Culture Trip Week 4: Love is in the Air (daa da da daa da da)

The recommendations are in to accompany every plan for Valentine’s week

Week Four has just begun and soon Valentine’s celebrations will follow. Whether you are celebrating with your significant other, with your friends, or you’re taking yourself out to dinner, here are the week’s recommendations to accompany any occasion.

It was only yesterday I was discussing my Valentine’s day plans, and was told how sad it was the three dates I had lined up were all platonic. I would go sit in the shower and cry if it didn’t mean I would be getting free flowers and chocolate. This will be the main driver getting me through the next week, as I already know my promise to stop going out and work instead will be broken by tomorrow. Valentine’s BOP anyone?

Film – 17 Again and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

I begin this week with a split decision. Two different feels for such a romantic – sometimes teetering on cringe-worthy – celebration. Having to choose between so many romances and romantic comedies was difficult, so I narrowed my search to one leading man – Zac Efron. Therefore, we settle on his two greatest movies about love and relationships. 

’17 Again’ sits high amongst my favourite romcoms, as its fresh, meta take on its own genre surprised me when I first watched it. Constantly drawing comparisons from similar body-switching, wishful thinking and spirit guide movies, the message of the movie was not about getting a second chance to fix mistakes, but instead to realise that our choices – and mistakes – are what makes us who we are.

Moving past the cheesy side of things, the actors are hilarious and the comedic timing is on point. The movie mocks itself, yet also delivers heart and emotion whilst you wonder how Zac Efron could possibly grow up to look like Chandler. On the other hand, for any HSM fans, it could be seen as a progression of Troy Bolton’s story arc after his basketball career… 

The parallels… (Image credits: Screencap of ’17 Again’, taken by Michelle Crees)

Changing the mood ever so slightly, ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ is a biographical story about the serial killer, Ted Bundy. Unravelling the series of events leading up to and surrounding the first ever broadcasted murder trial, the consistent tension will have you glued to the screen. The dual personality of a seemingly loving partner – and brutal killer – is perfectly portrayed by Efron’s critically acclaimed performance. His charm encapsulates the cult following that Bundy attracted, from viewers who were unfazed by the crimes he was accused of. It is a great choice to remind yourself of the dangers of dating, especially on this romantic day. 

TV Show – Pam and Tommy 

Releasing weekly on Disney+, the episodes are an adapted story of ‘Baywatch’ star Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. It specifically hones in on the resultant fallout after their private sex tape is stolen and leaked to the internet in the 1990s. Seen as the world’s first viral video, the whirlwind story follows both Pam and Tommy’s erratic relationship, along with their disgruntled carpenter who simultaneously seeks revenge.

The cast is unrecognisable. Pam is played by Lily James whose accuracy in her performance will have you constantly doubting that it’s the same person who plays young Donna from ‘Mamma Mia.’ Tommy’s insane energy is perfectly captured by my favourite actor (and favourite person) Sebastian Stan, along with a revengeful Seth Rogen and Nick Offerman. 

Who is the real Pam and Tommy? (Image credits: Screencap from ‘Pam and Tommy’, taken by Michelle Crees)

The show perfectly narrates the ups and downs of a rushed relationship that can be, rather surprisingly, compared to the classic college marriage. First, the initial meeting, then the sudden marriage proposal, and the quick agreements to it without thinking about consequences. This is followed by the honeymoon phase – the joy of knowing you have finally settled into a college marriage, all ready for formals. Before you know it, your own kids are arriving next year, and after meeting back up with your partner post-break, you realise that you have absolutely nothing in common with them… 

Album – Planet Her

So many great hits (Image credits: Screencap of Spotify, taken by Michelle Crees)

Nominated currently for two Grammys, Doja Cat’s third album is an amazing empowerment soundtrack for taking the next week in full stride. Each song has an incredible beat combining pop and R&B to fit with both your morning cycle to lectures and getting ready for the night out. With Kiss Me More”, “Woman”, and You Right regularly playing at every Wednesday Rumboogie, the album is a must-listen. 

Book – Pride and Prejudice 

Go watch the show on Netflix too, it is worth it (image credits: Screencap of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, taken by Michelle Crees)

Ending the recommendations with one of the most classic love stories out there, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ may be a common GCSE text – but it is for a reason. Inspiring such iconic adaptations as ‘Bridget Jones’ or even ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’, the enemies-to-lovers story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy is beautifully written to the point I have pages of it memorised by heart. Even though the book version of it does not have Colin Firth coming out a lake, its loveable characters and its gradually revealing plot are definitely worth the time. Initially supposed to be named ‘First Impressions’, the message to not judge others hastily hopefully will keep you open-minded for any Valentine’s parties. 

Feature image credits: Wikimedia Commons and the Creative Commons License 

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