REVIEW: Last Christmas

The new romantic drama Last Christmas gives a 2019 twist to a classic Hallmark Holiday movie. The movie takes place in modern London and captures the life of a seemingly distressed young adult named Katarina.

The story begins with a down on her luck Katarina after being kicked off of couch after couch. She is forced to find a place to stay at night after working her full-time job as an elf at a Christmas shop ran by a Chinese motherly figure who goes by the alias “Santa.” Katarina, or as she likes to be called, Kate, stumbles upon a seemingly lonely man with an optimistic outlook on the world around him. Tom Webster becomes an outlet for Kate’s stress and struggle with her life.

As the movie unfolds, you begin to hear a lot about the illness that Katarina previously faced that comes up in most conversations with her and her estranged family. But as Katarina becomes less and less financially stable and faces homelessness, she is forced to rely on this family for support.

The movie seems to unpack a lot of different stories and doesn’t nearly begin to complete the narrative of most of them. Her family immigrated from Yugoslavia and with a mother who is caught up on the nationalist sentiment from the Brits, Kate and her sister find it hard to connect with their mom. In addition to her interesting family dynamic, Kate’s sister is also battling with her sexual identity and revealing her girlfriend to the family.

As stated before, none of these different character plots ever seem to come to a definitive end. A huge plot twist at the end leads to some lingering questions for viewers who want to see things work out for Kate, Tom, and her family. Last Christmas is a tear-jerker with a bit of romance that hopes to fulfill some Christmas dreams for its viewers. It’s worth a light-hearted watch.

REVIEW: DisEducated

A musical that captures the anxieties of being a college student, while also making you laugh. Blank Space Workshop’s presentation of Diseducated took place this past Friday and was a privilege to watch. Blank Space Workshop is in their second year here at Michigan and provides a space for developing shows to be workshopped, re-worked, and staged in a short period of time. 

The plot centered around a college English Literature 101 class, in the struggling english department of a struggling university. The english class is taught by the Professor Whitley, a distinguished scholar, holder of two doctorate degrees, and a world-renowned singer/songwriter. Well, sort of. Whitley has never read any of the books he’s teaching, and his titles are decently illegitimate, which becomes evident almost immediately to our main character Beatrice. Beatrice is a fan of classic literature and finds concern in Whitley’s unorthodox teaching methods. To highlight, the class is taught a song about grapes, instead of reading Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. The class has been drinking tequila, to really understand the classic “Tequila Mockingbird.” Whitley prefers to fake it until he makes it, asserting that a lot of people today aren’t as well-read or as well-rounded as they make themselves out to be. Our protagonist is forced out of her comfort zone, and finds herself taking charge of her deteriorating academic situation. 

 The Cast of DisEducated

The performance was staged in a large classroom in the Walgreen Drama Center, the perfect ambiance for the musical. The audience sat in our orange desks with chairs attached, reminding us of the feeling of sitting in a class that just isn’t right for you- just like Beatrice. The show’s music touched on issues such as Tinder (and Grindr) culture, beefing up your resume, and most interestingly the frustrating differences between GenZ students and the adults tasked with teaching them. Every lyric was relatable, and tastefully forced us to laugh at ourselves. 

The show raised questions about how we see education. Are you reading Steinbeck, or are you pretending that you have for your colleagues? Does it really matter if you have? Is it shameful to enjoy GenZ delights such as multitasking and swiping right? Most importantly, the show was enjoyable. The writing is peppered with clever nods at what it’s like to be our age, like opening the show with a Nick Colleti vine reference. Everyone in the room was having fun, whether they were laughing at GenZ or Baby Boomer critiques. 

A huge congrats to the show’s writers Sammy Sussman and Allie Taylor.