Happily “Never” After

by Madelyn Young '25 on November 4, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

A beloved book series comes to life

In May of 2013, the first book in the School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani was released. After nine years, it has become one of the most popular young adult novels, has had five additional installments to the series, and most recently, has been turned into a Netflix original film. In only the first week of its release, it became the No. 1 most-watched film on Netflix in 93 countries.

The film follows the story of best friends Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) who get swept away from their provincial town to the School for Good and Evil, two magical institutions that train the heroes and villains of famous fairy tales. When Sophie gets placed in the School for Evil and Agatha in the School for Good, their ideas of what it means to be good and evil are challenged as they make history in the fairytale world. 

While the book was originally intended for younger teen audiences, the series was released over a span of several years; the last book made its debut in 2020. Because of this, most of the original audience grew up with the books. Chainani’s characters and storylines seemed to mature through the years, which greatly expanded the fanbase leading up to the release of the film. The movie covers the story of the first book only, and with its immediate success, it is likely that more of the series will be adapted into movie form. 

The cast and crew of The School for Good and Evil boast a vast array of incredible talents. The movie is directed by Paul Feig, who is known for his work on Bridesmaids and The Office. The leading role of Sophie is played by Sophia Anne Caruso, who is best known for her Broadway role as Lydia in the musical Beetlejuice. Her co-lead, Sofia Wylie, became famous for her role on Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Other main roles are played by Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Michelle Yeoh, and Cate Blanchett. Each of the actors truly embody their characters, bringing the book series to life in a creative yet accurate way. 

The cast is not the only remarkable part of the movie, however. Given the whimsical and imaginative world that Chainani created in his book series, it is only expected that the film would follow suit in delivering this aesthetic to fans. The movie did not disappoint. Everything from the sets of the schools to the filming location (Northern Ireland), to the soundtrack was extremely detailed and clearly well thought-out. Feig even noted that they limited the use of CGI, opting to film most scenes live-action in order to make the movie feel as realistic as possible. One stand-out example of the level of detail is the different costumes used throughout the movie. They not only reflect the differences between the two schools but transform with the characters as they learn and grow. 

In an interview with Kelly Clarkson, Chainani talks about the point of his story and how it carries through into the movie. “We grew up being told that if you’re good, then you will have a happy ending…We can’t be good or pure evil. We’re somewhere in between.” While this message has already been present in his work for years, The School for Good and Evil movie is sure to leave audiences questioning what they think they know about good and evil. 

Passing the Medallion

by Liz Keating '24 on November 4, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Liam Hemsworth set to replace Henry Cavill in Season 4 of Netflix’s hit show, The Witcher

This past Saturday, Netflix announced that a new actor will play Geralt of Rivia in the fourth season of The Witcher, stating that Liam Hemsworth will take the place of Henry Cavill in the fantasy series after three seasons. The third season is expected to air in the summer of 2023. In addition, the four-part prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin will debut on Netflix on Dec. 25 and will feature Sophia Brown, Laurence O’Fuarain, and Michelle Yeoh. Henry Cavill’s stoic but charming portrayal of the white-haired witcher himself, Geralt, was praised by many when Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the Witcher books premiered in 2019. Since then, The Witcher has grown into a full-fledged Netflix franchise, spawning additional seasons, anime prequels, films, and even a kid-friendly spin-off.

However, the star of the first series won’t be staying close by as the fantasy establishment develops. In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Cavill said, “My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4.” He continued, expressing excitement for Hemsworth and appreciation for his role, “In my stead, the fantastic Mr Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf. As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam’s take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men.”

For his part, Hemsworth said he is “over the moon” to be stepping in as Geralt of Rivia. “Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt, and I’m honored that he’s handing me the reins and allowing me to take up the White Wolf’s blades for the next chapter of his adventure.”

This shift in direction begs the question, were there other opportunities that arose for Cavill, or some bad blood left at the studio? The recent announcement that Cavill would reprise his role as Superman in the DC Extended Universe was also widely shared across the internet. The timing of the announcements raises the possibility that these two decisions were connected, but no one knows for sure. Fans eagerly await the summer 2023 release of the show to see if Hemsworth is capable of filling his predecessor’s role. To make sure you are all caught up, you can stream the first three seasons on Netflix—it’s worth it.

Ugly Rumors and Pastel Berets

by Abigail Levasseur '24 on October 9, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

A Review of Netflix’s Do Revenge

On Sept. 16, Netflix released a new dark comedy titled Do Revenge. The movie’s cast features well-known actors from a variety of teenage rom-coms and dramedy series. The main character, Drea, is played by none other than Riverdale’s Camila Mendes, and her co-lead, a transfer student named Eleanor, is played by Stranger Things star Maya Hawke. Euphoria’s Austin Abrams plays the male lead, Max, and Outer Banks star Jonathan Daviss is his sidekick. Drea’s former clique is composed of 13 Reasons Why actress Alisha Boe, Alexa & Katie star Paris Berelc, and Nickelodeon actress Maia Reficco. The cast list tops off with Love, Victor’s Ava Capri, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between’s Talia Ryder, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who you may know as Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or as Daphne from the live action Scooby Doo movies. The cast is practically a melting pot of various actors and actresses, which of course, brings in viewers.

Do Revenge is not for the faint of heart, as it casts a dark shadow on the psychological warfare of high school life, where status, relationships, and reputation are everything. The film takes place in Miami at the prestigious Rosehill Country Day High School, where all students are decked in Easter-egg-colored uniforms and pastel berets, and like in all teenage rom-coms, have unrealistic Ivy League aspirations where “spots at Yale” just happen to open up like magic portals. 

Max (Austin Abrams), whose “pretty” face is also plastered on tabloids and social media platforms, is dating Drea. They are practically a celebrity couple, but arguably, Drea could do much better, even before we learn about Max’s toxicity. Drea’s life blows up when Max coerces her into filming a sexual video of herself and releases it to the entire Internet. Then, in comes transfer student Eleanor (Maya Hawke), who is haunted by a rumor that she forcefully kissed a girl at middle school sleepaway camp. The two outcasts team up and plot to “do revenge.” While Drea works on untangling Eleanor’s rumor by destroying the life of farmgirl Carissa (Ava Capri), Eleanor befriends Max and carries out some dirty deeds from behind the curtain. The story is full of twists and turns and unveils the manipulative tactics swirling in the ugly minds of high school teenagers.

Sophie Turner’s character Erica, a snobby rich girl at Drea’s tennis camp, stole the show in a one-minute scene where she throws a temper tantrum over a cocaine addiction accusation—a rumor planted by Drea. According to PopBuzz, the iconic scene may be an Oscar-winning performance. There is also speculation of whether Netflix could create a Do Revenge II that focuses on Erica getting revenge on Drea for trashing her future and landing her in a substance abuse facility.

It’s difficult to root for either Drea or Eleanor, as neither have the greatest track records or personalities. Essentially, there are no “good guys,” just one major antagonist in the character of Max. Also, the absence of adults is so abundant in the film that it’s abnormal whenever Sarah Michelle Geller’s character makes an appearance. The movie is chaotic, Hollywood woke, and has many plotlines. It’s worth a first watch, but maybe not a second one.

Eau de Exclusion in Netflix’s White Hot

by John Downey '23 on May 6, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Eau de Exclusion in Netflix’s White Hot

Documentary Exposes Abercrombie & Fitch’s Problematic History

Caitlin Ariel ’24

“A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” This 2006 comment from former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries summarizes Netflix’s latest exposé, White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, quite nicely. For many 90s kids, Jeffries’s words are hardly shocking, but for 2000s babies such as Providence College students, this blunt admission probably comes as a bit of a surprise. 

From the prominent cologne smell that seemed to follow shoppers out of the store to the absurdly loud clubbing music and posters of shirtless men on the walls that made moms antsy as their kids inched towards the entrance, the Abercrombie & Fitch shopping experience was a collective core memory for American youth in the late 90s and early 2000s. A&F clothing was the encapsulation of being “cool.” Customers were not merely buying overpriced pants or button-down shirts, but an image, one that screamed, “Look at me, I’m cool!” 

But while middle schoolers were focused on finding the shirt with the biggest A&F-signature moose logo that they could show off in their school hallways, older teenagers and adults began to notice a startling brand trend: nearly all models and employees were white, blonde, and skinny.

In White Hot, award-winning director Alison Klayman walks viewers through how Abercrombie & Fitch’s exclusionary image of the “all-American teen” led to both its rise and fall before undergoing a major rebranding in the early 2000s. Klayman spoke to journalists as well as former A&F retail staff, corporate employees, and models about their experiences with the company and how being a part of an organization rooted in exclusion impacted them.

One particularly eye-opening portion of the film dove into the store’s “look,” or what was deemed acceptable for salespeople to wear. Dreadlocks and chains were strictly prohibited, and when people of color were employed, they were very rarely allowed to work the floor, relegated to the stock room or closing shift. This blatant discrimination led to a class-action lawsuit against A&F in 2003. 

Notably, the documentary also spotlights the unsettling story of A&F photographer Bruce Weber. As male models interviewed for the documentary explained, Weber took an inappropriate interest in them, resulting in a sexual misconduct lawsuit in the early 2000s.

To Abercrombie & Fitch’s young audience, being cool and popular was worth more than any pair of skinny jeans. However, the brand’s exclusionary vision facilitated classism, racism, homophobia, and fatphobia. This injustice is at the center of White Hot. However, the documentary also recognizes that many of the people who were bluntly excluded from A&F in the early 2000s are those who are making changes in the fashion industry today, with many brands, including A&F, taking steps to be more inclusive. Needless to say, exclusion in fashion is far from a thing of the past. 

Dearest Readers, Bridgerton Has Returned

by John Downey '23 on April 8, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Dearest Readers, Bridgerton Has Returned

A Review of the Hit Period Drama’s Second Season

Caitlin Ariel ’24

After it was announced in April 2021 that the Duke of Hastings (played by Regé-Jean Page) would not be returning for the highly anticipated second season of Netflix’s hit period drama Bridgerton, fans were left puzzled for nearly a year as to how the show would continue without one of its debut season’s main characters. Bridgerton’s sophomore season, which aired on March 25, responded to this confusion by entangling fans in a new love story. With the absence of eldest daughter Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), now a duchess, the pressure falls upon the family’s eldest son Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), also known as Viscount Bridgerton, to find a wife.

Bridgerton’s second season details many of the same high-society rituals as its debut run, but keeps things fresh with some new faces. For instance, before throwing himself into a flurry of balls and promenades, Anthony meets a mysterious woman (Simone Ashley) while going for a morning horseback ride. The banter they share excites him, but he puts it out of his mind as he prepares for his first ball of the season. 

At the ball, Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran) is declared “the diamond” of the season—as Daphne was in season one—and Anthony is determined to make her his wife. However, one roadblock stands in his way: he must win the approval of Edwina’s sister before a courtship can ensue. Unfortunately for Anthony, when he is introduced to Edwina’s sister, he realizes that she is the intriguing stranger from that morning, Kate Sharma, who overhears him remarking to his friends at the ball that he does not want to marry for love, but rather only to find someone to lead his family alongside him and have his children. Kate, who only wants Edwina to marry for love, becomes enraged, and she and Anthony quickly become mortal enemies.

Bridgerton’s second season also features the return of Lady Whistledown, the Gossip Girl-esque author of the series’ infamous gossip pamphlet. The Lady has new energy in the wake of the season one finale, in which viewers discover her identity. For one, she tries to evade the Queen (Golda Rosheuvel) and Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) as they become more observant in their hunt to discover who is behind the gossip that has the town buzzing.

The season also includes subplots with the Featheringtons and the other Brigderton brothers, but Anthony’s love story dominates the season. Notably, though, the hypersexual chaos of season one that made viewers avoid watching the show with their families is much more restrained in season two, as viewers experience a satisfying slow burn between Kate and Anthony. The epitome of the popular enemies-to-lovers trope, Kate and Anthony’s constant tension as well as love-struck Edwina’s naiveness make the eight-episode show difficult not to binge, and fans agree: according to Variety, the period piece scored 193 million hours viewed during its premiere weekend and continues to sit comfortably at number one on Netflix’s list of the most popular English-language shows. 

Already renewed for a third and fourth season, the show is set to follow the eight-novel series on which it is based, ensuring many more balls, beautiful dresses, and classical versions of America’s favorite pop songs in fans’ futures.

Season two of Bridgerton is streaming now on Netflix.

Film Review: jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy

by John Downey '23 on March 26, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Film Review: jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy

An Intimate Look at Kanye West’s Life and Career

Talia Rueda ’23

Fans of Kanye West can now catch a glimpse into the saga of the artist’s battles and brilliance that have unfolded over the course of his 20-year career thanks to West’s longtime friend, filmmaker Coodie Simmons.

Although some fans of West may not know much about Simmons or may have never even heard of him, jeen-yuhs, the new docuseries from Simmons about West’s life, proves that the two have had quite a mutually impactful relationship. Their connection has ebbed and flowed over the years, but has shaped both into the creatives that they are today.

The first part of jeen-yuhs aired on Jan. 23 and took viewers right back to the early 2000s, the beginning of West’s career. It follows him making beats as he lives in various studio apartments, yearning for more in life. Witnessing the humble beginnings of one of today’s most well-known artists is not only dumbfounding, but also does exactly what a documentary strives to do: create a greater appreciation and admiration for such a person.

West came from nothing and strove to break barriers in the music industry. He did not simply want to release his first album, The College Dropout, but also wanted Chicago to be represented in the rap scene and for those in the music industry to acknowledge his production and rap skills as two separate talents, as labels initially only saw him as a producer. 

While this was not necessarily a bad thing, as his production was high-quality, it proved to be to his detriment because his production skills were so elevated that no one thought his rapping talents could be of that caliber as well. However, the release of his music video for his single “Through the Wire” changed everything. The praise he received for it led Rock-A-Fella Records to fund his first album. 

The documentary demonstrates how at this moment in his life, West receives what he had long hoped for: recognition, appreciation, and fame. Along with these exciting developments, however, comes a strain on his relationship with Coodie, as well as increasing controversy over his boldness as both an individual and as an artist. To add difficulty to an already conflict-laden time in West’s life, this period sees him excitedly win Grammy awards while also grappling with the death of his beloved mother, Donda.

Jeen-yuhs emphasizes that despite this tragic loss, West does not take a break from making music, rather working tirelessly and dedicating his artistry to his mother. Notably, at this point in the documentary, Coodie and Kanye have not seen one another for six years.

Their reunion comes at a music festival. In the documentary, Coodie expresses how he was nervous to see his old friend after so much time had passed. He recalls how odd he felt that though he knew West from the beginning of his career, he did not know “Yeezus,” or the persona West was embodying at the time.

At this point in his life, West is seemingly on top of the world. His career has reached new heights as he embarks on his The Life of Pablo tour, launches the Yeezy clothing line, and experiences the joys of marriage and fatherhood.

Coodie remains behind the scenes throughout this period, capturing West’s life from afar as his old friend’s battles begin to outweigh his brilliance. The documentary shows West’s infamous social media rants and the growing concerns of those around him before depicting the artist receiving the mental health care he needs. During this time in West’s life, he and Coodie ultimately reconnected, per the rapper’s request. 

The film next explores how West’s diagnosis with bipolar proves accurate as he continues to make erratic statements to the public. Coodie captures several spur-of-the-moment rants from the artist that make little to no sense.

The footage from the most recent years of West’s life and career is perhaps the most up close, personal, and insular to the artist. Coodie documents West’s recent prioritization of spirituality as well as his life in the Mercedes Benz stadium while creating DONDA. Coodie is there for West in the artist’s most vulnerable times, capturing not only the iconic moments of West’s career, but supporting him off-screen when the bad outweighs the good.

The documentary suggests that West and Coodie’s bond represents the ups and downs of the rapper’s career. During the period in which the two lost contact, the rising star was making a name for himself and figuring out who he wanted to be; now that he has grown into himself and become an influential artist, he seemingly yearns for deeper connections with those who knew his younger self. Although fans may not have expected this relationship to be such a focal point of the film, when considering West’s journey as an artist and person, it makes a great deal of sense.

jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy is now streaming on Netflix.

Hit Movie Warns What Happens If We Don’t Look Up

by John Downey '23 on March 3, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Hit Movie Warns What Happens If We Don’t Look Up 

The Shocking, Star-Studded Dark Comedy Taking the Internet by Storm

Caitlin Ariel ’24 

On Christmas Day, as the suspense of gift-giving and stuffing one’s face with cookies winds down and exhaustion sinks in, it is a typical family tradition to end the day with a movie perfect for all ages. When clicking through those movie options this past Christmas—and in the months since—it was difficult for people to skip past the newly-released, star-studded film Don’t Look Up. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Meryl Streep, Ariana Grande, and other household names, it seems perfect for a movie night. However, despite the film being labeled as a comedy, the laughs it provokes in audiences in its early scenes are ultimately stifled by shocking turns of events that have led many to reevaluate their lifestyles. 

The dark comedy follows Kate Diabiasky (Lawrence), an astronomy graduate student at Michigan State University, and her anxious professor Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) as they make a seemingly revolutionary discovery: a comet orbiting the solar system. However, this excitement immediately gives way to fear and panic as these two fairly low-level astronomers discover that the comet is on a direct collision course with Earth and set to hit the planet in about six months. Kate and Randall, accompanied by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination head (Rob Morgan), begin to try to warn mankind of the approaching comet, but an unexpected obstacle arises: no one seems to care. They are quickly dismissed by the approval-rating-obsessed President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her subservient son and Chief of Staff, Jason (Jonah Hill). They then appear on The Daily Rip, a cheerful morning show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry), and watchers waste no time minimizing, mocking, and blatantly ignoring the astronomers’ findings, dismissing their warnings as the latest of many exaggerated doomsday proclamations. 

Despite these challenges posed by 24-hour media, a president anxiety-stricken by midterm elections, and her obnoxious high-ranking son, Kate and Randall’s true enemy arises in the form of a tech billionaire (Mark Rylance). A scarily avoidant man and presidential donor, he decides to make it his mission to allow for the comet to hit Earth, stating that the minerals in the life-ending rock would improve the job market and, most importantly, put money in his pocket. He claims he will use his revolutionary technology to shrink the comet while still in orbit, so life will remain, and the economy will boom. With America now torn between safety and money, lines are drawn in the sand, and Kate and Randall’s job grows more difficult.  

A science-fiction political satire that clearly mocks today’s climate crisis and dissects how our modern capitalist society and tech and media addiction could be humanity’s downfall, Don’t Look Up makes viewers take a step back and reflect on how they perceive their media as well as how humanity is failing to adequately respond to the climate crisis. From its star-filled cast, obvious references to modern life, and an Ariana Grande musical number, it is clear why the film has been watched for 152.29 million hours across the world thus far, smashed Netflix’s record most-viewed film in one week and been nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. 

For those who have yet to see Don’t Look Up, the film is now streaming on Netflix.

The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window

by John Downey '23 on February 18, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window

A Delightful Parody of the Female Psychological Thriller Genre

Grace Whitman ’22

Everyone has seen the “Let’s Hide Behind the Chainsaws” Geico commercial mocking the fact that people in horror movies often make poor decisions which result in their deaths. Netflix’s new original series, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in Window, pokes fun at that same concept.

The name itself is a ridiculous spoof on several mystery psychological thrillers and their unrealistic plotlines, including The Woman in the Window (2021), The Girl on the Train (2016), and Rebecca (2020). Netflix’s new parody points at familiar plotlines about women attempting to solve a murder on their own and in turn being gaslit and accused of crying wolf.

The eight-episode series follows Anna (Kristen Bell), who has become an alcoholic and ombrophobic—someone with a fear of the rain—following a recent divorce sparked by the death of her daughter on a rainy day. Against her therapist’s recommendations, Anna mixes full bottles of wine with her medications, which leads her to escape her traumatic reality through hallucinations. Across the street from Anna, a new, widowed neighbor Neil (Tom Riley) moves in with his daughter Emma (Samsara Yett). While enjoying a rainy night inside, Anna looks across the street into this neighbor’s window and witnesses Neil’s girlfriend being murdered.  After calling 9-1-1 to report the murder, Anna collapses, overcome with her fear of the rain. Her quest to solve the mystery begins, despite being told she is “crazy” and imagining the whole situation.

As a viewer, it is difficult to determine which scenes are fantasies that take place in Anna’s head and which are actual events. This not only creates confusion for viewers, but also leads Anna to question her own sanity, particularly with regard to her capacity for violence, especially in light of how her community and local law enforcement gaslight her.

In addition to the obvious parodies of similar plotlines found in other psychological thrillers, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in Window also offers some comedic moments that poke fun at mystery movies and their perfectly-timed, ironic scenarios. For example, in The Woman in the Window, Anna Fox has crippling agoraphobia, whereas Anna in The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in Window has ombrophobia—and, of course, it always seems to be raining during intense scenes. This convenient coincidence, paired with the fact that the characters in the two thrillers are both women named Anna, makes for a delightful parody.

The series ends with a cliffhanger, setting the show up perfectly for a second season. However, with that being said, Rachel Ramras, co-creator of the series, has said that “it is a limited series and, in its conception, that’s how it ended. Part of the fun of the ending is that thrilling cliffhanger.” This choice is similar to how Gone Girl leaves viewers wondering what Nick and Amy Dunne’s life will be like in the future, with many questions and no clear answers.

Overall, as affirmed by its long run on Netflix’s Top 10 Chart, this deadpan psychological thriller is a must-watch for its spoof of the thriller genre.

Enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit?

by Sarah McLaughlin '23 on February 18, 2022

Arts & Entertainment

Meet the Real-life Female Stars of the Chess World

The Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix mini-series adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel of the same name, carried a new wave of players into chess, players who had little to no prior experience with the game or the community surrounding it. In March 2020 alone, Chess.com, the leading online chess platform, grew from 280,000 to over 1 million daily active users. Furthermore, after The Queen’s Gambit’s main character, Beth Harmon, captivated an enormous audience, real-life female chess players have experienced rapid growth on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Here are just a few for those interested in learning more about chess and the chess community to check out:

Anna Rudolf is a Hungarian chess player and commentator who holds the International Master and Woman Grandmaster titles. On her YouTube channel, she uploads entertainment-focused chess content consisting of commentary on popular chess figures and other YouTubers, as well as commentary on her own games. She commentates live on Twitch during professional and amateur tournaments and streams on her own channel. In one of her most popular videos, she tells the story of how she was accused of cheating at a tournament because of her lip balm. Rudolf is outspoken on the topic of sexism in the chess community. She is considered by many to have a ‘wholesome’ personality, and she has coached internet celebrities such as Pokimane in chess.

19-year-old Swedish chess player Anna Cramling holds the title Woman FIDE Master and has represented her country in the Chess Olympiad. She uploads regularly to her YouTube channel, analyzing both games of her own and those of others—including those of her parents, who are both Grandmasters. Her mother, Pia Cramling, is often featured in her videos; she was one of the first women to achieve the Grandmaster title and has been the highest ranked female player in the world on multiple occasions. She also streams frequently on Twitch.

Sisters Alexandra and Andrea Botez, ages 26 and 20, have amassed over 700,000 YouTube subscribers and 1 million Twitch followers. Alexandra holds the Woman FIDE Master title, and both sisters are known for commentating on the Chess.com Twitch channel during tournaments and coaching fellow YouTubers and streamers. They are a dynamic duo who frequently interact with other popular online creators, and their most recent endeavor involved traveling the world and live streaming over-the-board (real-life) chess in a number of different countries. The Botez sisters in particular have popularized chess as not just online education, but also as online entertainment.

For those who enjoyed watching The Queen’s Gambit and are interested in learning more about chess, these content creators can provide a fun gateway into the chess community. While they are certainly engaging and interesting for experienced players, much of their content is geared toward and accessible to beginners.

Money Heist Says Bella Ciao!

by John Downey '23 on January 29, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

Money Heist Says Bella Ciao!

The Netflix Original Series’ Bittersweet Finale

Riley Coyne ’24

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” This question is one that both cast members and fans of Money Heist, one of the most iconic series on Netflix, are asking themselves as the show finally comes to an end. The beloved Spanish series, also known as La Casa De Papel, consists of five seasons in total: the last of which was released in early December of 2021. 

Money Heist has taken the world by storm, becoming a phenomenon not only in Spain, but also globally. When the show was first released, actor Álvaro Morte, better known as The Professor, insisted that the cast and crew had no idea the series would get so much love and attention from the international community.

In season five, the gang encounters their most difficult heist yet. Indeed, their previous heist, which constituted the premise of the show’s first few seasons, stands to finally be outdone as they attempt to enter The Bank of Spain. While this season features many of the show’s original characters, a few new faces make their debut as well. New allies and enemies are added into the mix, making for a suspenseful finale. 

Interestingly enough, just as they do for their first heist, the gang dress in red jumpsuits accented with Salvador Dalí masks to conceal their identities. They force the hostages they take to wear the same getup so that when the police intervene, they will not be able to differentiate anyone. This effective tactic puts the gang at an advantage. The constant back and forth between them and the police is comparable to a game of chess, and it leaves viewers constantly on the edge of their seats, waiting to see which side will get the checkmate. The Professor, the show’s criminal mastermind, always says that business and pleasure do not mix, even though he knows that viewers cannot help but love the morally-complicated characters in the gang.

The main message of the final season of Money Heist is that truly nothing is impossible. Of course, there are obstacles and challenges that the gang encounters along the way, but it only motivates them to continue with their plan. Indeed, the most prominent theme in Money Heist is resistance. The song “Bella Ciao,” which has essentially become the soundtrack for the series, is symbolic of freedom and resistance. It is an old Italian folk song that was originally used to protest unfair working conditions and later used by Italian partisans against the fascist party. In the show, the phrase “We are the Resistance” is periodically repeated to remind the gang of their purpose. What is it that they are resisting, exactly? To find out, stream Money Heist season five on Netflix.