The Best of 2017
The Gatepost Arts and Features Staff
Best TV Drama
Mr. Robot Season 3
Asst. Arts & Features Editor
The viewer is immersed into the mind of Elliot Alderson, a programmer who works at E Corp, a
Elliot struggles with split personalities as he fights back his second self, Mr. Robot, leader of hacker group fsociety. The character’s dynamic parallels the story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” as Elliot’s personality is constantly overshadowed by Mr. Robot’s aggressive pursuit for economic justice.
The show surprisingly depicts sensitive topics such as mental illness and drug addiction considerably well without over-dramatizing or offending the viewer. The show overtly displays Elliot’s mental illness and addiction without making it into the centralized focus. Rami Malek’s portrayal of straight-faced, anxiety-driven Elliot is chillingly beautiful as he entertains us with his dry humor about stupid societal stereotypes and standards.
The Good Place
In a splendid fantastical comedy, Michael Schur of “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” fame brings “The Good Place” to viewers who appreciate dry witticisms and thought-provoking satire.
Kristen Bell, the beloved voice of “Frozen’s” Anna, stars as the protagonist, Eleanor Shellstrop. She’s a woman with questionable morals who after waking up in the “Good Place,” a heaven-like utopia, is told she is now dead.
However, Eleanor believes she has been mistakenly put there, and tries with the help of her friends to learn how to become a morally upstanding person in order to blend in with the rest of the Good Place residents.
The show presents a fresh, funny take on the issues of morals, ethics, humanity and compassion. With memorable and well-developed characters played by a hilarious and incredibly diverse cast, “The Good Place” is a must-watch. The show started its second season this year and is currently on hiatus until the beginning of 2018, making winter break the perfect binge time.
If you want a movie that forces you to the edge of your seat and gives you nail-biting suspense, then look no further than “Dunkirk” directed by Christopher Nolan.
The Flm takes place on the war-torn beaches of Dunkirk, France during WWII.
The film has multiple storylines that show the audience all different aspects of the battle for survival. The movie does a really good job of showing the grueling and terrifying aspects of war. From drowning to trying to dodge bomb on an open beach, Christopher Nolan knows how to take advantage of the audience’s anxieties and uses it to move the plot along.
He is able to drive home the feeling of terror that the soldiers have to go through perfectly, to the point where this film at time feels more like an experience.
A good deal of this suspense is caused by the music in the movie, which is equally as impressive as the visuals.
While it is unsettling, it can be enjoyed by someone who may be put off from war movies due to the usual gore, as it does not contain any.
Best Indie Film
3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It has been a great year for cinema. Not just for the big Hollywood blockbusters, but also for the the low-budget indie films. “Lady Bird,” “Get Out,” “A Ghost Story” and more are indie Flms that will surely be remembered as cult classics.
One that sticks out most to me is “3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a crime/drama film made by Martin McDonagh.
The film stars Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, a single mother who’s become almost completely cold and emotionless after the loss of her daughter, who was murdered. This is all I want to say about the film’s story, as it’s best to walk in with little knowledge.
What grips audiences into the movie is its compelling characters and phenomenal actors. This film’s characters all feel like genuine people. They all have stories and layers to them, some are told, some are left to interpretation.
There are moments of humor, and moments of despair, but there’s always care. The power of this movie, to put it simply, is how real it feels.
Best Superhero Movie
“Wonder Woman” has set a new standard for superhero films. Director Patty Jenkins crafted the perfect superheroine, and Gal Gadot brings her to life with warmth.
Diana of Themyscira longs to save mankind from Ares, but her sheltered upbringing has left her rather naïve to the reality of war and humanity. What makes this iteration of Diana so compelling is her depth as a character. Wonder Woman is a warrior, swift and strong. But unlike many female action figures today, she is not callous or hardened. This Diana is a refreshing change of pace for the genre.
The characters are this film’s greatest strength. Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor, an earnest WWI pilot who serves as Diana’s guide to humanity. Other important players to the mission include Steve’s delightful assistant Etta Candy, a Moroccan spy named Sameer, a sniper and talented musician named Charlie and “Chief,” an intelligent Blackfoot smuggler.
With nuanced writing, fantastic settings and clever humor, Wonder Woman has enraptured audiences, and has raised the bar for the superhero genre going into 2018.
Xiu Xiu – Forget
Arts & Features Editor
This has been a great year for music, and it’s been hard to pick one album to call the best. However, artpop band Xiu Xiu’s, 13th album, “Forget” has earned that title.
Xiu Xiu returns to a more accessible pop sound from 2015’s ambient “Unclouded Sky” and the dark and chaotic “Angel Guts.”
“Forget” is full of unforgettable choruses (“Wondering” and “Jenny GoGo”), heart-wrenching moments of emotional clarity from frontman Jamie Stewart (“Petite” and “Faith, Torn Apart”) and wonderfully catchy electronic instrumentals (“Queen of the Losers” and “Get Up”).
Stewart has been known for his quiet, whisper-like vocalizations in the past. On “Forget,” he ditches that style for a more traditional singing voice not far off from the late David Bowie.
Any fan of eccentric pop will surely find a handful of songs off this record that would grow to be their favorites of 2017.
Clipping. – The Deep
Arts & Features Editor
In conjunction with “This American Life’s” episode on Afrofuturism, experimental hip-hop group, Clipping, released its latest single “The Deep.”
The track describes the lives of a group of subaquatic people born from “pregnant African women thrown overboard while crossing the Atlantic Ocean on slave ships.”
The story continues to describe the ensuing war between these water-dwellers and humans, sparked by invasive offshore oil drilling.
With their previous record “Splendor and Misery,” Clipping proved that they are masters of storytelling, through both lyricism and production, but “The Deep” blows that out of the water – no pun intended.
The track starts with a bubbly, aquatic synth bassline, but with each passing verse, the production, lyrics and vocal delivery rise in urgency before a noisy climax of a tidal wave crashing onto the shore.
For anyone interested in storytelling, Afrofuturism or innovative and experimental production,
Clipping’s “The Deep” is a must-listen.
Best Video Game
Horizon: Zero Down
Set in a post-apocalyptic Earth a thousand years in the future, “Horizon: Zero Dawn” tells the story of Aloy – an 18-year old outcast who has spent her life training to be accepted into the community she was banished from as a baby.
Massive animalistic robots have seized control. Humanity has reverted back to living in small tribal communities, seldom venturing out into the wilderness filled with technology driven by an intent to kill.
The game’s setting mirrors a luddite’s nightmare.
What ensues in its 20-hour story is a captivating experience that rivals movies of the same technological and dystopic ilk, narratively and visually.
“Horizon: Zero Dawn” is by far the Playstation 4’s prettiest game. Maxed out on the Playstation 4 Pro, the game runs at 4K resolution at 30 frames per second.
Moreover, the game’s smart combat system promotes quick tactical thinking to take down the insatiable and varied beasts scattered throughout the game’s large open world.
It’s a must-own for all Playstation 4 gamers.
Persona 5, the latest installment of the Persona series, came out in April of 2017.
The game focuses on a group of masked vigilantes “The Phantom Thieves of Hearts,” who travel through an alternate universe called the Metaverse, changing the hearts of criminals.
Since it was my first experience of the game, I didn’t know what to expect going in. I knew the basis since I hadn’t actively avoided spoilers. However, I found myself immediately sucked into the story, which acts at times like an anime and also a turn-based fighting game. On its own, the story is a good enough reason to continue playing the game – it is layered, and as you delve further into the story you uncover more and more of the plot, with a few twists.
The popularity of Persona 5 is right up there with the rest of the series, and has many fans excited for the next story-based installment of the series.
Best Beauty Product
Just Peachy Mattes
Too Faced’s “Just Peachy Mattes” palette quickly became one of my favorite palettes ever. The great thing about this palette is its versatility.
As a college student, most of my makeup is casual, every day. I like to be able to slap on a face of makeup but I want my eye makeup to stand out a bit.
This palette does that perfectly. The 12 matte shades are unique and you can create tons of different looks with just this palette.
The buttery consistency of the shades makes it a dream to apply. It blends out quickly and smoothly. It’s perfect for you if you want to take a creative twist on a traditional smoky-eye makeup look.
Star of the palette: the shade Peach Sangria. The unique rose-colored shadow brings a pop to any makeup look and the pigmentation is insane.