Tuesday, May 21

Reels, Notes and Takes: Week 5

(J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney Records, Sony Pictures, Barbie YouTube)

(J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney Records, Sony Pictures, Barbie YouTube)

There’s no better place to keep a finger on the pulse of arts and entertainment happenings than Los Angeles. The A&E world is alive – it’s always buzzing, sometimes ready to implode with a hint of a surprise album or a celebrity’s controversial statement. Each week, the Daily Bruin A&E editors will discuss their views on recent topics and trends in pop culture.

(Walt Disney Records)

De-stressing with Disney

It’s week five of fall quarter – temperatures are starting to drop, stress levels are escalating and hours of sleep are decreasing. We’re in the midst of midterm season.

To de-stress and ease the pain of studying for an ever-increasing number of hours, listening to Disney music does wonders for me. A Disney tribute album featuring Ariana Grande and Fall Out Boy is in the works, but there is no comparison to the originals.

I have a Spotify playlist called “StuDYING” that houses a slew of my favorite Disney songs. The magic in the songs is so palpable and lovely: They help lighten my mood, warping me to their fantastical world of magic.

At the top of my playlist is “Just Around the Riverbend” from “Pocahontas.” It contains one of the most personally meaningful lyrics: “Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as the beating drum?” It’s a gentle, urging reminder that yes, I am choosing the smoothest course for a good grade, but that my heart belongs to a different career path than the one I am currently in. Either way, the song encourages me to study.

As I am writing this, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from “Mulan” plays from my speakers. Every time it plays, I am tempted to burst out into song and martial arts-inspired dancing. It’s nice when I am endlessly flipping through notes.

For me, Disney transcends time – it just never gets old. Covers will never replace the animated, theatrical singing that filled my childhood.

I also have a playlist of songs from original Disney Channel movies like “High School Musical” and “Camp Rock,” but that’s another story.

– Gail Acosta

(Courtesy of J.K. Rowling)

Harry Potter and the never-ending franchise

When I heard a new Harry Potter installment is on the way, I literally cried tears of joy.

Author J.K. Rowling announced the play, titled “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” in June, and Pottermore released the synopsis Friday. The production depicts Harry as a burned-out Ministry of Magic employee while his youngest son, Albus Severus, struggles to deal with his father’s famous past.

After giving the plot some thought, however, I realized I’m worried about “Cursed Child.” The last time I saw Harry in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” he was happily married to Ginny and waving his sons off to a new school year at Hogwarts.

With that scene, Rowling implied Harry has led and will lead a near-normal life.

Putting Harry in the spotlight again defeats the entire purpose of the end of “Deathly Hallows.” Rowling and the play’s production team seem to be dragging the characters out from a comfortable retirement for a tired and unnecessary last hurrah.

Even though I adore the series, I don’t need to find out how a decades-older Harry grapples with his past or how his son feels about the family legacy. These points will likely add little to a timeless series that left just enough to the imagination so that readers could make it their own.

In the end, some mysteries are better left unsolved.

– Shreya Aiyar

(Sony Pictures)

The name is Bond, Jane Bond

The hype surrounding the new James Bond movie “Spectre” has been less about Daniel Craig’s gritty, physical performance or director Sam Mendes’ spectacular opening set piece in Mexico City, and more about the future casting of the iconic spy.

In March, former Bond actor Roger Moore caused a media storm by declaring that British actor Idris Elba could not be cast as the next James Bond because he isn’t “English-English.” He recently followed up these comments by saying that James Bond could never be gay or a woman.

Moore’s argument centers around the fact that Ian Fleming, the author of the original Bond novels, wrote his character as a straight, white male.

In a literal sense, Moore’s right. The James Bond character would certainly not be the same if he were black, gay or a woman. However, the point that Moore is missing here is that ironically, his argument highlights the flaws in the character and in his portrayal of Bond for seven movies from 1973 to 1985.

The James Bond that Moore incarnated was at his most sexist, racist and ragingly heterosexual. The more recent Daniel Craig movies, however, are part of an effort to bring the franchise’s politics into the more politically correct 21st century.

– William Thorne

(Barbie YouTube)

Barbie commercial sends fake message

Mermaids, princesses and chefs were some of my favorite Barbie dolls growing up, as I envisioned myself in their plastic shoes.

Girls still look up to the dolls, and Barbie has come under fire for promoting negative body images for young girls because Barbies are too thin or heavily made-up. Earlier this month, Mattel released a new Barbie commercial presumably to combat its bad press.

Garnering over ten million views, the video is called “Imagine the Possibilities” and depicts little girls replacing coaches, veterinarians and professors in the real world as hidden cameras capture adults’ reactions. The end of the commercial reads “When a girl plays with a Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.”

Naturally, I praise the message this ad aims to promote – that girls should dream big and not limit themselves to a pretty face.

Despite the message that girls can become anything, the girls in the video are laughed at by the adults. Male soccer players give sideways glances at the pint-sized coach. I smiled, too, but because the scene was adorable, not because I was impressed by the girls’ abilities.

In a twisted way, the video only confirms the stereotypes against girls being undermined professionally. The commercial had good intentions and is one of the best Barbie ads – but is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to changing perceptions.

– Lindsay Weinberg

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Thorne is the prime director. He was previously the assistant A&E editor for the Theater | Film | Television beat.

prime content editor

Weinberg is the prime content editor. She was previously the A&E editor and the assistant A&E editor for the lifestyle beat.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.