Best of Summer 2019

By Nadira Wicaksana


A24 has consistently put out gems for the last several years, but one of its best pictures of all time – though woefully eclipsed by another summer blockbuster about Swedish death cults that shall remain nameless – is “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

This June release is a semi-autobiographical film about the life of Jimmie Fails – played by Fails himself – an SF native who lives with his best friend Montgomery “Mont” Allen. He works to regain his childhood home, a beautiful Victorian house he says was built by his grandfather in 1946.

Joe Talbot’s debut feature is a heartfelt, poignant, and personal tribute to Fails, with whom he grew up in the Bay Area.

The soundtrack evokes the air of foggy nostalgia that envelops the city. Singer Scott McKenzie croons, “If you’re going to San Francisco / be sure to wear flowers in your hair.”

After having visited bumpy and hilly San Francisco for the first time earlier this year, I was able to truly appreciate the beauty and splendor of the Victorians, like the Painted Ladies that stand tall in Alamo Square.

The film calls to attention the housing crisis that plagues SF, a city suffering from the ills of gentrification and a lack of resources for its populations displaced by incoming companies producing the nouveau riche. It was because of gentrification and insurmountable costs and taxes that Fails’s family loses the house.

Talbot and Fails produced a stunning piece this summer that everyone should watch.

By Brennan Atkins

Arts & Features Editor

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film. It stars Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, and Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. The film focuses on Rick Dalton, a washed-up television star trying to rekindle his fame with the help of his long-time friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth.

 When it comes to filmmaking, Tarantino’s style is very heavily defined by nonlinear storytelling and the use of violence, and while there are booms of violence in particular scenes, it’s tamer in the sense that this film could be considered a “slice of life.”

 DiCaprio and Pitt are like peanut butter and jelly – they just work. They bounce comedic, suspenseful, and genuinely heartfelt scenes all around the place and with such ease.

 It’s no surprise that we are met with a solid soundtrack by the man who revitalized “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry, but this film goes above and beyond. On top of having classics such as “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel, they also have an amazing cover of “California Dreamin” by José Feliciano.

 You get to see DiCaprio in a silly cowboy outfit. Go watch.

By Sara Senesac

Asst. Arts & Features Editor

America’s boy band, BROCKHAMPTON, is back and definitely better.

“GINGER,” much like their previous release, strays very far from the original “SATURATION” trio, so if you’re still hung up on “SWEET” and “BOOGIE,” this may not be the album for you.

The slow, quiet melodies of “NO HALO” kick off the track list, and no emotional song would be complete without a Merlyn verse. BROCKHAMPTON is known for their unique sound editing and voice altering in their songs – and this album is no exception to that.

Hearing the boys not only rapping, but also singing, in this song is refreshing. Knowing their vocal talent goes further than the usual rapid flow is something that makes this song one of my favorites on the album.

But if you are craving some of that typical Kevin Abstract flow mixed with Joba making you increasingly uncomfortable, “I BEEN BORN AGAIN” will be your new anthem.

The track takes the same organizational approach as some of the group’s earlier hits, where every boy gets his own verse mixed in with Matt Champion swooping in with a sick verse to close.

Finally, if you really are looking for that throwback funky, bump-worthy BROCKHAMPTON song, “BOY BYE” and “IF YOU PRAY RIGHT” should definitely be additions to your Friday night playlist this semester.

BROCKHAMPTON, you saved summer once again!

By Robert Johnson Jr.

Arts & Features Editor

This summer, SNK beckoned fighting game players around the world to #EmbraceDeath with the seventh entry in the much-beloved “Samurai Shodown” series. This game is yet another fantastic victory on SNK’s warpath to redemption, after a difficult decade of ups and downs.

Every detail, from the characters to the stage backgrounds, fits the aesthetic perfectly, with a manga-influenced art style, driven by the beautiful strokes of Japanese painting techniques of yesteryear. When you play the game, you can’t help but be amazed at how something so gorgeous can run so smoothly at 60 frames per second. 

As with previous entries in the series, combat is slow-paced, but every strike that lands is a matter of life or death, meaning that button mashing is discouraged in the heat of battle – you need to be patient and strike efficiently, lest you want to see your health bar go down 50% in one hit while a geyser of blood spurts out of you. 

New features, like the once-per-match Super Special Move, and old mainstays, like the Lightning Blade, also make “Samurai Shodown” into a resource-management game in which players need to know when each resource should be expended to ensure their path to victory. 

I simply cannot recommend this game enough.

By Jared Graf

Interim Asst. Arts & Features Editor

On SAINt JHN’s sophomore effort, “Ghetto Lenny’s Love Songs,” he daringly infuses elements of hip-hop, R&B, and melodic trap, creating an ignorant, yet beautifully unique body of work.

“If me and a stripper got married, we’d play this at our wedding,” SAINt JHN audaciously tells Apple Music.

This being said, the aptly titled introduction, “Wedding Day,” finds the artist crooning about a relationship and detailing how fame and fortune have affected him. JHN proves he’s a musical dilettante early on in the album, as he experiments with several different melodies, flows, and harmonies throughout the song’s three-minute runtime.

On the fast-tempo club anthem, “5 Thousand Singles,” SAINt JHN ditches the singing for a more in-your-face, unapologetic approach: “It’s Ghetto Lenny, but they treat me like I’m Michael Bolton,” he confidently boasts.

On more laid-back cuts like “I Can Fvcking Tell” and “Trophies,” SAINt JHN does what he does best – reminisce on past relationships and touch on females who deserve recognition – or trophies. 

Production on the album is handled by frequent collaborator F a l l e n, with features from Meek Mill, Lil Baby, A Boogie wit da Hoodie and retro-rock legend Lenny Kravitz.

Impeccable songwriting combined with cinematic production and SAINt JHN’s genre-blending versatility makes for a breath of fresh air in such an oversaturated music industry.

If you were ever looking for an album to party and then drunk text your ex to, “Ghetto Lenny’s Love Songs” is it.

By Noah Barnes

Entertainment Correspondent

“Chernobyl” is a five-episode drama mini-series retelling the events surrounding one of the largest man-made disasters of the same name. The event took place on April 26, 1986, the day the Chernobyl reactor exploded. 

The series follows what happened on that day, as well as the aftermath of the event, and how the U.S.S.R. tried to hide all this information from the public. 

The show is dark and disturbing, as well as enlightening and engaging. There’s no sugarcoating the horrifying details of what actually happened during this tragic event, and while it’s certainly unpleasant to watch, you can’t help but keep going through the series as it informs you on lesser known details surrounding the event. 

The actors are all fantastic. The visual effects are so realistic, it’s hard to tell what’s real or fake. The makeup portrays one of the most horrifying and realistic depictions of the effects of radiation on people I’ve ever seen in media. 

“Chernobyl” is a grim awakening for those unaware, and a reminder to those who are familiar with the details of this tragedy.

By Cara McCarthy

Associate Editor

Ever since I was 13, Machine Gun Kelly, known to his fans as MGK, has been putting out amazing albums, each one better than the last.

This summer, MGK released “Hotel Diablo,” his fourth studio album.

The album features artists such as Trippie Redd, along with – most notably – YUNGBLUD and Travis Barker.

One of the tracks – “I think I’m OKAY” with YUNGBLUD and Barker – became a summer hit.

MGK also took this opportunity to open up more about his inner struggles and his life more than in past albums.

Songs such as “Candy,” despite having an upbeat and catchy tune, depict the darker topic of his drug use. The song “Burning Memories” reflects on having a strained relationship with both of his parents growing up.

In “Glass House,” MGK pays tribute to Lil Peep, Mac Miller, and Chester Bennington – all extremely influential musicians in the alternative scene, all of whom have died within the last couple of years from either drugs or suicide.

He even went as far as to call out the people who make jokes about his best friend, Pete Davidson, after his public mental breakdown late last year.

MGK’s previous albums were mainly about smoking weed and living the dream in the rap scene.

This album is about smoking weed and the trials and tribulations that come with it.

With this new album, he takes the time to discuss the struggles and hardships musicians and celebrities face on a day-to-day basis with their lives in the public eye.

MGK put me in my feelings this summer, and I loved every minute of it.

By Lauren Paolini

Asst. Copy Editor 

By Caeley Whalen

Interim Fashion Correspondent

Fall may be just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw your favorite summer trends in the back of your closet just yet. Hot girl summer could not be complete without classic summer styles – sandals, sunglasses, and your favorite beach bag, and we can guarantee you saw your staples in plenty of leopard print.

That’s right – it’s back. And we’re not mad about it.

Shania Twain fans, rejoice! You’ll definitely feel like a woman in this fun and flirty print.

The versatility of leopard print can make any outfit a statement look with a bright pattern, or you can keep it casual with the classic brown-and-black combination. 

An easy way to incorporate this into your fall wardrobe is with a leopard midi skirt and plain white tee, or a leopard scarf for when the colder New England weather hits. 

Whatever your style may be, there’s a leopard print for anyone.