Pariente Jean-Philippe/Sipa/Shutterstock

There's no way to sugarcoat it: The world is falling apart, and most of the people in power don't know how to handle it.

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JVY SVINT - Basic [Official Music Video]

Jay Saint's new video for "Basic" is a transportive portrait of queer love and emotional intimacy. Trippy and elegant, it's a multifaceted love song with a few twists.

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Merge Records

In 1998, Jeff Mangum and his band Neutral Milk Hotel released In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

The record—a blend of energetic, philosophical folk with a distinctly vintage flair—became one of the most beloved cult classics in all of indie rock.

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New Releases

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Pom Pom Squad - Red With Love (Official Audio)

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TO ALL THE BOYS 2: P.S. I Still Love You | Official Sequel Trailer 2 | Netflix

This article contains spoilers.

Last week, Netflix celebrated Valentine's Day by premiering To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.

A film adaptation of Jenny Han's novel of the same name—and the sequel to 2018's hit To All the Boys I've Loved Before—P.S. I Still Love You begins with Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky's first date as a real couple. After feigning their romance in order to spark jealousy in a mutual enemy, the unlikely couple are in it for real this time; that is, until Lara Jean receives a response to the last of her numerous love letters that her sister sent out behind her back in the first movie.

The subject in question is John Ambrose McClaren, who reveals that the feelings Lara Jean had for him when they were younger were mutual. Serendipitously, the two end up volunteering together at Belleview Retirement Villa, commencing Twilight levels of love-triangle drama (OK, not quite—although "Team Peter" and "Team John" hashtags were floating around social media).

To All the Boys I've Loved Before was enjoyable for quite a few reasons, including well-done Asian-American representation within the film's central family, but also because Lara Jean is an incredibly relatable and surprisingly underrepresented type of protagonist. Although she's never been in a relationship, she's self-assured and not socially awkward, opposing the persona that many post-Never Been Kissed rom coms tend to assign their female leads. As Lara Jean begins navigating a true relationship for the first time in P.S. I Still Love You with a seasoned dater like Peter, she brings up valid concerns: What are the right and wrong ways to be a girlfriend? How do you reckon with experiencing each of your "firsts" alongside someone whose "firsts" are things of the past?

But the depth of P.S. I Still Love You pretty much ends there. Although Peter is no novice to boyfriendhood, he still stumbles his way through pursuing Lara Jean; he shows up hours late to their coffee date and leaves much to be desired on their first Valentine's Day together. Gen, Peter's ever-threatening ex-girlfriend, warns Lara Jean that the dates he plans might not be so thoughtful after all. The red flags are endless, but Lara Jean finally decides it's over when she sees a compromising photo of Peter and Gen looking a little too comfortable together, opening the door for her to explore her interest in John Ambrose. Meanwhile, although the viewer never gets quite as full a scope of him, John Ambrose seems much more well-intentioned and level-headed throughout the film. But when the two finally kiss, Lara Jean makes the rather disappointing decision that she still wants to be with Peter, with whom she reconciles.

The overarching message of P.S. I Still Love You, if there even is one, seems to urge us to ignore warning signs and get back together with our negligent ex-partners. The film is entertaining, but it strips Lana Condor's excellent lead performance into just another rehashing of an exhausted trope. It would've been refreshing to see Lara Jean deepen her relationships with the other female characters. Her screentime with her best friend, Chris, is minimal. Lara Jean does confide in Stormy, a feisty resident of Belleview, but the elder's advice hardly dips below "follow your gut." In a pretty surprising twist, Lara Jean attempts to rectify her former friendship with Gen. But the spiel Lara Jean gives her is self-pitying and, honestly, uncomfortable: "Part of the reason [I broke up with Peter] was because when he was with me, I always thought he was thinking about you," Lara Jean explains. "I was convinced that he was never really gonna get over you. And then I realized that the person who couldn't get over you was me." This speech, although framed as a climactic revelation, completely negates Peter's faults and Gen's meddling habit. Lest we forget Peter slept in Gen's room the same night he kissed Lara Jean on their school's ski trip, and does Gen really have nobody else besides Peter to comfort her during her parents' divorce? Although it's implied that Gen and Lara Jean are beginning to make amends, we never see Gen explicitly apologize for attempting to sabotage Peter and Lara Jean's relationship. As a result, Gen's redemption arc is minimized, and her entire exchange with Lara Jean feels stagnant.

It's upsetting to see Lara Jean blame the load of Peter and Gen's collective actions on herself. She deserves better than both of them, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before deserved a better sequel. P.S. I Still Love You is a fine way to kill 90 minutes, but there's nothing profound or thought-provoking about it.

TV Reviews

Hulu's "High Fidelity" Finds Its Groove with Zoë Kravitz

The new series about a lovelorn Brooklyn record store owner nods at the Nick Hornby novel and John Cusack film but successfully goes its own way.

HIGH FIDELITY Official Trailer (2020) Zoë Kravitz, Comedy Series HD

Zoë Kravitz's well-produced, gender-flipped reboot of High Fidelity plays out far better than the usual remake.

The 10-episode Hulu series, which began streaming today, takes its framework and other elements from the 1995 Nick Hornby novel and the 2000 movie starring John Cusack and builds something surprisingly relevant and new.

In the new take on High Fidelity, Rob is still an intelligent but rudderless music-loving thirty-something record store owner navigating a string of bad relationships with the help of amazing soundtracks. Only now, she's a bisexual black woman in Brooklyn, rather than a straight white male in Chicago.

However, that doesn't entirely explain why the Hulu version of High Fidelity feels so different from its other iterations.

Maybe it's Kravitz. She plays Rob with warmth and brains, tempered with awkwardness in emotional situations. It makes for a far more likable lead character than Cusack's "sad bastard," whose rage occasionally boiled over.

And because she's more likable, the people around her are also more likable. Her record store employees, Simon (David H. Holmes) and Cherise (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), are far more nurturing than the ones in the film, which included a scenery-chewing Jack Black in his breakout movie role. Unlike previous versions, Rob now also has a seemingly normal, supportive family and her ex-boyfriends don't generally seem that horrible – though her ex-girlfriend, Kat (perhaps a nod to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who played the analogous role in the film) does seem pretty awful as an Instagram influencer.

Maybe the improvement is in the writing. In the new version, the clever banter from the movie and the book have deeper ramifications. For example, to start the second episode, Rob and her employees debate whether or not to sell Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall" album to a customer.

"How does it benefit society to hold Quincy's genius hostage because the dude who sang over his sh*t ended up being a full-blown child molester?" Rob says, swayed by her love of producer Quincy Jones' horn charts on the album.

"Where'd you get that from, Rob?" Cherise asks. "'Convenient Opinions R Us'?"

"You still listen to a dude who raps in a MAGA hat, so..." replies Rob.

"Having sh*tty politics and a second-grade understanding of American history is a tiny bit different than being a goddamn child molester," replies Cherise.

They keep going, touching on Charles Manson, mental health issues, and the idea that few artists are unquestionably good people, then quickly changing the subject.

Thanks to the luxury of being a series rather than a film, High Fidelity can spend some time on these interesting characters and their interesting lives and ideas. In fact, though Rob counts down his "All-Time Top Five Most Memorable Heartbreaks" in this version like all the others, the series improves the further it deviates from that original framework.

Kravitz has clearly lived with this material for a long time. (Her mom, Lisa Bonet, played the small, but memorable role of musician Marie DeSalle in the movie, and Kravitz names the club the characters hang out in DeSalle's as a homage.) She also knows its shortcomings. Though Hornby's novel was influential in popularizing the idea of boiling pop culture down into lists, 25 years later the Internet is overflowing with Top 5 lists, and every listicle imaginable has already been written. Luckily, though that construct seems a bit dated, Rob's issues with her love life—and her worries about not having one—feel timeless. And once again, the crisp writing serves her well.

"Next week, on 'The Sad Lady Show,' we're going to team up," Rob says one bummed-out night, watching her neighbor across the street also smoke a cigarette alone. "Fight the loneliness together with cats and cigarettes and reruns of 'Murder She Wrote.'"

But in this "High Fidelity," those moods never last long. Rob believes in the transformative power of playlists, and her life is always one great song away from turning around for good.