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Anna’s top entertainment picks of 2023

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Anna Maxwell writes about her favorite watches, reads and listens from her year.

This year has been filled with many exciting new entertainment opportunities. However, students will soon be leaving JCU for the winter and entering 2024. Before the fall semester ends and the spring semester takes off, students will be catching up on all of the missed movies, books, TV shows and more before returning to campus. Here are some of my top picks from 2023:

Movies:

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (2023) is the sequel to “Into the Spiderverse,” released in 2018. Across the Spider-Verse” follows Miles Morales and his experiences as Spider-Man following the trials he faced in the first installment of the series. The animation was beautiful, the characters were dynamic, the action was interesting and this movie left me wanting to see more with its cliffhanger. A third movie will be released and it will pick up where this left off. Be sure to go put it on your watchlist for 2024. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” (2023) follows Aristotle Mendoza and his best friend, Dante Quintana, as they go through a year with each other while living in El Paso, TX. The boys discover the universe while also discovering themselves. This movie is based on the famous book written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz which was released in 2012. I enjoyed the flow of this movie, as it included all of the essential elements of Aristotle and Dante’s storyline. The lost elements many book adaptations suffer from did not hinder this movie from being a successful and enjoyable adaptation. 

Barbie” (2023) was a favorite movie of mine from this year. Margot Robbie and the rest of the cast took viewers through a wonderful, enlightening story about Barbies and real-world issues regarding gender roles in society. As many have heard of and/or watched this movie, I feel that it is rather self-explanatory as to why it made my list. If you have not seen this film, I suggest sitting down in your pinkest outfit and enjoying watching Robbie and Ryan Gosling “Dance the Night Away” in this film. 

Books:

“The Guest List” (2020) by Lucy Foley is a mystery-thriller book about a wedding on a deserted island. However, the guests all have secrets and, when the groom is killed, they have to uncover the truth without exposing themselves. I felt this book paid homage to Agatha Christie’s famous “And Then There Were None,” with an island holding a killer in its midst. Foley toggled between the past and present and she kept me guessing until the very end. If you love mystery books, this should be next on your list. 

“The Flatshare” (2019) by Beth O’Leary is a romance book that follows Tiffy and Leon as they share a flat in London. Tiffy has barely gotten over a breakup and needs to quickly find a new home. Thankfully, Leon is willing to open his flat to Tiffy, as she works the day shift and he works during the night. As they cohabit, they begin to communicate through Post-Its and one by one learn more about each other. This book was charismatic and cute and I finished it in less than a week. Tiffy and Leon stole my heart and, if you read this pick, I’m sure the same will happen to you.  

“Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World” (2021) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a coming-of-age novel and the much-anticipated sequel to “…Discover the Secrets of the Universe.” Ari and Dante are adjusting to their senior year of high school as they try to make friends and connect with each other on a deeper level. This book was phenomenal and it perfectly encapsulates Ari and Dante’s journeys together and apart as well. Sáenz took 11 years to write this book and every word was worth the wait. 

Top Music Artists:

1. Lawrence

Lawrence is an R&B/soul group that has been releasing music since 2016. I began listening to their music in 2022. They have a unique sound that is really enjoyable to listen to, especially while getting ready for classes while walking across campus. 

2. Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is a well-known rap artist who won a Grammy for his last album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” and has an incredible musical ability that is shown throughout his multiple albums and songs. 

3. Jonas Brothers

This group was an odd one to be in my top three, however, I went to their concert this fall and really enjoyed their music. I do think their two most recent albums are the best I’ve heard from them and they are a fun group to listen to when you want to hype yourself up.

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About the Contributor
Anna Maxwell, Arts and Life Editor
Anna Maxwell is the Arts and Life Editor for the Carroll News from Ashtabula, Ohio. She is a Freshman at John Carroll University who is an Undecided major. Anna has been writing for the Carroll News since the fall of 2023! In addition to writing for the Carroll News, she is also an Honors student here at John Carroll, and she is excited to continue writing in the years to come! When not writing, Anna can be found reading a new book, or binge-watching her favorite Netflix shows! She can also be found spending time with her friends and participating in events around campus! In the future, Anna aspires to become a writer of fiction novels, and also an editor for a well-known publishing company! To contact Anna, email her at [email protected].

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