Some good movies and books according to Andrew Zacks

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Look at you, well, you can’t look at you, but everyone else is. Don’t look now. You like good things, you must, I mean, just look at you. So then, let’s talk good things. We could all use more of them.

Throw a stone and you’ll hit a good book. This campus is teeming with them. With that in mind, I’ll only shove a few down your throat. We could start chronologically, but that’s garbage, especially since there were no good American writers until Mark Twain (screw you, Nathaniel Hawthorne), and yes, some of the best reads come internationally, but keeping to America automatically drains part of the massive pool. The first is a basket full of metaphors set on fire: The Catcher in the Rye by the only author who never wants to hear his own name, J.D. Salinger. The best coming of age, not coming of age story out there. Sure, not much happens, but that certainly doesn’t mean nothing changes. You’ll want to walk around Manhattan at 3 AM afterwards and drink extra dry (virgin like Mary) martinis with someone in a hurry. There is too much to say about Catcher, just go get it. The next is up to you: do you want to read another one lacking in action but rich in writing, or something a little more swashbuckling? For the former pretty much anything anyone calls a must-read will do, except for Thomas Mann, due to ever so slight pedophilic undertones, can’t ever trust the classics. Go for The Sun Also Rises, situated in Catalonian trout rivers and throwing more Spanish bullfighting slang at you than you ever wanted, or The Rules of Civility, which peeks into the hauteur of the 1930’s New York élite, or maybe even Ulysses, even though Joyce is not American, if you want to spend the first half of the book learning Irish vernacular, which is less a language and more the physical embodiment of the spit that flies everywhere during a pointless palaver. If you want a real page turner or something that’ll hit you where it hurts, either a) read only at 4 in the morning and get weirdly attached to characters in John Green books, or b) read Harry Potter or something else that could inspire you to post some Dumbledorean quote on Instagram. During and after reading, make sure to tell everyone around you how good whatever you just read was, and be certain they know you read. This step is essential to truly enjoying a book.

Alright, you’re now burned out. You read all night and cried your eyes out when Augustus dies, and you just want some cheap instant gratification. Too bad! It’s the 21st century, entertainment is pain! Here you will find some TV shows and movies to make it all the worse. In the event that someone around you quotes from the hit NBC show “The Office,” make sure to ask them extremely obscure trivia to assert dominance. You cannot watch television without this. If it’s suspense and mystery you’re after, “Sherlock,” perhaps the best-produced and most cinematographically innovative show out there, is the way to go. For the laughs, pick your poison. Go mainstream and watch “Rick and Morty” to further increase pretension, or perhaps “This is Us,” and react emotionally when they win an Emmy, the only award also available to high school students (congrats WCAT). To sound “woke,” watch (and accidentally end up enjoying) “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu. Movies are a different animal. There are no safe bets beyond Christopher Nolan and every installment of Air Bud. Try on something Wes Anderson for size, such as Moonrise Kingdom, or the critically acclaimed Grand Budapest Hotel to see modern filmmaking at its best, then throw it back to Stanley Kubrick or Martin Scorsese, like Eyes Wide Shut with a very confused Tom Cruise, or Taxi Driver (you talkin’ to me?). Take other people to watch movies at the theater, then watch them watch the movie while licking your lips. Great test of friendship and movie quality if they don’t up and leave.

You’ve stared at enough screens, and are oh so tired of pesky images polluting your experience. What are you going to do but play some music, after all you still need constant and violent stimulation. Well, I guess you could listen to a podcast, but you, reader, don’t hate yourself that much. I do, though, so maybe try “Lore,” or any of the history ones. As for music, the pinnacle of opinion, I have no business to recommend anything. My taste likens itself to Andrew Zimmer on “Bizarre Foods,”; you know, the whole “if it looks good, eat it!” But it never looks good and usually sounds worse, is how the unbiased viewer speaks of my playlists. So maybe listen to Brockhampton, or the Lemon Twigs or some greasy British dream-pop garbage some game show host called the Beatles. They’re all pretty good, or so I’ve been told, the rock I live under doesn’t allow for many sounds.

Guess what, reader? You counted the pages wrong and ended up in the “opinions” section, and it took you 800 words to figure out! How cool is this, us here together? Since I get to marinate in my own opinions, I guess I’ll just give you more of them. Is it just me, or are sports fundamentally weird, like, we are somehow repressing animal instincts and basic aggression and channeling it into something almost as soul-crushing, and then use them to rally around? Maybe my pee-wee baseball coach yelling “RIP THEIR HEADS OFF” didn’t help. Can I be outraged by the fact that not all keyboards, even today, are QWERTY? Is anyone else fundamentally against the entire state of Florida? Also, what is a porpoise? I’m thinking it’s a small whale as opposed to a large dolphin. These are some of my opinions, and also a question for anyone well versed in Cetology.

This frankly trivial tangent is to say only that arguments about two opposing opinions are nearly always pointless, and can never really be founded in facts or objectivity. They end in a majority mocking a minority, or fiercer loyalty to the original idea. I think I don’t care what you think, and it may be worth asking, but not challenging, because people’s predilections and interests are the definition of personal and often vulnerable. Read those books though, because I know what I’m talking about because I wrote this article.

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