Be More Chill Fandom

Throughout early 2017, I constantly listened to musical soundtracks on YouTube, from Hamilton, to Heathers, to The Great Comet of 1812. Somehow, the YouTube Autoplay involuntarily recommended a number that I was not familiar with: “More Than Survive.” It was from a musical called Be More Chill. I thought, how did I, a musical theatre fan, miss the existence of this show? What I didn’t know was the peculiar origin story of its viral popularity, which catapulted it from obscurity to renown.

I found myself among the unsuspecting listeners swept into the unpredictable Internet algorithms that introduced Be More Chill to a burgeoning fanbase two years after the show supposedly died in obscurity after a regional month-long run.

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Infinity Train Review

Infinity Train is a promising Cartoon Network project that comes our way courtesy of Owen Denis, previously a writer and storyboard artist for Regular Show. You might have caught it as a hatchling in its 2016 pilot. But in 2019, it has unraveled into a 10-episode miniseries that is a must-see for animation fans.

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Yellow Rose Director Interview

Once a resident of Lubbock, Texas, Filipino American Diane Paragas had her head in the clouds like the young harmonious heroine of her new movie, Rose Garcia. 

Now matured into a filmmaker, Paragas has her feature film debut with The Yellow Rose, which was warmly received at its New York premiere at the 42nd Asian American International Film Festival. Wrought with the weighty subject matter of the immigration crisis, The Yellow Rose drops into a tumultuous era to offer a window into the life of a young undocumented Filipino coping with the separation from her detained mother while crafting her own country music in Texas.

I talked with Paragas on recruiting Eva Noblezada and Lea Salonga, depicting detention centers, and finding Texas landscapes.

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Yellow Rose Review

More than 15 years in the making, Yellow Rose is more than a love letter to country music and the Lone Star State of Texas. It paints a loving portrait of a young undocumented Filipino American Texan living her right to settle in her homeland of Texas and make her own music. Crafted by writer-director Diane Paragas, a Filipino American with lived experiences in Texas, Yellow Rose can be unsettling due to its imperative responsiveness to the current events where xenophobia exacerbated into institutional human rights abuses – seizures of families, separations of parents and children, and other countess abuses that will reverberate through the incoming decades of America. Without denying drudgery, rest assured that Yellow Rose perseveres with a melodic spirit anchored by the soulful ruggedness of star Eva Noblezada. 

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The Handmaid's Tale Sacrifice Review

“Sacrifice”, the twelfth episode of The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, steadies the viewer into absorbing a shock that contrives character conflict for June (Elisabeth Moss) while devaluing another character under the guise of something nebulously “thematic.”

The previous episode of the Handmaid’s Tale threw two gamechangers: the arrest of the Waterfords (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) across the Canadian border and the death of High Commander Winslow. The first feels like a thematic outcome, even if the character turns felt hazy, of Serena Joy’s myopic motherhood agenda. The second, cathartic as it is for June to bludgeon a rapist dictator, does feel resulted from wild card happenstance on the writers’ part (and a waste of Christopher Meloni).

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The Handmaid's Tale Liars Review

The Handmaid’s Tale is rolling the dice toward its finale with one of its uneven, but serviceably suspenseful, episodes. “Liars” runs too fast, stops, then pants, then runs too fast toward the horizon. This episode both accelerates and coasts toward its season finale with “what comes around, goes around” vibes.

June (Elisabeth Moss) must transport 52 children to the safety of Canada, but it will take more than trucks to smuggle children out of Gilead. Meanwhile, the Waterfords (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) take matters into their own hands to retrieve baby Nichole from Canada.

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She-Ra Season 3 Review

The She-Ra returns! After a fun breezer of season two, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power – DreamWorks Animation’s vibrant reboot of 1985 Filmation series She-Ra: Princess of Power – has returned with six new episodes. In the magical land of Etheria, Adora (Aimee Carrero), the reincarnated She-Ra warrioress with her magical sword, is set on unearthing answers about her past. Her arch nemesis and former friend Catra (AJ Michalka) is seeking to redeem herself from disgrace after letting loose hers and Adora’s former abusive mentor, Shadow Weaver (Lorraine Toussaint). 

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One Child Nation Review

Nanfu Wang grew up in China ashamed she had a younger brother. She didn’t know why. Matchsticks, posters, operas, parades, and walls were inscribed with maxims, like nursery rhymes, programming the ideal of the one-child family. To be in a family with two children seemed like an anomaly. Indoctrination had an incalculable impact on the elders and youths of China. Wang was no exception. She shows a photo of her child self, in a choir where she sang about the evils about having more than one child.

Directed Wang and Lynn Zhang, both of whom had first-hand experiences with the psychological effects of the one-child policy, One Child Nation assembles interviews with Wang’s family members, acquaintances, ex-officials, propaganda artists, ex-traffickers who carried abandoned babies to sell to orphanages, American adoptive parents assembling a database to reunite torn-apart families, an exiled Chinese journalist, and a girl bereaved over her missing twin. Woven in are her personal perceptions, shaped by the birth of Wang’s son. 

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The Handmaid's Tale Witness Review

The Handmaid’s Tale has been teasing revolution. Ever since June had her epiphany that she can save other Gilead children even if she can’t save her own daughters, the narrative has been injected with a dose of intrigue, though not much else happens in “Witness” other than one disconcerting scene of sexual violation (we’ll get to that). 

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The Handmaid's Tale Heroic review

After The Handmaid’s Tale‘s arguably most scattered and exasperating episode in last week’s “Unfit,” “Heroic” is straightforward with tracing its narrative goals while also testing its audience’s patience. “Heroic” opens on boredom and the tune of “Heaven is a Place on Earth.” After the shopping incident, June (Elisabeth Moss) is forced to keep vigil for a comatose Ofmatthew/Natalie (Ashleigh LaThrop) for weeks, maybe a few months on end – “until there’s a baby,” according to Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd).

Lydia has essentially condemned June to a dull clinical whitescaped purgatory to cleanse June of her sin. Time lapses reveal more bodies coming and going to occupy the white space around the stiffly poised June and Natalie’s body, whether it’s the Wives praying over Natalie’s womb or the Handmaids forced to pray for the baby inside it. As Gilead souls pass in or out of the hospital room, June’s mental state deteriorates under the stagnancy of events and the coma patient’s repetitious heart monitor. Read More »