A look back at 2021 media


As students re-entered the building, a variety of movies, music and TV shows have kept ETHS students enthralled and entertained.  Much of this new entertainment, especially music, has reflected the difficult year and the challenging personal experiences individuals have faced while also, at times, providing an escape from the realities of the world.


This Marvel movie, directed by Chloé Zhao, Academy Award-winning director for “Nomadland”, premiered on Nov. 5., introducing a new group of superheroes. The Eternals are a race of immortal beings that have lived on Earth for thousands of years for the sole purpose of stopping Deviants but were forbidden to interfere with human life, letting humans evolve on their own. Overall, there were mixed reviews about Eternals. 

“I was scared going into it, because I heard a lot of people saying it wasn’t a great Marvel movie, but I was pleasantly surprised,” junior Teresa Waterkotte says. 

The diversity in the movie is amazing, including deaf, South-Asian and openly gay superheroes. 


Based on the hit science fiction book released in 1965, “Dune” Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), who was born into power, and his dad (Oscar Isaac), the Duke of Caladan. As they travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe, Arrakis, Paul must ensure the future of his people as conflict explodes over the planet’s most precious commodity.

“It’s interesting to see different interpretations of what the future can look like,” junior Griffin Kearns says.  

Everything in “Dune” adds to the futuristic setting. From the special effects, costumes and makeup, it aligns closely to that of Star Wars, but with a different twist.  

The special effects and visuals brought into “Dune” were amazing and looked insanely real. It was really special for lovers of the book to see a newer and cleaner version of Arrakis that they weren’t able to see in 1984 when the original movie was released.

The blockbuster movie came out on Oct. 22 this year and is now available on HBO Max.  

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

Featuring the first Asian American lead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie follows Shang-Chi, the son of Wenwu, leader of the Mandarin, as he gets pulled back into the part of his past he thought he left behind and tries to save his mother’s village. Including lovable characters, amazing fight scenes and beautiful culture, “Shang-Chi” was a hit in the theaters. 

“I knew instantly it was one of my new favorite movies,” junior Marlena Weheliye says.  “It was very fluid and beautifully filmed. The movie is amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Hopefully, “Shang-Chi” will help pave the way for more Asian representation in film and across the Marvel Universe. A sequel was announced to be in the works by the same director, Destin Daniel Cretton.

“Shang-Chi” is now available to watch on Disney+.

‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Based on the hit Broadway musical with the same name, “Dear Evan Hansen” tackles heavy topics like suicide and mental health. The film stars Ben Platt as Evan Hansen, a socially anxious and isolated high school student, who begins to write letters to himself as an assignment from his therapist. The letters end up falling into the hands of Connor Murphy the night Connor takes his own life. Evan, being in love with Connor’s sister Zoey, acts like the two of them were the best of friends, when in actuality, they barely even spoke. In the film, some songs were cut out, including, “Anybody Have a Map?” the lead track in the musical and “Good for You,” a fan favorite. 

‘YOU Season 3’

“I really like Penn Badgely,” sophomore Lucy Fredrickson remarks. “He’s just mysterious and plays a good stalker, because you wouldn’t expect him to play a character like that.”

Badgley resumes his role as psychopathic Joe Goldberg, whose story continues, but this time with his wife, Love Quinn. In their new suburban home, the couple tries to maintain a normal, married life with their newborn son (much to Joe’s disappointment).  This proves difficult, as they deal with marriage issues and new relationships in their town.  Like the previous seasons, Joe tries his best to cover up his murderous tendencies; however, this season, he also needs to consider his wife’s as well.  This season furthers the character development of Joe as he navigates his ever-changing life.

Like other seasons, Season 3 continues to feature the creative internal monologues (unique to “YOU”) which help the viewer better understand and look into the world of a psychopath.

All three seasons of “YOU” are available on Netflix.

‘The Bachelorette’

“The Bachelorette” is back, but this time, it’s outside of the quarantine bubble of the past couple seasons. Michelle Young and the men are filmed on dates back out in the real world and also travel to different locations like Michelle’s ‘hometown,’ Minnesota. 

Michelle Young is the second bachelorette of this year, after Katie Thurston. A previous contestant on Matt’s chaotic season, the elementary teacher is looking for love once again. Her maturity and attitude are different from previous Bachelors and Bachelorettes, which is seen in the way she handles the situations put before her.  

“I like [Michelle]. She’s a cool bachelorette.  She’s very confident,” junior Hannah Finkelstein says.

‘Squid Game’

Almost everyone has seen or at least heard of this Korean action-based TV show. The plot focuses on a gripping game called Squid Game, in which players’ lives are actually at stake.  All participants join with (and because of) large amounts of debt that they hope will be paid off if they win. The winner is promised 45.6 billion Won that keeps increasing as players get eliminated.  It’s a high risk for a big reward, as each round is a new childhood game with deadly consequences.  Throughout, the audience learns more about the players themselves and also the obscure people running the game.

“It keeps getting more intense as you watch,” sophomore Hannah Donnely says.  

The intensity and quite twisted story reminded many of “The Hunger Games”, which might explain why it is such a popular TV pick among young people.  

The nine-episode series is available on Netflix.

Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’

After losing the rights to her first six albums, Taylor Swift is in the process of re-recording each of them, and on Nov. 12, “Red” became the second re-release. Originally dropping in Oct. 2012, and featuring hits like “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22,” “Red” is a fan favorite for many. With the re-recordings, Swift adds vault tracks to the albums —songs that were meant to be in the collection but didn’t make the cut. Back in November, we got a slow, sad song featuring Phoebe Bridgers, a 10-minute long version of her already heartbreaking five-minute “All Too Well” and many more. 

Also released on Nov. 12 was a short film written and directed by Taylor Swift herself, based on the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” Actress Sadie Sink starred alongside Dylan O’Brien as they acted out lyrics from the song and a couple dialogue scenes. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is available wherever you find music, and the short film is available on YouTube.

Adele’s ’30’

After six years, Adele resurfaces with her new album, “30”. The lead single “Easy On Me” was a big hit that was heard all over the radio. This past year, Adele went through a divorce, which she said was a huge influence for the collection, as was her son, Angelo. ETHS students voiced their support of Adele, as her music reminds them of their childhood. 

 “[Adele has a] great vocal range.  I used to listen to her when I was younger,” sophomore Lucy Fredrickson comments.  

Consisting of 12 tracks, it’s safe to say that “30″ is a beautiful way to re-enter the music industry.

Kanye’s ‘Donda’

“Donda” was named after Kanye’s mother, Donda West.The artist’s 10th album released Aug. 29 features 27 songs. “Donda Deluxe”, which dropped Nov. 14, raises the total songs up to 32 with the addition of unreleased tracks and new versions of songs. Like many of his albums, there is religious influence in the album’s songs, such as “Praise God”.

“He mixed all the good parts of his albums. His Christian albums mix with a lot of his older albums,” freshman Zach Cutter comments.  

However, there has been some controversy because the album features controversial artists, such as DaBaby and Marilyn Manson. Despite this, Kanye—and “Donda” in particular—are both popular music picks for ETHS students.

Lil Nas X-Montero

“Montero” is Lil Nas X’s first studio album. Lil Nas X first made it big when the song “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus dropped in 2019 and has gained popularity through both his identity as a black queer man, and his music. Lil Nas X’s unique marketing tactics are also notable, as he craftily teased listeners with strategies including a ‘pregnancy’ announcement in which his ‘baby’ was the record “Montero”

The 22-year old incorporates elements from his own life in an album that starts with upbeat radio hits like “Industry Baby, and “Montero”, but also covers more serious topics and personal feelings in “Sun Goes Down” and “Void”.  

Lil Nas X’s diversely emotional group of songs were made with the help of some friends.

“[‘Montero’ has] really catchy songs and good features.” junior Amelia Ward comments.  

Popular artists such as Jack Harlow, Miley Cyrus and Doja Cat are among the artists included in “Montero”.