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Cinemann: Volume VI, Issue 9
Editors in Chief
Andrew Demas Maggie Reinfeld Senior Editors
Matt Taub Alexandra Saali Faculty Advisor
Katie Cacouris, Tucker Caploe, Jessica Chi, Zoe Kestan, Staff Writers Alice Taranto, Sam Torres, Charles Sherr, Emma Specter, Hannah Jun
Rachel Buissereth, Anise Charles, David Feuerstein, Jacob Frackman, Abigail Greenbaum, Bennett Heller, Noah Margulis, Jay Palekar, Savannah Smith, Rachel Simerka-Smith, Henry Warder
Letter From the Editors Dear Reader,
What a year it’s been! We are honored to present to you our ninth and final issue of Cinemann for the 2010-2011 year. We wanted this issue to focus on how pop culture influences our lives, and we do so by taking a look at what is mainstream, the portrayal of teenagers, and the current queen of pop culture herself: Lady Gaga. We’ll also explore songs that topped the Billboard charts thanks to the movies they were featured in and HBO’s newest experiment, Game of Thrones. This has been an amazing year for Cinemann and we are so proud to pass the Cinemann baton for 2011-2012 to coeditors-in-chief, Alexandra Saali and Matthew Taub! We are excited to see your work in the future. On a personal note, Cinemann has provided a vehicle to unite the Horace Mann community through movies and the arts. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good movie! We are particularly pleased that with our incredible staff, we were able to take the magazine to new heights this year, expanding from three to nine issues. We will forever miss spending hours in the Stu Pub laying out and editing this publication for the entertainment of our peers. We hope you savored every minute as much as we did. See you at the movies! Andrew Demas and Maggie Reinfeld Cinemann 3
Game of Thrones: Dare to Play? by alexandra saali “Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the coast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men…all will play the ‘Game of Thrones’.” Has author George R.R. Martin sparked your curiosity yet? His bestselling series A Song of Fire and Ice has
captivated over seven million readers worldwide. Similarly, Game of Thrones, the new HBO series Martin executive produces and writes, has a consistent and growing fan base. The medieval fantasy hit another series high for its most recent episode on May 15th, drawing 2.6 million viewers. Game of Thrones is set in the fictional land of Westeros, where various clans, or houses, have lived and fought for generations in different realms until the Targaryens, ruled by the “mad king,” invaded and united the Seven Kingdoms under
the Iron throne. Each kingdom, like the numerous characters, waits to be fully explored. In my mind, what separates Game of Thrones from other programs is the strength of each and every character. No one is merely subsidiary to the story line. True to the books, which are written in first hand narratives from various different characters, the show does not focus on any one character more than another. There are bastards, cripples, whores, midgets, barbarians, dwarves etc… No type goes unaddressed. Perhaps it is this reflection of our own multifaceted
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societies and interwoven fates that so entices the audience. Now, years later in Westeros, with the mad king dead, there is a battle for the crown. Who is the rightful ruler? Author R.R. Martinâ€™s involvement has undoubtedly made a huge difference in the shows success. Loyal fans of his novels recognize not only Martinâ€™s role in the showâ€™s development, but also his enthusiasm; his blog is filled with praise for the show. Martin is indeed a much needed ally for writers and co-executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who must face diehard fans there to point out everything
they got wrong, left out, or added to the novels. However, I have the utmost confidence in this trio’s ultimate success. With the addition of director Tim Van Patten’s visual genius, making Game of Thrones cinematographically comparable to The Lord of the Rings, I know I am incapable of keeping the television off Sundays at 9 P.M. Although keeping track of all the cast members, kingdoms and subplots may seem daunting, I have found myself comfortably following the series as its first season progresses. The show’s complexity mirrors real society. A great series should in
fact challenge viewers and provoke discussion. Game of Thrones manages to be intricate, but not overwhelming. No character or plot is revealed that audiences can’t follow while keeping tabs on the others. This isn’t a show for young children (like many other HBO series). I would like to hope that the show’s more sophisticated, target audience can keep up – let alone students at The Horace Mann School. While many characters and subplots have captured my attention, I am most intrigued by the world outside the seven kingdoms. I look forward to discovering what lies be-
yond the wall of ice. The first episodes hinted at supernatural forces. In episode 5, which aired May 15th, dragon skeletons were found in the dungeons of the king’s palace. Personally, I’m a bit tired of vampires… fire breathing dinosaurs anyone?
What’s Mainstream and Why by hannah jun What makes us want to watch a certain movie as a society? Other than the basic entertainment value of a good movie, why do we like what we like? Especially from the wide variety of movies we can watch (IMDB guesses 59,375 by the end of 2016), why do we watch what we specifically watch? Is it because of personal or societal desire? Or is it because the film industries bombard us with advertisements to watch their movies so that eventually we become brainwashed by their shiny ads and billboards? How does something become mainstream? What can afford to be mainstream is the more appropriate question when it comes to films. This financial burden has been on the rise, partly because American cinema has always had a priority of making money off of films and the studios follow a seemingly illogical mathematical formula: the more money you pour in the more you’ll get out. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) with the reported cost of 300 millions dollars holds the title of most expensive movie ever. However, with inflation, we can see that this formula is several decades old with infamous Cleopatra costing 44 million dollars in 1963 (with inflation Cleopatra took over 300 million dollars to produce). While often a lot of this money goes into the production of the movie, a huge chunk of cost also goes into the advertising of the movie. What’s the point of making a 200 million dollar film if no one knows about it? And herein lies the problem. In the United States, to reach all 307,006,550 people individually to persuade them to go a watch a particular movie is impossible. What is possible is to grab the attention of the majority of the population by means of television, radio, newspaper ads, billboards, and of course, the Internet. These channels of communication cost money, so if you want all of America to know about your film, you’re
going to have to pay for it—and with the globalization of the film industry, you’ll want the Europe, Asia, South America to be in on it as well. As an audience we desire a story that is richer, more imaginative, and more exciting than our daily lives. Why watch the story that you live every day? The people in the movies are more beautiful than those in our lives, the hard work or arduous processes in the movie are passed through with quick montages and upbeat transition music, and the main characters’ flaws are typified
and often feel contrived. So when we see movies like The Ugly Truth and Crazy Stupid Love, we relish the stereotypical character’s hopes and desires because they are similar to our own, but in their safe contained story line they get the happy ending we want and wish for. For us, a lot of these movies are merely projections of our desires on the big screen with characters that are open slots (sometimes this is avoided when there is excellent acting in the movie or great writing) for us to fill in the blanks with our
own personal experiences and situations. If a movie cannot on its own create its own world it is essentially just a monetary profit film. Movies are, in general, about escaping your own life and looking into another’s, whether it is a segue into a dream of what your life could look like or something entirely different from anything that you could have imagined. With the exponential leaps in editing technology in the last twenty years (Avatar’s use of 3-D is seen as a breakthrough in cinematic technology), the latter types of movies have
become more viable. It is now easier to actually believe in this different world because it looks so real. In the last eleven years, the fantasy genre has become one of the most successful and popular types of film. These movies are supposed to make you forget about the world you live in. For the two hours or so of the film, as an audience you are supposed live in the world of aliens, vampires, and magic. However, most of the time there are still elements of normalcy to help you stay connected with the material you are
experiencing. For example, while we can be amazed at the exoticness of the mermaids in the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides we still are able to sympathize with the problems of ethical behavior and pity when the pirates are slowly killing the mermaid by taking her out of the water. This trend of fantasy continues into this summer with Thor, X-Men: First Class, and the Hunger Games. While money does hold considerable sway, trends in movies that have to do with society are still dis-
cernible. Just because movie has a lot of money poured into it doesnâ€™t mean that is the only reason people are going to be watching. Perhaps the movie industry can simply feel how the subject matter has really struck a chord with society and puts a lot of money in it to make sure that itâ€™s hit and will make a profit.You might have plans to see a movie this weekend. If you do, take a moment to think about why you want to see it. You may end up getting more out of the experience than just two hours of fun.
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W hen The Dark Knight was released on July 18, 2008, it delivered all the thrills and kills expected from a summer blockbuster. What was unprecedented about The Dark Knight, however, was the immense critical acclaim it received. It’s true: a film’s release date often
states a film’s objective. Early releases often aren’t big enough to compete in summer or serious enough to compete in fall or winter. Summer movies are often money grabs. Movies released in the fall and winter are often the best films of the year. These trends are by no means universal, however. A film’s release date also often unfairly designates a certain fate to a film regardless of its quality. While the months of January through May do tend to be a stagnate period in the movie industry, not all films released during that time deserve to be overlooked during awards season the way they are. So far in 2011, Fast Five, Rango, and Rio
have been the top-grossing films in the United States, and all three have been praised by critics. In the end, however, Rango may be the only one of those three that gets any Oscar buzz. Summer blockbusters like The Hangover Part II, Cowboys & Aliens, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will do serious damage at the box office and they will probably be great movies too. Those films all star proven performers and will most likely do what a great movie does: transport the audience. That being said, those films will also be snubbed at awards ceremonies. Is it because voters will have forgotten them? Not likely. It’s probably because voters feel a pseudo-intellectual desire to maintain indie cred by refusing
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to associate with what the masses enjoyed. Lately however, thanks to The Dark Knight, summer movies are taken more seriously; summer blockbusters Inception and Toy Story 3 both received Best Picture nominations at this year’s Academy Awards. Summer movies, while still high-grossing action-packed confection, are also beginning to become acknowledged as sophisticated entertainment. It would be nice if critics and Academy members lightened up and realized that blockbusters that don’t come out between the months of September and December can be just as praise-worthy as the low-budget dramas that do. Dare I say it, sometimes snubbed action movies like The Dark
Knight and even (gasp!) comedies like The Hangover deserve even more accolades than former nominees like True Grit and Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. The recent nominations of films like Inception could be a sign that good popular films will start to be treated like good independent films. Unfortunately, there’s a long way to go. At this year’s Academy Awards, seven out of the ten Best Picture nominees were released in the latter quarter of 2010. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as many excellent films are released during that time of year. What needs to stop is the biased favoritism toward end-of-year releases. Go ahead and nominate all of The King’s Speech’s that you can find. Just stop overlooking
The Dark Knight’s, The Hangover’s, and all of the other fine summer flicks that are released. It could be easily argued that Inception has fare more emotional depth and was made with more precision than The King’s Speech. It seems, however, that the Academy and many critics still refuse to admit that. We’re heading into what looks like a very promising summer movie season. Go see lots of movies and enjoy them the way they’re meant to be enjoyed. Don’t feel ashamed when they’re scoffed at by those who feel their tastes in movies are superior. They aren’t.
The Impact of Movies and Television on America’s Teenagers by daniel ehrlich As cinema has been pushed further and further as an art form, it has also continuously pushed to realistically portray teenagers on screen. Throughout the years, films have attempted to show teenagers from both contemporary times and ages before the movie’s release date. The 1961 film Splendor in the Grass, parts of which were filmed at Horace Mann School, boldly expressed teen angst in the 1920s. Grease did the same, made in the late ‘70s but portraying teens of the 1950s. Later, the controversial Kids, released in 1995, grimly expressed the lifestyles of New York teens in the age of AIDS. Today, there are more attempts at expressing the sentiments of teenagers than ever, both in film and on television. There are two camps, really: the overdramatic, fantastical side, and the more down-to-earth, comedic side. On one side, there’s Gossip Girl, a show portraying one small demographic of teenagers, and not even portraying that demographic realistically. It follows all the exciting exploits of rich New Yorkers at elite private schools, with lives full of the
soap opera-esque drama that always manages to capture an audience: fathers being indicted and escaping to foreign sanctuaries, suicidal brothers, sex, drugs… the works. If the characters are all wealthy New Yorkers at private school, then I suppose one can say there are some similarities to the student body of Horace Mann. However, Horace Mann doesn’t really have the massive scandal that happens every week on Gossip Girl. The drama isn’t revolving around who’s off to rehab this week; rather, it’s more centered towards typical teenage happenings: who’s dating whom, who’s the best athlete, etc. If Gossip Girl is overdramatizing its expression of one echelon of society, then it represents everything wrong with shows on the CW and MTV trying to portray teens. It’s not wrong that they’re overdoing what’s going on in teenagers’ lives, because that’s to be expected. Rather, what is wrong are these shows’ desperate attempts to haul in viewers by bringing the expression to extreme levels that distort any sense of realism that could possibly be attained. On the other side, there are raunchy teen comedies like the Judd
Apatow-produced Superbad (2007). These films are obviously meant to be funny, often going down the absurdity route (ex. “McLovin”’s causing a cop car to explode). However, they always keep a realistic core beneath all the layers of ridiculous plot-driving humor. At the end of the day, they show what teens really are like. They work, they go to parties, and they just hang out. There’s a very real and deep poignancy in these films. The writers, directors, and actors know what teens truly long for, whether that be love, sex, or perhaps most of all, just to fit in amongst their peers. It is in this sweet center that keeps these films grounded in reality. While Gossip Girl holds its superficiality and plot twists up on a silver platter above all else, these other teen comedies manage to balance all the action and excitement of the story with the teen motivations as well as emotions behind them. In this way, they’re the closest any movies today are to getting us, that is teens, portrayed in the correct way.
How the Rocky Movies Influenced My Life At the age of nine, my mom came home with a box set of five movies she said I would love. Little did I know that the Rocky movies would be more than the seemingly endless training montages and dramatized boxing matches. These movies played a defining role in my childhood, and today, I can proudly say I have taken some of the messages Rocky offered and applied them to my daily life. I became obsessed. At the age of ten, I was Rocky Balboa for Halloween. I sat on the couch hours on end, fast-forwarding to my favorite parts. I wrote a Rocky VI (three years later, my prayers were answered when Rocky and his crew came back for one last bout). Boxing, a sport I didn’t know a thing about, suddenly became something worth watching. I listened to the Rocky soundtrack on my CD Player everyday on the bus to third grade. I idealized the guy, his fights, his training, his music, and his poise. Now, looking back, I am amazed at how my childhood obsession has transformed into something so substantive and meaningful in my life today. What I learned from Rocky was how to fight. And I don’t mean how to physically stand in the ring with someone, but how to dig deep and fight within myself when things have gone wrong. Just as Rocky Balboa did in the 1976 Academy
by charles sherr
Award winning Best Picture, I learned to never give up. As Rocky once said so emphatically in a losing effort to his trainer in Rocky, “You stop this fight, I’ll kill ya,” I learned something worthwhile about perseverance. His message was a sign of commitment; if you work hard to achieve a goal, there is nothing that should ever stop you from getting there. It is certainly a life lesson that is very relevant to me today. Standing in the ring against a bigger, tougher opponent is a daunting task – as is taking a chemistry test, writing a history essay, or analyzing a poem. But, like Rocky, you need to stand in and fight, and never give up. Most of the time, that effort alone can go a long way. Work hard, and benefits will come. In life, you always want friends in your corner. They’re the ones who’ll pick you up when you are down, and be there for you when you need them most. This is yet another life message that is displayed in the Rocky movies. Throughout the films, Rocky surrounds himself with his best friends and family. Everyone he loves has a central role in his life. I find myself fortunate that I too can share many moments, both good and bad, and wins or losses with my close friends and family. The importance of having them in your life is clearly shown in the films. The Rocky films have influenced
my life in more aspects than just school. After watching his training montages, complete with some of the best pumpup music ever, all I wanted to do was to train like the “Italian Stallion.” And low and behold, I picked up running, a sport I haven’t stopped playing ever since. The famous scenes of Rocky running up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art were and still are some of the most inspirational images I know. So famous are the scenes with Rocky running up the steps, that they were given their own Wikipedia page, the “Rocky Steps”. No movie has ever done the “inspirational training montage” like the Rocky movies have, and I owe these scenes credit for feeding my passion for running. Besides being some of my favorite movies of all time, the Rocky series holds a legacy for me of being more than just great boxing films. What Sylvester Stallone leaves behind in the movies he wrote and starred in is a message that stresses a way to live a great life: one that is filled with perseverance, inspiration, close friends and family, and the will to never give up. Because of Rocky, I learned what it means to search for what I want in life, and not to stop until I reach my goal. I learned to have the “Eye of the Tiger.”
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Starring: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz Opens: May 20
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides captures the fun and adventure in which Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow. Crossing paths
with the enigmatic Angelica (Penélope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the legend-
The Hangover: Part II
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis Opens: May 26 In The Hangover Part II, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.
ary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know whom to fear more: Blackbeard or Angelica, with whom he shares a mysterious past.
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer Starring: Jordana Beatty Opens: June 10 The film chronicles Judy Moody’s (Jordana Beatty) adventures in which she sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life with the help of her little brother Stink (Parris Mosteller) and fun-loving Aunt Opal (Heather Graham). The script, penned by Kathy Waugh (Peep and the Big Wide World) and Megan McDonald, is based on the characters in McDonald’s popular children’s book series.
Green Lantern Starring: Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds Opens: June 17
Making up a brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe,
their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never
harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. Yet Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity.
Bad Teacher Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segal, Justin Timberlake Opens: June 24
Some teachers just don’t give an F. For example, there’s Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz). She’s foul-mouthed, ruthless, and inappropriate. She drinks, she gets high, and she can’t wait to marry her meal ticket and get out of her bogus
day job. When she’s dumped by her fiancé, she sets her plan in motion to win over a rich, handsome substitute (Justin Timberlake) – competing for his affections with an overly energetic colleague, Amy (Lucy Punch). When Eliz-
abeth also finds herself fighting off the advances of a sarcastic, irreverent gym teacher (Jason Segel), the consequences of her wild and outrageous schemes give her students, her coworkers, and even her an education like no other.
X-Men: First Class
One Day Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess Opens: August 19 After one day together – July 15th, 1988, their college graduation – Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths in their lives. Together and apart, we see Dex and Em through their friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears.
Set in the era before Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr became mortal enemies as Professor X and Magneto respectively, director Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class follows the two former allies as they lead a powerful team of mutants on a mission to save the planet from nuclear annihilation. It charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Lucas Till Opens: June 3
Crazy, Stupid, Love Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling Opens: July 29 In his forties, straight-laced Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the dream: good job, nice house, great kids and marriage to his high school sweetheart. But when Cal learns that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his “perfect” life quickly unravels. Worse, in today’s single world, Cal, who hasn’t dated in decades, stands out as the epitome of un-smooth. Now spending his free evenings sulking alone at a local bar, the hapless Cal is taken on as wingman and protégé to handsome player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). In an effort to help Cal get over his wife and start living his life, Jacob opens Cal’s eyes to the many options before him.
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis Opens: August 12 Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, The Help tells the story of Skeeter (Emma Stone), Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer), three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed – even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.
Friends With Benefits
Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake Opens: July 22 The story centers around two professionals who meet but are too busy to find a mate. They agree to have an intimate relationship with no strings attached. A young female headhunter (Mila Kunis) in New York convinces a potential recruit (JustinTimberlake) to accept a job in the Big Apple. Despite an attraction to eachother, both realize they’re everything they’ve been running from in a relationship and decide to see what happens if they leave emotion out of it andkeep it strictly physical. Things get complicated when the Justin’s characterfalls for the Mila’s, who’s dating someone else.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II by abigail greenbaum
Starring: Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson Opens: July 15
On July 15th, Harry Potter fans around the world will gather in theaters to celebrate the last of the series’ beloved movies. Midnight showings are being planned, as well as private release parties and vacations to summer Harry Potter conventions, such as Leaky Con. Though non-fans may find such fanaticism baffling, those of us who have read the books countless of times, visited fan sites and listened to podcasts are anticipating this release with a mix of absolute dread and absolute enthusiasm. On the one hand, we cannot wait to see Deathly Hallows: Part II; this movie will include the final battle, complete with the deaths of some beloved characters, as well as the last showdown between Harry and Voldemort. Some favorite deceased characters will return, if only for a few minutes, for what many fans consider the most moving part of the series. But as excited as we are, and as often as we check the online countdown clock to see how many minutes of waiting remain, this movie represents a true end of new material for those of us devoted to the Harry Potter fandom. At least at the release of the book Deathly Hallows back in 2007, fans could comfort themselves with the fact that they had three films left to see. The books were over, but there were sure to be more fan gatherings, more podcast episodes, and of course, more ideas to develop fan fiction. And I think most fans agree (though some declared the release of the final book the “end” of the Potter fandom) we have continued to love and obsess over this series in the four years
since the book’s release. However often people complain about the movies – they either cut out too much or they harp on uninteresting sections and become boring – a majority of fans still loves the films. But whether you care about the movies as movies or as supplements to the series, this film truly represents a deciding point. Where will the fandom go from here? Though it’s true J.K. Rowling made promises of an eventual encyclopedia, she’s also said that could be up to ten years away. And though fans can still write fan fiction and follow the movie actors’ careers, there won’t be any new material to look forward to. Many might question the fandom’s ability to survive as other, newer teen novels pop up around them. However, the Harry Potter fandom remains immensely strong. There are charities linked with the books, as well as countless Potter-related bands in a genre known as Wizard Rock, and side projects such as A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel. New material or not, the fandom will go on strongly; too many people’s lives are linked with these books, many even professionally, and they will continue to gather and to discuss these books that have altered their lives so much. Although the release date of Deathly Hallows: Part II will certainly be a symbolic day that Potter fans will remember, it will in no way end the fandom. The release of this movie will remain an important one to celebrate as fans all across the globe will make their way to theaters in wait of seeing their favorite series’ conclusion on the big screen.
Movie Music Mrs. Robinson
by savannah smith
Part of what makes movies is the soundtrack. What would Star Wars be without the theme song? Or would Jaws be nearly as frightening without the suspenseful music? Probably not. But you can flip this coin as well; there are situation where the movie (or TV show) makes the song. Here are a few examples (in chronological order):
Wizard of Oz
Sung by the renowned Judy Garland, Somewhere Over the Rainbow is the first song in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, our female protagonist, sings the song after she is unsuccessful in getting her aunt and uncle to understand about the displeasing situation involving her westie, Toto, and Miss Gulch. The song, which has become beaten out many other well-known songs as one of Oz’s most famous, talks about better times and places. Little does Dorothy know that she will soon end up in Oz; superficially better maybe, but much worse than Kansas overall.
While all the songs on the soundtrack of The Graduate were written by Paul Simon and preformed by Simon & Garfunkel, Mrs. Robinson was by far the most famous. The song is featured at the end of the movie while Ben and Elaine (who is clad in a wedding dress) are sitting the back of the bus just after Ben whisks Elaine away from her wedding. The soundtrack for the film (with the song included, of course) was so popular on the charts that it knocked the Beatles’ While Album off the coveted number 1 position.
Eye of the Tiger, by the band Survivor, was written at the request of Sylvester Stallone, the lead actor/writer/ director of the film. Eye of the Tiger received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. The song is the film’s theme song; Rocky is a boxer, and in this film Rocky faces a new opponent who had been quickly climbing the ranks of boxing, Clubber Lang.
Eye of the Tiger Rocky III
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Don’t You (Forget About Me)
The Breakfast Club
Who would think that one of the defining song of the 1980s would be written for a John Hughes film about five very different teenagers in detention? In this one Saturday session of detention, each of the five teenagers learns that there is more to each of them than their respective stereotype. Recorded by the band Simple Minds, the song asks about whether “you” will remember “me”, which is probably what all five teenagers are wondering after detention ends.
(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
The song, which is Johnny and Baby’s last and most important dance of the film, is probably another one of the songs that defines the 1980s. Recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes not only topped the Billboard Hot 100, but also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, an Academy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and a Golden globe Award for Best Original Song.
I’ll be There For You
Perfect Day Legally Blonde
Probably the most well known song from a movie, My Heart Will Go On is probably just about synonymous with the Academy Award Winning film Titanic. Sung by Celine Dion, the song is featured throughout the movie and has become the icon of the forbidden love that Rose and Jack share. Originally, James Cameron did not want to have such a “commercial” song featured as the theme for the film, but after listening to it for a few times he was easily persuaded otherwise.
Based off the Nicholas Sparks novel, A Walk To Remember is the story of a couple that falls madly in love while in high school. There’s one problem, the female protagonist, Jamie, has cancer and isn’t going to live for that much longer. The song Only Hope, which was originally a song by the band Switchfoot, is featured in the school’s spring musical where Jamie and Landon, the male protagonist, meet.
Today Was A Fairytale Valentine’s Day
What teenage girl could write a pop song about how a “today was a fairytale” due to love better than Taylor Swift? I can’t think of anyone. Valentines Day, a love-stuffed (and star-stuffed) film about a number of different, intertwining couples on February 14th is also just about love and finding the right one.
A Walk to Remember
My Heart Will Go On
Fine, I’ll admit, this isn’t a song from a movie. But I just couldn’t leave it out. It’s hard not to think of our favorite bunch of six (Chandler, Joey, Ross, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe) without thinking of the opening lyrics, “So no one told you life was gonna be this way.” The song was written by the show’s producers, and then was recorded by The Rembrandts. The song, like the show, is about the bonds of friendship.
Perfect Day, sung by Hoku, is a slightly more mature version of the song Barbie Girl by Aqua. But Perfect Day fits the opening sequence of Legally Blonde perfectly, where the screen is filled with girls (and a few attractive boys) – noticeably blonde - having fun and pretty much living in what one would imagine as “girl-world”. After the song’s finishes, Elle’s (the protagonist) “perfect day” is just about to be over.
Shark in the Water by valerie bodurtha
It all started with Jaws, the Megashark movie that blew our minds. It made money; hence, thousands of people wanted to get a piece of this cash crop. Unfortunately, this resulted in the genre becoming overdone. These “Stay out of the water!” movies have been done over and over again. Of course, there were the horrible Jaws sequels, but even more excruciating are the movies with a different shark, yet no plot change. Most of these movies have been about sharks or piranhas, but the moviemakers have even gone as far as to combine different animals, like in Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus. The reason Jaws was such a success was because it was the first of its kind: a cinematic experience of man vs. beast audiences had never seen before. The most recent “Stay out of the water!” movie was Piranha, a remake of its 1970s’ successor that was
made just three years after Jaws surfaced. Both were awful, which begs the question, “Why make a remake of a terrible movie?” The worst “Stay out of the water!” movie is by far Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. Think of everything that was great from Jaws and then picture the exact opposite, all compiled into one movie; that’s Shark Attack 3 in a nutshell. The effects were lazy, resulting in laughable footage rather than bone-chilling and iconic moments. The acting was horrendous, rendering characters bland and unrealistic. The plot was completely unoriginal. There’s nothing new, exciting or worthwhile in this film. But not all of these movies are terrible. There have been some okay ones, like Open Water and Deep Blue Sea. Open Water is based on a true story, and is therefore believable. The couple lost at sea is not being preyed
on by a prehistoric group of piranhas that have somehow managed to survive all this time. Deep Blue Sea is indeed about larger, smarter sharks, but the plot is much more intricate. It has a couple cheesy moments, but all in all, it was an adequate movie. Yet even some of the best movies in this category have made it to the “worst movies” lists. These movies are horrible, unbelievable, and predictable, yet still I watch them. Because in fact, I laughed harder while watching Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus than I have while watching most comedies. These so-called “horror” movies are fun if you are looking for a movie you can laugh at, not with. But if you are looking for actual thrills, stay as far away from this genre as you can, with Jaws being the exception, of course.
LADY GAGA ladygaga
by katie cacouris
Gaga’s appeal started because of her originality—at least in the last twenty years, a new artist hadn’t successfully emerged with a look anything like that of Lady Gaga. She was different, and her message to fans was that she understood what it was like to be an outsider.
It’s rare to find an artist who intertwines singing and celebrity in the way that Lady Gaga has managed to. Her popularity comes as much from her persona as from her music, and both are widely celebrated as well as criticized. She takes risks, but manages to do so in a way that keeps people intrigued by her appeal rather than turned off by that which they dislike. Gaga’s appeal started because of her originality—at least in the last twenty years, a new artist hadn’t successfully emerged with a look anything like that of Lady Gaga. She was different, and her message to fans was that she understood what it was like to be an outsider. Two years and three albums later, Lady Gaga has been credited as the cause of American electronic pop that’s influenced Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and Rihanna. She is a fashion icon, an activist, and a celebrity with a massive fan base. When a star reaches a certain level of fame, the response to his or her music is more complicated than that of someone less popular. Gaga’s music is judged now not only in terms of how much people like the music itself but also in terms of how it fits into her image. In an abstract and theoretical sense, her image hasn’t changed, and it does not seem like it will change, but in a visual and tangible sense, it must. Her message of originality hasn’t changed. But she’s not as unique as she used to
be, and it’s a function of how influential she has been. Ironically, the pop star’s image becomes less noteworthy as she becomes more popular. When breaking new ground becomes passe, it’s hard for the artist to find new ways to maintain her image as a creator and performer. Her problem is that she started a trend. Gaga’s message and appeal is rooted in the idea that she is different than other people. But after her approach was successful, other pop singers started to follow in her footsteps. There is a clear difference between the Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears pop from the early 2000s and the new Katy Perry and Ke$hatype of music that has become popular over the past year or two. Her music and image is personal, she claims, but she also forces herself to constantly push boundaries of what’s expected. She pretended to hang herself at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, wore a dress made out of raw meat to the 2010 VMAs, and incubated herself for hours in a life-size egg before the 2011 Grammy Awards. She asks for a lot of attention but also wants to be taken seriously as an artist. Unfortunately a few of her songs sound like she is following in the trend she spearheaded rather than treading new ground. Lady Gaga’s image is very much rooted in personal exploration and originality. Yet she also proclaims that she needs her fans to survive, and talks about how she loves
being famous. “I can’t help myself/I’m addicted to a life of material,” she sings in her song “The Fame,” off the album The Fame Monster. The artist has put herself into a position that needs to be handled delicately. She wants fans who don’t just enjoy her songs but who are interested in her as a person. Because of her message, some of her very produced songs with a lot of dance beats feel unsubstantial because they focus on the sound of the music rather than either Gaga herself or her lyrics. Although it is a fun summer pop songs, Gaga’s song “Hair,” off her new album Born This Way, does not sound like her. In the song, she sings, “I am free as my hair/I am my hair.” Her lyrics are not anything special, and the music is predictable. For another artist, the song might not mean anything-- but for someone who asks that people take her more seriously, that they treat her as an artist rather than a singer, it can be hard to justify summer pop songs that don’t seem more than easy charttopping hits. A few of her songs on her new album, Born This Way, pay too much homage to her predecessors, such as Cher and Madonna. Her first single on the album, her title track, sounds abnormally similar to Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” Her third single, “Edge of Glory,” is reminiscent of Cher’s pop ballad “Song for the Lonely.”
vanityfair ladygga: Collage bY Andrew Demas
Unlike most mainstream pop singers, Lady Gaga often performs live with a piano. There she is at her most exposed, her most raw and pure. She has a real and full voice, but it often gets overlooked on her albums because there is so much else going on in the music. But when she slows down and performs something like “Speechless” or “You and I,” it becomes very clear that this singer is not just another celebrity, but she is actually an artist with something original and interesting to say. Unfortunately, her most popular songs are not the most expository ones. Her songs “Just Dance” and “Eh,
Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)” start to crossover from pop towards techno. Songs like Katy Perry’s song “E.T.” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “The Time (Dirty Bit)” seem to point back to Gaga in this respect. Even well established singers like Britney Spears and Beyonce have expanded on that crossover and seem to have been influenced by the international sensation. Even Gaga’s song and music video “Telephone” featured Beyonce, bringing the veteran singer into this new genre of pop. The music industry seems to have responded so wildly to Gaga’s first album because it managed to be mainstream enough to sell but differ-
ent enough to capture people’s attention and make them think a little bit. What separates Lady Gaga from Britney is that the former is unconventional. Britney Spears rose to fame because she was good at singing songs that other people wrote for her, and being in music videos that audiences expected to see. She didn’t act as a particularly original pop star, but she became well known because of her ability to deliver what people were expecting. Unlike celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Christina Aguilera who try to keep their personal lives separate from their creative endeavors, Lady Gaga is a performer even in her day-to-
day life. She dresses up in eccentric outfits for rehearsals and interviews, constantly changing her appearance, from her hair to her shoes. “Art is something that transcends, and it transforms,” she said recently. And she is a perfect example of that – transforming the popular music industry, and transcending traditional conceptions of celebrity and fame.
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