Favorite Summer Movies

There used to be a time when I craved the summer movie. The fun, the sun, the pure escapism. I hate to say it, but I’ve grown increasingly underwhelmed by the recent summer movie crop. I’m wondering if this is a consequence of a superhero landscape that turns months like February, March, even November into prime blockbuster slates, or if this is indicative of a booming streaming culture where most of us are apt to skip the theater altogether. It might even be a case of  poorly chosen IPs recycled to cash-in on existing fanbases.

To renew my faith, I’d like to reflect on a cherished theater-going staple by cobbling together a list of my absolute favorite summer movies, ones I had the privilege of seeing while the going was spectacular. Whether summer movie season is at an end or suffering through a morally bankrupt slump, I’d like to key in on the films that made the whole craze worthwhile. Continue reading

I Love Fleabag

Hello, my name is Adrian Manuel and I am addicted to Fleabag.

After weeks of seeing Phoebe Waller-Bridge pop up in a rolling stream of gifs, hearing endlessly about “that menopause scene,” and reading thirsty reactions concerning a “Hot Priest,” all with zero context whatsoever, I finally decided to see what the fuss was about— if only for context.

I was sold by the first cold open. (And, as of writing this, I have ordered a copy of Fleabag: The Play and am looking up various ways I can get “Phoebe Waller-Bridge” tattooed on my person. HELP) Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ Was Unpredictable To The Very End

The great inevitability of stories is that as sure as they are to begin, they will end. A thing cannot keep going no matter its popularity or success. (This includes a much-hyped and very profitable era of the MCU.) The show must go on, then the curtains must draw for a close. That’s the bittersweet feeling Game of Thrones leaves behind—the knowledge that this could’ve gone on to Season 10 onward to 100 episodes. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss instead went bold in not only concluding one of the biggest TV shows in the world, but also in giving the show the cinematic ending it deserves. Continue reading

Avengers: Endgame — The Perfect Ending to Marvel’s 10-Year Odyssey

“Did you know the MCU would end up here?” a friend asked as we walked (or stumbled) out of Avengers: Endgame, mind blown, our hearts full and souls in tatters. The question is essentially a humble brag for Marvel Studios. Every year it seems like the MCU outdoes itself, and every year my friends and I think back to Iron Man – the one that started this whole thing, the little movie that could. “Not in the slightest,” we’d all agree, and our shared sentiments only affirm just how much this universe has grown beyond our wildest comic book dreams. Continue reading

The Bells – Game of Thrones’ Ozymandias

The preview for the Game of Thrones series finale has zero words, but pounds on images of the aftermath and the end as Daenerys marches forth into a world forged in fire. I thought of the last lines of Shelley’s “Ozymandias”:

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Much has been made about prophecies as of late. Shelley’s famous sonnet details its own prophecy, that of a great ruler’s kingdom reduced to an arid wasteland, prideful boasts notwithstanding: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings/Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” As the dust settles on Game of Thrones’ penultimate episode of the series, much has been made about whether Daenerys’ trajectory was earned. But looking back on Daenerys’ downfall from agency to entitlement and finally towards her manifest destiny, there was no other trajectory for her that could’ve seen to this completion. Continue reading