Weekend Watchlist | Finals every man for himself

Finals are right around the corner, and whether you’re studying furiously for exams or overwhelmed with essays, we’re all exhausting ourselves. So, to distract you from the pressure a bit, here are some of The Pitt News staff’s favorite movies and shows — no themes, just things we enjoy.

Assassination Classroom (Funimation) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

Thinking about this show makes me feel old. I remember being a fresh freshman in high school and listening to my brother every week. Now the show is seven years old and it’s all over, and it’s kind of bittersweet.

“Assassination Classroom” is an anime about a group of unruly problem students who are tasked with killing their teacher – a yellow alien who just blew up the moon and threatens to do the same to Earth if they can’t kill him in a year. You know, normal student problems. Despite the dramatic and disastrous premise, “Assassination Classroom” is mostly a coming-of-age comedy about the alien teacher the students nickname “Koro-sensei.” Despite the threat of blowing up the Earth, Koro-sensei is dedicated to helping these students who have been largely let down by the school system.

Koro-sensei is the best teacher. He’s calm, supportive, and works to help students on their own terms, and it’s great to watch the kids grow up as students, killers, and people. It doesn’t take long for you to be as invested in the quality of their exams or the schools they go to as if the Earth explodes or not. “Assaination Classroom” is a great watch if you need a good laugh and maybe a good cry.

7 prisoners (Netflix) // Lynnette Tibbott, editor

Human trafficking is alive in our world today. It is often considered modern day slavery and may include kidnapping, forced labor or forced sexual encounters. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, regardless of age or gender, and it affects people all over the world.

In 2021, Netflix released the film “7 Prisoners” by Alexandre Moratto. The film takes place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the main character Mateus agrees to work in a junkyard to provide a better life for himself and his family. Mateus and six others, all from situations of poverty and looking for a better future, soon realize that their new “job” is nothing less than human trafficking.

The ordeal starts small, with the promise of being able to leave once they have paid off their transport, food and rent debts. But once the debts become insurmountable and the group never gets paid, they realize their situation is worse than they first thought.

After failed escape attempts that are met with violence, the workers realize they are now prisoners with no way to leave or contact their families.

In order to reduce their debts, Mateus makes a deal with junkyard worker and dictator, Luca. Mateus soon realizes that leaving may not be so simple. Over time in the junkyard, Mateus receives privileges from Luca in the form of extra money, security, and his own freedom. The group becomes suspicious and resentful of Mateus’ special treatment, and Mateus is forced to choose between his own survival and his morals. Mateus realizes that he is completely alone and has no choice but to stand on his own, even if it means becoming like the monsters who have oppressed him.

Not only does this film raise awareness of human trafficking, but it shows the gradual change in an individual’s struggle to choose what is right and their own personal freedom based on situations they cannot control. It emphasizes the vicious circle of violence and human complexity. Although “7 Prisoners” is not based on a true story, the truth can be found in it when you see the evil that humans are capable of.

tick, tick… BOOM! (Netflix) // Sinéad McDevitt, digital manager

Who knew Andrew Garfield could sing, huh? Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut is a treat for any theater kid. Not only does it cover the semi-autobiographical story of Jonathan Larson — the creator of “Rent” — Miranda has gone out of her way to get cameos from several Broadway vets and it’s a joy to see them.

It’s also really impressive to see what is traditionally a show with minimal cast and set being translated into a feature film. It’s not easy to pull off, but Miranda’s understanding of the original stage show and what makes a captivating musical number on stage translates it successfully to the big screen.

The film follows Jonathan (Andrew Garfield) as he prepares for his show’s first playthrough and struggles with his relationships with his girlfriend and childhood best friend. Because the stage show usually only has three performers, several parts are different actors when there is usually only one – which Miranda takes advantage of to give us the beautiful duet version of “come to your senses” which still gives me chills.

If you are a fan of musicals, you must see this film.