Was it worth it? Revisiting March’s film, TV and music

Eriq Dixon, Emma Geiszler, and Boyce Rucker

After a week of being in April, The Seahawk decided to take a look at a few of the films, TV shows and albums we did not cover during March. Staff writers Eriq Dixon, Emma Geiszler and Boyce Rucker reflect on some gems from the past month, determining in these mini-reviews whether the experience was worth it.

“The Dropout”

Where to watch: Hulu

“The Dropout” is the scammer narrative “Inventing Anna” failed to be. The show follows Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfreid), the fallen founder of the failed company Theranos, through several interweaving timelines, including her trial, college and the height of Theranos’ success. Everything about Holmes feels purposefully imperfect, depicting her with smudged make-up, fried hair and stiff dancing. Holmes acts uncomfortable in her own skin to where the audience understands her perspective but also feels offput by her. Amanda Seyfried nails the performance with wide-eye movements and vocal mannerisms that depict an awkward woman desperate to prove herself. At moments, we can look at the screen and see ourselves, and in other moments all we see is a strange, alien figure. The show also successfully draws attention to Holmes’ simultaneous privilege. Despite her father’s job loss, she attends Stanford as a legacy and ignores the instructions of her professors, thinking herself superior. She’s called out by other characters who point out her ignorance. Whether or not you followed the real-life story of Elizabeth Holmes, this show is worth the watch for the fascinating deterioration of a smart woman. 


Where to watch: Hulu

“Fresh” is a film that starts off like a rom-com, luring you into the romance between the jaded Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and the charming Steve (Sebastian Stan) before taking a turn for the worse as Steve takes Noa captive to sell her body parts. Noa’s friend Mollie (Jojo T. Gibbs) catches on to her friend’s danger due to her strange texts and begins to search for her, the film’s perspective then switching between the two in Noa’s quest to escape Steve. The film takes a nihilistic look at dating yet optimistic look at female friendship, as Noa and Mollie’s relationship remains the reason Noa keeps fighting. It avoids gore yet simultaneously manages to disgust the audience with Sebastian Stan’s acting as he cuts and packages meat, adding an ominous effect to the scenes. Gibbs and Edgar-Jones’ chemistry as best friends keeps the movie moving forward, as women can relate to their positive camaraderie, even in this dangerous situation. The film expertly balances horror and a touching bond between women. “Fresh” is a movie for the women who love “Jennifer’s Body” (2009) or those who just like a good horror film.

“WHO CARES?” by Rex Orange County

English singer Rex Orange County’s (real name, Alexander O’Connor) third studio album is nothing short of stellar. The album is a heartfelt dive into the things that affect our daily lives, particularly sincere love and self-acceptance. Some listeners may go into the album just to hear O’Connor’s collaboration with Tyler, the Creator in “OPEN A WINDOW.” Nevertheless, it is worth staying for the rest of the album. O’Connor doesn’t go for a gimmick or decline in quality like some mainstream artists do upon reaching greater fame. His maturing as an artist shows here as jazzy and hip-hopish beats underscore the confronting of internal struggles in each song, building up to the titular track “WHO CARES?” as the finale. The final track is a culmination of his subconscious feelings in the face of despair. “WHO CARES?” might not be Rex Orange County’s best album, but it’s one that listeners can tell he’s given his all to. It is a strong and moving album where the artist learns to stop caring about what others think.


Where to watch: HBO Max

“Minx” follows the upbeat and spunky feminist protagonist Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) as she runs a feminist porno magazine, balancing her frustrations with her boss, Doug (Jake Johnson), and her attempts to write feminist pieces between the pages of penises. The show is a humorous take on the two sides of the notoriously sexist porn industry and the intersection of female sexuality. Joyce, however uptight, struggles to make her intellect appealing to the masses while applying her book-based knowledge to the actual world. She must deal with her own sexuality, romantic situations and standing up to the sexism that she let slide around her out of her own discomfort. The show is funny and engaging, and while it’s not one for the whole family, it appeals to adult audiences with explicit humor, beautiful costume design and the reintroduction of 70s second-wave feminist concepts to a modern post-feminist audience. 


Where to watch: Currently playing in theaters

A24’s “X” is a modern masterpiece for slasher aficionados. Directed and written by Ti West, the film is a love letter to 20th century slasher films like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Psycho” (1960). In 1979, a cast and crew go on a road trip into rural Texas to film a porno movie. The group ends up at an elderly couple’s isolated farm, which seems like the perfect spot to shoot the film, but the group finds themselves instead in a bloody fight for survival against unsuspecting enemies. The film captures the horrific vision and darker side of humanity that makes its influences so terrifying. Shot to resemble a film from the 70s, “X” is a commentary on art and sexploitation with a horror twist. Rather than demoting the main characters to basic horror archetypes, the film gives them layers of humanity. Sex drives the characters’ greed for fame or fortune while also igniting their darkest desires. Porn has never looked quite as enchanting yet terrifying as it does here. Whereas modern-day slashers rehash plot threads from classic horror franchises, this film takes a step forward with originality while paying homage to what came before. The film features knockout performances from Mia Goth in a hypnotic dual role and Kid Cudi as the porno’s charming lead. “X” is a gruesome and entertaining throwback to 70s horror that’s well worth the price of admission. 

“The Outfit”

Where to watch: Currently playing in theaters 

With so many movies coming out every year, it’s incredibly easy for some to get lost amongst the sea of blockbusters, sequels and reboots that tend to blow the box office roof. Whether they’re poorly marketed or overshadowed by something bigger, there are gems to be found among these small releases, and last month’s “The Outfit” is no exception. Graham Moore’s directorial debut is a crime drama brimming with suspense and intrigue. The story follows Leonard (Mark Rylance), an English tailor in 1950s Chicago who is caught in an intense fight for life and death when two dangerous criminals (Johnny Flynn, Dylan O’Brien) come to him for help. Taking place in the intimate setting of a corner tailor shop with interesting characters as the focal point, “The Outfit” is truly a captivating experience that only gets better as secrets come to light over the course of the film. The tensions rise with each new scene, pulling the audience into the experience and not letting them go until the credits begin to roll. While it’s no big budget blockbuster, the movie still provides a great time at the theater and deserves more attention than it’s getting. 

“Fighting Demons (Deluxe)” by Juice WRLD

The late rapper Juice WRLD (Jarad Anthony Higgins) continues to live on through his music with the release of a new album, although not entirely new. “Fighting Demons (Deluxe)” is a re-release of his fourth studio album, containing five added tracks, which include “Cigarettes,” “Sometimes,” “Go Hard 2.0,” “Rich and Blind,” and “Legend.” Like the original version, the album has a melancholic tone as it focuses heavily on Higgins’ struggles with drug addiction. The extra tracks only add to this, tackling some of the harder subjects that his discography is known for. Each track has something important to say, not only about Higgins’ story, but about the “demons” that everyone faces and the different ways in which they’re dealt with. “Fighting Demons (Deluxe)” may not be an album to put on and dance to, but it certainly moves listeners in a different way. 


Where to watch: FX, Hulu

Donald Glover is a multi-talented artist adept in several art forms, like acting in “Community,” performing songs as “Childish Gambino” and his work as a comedian. Now, he makes a long-awaited return to his award-winning dramatic comedy “Atlanta.” “Atlanta” comes back for a third season after season two last aired in 2018. Created by Glover, the series puts a surreal spin on the Atlanta rap game as music manager Earn (Glover) tries to help his rapper cousin Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) become a star. Earn’s ex-girlfriend Van (Zazie Beetz) and Paper Boi’s eccentric friend Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) join the two on their escapades. The series touches on themes such as poverty, race, social status, familial bonds and the cost of stardom. This new season sees the four engage with a wildly different culture while on a musical tour in Europe. The first three episodes are nothing short of outstanding, excelling at the series’ signature surrealism and sharp social commentary. The season kicks off with a haunting standalone tale loosely based on the real-life story of Devonte Hart, a black teenager murdered by his adoptive white mother. While the series basks in the bizarre, it maintains healthy doses of harsh reality and satirical humor. It might be nearly four years since “Atlanta” last aired, but its timeliness and elegant genius makes it worth the watch.