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The Fault in Our Stars: Is the book always better?

The Fault in Our Stars has piqued the public’s interest once again this summer, continuing the book’s initial huge success with the movie adaptation on June 6th. A welcome twist on the typical high school love story, this franchise is without a doubt wildly relatable, and pretty cute at times too. There are of course fluffy teen romance moments that have been known to make girls swoon and smile as they read… but there are other factors that made this book a little different than your run of the mill young adult novel. It is raw, and honest, and it cut deep when John Green wants to evoke a certain feeling. Things are not sugarcoated, and the protagonists blessedly even point out when their peers did paint things in shades of happy rather than facing reality. Reading something that does not tiptoe around messy subjects is truly a breath of fresh air.

Considering how much hype surrounds The Fault in Our Stars, it would have been hard for Green’s writing to live up to the astounding praise of his young readers. After assessing the book critically, he unfortunately couldn’t. While this wasn’t a terrible or boring read by any means, so many aspects of The Fault in Our Stars are lacking. The main point of the storyline (Hazel and Augustus’ love) came out of nowhere. There just needed to be some kind of build up or explanation, something to back up their relationship. Not only was the supposed focus blurry, he characters were all relatively flat and had very little substance other than their illnesses. Connecting to them proved to be especially difficult. You can’t make a character’s entire personality revolve around their condition without feeling a detachment from them, and in the end that is where Green failed. Many of his metaphors were nice, but some didn’t quite hit the mark and ultimately just sounded wordy or–to be quite blunt–stupid. Naturally, people tend to focus more on the subject matter and lose sight of how structurally unsound this book is. But the plot was missing a certain depth that could have been achieved with the ideas presented to the reader.

The movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars had a bigger emotional impact than the book. Producers stuck to Green’s story pretty well, which pleased most people. After all, it is nice to see scenes you’ve imagined in your head come to life so acutely. The actors really made the story shine though, and in a big way. Almost everything about it was better, because it was more intense. The acting was great and the casting was impeccable, resulting in a revival of some originally bland roles.

A few characters were cut out of the movie, presumably a necessary evil. But a completely unnecessary evil was cutting out the explicit details of Gus’s health decline. It looked like they purposely avoided describing his struggle, which is infuriating. It was such a huge part of the book, and it wasn’t done justice by any means.
Nice sentiments and tear jerking plot twists are good components for stories that resonate, and The Fault in Our Stars didn’t miss a beat on that front. It just would have been nice to see the brilliant potential of the book be fulfilled. What a shame to say the movie was far better than the book.

Image from imdb.com

 

Panic! At the Disco is impressive in concert

Tour Name: This is Gospel

Headliners: Magic Man and Walk the Moon

Artist: Panic! At the Disco

Venue:  LC Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio

Why you should see this artist: This concert really exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect the venue to be completely full, or anticipate that the line to get in would wrap
around three buildings, but it was worth the wait.  I had not heard of Panic!’s headliner Magic Man before the show at all, so walking in and seeing them on stage surprised me. They were really energetic and didn’t even seem like they were opening for someone.  Walk The Moon followed and blew me away with their set, and really tried to involve the crowd,
but I was mostly anticipating the main event.  And Panic! Didn’t disappoint.

Concert Photo (1)
Photo by Jayden Egler

To begin, Brendon Urie has an incredible stage presence. He went from singing impressive high notes, guitar and even taking his drummer’s place for a few songs. There wasn’t a moment during the concert where my eyes weren’t glued to the stage. I never found myself bored or underwhelmed by their performance. In addition to just generally being warm and including the audience, you could tell that the band genuinely loved performing and

were adamant about putting on a good show.  From a technical standpoint, everything was
definitely up to par. There were no microphone problems or wrong notes. Urie’s voice could be heard over the instruments at all times. The lights were executed well and always matched the feeling portrayed by the lyrics. My throat was sore from screaming along to the songs, and even then I couldn’t hear myself over the people around me.

Rating: ★★★★★

I can’t speak for anyone else, and I am probably a bit biased because Panic! At the Disco is my favorite band, but I thought the show was incredible. It was a night I’ll always remember not only because of the personal significance but because it was a lot of fun.

 

 

 

 

Lazaretto combines contrasting styles

Album: Lazaretto

Artist: Jack White

Sound: Rock

Last Release: Blunderbuss

Why Buy it: White’s densest and most ambitious record to date, Lazaretto is one album that you don’t want to miss.  Combining elements of pedal steel and violin driven country, garage rock blues riffs, and White’s typical curmudgeon quips, Lazaretto is a jigsaw puzzle that somehow manages to comes together.  It’s a modern homage to Americana music with lazaretto-1401465419a twist.  The first track, Three Women, is a driving acidic update of blues master Blind Willie McTell’s 1928 song.  From just the first notes of this song it is clear that White is at the top of his eclectic game.  The title track, Lazaretto, and instrumental High-Ball Stepper are the tracks most reminiscent of White’s days in the White Stripes but host a denser arrangement than that of the White Stripes output.  Lazaretto is an indulgent record, but in the best possible sense of the word.  It’s a record that combines a wide variety of elements into an original cohesive unit; one that breathes fresh air into an industry saturated with stale, recycled products for the masses.

Download this: The whole album, you instant-gratification seeking sheep you.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Guardians of the Galaxy’s risky premise pays off

Guardians of the Galaxy Cut Out
Image from: imdb.com

Title: Guardians of the Galaxy

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Dave Batista

Plot: Peter Quill (Pratt) is an adventurer who specializes in the theft of intergalactic
artifacts. After stealing a mysterious orb, a series of events begin that lead Quill to
teaming up with four inmates – a gun slinging raccoon (Cooper), a trained alien assassin
(Saldana), a warrior; blood thirsty for vengeance (Batista), and a tree-like humanoid
creature (Diesel) in order to take down the evil Ronan, a radical who has plans to destroy
the universe.

Why see it: Although the thought of a tree and a raccoon fighting crime side by side
can make you question just how great a film could be, the reality of any superhero team
can be questioned. I believe that Marvel studios took an out there and well worth it risk
by creating a film based from a comic book series that does not seem to have anywhere
near as huge of a following as some of their other successes like The Amazing Spider-
Man or The Incredible Hulk. Guardians of the Galaxy is just as, if not more entertaining,
than all of the previous Marvel films that have been released. Included in the film was
a lot of great build up for the much anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron film that
is slated to come out next year. The only major let down that came from Guardians of
the Galaxy was an after credit scene that unlike previous Marvel creations, was not even
worth watching.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Giver fails to live up to expectations, disappoints Lowry fans

Title: The Giver

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites

The Giver Cut Out
Image from: imdb.com

Plot: In the wake of a vague catastrophic event, our species has sacrificed its essential humanity in the name of eradicating suffering and violence. One man, “The Giver” (Bridges), is tasked with experiencing the collective human memory in case its contents are ever needed. When he is tasked with passing his knowledge on to a boy named Jonas, a chain of events is initiated that threatens to unleash the power–and potential chaos–of human emotion on a “perfect” world.

Why See It: I haven’t read The Giver. I imagine that anyone who has will be disappointed. This is one of those films that frustrates not because it was terrible, but because it came so close to being good. When a world demands as much suspension of disbelief as this one it has to be completely immersive; this demands care. I applaud The Giver for holding out so long before it became a dumb action movie but, in the end, it still did. As soon as things switched into high gear, they completely derailed and all notion of subtlety was abandoned in favor of some truly yawn-inducing bike chases and a conclusion that felt cliché and empty. This movie was at its best when it sat back and gave the audience room to admire. While shot in black and white, the film’s aesthetic balanced futuristic and retrograde science fiction into a setting that conveyed a disturbing sterility. On the acting front is a decidedly mixed bag. Bridges played his usual gruff, crusty mentor to perfection and I loved the interaction between him and Streep’s Chief Elder. The film’s other actors pulled their weight but little else can be said of them. Were there any offensively bad performances? No. But few of the characters engrossed me in any meaningful way. The Giver is a success in concept and atmosphere but a failure in some important areas of execution. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, The Giver is a good choice but nothing that could be described as a “must-see.”

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

The Top 15 Coming of Age High School Movies

BreakfastClub
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1. The Breakfast Club (1985)
This John Hughes classic set the bar for high school movies to come. The film is centered around five teens that are all spending an afternoon in detention. Even though each one comes from a different background and clique, the group bonds over the angst each feel. The Breakfast Club is a classic that proves that no matter how different we are from each other—we still have similar hardships to face.

PerksofWallflower
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2.The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Based off of the 1999 book by Stephen Chbosky this film examines the hard paths that youth often travel down when in search of themselves. Through the story everything from sexuality to mental health is depicted in order to show friendship and acceptance as the key pieces needed in order to fully find and embrace the people we are.

PrettyinPink
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3. Pretty in Pink (1986)
Another 1980’s John Hughes depiction of life as a young adult, Pretty in Pink shows social class and how it changes dating, especially when you are young. A classic tale of class and image versus friendship and love—this film has remained relevant and relatable for almost thirty years. Pretty in Pink is an adorable, yet cliché romance story that perfectly depicts high school cliques and has a great feeling of nostalgia.

DazedConfused
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4. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Another timeless film that manages to still link to today’s young adult life–Dazed and Confused is a nineties movie that examines high school life in the seventies. It picks up on the last day of school for a group of upcoming seniors and incoming freshman. The idea of spending youth years ignorantly and using them only for days of fun and teenage mistakes is a constant theme through the film. Pop culture and breaking social norms seem to link the unlikely groups together.

RidgemontHigh
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5. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
An adaptation of Cameron Crowe’s book that was a collection of his experiences under cover at Clairemont High School Fast Times at Ridgemont High accurately and hilariously captures the minds of immature teens everywhere. The film chronicles one year of the lives of two sophomores and their older friends, along with a few subplots that shine a light on other social groups.

16Candles
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6. Sixteen Candles (1984)
This film focuses on the beautiful yet often time embarrassing memories that are created during the awkward teenage years. From romance to trying desperately to fit in—Sixteen Candles depicts these struggles so accurately. Another film by the master of the “coming of age” genre, John Hughes, this film is sure to last as relatable to teenagers for years to come.

Juno
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7. Juno (2007)
A more modern look at teenage struggle, specifically through sexuality and its consequences, Juno is a blunt comedy that manages to add humor to life’s inconvenient situations. The film does a perfect job at weaving in both adult level and youth level soul searching elements. Much of the film’s story line is centered around the idea that you could constantly be looking for yourself and never truly find the right answer, this is explored through the life of a pregnant teen and a young couple. Though the subject matter is rather depressing the unique way of lightening the mood balances it out.

RebelWithoutACause
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8. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
A classic James Dean film that tries to depict a growing trend in rebellious teens that stray from common morals, Rebel Without a Cause has great lessons to offer. Questioning the way youths treat one another is one of the many ways this film depicts the decay of the “moralistic American teen”.  Nearing sixty years old, Rebel Without a Cause has many themes that are still relevant today.

Heathers
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9. Heathers (1988)
Heathers is a dark teen movie that focuses on elements such as the desperate need to fit in. The film centers around a high school outcast who attempts to violently thrash his way to the in crowd. Teen violence and bullying are displayed avidly through out the film to create the more cynical, cult classic tone that the film is now known for. Sexuality, suicide and murder weave through the storyline in order to create a dramatically dark vision of high school and the burning urge to fit in..

Carrie
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10. Carrie (1976)
Though often times only thought of as a horror movie, Carrie harshly depicts the terrors of bullying. Though supernatural in nature, the film still accurately portrays the way that constant abuse can force someone to break under pressure. The desperate measures that some go to reach out to the title character are even later mistaken as something horrible. Though violent and gorey Carrie, similarly to its book counterpart, does not shy away from forcing the audience to witnesses some of the most horrifyingly realistic obstacles teens have to face.

NapoleonDynamite
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11. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Napoleon Dynamite is a lighter and more hilarious look at the misfit groups of high school.  The subject matter consists of school elections and awkward family lives that, under any other circumstance, would be dull or depressing. With strange dialogue and awkward direction, this film comes to life in sort of way that only indie comedies can. Somehow the film still teaches lessons about “misfitting in” and finding yourself.

FerrisBueller
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12. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The fourth, and final John Hughes film on this list, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is another 1980’s comedy that shows the lighter, fun side of being a teenager. Skipping school, spending fun times with friends and neglecting all responsibility are shown through one teen who is determined to skip school and have a day away from school.

Grease
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13. Grease (1978)
Grease is a classic musical tale about love and high school groups that do not get along. Set in the backdrop of the 1950’s, the film depicts two unlikely lovers who are trying to find a way to make their relationship work. Though the film is a cliché romance it still manages to get a feel good point across that has left audiences talking about it for years.

Clueless
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14.  Clueless (1995)
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless follows the superficial life of an in-crowd of high school girls. Though hilarious in its writing and nature, this film does not necessarily have any really important lessons to teach, making it feel like it has less to offer than other coming of age high school movies.

MeanGirls
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15. Mean Girls (2004)
This film chronicles the climb up the social ladder by a new girl in school. Comedic circumstances and cliché stereotypes pull Mean Girls together in a way that seems awkwardly familiar. The overall film is incredibly quotable and memorable, however, it really is only good for that—there is not much in-depth examination of youth to help build the relatablitity.