“From the The Driftwood, a student-centered e-newsletter created by the students in Professor Tracy Fernandez Rysavy’s Practicum in Literary Publishing class. The Driftwood goes out to the Marinette campus every two weeks, and you can find it online at https://blog.uwgb.edu/driftwood/.”
Stymied by all the in-home movie options while you’re social distancing? We’ve got you! Here are some of The Driftwood’s favorites for beating away boredom.
A look back at movies we loved as kids, which still hold up for a nostalgia-watch today.
A Cinderella Story: After Samantha Montgomery’s adoring father dies, her greedy stepmother and vain stepsisters do their best to make her life miserable, forcing her to do lowly jobs at the family diner and wait on them hand and foot. The California teen finds comfort in her dreams of attending college at Princeton and by communicating with her secret online pen-pal. Although Sam is stunned when “Nomad” turns out to be Austin Ames—her school’s handsome, charismatic, popular quarterback—the pair shares an intimate waltz at the Halloween dance before Sam rushes away without telling him her name, accidentally leaving behind her cell phone as the only clue. Can Austin find the beautiful, mysterious, enchanting girl he calls “Cinderella”? Or, as Sam fears, will his attraction towards her fade once he learns her true identity? There are five modern-day retellings in the A Cinderella Story series; this one is the first, and in my opinion, the best! Featuring Gen-Z heartthrobs Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, this 2004 film is one of those classic rom-coms that never loses its charm, regardless of how many times I watch it. With its swoon-worthy romantic drama and happy fairy-tale ending, A Cinderella Story offers viewers the same type of magic found in Disney’s original Cinderella. No matter how old I get, this movie will always be one of my favorite childhood throwbacks to rewatch over and over again! Available free on YouTube Movies.
—Mallory Allen, Movies Editor
Mr. Nobody: Mr. Nobody is a film from 2009 by director Jaco Van Dormael, telling the life’s story of an old man through his aging mind. This film is quite interesting, as it weaves and bobs between three different timelines that may or may not be real at all. It is quite a trip to watch, but this was the first time as a young adult I felt challenged by a film as it spins its story and changes it just as soon as you think you understand. It is not only a beautifully shot film, but one that ever since childhood I find myself going back to over and over again. Check it out on Amazon Prime or anywhere else movies are able to stream.
Looking for a page-turner while you’re social distancing? Our Driftwood staff provides some of our favorite light reading picks to pass the time while cooped up at home.
Pushing the Limits Series
by Katie McGarry
Dysfunctional home lives and chance foster care placements brought Kentucky teens Noah, Isaiah, and Beth together; they’ve forged a bond so tight that they’ve become family. On the outside, the members of this trio are tough, independent, battle-tested teenagers…yet, what they hide from the rest of the world is how broken they really are—haunted by heartbreaking and dangerous demons, both past and present. These YA romance books by Katie McGarry have been some of my all-time favorites for many years! If they sound like they’re up your alley, you can read them either in order as a series or as standalones.
- Book #1: Pushing the Limits: Noah Hutchins used to be the golden boy, but after losing his parents in a house fire, being separated from his two young brothers, and bouncing around the foster care system, the perfect existence he once had is nothing more than a distant memory. Echo Emerson’s idyllic life ceased to exist once her beloved older brother died in Afghanistan, her parents’ marriage fell apart, and one of her mother’s bipolar episodes nearly resulted in her killing her own daughter. The school’s “Bad Boy” and “Miss Popular” are an unlikely team, but in order for Noah to get custody of his siblings and for Echo to unravel the mystery of what happened on that fateful night she nearly died, they must work together…and maybe they’ll even fall in love along the way.
- Book #2: Dare You To: Growing up in a trailer park with her father in prison and a drug-addicted alcoholic as a mother, Beth Risk’s life has been the furthest thing from easy. Then, at the beginning of her senior year, she’s forced to transfer schools and move in with her rich, estranged uncle and his snide wife. Ryan Stone appears to have it all—money, good looks, and a real talent for playing baseball—but his family has lots of secrets, and they aren’t as perfect as everyone thinks. Although Ryan and Beth initially can’t stand each other, what begins as a simple dare slowly morphs into an improbable friendship and, eventually, a burning attraction neither can ignore. But when Beth’s troublesome past continues to plague the new, happy life she’s built, she and Ryan will have to find out if love can truly conquer all.
- Book #3: Crash Into You: With his tattoos, piercings, and don’t-mess-with-me-or-else attitude, Isaiah Walker looks the part of the parentless foster care kid who grew up on the streets. Rachel Young is a beautiful heiress, and everything her older sister isn’t: painfully shy, a tomboy, but most importantly, still alive. All Rachel’s parents and four big brothers want is for her to make speeches on Colleen’s behalf about curing cancer, and she agrees…even if it means hiding the severe panic attacks that occur as a result. A shared passion for fast cars and street racing leads to a brief encounter between Isaiah and Rachel, but what happens that night puts both their lives in jeopardy, and the pair has just six weeks to come up with a way to pay off a dangerous, maniacal street thug seeking revenge. Will this star-crossed love affair between the “perfect” girl and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks end in tragedy or happily ever after?
Then She Was Gone
by Lisa Jewell
Ten years ago, Laurel’s golden child, Ellie, mysteriously disappeared without a trace. The police came to the conclusion that Ellie simply ran away, but Laurel thought differently—and she still does even a decade later. When Laurel starts dating the charming Floyd, she thinks she might be able to finally move on from her daughter’s disappearance. But then she meets Floyd’s daughter, Polly, who looks startling like her precious Ellie, and Laurel wonders if there is more to Ellie’s disappearance to uncover. I’ve reread this book several times, and it remains one of my favorites still. Lisa Jewell writes the “disappearance-with-a-twist” trope well, without being cliché or too predictable. One of the things I love best about this book is that it’s clear what happened to Ellie, but the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are not. If you’re a fan of Gone Girl, I can’t recommend this book enough!
—Olivia Meyer, Books Editor
Indie Album Picks
These indie picks are sure to pique your interest as we bring you the albums that make us smile and inspire us—and that not a lot of people know very well.
One of my all-time favorite albums is Lorde’s 2017 album, Melodrama. Despite this album being almost four years old, and since we’re still waiting on Lorde to release new music, I continuously find myself returning to Melodrama for its intricate rhythms and unique songwriting. Lorde proves that truly good music can withstand time. On “Homemade Dynamite,” Lorde uses an explosive metaphor to describe meeting someone for the first time. The track “Supercut” feels like something straight out of a teen coming-of-age movie. This album only produced one single, “Green Light,” but I’d encourage new listeners to give the whole album a try and see how talented Lorde is as a songwriter.
Favorite tracks: “Writer in the Dark” and “Sober”
by Weather Report
Heavy Weather by Weather Report is a legendary album in the jazz genre. It is a staple for any jazz listener and for good reason. The artists that make up Weather Report felt the need to change up what jazz can sound like, using older jazz techniques as well as new electronics of the time to create a sound no one had heard before. Every tune is jam worthy, yet a marvel to listen to as you discover a new sound every time you listen.
Favorite track: “Birdland”
—Sydney Sebert, Music Editor