Here’s our recommendations for what to do, or watch and listen to, this summer.
TV & Movies
“13 Reasons Why”
Do you like plot twists that lead to mini heart attacks? Suspense that will leave you clicking “next episode” constantly? A villain who doesn’t receive the justice that is deserved? Well, you’ve found the right TV show to binge.
Based on the novel by Jay Asher and produced by Selena Gomez, “13 Reasons Why” follows Clay, a naive, quiet high schooler, as he seeks justice for Hannah Baker — who he had a complicated friendship (and maybe more, but no spoilers) with — after she commits suicide. He does this using the 13 cassette tapes that Hannah left to tell her story — each containing one of the 13 reasons why she took her life. As Clay makes his way through these tapes, he finds out who made her list and why … including himself.
I know, it sounds extremely morbid and deep, and in a way, it is and needed to be. “13 Reasons Why” sheds light over hard topics such as suicide, mental illness, sexual assault and bullying, which in this world, is occuring way too often.
So, in the words of Hannah Baker: “Get a snack, settle in,” because you’re not going to want to stop watching this TV drama.
—Ella Lucente, A&E/Opinion Editor
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“Damn” is all I can really say about this series. Kudos to Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, who’s novel this show is based on. And thanks to Bruce Miller for turning this story into a series that us lazy folks can sit back, relax and let wash over us instead of having to read the book. It’s every woman’s worst nightmare: a totalitarian, theocratic government has taken over the former United States and there’s also a worldwide infertility crisis. Thus, the very few remaining fertile women are captured and submitted to ritualized rape by their male commanders to bare children for the elite families.
Brutally stunning cinematography perfectly captures each suspenseful moment that keeps you on the edge, wondering “what else can go wrong?” The enslaved surrogates known as “Handmaids” have a powerful yet chilling connection to enslaved African women, and the commanders resembling plantation owners.
—Jenny Lam, A&E Columnist
“Idiocracy” offers a bleak but comedic glimpse into what could happen if human intelligence was on a steep decline as we progress toward the future. The main character is average man, Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson). Bauers is put into hibernation as part of a military experiment and wakes up 500 years in the future. When he awakens, it is a much different world than the one he left, with consumerism, waste and stupidity now driving the world. Bauers quickly finds out that he is now the smartest person on the planet and the last hope in solving the issue of food scarcity, economic downturn and dust bowls that are plaguing the nation.
“Idiocracy” is filled with downright crude humor at times, which shouldn’t come as much of a shock since its producer, Mike Judge, produced “King of the Hill” and “Beavis and Butthead.” With that being said, the film has become a cult class over the years. It’s great if you are looking for dystopian satire, quotable moments for you and your friends to share, or a movie that may remind you of the importance of a good education. My advice: stay in school and sit back and enjoy this wacky film during the summer if you have a little time to spare.
—Christean Jenkins, News Reporter
“Queer Eye” is by far one of the best shows currently on Netflix. It stars five gay men — the Fab Five — each with a different expertise such as personal care, design and hair care, helping other men who need to remodel not just their exterior selves, but their personal selves as well. Currently based in the deep South, those that the Fab Five helps are in need of sorting out their priorities and developing better relationships with themselves, as well as finding love, acceptance and self-care.
This show is so much more than just a show. It provides support for those who need it, portrays gay men in a positive light and proves that no matter where you are from, if you are open to
support and guidance, your life can be changed for the better. The Fab Five help all kinds of men — from conservative Trump supporters and Christians to closeted gay men seeking to accept themselves — find a deeper form of self-love and learn to open up to an unexpected gang of heroes. The Fab Five’s openness to accept others who may disagree with their homosexuality — or just plain quirkiness — also provides a narrative that is much needed in today’s America. They men give others support and are willing to open themselves to the world to understand who they are — regardless of perception.
The Fab Five don’t just help others love themselves, they teach others how to not be afraid to be and express their best selves. It’s a kind of self-love that is so devoid in most media. “Queer Eye” is the wellspring of self-care that we desperately need, and is worth every binge-watcher’s attention.
—Noah Wingard, Opinion Columnist
“The Florida Project”
Sean Baker’s captivating and visually stunning film “The Florida Project” takes a peek into the life of a wild and irrepressible 6-year-old girl, Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince). Moonee lives in the shadow of Orlando’s Walt Disney World — the so-called happiest place on earth.
We follow Moonee as she guides us on a playful tour around her home, the Magic Castle — a run-down purple motel located just minutes away from Walt Disney World. The Magic Castle, Futureland and other discounted tourist trappings strung along Route 192 are also known as the “projects” of Florida (hence the movie title), where low-income families live in the shadow of money-spinning Disney World. This film depicts the harsh reality and desperation of these marginalized people in a vibrantly buoyant way only a child with pure innocence can impose. The cinematography is brutally appealing to a point where you can emerge yourself into Moonee’s perspective as you feel and see her joy and pain.
—Jenny Lam, A&E Columnist
“Riverdale,” based on the 1940s Archie Comics, follows a group of friends as they uncover secrets, truth and history to their not so wholesome small town. The so-far two seasons of the show — one of which can currently be binged on Netflix — drop the characters from the cookie-cutter comics into the real world for some crime-solving drama. After a murder of a classmate, darkness emerges from every corner of the beloved town of Riverdale and we get to sit back and enjoy the ride
—Sophia Sonovich, News Reporter
While superhero movies get the most buzz, it would be almost criminal to overlook superhero cartoons. There is a wealth of amazing shows in the genre. This summer, you should check out “Young Justice.” It has a vast and diverse cast of rich and dynamic characters. Its storytelling tackles mature themes brilliantly, and its pacing is tight, allowing intimate character moments, worldbuilding and exciting action sequences to all be balanced.
It had two seasons before being unceremoniously cancelled. Thankfully, it’s dedicated fanbase was loud enough that Netflix took notice. A third season is set to release later this year. Definitely check out the first two seasons before season three drops.
—Lucas Waggoner, Opinion Columnist
Set in Central America and Mexico, “Sin Nombre” portrays the plight and dangers experienced by people trying to make a better life for themselves in the United States. Starting in Honduras and then traveling through Mexico, the film follows Sayra, a Honduran teen who is immigrating to the U.S. While on the train with other immigrants, Sayra encounters MS-13 gang member El Casper. An unlikely companionship sparks between the two as El Casper decides to leave his MS-13 life — something that very few people do and live to tell the tale. With raw heart touching moments, “Sin Nombre” tells the story of two people from completely different paths encountering some of the most dangerous situations on their journey to the U.S. together.
—Alex Alderman, A&E Columnist
“This is America”
by Childish Gambino. Electronic/R&B/Hip Hop
“This Is America” is quite possibly Gambino’s most genius and meaningful work to date. The music video and song alike are chalk full of metaphors about racism and gun violence in America.
The video in infused with raw visuals and portrays America’s obsession with gun violence through provocative imagery. What is America? Is it a place where we romanticize and consume gun violence in media while at the same time watching real gun violence happen in our schools and streets? Is it a place where marginalized groups are left out of the equation in racist America? This song and video brings these questions into the light and furthers the national discussion we must have about these issues. Watch the video and then watch it again, reflect on our cultural norms surrounding these issues and what these symbols mean to you. One thing is for sure, Do nald Glover is a true renaissance man who continues to make us step back and contemplate who we are as a culture.
—Alex Alderman, A&E Columnist
by Dua Lipa. Synth Pop/Dance-Pop
Dua. Lipa. The rising synth pop/dance-pop artist that has a strong, new voice. Remember that name, because she’s rising to the top. With hits like “IDGAF” and “New Rules,” this English
singer/songwriter/model — she’s a jack of all trades, I know — is taking the world by storm. She’s had four number one hits on the billboard charts, and her songs practically raid the radio stations, so there’s no excuse not to listen to her.
Plus, her songs are super relatable. Bad breakup? “IDGAF.” Is your ex constantly hitting you up for a rebound? “New Rules.” Ready to hit the dance floor and find new people? “Blow Your Mind (Mwah).” Look up her songs, and be ready to dance around your room like an idiot.
Bonus: If you end up liking her music, she’s going on tour. Her tour, “Dua Lipa: The Self-Titled Tour,” will be at the Wamu Theater in Seattle July 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets are incredibly affordable, so grab your friends (I’m dragging my boyfriend with me), and watch the beauty that is Dua Lipa herself.
—Ella Lucente, Opinion/A&E Editor
by Kamasi Washington. Jazz
Kamasi Washington’s 2015 jazz album lives up to its ambitious and seemingly pretentious name. It is epic, and I mean that in a literary sense. It is an expansive musical journey covering three discs, for a total of around three hours of rich content.
“The Epic” is filled to the brim with vibrant, exciting tracks. While three hours for a single album may sound like a task rather than relaxation, I assure you it is worth the time. It is honestly one of the only albums I have listened to straight through in years. If you haven’t already experienced “The Epic,” then do yourself a favor and put the album on your playlist for this summer.
—Lucas Waggoner, Opinion Columnist
“10 Things We Did and Probably Shouldn’t Have”
by Sarah Mlynowski
In this teen novel that falls well into the “only read during summer” category, 16-year-old April ends up living with her best friend and fellow teenager Vi. It’s cheesy, it’s dramatic and you’ll end up reading it every summer from here till the end of time. “10 Things We Did and Probably Shouldn’t Have” is a light meandering read that shows what would happen if every 16-year-old got their wish to have a crazy party house with their best friend. This is definitely a young adult novel, but it lacks the kind of problems that leave most adults banging their head on a table wondering why the main character is so inept.
— Monica Cycsensky, A&E Columnist
by Aziz Ansari
Imagine a book as hilarious as Aziz Ansari’s stand up shows infused with topics found in your sociology courses. That interesting combination of funny jokes and insightful information is found in Modern Romance, a book that dives into how romantic relationships have changed throughout history.
Arranged marriages, hookup culture, dating apps, various cultural dating standards and more are discussed in case studies of major cities around the world. Aziz does a wonderful job of providing content that is relatable to college students and older adults alike as he describes the taboos and norms of the romantic world.
— Alex Alderman, A&E Columnist
Ladies Who Lunch
In this relationships-based podcast, Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdes wade through modern relationship issues and quandaries about life in 2018. Things like mental health, sexuality, envy and so much more are discussed in a letter, answer and discussion format. Nilsen and Valdes ask relevant questions and give advice and insight on some of the most wondered about topics of the day. Much like Dear Sugars, a similar podcast that tends to deal with more heavy issues, these wise for their age hosts bare it all and walk deep into the gray.
—Monica Cycsensky, A&E Columnist
with Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso’s New York Times bestselling book, “#GIRLBOSS,” which follows the spirited entrepreneur through the trials and challenges of creating the wildly popular clothing store Nasty Gal, was just the beginning of wise words and inspiration from this business savvy woman. Amoruso has now taken the podcast world by storm with her witty and motivational conversation on Girlboss Radio. During every episode of the podcast, Amoruso interviews powerful and revolutionary women who have redefined success. Amoruso, who by the age of 30 had made it onto lists in Forbes, Fortune and Inc., offers her own take on the definition of success, and how by working hard and taking risks we can all achieve our own version of the word.
—Sophia Sonovich, News Reporter
Millennials — they are the generation that has articles written about how they can’t afford anything because they spend all of their money on avocado toast. They are also a generation of people who are left wondering if they can realistically own a house someday with the rising cost of college, rent, gas and well … life in general.
The podcast Millennial offers a counter-argument to those who choose to categorize millennials as narcissistic and self-entitled adults. Having grown up in the age of social media, smartphones, streaming services and Go Fund Me pages, millennials are not always understood by other generations. However, the host of Millennial, Megan Chan, offers a platform for listeners to follow along her journey and to connect with her experiences.
Through confessions, introspection and conversations between co-workers, friends, family and strangers, the show covers topics such as moving, interning, not finding your dream job right away, getting married and the political divide within our country.
This show is definitely worthy of binging for millennials or for anyone interested in understanding them a bit more.
— Christean Jenkins, News Reporter