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The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

Summer 2023 Entertainment Recap

The pop culture everyone was talking about this summer.
Photo by Alison Mckeough
Hi Barbie! Viewers flocked to the theaters this summer to see a record-breaking blockbuster, Barbie. Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie has grossed over 1 billion dollars.

Which Pop Culture Events of the season did you get to see?


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Welcome back PMHS students! It was an amazing summer. Before we dive into the school season, let’s look at four pop culture highlights from Summer 2023!

Warning: There will be spoilers!


Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster, Barbie, was released on July 21 and exceeded the world’s expectations.

It took something as simple as dolls and turned it into a beautiful message that all women can relate to.

Barbie just recently became the highest-grossing movie of this year so far. Why might that be?

Well, we girls have all experienced a moment where we have felt marginalized just for being a girl and seeing it happen to someone as perfect as Barbie throughout the movie has made us feel noticed.

One of the most pivotal scenes from the movie was America Ferrera’s monologue after the Kens took over. It is a perfect description of life as a woman and a real eye-opener for everyone.

The entire theater went silent, which demonstrates how many souls were touched by this moment and it was amazing to experience.

Besides the deep meaning of this movie, the characters and cinematography were perfect as well.

Margot Robbie is the definition of a Barbie, but she also portrayed all the kinds of emotions that Barbie was feeling flawlessly.

Ryan Gosling also did a great job as Ken; he brought a lot of the humor to the film.

Additionally, it was fun to see all of the houses and retired dolls like Allen and Midge on screen.

It was overall a bright, lively, silly, beautiful movie that everyone should watch. It’s never too late and it will be coming to Imax in September.


Also released on the same day as Barbie was Oppenheimer directed by Christopher Nolan.

This epic dual release was dubbed, “Barbieheimer” — the trend leading to people watching both movies on the same day. Many viewers came into the theaters dressed head-to-toe in pink then immediately changing into all black and vice versa.

Oppenheimer featured stars such as Cillian Murphy in the lead role, Florence Pugh, Robert Downy Jr, Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt.

If you are unfamiliar, Oppenheimer is a historical World War II film based on the story of            J. Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist who was assigned to work on the Manhattan Project.

Reviews have said it to be emotionally intense, have an impeccable soundtrack, and possibly Oscar-worthy. It is a movie that is more dialogue focused rather than action but is still engaging throughout despite its 3-hour length.

The Eras Tour:

It wouldn’t be Summer 2023 without talking about Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour! It is currently standing as the highest-grossing tour in history with $2.2 billion and has just recently completed the international late August dates in Mexico City.

Swift has already played some fan favorites as surprise songs including “Cornelia Street” and “Afterglow” from Lover and “You’re on Your Own Kid” from Midnights for a third time.

During the U.S leg, Swift made some exciting announcements. The first was the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) which occurred on July 7th. This was a top album for Swifties, including myself, but the re-release of it sparked some controversy. This era of Swift’s life was filled with heartbreak and resentment, and many were upset that it lacked the emotion that original version did. It shouldn’t have that same feeling as those events occurred over a decade ago and shows her growth.

Coming with the new album, came five vault tracks (songs that were not included in the original release of the album) named “Electric Touch” (ft. Fall Out Boy), “When Emma Falls in Love”, “I Can See You”, “Castles Crumbling” (ft. Hayley Williams), “Foolish One”, and “Timeless”.

“I Can See You” came with a music video which premiered on Taylor’s first night in Kansas City featuring Joey King and Presely Cash who were in the “Mean” music video. The other person in the video shocked everyone. It was none other than Taylor Lautner, who is known by Swifties to be her best ex-boyfriend. She even brought them all out on stage and it was nice to see the old couple be great friends after all these years.

If you didn’t get the chance to go to a show, you might be in luck! Taylor also announced that after the international tour ends, she will be coming back for a second North American leg in 2024 in four cities (Indianapolis, New Orleans, Miami, Toronto). Many of the tickets were sold during the Verified Fan pre-sale but there is still a possibility of still purchasing if you were not selected.

Speak Now is not the only album she announced to be re-released on this tour. On the closing night of the first U.S leg, Taylor announced 1989 (Taylor’s Version) which will drop on October 27th. We don’t know much about the vault tracks yet, but it is rumored to be more than the other three albums and at least one feature. After this, there will only be two albums left to be recorded- Reputation and her self-titled debut album.

The Summer I Turned Pretty:

Last summer, The Summer I Turned Pretty began airing on Prime Video. The show is based on the book series by Jenny Han and follows Belly Conklin as she gets caught in a love triangle with her childhood friends who she spends every summer with, Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher, and are brothers.

She eventually ends up with Conrad in the season finale. On July 14th, the second season aired, and you could instantly feel the drastic change from the first season. From the first few minutes, it seemed much gloomier and more intense. We find out that Susannah, the brothers’ mother, has passed away from cancer, Conrad and Belly have broken up, and no one is on speaking terms.

Throughout the episodes, flashbacks are shown from previous summers and the end of the season 1 finale upto Susannah’s funeral.

We are also introduced to two new characters, Julia and Skye, who are Susannah’s half-sister and the Fishers’ cousin.

Now that Belly and Conrad are separated, Belly is starting to have feelings for Jeremiah again.

This season mainly focuses on rekindling relationships and dealing with grief. Some of the highlights were the blossoming of Steven and Taylor’s (Belly’s brother and best friend) relationship, the good-bye to the house party, and the brothers’ father buying the house.

In the end, Belly chose to be with Jeremiah, but we see from Conrad’s point of view that he is still in love with her. However, he doesn’t feel like he can be everything she deserves.

Jenny Han has confirmed that a third season will be coming but due to the Writer’s Strike, it is unsure of the time of release.

It seems that Han has stayed true to the book in terms of Belly’s relationship with the boys and is planning to continue the story line with the third book.

While we wait for the final season, read the books as there are plenty of differences from the show.

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About the Contributor
Tatiana Romero, Staff Writer
Class of 2024. Loves food, watching movies, and reading. Hates/fears heights and failure. Wishes to be a doctor.

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