New U Editors: Highs and Lows of Entertainment in 2017

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Mehta:

2017 was one of the most eventful years for the entertainment industry in recent memory. The Weinstein debacle, although disheartening, started a conversation that was long overdue. Women finally had the opportunity to voice their opinions rather directly through the #metoo movement and also creatively. This year was one of the most remarkable and revolutionary for the female narratives being portrayed on screens at home with amazing shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Glow,” “Big Little Lies” and “She’s Gotta Have It,” and the particular stand-out case of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

All of these are accompanied by mind-bogglingly wondrous films on the big screen like “Wonder Woman,” “Girls Trip,” “The Beguiled,” and “I, Tonya.” So, the most notable thing to happen in 2017 is women just, well, kicking ass.

Additionally, we got some of the best films ever in general, like Greta Gerwig’s first directing endeavor “Lady Bird,” while Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” shocked and terrified people everywhere with its stimulating screenplay. Although “Blade Runner 2049” didn’t make any money, it was one of the few sequels ever to surpass the original with its sheer brilliance. Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro Gómez returned to the screens with the entertaining and fast-paced “Baby Driver” and the monster flick for the world of today, “The Shape of Water.” Luca Guadagnino delivered one of the most beautiful films of the decade in “Call Me By Your Name.” So, despite all the qualms one could have with the political climate of 2017, creatively, it was a success to be marveled at for years to come.

Lydia Xie:

It’s safe to say that 2017 was a conglomeration of entertainment. Amidst it all, what caught my heart, and especially my ears, was Daniel Caesar’s debut album “Freudian.” Though only released in August 2017, this album in its entirety became my playlist throughout fall quarter. Caesar’s soulful voice and unmatchable, emotional lyrics quickly weaved their way into my all-time favorites. Though it was a difficult decision, my favorite song off the album is “Best Part” featuring H.E.R., whose voice perfectly complements Caesar’s. After having this album in my life now, it’ll be difficult to impress my ears once again. So here’s to hoping that 2018 will bring better music (if it’s even possible).

Ball:

As horrible as a year 2017 was for politics, the entertainment industry, and humans in general, many filmmakers managed to break through the storm clouds with their wondrous creations, allowing viewers to forget the world beyond theater walls, at least until the credits rolled.
For decades, fans and scholars of Vincent Van Gogh have fought to keep his essence alive. His kindness, his genius, and the work he so beautifully created, have all been shrouded in the tragedy and darkness of his final days, but what if his paintings could come to life and tell their own story? The poignant and glorious film, “Loving Vincent” imagines just this. It was animated by over 100 artists, and is constructed of 853 different oil paintings, all in Van Gogh’s famous style. Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, the film tells the story of Vincent and the people he left behind. Starring Douglas Booth as Armand Roulin, who goes on a journey to understand what exactly transpired during Vincent’s final days, “Loving Vincent” is equal parts awe-inspiring, and heartbreaking, and an absolute must for any fan of the famous painter.

Duong:

2017 was a whirlwind year in the K-pop world. With various groups breaking into the U.S. market and award shows, disbandments and sexual assault cases, fans around the world were looking forward to a quiet wind-down.

But hopes for any lightness going into the new year all but disappeared when news of SHINee’s Jonghyun’s suicide on Dec. 18 hit news outlets. The multi-talented lead singer of the internationally known group (which debuted in 2008) was a soulful crooner who broke beyond the mold of the usual cutesy, visually dependent success with which K-pop groups are often charged. His foray into music production often created successes, like Lee Hi’s “Breath,” and displayed the breadth of his musical talents, commonly overshadowed and forgotten in the storm of fansignings and promotions.

Jonghyun’s music was loved by many in the K-pop world and those outside of it; the unique ballad-pop music he often created touched on a subtle and universal melancholy (perhaps an indication of the pain he felt inside of himself), not easily found in other K-pop works. And while his death was a shock to many, with fans and fellow artists mourning his death, his music lives on forever. From Shawols across the globe: You did well, Jonghyun.

Cole:

Last year was tough, to say the least. For most Americans following politics and culture, 2017  delivered wave after wave of disappointment, discouragement, and gloom. Our favorite shows reflected our fears — Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” depicted a dystopian patriarchal nightmare, “Bojack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty” managed to bring nihilism to cartoons, and the fourth season of “Black Mirror” capped off the year with startling vignettes of power and technology taken to their extremes. In a year when the surplus of dark, heavy shows has gotten viewers down, but when it still feels too indulgent to watch shallow TV, a few shows strike just the right chord between realistic and optimistic: for me, 2017’s entertainment was defined by the lighthearted, witty “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and the sophomore season of “Stranger Things.”

Both shows, though filled with their own trials and tensions, leave audiences happy and hopeful by the end credits. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” about a housewife-turned-comedian in 1950s New York, depicts mid-century social issues without making them the focus of the show — Miriam Maisel’s exuberant character commands enough attention as it is. “Stranger Things,” the ‘80s throwback about a group of kids brought into contact with a supernatural world, provided escapist fun and instantly iconic characters. Neither show ignores today’s political problems entirely, and they both subtly address the crazy world we, as an audience, are inhabiting. But rather than amplify our anxieties, these standout shows took us out of ourselves for a few hours and gave us some much-needed optimism as we head into what will hopefully be a better year.

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