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Payne’s Picks

By Sarah Payne

TV premieres

Better Call Saul – Season 3 (April 10) – Those of you who have been following my column for the past few years know that I don’t often write about TV shows. I haven’t quite found a show that draws me in like AMC’s Breaking Bad or Mad Men – that is, except for Better Call Saul. If you haven’t seen Better Call Saul, it’s a Breaking Bad spinoff/prequel that focuses on Saul Goodman, Walter White’s lawyer. Just as Breaking Bad shows the transformation of Walter White from science teacher to drug dealer, Better Call Saul is about Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Albuquerque’s sleaziest lawyer. I’ll admit that the action takes some time to ramp up at first, but season two ends with a bang. According to the trailer and Los Pollos Hermanos re-creation at South by Southwest last month, Gus Fring will make an appearance this season. This begs the question, will Walter White or Jesse Pinkman ever make an appearance? Here’s to hoping they cross paths with Jimmy McGill sometime soon!

Movie reviews

Elle – First off, if you’re not a fan of subtitles, Elle is not for you (it’s a French film). Second, if you’re sensitive to images of sexual violence, Elle is not for you. Based on the novel Oh…, the film opens with Isabelle Huppert’s character, Elle, being violently attacked in her home by a man in a black ski mask. She decides not to report the attack to the police because of an incident from her childhood, and instead changes her locks and learns how to use a gun. That scenario alone seems a bit absurd, but the film piles on plot absurdities to the point of hilarity. Elle is the owner of a video game company that displays derogatory images of women. She’s having an affair with her best friend’s husband and her neighbor. But the kicker is when she finds out who her attacker is, and then willingly plays along with his games. According to The Guardian, Huppert has said the film is about “the empowerment of a woman” with a “post-feminist” heroine. I disagree, and I think it’s extremely dangerous to normalize sexual violence that de-humanizes women. It’s hard to imagine a movie like this being created in the United States (Paul Verhoeven, the film’s director, actually tried to), and it seems the film’s violence is getting a free pass from viewers and critics, simply because it is French.

Get Out – Did you ever see the Comedy Central show Key and Peele? The show ended back in 2015, but Jordan Peele has shown he’s more than just a sketch comedian. He wrote and starred in last year’s movie Keanu, and this year he wrote and directed Get Out, a horror movie about racial tensions, starring Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya (who I predict will be a huge star!). What I love about this movie is that it is genuinely scary, but it also makes you laugh by exaggerating racial stereotypes. I saw this movie with my mom, who recently reminded me that there are other funny horror movies, like The Shining. In an interview with IMDB, Peele said, “I’ve always loved horror. I think horror and comedy are very similar. In one you’re trying to get a laugh. In the other you’re trying to get a scare.”

Music review

÷ by Ed Sheeran – If you had a chance to see Ed Sheeran perform at the Grammy’s this year, you know he’s the real deal. With nothing but a loop-pedal, a keyboard, his guitar, and a couple of mics, he performed every part of his new single “Shape of You,” live on stage. I highly recommend giving the rest of his 16-track album a listen – from the folky pop track, “Galway Girl,” to the heartfelt, “Supermarket Flowers.” Not every track is a hit (“Bibia Be Ye Ye” and “Save Myself” are a bit cheesy), but the album as a whole is appealing in its nostalgia and really shows the breadth of Sheeran’s work.