric leave his boyfriend, Rahim, in season two. But this season, despite having overcome a grocery list of obstacles, they break up. I may not be completely unbiased, but I’m not alone when I say this break-up hit deep. Not only did it seem uncharacteristic, but Eric was the one who initiated it after he cheated on Adam. He believed Adam wasn’t in touch with his sexuality enough to fully be in their relationship and to this I say: Are you kidding me? Adam Groff has had the most character growth in the show. He went from the high school bully to a kind and sensitive person who genuinely wanted to improve himself academically, find what he’s passionate about and be there for Eric as a partner. Eric, on the other hand, was undoubtedly the second worst character this season, which is disappointing given how great he was in the previous seasons.

Image courtesy Netflix; Sex Education Season 3 Episode 6

Not only has Eric now cheated on all the boyfriends he’s had, but he’s also done so under the belief that he’s right. This character flaw, unfortunately, perpetuates more than one harmful belief about gay relationships. Eric’s impulsivity when it comes to his relationships is so out-of-character that it paints a picture of gay relationships being inherently temporary and fragile. The writers proceed to almost erase Eric and Otis’ comradery which was what made Eric so lovable in the first place. Their friendship was an excellent representation of male platonic relationships that didn’t shy away from physicality and it was deeply missed this season.

The other prominent LGBTQ+ relationship on the show is the one between Ola and Lily.

Image courtesy Netflix; Sex Education Season 3 Episode 4

Luckily, the writers were able to avoid the stereotypes surrounding LGBTQ+ couples in this relationship. Ola and Lily are both dealing with their own crises this season, with Lily coming to terms with her inability to fit in and Ola severely missing her mother. Their relationship works because they see each other for who they are and overcome issues through communication. Lily and Ola beautifully demonstrate how even though relationships take work, they are more than worth it.

 Image courtesy Netflix; Sex Education Season 3 promo posters

Finally, Cal Bowman marks progress as the first non-binary character on the show. They make an impact by fighting against Hope’s insane rules and standing up for themselves despite being constantly berated for no reason other than their gender. Cal’s struggles not only are representative of some aspects of a non-binary person’s experience but they also evoke empathy in those unfamiliar with non-binary people. Many fans remarked that Cal’s struggles and arc helped them educate themselves and understand gender is a spectrum. Cal’s relationship with Jackson was crucial as it demonstrated how despite one’s best intentions and feelings, sexual orientation and gender are complex identities and not unidimensional. 

Overall, Sex Education is a show that is able to capture the complexities of characters’ personalities along with their identities. While it does have some flaws the show still manages to include diverse perspectives without making them look forced which in turn exposes audiences to new perspectives. Season 3 furthers the show’s narrative, introduces us to a whole host of new characters, covers complex topics of gender and sexual identity, all while keeping its audience entertained and that is a success indeed.

Featured Image Courtesy of Netflix Sex Education Promo Posters