Entertainment recommendations from the Chimes staff

Looking for art and entertainment to feed your weary soul while in quarantine/self-isolation? The Chimes staff is here to help with recommendations of our favorite books, movies and TV shows!

Garrett Strpko | Arts and Entertainment Editor

Recommends: “Mad Men”

Photo from Wikipedia. Fair Use.

I would easily enter “Mad Men” into the running as one of the greatest television shows of all time. The series follows the dramatic exploits of the men and women at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency across the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Not only does it have outstanding acting and flashy period decor and costumes, “Mad Men” asks important questions about how a person forms an identity while caught up in the events, social norms and constructs of history — much like we are trying to now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone interested in gender and sexuality, American history, advertising and just plain old good storytelling will have something to find in “Mad Men.” The series is currently streaming on Netflix.

Juliana Knot | Editor-in-Chief

Photo from Amazon. Fair Use.

Recommends: “Leverage”

In this show, the good guys are the thiefs, hackers and hitters. Billed as a show about modern day “Robin Hoods,” Leverage is about criminals helping out when the little guy gets screwed over by big corporations or complacent governments. It’s a little cheesy and Scooby Doo-esque in that every episode repeats itself, but at an hour an episode, it’s easy watching for quarantine. 

Liv Deliyannides | Opinion Editor

Photo from Amazon. Fair Use.

Recommends: “At Noon”

Calvin University’s very own Logan Mansberger wrote, directed and acted in his short film “At Noon.” While this short film is… short, I was proud to see familiar Calvin faces such as Noah Zeyl, Elyse Ryskamp, and philosophy professor Kevin Corcoran, as if a little piece of Calvin’s community came to my hometown with me. The film is resonant of a western (a Mansberger favorite), and while all seems innocent, all is not as it seems. For a spicy little sneak peek, I leave you with my favorite quote from the film: “You see, in this give and take world, there are givers and there are takers. In this instance, I’m the taker, you’re the giver… I have nothing else to give, so I’ve decided to take.” “At Noon” can be found on Amazon Prime. 

Recommends: “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong

Photo from Penguin Random House. Fair Use.

As a heathen sentence-underliner and dog-earer, at the end of Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” I found that more pages were filled with markings than pages left blank. Vuong is a master of words and brings clarity to many feelings and thoughts that are difficult to articulate. Vuong’s book is semi-autobiographical as he writes about a boy named “Little dog” who grows up (just as Vuong) as a Vietnamese-American that must navigate his queer identity in conjunction with his relationship with his Vietnamese mother. The book is written as a letter to his mother, as he writes a dichotomy of both loving her and hating her as she suffers from PTSD and abuses him. I find Little dog’s sadness a good expression of what it is like to have hope through a life of grief, pain and the fight against erasure of one’s identity. I leave you with a quote from Little dog that I find to be fitting in a time of lament: “I don’t want my sadness to be othered from me just as I don’t want my happiness to be othered. They’re both mine. I made them, dammit.”

Grace Cole | Staff Reporter

Photo from Amazon. Fair Use.

Recommends: “The Boys”

Available on Amazon Prime, “The Boys” is a cynical black comedy take on what superheroes would actually be like in our world. A corporation uses signed superheroes for advertisements and sketchy political moves. In our time of Marvel fatigue, “The Boys” is a fresh, bloody, hilarious and often heart-wrenching take on the tired genre. The show follows our main character as he seeks to uncover the corrupt nature of the corporation that helped cover up the murder of his girlfriend.

David Swartzentruber | Staff Reporter

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Recommends: “Twin Peaks”

I’m currently binging Twin Peaks on Netflix. It’s very existential so it’s the perfect show to relieve the looming threat COVID-19 is presenting. It’s the perfect blend of crime and supernatural thriller.

Lauren Cole | Head Copy Editor

Recommends: “The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon

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If you’re looking for a fantasy epic to fill the hole “Game of Thrones” left in your heart, look to “The Priory of the Orange Tree” by Samantha Shannon. At nearly 800 pages, it’ll keep you reading until quarantine is (hopefully) over. Featuring world-ending fire-breathing dragons (hello, Nameless One), a secret order of all-female dragon slayers, mystic water dragons, an army of elite dragon riders, and enough political intrigue to keep your head whirling, “Priory” is a must-read. Bonus: it’s relatable! An entire country decides to quarantine due to draconic plague. 

Joshua Polanski | Managing Editor

Recommends: “A Touch of Sin”

Photo from IMDb. Fair Use.

With President Trump referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” it seems to be a particular good time to combat his “othering” of China by watching Chinese movies. My recommendation is Jia Zhangke’s “A Touch of Sin” — four stories of not-so random acts of violence that work together to tell a story of modern China. The four stories never feel like a series of unconnected shorts, like “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”: Jia’s direction never strays from China itself. “A Touch of Sin” is free on Kanopy if you have a Grand Rapids library card.