By Delaney Scopelliti | Photo by Trevor Meyer
For most of us, the academic year is a barrage of school pressures, social events and other responsibilities and distractions. When the holiday break finally comes, we all let out a collective sigh of relief, for our college nightmare lets up for a few weeks. At this point, you might realize you’ve been too busy to keep up on current entertainment options. This might overwhelm, or even scare you – but fear not, for I have compiled a list of the best offerings in the world of entertainment coming up during our period away from UO life. Featuring the biggest film releases of the year’s end and the books you probably missed in 2016, here’s your guide to some of the best in entertainment this holiday season.
11/18: Nocturnal Animals
How would you react if your ex wrote a novel that described disastrous consequences for characters who were suspiciously similar to yourself? This is the strange, high-concept question posed by “Nocturnal Animals.” This mysterious, multilayered nature of this film is worth checking out for curiosity’s sake alone.
Broadway musical “Hamilton” has arguably been the biggest pop culture phenomenon to take hold in 2016, but the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wasted no time moving onto his next project: writing the music for the animated feature “Moana.” If the guy can make the dude on the ten dollar bill seem cool, then this should be a breeze. Telling the story of a young girl who must find a way to navigate to a fabled island, the film should be on the radar of fans of Miranda’s work and animated adventures alike.
“Lion” explores the story of an Australian man (Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire”) who was separated from his parents as a child as he uses the power of the internet to reconnect with his family, living somewhere in India. Early viewers have called it a moving tearjerker, so be ready to fight tears.
12/09: La La Land
From Damien Chazelle, the director behind the jazz-drumming adrenaline shot that was 2014’s “Whiplash,” comes the musical throwback “La La Land.” Telling the story of a jazz pianist and an aspiring actress trying to make it in Hollywood, the film is set to be a hit with audiences. Featuring what’s said to be career-best performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, the film is already in the Oscar conversation for its compelling visual style and innovative original music.
12/16: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Chances are you’ve heard about this one. Just one year after the last “Star Wars” phenomenon, we’re getting another chapter in the never-ending epic saga. In this episode, there’s a twist: instead of following the same storyline of the past films, “Rogue One” tells the story of a rebellious team who attempt to destroy the Death Star. One thing is for sure: this movie will make more money than most humans ever will.
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
The Daily Show” comedian Trevor Noah’s new autobiography refers to his illegal birth to mixed-race parents during apartheid era South Africa. Tracing his unlikely journey from a child kept indoors to avoid seizure by a tyrannical government to the comedic face of an American talk show, the book is sure to be a fascinating character study.
But What If We’re Wrong? – Chuck Klosterman
“Thinking about the present as if it were the past.” That’s the central conceit behind this inquisitive work of nonfiction. Examining everything we understand to be true in 2016 from popular music to astronomical science, Klosterman makes a very compelling case that much of what we take for granted now could eventually be seen as ridiculous as the earth being flat. It’s a mind-bending read that will force you to reevaluate your opinion on a variety of topics.
The Gene: An Intimate History – Siddhartha Mukherjee
How much does our heredity influence us? Mukherjee explores what happens when we become literate in the meaning of our genetic code. The work engages on both a scientific level and a personal, emotional one. This biography of the gene combines social history, scientific theory and the author’s personal narrative into a breakthrough consideration of the highly relevant concept of genes.
The Girls – Emma Cline
Set in 1969, “The Girls” tells the story of a young girl who joins a family cult, only to see it explode into Manson-esque activities. Met with rave reviews, The New Yorker called it “finely intelligent…with flashingly brilliant sentences.” For fans of the ongoing true-crime genre craze, the true events-inspired “The Girls” is essential material.
The Lonely City – Olivia Liang
What does it mean to be lonely? It’s a question that many of us have pondered, and in this acclaimed memoir-cultural critique combination, the thought is explored to great success. Liang draws on her lonesome experience moving to New York City and compares it to the work of artists like Andy Warhol that deals with the city, exploring the meaning of solitude in the modern era.