The year’s ‘top three’ in entertainment

An end of an era is upon us, folks. Not only are classes winding down but so is Chimes.

As this is my final issue as Arts and Entertainment editor, I wanted to take this opportunity to compile a list of the some of the most memorable and personal favorites of myself and a couple other A&E writers.

From films to TV to music, here is a look back at what made this past school year a memorable one in the media.


1) “Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Not only was Alejandro G. Inarritu’s latest film my personal favorite movie of last year (just edging out “Boyhood” upon much reflection), but it also took home most of the top prizes at this year’s Academy Awards.

“Birdman” is an expertly written, surrealist comedy with some of the year’s best performances and some of the most ambitious camera work I’ve ever seen put to film.

2) “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

There was a slew of new comedies that hit television this past year, but none left the impression that “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” did. This Netflix comedy, co-produced by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as the title character, had just the right light tone.

Anybody could jump on board and fall in love with the diverse and colorful characters. With the self-aware, pop culture humor written into this show, it’s hard not to fall in love with Kimmy Schmidt and find out just how unbreakable she really is.

3) Saturday Night Live “40”

“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” What better way to honor the longest running sketch comedy show of all time then to have a 40th anniversary special?

This special, which aired in February of this year, showcased some of the best moments of the famous show from the ‘70s all the way to the current days.

While the show may have gone downhill in some fans’ eyes, there’s no denying the respect it deserves for its longevity and influence on pop culture. This four-hour special led me down a very long road of nostalgia and made me excited for the future of the show.


1) “Nightcrawler”

A neo-noir thriller, the film follows a young thief living in Los Angeles who develops a hungry passion to film crime scenes. Jake Gyllenhaal takes the lead and plays one of the most conflicted yet strangely likable anti-heroes that I have seen in quite some time.

Watching the protagonist evolve from an amateur crime scene journalist to a risk taking, no-nonsense shark with news media outlets fawning over his footage was a fascinating journey.

“Nightcrawler” is a riveting directorial debut from Dan Gilroy, and I’m certainly excited to see what this budding and talented director will bring to the screen over the next few years.

2) “Far Cry 4”

Although incredibly formulaic, which is becoming increasingly typical of Ubisoft games, the newest entry in the “Far Cry” series is still a gorgeous game filled with a diverse landscape to explore, exotic animals to ride and big guns to shoot.

Perhaps my favorite moment over the course of my bloody adventure through a reinvisioning of the Himalayas came when I jumped off the edge of a snowy mountain and used my wingsuit to soar between the cliffs and through the ravines to the lush jungle below.

3) Sufjan Stevens’ “Carrie & Lowell”

Sufjan really returned to his soothing folk roots for this latest release. The record is perhaps Sufjan’s most personal yet, and serves as a dedication to his recently deceased mother who was absent from much of his life.

The album tackles themes of love, anger, depression and self-identification and, in typical fashion, includes references to Sufjan’s experiences with faith and religion.

“Carrie & Lowell” was a wonderful and moving listening experience, and hearing it played live by the creator himself a few weeks ago made it all the more so.


1) “Selma”

I was skeptical of this film; after all, could Hollywood really tell the incredible story of the Civil Rights March across Alabama without adding frill or over-dramatization? Could any actor truly emulate MLK? Then I actually watched the movie.

I  was taken aback by how expertly the director stuck to retelling historical events, yet also created an impressive piece of dramatic cinema. I was struck by the brilliance of the script, the score and especially the acting.

This was, by some margin, the best (and most important) movie of 2014 in my opinion.

2) “To Pimp A Butterfly”

I wrote a review singing its praises; you had to assume I’d mention this album! Seriously though, the more I listen to rapper Kendrick Lamar’s newest venture, the more wowed I am.

Lamar skewers institutional racism to the sounds of jazz, discusses the peak of his success to the sounds of funk, bares his soul on his shortcomings to the sounds of gospel and recites poetry to a revived Tupac. Believe the hype about this record.

3) “American Crime”

As someone who hasn’t really gotten into a drama since “Lost” ended, I was in need of a show like this.

This new program, which follows several characters in Modesto, California and their families in the wake of a murder, takes a close look at both the processes of grief and the cycle of racial tension.

Noticing a motif in my sections? Indeed, in a year of racially charged activity (to put it mildly) in our country, “American Crime” is another example of brilliantly constructed, important pop culture show.