Staff Picks: Comfort

I wanted to include an editor’s pick so y’all, our beautiful viewers, can get to know us, the amazing staff behind Mixed Mag. I also wanted to showcase our TV/Film/Theater picks because although it may feel like all you see are white stories or stories of the oppressor, our stories have been here for a while and are extremely diverse and expand over all genres. There is not one specific way to tell our stories and we deserve to be seen and heard. So here is a list of TV/Film/Theater made by or featuring beautiful BIPOC/multicultural/multiethnic artists to expand your mind, start a conversation, or even spark something in your soul. Each month there will be a new theme for our Staff Picks.

— Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor)

Issue 4’s Theme: Comfort (just a little needed comfort during these crazy times)

Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor)

Film: Y Tu Mamá También Dir. Alfonso Cuaron (2001)

Where to watch: Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime

Y Tu Mamá También was one of the first films I ever saw by Cuaron and it instantly became one of my favorites. The film is about Julio, Tenoch and Luisa set in, what was at the time, present Mexico. 17 year olds, Julio and Tenoch, have been friends for a very long time. They are very much the typical hormonal and reckless teenagers. When their girlfriends go to Europe for the summer they both decide to have the wildest summer of their lives before they have to enter adulthood. Not much changes until they meet Luisa who is an older woman married to Tenoch’s cousin. The trio connects and go on a cross-country trip that not only helps them forget about their troubles but brings them closer and changes their lives forever.

This is the perfect movie to watch on the couch all wrapped up in a huge blanket. I recommend this movie to literally everyone in my life. I’ve shown this movie to every ex… and maybe on a few dates. On movie nights it’s usually my go to suggestion. I always find myself coming back to this movie on my worst day or the days I really just want to escape everything. Not only is this film funny and raunchy but it hits on class struggles, sexual identity, male emotions/vulnerability, betrayal, grief, loss and friendship. You will probably fall in love with these characters or cringe at their antics and be laughing so hard that you don’t even notice the serious turn the film takes, becoming so tender and real. Yes the film can get sad at times but the honesty can be so moving. I think my favorite thing about this movie is the silences… pay attention to the silences, may seem weird but worth it. A very beautiful film that I hope you all get lost in.

Joana Meurkens (Artistic Director/Art and Music Editor)

Film: First Cow Dir. Kelly Reichardt (2019)

Where to Watch: Available to rent/purchase on Itunes/Amazon

This film has everything you need to comfort you from beautiful friendship to a cute cow. This recent release got tucked away in the craziness that was 2020 film releases, but it is another great film in the A24 catalogue. The film follows the journey of two men, played by Orion Lee and John Migaro, along the Pacific Northwest in the 1820’s. The film captures the diversity within the Oregon trail in such a simplistic and pleasant way. The cinematography is beautiful, as one finds comfort in the undeniable beauty of autumn. The film feels like a giant hug not only because of the beautiful performances and ability to capture stillness, but in a year where it feels like the future of film is in question, this recent release is a testament to the never ending power and beauty of film. 

Stephanie Eyocko (Food Editor)

Film: The Farewell Dir: Lulu Wang (2019)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube 

I’ve been studying China and the Chinese language for over five years now. Being a Black woman China often brought feelings of frustration, annoyance, and sadness. But more often than not, it brought feelings of comfort thanks to the many older women, 奶奶 (nai nai, grandmother) 阿姨 (ai’yi, aunt), that took me under their wing. Thus when The Farewell came out, I was thrilled to watch because it followed  Chinese-American writer, Billi, who maintains a close relationship with her grandmother Nai Nai, though she lives in China. It is a story of immigrant sacrifice, tradition, and truth. It is funny, sad, and most importantly, honest. 

Carolina Meurkens (Editor-in-Chief) 

Film: Coco (Dir. Lee Unkrich) Disney/ Pixar 2017

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Disney Plus

Coco is unlike any other Disney film. It tells the story of Miguel, a 12-year-old boy who loves music and dreams of becoming a musician, but his family forbids it. On Dia de los Muertos he’s accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead after breaking a photo on his family’s ofrenda and attempting to steal his deceased idol Ernesto’s guitar to play in a local competition. Miguel is cursed for stealing from the dead and must receive his family’s blessing before sunrise or he will remain in the Land of the Dead forever. On his quest, Miguel learns the secrets behind his family’s disdain for music and goes to lengths to undo it. In the last scene of the film (spoiler alert), Miguel plays the song he learned from his great-great grandfather in the Land of the Dead for his grandmother Coco, who sings along and tells the story of his memory. It’s perhaps the most memorable and heartwarming scene, and reminded me of my late grandfather who wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by music before he passed away. Coco is a beautiful testament to family, tradition and memory, reminding us that the best source of comfort is often in the arms of our loved ones. 

Taylor Mew (Associate Art Director)

TV: Girlfriends Created By: Mara Brock Akil (2000–2008)

Where to watch: Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime

GIRLFRIENDSSSSSS, There Through Thick and Thin

With comfort being Issue 4’s theme, I was inspired to watch Girlfriends, an early 2000’s sitcom that follows the love lives of four girlfriends (unfortunately gays, NOT those kind of girlfriends) Joan, Toni, Maya, and Lynn. Notice earlier I didn’t say that I would be re-watching Girlfriends. That’s  because I’m watching it for the very first time. 

I know, I know! If you are a black woman and you haven’t watched this show, you haven’t truly lived. Anyways, since nostalgia wasn’t what initially attracted me to the show, the comforting appeal for me was witnessing the Sex and the City-esque narrative play out but from the perspective of four multifaceted black women of different classes, skin-tones, occupations, aspirations, and toxicity levels (don’t get me started on how annoying Joan gets after you’ve watched six consecutive seasons. If you know, you know) navigating some real grown woman shit. Of course I can’t talk about Girlfriends without bringing up fashion. Toni Child’s alone is serving me every ounce of sexy Y2K baddie I didn’t know I needed. As in the fashion trends that white Gen Z kids are currently appropriating thinking that’s what white woman were rocking back in the day when in reality they were dressed like Ashley Tisdale on the disney red carpet and it was the black woman turning the looks. But has anything changed? I digress. 6 seasons later I’m still short circuiting taking mental notes to search eBay for vintage Gucci, Prada, Mui Mui, Fendi, etc later but I’ve stayed for the humor that often leaves me cackling with tears in my eyes. Because this is a show from the early 2000’s it goes without saying that there are lots of shitty cheap jokes centered around homophobia, rascism, classism, sexism, body shaming, slut-shaming, etc that remind me how important it is to make sure that’s I’m constantly critical and analytical of the media I consume while not subconsciously internalizing any of the harmful stereotypes being perpetuated on screen.

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