Critic’s picks for 2015-2016

by Zachary Headings – Horizon Media Columnist

It’s been an exciting school year for entertainment. Huge releases rocked the movie industry with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Jurassic World,” “The Martian,” and many others. The music industry exploded this year with many well-known groups releasing new albums. Our very own Andre Swartley, ESL program coordinator and English faculty member released a new book: “The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop.” New seasons of “House of Cards” and “The Walking Dead” wowed fans and left them begging for more. It’s been an extremely busy year. These are a few of my favorite releases that I think you should check out.

Favorite Film:

As mentioned, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opened in theaters December 17 to record-breaking ticket sales. The movie was a hit across the nation, grossing almost $250 million worldwide. You can check out my review of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on the Hesston College Horizon website.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starring: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega

Synopsis: The First Order attempts to control the galaxy with its new superweapon. It’s up to a ragtag group of resistance fighters to stop them.

Rated: PG-13 for Sci-Fi action and violence


Favorite Book: Andre Swartley’s new Mennonite horror novel, “The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop” follows the story of a young man who returns to his childhood home to help his family make final preparations before it is sold. While there, he must confront the ghost that terrorized him as a boy and he learns some truths about himself that he has to come to terms with. I read this in a week while still completing my class work and practicing music. It’s a great book that keeps you interested by throwing more and more twists at you until its satisfying end.

You can pick up “The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop” at the Hesston College Bookstore, or online at

odetta koop

The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop

Author: Andre Swartley

Synopsis: Grover Solomon Yoder returns to his childhood home in a small Mennonite town to confront the ghost that ruined his childhood.

Favorite Band: Over the last four years, Coldplay has been my favorite band. This year, they released a new album this year, titled “A Head Full of Dreams.” It became the number 2 album in the United States despite receiving mixed reviews from critics. It’s available for streaming on Spotify and for download on iTunes.

a head full of dreams

Favorite TV Show: My favorite TV show that released a new season in the 2015-2016 was by far “House of Cards.” Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as Frank and Claire Underwood, the series debuted back in 2013 on Netflix. The show follows Underwood’s machiavellian rise to power through the American government. He is kniving and uses his knowledge of the ins and outs of Washington’s politics to advance his position. “House of Cards is available exclusively on Netflix.


Favorite Video Game: Fallout 4 released on Nov. 10 and immediately broke records. It shipped 12 million copies in the first 24 hours, with sales upwards of $750 million. The game takes place in the year 2287 in Boston, Massachusetts. The world was destroyed 200 years previous by an atomic war that lasted all of 2 minutes. The player must search for their missing son across the bombed out wasteland of Boston. You can check out my full review here. Fallout 4 is available on the PlayStation Network, XBox Live, and Steam, as well as in stores.

fallout 4

Favorite News Network: If you’re looking for a good, unbiased news source, you should check out the BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation offers an unbiased approach to news. While CNN will be biased towards the left and Fox will be biased towards the right, BBC will give you the news, without twisting it to one political party’s point of view. You can check out their website at


If you agree with my favorites, or want to completely destroy and argue every single one of them, shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!

About the author: Zachary Headings is a Sophomore at Hesston College where he is completing an Associates of General Studies. His primary focus is music, but dabbles in other things like writing and astronomy. He plans to transfer to Eastern Mennonite University to begin pursuing journalism as a career. In his spare time, he watches movies and TV shows, plays video games, and fangirls about anything and everything Star Wars. In the future, he would love to write for a gaming magazine, like IGN or PC Gamer.

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