Arts & Entertainment

Summer media from tv shows to video games

The best films I reviewed for The Ledger

IMAGE: Colin Farrell and Jenny the donkey in “The Banshees of Inisherin”

Photo by Searchlight Pictures

Some movies this year were very very bad, and some were very very good. Let’s leave things on a high note, shall we?

By Emilia Bell

As a film critic for The Ledger, I was able to see a wide variety of films this year. They were all relevant in their own ways, though some were better than others. It was difficult to choose, but I narrowed it down to my five favorites that I wrote about this year. These are not ranked based on the star rating nor on their technical prowess, but rather on how much I enjoyed them.

“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”

This film was a breath of fresh air when it came to blockbusters. It offered inspired jokes, lovely practical effects and a strong cast with great chemistry. It is available on Paramount+ and Amazon Prime. 

“The Whale”

Brendan Fraser’s performance alone is noteworthy, but the film beautifully portrays complex relationships and a tragic story. While it is a relatively quiet film, it hits all the right marks and leaves a lasting impact. It is available to rent online.

“Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3”

I cried an unbelievable amount of times during this movie. It is packed full of jokes, action and heartfelt and heart-wrenching moments. It proves Marvel isn’t over just yet. It is currently in theaters but will likely make its way to Disney+ in the future. 

“The Banshees of Inisherin” 

This was my choice for Best Picture, but I’m not too sad it lost to “Everything Everywhere.” Its offbeat humor and charm, performed to a T by an endearing Colin Farrell and gruff Brendan Gleeson, sets it apart from other dramedies. It is available on HBO Max. 

“Fire of Love”

This stunning documentary has found itself placed on a “best-of” list twice now— in my first article, and now, my last— and for good reason. The incredible love story is just as poignant on rewatches, and the unbelievable volcano footage never loses its awe. It is now streaming on Disney+. 

Metal music emerges as the unconventional summer anthem

IMAGE: Metalheads absorbing the raw energy at a The Devil Wears Prada concert.

Photo by The Devil Wears Prada concert

Discover the untapped potential of metal music as the perfect summer soundtrack.

By SJ Wienholz

Summer is a season synonymous with sunshine, beaches and carefree vibes. Normally, trending music genres like pop and reggaeton seem to dominate the airwaves during this time, but this year there is a forgotten gem of a genre that deserves its time in the sun: metal.

Whether it is pure metal, alt-metal, post-metal, or metalcore, one thing is certain: any metal will make the perfect soundtrack for the summer. Metal music perfectly captures the raw energy and intensity that summer demands. It is the music embodiment of rebellion and freedom.

Many people are quick to discount metal music and immediately give it a bad reputation. People have often stereotyped the genre, believing that it only contains screaming, the devil and drugs. But, little do people know, metal music actually has a lot to offer, especially from an emotional perspective.

Similar to many other genres, metal musicians have become known for writing the majority of their own lyrics and shaping their songs around particular narratives. Lyrics often circle around concepts of personal struggles and social or political commentary. The musicians design their songs to force their audience to feel some sort of deep-rooted emotional reaction.  

Songs like “Erase” by Imminence and “Self Medicated” by Until I Wake confront the intense themes of depression and anxiety. Additionally, songs like “Watch the World Burn” by Falling in Reverse and “Hansha” by Oceans Ate Alaska both address current world and societal issues. 

So this year, dare to break away from the mainstream and unleash your inner metalhead. Let’s all headbang in unison as we embrace this long-ignored genre. 

New to metal? Check out these familiar favorites gone metal. 

Already a metalhead? Check out these bangers. 

Binge-worthy comedy series to enjoy this summer

IMAGE: Harvey Guillén, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetriou, Matt Berry and Mark Proksch in “What We Do in the Shadows”

Poster by FX

Trying to find a new comedy to match the fun energy of summer? These multi-season shows will make you laugh out loud, and bring the occasional tear to your eye.

By Steph Caronna

“Somebody Somewhere”

In a small town in Kansas, a woman struggles to find meaning in life after the death of her sister. A connection with a former high school classmate blossoms into a sweet friendship, giving her a newfound sense of hope. This show is a quiet joy, with leisurely pacing closer to real life than any traditional comedy. Its down-to-earth tone effortlessly floats from raunchy laugh-out-loud comedy to tear-jerking emotion. 

“What We Do in the Shadows”

This mockumentary-style comedy, based on the 2014 Taika Waititi movie of the same name, follows four vampires and their human familiar living together on Staten Island. This is the closest to a traditional sitcom on this list. It brings a perfect blend of episodic storytelling and season-long narrative arcs between characters with impeccable chemistry. With the fifth season premiering in July, now is the perfect time to get caught up. 

“Reservation Dogs”

Four indigenous teenagers living on a reservation in Oklahoma struggle to keep their friend group together while planning a trip to California. While this show has a comedic beat to it–for instance, a character who is regularly visited by the spirit of an ancestor finds him to be more obnoxious than helpful–it is not afraid to mine emotional depths relating to family, depression and the harsh and mundane realities of survival. 

“The Other Two”

Two adult siblings vow to get more serious about their careers in the entertainment industry when their teenage brother becomes a viral pop sensation. Its wacky, cynical and at times surreal style of comedy is reminiscent of shows like “Broad City” and “Difficult People.” The tongue-in-cheek criticisms of Hollywood make for clever gags that run longer than initially expected, in the best way. 

Summer indie game recs 

IMAGE: The cover for “Sun Haven”

Photo by Pixel Sprout Studios

How to spend your sweet summer break time, on a budget.

By Cole Martin

A lot of big budget games have been released recently that are sure to be on people’s radar, like “Tears of the Kingdom,” “Honkai: Star Rail” and “Star Wars: Jedi Survivor” to name a few. While these games can definitely hold you over for the next few months, I want to shine the spotlight on some of the recent indie hits. Here’s a quick list of three fresh, relaxing and budget-friendly indie games to delve into this summer.

  1. “Sun Haven”

“Sun Haven” is a fantastical fantasy farming game following the footsteps of “Stardew Valley.” What sets this game apart from the swarm of recent indie farming sims is its unabashed fantasy setting: goblins and elves, fairies and unicorns, dark magic and the like. The romanceable townsfolk are trope-y in a way that’s silly and fun, which is just a good vibe.

The art direction personally reminds me of early 2000’s free MMO games like “Maplestory” and “Mabinogi,” which I absolutely adore. The game is cheeky in art style and relaxing in gameplay. It’s a great time sink, and available for $25 on Steam for PC!

  1. “Rusted Moss”

Probably the most intense of the list, “Rusted Moss” is a metroid-vania bullet hell platformer with tight controls, immersive exploration and the most important thing; a grappling hook. Swinging around desolate wastelands, players run and gun through giant robots fighting the invading Fae force. 

The game’s art is beautiful, with moody pixel art and mechanical character designs. The style plays perfectly into the folktales the game takes inspiration from; you can see the old dark English and Nordic fairytale themes throughout the game. The game has a free demo available on, and is available for $20 on or Steam for PC!

  1. “Coffee Talk 2”

There’s nothing but chill vibes with “Coffee Talk 2.” The game is set in a mild fantasy 2023; players make coffee for the patrons who come in and chat about their lives and problems. It’s a very simple premise, but the game’s writing does an amazing job of immersing players in the worlds of its characters

You should definitely play the original first! The first game was written by Mohammed Fahmi Hansi, who passed away last year. The sequel has put in its best effort to stay faithful to Fahmi’s work and continue his story. The first game is $13, and the second is $15; both are available on all platforms!