by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.
ALNM rec: I had the chance to watch this heartwarming film on the plane last week and finally understand why Disney fans are raving about it. The story of Miguel Rivera and his family is nothing short of fantastical with a trip into the Land of the Dead where he meets so many different characters from his past. This movie gives you all the feels and helps you to remember those who you’ve lost in a way that will honor their memory forever.
Coco is now available to purchase or rent wherever movies are sold.
by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: Season 1 focuses on Ryan Atwood's arrival in Newport Beach to live with Sandy and Kirsten Cohen, who take him in after his mother kicks him out. A major theme of the first season is the culture shock Ryan feels as he adjusts from a life of domestic abuse and poverty to living in a superficial high-class society. He quickly befriends and bonds with Seth Cohen, and begins to have a romantic relationship with Marissa Cooper. Although coming from very different backgrounds, Ryan soon discovers that he deals with similar issues to his new peers, such as self-identity conflict and familial alienation. The relationship between Ryan and Marissa flourishes when he supports her through her parents' divorce. As the show progresses, Ryan takes a very protective role over Marissa, showing Ryan to be a much more stable, controlled person than originally portrayed. Other storylines include Seth's development from a friendless loner to having two romantic choices in Summer and Anna, as well as the arrivals of Oliver Trask, a troubled teen who befriends Marissa during their coinciding therapy sessions, and Theresa Diaz, Ryan's close friend and former love interest from his hometown of Chino. Meanwhile, Sandy Cohen frequently comes into conflict with Caleb Nichol, Kirsten's father and a wealthy industrialist who is said to "basically own Newport."
The second season of The O.C. continues to follow the tumultuous romantic relationships between Ryan and Marissa, Seth and Summer, and Sandy and Kirsten. Josh Schwartz, the show's creator, stated that in Season 2, the show would "no longer be about Ryan's past; now it's going to be about Ryan's future," and that this season would "slow down the storytelling a little bit ... and evolve the characters." For example, the story closely follows Ryan in his advanced physics class, where tension is created between him and another student, Lindsay, who presumes that Ryan will be useless as a lab partner, who thus prevents him from contributing to the work that must be submitted. Ryan's character begins to grow when he stands up to Lindsay and convinces her to allow him to contribute, forcing them to work together to complete the assignment. They later become involved romantically, creating extreme complications and relational shifts amongst the now "Cooper-Nichol" family. The Bait Shop becomes a prominent social destination for the teenage characters. A number of recurring characters are introduced, such as D.J., Lindsay Gardner, Zach Stevens, and Alex Kelly, with whom the main characters form a variety of relationships. Ryan's brother, Trey Atwood, gets out of jail and threatens to bring Ryan's old life into his new one. Sandy and Kirsten also face new conflicts after drifting apart during the summer. Season 2 ends with Marissa shooting Trey after Ryan confronts him for attempting to sexually assault Marissa.
Season 3 creates many dynamic changes with regards to relationships and power within the characters' society. Firstly, Marissa is expelled from the Harbor School. The Cooper family, left with little money, is forced to move into a trailer park. Julie Cooper-Nichol, once one of the richest women in all of Newport, struggles to put food on the table for her daughters. Marissa's life begins to spiral out of control, as she struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as dealing with the loss of her close friend Johnny. Similarly, Kirsten confronts her alcohol addiction and eventually leaves rehab, only to encounter more problems when she begins business with a con artist. The other characters look towards college, with Seth and Summer competing for a spot at Brown University. Sandy's moral compass becomes imperiled when a past love interest makes her way back into his life, and he takes over Caleb's old position as head of The Newport Group, pursuing a project to establish more low-income housing in Newport. Ryan also attempts to resolve his individual relationships with his mother, and with his childhood friend Theresa Diaz. He also pursues the idea of a post-secondary education, with encouragement from both Sandy and Kirsten to visit Berkeley. Ryan's life is quickly put on hold when, in the season 3 finale, Ryan decides to drive Marissa to the airport, and they are run off the road by Kevin Volchok, Marissa's most recent love affair gone wrong. In the last few minutes of the episode, Ryan pulls Marissa out from the burning car, only to watch her die in his arms.
The fourth and final season begins five months after Marissa's death in the car accident. Ryan starts the season in isolation as a broken, grieving man, seeking revenge on Volchok. With the help of Julie, both she and Ryan are able to track Volchok down in Mexico, and turn him into federal officials. The continued love of the Cohen family and the company of the eccentric Taylor Townsend guide him back to the light. Meanwhile, Seth and Summer face the problems of a long distance relationship as Summer leaves to attend college. The first half of the season focuses on the characters accepting the reality of Marissa's death. The second half focuses on the characters "finding themselves" while facing myriad identity crises. This final season contains multiple surprises, such as a new addition to the Cohen family, a visit to an alternate universe in which Sandy becomes mayor, and a natural disaster that leaves Newport devastated.
ALNM rec:. Being from Orange County myself, The OC was met with some hesitation from other Newport Beach residents when it first premiered in 2003. However, around the globe, it was met with much success. Though I chose to ignore the first two seasons, in the third season, I became hooked and quickly binged the previous episodes. The show was recently added to Hulu, making it the only streaming service to offer the teen drama and many have binged the show in its entirety. I’m currently rewatching the show and must admit, it’s quite nice to watch it without having to change the DVD discs every four episodes. Though this show is soapy and over the top, it’s by the same creator as Gossip Girl and is highly entertaining.
The Artist: Jason Mraz
The Song: "Sleeping to Dream"
Why you recommend it to our listeners: This has been my favorite Jason Mraz song, and one of my favorite overall songs, for almost twenty years now. This first studio recording of "Sleeping to Dream" is featured on his latest album: Know.
Official summary: BuzzFeed Unsolved follows Ryan Bergara and co-host Shane Madej, who discuss unsolved crimes, haunted places, demonic possessions, and historical occurrences that defy explanation, presenting them and the theories that surround them in a dark, yet comedic manner.
ALNM rec: I've developed more of an affection for podcasts and online series lately, and this is one of my favorites. The cases, both true crime and supernatural themed, are truly interesting and the banter between Ryan and Shane often leave me wheezing. Episodes are typically under half an hour long, making them perfect for your lunch break or while you're getting ready in the morning. But I wouldn't recommend watching too many later at night.
Official summary: Created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman for CBS All Access, the story of "Star Trek: Discovery" begins roughly a decade before Captain Kirk's five-year mission -- as portrayed in the original "Star Trek" from the 1960s -- and a century before the events of "Star Trek: Enterprise." The series follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they encounter new worlds and civilizations, delving into familiar themes and expanding upon an incident that has been talked about within the franchise's universe, but never fully explored.
ALNM rec: I have always loved Star Trek. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager every week and recording the newest episodes on VHS when I couldn't stay up that late. This latest Star Trek is an excellent addition to the franchise. Discovery exists in the "prime" universe. Basically, go into watching this imagining the JJ Abrams movies have never happened. In terms of timeline, this series is almost a century after Enterprise and a decade before the original series. But this show also breaks ground with the first non-captain lead, first gay characters, and even the first f-bomb in the franchise. It remains true to the franchise in terms of its willingness to explore complex problems with a sci-fi twists. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot twists in this season, and the final scene of the last episode have me very excited for the coming season.
Hey everyone! Sorry, real life's been pretty crazy lately. But we hope to have some awesome new articles and podcasts coming to you soon! I've been enjoying some other podcasts while commuting to and from work and wanted to share them with you. In no particular order with official summaries:
The Artist: Shawn Mendes ft. Khalid
The Song: "Youth"
Why you recommend it to our listeners: I have been listening to this song ever since it popped up on my Spotify account. But the version performed at the Billboard Music Awards with The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Show Choir definitely made me tear up a little. Check it out below!
by Kelly Lee
The Artist: Barrett Wilbert Weed, Erika Henningsen, and the cast of Mean Girls on Broadway
The Song: "Apex Predator"
Where you heard it first: In my excitement for one of my all-time favorite movies to be made into a Broadway musical, I pre-ordered the original Broadway cast recording of Mean Girls and was not disappointed when this song was automatically downloaded to my iTunes this past week.
Why it’s been stuck in your head: Leading the Tonys with 12 nominations including Best Musical, Mean Girls is sure to be as big of a hit on Broadway as it was on the big screen. With the book by original screenwriter Tina Fey (my idol) and music by her talented husband Jeff Richmond, the cast of virtual unknowns has already proved that they are worthy of those nominations. In this song, artist and outsider Janis explains to new transfer student Cady why Regina George is the top of the high school food chain as Cady likens it to the animals she is so familiar with from her home in sub-Saharan Africa. The lyrics are catchy and the choreography is hilarious. You’re sure to enjoy this new song from the brand-new musical.
Why you recommend it to our listeners: If you’re as big of a fan of Broadway as these two co-hosts, you will not be disappointed with this.
by Kelly Lee
Official Summary: After witnessing his mother’s supernatural murder, Barry Allen is taken in by Detective Joe West and his family. Barry becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. A particle accelerator malfunctions, bathing the city center with a radiation during a thunderstorm, and Barry is struck by lightning. Awakening after a coma, he discovers he can move at superhuman speeds. Harrison Wells, the accelerator’s designer, describes Barry’s nature as “metahuman”. Barry vows to use his gifts to protect Central City. As The Flash, Barry also pursues his mother’s murderer, The Reverse-Flash.
In the second season, after a singularity event, The Flash is recognized as Central City’s hero. However, the event brings a new threat from a parallel earth: Zoom, a demonic speedster who seeks to eliminate all speedsters throughout the multiverse. Harrison Wells’ parallel universe counterpart nicknamed “Harry,” and his daughter Jesse, work to help Barry stop Zoom and explore the multiverse. Joe and his daughter, Iris, struggle with the arrival of Iris’ brother Wally West. After Zoom kills Barry’s father, Barry travels back in time to save his mother’s life.
By changing his past, Barry alters the timeline, resulting in “Flashpoint”. Though he is somewhat able to restore the timeline, this creates new threats, including Savitar. After Harry and Jesse return to Earth-2, another Wells doppelganger is recruited: the novelist “H.R” Wells. Both Wally and Caitlin Snow begin to manifest metahuman abilities; Wally suits up as the speedster Kid Flash, while Caitlin is forced to suppress her ice-powers to prevent becoming Killer Frost. When Barry accidentally travels to the future and sees Iris killed by Savitar, he is desperate to change the future to prevent that from happening. After saving Iris and defeating Savitar, Barry takes his place in the Speed Force.
In the months since Barry left, Wally and Cisco have barely been able to protect Central City. When a new foe defeats them easily, requesting a battle against The Flash, the team decides to bring Barry back. While they manage to do so, Barry’s return releases Dark Matter, turning a dozen people on a city bus into metahumans. One of these metahumans is private detective Ralph Dibney, who joins Team Flash. While Barry and Iris prepare for their wedding, the team realize that Barry’s arrival and the creation of the bus metahumans were orchestrated by The Thinker.
ALNM rec:. The Flash is the first spinoff from the Arrow-verse created by Greg Berlanti and, in my humble opinion, is the best so far. Though I started out watching Arrow, I have come to find hat The Flash just holds my attention much more. With an amazing cast including Grant Gustin of Glee, Carlos Valdes of internet famous troupe Starkid Productions and Broadway legend Jesse L. Martin, it’s hard to deny the all-star power that it packs. Not only that, but the characters are all people that you can relate to on a human-level in some way. They have even had some great guest stars over the last few seasons including Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Darren Criss (Glee, Starkid Productions), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), just to name a few. I recently suggested this to my sister who wanted something “upbeat” to watch on Netflix. It’s the perfect show for comic book nerds and non-nerds alike. I highly recommend it!
The Flash is available to stream from the beginning on Netflix.
The Artist: Aaron Tveit
The Song: "Come What May" from the Moulin Rouge the stage musical
Why you recommend it to our listeners: I've been excited for this show ever since it was announced, and I started freaking out even more when the casting of Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit. Check out our first glimpse below.