The Arts & Entertainment staff of Chimes has made it a sacred and annual tradition to create a list of their top three favorite movies, tv shows, albums, video games or any other form of media entertainment that is to be released at the end of the school year — a practice that we take very seriously. Without further ado, here are this years A&E writers’ top three favorites of 2016-2017:
“La La Land”
Say what you will about “La La Land,” the hate it may (unfairly) receive and the Oscar controversy that may have followed it, the film is still nothing short of a masterpiece. Craftily re-creating the musical genre from the 1960s with enthusiastic dance numbers and songs, Damien Chazelle infuses his love of the golden age of Hollywood and jazz music to tell a passionate story about what one must have and also must be willing to lose in order to follow one’s dreams. With Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone portraying the most charming on-screen couple that I’ve seen in awhile, “La La Land” is one of the more memorable films to come out in the past couple of years.
While super-heroes continue to flood the Hollywood markets, there is yet an adaptation I have to see as creative as FX’s new show “Legion.” Having more in common with Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick or David Fincher than anything in the Marvel or X-men Cinematic Universe, “Legion” is the breath of fresh air that the genre has long been needing. The show is based off a rather unknown X-men comic, and with Dan Stevens doing his own somewhat terrifying rendition of “The Rainbow Connection” and Aubrey Plaza in an unexpected and absolutely insane dance number, there’s nothing not to love about “Legion.”
Bon Iver | “22, A Million”
Referenced multiple times in various Chimes articles throughout the year, “22, A Million” is Bon Iver’s third official studio album and continuing journey into self-discovery. Venturing into new territory — with both new musical styles and ambiances and also more of the music we’ve come to expect with Bon Iver — “22, A Million” might just be his best yet. With highlights of “33, ‘God’,” “#29 Strafford Apts” and “00000 (Million),” and the ending lines “When the days have no numbers / Well it harms it harms me it harms, I’ll let it in,” there’s nothing quite as beautiful or as softly tragic as Iver’s music.
LANY | “kinda”
Since the release of their hit single “ILYSB,” LANY has been making waves in the pop culture scene. This past summer, the LA-based trio released their brand new EP called “kinda,” which is filled with youth and feel-good vibes. This release blends smooth beats with catchy melodies, establishing the band’s unique synth-pop sound. Each track is totally reflective of life as a millennial, from the sentimental lyrics to the frivolous titles.
For example, one of my favorite tracks, “like you lots,” talks about the uncertain “limbo stage” between “like” and “love” — a prevalent stage in dating culture. Touching on themes of tender heartbreak and blossoming romance, “kinda” radiates a sense of warmth and adolescence that caters perfectly to this generation’s youth. LANY is set to release their first LP this June, and with the success of their last two EPs, there’s no doubt that this album is going to be kinda awesome.
With all of the hype surrounding “La La Land” and “Moonlight,” movie-goers simply glossed over the heartbreaking story of “Lion.” This hidden gem was compelling in narrative and exquisite in cinematography. Based on a true story, the movie depicts the experience of Saroo Bierley (Dev Patel) who accidentally gets separated from his older brother in rural India and ends up in a worn-down orphanage. Eventually, he finds his way into the arms of a new family in Australia, halfway across the world. Unable to forget his former life, “Lion” recounts Saroo’s story as he tries to find his way back home. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I seriously recommend watching it. It’s an emotional tale of love, family and rediscovery that tugs on your heartstrings and leaves you breathless.
“This Is Us”: Season 1
If you need a good cry, don’t worry—NBC’s got you covered. This past fall, the network premiered their brand new family drama, “This is Us.” From the beginning, the pilot takes the viewer through a whirlwind of emotions — love, life, death, heartbreak, insecurity — and everything in between. The main storyline focuses on the lives of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore), a young couple learning to navigate the triumphs and trials of marriage and family.
It also showcases the lives of their children, Jack (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), an eccentric set of triplets figuring out adulthood together. The show deviates from a typical linear plot line as it tells this family’s story through flashbacks, letting the viewer experience the creation of this family and understand how their lives unfolded. “This is Us” is not exactly novel (a lot of people compare it to NBC’s Parenthood), but it is poignant. Filled with engaging family moments, the show tugs on the heartstrings and sends tears streaming down your face. When Season 2 premieres this September, I’ll definitely be watching, with popcorn and tissues ready to go.
Ingrid Michaelson | “It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense”
The best kind of album is one that tells a personal story; with “It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense,” Ingrid Michaelson achieves that. Her story is a harsh one, filled with loss of family members, broken hearts and promises unkept. Yet there are also songs of nostalgia, defiance, self-worth and new love. The catharsis in these tracks is a journey in and of itself, and Ingrid’s experiences are felt through every lyric and note. At the conclusion of her powerful piano ballad, “I Remember Her,” Ingrid reminds us of the simultaneous pain and potency of love, crooning: “But things, they fade; things turn to gray, as much as I try to save them. […] But I love it still.”
Disney’s recent animated features have been high quality, yet “Moana” still stands out as one of their strongest showings in decades. The titular heroine is characterized by her love for the sea, and although her family tries to keep her from breaking free of their sheltered village, she doesn’t let them stop her from leaving her comfort zone. Moana’s journey involves not romantic love, but rather the saving of her people and a restoration of nature. That she does so of her own accord, and not by fighting but by a moment of empathy, makes this tale even more compelling. Amidst songs that mix the familiar Disney style with a fitting Hawaiian flavor, the beautifully animated oceans of Moana bring a sense of adventure. The result is a film that does much more than simply tread water in a sea of animated classics; instead, “Moana” swims to the top.
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”
While looking out across the grassy landscapes of Hyrule — the world of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” — it’s hard not to consider them art. The greens of the land meet the blues of the sky in a spectacular horizon; the light of the setting sun casts shadows off trees as birds take to the sky and foxes bound through the woods. Nintendo’s latest game creates a rich, player-driven experience; audience autonomy is the emphasis, as the game gives few restrictions and beckons players to run wherever they please. Anything you see — whether it be castle, sea or mountain off in the distance — is there for you to explore and conquer. The result is a sense of freedom few forms of media can hope to achieve. In “Breath of the Wild,” the story is your own, and that makes it one of the most entertaining works of art in the last year.