Arts

Spotify “Wrapped” up the Year: An Annual Evaluation

Nora Wood

January 15 – Although 2020 was far from being normal, the digital music streaming service, Spotify, still delivered its annual listening report to each individual for the year with no end.

   Spotify has many streaming possibilities that are endless when it comes to music, podcasts, and even videos. Its growing popularity seems to be more apparent when everyone begins posting their end-of-year listening stats. In a recent Instagram poll, we asked: “Do you use Spotify?” with 68% (156 people) of participants saying yes and 32% (76 people) saying no.  

Spotify Wrapped began in 2015, where it gave the minimal details of an individual’s listening habits. It listed the biggest songs of the year and a user’s top 100 songs. Now, Spotify Wrapped tells a user their top artists, songs, genres, minutes listened in total, top podcasts, and more. Not only does Spotify personalize a playlist of an individual’s top songs, but they also create playlists of missed hits and other weekly recommendation playlists for each user. You do not have to be a member of Spotify Premium to receive your Spotify Wrapped. 

 On their website regarding 2020 Spotify Wrapped, it says, “Find out the artists, songs, and podcasts that got you through the longest year ever.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

   While the full accuracy of Spotify Wrapped is still questionable, it allows for a fun experience for users to reflect on their year. Many of The NCLA students who got to see their Spotify Wrapped stats were surprised with what they noticed:

“My number one most played song was not right,” freshman Ariana Elliot said.

“How many minutes I had listened. It was way less than I expected,” sophomore Lindsey Allen said.  

 “Ed Sheeran was one of my top artists,” sophomore Ella Durr said. 

“The ungodly amount of time I spent listening to podcasts,” junior Callie Foust said. 

“All my top 5 songs were Frank Ocean,” junior Karston Keomalaythong said. 

“A song that I didn’t even listen to the whole way through was one of my top songs,” junior Abigail Brannan said. 

“All of my top 5 songs were by the same artist,” junior Jackson Faenza said.

“Morgan Wallen wasn’t my #1listened to artists,” senior Emily Baker said. 

“I was in the top 0.5% of The Kid Laroi’s listeners,” senior Becca Nordstrom said. 

“My top song was one I hadn’t listened to in months,” senior Brook Bandy said. 

“Drake was in my top five,” senior Mercy Newnum said.

 

Pixar’s Soul: A Review

Lexi Antieau

January 15 – Pixar’s new movie “Soul” has everyone talking – but not in the way you would think.

Soul Movie Review
Pixar’s “Soul”

The movie is about finding who you are as a human being, what your purpose is, and how you should live in order to pursue that purpose. Obviously, these three topics aren’t the typical topics portrayed in Pixar films. “Soul” is notorious for discussing deeper meanings to life than that of the traditional Pixar movie. 

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

In the movie, the main character Joe Gardener, played by Jamie Foxx, has a near-death experience that puts his soul into The Great Beyond. Here, he begins to contemplate his life choices and he starts to regret his existence that he ultimately took for granted. 

But, Joe gets stuck between The Great Beyond and The Great Before once his soul is out of his body. Once he “dies”, his soul is transported to a staircase with a big, white light at the end of it, known as The Great Beyond. But, he doesn’t want to die yet. So he escapes the staircase and ends up in The Great Before, which is where souls’ personalities are determined before they go to Earth.

Soul Movie Review
Joe’s soul in The Great Beyond

In The Great Before, Gardener meets a soul named 22 that hasn’t been developed yet and they go on a wide variety of adventures. After a strange turn of events, Joe’s soul ends up in a cat, and 22’s soul ends up in Joe’s body. It is during this part of the movie that Joe starts to realize what he needs to change in his life. 

Similar to Pixar’s “Inside Out”, “Soul” is a movie that takes on portraying greater human conditions, such as death and deeper emotions. They usually portray these conditions in a bright/fun light, but this movie portrayed them in a way that made viewers really think about their lives. Was this a flaw for “Soul”? Absolutely not. 

With the use of absolutely stunning animations, the creators of “Soul” made this movie both for children and adults. The Great Before is animated with such beautiful colors and gives off such a lively vibe, which helps portray a child soul’s innocence. The style of animation used in “Soul” is not like traditional Pixar animation, but it still is fascinating and jam-packed with detail.

Soul Movie Review
The Great Before

This movie made me contemplate my life for days. It made me think hard on who I am and what my soul’s purpose is meant to be. I enjoyed watching this movie for many reasons, but the fact that it taught me a lesson about life that I will carry with me into my future was one of my favorites. 

I think if I were to watch this movie as an adult, I would have an identity crisis. The movie illustrates Joe Gardener as a man who thought he knew his purpose, but was wrong and realized he was taking it for granted. When he has to take a look at what his life looks like in others’ eyes, he sees nothing but failure and setbacks. If I were older, I would be asking myself “Am I really doing what my soul is meant for?” after watching this movie. 

One of my favorite parts of “Soul” was when Joe got a second chance at his life and became so much more passionate about the things that he loves. It gave me a sense of hope and assurance that life will occasionally give you second chances, but you shouldn’t count on them. Second chances are rare, but they always come at the best times. 

The part of the movie that touched me the most was when the characters were introduced to the “lost souls.” These were souls that became so obsessed with something that they let it take over their lives, leaving their soul empty and unfulfilled. This touched me because I have let that happen to me once or twice, and after watching that scene, I realized I wasn’t alone. 

Pixar’s “Soul” is such a whimsical yet down-to-earth perception of a human life. It teaches the viewer a variety of lessons, such as pursue what you love to keep your soul alive. Though it is unlike any other Pixar movie in terms of deep content, “Soul” makes the viewer want to go out and live their life to the fullest. I’d rate this movie a 10/10! 

 

New Movies in 2021

Cyd Leister

January 15 – With the new year comes the release of new movies, but how will this year differ with the lasting effects of the pandemic? This year’s movies will consist of new releases and postponed releases from last year that will be showing not only in theaters, but also multiple streaming services.

Last year was a difficult year in many rights – especially for cinemas. Many theaters and cinemas had to close as a result of quarantine and Covid-19 safety guidelines. This led some theaters to close permanently.

People being unable to visit theaters led many movies to shift their release dates to this year, while a few, such as Pixar’s Soul, were released directly to streaming services. 

This year movies will continue to show in theaters, but some will also release directly to streaming services like HBO Max. There also will be a greater release of streaming service original movies as Netflix claims to be releasing a new movie every week of 2021.

A few of the movies to look forward to in 2021..

A Quiet Place IIAQuietPlace

This is a sequel to the 2018 film A Quiet Place and takes place in a world full of violent monsters. These monsters can not see and as a result rely on their sense of hearing to track down their prey. Survival in this world can only be achieved through silence.

April 23, 2021

 

Black WidowMarvel-Black-Widow-Movie-Poster

Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, is a character most popularly known from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. After standing along with the Avengers she tragically died in Avengers: Endgame in order to help save the day. This film takes place in the past following the events of Captain America: Civil War and gives a deeper look into Black Widow’s background as a character. 

May 7, 2021

 

F9Fast & Furious 9 

The Fast and the Furious franchise is a popular series that already consists of 9 films. The franchise focuses on a street racer group. This instalment will focus on the character Dominic and his family.

May 28, 2021

 

Space Jam: New LegacySpaceJams

This movie will be a sequel to the classic 90s film, Space Jams. There will be multiple cameos by NBA and WNBA players. Space Jams: New Legacy will have a new storyline that will have the Looney Toons gang go through other works by Warner Brothers, but it is not entirely clear what possible crossovers will take place.

July 16, 2021

 

The Suicide SquadTheSuicideSquad

This film will serve as a sequel/reboot to the Suicide Squad that was released in 2016. Its predecessor didn’t perform well so there is hope that this film will be a redemption for DC films. 

August 6, 2021

 

 

Wonder Woman Flop

Rebecca Avila

January 15 – The DC universe is full of heroes and villains like The Joker, Aquaman, Batman, Lex Luthor and of course Wonder Woman who is the popular hero of the DC comics. The newest movie, Wonder Woman 1984 released on December 25, 2020 on HBO Max and is only streaming until January 24. Diana (Gal Gadot) is living her life in 1984 DC, after she left the Amazon during the time of World War I.

Diana must deal with the destruction caused by her work colleague, Barbra Minerva (Kristen Wigg) and a broke businessman, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) because of an ancient artifact that grants wishes mysteriously disappears.

IMG_1430
From indiewire.com

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Diana lives her life in DC and always has Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), her dead lover who died back in WWI. When a strange artifact arrives at the Smithsonian Museum, her and her coworker Barbra make a wish, but what they do not expect is for their wishes to come true. 

Steve comes back from the dead while Barbra inherits new strength as well as more attention. Maxlord who is also searching for the wishing stone steals it from the museum and then becomes the wishing stone.

Maxlord and Barbra begin to change and keep granting themselves more wishes which comes at the cost of losing some part of themselves. The influence that they both carry eventually gets them to the feet of the President of the United States and from there, a secret broadcasting place which connects to every television, radio, phone, etc. on the planet. Many people all across the world begin to make wishes and because every wish comes with a price, havoc all over the world begins to happen and the only way to stop the damage is for everyone to revoke their wish.

 The beginning scene is the only good scene in the whole movie, besides of course Diana fighting in the White House and at the secret satellite location. The fighting is always the best part, the little details in between were not as intriguing or engaging as they were in the first movie.

“Selflessness” was the theme of the movie but it’s not as outspoken and impressive of a theme compared to other movies. I understand that the theme was also a bit cheesy in the first movie as well but the way they portrayed it and showed it made it more embarrassing in a way. 

In my personal opinion, the first movie is way better. The action and plot all together make it more emotional and enjoyable rather than this movie. This movie was more comical and upbeat rather than the first. Maybe it’s a personal preference but it seemed to be a bit childish at some points. In the first movie, there was a deeper connection that could be drawn. Also, the fact that Steve died in the first movie and left me heartbroken just to come back in this newer movie, I was not happy because of the emotional rollercoaster that I endured just to see him leave again. 

According to a poll made by the Falcon News on Instagram, 76% of people said the first Wonder Woman was better compared to 24% who said the second movie was better. I would give it a five out of ten.

 

Safety : A Review

Grayson Bright

January 15 – Did you know that the newest Disney + movie “Safety” is based on a true story? 

Safety Movie Review
Safety Movie poster

The movie shows the weight and pressure put onto the 19 year old Ray Elrathbey who was faced with having to give his 11 year old brother Fahmarr a place to learn, live, and sleep while having to keep up with school and football. During the stressful times Ray had fought for his brother to stay with him especially, with the rules and violations that the NCAA has.

Throughout the movie Ray continues to struggle with keeping his brother with him. There are many times where Fahmarr has to return home and has to go into child care then they have to go live on their own. But through the whole time they had people fighting for them every step of the way through.

Eventually Ray has to force his mother to sign custody to him for Fahmarr because they don’t know if she can stay drug free when she gets out of her rehabilitation. This scene was very impactful and showed that Ray knew he had to step up as a fatherly figure towards Fahmarr. Once Ray had figured out Fahmarr’s living situation he finally had time for football and school.

He continues with his hard studies that the professors are surprised that he is doing. In football he is playing great and a consistent level where he starts to play with the starters. Then the NCAA says that Ray can’t have money being made from other people, because during that time the community and his friends had helped Ray pay for his place to live.

After the community found out about this they became very upset and Ray did as well, he goes to the NCAA offices and waives for the right to make the exception of having the support due to his situation he is in. They hear his speech and allow the waiver to pass through. Then Ray is finally able to play football and pursue his education.

Ray later on quits football and has now devoted his life to helping kids form their future and is helping children that live in the same situation that Fahmarr had grown up in. Fahmarr has pursued an education at Clemson and likes to make and mix beats in his free time. Their Mother has now stayed drug-free for over 12 years now and is very supportive of both of her sons.

After I had watched the movie I felt like the production value was low and sometimes the acting had fallen off and some scenes in the movie felt repeated. Some scenes felt unnecessary, for example, they were painting a building five different colors in one spot, then Ray looks behind them and sees a bunch of kids playing with a football then tells his brother to “Go show them how it’s done”, I felt the movie could have gone without many scenes.

For the movie “Safety” if rated out of ten it would be a 5 out of 10. 

Although there were many flaws in the movie and the production seemed low sometimes I felt like the movie had a very good message to give. I felt the message was to be almost universal to everyone and that no matter how bad your life or situation is, always keep fighting.