Tag Archives: movies

Book to Movie, Should it be done?

There are countless books and novels out there. Some are fresh off the presses, while some are decades or even centuries old. However, nowadays it seems like every book, regardless of age, is being made into a movie. Two of the most famous book to movie franchises are the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. The Chronicles of Narnia is another example, as is Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, The Help, The Martian, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Not to mention all of the movies based off comic books, if we want to count those as books. More and more, we get movies that are based off books. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it really a good idea?

books to movies
“The most immediate issue is simply the fact that it’s hard to convey certain events, issues, and emotions between the two mediums.” Photo from: https://storiesinsightsandweirdthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/chorvs.png

The most immediate issue is simply the fact that it’s hard to convey certain events, issues, and emotions between the two mediums. A book can tell you exactly what is going on, exactly what a character is feeling, and exactly what the impact of a decision is in each and every scene. It’s much harder to convey these sorts of things on a movie screen. Which isn’t to say it can’t be done, but you need both a good actor and the right actor, and that doesn’t always happen. When a character’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions are directly told to an audience, then everyone has a better understanding of what’s going on in a scene and a better understanding of why another scene or an action can have significance. But in a movie, characters don’t stop to explain everything; you are along for the ride and you have to figure out some things on your own. This can lead to a murkier understanding and lessens the impact a movie can have.

Admittedly, this goes both ways. Books tend to do a poor job of conveying action in a scene, whereas movies have a definite edge in terms of visual appeal. If, for example, a massive battle is occurring, it’s hard to imagine the sheer scale of it. But in a movie, you can experience the entire thing. You can get close ups to see the emotion of a character and you can get shots that pan around the entire battle. It’s hard to be awed by words on a page, but it’s easy to be awed when you can see it happening for yourself.

Movies and books are always going to be tied together because of their nature; they’re mediums for telling a story. While there are times when a book can work well as a movie, they probably should not be made into movies as often as they are.

Movie Theater Pre-Show

Almost everyone loves to go to the movies; it’s a fun night that can be relatively cheap (depending on where you go) and it requires very little effort on your part. You go, you grab yourself a snack, and you sit and enjoy the movie. And then you do the same thing the next time, and the time after that, and so on. As fun and exciting as going to the movies can be, it can get a little monotonous, can’t it? Sure, you usually see a different movie each time but unless you’re going to see a movie you are really excited for, it kind of seems like the same old thing each time. But, what if there was something new and exciting each time you went to the movies, something you couldn’t predict? That’s where pre-shows come in.

Radford theatre
“On opening weekend for the new Beauty and the Beast movie, they had Disney princesses galore taking photos with everyone. They also had a pre-show that was all about helping the Beast change back into a human.” Photo from: http://www.southwesttimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Radford-Theatre-Marquee-web.jpg

Pre-shows are usually only done by smaller movie theaters, but they are typically live performances for a movie’s opening weekend. The pre-show can consist of anything; some theaters bring in magicians or comedians, some have sing-alongs, and some people dress like the characters from the movie and do photo shoots. It can be anything. For example, the Radford Theater on Main Street, for most of the popular movies that come out, does several of those things for their pre-show performances. On opening weekend for the new Beauty and the Beast movie, they had Disney princesses galore taking photos with everyone. They also had a pre-show that was all about helping the Beast change back into a human that involved a magician, a Frozen sing-along, and even a sword swallower.

Pre-shows put a new level of excitement into going to the movies. You can get more involved and your night out becomes much more of an experience. You get something out of it that you wouldn’t get from just buying the DVD later on. It’s kind of like dinner and a show, in a way. So, really, why not have the pre-show and why not enjoy the pre-show? Most places don’t charge extra on those nights, and if you go somewhere like the Radford Theater then it’s only about five or six dollars. More theaters should do pre-shows, and we should thank the ones that already do them.

What to Make of Remakes

We all have our own favorite movies, movie series, and/or TV shows that we love to watch and can’t get enough of. Many of them have become a few (or more than a few) years old, and often popular movies or shows end up being remade. Someone out there in the land of Hollywood decides to revisit the shining glory of the past and revamp the old favorites. It’s happening more and more often in recent days, like with the Disney classics remakes. They have already made several and the newest one, the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, is almost here. Also, there are the new Star Trek movies that have come out in recent years, a revival of one of the largest fandoms ever. But is it worth it? Should we let sleeping dogs lie and not try to mess with a good thing? Or make it so we can relive the magic of those classic favorites?

There’s always a bit of an internal conflict when another remake is announced. Part of you is excited to see your favorite characters and story again but part of you dreads that whoever decided to add new life to your favorite movie or TV show will change it too much and ruin the magic. This leads to the core of the issue: remakes are not necessarily bad, but it depends on how the director decides to go about remaking the coveted form of media.

sleeping beauty maleficent
“Part of you is excited to see your favorite characters and story again but part of you dreads that whoever decided to add new life to your favorite movie or TV show will change it too much and ruin the magic.” Photos from: www.silverpettiecoat.com and https://lumiere-a.akamaihd.com

On one hand, if the director decides to follow the old script exactly (or close to it) then they aren’t producing anything new and exciting, though if it is worth a remake then chances are it will probably be good nonetheless. On the other hand, if a director decides to use the same characters and make a new story to replace the old one or a story that happens after the end of the last one, then we have to worry about the characters we love being changed too much, to the point they are no longer recognizable. Both versions have their pros and cons, but the main concern is how faithful a remake is to the original.

A remake can either create a new story or retell the old one, but at the end of the day, there are certain things that you cannot change from the original. You have to keep whatever traits that made the original so great. Let the remake have references to the original, as a way to help the audience enjoy the show and as a reminder that the director is keeping the original in mind. Remakes can be a precarious thing as there is a lot that can go wrong and a lot that can go right. The key point is to maintain a certain level of faithfulness to the original.

The Benefits of Movie Sundays

On Sunday, everyone seems to be lazy and struggling to get their homework and school assignments done for the upcoming week. Part of this is probably because of Saturday night but either way it can be hard to motivate yourself on Sunday. Another factor would be the idea of watching movies all day on Sundays. This is my favorite part of the weekend when it’s a Sunday and I can put on endless movies to relax and eventually get some work done. It’s definitely better than doing homework in silence or getting stressed out about what’s due and all the work you have to get done in one day.

It's Sunday! Break out the DVDs! Graphic from
It’s Sunday! Break out the DVDs! Graphic from Ryan Nallen

The benefit of movie Sundays is that you are going to be home all day so you have no excuse not to at least examine what you have to do for this next week approaching quicker than you prefer. This way you can determine how much time you need to spend actually working on everything in order to get it done and turned in on time. Sundays are also the day people realize they have procrastinated too much.

While watching movies all day there’s plenty of time to catch up on all of the work you’ve been putting off. If you don’t end up having homework it’s an even better movie Sunday. You can order food or make some and pick any movie or movies you want to watch and worry about nothing the entire day. This would be the ultimate movie Sunday however, because of being at school there’s probably going to be a little bit of homework involved.

I get excited about watching movies on Sundays with all of my friends and talking about what happened the whole weekend or reminiscing on what happened just the night before. It’s a nice bonding time with my close friends and we all enjoy ourselves with the food, the movies, the gossip, and even the homework. If you haven’t had a movie Sunday with your close friends at school,  it’s definitely something worth trying out.

Why ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” is a scam

Nothing beats the Christmas season. Baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies- it’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood. But ABC Family’s supposed “25 Days of Christmas” can sometimes put me in one.

Every year ABC Family advertises that they will be playing Christmas movies for the entirety of the twenty-five days leading up to Christmas. This is a great concept. Who doesn’t want to huddle around in the living room watching classic movies? Unfortunately, it’s too good to be true. Don’t believe me? Simply watch a commercial for the monstrosity. ABC Family advertises the Harry Potter movies, Pixar movies, made for TV movies about dancing…all of this is included in that supposed “25 Days of Christmas”. It’s almost as if they think that advertising “The Incredibles” with some snowflakes in the corner of the television screen and some vague sleigh bells in the background will make it a Christmas movie.

25 days of christmas
“Harry Potter and Disney are delightful, but it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit with some holiday movies when holiday movies are not being played despite being advertised.”

Now on one hand I get it, they probably feel like if they solely show Christmas movies then they’ll isolate their viewers who don’t celebrate the holiday. But they advertise the event as the “25 Days of CHRISTMAS” so they’re isolating the minority of viewers that don’t celebrate it by calling it the “25 Days of Christmas”. Honestly, other channels such as Hallmark and Lifetime show nothing but Christmas movies during the holidays and if anyone should be worried about losing viewers, it’s those channels since they only have about twenty to begin with.

There’s nothing wrong with this non-Christmas movies. After all, both Harry Potter and Disney are delightful. But it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit with some holiday movies when holiday movies are not being played despite being advertised.

Then when ABC Family does get around to playing some actual Christmas movies, they play the same handful of movies each night. More Christmas movies exist then Jim Carrey’s version of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”.

All of that being said, ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” is a time honored family tradition in many households and it’d be sad if they stopped doing it. But for God’s sake, if you’re going to play Christmas movies for a month then PLEASE just play Christmas movies for a month.

Top 5 best Christmas movies

As we enter December, we enter the Christmas season. While baking cookies and eating too much fudge is great, the best way to get into the holiday spirit is by watching those classic Christmas movies.

We look forward to them every year, but there are so many, who knows what to watch. Here’s a list of the top 5 best Christmas movies (in my humble opinion) that you need to watch this holiday season.

1) The Santa Clause

santa clause
“A magical story of a regular dad who finds himself turning into the big man himself, Santa Claus.”

Starring the wonderful Tim Allen, “The Santa Clause” is the magical story of a regular dad who finds himself turning into the big man himself, Santa Claus, all due to a Christmas Eve misunderstanding. Although the movie was released in the 90s, it’s still a must-watch today.

2) Elf

Will Ferrell stars in this witty fan favorite about a human baby who is adopted by one of Santa’s elves. Buddy grows up his whole life believing himself to be an elf despite the fact that he towers over his “fellow” elves and can’t make a toy to save his life. Upon discovering that he is indeed a human being, Buddy sets off to New York City to find his biological father and bring Christmas spirit back to the jaded city.

3) Eloise At Christmastime

The Eloise movies revolve around a wild yet lovable six year old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City under the supervision of her loving Nanny (Julie Andrews). “Eloise At Christmastime” is the sequel to the original movie “Eloise At The Plaza” (based on the best selling children’s book). In this installment, Eloise grows suspicious when the Plaza’s owner’s daughter returns to New York with her sketchy fiancé for a Christmas Eve wedding. The movie is funny and charming and surprisingly receives little notoriety around Christmas despite being one of the best Christmas movies I’ve ever seen. Despite being marketed towards children, “Eloise At Christmastime” is entertaining for the whole family.

4) Miracle on 34th Street

Both the original movie and the remake are phenomenal when it comes to “Miracle on 34th Street”- a heartwarming movie about what happens when Santa Claus himself befriends a young, cynical girl. This movie will make everyone a believer again despite when you stopped writing letters to Santa.

5) The Polar Express

This Tom Hanks classic brings to life the amazingly written and illustrated children’s book, “The Polar Express”. The movie is so well done and true to the original illustrations that you feel as if you’re truly inside the book. The story revolves around a boy who has stopped believing in Santa. One Christmas Eve, he is awoken by the sound of a train plowing down his street. Upon running outside and meeting the conductor, he discovers that the train is a magic train that takes children to the North Pole every Christmas Eve to meet Santa. As the boy sets off on the train ride he meets new friends and rediscovers the Christmas spirit.

So make a cup of hot chocolate, rent some movies, and start getting in the Christmas spirit.

Best movies set to come out in the next year

The best part of a year is the new movies that are right on the horizon. 2016 holds a large array of movies that look incredibly promising. Here are just a few of those movies that I predict will make your 2016.

1) Finding Dory
Release Date: June 17, 2016

We’ve been waiting almost 13 years for the sequel to the fan favorite, “Finding Nemo”. Finally in the summer of 2016, we’re finally going to get to see the long awaited, “Finding Dory”. The story will revolve Dory’s attempts to find her family despite that minor problem she has with her short term memory.

2) The BFG
Release Date: July 1, 2016

One of your favorite childhood books is becoming larger than life by hitting theaters in July 2016. That’s right, the Roald Dahl classic, “The BFG,” a story about a young girl who befriends a “Big Friendly Giant” will transport you back to your childhood this summer.

3) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Release Date: November 18, 2016

This one, I personally, am a little nervous about. As a huge “Harry Potter” fan, the idea of  spin off makes me extremely nervous. That being said, I will still be in theaters on its premiere night, wand in hand, hoping to get back some of that magic that was stolen from me back during 2010 when the series had officially “ended” with all of its books and movies having been released. The movie will take place seventy years before the original series began, revolving around a young man, Newt Scamander (a name you might recognize from the original books and from the cover of the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”- a fictitious copy of Harry’s famous textbook published by J.K. Rowling herself in 2001) and his adventures prior to writing the book so frequently mentioned throughout the “Harry Potter” books. Scamander will be played by none other than Eddie Redmayne who played the role of Marius in the 2012 film adaption of “Les Miserables” and more recently, Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.

4) Jumanji
Release Date: December 25, 2016

This reboot of the 1995 classic, “Jumanji” is scheduled to be released Christmas 2016. Described as “a ‘re-imagining’ of the 1995 film” according to its IMDB page, little is known so far about the movie. Whether this remake makes you nervous or excited, Christmas 2016 is sure to be a crowded day at the theater as a new generation experiences the thrills of “Jumanji” on the big screen.

dory
“The story will revolve Dory’s attempts to find her family.”

5) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Release Date: December 25, 2016

Based on the popular, if not slightly unsettling young adult book published in 2011, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is sure to be a must see. The story follows a teenaged boy named Jacob when he accidently finds himself on an island that is the home to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The children in question all possess special powers. Given the book’s surreal, dark, and incredibly creepy feel, it seems fitting that none other than Tim Burton is set to direct the movie adaption. While the film is to be released on Christmas Day, I’d wait until after the holidays to take my family to this particular movie as it’s not exactly the cheery, family feel you may want.

6) Tarzan
Release Date: July 1, 2016

The Disney fan favorite, “Tarzan”, is finally getting its long overdue real life movie. Starring Alexander Skarsgard (best known in the U.S. for his role as Eric on the hit TV series, “True Blood”) as Tarzan, the young man raised by gorillas after his parents are tragically killed and Margot Robbie as Jane Porter, the storyline will take place after the original movie left off with Tarzan having moved to England with his new wife, Jane. Lured back to the Congo under false pretenses, it may be up to Tarzan to once again save the jungle.

7) The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15, 2016

Unlike “Tarzan”, this real life adaption of the “The Jungle Book” will mirror the exact storyline of the original Disney movie. The movie will feature the famous voices of Scarlett Johansson (as “Kaa”), Christopher Walken (as “King Louie”), and Bill Murray (as “Baloo”). One thing is for certain, 2016 is going to be a great year for Disney lovers.

Make sure to get your tickets in advance. These shows are going to sell out fast.

Pay inequality between men and women in Hollywood

jennifer lawrence
“In her usual witty way Lawrence pointed out the glaring inequality, so frequently overlooked in Hollywood, garnering a huge response from the public.”

In 2015, we would all like to think that issues such as gender inequality don’t exist anymore. Unfortunately, this shielded belief is very far from the truth. Oscar winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence recently released an essay (published in actress and writer Lena Dunham’s newsletter) about finding out that she was paid less than her male costars for the movie American Hustle due to the infamous Sony hack that occurred at the end of last year.

“In her usual witty way Lawrence pointed out the glaring inequality, so frequently overlooked in Hollywood, garnering a huge response from the public.”

Lawrence wrote, “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony, I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”

In her usual witty way Lawrence pointed out the glaring inequality, so frequently overlooked in Hollywood, garnering a huge response from the public. The response was so big that her American Hustle male costars, such as Bradley Cooper, are now speaking on her behalf. Cooper went on the record, commending Lawrence for standing up for herself and other professional women facing the same injustices.

On average, women only make 79% of what their male counterparts make. The pay gap gets even wider where colored women are concerned.

These frightening statistics need to change and it’s brave celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, who’re willing to voice the uncomfortable truth, that will make that change happen.

Relatable as ever, Lawrence admits that not everyone will be sympathetic to her specific situation. After all, despite the pay inequality she has faced, Lawrence remains one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, worth an estimated $60 million.

It seems as though Lawrence’s angry letter has fueled her negotiating skills as she will be paid a whopping $20 million for her upcoming film, Passengers. That’s $8 million more than what her male costar, Chris Pratt, will be receiving.

As more and more prominent Hollywood women speak up on behalf of women’s rights and sexism in the entertainment industry, hopefully we’ll soon begin to see a shift in how women are treated.

 

13 Nights of Halloween PSA

Attention all Halloween lovers and movie fanatics: 13 Nights of Halloween has officially started on ABC Family! It technically started last week, but this week is when they play Halloween movies non stop, and really good ones at that!

 

13 pumpkin
“13 nights of Halloween has officially started on ABC Family!”

Last week ABC started by showing a Harry Potter marathon and The Addams Family. Now that we are at the week of Halloween, however, they have been showing Halloween movies all day and night, every day and night. They have moved up from Casper and are now airing the classic Hocus Pocus and beloved Tim Burton’s films such as Corpse Bride and A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Some newer movies are being played as well such as Paranorman, an animated movie about a boy who can see and talk to dead people and must save his town from the walking dead taking over.

Frankenweenie is also a newer movie that is animated and tells the story of a boy who brings his dog back to life and the rest of his neighborhood and classmates bombard him to bring their pets back to life as well.

Another classic that hasn’t been showed in a while is Sleepy Hollow, which will play several times on Halloween night along with Hocus Pocus which will play back to back! Halloween is the perfect time to enjoy some creepy, and even a little funny, movies when the air starts to get crisp and chilly and the leaves start to fall. It will really get you in the mood for the winter that is on its way.

Don’t miss out on the classic and new Halloween films this year! ABC Family has done a brilliant job of scheduling the movies so that you can catch them at some point throughout October and also have included a great variety in which movies they are airing. Click here and get the full schedule of 13 nights of Halloween on ABC Family and enjoy your spooky Halloween the fun way!

http://www.eonline.com/news/692450/abc-family-s-13-nights-of-halloween-is-here-check-out-the-line-up

 

Read the book before you see the movie

 

 

When a new movie comes out that’s based on a book people start to think about reading it before they see the movie. Some may actually read the book while others might forget or not have enough time in their schedule to read it before they have time to see the movie. However, there is an imperative reason why you should make a point to read that book before you watch the movie version of the story.

 

The book is better than the movie! Graphic from Galley Cat
The book is better than the movie! Graphic from Galley Cat

Movies are great, they bring to life a story that was once just a thought in someone’s head. They show detail and put faces to names and give us the director’s point of view or how he saw the story in his own mind. What about your own mind, though? Have you ever read a book and then a movie was made based off of it and you went to see the movie but were quietly disappointed with the actors or scenes?

You pictured it one way in your head while you were reading the story and you liked it that way. Now that it has been portrayed to everyone differently, it doesn’t seem like it’s right to you. This is why reading the book before the movie is important.

Sure, watching the movie is fun and if you didn’t read the book then you probably thought it was great. You got to see what the director envisioned and now that’s your vision of the story too. If you were to read the book first, you would have seen it your way and not just how the director filmed it. It’s important to create your own images and scenes about a story in your head. You will most likely enjoy it more because it’s specifically your own version of the story that no one else will understand or experience.

You will feel like you enjoyed the story more than anyone because of the way you saw it first.  Also, comparing the movie to the book is always fun and interesting too. Don’t forget about your own imagination, read the book before you see the movie.

 

Why Tim Burton’s Movies Are Best For Watching At Halloween

Tim Burton created the famous movies “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride”. Most people know about “Nightmare Before Christmas” because it is a classic Halloween or Christmas movie, depending on what time of year it is. Some may know of “Corpse Bride” and some may not, it’s a less popular movie but just as enjoyable and festive as “Nightmare Before Christmas”.

Jack Skellington thinks you should watch some Tim Burton movies this Halloween. Graphic from Giphy
Jack Skellington thinks you should watch some Tim Burton movies this Halloween. Graphic from Giphy

No one creates movies like Burton. He has a unique taste and imagination that no one else can replicate or compare to. In the odd case that you haven’t seen “Nightmare Before Christmas”, it’s about a skeleton (Jack) that runs the Halloween world, but he discovers other worlds such as Christmas. The Christmas spirit and Santa Claus inspire him to have his Halloween world take over Christmas for that year.

It goes wrong when Halloween creatures bring their own spooky toys to the holiday season. Jack himself has to save Christmas from the creepy claws of his own world. “Nightmare Before Christmas” is a timeless movie that all ages will enjoy watching. It gets you in the mood for Halloween or Christmas.

“Corpse Bride” is a less known, but equally good watch. “Corpse Bride” is about a man and woman who are arranged wed, but they barely know each other. The man gets nervous and runs off into the forest to practice the wedding ceremony and places the ring on a slender branch. Little does he know the branch is a dead girl’s hand and he has just married a woman who has already passed. The story takes a twist when it reveals how the girl died, leaving them both to work together to get what they want.

Both movies will leave you pleased if you watch them and make it a tradition for you every year. I can’t go a Halloween without watching both of these Tim Burton films.  I am happy that they have become routine for me in the fall season and my favorite holiday, Halloween.

 

Recent changes on Netflix

Whenever fall or any cold, rainy day hits, I binge-watch Netflix. I barely watch TV anymore. Our generation is obsessed with Netflix. The month of September has passed, and with the upcoming month of October, Netflix is making a lot of changes. Here’s where to find out what’s coming and going in Netflix this month.

Maybe you should actually watch Netflix and Chill before your favorite shows leave. Graphic from Know Your Meme
Maybe you should actually watch Netflix and Chill before your favorite shows leave. Graphic from Know Your Meme

Whenever Netflix adds some more movies or TV shows, they always decide to take something out, leaving us with bittersweet feelings. We want the new shows, but we don’t want to lose the old ones. I believe that it’s important for the Netflix industry to do this every so often because they don’t want the audience to get bored of the same content and we always want new movies or TV shows to watch.

Some highlights from this article that the CW network fans should be excited for are additions of many favorites like “iZombie” Season 1, “The Vampire Diaries” Season 6, “Jane the Virgin”, “Arrow” Season 3, as well as the new series, “The Flash” Season 1.

Netflix is definitely better in the fall are because of all the horror movies that are added to its library. Many horror and/or thrilling movies are being added this month including: “Boogie nights”, “Curse of Chucky”, “The Devil at 4 O’clock”, “The Nightmare and even a favorite TV show”, “The American Horror Story: Freak Show”. Unfortunately some movies like “The Nightmare on Elm Street”, “The Devil’s Reject”, and “The Exorcist” are being removed, so viewers might want to watch them before they’re gone.

Along with new content that Netflix brings, unfortunately many are leaving this month. Some others that we are saying goodbye to include: “Ella Enchanted”, “The Braxton Family Values”, “Saturday Night Live” and many more.

But not to worry, because more is coming until October 31st, so we will survive this fall, binge-watching our favorite site, Netflix.

Fantasy and sci-fi invite imagination and introspection

Perhaps more than any other genre of entertainment, the fantasy and sci-fi genres require the most dedication and the greatest scope of imagination.

Unfortunately, fantasy and sci-fi are often looked down upon. The reasons can vary, but they generally get a bad rap for being campy or having a fanbase that is simply neurotically obsessed about the genre; that factor I won’t deny. Concerning the camp, you do have to be willing to suspend a great amount of belief to accept the world of fantasy and sci-fi. After all, we are talking about genres where people summon flaming rings of mind energy and gravitic warp engines are readily accepted.

In my experience, the most overt trivialization of fantasy and sci-fi was actually during my senior seminar project in college. As my fellow graduates were presenting their 20 minute presentations, one student was presenting on a topic roughly as follows: Is Frodo the true hero of the Lord of the Rings? No, Aragorn more explicitly follows the path of a hero.

It wasn’t a very original topic in my opinion, and it was apparent that either the student was beyond nervous, or they hadn’t really practiced their presentation and decided to wing it. After he was finished, one of the professors blatantly asked, “What is the value of studying fantasy literature?”

The world of fantasy and sci-fi literature is as vast and meaningful as the worlds the books host. Graphic from Books and Iced Coffee
The importance of fantasy literature is as vast and wonderful as the worlds the books host. Graphic from Books and Iced Coffee

The student froze- he didn’t have an answer. For what seemed like five minutes, he stumbled on and on, unable to come up with a decent answer to the professor’s question and, ultimately, it was never resolved.

I have no idea whether this professor was sincere in his opinion that fantasy is worthless. He had a reputation for asking “gotcha” questions, but that is neither here nor there. The true question is why would he feel it necessary to ask that question? Are fantasy and sci-fi worthless trivial pursuits that sully the name of good literature?

I’ve yet to discover what good literature is. That requires quantifying something that’s a personal feeling between a person and their own tastes as a consumer.

The answer I desperately wanted to shout from my seat is that literature began as fantasy. Fantasy, for human experience, is a seminal piece of storytelling. Whether you’re a religious person or not, there are gods you do or do not believe in. I imagine that the greatest majority of Americans and people in the world today regard Norse and Greco/Roman mythology as just that– mythology. However, for those people, these gods lived and breathed in the world.

Fantasy is important because consumers love it. It asks us not to look at the real, but to look at the unreal and fathom how such impossible things can be possible. If you are engrossed in a realistic murder mystery set in modern day New York, little suspension of disbelief is needed. These things can, and do, happen all the time. However, for fantasy and sci-fi, more willingness to suspend disbelief is required.

Fantasy and sci-fi are important because we live and breathe it. The most popular movies at the box office during this millennium are superhero movies and Peter Jackson’s take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Fantasy and sci-fi matter because the masses love them, and more importantly, humanity has always had an affinity for these kinds of stories. Gods, monsters, demons, elves, and dwarves: they all have much more in common than what first meets the eye.

The power of video streaming

Times used to be much simpler. That came with the good and bad, the ups and downs. However, the time of either catching your favorite show or missing it and becoming the laughing stock of the town is over. Using various methods, anyone can access their shows and movies by using the Internet. Well, unless you’re my grandma.

The battle between Netflix and HuluPlus.  Graphic from Geek
The battle between Netflix and HuluPlus.
Graphic from Geek

Some of the most known and popular video-viewing websites are Hulu and Netflix. They both are a little different and provide different videos to stream, however they both have the same purpose. These give their customers great power and freedom, but we all know one simple thing: With great power comes great viewing responsibility. These powers can be used for good or great evil. The outcome is up to you.

Hulu is an ad-supported website that lets users view different shows, movies, and clips with limited access. Upgrading to Hulu Plus allows customers special privileges and more content. Essentially, you can stream a show the day after it airs if you’ve upgraded. If you don’t pay for the Hulu Plus subscription, you’re limited to seeing the show one week after it airs. Personally, the suspense was killing me, so I forked over the fee.

Netflix is can is a paid-for Internet service that allows you to stream movies and television shows on multiple devices and/or order DVDs for rental. The great thing about it is that there are no commercials. That means, there’s no break in between episodes for you to realize that your paper is due in two hours.

Although both these websites can be good tools for professors and students alike, it can inspire a lot of procrastination. To some, the background noise may work as a concentration tool too. At this point, they’ve been around long enough for them to become part of our every day routines.

These are some of the good and bad associated with using them long-term:

HULU:

GOOD:

Use Hulu so that you can watch television without watching it in real time and missing a deadline.

BAD:

-Catch up on your show, using your cell phone during your Art History class.

NETFLIX:

GOOD:

-Have an episode of The Office playing while you work on a homework assignment.

BAD:

Marathon an entire season of The Walking Dead in one day the night before an exam because you want to figure out who dies before tumblr can spoil it for you.

 

Radford Theatre wins $25,000 grand prize in Wells Fargo competition

In a little over a year, the newly renovated Radford Theatre has undergone an incredible transition to being the staple of Radford’s Main Street. It’s run by an incredibly friendly group of movie junkies who put their love of film ahead of their love of the bottom line (take notes, Regal.)

This is the same venue we’ve covered for our Marvel Weeks at Whim, because they always have great events when Marvel movies come out.

Radford Theatre has engaged the local community in a way that other organizations, ourselves included, can only fantasize about. They’ve earned the loyalty of their customers through the exceptional experience they deliver every time they open their doors. Paired with their tendency to host and promote local events, it comes as no surprise that when they posted their video to Facebook asking for votes, the community came out in overwhelming support.

This local venue was one of five winners of the Wells Fargo Works Project, which gives $25,000 to help jumpstart small businesses. Radford Theatre stated in the video that they’d like to use the money to improve the quality of their cinema and finish the balcony to add additional seating for their growing fan base. The theater also received an additional $5,000 to be given to a charity of their choice.

Radford theatre
“The newly renovated Radford Theatre has undergone an incredible transition to being the staple of Radford’s Main Street.”

Their success in engaging the community is due, in part, to their ability to spread publicity through word of mouth. They strongly encourage at each showing that their customers tell their friends, and their influence on social media is through the roof. Any time the theatre seems to do anything, they post about it on their Facebook page, making them a uniquely involved local business.

They do more for the community than offer popcorn at a rate that doesn’t make your wallet burst into tears. The Radford Theatre experience cannot be replicated anywhere else or with better people. Congratulations on your win, Radford Theatre. No one deserves it more than you.

For The Tartan‘s take on this story, pick up Wednesday’s issue!

Bloody fun times with “The Family”

There’s nothing quite like some charming French scenery, an exploding grocery store and Tommy Lee Jones to make a movie great.

For anyone who enjoys the mob-movie stylings of “Goodfellas” and Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic “Godfather” trilogy, “The Family” offers a darkly comedic modern twist on the tale of a good old boy behaving badly — since in this case, the Maznoni clan is (theoretically) trying to be good.

Continue reading Bloody fun times with “The Family”

How to deal with a spring breakup

Most of us break up with someone at some point in our lives, and it’s not always a pleasant experience. Here are some tips for dealing with post-breakup stress.

1.) Cry it out. Or scream it out – whichever works for you.

The last thing you want to do is spend your time dwelling on the fact that you broke up with someone, but keeping your emotions tucked inside is actually a little bit dangerous. The safest and most socially-accepted way to do this is to find a place that’s isolated from other people and let out your emotions. If you’re better at getting angry than you are at getting sad, go ahead and do that too. Throw things. Punch things. Scream at the wall. Sit in your closet and blubber about pirates if you feel like it. No one is going to judge you but your stuffed animals. Continue reading How to deal with a spring breakup