John Oliver: The Key to getting Millenials to give a Shit

Thea Baldwin

One thing I have noticed about my generation is, when it comes to politics, we are full of indifference. I believe a lot of this is because today’s problems are not only depressing, but also incredibly confusing. To make matters worse, today’s politicians are just a dimension away from being cartoon villains, and our government seems only a little bit better than completely fucked.

HBO’s Last Week Tonight, I believe, is the show Millennials need in order to start caring about our country’s problems. It breaks down complicated issues and remains fairly bipartisan, so that, unless you believe your party can do no wrong, you can usually get behind what he is saying. In short, Oliver takes the good things from the Comedy Central news shows (The Daily ShowThe Colbert Report), but fixes a lot of the problems. John Oliver doesn’t spend time railing against the stupidity of news panels or political parties, but instead attacks who and what he believes is responsible for the problem at hand.

He also covers ongoing stories that are fairly ignored in the mainstream media because they have been proclaimed, “too heavy,” or, “ too dull,” to report on extensively.

Things like:

How fucked up the death penalty is. How fucked up our prisons are. How fucked up the system keeping track of our nuclear warheads is. How fucked up our nutritional supplement regulations are. How fucked up our food label regulations are.

 You might wonder, “Wow, that’s some heavy shit. How does a comic even begin to make it funny?” That is the genius behind the show. Oliver’s rants never come off as angry. He presents the information and acts just as astounded as the audience at how almost comically horrible the problem is. He throws in humorous comparisons to the problems such as comparing the United States to a t-rex, and that the nuclear weapons are the t-rex arms, “They are essentially useless, and you are plenty scary enough without them.”

While sharply criticizing dictators and monarchies, he also makes fun of them in the most humanizing way possible. He illuminated the tyrannical dictator of Syria as this weird dude who was supposed to be an ophthalmologist and listens to pop songs like, “Sexy And I Know It” and, “I’m Too Sexy.”

Because John Oliver focuses on the ignored current events that aren’t going away any time soon, anyone, even someone who is over politics, can learn a lot from this show and get a good laugh in at the same time. And I promise it is absolutely hysterical. There has yet to be an episode that I have not laughed my ass off throughout the entire episode.

So, my fellow Millennials, let’s ditch that irritating stereotype we have of being an uninformed and indifferent generation, and start giving a shit. John Oliver won’t, of course, provide all the answers, but it’s a damn good place to start. 

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Another Perspective: Gone Girl

Brian Deal           

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a story that centers on Nick and Amy Dunne. The book alternates the point of view between the two main characters. One chapter is the day by day of Nick Dunne and then the next chapter is diary entry by Amy Dunne on a certain day. The story begins and you are led to believe that they have the perfect marriage. However, as the story progresses you begin to realize that maybe their marriage isn’t as great as it seems. Nick begins saying that his wife is anti-social and uninterested in anything and Amy begins to wonder if Nick can be trusted at all, and she even begins to fear her own life.

One day Nick comes back from work and finds that his wife is missing and that his living room has been tampered with. An investigation begins and it appears that Nick has a good alibi. However, as the investigation progresses and we read more and more of Amy’s diary entries, we wonder how innocent Nick actually is, despite what he says. The book then progresses into Part Two and things really begin to get interesting and the story has a shocking twist.

The book is the kind of story that leaves you hanging at the end of every chapter and the next thing you know you are done with the book. After reading this book I couldn’t help but wonder how this author can come up with such a twisted and tormented story. The attention to detail this book provides is amazing. It leaves you asking questions throughout, but find comfort in knowing that they are answered as the book goes on. Gone Girl is a twisted yet comical vision on modern day marriage and the extremes people are willing to do in order to find “justice” in a relationship.      

The movie adaptation of Gone Girl will be out in theaters October 3rd and is directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club). I have confidence that this movie will have as much success as his past movies for many reasons. First, this is not Fincher’s first time doing a movie adaptation of a critically acclaimed novel. He has already done Fight Club and Dragon Tattoo and he did those with much success. Second, Fincher is extremely good at directing a psychological thriller, such as the movies named above, and as well as Se7en. Fincher does an excellent job at making the audience believe it is one thing when it is actually the other. He knows how to make the audience question the credibility of the main character or the narrator. Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, has already came out and said that ending of the movie is different than the book. She wants the audience to be completely shocked by the ending, even the audience members who have already read the book. This plays to Fincher’s advantage because he is already excellent at keeping the audience guessing.

 Lastly, after reading the book and then viewing the trailer for the movie, I noticed how similar the movie is to the book. This makes me excited because it seems as if they kept the close to the entire plot the same except for the end, which I am perfectly fine with. The ending of the book is a little disappointing, therefore I am looking forward to the direction the movie takes the ending. Simply another reason why I must see this movie!

A Prediction: Gone Girl

Kaitlin Olson

Yesterday, I reviewed the book Gone Girl. Today, I watched both trailers for the film (that makes about 20 views each) and am certain that this movie is going to be a huge hit. For starters, let’s review the basics…

This film is directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club) and he certainly won’t disappoint. Many readers are worried how the plot will work with the various narrative devices used in the book. Based on his previous works though, I think Fincher will be able to nail the underlying psychological aspects of the book in a highly creative way on screen. Not to mention it is likely to get nominated for something at next year’s Oscars. Ben Affleck (Argo) plays Nick Dunne in the film and with his experiences in acting, directing and screenwriting I think he will also be able to understand the subtleties of his character and how to portray them on a screen. And just as Nick describes himself in the book, Affleck has a face perfect for punching. Rosamund Pike (An Education) plays Amy Dunne. While she definitely has the look of the Amazing Amy, it will be interesting to see if she can pull off a character with so much depth and so many secrets.

No onto the trailers. The first trailer released is set to a cover of the 1974 Charles Aznavour’s “She,” and it sounds exactly like a song Amy would have chosen herself. For those who haven’t read the book, this trailer may be slightly confusing with all of the imagery. For those who have read the book, it is just a sneak peek into what the movie will be like and wow, is it a thrill. The second trailer reveals more information about the plot, and answers some of readers’ questions about how the structure will work within the film. Either way, the film looks like a true thriller with lots of questions and mysteries to be solved. And as a special treat for those who have read the book, we can just keep on guessing as to what the new ending will be.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, you can watch both here.

Book Summary: On the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne disappears. Her husband Nick is dumbfounded, yet shows no signs of remorse. As the police continue their investigation and the community searches for the missing housewife, Nick becomes the primary suspect despite his protests. This thriller tells the story of a marriage gone wrong and makes you wonder if you really know your loved ones. 

A Review: Gone Girl

Kaitlin Olson

In 2012, Gillian Flynn published her novel Gone Girl and almost immediately it rose to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List and found its way in living rooms across America. A little behind the times, I picked it up two years later. I already knew a few things about the book before reading it: people went crazy over it (especially the ending), there was something about a murder, and in October it will be released as a movie (which looks AWESOME by the way).

The book starts out pretty slow, but with two very interesting narrators. The first: Nick Dunne on the day of his wife’s disappearance. The second: the diary of the missing Amy Dunne beginning from the first time she met Nick. The two points of view start out in huge contrast of one another, with Nick hating his marriage and Amy head over heels for her dream man. However, since each describe their marriage so differently it is difficult to know which accounts are true and which are false.

On top of the suspicious narratives, Flynn leaves us at the end of each chapter with a big question mark. You get such a clear sense of where the story is going, that when a new piece of the puzzle emerges you feel as if you aren’t sure who or what to believe anymore. As you continue, the web of mystery that Flynn has laid down continues to grow deeper and larger. Her style of writing keeps you on the edge of your seat with no clue of what is coming next. She uses such detail to make you believe you know the cast of characters intimately, then throws something new in the mix to make you question who really is telling the truth. Believe me, even if you start a little slow and think you have it all figured out, once you reach the second part of the book you won’t be able to put it down to unveil the answers you never saw coming.

A major point of discussion for this book is the ending, leaving most readers confused or upset. I admit, that at first I couldn’t help but thinking like I had been robbed of a real ending and wanted something more climactic. Yet after letting the ending sit with me a few days, the more I thought about it the more I liked it. Had my hoped-for big and exciting ending actually happened, it would have been a book I would have forgotten about in a year. This ending forced me to question why the events played out like they did. And after spending some time with that question, I realized the characters would never have done anything differently. Which is exactly why I hate them and love this book.

Book Summary: On the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne disappears. Her husband Nick is dumbfounded, yet shows no signs of remorse. As the police continue their investigation and the community searches for the missing housewife, Nick becomes the primary suspect despite his protests. This thriller tells the story of a marriage gone wrong and makes you wonder if you really know your loved ones. 

Get Off your High Horse! No One is too Old for Animation.

Thea Baldwin

Imagine this: Someone makes a burger- but not just any burger. They spent years in culinary school to learn how to create this fresh ground chuck, expertly seasoned, stuffed and topped with unique and fresh ingredients that work together like Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. People who appreciate and understand burgers say it’s the best burger they’ve ever had.  But there is a portion of people that insist, based on that the mere fact that it is a burger, that it is only for people who like McDonalds and immediately lose interest. 

This is how I feel about people, (everyone from my friends, to the fucking academy voters!!!) refusing to acknowledge animation as a valid form of entertainment, because they’re “just kid movies.”  This is insulting and ignorant considering the amount of effort and time put into these films. Yes, kids generally appreciate animation over other genres, but that doesn’t automatically make animation juvenile or not worthy of our consideration.

On average a major studio animation film can take anywhere from 3 to 7 years to finish. This is because the work, on everything from the writing to the visuals, that goes into an animated film is incredibly complicated and detail oriented.

Merida’s hair, from Brave, was one of the trickiest parts of creating the film, and took almost three years to get it right.  Pixar actually had to internally release a new simulator to make her hair curly, but also flowy and light. And the results were beautiful.

In The Lego Movie, the animators painstakingly analyzed every characteristic of the Lego pieces to make sure it looked like a stop motion film. They animated scratches, grooves, and even dust particles to make the pieces look used and played with. They also built the set on software that mimicked authentic Legos, so the software didn’t allow you to connect two Legos that couldn’t be connected in real life.  

In How to Train Your Dragon, the filmmakers traveled to different locations like the Pacific Coast and Iceland to inspire their creation of the story’s setting .The co-director Dean DeBlois stated in his notes he wanted to create a place that was, “a balance between a place that would be very hard-going if you lived there, and somewhere that you would absolutely want to visit – just because you know that the sights and the sensations of standing there, on those windblown cliffs, with the raging sea, would be unbelievable.”

These are just three examples of how much care and thought is pumped into these movies.  Do you think this many fucks were given to a movie like Transformers?  3 HOURS OF COMPLETE CONFUSION, RACISIM AND FLAT CHARACTERS, YET DARK OF THE MOON STILL GROSSED $352,358,779. Ugh.

A quote from Pixar Studios sums up why every well executed animated movie deserve respect:

“We are world builders, who must first imagine everything in the world, and how it differs from the world we all know and why it differs and how much. We are character creators and must imagine characters that live beyond the frame and framework of the film, dimensional characters with desires and wishes and will. We are storytellers who must find an engaging way to bring the story’s problem to life on the screen, presented as action, not description.”

If you take the time to really watch a successful animated film, it’s difficult to come up many criticisms that justify it being not worth watching or, “just for kids.” These movies are absolutely stunning visually, and the storytelling is unique, fun, interesting, and always has the potential to bring a smile to your face. So please, ditch your preconceived ideas and embrace animation for what it truly is- an all-inclusive form of art.

Beginners. AKA Christopher Plummer is great.

Kaitlin Olson

As I sat down to watch Beginners I was overjoyed. “Oh this is going to be so cute and quaint and lovely and everything good about the world!” Boy was I wrong. It is a modern-day tale of love and acceptance that is actually quite boring and sad. And while I know that not all romantic comedies should be the same, some of the worst reviewed are some of the most entertaining (The Proposal anyone?). This film just missed the mark from the perfect balance of drama and romantic comedy.

The romance between Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent seemed to drag on a bit. It started out cute, at a party in which depressed McGregor brings his dog and the temporarily deaf Laurent tries to cheer him up. Endearing and awkward, right? I thought so. After that though, things fall into the ordinary lull of getting to know each other, falling in love, and sharing dark pasts. These scenes were filled with a lot of silence, quiet and awkward (and sometimes depressing) dialogue, with me checking my phone. The acting was great and both of the characters seemed incredibly genuine, you could feel their pain through the screen. That doesn’t mean I wanted to watch their monotonous love story evolve over 100 minutes.

Christopher Plummer was this film’s redemption though. He was phenomenal as McGregor’s father, and had the ability to make me smile or tear up in an instant. The flashbacks to his father’s life are well-scripted and sincere. As a viewer you are invited go through this huge transition with Hal and Oliver, and it much feels like an intimate view into their life and relationship. If anything, watch Christopher Plummer’s scenes and you’ll fall in love with his character and story.

Film Summary: After his wife’s passing, Hal Fields (Plummer) comes out to his only son, Oliver (McGregor), as gay. The father begins exploring his new life, as the son comes to terms with this new discovery. After his father’s passing, Oliver meets Anna (Laurent) at a party and, inspired by his father’s attitude toward life, decides to pursue a relationship with her. Beginners is structured as interconnected flashbacks Hal’s coming out and death, and moments from Oliver’s current life. The film won Plummer an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In Defense of the Millennials’ Music

Thea Baldwin

If you have an Internet connection and some free time, you can hit up hundreds of sites that are great for finding new music. The best part about this availability is the amount of diverse genres that have sprouted up. There’s actually a genre called “Noisecore.” And it sounds exactly as you’d expect.

So with so many creative and interesting musicians out there, my spirit falls a little when I hear someone around my age (20s) go “I just listen to top 40.” Or worse yet, when I hear an older person beating the same dead horse that every elder says about the younger generations’ music, “Today’s music is so shallow. Why isn’t the music exactly like the music I listen to? What’s the point of trying new things if it isn’t going to sound just like Simon and Garfunkel? Shmer shmer shmer.” 

I have a theory that the former feeds the ladder. AND HERE’S THE THING. Today’s music isn’t shallow. It’s just that the Top 40 of today serves a different purpose than it used to. Before the Internet really took off, radio was THE source for music unless your town had a great local music scene. So the artists that hit the radio were probably genuinely some of the better artists of that time. Not saying great artists didn’t slip through the cracks, but I can see why Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Buddy Holly, etc. etc. made it big time. Nowadays, we don’t need the radio to discover music, and for the most part, the most talented artists don’t necessarily create the biggest hits. Most of the Top 40 seems to be driven by our party culture. And it does a GREAT job. Generally, the sound is simple, has relatable lyrics, and is incredibly catchy.  As much as I love The Avett Brothers, when I’m drunk off my ass at a club I just wanna dance and jam out to a chorus I can learn in 30 seconds.

Sometimes the more unique a sound is, the less popular it is. That’s why 19.7 million (based off Twitter followers) people flock to the typical happy, poppy sound of One Direction, versus 780 thousand people who flock to the heavier PopCore/Pop Punk sound of A Day To Remember. Does this mean One Direction is better? I would (strongly) argue no. But One Direction has a well-received sound that’s been popular since the late 80’s, versus A Day To Remember who are one of the firsts to combine pop punk and hardcore sounds successfully.

This is why I would ask both my fellow Millennials and our elders to please stop judging today’s music strictly off Kiss FM.  But I’m not trying to be that holier-than-thou hipster either. I’m encouraging music enthusiasts to give up the endless hatred and elitist feelings towards the Top 40’s, and accept it for what it is: great party music. And maybe even just be a little less critical overall.  I’m also encouraging “Beliebers,” “Directioners,” “Swifites,” etc. to explore your musical interests beyond the Top 40 list for your own personal growth and enjoyment.

Because at what point are you not even enjoying the idea of music anymore if you’re so picky you can only listen to one or two genres? It’s like the food critic in Ratatouille. He was a way happier dude once he stopped being a pretentious asshole. So let’s find artists on Twitter with less than 50K followers, buy $15 tickets for those up and coming acts in your hometown, but still squeal with joy when Ke$ha comes on the radio (okay that might just be me, but still). Together we can represent the vastness of our generation’s musical tastes.