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Spooky Scene Selections

Halloween is just around the corner, and Scene has chosen its favorite songs, films and haunting reflections to celebrate!

“Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge”

Rose Androwich, Scene Writer

The sequel to “Halloweentown” is better than the original. The first film relies too heavily on sheer shock factor. “Halloweentown II” broaches the idea of good versus evil. The 2000s nostalgia factor of “Halloweentown” makes it easy to return to every single year. Besides, who doesn’t love a good witch story? The good witch takes on the bad warlock, and it’s a Halloween must-have. Disney isn’t interested in scaring you, but their Halloween films are still great! 

Make Halloween ugly again

Gracie Eppler, Scene Writer

Perhaps the scariest thing about Halloween, to me, was when I discovered that costumes were meant to be cute. In Halloweens past, I have been a kayaker lugging around an orange boat made of cardboard strapped around my waist. I’ve become a glimmering silver robot with arms made out of dryer vent tubes. I have been transformed into (my personal favorite): Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous masterpiece herself, the Mona Lisa, by sticking my face through a hole my dad carved in a large cardboard cut-out. I strongly believe that in lieu of dressing up as glamorized pirates, angels or bunnies, it’s time to bring back ugly costumes. This Halloween, I’m looking forward to seeing more Minions, Pitbull impersonators and Mona Lisas. 

The magnificent camp of “The Lost Boys”

Annie Brown, Scene Writer

As far as late ‘80s cult classics go, there’s no shortage of marginally terrible, very campy movies to choose from: “Cocktail,” “Spaceballs” and “Weird Science” come to mind. However, you’ve never seen a movie quite like 1987’s ”The Lost Boys.” From mullet-clad vampire gangs to saxophone raves to young Corey Feldman’s uncannily Rambo-esque vocal fry, it’s a sexy, dark and vaguely homoerotic delight that’s sure to change the way you think about both comedy and horror. After all, what could be a better activity on Halloween than watching some undead angst and incredibly corny one-liners? That’s easy: death by stereo.

“Skeletons” by Aja Volkman, “Breakfast” by Dove Cameron, “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Maggie Eastland, Assistant Managing Editor

These three songs escalate in vibe.

The first is a chill, folksy number perfect for walking to class or around the lake during spooky season. It’s raw and emotional and reminds me of the Sunday scaries. “I make choices that I’m going to have to live with. I’ve been places that I shouldn’t have gone. And I know that you’ve got some skeletons, too.” Keep this one in your back pocket for the impending Halloweekend x Hangxiety crossover.

Next on the list, “Breakfast” by Dove Cameron, is best blasted in your dorm room under purple LED lights while applying your (sultry) vampire makeup before the Halloween festivities. Call it cringe if you want, this is the prime opportunity to play the siren you’ve always dreamed of becoming.

Finally, turn up the energy with “Heads Will Roll.” Again, Halloween only comes around once a year. Do not miss this opportunity to experience mid-2000s blockbuster euphoria. “Dance ’til you’re dead.”

An ode to the American Halloween 

Abigail Keaney, Scene Writer

Embarking on a transatlantic move at the tender age of nine was difficult for many reasons. But perhaps one of the most significant tragedies for my fourth grade self was the harsh realization that the Halloween I had celebrated in years past would not be matched by the holiday in my new home. Armed with hopes of trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and costume contests, I was devastated to learn that the English, at least back in 2010, didn’t celebrate Halloween — or certainly not any version of it that I recognized. The vision of myself waiting at the door for the trick-or-treaters that would never come haunts me even now, my childhood delight crumbling in tandem with my love for Halloween. With that being said, I would like to proclaim an ode to the American Halloween. With its gaudy decorations, sickly sweet candy corn and general sense of indescribable madness, there really is nothing like the 31st of October in the good ole USA. For my nine-year-old self, I’m making this one count. 

Spooky, not scary

Andy Ottone, Scene Writer

Some horror movies are just a little too intense. That is why the difference between spooky and scary is so important. “Spooky” is plastic skeletons and paper ghosts. “Scary” is the ghosts you see in “The Omen” or “Paranormal Activity.” If you want something spooky, not scary, to watch this Halloween, here are some quick recommendations: “Over The Garden Wall” (streaming on HBO Max) is a miniseries about two brothers getting lost in a fantasy world, and “Gravity Falls” (on Disney+) has a fun mystery vibe while remaining goofy. Lastly, the “Goosebumps” movie (VOD) is a fun callback to the spooky book series by R.L. Stine and is a great Halloween flick for all audiences.

Better to be scared with others than by yourself

Gabriel Zarazua, Scene Writer

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re all watching classic movies with friends such as “Monster House,” “Frankenweenie” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” but we need a good scare once in a while, especially now, to release tension in the middle of the semester. I would recommend the second movie by Jordan Peele, “Us,” in which a family tries to escape from getting killed by clones of themselves. It’s a fun watch and starts great conversations with friends on how they would try and fight a better version of themselves. Me personally? I would just have my clone do my art homework for me — if he’s so much better at it.

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Dear reader, Taylor Swift has triumphed once again

Taylor Swift has done it once again.

Anticipation over the singer’s 10th album release has only built since its announcement at the 2022 VMA Awards. Part of that anticipation is largely due to the lack of a single being released prior to the album drop date. Audiences were unsure what to expect from Swift, especially since her prior two albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” strayed from the typical sound associated with the artist.

Because of this, the initial listen to “Midnights” was rather jarring. However, by the second and third time, I was in no small way reminded that Swift is both a pop artist and lyricist, first and foremost. This album delivered both in spades, reminding the world that while she might have taken a break from the pop charts, she is as on top of her game as ever.

In a message from Swift to fans, she described the album as “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life.” Frankly, there is no better way to describe it. Swift is widely popular for creating albums representative of a period of time in her life, each one
containing a consistent vibe, creating what fans have dubbed as “eras” for each album. What makes “Midnights” so incredible is that it manages to take each of her albums, throw them together and still preserve a cohesive sound throughout the album.

The album features no shortage of lively, brazen songs that are purely modern in their production. Songs like “Karma” and “Vigilante Sh*t” fit right in with the “Reputation” era, their slow tempos with deep bass chords bringing attention right back to Swift’s long standing drama with rap artist Kanye West and his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian, as well as former manager Scooter Braun.

In addition to the vigorous “Reputation”-esque tracks, Taylor reveals some insight into her relationship with longtime partner Joe Alywn in a way fans have not seen since “Lover.” In “Lavender Haze” Swift comments on how Alwyn handles the lifestyle that comes with dating one of the most popular women in the world. “Sweet Nothing” is the only track on the album written solely by Swift and her partner, and it is the quintessential love song of the album.

One standout difference in this album is the quiet introspection combated by a busy production that it offers, so different from the vulnerability of “Folklore.” In a message released on Swift’s social media platforms about track three, “Anti-Hero,” the singer says, “I really don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before.” Not only can it be found in “Anti-Hero,” with powerful lines such as “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror,” but in many other tracks as well. In her fifth track, Swift shares the message, “You’re on your own kid, you always have been.” “Midnight Rain” features heavy synth influences, which pairs perfectly with the message of wanting pain and passion over comfort. In one of my personal favorites, “Labyrinth,” Swift discusses being “lost in the labyrinth of my mind” and shares the message “Breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out.”

Personally, I found that the contemplative tracks had a more profound effect, but that in no way takes away from the musical mastery that makes up some of the lighter songs of the album. However, regardless of personal favorites, this album is a triumph, a sign to the music world that Swift is fully capable of embracing her titles of “singer-songwriter” and “pop star” at the same time without sacrificing either.

Contact Ashley at ahedge@nd.edu.

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‘Derry Girls’ season three: Growing up and heading out

On Oct. 7, the third and final season of the hit show “Derry Girls” was added to Netflix. After months of waiting patiently, international fans were finally able to watch. Premiering in 2018,  “Derry Girls” follows five working-class friends at a Catholic school during the 1990s. It is a show about the mishaps of adolescence as well as the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The gang consists of the soulful but misguided Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), the ditsy Orla (Louisa Harland), overdramatic Clare (Nicola Coughlan), sassy Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and her quiet, English cousin, James (Dylan Llewellyn). Together the five of them are the “Derry Girls” who deal with a range of teen issues, from money, romance, breaking rules, as well as the rules that come with living in Northern Ireland in the ‘90s. One example is when Michelle tries to smuggle a bag of vodka onto a bus, denies ownership of it as she is a minor and the unclaimed bag gets literally blown up by the bomb squad.

Season three of “Derry Girls” is a season of change. The gang is growing up and soon graduating from high school, which means leaving their childhoods behind. In the same way, Derry is also growing as it contemplates a peace agreement for the first time. As well, it is a season about reality. Clare’s father dies unexpectedly, and we see her and the others mourn for his loss. It is the first time that “Derry Girls” has touched on death and grief, as if the innocence of their childhoods is slowly being lost with time. Similarly, Michelle and Erin get into a fight about Michelle’s brother who is in jail. With the peace agreement, he will be able to walk free even though he killed someone. The two girls discuss what it means to take a life, but also what it means to love someone who has done bad things. This scene reflects the growth the characters have had throughout the show and how now they are no longer the kinds from season one. 

The last episode really struck a chord with me. Toward the end of the episode, Erin asks her Grandpa Joe (Ian McElhinney), “What if we vote yes and it doesn’t even work?” Grandpa Joe is holding her little sister when he looks at her and responds, “And what if it does? What if no one else has to die? What if this all becomes a ghost story you’ll tell your wains (children) one day? A ghost story they’ll hardly believe.” 

That scene was beautifully done as it reflected the old generation passing wisdom down to the younger generation to make the world a better place for the future. The last scene is also beautiful. It shows the cast voting on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement referendum. As they cast their ballots, “Dreams” by The Cranberries plays. The last second of the scene is Grandpa Joe and the little sister walking hand-in-hand out of the voting room. The “Derry Girls” are no longer children and are headed out the door toward adulthood. It reminds us all that like our youths, they do not last forever. We too will walk out of the doors of college to adulthood one day. I hope to make an impact during my time as a young adult, although it definitely will not be as big as signing the Good Friday Agreement. 

Overall, “Derry Girls” was a hilarious, tear-jerking show that left me wanting more. I will miss the gang, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. 

Title: “Derry Girls”

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland

Creator: Lisa McGee

If you like: “Sex Education,” “The Good Place,” “Kim’s Convenience” 

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5 

Contact Rachel Hartmann at rhartma4@nd.edu.

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The 1975’s ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’

“We’re experiencin’ life through the postmodern lens/

Oh, call it like it is/

You’re makin’ an aesthetic out of not doin’ well/

And minin’ all the bits of you/

You think you can sell whilst the fans are on.”

These lyrics, written for the opening track of The 1975’s newest release, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” set the tone for the whole album. “The 1975 (BFIAFL)” has the stereotypically quippy writing of frontman Matty Healy. With lighthearted references to serious topics like QAnon and drug usage, the song toes the line between an “ironically depressing state-of-world address according to Matty Healy” and a sincere apology from a millennial to today’s youth. 

The album itself dances between irony and sincerity as Healy explores what it means to be both a famous musician and a vulnerable artist. He thinks he’s “minin’ all the bits” of himself which he thinks he can sell, but still claims this album is the most sincere one he’s written. As Pitchfork writer Ryan Dombal says, we’re “stuck between two Matty Healys, with one of them rolling their eyes at the other.” 

“Being Funny in a Foreign Language” is an attempt to bridge the gap between Healy’s private and public-facing identities. In an exclusive interview with Spotify, Healy says the album’s title comes from “the height of empathy…straddling two cultural boundaries…and bringing them together.” Ultimately, it’s an album about connection in a time of severe alienation. It’s love through the postmodern lens.

I’ll spare readers the whole conversation about postmodern philosophy and literary theory, but the important thing to note is that “Being Funny” is postmodern art. Healy rejects the idea that the world is ordered and understandable, instead, he focuses on the one true thing he can attest to — his experience as a singer-songwriter. The album is both incredibly earnest and contradictory. 

Only The 1975 can write a song called “Happiness” with lyrics like “God, help me ‘cause/ Oh, I’m never gonna love again, hey.” Only The 1975 can write a catchy 80s bop like “Looking for Somebody (To Love)” and casually drop that it’s about toxic masculinity and school shootings in an interview. Only The 1975 can write a cheesy over-the-top love song like “I’m in Love With You” in 2022 without a resounding “Ugh!” in response from fans. Only The 1975 can write an incredibly vulnerable song like “All I Need to Hear” and say it sounds like a cover.

The band plays with sincerity and irony inside and outside of the studio, toying with both their instruments and the music industry alike. The beauty, though, is in the dynamic between their sincerity and irony. There’s balance. The album as a whole is concise and sonically cohesive. The fact that earnestness and sarcasm exist together in the same album goes to show that maybe, contrary to Healy’s opinion, great and funny aren’t very different.

Artist: The 1975

Album: Being Funny in a Foreign Language

Label: Dirty Hit

Favorite tracks: “I’m In Love With You,” “All I Need to Hear,” “About You”

If you like: M83, The Neighborhood

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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Animation Nation: ‘Seoul Station’

Halloween is upon us! While there are plenty of great animated Halloween movies like “Monster House” and “ A Nightmare before Christmas,” I wanted to find one that wasn’t entirely meant for kids. I wanted to try something new and see if there were any adult animated horror movies. However, it’s surprising to see that there aren’t that many adult animated horror movies out there in the world, which is pretty sad, since I’m sure there are plenty of stories to tell that would scare some people with the power animation holds. Then, I randomly saw one movie called “Seoul Station,” an animated zombie movie. Now, I am a gigantic sucker for zombie movies, though finding a good zombie these days is few and far between. I came to realize that it is an official prequel to the hit South Korean zombie movie “A Train to Busan.” (While it’s not animated, I still highly recommend it!) So, I decided to give this small budget animated film a shot. Here’s my review of “Seoul Station.”

The film serves as a prequel to the live-action film “Train to Busan,” depicting the very beginnings of the zombie apocalypse in South Korea. The film focuses on three characters. Hye-sun is a runaway, but her father Suk-gyu and her boyfriend Ki-woong try to find her around the area of Seoul Station. The film seems to be trying to build on the father-daughter relationship that we see prominently in “Train to Busan.” However, that is the only theme that is remotely close to the previous film and saying that is still a bit of a stretch. The film has an overall nihilistic view on the world. While we hear it in horror movies all the time, the amount of phrases like “It’s meaningless!” and “It doesn’t matter!” I heard in this film was honestly a little overwhelming. We see it with Hye-sun, a woman who ran away from a brothel and thinks everyone only sees her as a disposable object. We also see it with a homeless man whose acts of kindness ultimately meant nothing in the end, when it would usually stand for redemption.

It’s hard to not compare this film to the masterpiece that came before it. “Train to Busan” is one of the best horror zombie movies of all time. The movie tells a redemption story about a father and his daughter, while showing that while there are selfish and terrible people in this world, acts of kindness and selflessness by others aren’t pointless or a waste of time. However, perhaps that is what director Yeon Sang-ho wanted to show “Seoul Station.” He wanted to show us both sides of the coin in a zombie apocalypse. While there are those stories that give people hope, there are those that aren’t so lucky and don’t receive a “happy ending.”

The animation itself is pretty fluid for being completely CGI. While the film does start slow in actually showing the zombies, the animation keeps up with the fast pace once the apocalypse comes in full force. Hye-sun, while no saint, is still a good character who, despite having a bad view on the world around her, still tries her best to be a good person. It was also interesting to see the forgotten and overlooked people in Seoul’s society.

By itself, “Seoul Station” is a decent zombie film with some interesting characters and social commentary on how those who seem worthless are treated in Seoul. While the story started slow, it picked up in the second act and some last minute twists near the end of the film genuinely caught me off guard. It’s not “Train to Busan” by any means, but it does its best to stand on its own.

Title: Seoul Station

Directors: Yeon Sang-ho

Starring: Shim Eun-kyung Ryu Seung-ryong Lee Joon

Streaming: Amazon Prime

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5

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‘Luckiest Girl Alive’: Netflix’s mysterious triumph

Editor’s note: This article contains discussions of gun violence and sexual assault.

This article also includes spoilers for “Luckiest Girl Alive”

“Luckiest Girl Alive” was released on Netflix on Oct. 7, 2022. The mystery/drama follows a New York journalist who has never publicly spoken out about the school shooting that happened at her high school. The narrative switches between the present and her experience in high school. The flashbacks help viewers understand her negative experience while connecting it to her present life.

Ani (Mila Kunis) is a successful journalist aspiring to work for the “New York Times Magazine.” Ani is living the perfect life, or
so it seems. Ani evolves throughout the movie when she is forced to confront the past. The facade of her dark past is seen through imagined scenes that show Ani’s disturbed state of mind. These recurring scenes make the accusation of Ani’s involvement in the school shooting seem plausible. Contrary to what I thought by the end of the movie, Ani was more than a hidden woman with disturbing thoughts.

She is fleshed out through the flashbacks, which show the suffering she faced at an early age. The broach of the suffering that was faced is what makes this film a triumph. It captures the mystery of the story.
The way the mystery unfolds entices viewers to see how it unravels. A true crime documentary is investigating the school shooting. The filmmaker is persistent on Ani being in the film considering her
former classmate Dean’s (Alex Barone) accusations that Ani helped the perpetrator in the shooting. Dean is now a gun-control advocate and is being interviewed in the documentary. Ani decides to do the documentary but requests that she is not obligated to see Dean. Ani endured traumatic experiences being a scholarship student at a private school.

She attends a party where she is sexually assaulted by three of her classmates. The heartbreak over her experience is worsened when she goes to the eventual school shooter, Arthur (Thomas Barbusca), and tells him about the assault. The two disagree over her decision not to do anything. Ani, considering her trauma, even apologizes to Liam (Isaac Kragten), one of the boys who assaulted her. Ani is unable to do anything because of her relationship with her mom (Connie Britton). The relationship between them is estranged in the present. The two have a conversation where the mom defends her actions and says that she put Ani in the position to meet a rich fiancé like Luke (Finn Witrock).

Ani’s relationship with Luke throughout the movie shows her
aspiration for perfection. The two eat together at a restaurant where Ani barely touches her food. Once Luke disappears, she eats the two slices of pizza, not wanting Luke to see her being a ‘pig.’ She fakes a spill to justify the pizza being gone and he tells her how proud she is that she ate carbs. Ani’s dreams of someday working for The New York Times Magazine are diminished by Luke, who thinks she
should get a Master of Fine Arts to author a book. He wants them to move to England, but Ani wants to stay in New York. This disagreement is less severe compared to others.

Ani quits the documentary after encountering Dean and decides to write an article exposing what happened to her. When Luke
finds out, he asks questions about her motive and draws attention to Dean’s suffering of being paralyzed.

Ani decides to stay in New York and not marry Luke. Ani does feel bad for hurting him. However, the relationship that is emphasized is Ani’s friendship with Nell (Justine Lupe). The scenes in this movie combined produce more than an intriguing mystery movie.

“Luckiest Girl Alive” shows the long-term impact of traumatic experiences. Ani’s character arc is fleshed out and the characters are what make us remember the movie.

Title: “Luckiest Girl Alive”

Starring: Mila Kunis, Chiara Aurelia, Finn Witrock

Director: Mike Barker

If you like: “Silenced”

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

Contact Rose Androwich at randrowich01@saintmarys.edu

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‘Dirt Femme’: A brave new world for Tove Lo

You’ve probably already met Swedish pop provocateur Tove Lo (pronounced “too-veh loo”). Her artistic thesis statement, “Habits (Stay High),” is a classic for a generation, and she secured some other hits in the middle of the last decade, as both an artist with “Talking Body” and a songwriter, working on Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do.” After this initial commercial success, however, she turned left off the road to pop superstardom, producing darker and more intimate explorations of substance abuse and relationships in her “Lady Wood” album series, which earned Lo this writer’s admiration, though, understandably, less Top 40 airtime. She followed these nocturnal odysseys with 2019’s “Sunshine Kitty,” an album that attempted to soften her narratives’ edges, thereby sacrificing their essential grit. She has since left her major recording label to release music independently, and fortunately, her newest work “Dirt Femme” demonstrates the frankness and songwriting mastery that makes her a unique talent. It also illustrates Lo as an evolving artist, whose increasing ambition doesn’t always bloom here.

The best moments on “Dirt Femme” are when Lo’s exceptional storytelling and pop aspirations align. “No One Dies from Love” is a euphoric, unapologetic synthpop about devastation, which could also be said of all her best work. The lyrics achieve this balance so perfectly, the best explanation is to simply print the chorus:  “No one dies from love / Guess I’ll be the first / Will you remember us or / Are the mem’ries too stained with blood now?” “How Long,” composed for HBO’s “Euphoria,” finds our protagonist pining over slinky, slippery arpeggios as her performance grows increasingly intense, concluding in some of her best vocal work so far. As it builds, though, she carefully changes moods across the song, bringing in digitally distorted background vocals as if the universe itself is taunting her at the end of the second pre-chorus and turning a bit playful in the bridge even as she aches, setting up the final, soaring chorus.

Lo deviates from this successful formula of narratively complex electropop songs to show new facets of herself as an artist as well.  While she’s starred as the anonymous guiding voice through massive dance tracks before, she hasn’t included one of these EDM songs on her albums in a while, and “Call on Me” with SG Lewis is one of the best pure dance songs she’s created yet. “True Romance” is a ballad set over a pulsating, swelling soundscape of synthesizers, a fantasia in which Lo’s narrator falls, terrified, into love, and it is by far the album’s most moving track and one of the highlights of her discography.  “I’m to Blame,” meanwhile, features her ritualistically repeating a heartbreaking verse over swelling acoustic production — a classic guitar and pianos striking at the sides of the stereo — before breaking out with a slamming club drum as the band production continues to blaze. It is anthemic in an unexpected way for her, the sort of song that will surely explode and transfix in concert.

Even the less successful tracks on this album have their earworms and flashes of conceptual genius.  “Attention W****” with Channel Tres is a wounded and entrancing dance track built off a hypnotic, pulsating bassline, and “2 Die 4” has an absolutely riveting pre-chorus, even if its beat drop doesn’t match the song’s energy. “Grapefruit,” another dance cut that is about an unspecified eating disorder, is uncharacteristically guarded in its lyricism, but it still features a hook that burrows its way into the listener. “Suburbia” has a fascinating narrative of a partying protagonist confronting the possibility of motherhood, but this story cannot be captured in a weightless pop song. Lo has already created short films to accompany prior albums, and “Suburbia” is a story best explored in a film or novella where she would have the space to fully capture the intricate situation. Both “Suburbia” and “Grapefruit” are strangely unaffecting, and maybe Lo did not choose the right art form for these narratives — or perhaps these subjects are difficult for her to confront with her full artistic power.

“Dirt Femme” is Tove Lo entering a brave new world as an independent artist, feeling like the first chapter in a grand new adventure for the generationally talented songwriter.  Her storytelling is keener and more ambitious than ever, leading to some of the best material in an already mighty catalog.  And still, it seems she is on the precipice of an even greater and deeper work, as new and powerful topics begin to emerge in this familiar pop world.  There’s something on the horizon for Tove Lo, and there’s no better time to join her on her journey.

Album: “Dirt Femme”

Artist: Tove Lo

Label: Pretty Swede Records / Mtheory

Favorite tracks: “True Romance,” “How Long,” “Call on Me,” “No One Dies from Love”

Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5

Contact Ayden Kowalski at akowals2@nd.edu.

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‘And a Movie’: The story of ‘Community’

“Six seasons and a movie.” For one fandom, this was more than a quote. It was a goal — an aspiration for the show that they loved. This is the story of the show “Community” and how its fans were just so dedicated to harassing NBC employees that the show managed to get saved from cancellation. 

“Community” debuted its first season on NBC in 2009 as part of their “Must See TV” comedy line. It centered on an oddball group of students at a community college, including a disbarred lawyer, former football star, a recovering addict and others. The show ran with the network for five years, receiving critical acclaim and a strong following, though actual viewing numbers remained lower than other comedies. Cancellation was always a risk, and the show danced dangerously close to the line. After NBC canceled the show after its fifth year, the show was picked up for its sixth, and final, season by Yahoo! Screen. 

During the show’s third season, NBC made an announcement that it was being removed from the mid-season lineup. Fans heard this news, and made the decision to protest outside of NBC’s New York headquarters. Their protests involved numerous references to the show, including (but not limited to): fake goatees, dressing as Christmas trees and chanting lines from the series. Fortunately for fans, the show was not canceled … yet. While season 3 would continue, season 4 was not announced, and the writers knew this. That is why the season 3 finale ended with a white screen with one phrase on it: “#sixseasonsandamovie,” a phrase adopted by fans in support of the show. The origins of the line are quite mundane: a character, known for their obsession with movies and television, made the statement about NBC’s (critically panned) drama “The Cape.” Despite the simplicity of the joke, fans latched onto the phrase.

While the show didn’t end with season 3, it was not without loss. Showrunner and writer Dan Harmon left season 4 due to creative differences with NBC. This season, featuring mostly new writers, is not fondly remembered by fans due to the perception that the characters changed for the worse. When Harmon returned for season 5, the show addressed these complaints, describing a year-long gas leak influencing the students. Season 5 was praised as a return to form, even with the departure of actor Chevy Chase after a verbal altercation on set. This was not the only departure the show faced this season, as fan-favorite Donald Glover left to further his career outside of the show, pursuing music under his alias Childish Gambino. As previously mentioned, season 6 was streamed on Yahoo! Screen, with the intention of it being the last season, honoring fan requests. This was in 2015. For seven years, fans had no information regarding the possibility of a film, just teases and mentions in interviews.  

On the morning of Sept. 30, 2022, NBC’s streaming service Peacock tweeted out an image simply saying “…and a movie.” The movie was officially announced, completing the prophecy born out of a throw-away line that fans just became overly attached to. While most of the cast has been announced to return, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown have not. However, in a charity reunion livestream, both actors said they would be open to a return for a hypothetical film. The movie has only been ordered, so there is plenty of time for them to announce involvement before production begins. 

The “Community” movie is the product of fan demand and cult following, similar to other projects such as the Snyder Cut of the “Justice League” movie, or fan support of a Ryan Reynold’s “Deadpool” film after test footage leaked online. The show, inadvertently at first, promised fans six seasons and a movie. Now, they’re ready to deliver.

Contact Andy at aottone@nd.edu.

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‘Entergalactic’: A taste of happiness

On Sept. 30, Kid Cudi released his eighth solo album, “Entergalactic,” alongside a Netflix animated rom-com of the same name.

A Cudi fan since middle school, I’m glad to be afforded the opportunity to check in on my fellow Clevelander while carrying out research for this review.

Out of the album’s 15 tracks, “Livin’ My Truth” and “My Drug” best capture the polar themes of independence and love that Cudi develops in this work. You hear Cudi latching onto these two avenues toward happiness from within the structure of loneliness and alienation that underlies all of his music.

I am thrilled to see Cudi, a man who has struggled like the best of us with mental health troubles and addiction through most of his life, finding that elusive fulfillment inside himself. Right off the bat, tracks two and three of the album, “New Mode” and “Do What I Want,” acclaim the joys of a humbly confident worldview. One hesitation Cudi’s new mindset may warrant is its predisposition toward carelessness. I’m not saying that the guy shouldn’t party, but only warning about the piled-up mental burden that unrestrained indulgence in freedom lends itself to. All I hope for is Cudi’s happiness, that this newfound independence is grounded in Cudi’s recognition of his worth as a human being rather than in others’ perception of him as a celebrity.

The second theme, love, is the more dominant thread of the work. It’s a win for Cudi fans that this love seems to be for an actual human being in contrast to the love of marijuana that so dominates Cudi’s earlier discography. As heard in the songs “Angel” and “Can’t Shake Her,” the love Cudi has for a presumed girlfriend takes on a messianic component. Amidst the throngs of perhaps decades-long depression, Cudi has regained his will to live life to its fullest thanks to the deliverance by the hand of some lucky woman. Again here, I see a danger in Cudi’s music that possibly stems more from my own aversion to the virtues lauded by the 2022 music industry than something Cudi has done personally. Due to the sensual nature in which Cudi describes his love, I’m worried that Cudi may become too dependent on his love for his girlfriend and that he might even be conflating love with a chemical drug. I wish Cudi’s love life as much success as I would any man.I just hope that he found a well-ordered type of love that’s good for him down to the soul.

The animated movie is worth a watch for Cudi fans, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the standard Netflix viewer. The themes from the album — love and independence — play out in a colorfully animated New York City. A street artist and a photographer, neighbors, fall in love despite the best efforts of that toxic ex-girlfriend. A good dose of the new album, former Cudi music and kaleidoscope visuals makes the film more of a psychedelic musical more than anything else.

Though I don’t imagine myself blaring any of Cudi’s new music on repeat as I still do today with songs like “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” “Just What I Am” and “Erase Me,” I’m so happy that Cudi put out this multimedia project. I think it’s got to be hard for an artist like Cudi, who has founded his career on themes like sadness, to break out with a positive ideology both personally and professionally. Cudi’s creativity will forever be his greatest appeal, and that the reason why I have always resonated with his music. In “Entergalactic,” this hallmark shines brilliantly through.

Artist: Kid Cudi

Album: “Entergalactic”

Label: Republic Records

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

Contact Peter at pbreen2@nd.edu.

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Book Nook: ‘Witchcraft’ as self-care

To set the mood for Halloween, I read Patti Wigington’s “Witchcraft for Healing: Radical Self-care for your Mind, Body, and Spirit.” I have no experience with witchcraft and didn’t know what to expect. I failed to connect well with the spookier aspects of the book, but its emphasis on self-care resonated with me. Its focus on the transformative power of self-care is applicable to all readers, regardless of the reader’s interest in witchcraft.

Wigington has been a practicing witch and pagan since 1987. In addition to writing books and columns, she reads tarot and is the founder and high priestess of a local gathering of witches called a coven. On top of this, she balances a full-time job. She has a remarkable dedication to many different interests, which aids in her ability to communicate knowledgeably about a wide range of topics.

What is Witchcraft?

The opening chapter of the book explains that the folklore image of a witch — someone hunched over a cauldron, amassing great magical power to do evil — is inaccurate.

Modern witchcraft traces back to healing magic. Wigington asserts that witchcraft developed from animism, a belief system that associates spirits with specific living things. This evolved into shamanism, which involves the spirit world and using supernatural forces to heal communities. Ancient healers used herbs to treat ailments, forming the basis of witchcraft today.

Modern magic focuses on bringing about positive change in the practitioner’s life, such as healing, protection and growth. It’s grounded in the will and intent of the practitioner. In short, performing magic is more like the TikTok “manifesting” trend than the kind of spells Harry Potter would cast for instant results.  

Self-Care

This book heavily emphasizes radical self-care — the responsibility to take care of your needs before responding to the needs of others. Each chapter focuses on different forms of self-care. For example, one chapter focuses on self-care for the body, while another discusses self-care for the mind. The end of the book speaks about using witchcraft to serve the community, but it heavily emphasizes serving yourself first and foremost.

I found Wigington’s methods of self-care transformative and insightful. She discusses toxic mindsets that affect our self-talk and self-perceptions. She offers a variety of different techniques to increase self-esteem like changing the way we think about ourselves or exercising regularly.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to different forms of radical self-care. Though it doesn’t go particularly in depth with any of the methods it introduces, they’re all superb practices for caring for the body, mind and spirit.

Magic

Many of the spells in this book blend well known forms of self-care with witchcraft tools. They combine the idea of using will and intent to do magic with common self-care practices. These spells are accessible to beginners and don’t require many resources. The few it does are readily available. Drawing from natural forces, like the phases of the moon and crystals, is also explored.

Overall, this book provides a good beginner-friendly overview of both witchcraft and self-care. This read was certainly eye-opening and changed my perspective on what witchcraft actually is. Though I don’t plan on practicing witchcraft, the self-care routines discussed are very insightful. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about self-care or get into the spirit of Halloween.