​The danger of high school movies

​By: Annika Getz

There are countless movies revolving around high-schoolers, and middle-schoolers, and their many adventures and misadventures. These movies appear to be harmless on the surface, but when one thinks about the material in said movies, and the results they have on real teenagers, it’s evident that they are more harmful than they seem.

For starters, there’s a significant lack of diversity in most of these movies. The majority of the time, the main characters are white, cisgender, able bodied, and straight. It is this exclusion of races, sexual orientations, and gender identities, which results in straight, cis, and white, being seen as a sort of default.

However, it’s not just the lack of diversity which makes these movies detrimental to teenagers. Another big issue is that they’re often very dramatized. The situation which the characters are placed in are more often than not, extremely unrealistic. This sets an impractical expectation for kids going into high school and middle school. School, in real life, often seems boring in comparison to the films that teens have watched leading up to it.

Many movies also include a “quirky girl” trope. This trope creates a girl who is supposed to break stereotypes, but usually it is not carried out well, and ends up only perpetuating said stereotypes. The “quirky girl” is often portrayed to be unlike other girls, however this implies that most girls are stereotypical “girly girls.” It also degrades those who are like that.

These movies also dramatize cliques, many times even giving names to each specific one. When this is done, it only enforces the idea that everyone has to fit into a specific group in order to enjoy their experiences in middle school and high school.

And while there are groups of friends, it normally isn’t as dramatic as it is in many of these movies (this is of course only my experience, and I’m sure there are some people who have undergone different experiences).

I believe another large issue with these movies is that they are not typically made with teenager’s best interest in mind. Oftentimes, they’re just capitalistic money grabs, fueled by corporate greed. This means that they aren’t made with the viewers wellbeing in mind. And sometimes, regardless of the creators intentions, these movies still have some sort of negative influence on the teens watching.

I’m not saying that high school movies are inherently bad. There certainly are some good ones, but sometimes, it feels like for every good one, there are ten bad ones.

Given everything I’ve just listed, I think it’s incredibly important that directors and writers make sure to keep the wellbeing, of their teenagers watching, in mind when making these movies, because when they don’t, they more often than not, end up harming their target demographic.

‘The Social Network’: A smart movie

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

In the conversation of the greatest films ever, The Social Network regularly crops up. David Fincher’s 2010 film has been seen as an incredibly perfect film with little to no mistakes within its creative elements. The screenplay, provided by world-renowned Aaron Sorkin, is often seen as the greatest screenplay, or at the very least one of the best to ever grace the earth. With a director such as Fincher, and a writer of Sorkin’s calibre, it seems as if the potential of the film was too good to be true, however, in my opinion, the expectations were sufficiently met.

While I personally don’t see The Social Network to be the best ever, it is without a doubt a masterpiece of some of the highest quality. Fincher is a personal favorite of mine, and his ability to get the best out of his actors once again is exhibited in The Social Network.

Fincher has also always been a director with a very specific visual style, and this style is seen once again in this film. The pairing of a visual director with Sorkin, who is a very dialogue-heavy writer, seems odd on paper, yet when it comes to its fruition the pairing worked wonders. Sorkin’s skills lie within his unparalleled ability to write realistic and attention-grabbing dialogue. So, it’s unsurprising that The Social Network has been praised mostly for it’s dialogue, which is of a quality rarely seen in film.

Comparing The Social Network to many of the other dialogue driven films I’ve seen, I find myself at a loss to fins other films which can rival the quality of Sorkin’s work in this film. The Social Network relies heavily on this supreme dialogue as it is the main selling point, however this isn’t to say the other elements of the film are lacking. It’s quite the opposite; every element of The Social Network rivals the quality of Sorkin’s writing.

The performances from Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garlfield, and Armie Hammer (who played two characters, often at the same time) amongst others are all incredible to the point where the viewer may likely forget the names behind the faces and be fully enveloped in their performances. The eclectic editing aids the equally dramatic story to a perfection, all thanks to Fincher’s understanding of camerawork and pacing.

To put it simply, if you haven’t yet seen The Social Network, you should, and you shouldn’t worry about having high expectations as they likely will be met.

‘One Piece’ review

By: Mohamed Ahmed

What is ‘One Piece’? ‘One Piece’ is the number one best selling manga in the world. ‘One Piece’ started on June 3rd 1999 and is still going on today. During that time ‘One Piece’ broke every sales record for manga sales in manga history. It is one of the big three anime and is by far the number one most popular and best selling manga on earth. 

There is an anime show that is based on the manga ‘One Piece’. There are lots of reasons people have for not watching ‘One Piece’. The number one reason I have heard that makes sense is that it is too long. The manga, ‘One Piece’, is currently at chapter 999 and the anime has 954 episodes out. 

The reason why ‘One Piece’ failed in the west was because of the infamous 4kids dub. 4 kids was given a dubbing license as part of a package deal with some other series. ‘One Piece’ is not a show that can maintain its charm without the dark elements. The corruption of the world government, the main antagonistic force and the brutality of the pirates cannot be conveyed through censorship. 

‘One Piece’ has heart wrenching backstories and when you censor them to the point where it changes the plot, and closure is not given to the characters who found some way into the story, this takes a lot out of the way people view the series. 

The animation is another problem people have. Many ‘One Piece’ fans had that problem before watching the anime. After watching the anime people tend to miss the objectively bad animation and have a sense of nostalgia. That said, some people cannot watch something if it doesn’t suit their standards. 

Overall, I feel that people should give this series a chance, and not just rely on what the internet says about it. 

Manga rating: 10/10 

Anime rating 8/10

‘Come and See’: Real horror

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

The World Wars are a subject in film and media which has been done to death and beaten beyond recognition. However, within all of the schlock and reasonably good war movies, there is one particular film that stands above the rest. That film is the 1985 masterpiece, directed by Elem Klimov, ‘Come and See.’ Elem Klimov set out to depict war to the realest degree that he could, along with Belarusian cinematographer Aleksei Rodionov. Both experienced the Second World War firsthand, Rodionov in particular who fought against the Nazis whilst he was still a teen.

‘Come and See’ follows Florya, a young teen, as he excitedly joins the Russian revolution against the Nazis. Florya is left behind by the revolutionaries, and he is heartbroken. Florya returns to his village following an attack on the revolutionaries’ base with his newfound friend Glosha. When he returns to his village, Byelorussia, they find the village to be empty.

From this point forth, the film transforms from a somewhat tense and emotional romp to one of the darkest and realistic depictions of war to ever be made. The viewer accompanies Florya as he witnesses the pure evil of the Nazis, and their conspirators, against innocent men, women, and children.

Florya turns from a cheerful & optimistic child, who wants to do nothing more than fight for his people, to an aged and decrepit husk of his former self after watching all those around him die in extremely brutal fashion. Not only was what Florya saw some of the cruelest horrors one could see, they are all depictions of reality. All the events of massacre in the film were truly committed by the Nazi forces, and that is what makes the film absolutely destructive to one’s psyche.

However, the grueling and realistic story is not enough without the proper film elements to support it. Fortunately, ‘Come and See’ has masterful execution of every factor in film in spades. The cinematography, especially for being an 80s Russian movie, is top notch.

Head-on shots of characters are a repeated motif throughout the film. These shots have the characters often looking directly at the camera, and are an excellent way to dig into the viewer’s psyche as well as depict deep emotions without the need for dialogue.

The cinematography also includes views that are often behind the characters, as if they are constantly being stalked.

In addition to these, many of the shots are long, winding, tedious sequences that continually feed into the next shot after the next after the next. There are nearly no breaks, no moments of calm. It is a constant deluge of pain and suffering, with no end in sight.

The sound design is also incredible, rivaling that of many films which have come out decades later. This sound design accompanies incredibly with the long arduous shots at creating a film that feels intensely real and difficult to watch, yet still terribly hard to look away from.

‘Come and See’ is real. No, it doesn’t follow real characters or a real life story, however what happens in the film is still real. Innocent people were massacred in the millions by Nazi forces. Their methods of murder are real, and truly horrific. Everything presented in the film, the viewer knows to be true, even if it is just a fictional depiction.

Once all is said and done, there is still no resolution. No solace, no victory, no optimism, no release, nothing. ‘Come and See’ only lets the viewer feel pain, a pain they know to have been real.

I believe ‘Come and See’ is the best war movie to ever be made. This film should be seen by all, as it is one of the closest ways to see true evil without truly seeing it happen. However, the film is extremely brutal, intense, and realistic. It is not for the faint of heart, but it still is for everyone. ‘Come and See’ is a depiction of the true evil that lies within humanity. If we were to live in a world without pieces of art such as this film, we may then live in a world devoid of understanding, devoid of hope, and devoid of resistance to evil.

‘Supernatural’ finally made Destiel canon

By: Teah Henry

Spoilers for ‘Supernatural’ below! 

On November 5th, the internet exploded. The election was happening, there were rumors Putin was resigning, and Destiel was confirmed canon. 

Destiel is the ship between the characters Dean and Castiel from the show ‘Supernatural’. Castiel was introduced as the angel that brought Dean out of Hell in season four. He was only supposed to be in a few episodes, but he quickly became a fan favorite and ended up sticking around until the show’s final fifteenth season. 

The reason the ship becoming canon is such a big deal is because ‘Supernatural’ has been notorious for queerbaiting. Queerbaiting is when a piece of media, usually T.V. shows, hint at their characters being LGBT+ without ever planning to make it explicitly clear whether they are or not. This is to attract queer audiences while also not upsetting more conservative fans.

Queerbaiting is not a good practice. It treats the LGBT+ community more as a spectacle than actual people who do exist, and it’s a pretty cruel trick to play on a community that rarely gets representation. 

‘Supernatural’ has been accused of queerbaiting due to their hinting at Dean being bisexual, and that him and Castiel have unresolved romantic feelings for each other. The hints are just enough so some viewers will pick up on it while others might not, and the fans that did pick up on it have been wanting ‘Supernatural’ to have their characters be openly queer so there’s more representation on screen. 

‘Supernatural’ has been losing fans throughout the years (mostly due to its long run and increasingly bad writing). A lot of previous fans had moved on by 2020, and gave up on the show making Dean bisexual or Destiel canon. Even Tumblr, which was known for being mostly used by fans of ‘Supernatural’, became less focused on the show and users moved on. 

However, on November 5th, the second to last episode of ‘Supernatural’ aired, and Castiel confessed to Dean that he loved him.

The internet went crazy.

Destiel was trending on Twitter, and Tumblr became full of Destiel posts. Many users joked that their dashboard was only posts about ‘Supernatural’.

Not only that, but after Castiel confessed, he was dragged to The Empty, deemed by fans as Mega Hell, which is where angels go when they die. Many people saw the homophobic implications of being sent to Hell after having a gay love confession. There was a small line in the finale that Castiel was dragged out of The Empty, and made it to Heaven, but we never see him again. 

Anyway, I don’t think we should praise this show for finally going through with their years of queerbaiting. The confession wasn’t even enough, many fans denied it was a love confession and claimed it was platonic.

Not only that, but Castiel doesn’t show up again for the last two episodes. Dean doesn’t even talk about him. He confesses his gay love, gets dragged to Hell, and then we never even hear Dean’s feelings on it. It’s not a victory for queer representation. 

Despite that, it was fun to be on the internet and witness all the reactions to Destiel becoming canon. I think ‘Supernatural’ has left a big footprint in internet history, and rests as a good example of what not to do with queer characters. 

A review of ‘Brothers’

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘Brothers’ is a 2009 film, by Jim Sheridan, starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman. ‘Brothers,’ as one may suspect, is a film about brothers Sam and Tommy played by Maguire and Gyllenhaal respectively. Sam is a respected marine returning to duty, whereas Tommy was just released from prison after serving for a robbery. In Sam’s absence, Tommy steps in to take care of Sam’s wife Grace, played by Natalie Portman, as well as their two daughters.

The film follows the arcs of all three characters, as both Tommy and Sam change drastically over the course of the film, almost in polar opposite directions.

Sam’s helicopter crashes whilst in Afghanistan, and he is presumed dead. This causes great unrest within the family, greater than there already was. However, Sam survives and is captured by the enemy.

Sam goes through severe hardships while captured, and it changes him nearly completely.

Meanwhile, Tommy and Sam’s family are getting far closer, and everything seems to be going well despite their belief of Sam’s passing.

To go further would likely spoil the film, so I’ll simply state that from here, the emotional turmoil is heightened even further.

Simply put, ‘Brothers’ is deeply emotional, as it follows the cruel effects of war and also the difficulty of family. Nearly every character in this film has their own unique arc which develops them into something they largely weren’t at the start. This heartbreaking writing is one of the film’s strongpoints.

Out of anything in the movie, dialogue, and the way that it is delivered, shines above. For the most part, it’s much of what the film has to offer.

Gyllenhaal and Maguire both deliver far above expectations even if they are both already known for their tear-jerking performances. Both actors complement each other perfectly and are able to bring out the best in one another in addition to Portman’s excellent performance. These performances are awe-inspiring and are the main focus of the film. This leads to the film feeling very natural, realistic, and touching.

However, while the writing and performances are top notch the rest of the film lags behind. Cinematography, score, and most other elements of film, apart from the two previously mentioned, are incredibly bland and/or lacking. The thing is, most viewers will not have a large problem with this, and the film does well enough solely through the acting’s power. Due to this imbalance ‘Brothers’ delivers on its intentions, however it feels held back. It’s almost as if there was much more to this film that wasn’t fleshed out and was simply glossed over.

In all, ‘Brothers’ is quite the good film with some legendary performances and with a riveting and stirring story. ‘Brothers’ reaches the point it most likely intended and would leave most, including myself, both satisfied with the film and emotionally affected.

For those more acquainted with film, ‘Brothers’ has much of the same effect, but is slightly disappointing as it just barely misses out at being an incredible film and has to unfortunately suffice with being a really good film, which most filmmakers would be more than happy to achieve.

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is weird

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is Charlie Kaufman’s latest directorial, as well as written, work, and it is, as the title suggests, weird. This is to be expected with Kaufman’s work, as the weird, dream-like, and ethereal style of his writing often becomes a main figure in his films.

This film however is particularly odd, even for a Kaufman film.

The dialogue, as usual, is masterfully written, yet almost feels as if it is a one-sided jumbled mess of thoughts, and it is intentionally done so. The cinematography is equally as odd and off putting, and yet in it’s own way strangely inviting and familiar. Once again, both of these are staples of Kaufman’s work.

‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ revolves around the relationship between Jake, played by Jesse Plemons, and Lucy, played by Jessie Buckley. Specifically, it focuses more so on Lucy’s thought of ending the relationship. However, there is clearly a connection between her and Jake, and so she is having difficulty ending the relationship.

The film takes place on a road trip through a blizzard to Jake’s childhood home to visit his parents. However, once they get there things become extremely unsettling and it seems as if multiple timelines are merging together. From here, the film continues to spiral and spiral into delusion until the viewer is ultimately left extremely confused and most likely also very pleased with the film.

The film is an extremely slow burn, once again, intentionally so. ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ lasts just over two hours, however, it feels as if it is four hours or longer. Normally, this would be detrimental to a film, however, in this film’s case it is the highest of compliments.

The world which Kaufman creates is so engrossing and atmospheric that it essentially doubles the length, complexity, and enjoyment of the film simply due to how mind-boggling it is. The length, or at least the perception of the length, could turn some people away from this film which I completely understand.

In addition to this, the film is extremely confusing from start to finish and after finishing the film, if any film were to require a second viewing, this would be the film. This confusion and practically necessary second viewing most likely will deter most viewers from ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things.’ This is an unfortunate issue which plagues many of Kaufman’s films as they are all deeply cerebral and often require deep thought into even the most basic of elements.

I highly recommend this film despite how hard it may be to consume for the average viewer. However, if you are looking to expand your tastes and your perspective on life and media, you will find a deeply emotional and atmospheric tale of regret, aging, time, and consumption as a society in ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ which will likely have a profound effect on your life in some way or another.

Since ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is a Netflix production, it’s likely readily available for your consumption, so please give it a shot.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ AKA, the best film of all time

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: theIndianexpress.com

‘Avengers: Endgame,’ directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, was released into theaters April 26, 2019 (USA). I believe that this is the best superhero film- neigh the best film, of all time.

We start off with Tony Stark, a very loved character in the Marvel Universe adrift in space. He makes his way back to earth with a lot of assistance from Captain Marvel, who is played by the magnificent actress Brie Larson.

From there on, there are plot twists, major death scenes that will go down in film history, and so many parts that will leave your heart aching, guaranteeing there’s not a dry eye in the house by the time you finish this movie. There might be a lot of loss in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, but it is action packed with plenty of laughable scenes.

The plot of ‘Endgame’ is truly like no other. *SPOILER ALERT* The Avengers try to find a way to reverse the snap through time travel that Thanos did previously, in the third Avengers movie (‘Infinity War’).

What I think is truly incredible is the way that they show scenes from past movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and they show some of the Avengers confronting their past selves. It really kept me on my toes. I was never bored; one minute you could catch me crying, another you could catch me with my eyes boggled out of my head during a fight scene.

The cinematography in some of the shots is really beautiful, and I think everyone should see it with their own eyes.

According to Newsday.com, Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ made a whopping $2,797,800,564, making it the highest grossing movie of all time!! I personally think that this movie made such a huge profit because it’s the end of an era that meant so much, to so many people. Even those who weren’t huge Marvel fans thought of this movie as a must see.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe had many movies, but none made an impact this worldly. Saying I enjoyed this film wouldn’t give it enough credit, it’s a must see!

Why ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ is the best movie of the year 

By Teah Henry

‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’ is a movie that came out the summer of this year. It’s the third Bill and Ted film to come out, nearly thirty years after the previous two: ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ and ‘Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey’ came out in 1989 and ‘91, respectively. 

The films feature two California Valley boys, played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, who are told their music will unite the world and create peace. Bill and Ted don’t seem to have a problem with this destiny in the first two movies, however, the third one shows a middle-aged Bill and Ted who haven’t written the song that will create world peace yet, and time and space is collapsing because of it. 

‘Face the Music’ is one of the best movies to come out to in 2020, even if it doesn’t have much competition due to the coronavirus. It’s a solid comedy and manages to capture the heart of the original movies, despite coming out decades later, something that a lot of later released sequels struggle with.

The Bill and Ted movies appeal to any age group, and ‘Face the Music’ appeals to older and newer fans. Part of that is due to their daughters, Billie and Thea (yes they named their kids after each other), played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving, who serve as a younger generation Bill and Ted while also being their own unique characters. 

The movie also features some LGBT+ representation. Billie’s actor, Brigette Lundy-Paine, is non-binary, and has said they played their character as such. Alex Winter has also been vocal in his support of his character, Bill, being interpreted as a trans man. Non-binary and transgender representation is fairly sparse in media, so it’s always nice to see. 

Not only is ‘Face the Music’ just an excellent movie, but it’s also a very positive experience to watch, and that’s what we all really need in 2020. This year has just been bad news after bad news, so it can be nice to lose yourself in a fun film with good vibes. 

The first two films are available on Starz, while the third one is only available to rent or buy. If you’re able to, it’s totally worth the money to buy, or rent, all three. 

Gruesome revenge: ‘I Saw the Devil’

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘I Saw the Devil’ is a Korean film which was released in 2010, and was directed by Kim Jee-woon. In my previous reviews, I’ve often gone into detail on the director, cast, release, and plot in general. However, I find myself wanting to avoid describing this film as much as possible. This does pose some problems as a review is, well, a review.

‘I Saw the Devil’s’ plot is something I will try to avoid spoiling or detailing as much as possible, however, the central point is hard to not talk about. The film revolves around the gruesome murder of Kim Soo-hyeon’s fiancé. Kim Soo-hyeon, a heavily trained secret agent, makes it his duty to track down the killer and avenge his fiancé. However, the vengeance isn’t as simple as one may assume. In films like ‘John Wick’, the plot is simple; a character important to the protagonist is killed, and so the protagonist tracks down and kills or catches the antagonist. ‘I Saw the Devil’ takes a different route.

It does not take Soo-hyeon long at all to catch the killer, and whilst brutally assaulting this man, Soo-hyeon decides to let him live. He places a tracker into Kyung-chul, the killer, and repeatedly attacks him for the rest of the film. Another monster has been created by a monster.

But, this film is not as simple as following the creation of a monster thanks to revenge. No, the film chronicles nearly constant violence. When I say that this film is not for the faint of heart, I mean it. Many films pose as such and yet barely reach an R-rating. However, ‘I Saw the Devil’ more than earns its R-rating. This film is one of the most brutal and disturbing films I’ve seen, and yet it somehow manages to not be in poor taste, and not go over the top into absurdity.

Once again, I must stress the disgusting and deeply disturbing events that continually happen practically one after another with very little down time. There is constantly blood and violence, however, this is barely the tip of the iceberg. Depictions of cannibalism, severed bodies, decapitation, attempted rape, mutilation, and torture are all on-screen multiple times throughout the film. This is why I find myself unable to recommend this film, despite the fact it is an incredible film with an enthralling and action-packed story.

However, if you believe you can handle the violence, or even get a kick out of it, then I’d advise caution, but would urge you to see the film. ‘I Saw the Devil’ somehow manages to use its continual gruesome violence to teach a valuable lesson on the dangers of revenge, and the horrid lengths humans will attempt to reach just to inflict pain on another.