Cinematic treasures in Coates Library


illustration by Yessenia Lopez

As you walk into Trinity’s rather cozy and quaint library, you are flanked by a cafe and a help desk, but just to the right lays a treasure: a stand filled with endless possibilities and wonder. This past week, the legendary display has “La La Land” and “Moonlight,” two films that, if you haven’t watched them, should take priority over sleep, food and health. They are fantastic cinematic experiences and unforgettable in every possible way.

“La La Land” is Damien Chazelle’s latest masterpiece. His first major film, “Whiplash,” was a huge hit “” with a spectacular soundtrack and an Oscar-winning performance from J. K. Simmons, it cemented his place in the eyes of all major studios to lead their next Oscar-contending film, and he delivered. “La La Land” follows the lives of Sebastian (played by the perfect Ryan Gosling) and Mia (played by the wonderfully talented Emma Stone) and explores what it’s like to be a dreamer in the land of entertainment. From the wonderful sets, to its dance numbers and the best original soundtrack I have heard in my life, it’s one of the best movies in the 21st century. While I understand many people will disagree with such a sweeping statement, all I ask is for them to just watch it one time and then they too will be swept away in its old-time Hollywood magic. This was also one of the most-awarded films in recent history, competing with “Titanic” and “˜”Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” for most awarded; it did exceptionally at the Oscars, but it lost out in farcical fashion to an incrementally better film, “Moonlight.”

Few films could have beaten “La La Land” for Best Picture, but “Moonlight” was just a bit better. “Moonlight” captured an emotion, a feeling that I have never witnessed on a screen. It held you close and pushed you to look inward and bring back feelings and memories from times in life that should be forgotten. I have seen my father cry while watching three films, “Saving Private Ryan,” “Up” and “Moonlight.” The entire theater I was in quietly sobbed as they watched shot after beautiful shot expose the complicated and sad life of a gay black teen in Miami. I watched, entranced, as the main character grew up in a world filled with hatred and bigotry. While I want to go on, I hope this is enough to make you watch this film yourself.

Both of these movies are in the library, for free. Movies that capture an experience unlike anything I have seen in my short life. Movies that are well worth the time they ask for and are worthy breaks from the constant barrage of work college students face.

Another great piece of entertainment the library has is the “True Detective” series. I saw it on that shelf all of last year, and yesterday when I asked the help desk they told me it was currently checked out, and for good reason. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey star as detectives who have to investigate ritualistic murders that continue to happen in the strange world of southern Louisiana. It’s beautiful, evil and unique, and one of the few shows on TV that I know that has made people contemplate if there is good in this world. A masterpiece from start to finish, it is the perfect escape.  

College can be oppressive at times. It robs you of time, sleep and money “” all while asking you to turn in an assignment the next day. But college also is filled with new friendships, knowledge to be found and libraries that give you access to amazing free movies. As long as it has those three things, anyone can survive it.