2017 Movies and Music
Directors, actors, and musical artists have the world watching with their cinematic and musical hits of 2017. From Get Out to Wonder Woman and “HUMBLE.” to “Bodak Yellow,” the share of entertainment is growing in quantity and quality.
In November, 178 Packer Upper School members completed a survey in which they chose their favorite movie of the year. Although over 20 different movies were in the running, there were only three clear favorites: 49 people voted for Get Out, 25 for Baby Driver, and 19 for Wonder Woman. These are not only popular at Packer; they are some of the most popular films nationwide.
Released in February, Get Out earned rave reviews and a whopping 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. The comedy-horror follows the story of Chris, a black man, and his white girlfriend, Rose, on a weekend getaway with her parents. Director Jordan Peele uses several racial themes in the story that both add to the plot and get the audience thinking.
“I didn’t like the slow beginning of Get Out, but I did like how it had a lot of plot twists,” said Mele Buice (‘21).
Although it does take a little while to get into the plot, the combination of horror, comedy, and serious topics makes the movie a must-see. Since Get Out is Peele’s directorial debut, he will likely be a director to watch as he goes on to direct future films.
Ansel Elgort and Lily James star in the new action movie Baby Driver, which premiered in June. Earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, many critics found the film to be well-executed, unique, and incredibly moving.
The movie follows Baby, a music-loving getaway driver, who meets Deborah, the girl of his dreams. Baby is forced to work for a crime boss and depends on his music and love when his life is at risk.
Wonder Woman premiered in June, receiving exceptional praise and a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film stars Gal Gadot, who embodies the role of a strong female superhero overwhelmingly well. In an interview with the American magazine Rolling Stone, Gadot described that she, as well as her character, “stands for love and hope and acceptance and fighting evil.”
“I really loved how the character who played Wonder Woman made me feel super empowered,” said Claire French (‘20).
Many girls at Packer have spoken to this point: unlike most other superhero movies, Wonder Woman emphasized the power of women. The character Wonder Woman was created by DC Comics in 1941, inspired by the feminism of the 40s, or more specifically Margaret Sanger, a birth control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse.
The 178 students who completed the survey also chose their favorite song of the year, and out of over 20 options, “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar claimed the prize for most loved by the Packer community, followed by “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B and “Feel it Still” by Portugal. The Man.
Lamar’s most recent album, DAMN. has gotten significant attention from all over the world. As Pitchfork, an American online magazine, accurately describes the album, “DAMN. is a widescreen masterpiece of rap, full of expensive beats, furious rhymes, and peerless storytelling about Kendrick’s destiny in America.”
Cardi B, a 24-year-old “regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx,” as she describes herself, topped the charts with her debut major label single “Bodak Yellow” earlier this year, making her the first solo female rapper to hit number one in 19 years. Although she has released other songs in the past, “Bodak Yellow” has made Cardi B a real subject of discussion.
“I really like ‘Bodak Yellow’ because it makes me feel empowered. I don’t know, it makes me feel strong—brawling—when I listen to it,” said Farida Salami (‘20). “I feel like I can do anything I want because you feel it in your soul when it comes on.”
Cardi B has definitely reached the status many musical artists aspire for, though we’ll see if it lasts. If she releases more music as catchy as “Bodak Yellow,” she’ll be sure to have a true place in the musical hierarchy, but if not, she’ll simply be known as another one-hit-wonder.
“‘Feel it Still’ is such a great song. It’s so easy to vibe to and has a great melody,” said Dante Mastropietro (‘20).
Portugal. The Man’s new album, Woodstock, includes “Feel it Still” among other great tunes. It was released in June and the hit song reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been number one on Alternative Songs for 13 weeks straight.
The catchy song takes listeners back to the era of rock and roll, and sounds incredibly similar to “Please Mr. Postman,” by The Marvelettes.
2017 has set high standards for the entertainment of 2018, and we’ll see how well next year’s music and movies live up to this year’s. We might see more of the same artists, as well as new ones, and hopefully some great new blockbusters from the film industry that interest Packer students as much as this year’s did.