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Last updateWed, 13 Dec 2017 8am

Entertainment

Volume 90 (Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

Welcome To Corrupt Ebbing, Missouri

Corrup Ebbing MissouriStarring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage

Every day I get in a workout running Westwood Avenue up and back. For the four-mile trek I wear shorts, no matter what the weather, and a fanny pack which blasts Carly Rae Jepsen from my phone.

I may get a lot of side eyes during my run, but something that gets even more attention are the huge billboards towering over the train tracks further down Westwood.

Usually the billboards support a typical advertisement like car insurance or new Guy Fieri pasta sauce, but what if there was a stronger message hovering over those tracks? How about something like, “RAPED WHILE DYING. AND STILL NO ARRESTS? HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?” That may gain more attention than me wearing a fanny pack.

Mildred Hayes, played by Frances McDormand, is a single mother who works at the local gift shop where tourists can find the perfect Missouri engraved ashtray. Seven months ago, Hayes’s daughter was raped and burned to death. Since then, the Ebbing Police Department have not arrested a single suspect or found any evidence leading towards one. In protest, Hayes rents out space on three billboards to grab the attention of the police and townspeople.

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Lady Bird Spreads Its Wings

Lady Bird Spreads WingsJune 23, 2015 was the final obligation of seniors at Steinert High School. It was a scorching hot day as I picked up my friend of ten years, Tom, in my father’s 2000 Buick LeSabre.

Dressed in our Shrek green gowns, we were sweating in bumper to bumper traffic on Hamilton Avenue because the air conditioning and back windows were broken. Today the air conditioning works, but the heat went just in time for winter.

When we entered the cool Sun Center in Trenton, we were directed to our chairs. For the last time, the class of 2015 would be together under the same roof. It was nerve wracking sitting in those chairs because after each speech the end was drawing near.

All the school dances, hanging out with friends, asking the teacher to use the restroom and pasta Thursdays in the cafeteria would all be over. Once our caps were thrown into the air, it was the beginning of a new chapter.

This day serves as a precious moment not only for being with my high school class for one last time, but for the memories that led up to it.

Senior year in particular was a pivotal moment for all students to determine what path to choose after graduation.

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Thor Ragna - "Rocks"

“I don’t hang with the Avengers anymore,” explains our titular hero Thor (Chris Hemsworth). “It all got too corporate.” This quickly mentioned, throwaway line is so much more poignant when it’s applied to the Marvel cinematic universe. It was by removing Thor from the rest of the gang and giving him a new identity that Thor: Ragnarok easily becomes one of the most engaging, downright hilarious, and best Marvel films ever.

Directed by Marvel newbie Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) and written by Eric Pearson (ABC’s Marvel television series Agent Carter), Craig Kyle (the animated programs Iron Man: Armored Adventures and Wolverine and the X-Men), and Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World), the plot is pretty classic superhero fare, but with some twists. After the death of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor must face his most powerful threat yet, Hela or “The Goddess of Death” (Cate Blanchett). When he and his nefarious brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are thrown out of Asgard into the ragged, dumping zone planet of Sakaar, Thor is forcibly entered into a gladiator type battle with old friend the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Desperate to save his home from not only Hela but also an ancient prophecy about its demise, Thor attempts to enlists the help of other misfits of Sakaar in order to escape the eccentric clutches of The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and save Asgard.

For most of the Marvel cinematic universe, it would be appropriate to label the character Thor as nothing more than “handsome guy with hammer.” The original Thor was fun, but not entirely memorable. It had some comedy, but was all too melodramatic for a Marvel film. Similarly, Thor never developed much of a personality outside handsome and haughty, besides just loving his homeland of Asgard and Natalie Portman. The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, was even more abysmal: boring, forgettable, and it added nothing new to the character. Even outside of his own films, Thor was nothing more than a side character. There was a reason Tony Stark always referred to him as Point Break: he seemed to be all style, no substance. But just like the ridiculous 90s surf movie starring Keanu Reeves, Thor really is more than meets the eye, once you have the chance to really appreciate him.

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The Square Pushes Boundaries

A lady stands at the center of a busy plaza filled with people rushing to work or to get lunch. She asks the people walking by, “Would you like to save a human life?” One man replies with, “I’m busy,” while another says, “Not now.” 

A man goes into a 7-11 for a sim card. A homeless woman in the corner of the store asks, “Could you spare some change?” The man says he only has credit card, but is willing to buy her something instead. The lady requests, “a chicken ciabatta sandwich with no onions.”

How much do we care about others and how far can it go? Palme d’Or winner The Square puts us in uncomfortable situations to explore these questions.

Christian, played by Claes Bang, is a curator at a Swedish museum of modern art. On his way to work, he attempts to help a lady in a “life threatening” situation.

In return, his wallet and phone are stolen. Christian tracks down his phone to an apartment complex and gets an idea with one of his employees. To get his wallet and phone back, Christian will stuff a note into each mailbox calling the person a thief and demanding his phone back. Meanwhile, a new exhibit is coming to the museum called The Square.

The description of the exhibit reads: “The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.” To promote the exhibit, a PR team uses an aggressive campaign to grab attention.

Swedish director, screenwriter, producer and editor Ruben Östlund throws us into satirical scenarios that questions our moral compass and the role of contemporary arts in society.

The scenarios Östlund presents pushes our boundaries and tests the extent of our values. For instance, there’s an artist holding a press conference at the museum.

During the interview, the artist is constantly interrupted by a person with Tourette syndrome. Should the person stay in the audience because they do not have control over their disorder? On the other hand, should the person be escorted out because he is interrupting the interview for everyone?

It’s a difficult choice for some, but it’s important to endure these challenges to see how committed we are to our own moral code.

Normally when we stand behind a cause, we may obviously do anything to support it. Well, let’s say you are behind putting trust into any person because you have faith in humanity. While walking down the street, a lady comes rushing up to you proclaiming someone is after her with the intent to kill.

As the lady cowers in your presence, another man comes to her defense and helps you out. Once her predator shows up to attack her, you and the other man confront the predator and shoo him away.

The predator leaves, the lady is happy, and you are shaking hands with the man who helped you in that situation. Although it felt satisfying to help another person out, a few minutes later you discover your wallet and cellphone are gone.

After realizing how manipulative others can be at the expense of losing two important items, would you still have trust in humanity? Would you help another person out in the future in a similar scenario, or would you continue walking on?

Östlund is clever in measuring our beliefs by not only putting reputation on the line, but personal items as well.

Just as difficult it would be for one of us to determine what we should do in the two previous examples, Christian finds himself in the same boat. Except Christian’s boat can sink quickly with his high position as museum curator.

Christian is a paradoxical figure who contradicts his standards. The curator promotes The Square exhibit, although he does not fully represent its message. Sure, he drives a Tesla car, supports the arts, and is friendly towards others, but when a beggar asks for money, Christian typically replies, “I only have a card.” This shows how the museum curator is a contradiction of the image he conveys.

Christian should go beyond the minimum of driving a fuel-efficient car by putting more effort into helping people on a personal level. Additionally, Östlund takes a swipe at Sweden for its over usage of credit cards with Christian’s theme of only having a card, no cash.

Considering Christian is the curator of a museum he represents the world of modern art.

The museum is filled with pretentious works, such as a room with ash piles reading in neon lights “we are all dust.”

Modern art is normally behind humanistic ideals, but The Square exhibit represents how out of touch the community is towards the less fortunate and their contradictions on trust. Millions of dollars are poured into modern art museums while the community assumes their ethics are in line. However, when they are forced to take a position, the group skulks into their pompous rooms filled with sanctimonious art pieces.

Museums have the unflattering reputation for being blasé to anyone outside the art world. There are plenty of people who find it boring to gaze at something they are told is important. In spite of this notion, there are plenty of controversial pieces at The Square to feast your eyes upon.

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Riggi & Piros: Sitting Down With One Half of House Music's Next Big Thing

Riggi and Piros 1Their names are Anthony Riggi and James Piros— but you can call them by what their fans scream: Riggi and Piros.

With well over 66 thousand followers on their “verified” Instagram, wrecked repeat buttons on SoundCloud, and a record deal with Armada Music—record label that is home to names like Hardwell and Armin van Buuren—DJ duo Riggi and Piros seem to be dropping beats and taking names wherever they go.

Riggi, one half of the musical pair, took the time to explain the journey that turned their last names into headlines.

Born and raised Jersey boys, the two grew up just shy of an hour north from Monmouth County in Clifton, where years trace back to their first encounter in first grade.

It all started where most premature friendships begin: At recess over a friendly game of basketball, when they were just “Anthony” and “James.”

What set this friendship apart from other elementary interactions was not only their instant connection, but also their passion for all things music at such a young age.

“Since I can remember, our whole lives revolved around music. We were, and still are, completely obsessed,” Riggi said. “We started to play instruments and joined the school band in elementary school.”

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer Doesn't Disappoint

Imagine living the perfect childhood. You have it all: a big house, wealthy parents, any item desired, and above all, great health. However, one morning it all comes crashing down. You wake up for school and cannot get out of bed. It’s not because of a big exam you didn’t prepare for or meatloaf day at the cafeteria.

You toss and turn, frantically look around the room, and your heart is racing. You cannot move because your legs are numb. Your father keeps yelling at you to get a move on, but with all of your strength, your legs are paralyzed.

Why after so many years of perfect health that suddenly your torso completely shuts down? Is it because of some bug bite, or a serious health issue? Maybe it’s hereditary and your parents never mentioned it.

 The doctors deny each one of these questions and cannot figure out how this happened. With your condition out of the doctors’ hands, maybe it’s the act of some higher power.

But what if that higher power is physically in your presence? This is the situation Dr. Steve Murphy finds his family in.

A few years ago, Dr. Murphy, played by Colin Farrell, was intoxicated and performed open heart surgery on a car accident victim. The victim died because of Murphy’s careless practices, leaving a son and wife behind.

Out of pity, Dr. Murphy attempts to be a father figure to Martin, played by Barry Keoghan, the son of the deceased. As he uncovers the truth behind his father’s death, Martin seeks revenge.

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Tuesday Night Record Club: 'Rumours'

Tuesday Night Record ClubTuesday Night Record Club presented “Rumours” from Fleetwood Mac on Nov. 7.

Four televisions hung on the wall in Wilson Auditorium and those who were in attendance, the chilled rain that came down outside, quietly dried off while listening to Fleetwood Mac’s live performance of the “The Chain.”

Many in the audience closed their eyes to focus on the harmony, swayed with the music, or tapped a foot to the beat as they sat. The song concluded and the discussion began.

The panel was led by Dr. Kenneth Womack, Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Nicholas Messina, communication instructor.

The discussion began with pre-”Rumours” music and history of the members-- romantic, musical, and otherwise.

“‘Rumours’ was the second best-selling album,” Messina noted. 40 million copies were sold worldwide and many Record Club members reminisced buying the album when it was first released on February 4 1977. “Black Magic Woman,” which was written by Peter Green and released in 1968, played for a few moments to give the members a taste of the music produced prior to “Rumours.”

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Murder On The Orient Express Could Pick Up Some Steam

We all hate riding the NJ Transit trains. They’re slow, expensive, have stiff seats, loud passengers, and window views of construction sites.

Also, let’s not forget that lingering Jersey landfill smell bidding farewell to those as they head into New York.

Rewind ninety years back and there were trains such as the luxurious Orient Express.

It had cozy cabins, room service, star studded passengers, window views of towering mountains, and, oh, a murderer on board.

Well, I guess we take the NJ Transit for granted sometimes.

Before we hop on the Orient Express, we meet Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh.

Poirot is an accomplished detective who has just wrapped up a case in Jerusalem.

When Poirot gets another case in England, he takes the Orient Express to get there.

On his way, Poirot is approached by Ratchett, played by Johnny Depp, who asks for his protection. Poirot denies his request and later that night, Ratchett is found dead.

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Is Mumble Rap Mumbo-Jumbo?

Well known Hip-Hop artist, Nas, has expressed his passion for his genre of music by saying that “Hip-hop is the streets.”

The rapper continued this thought by explaining, “Hip-hop is a couple of elements that it comes from back in the days…that feel of music with urgency that speaks to you.  It speaks to your livelihood and it’s not compromised.  It’s blunt.  It’s raw, straight off the street – from the beat to the voice to the words.” 

Hip-hop has become a genre of music that almost everyone cultivates to. 

Over the recent years, Hip-Hop has taken a turn in which no one truly thought it would.         

This new era has been described as “Mumble Rap.”

It is a type of rap in which the listener is posed with a challenge of strugging to make out the words that sound like marbles coming out of the mouth of the artist.

Most of the popularity mumble rap has accredited is due to catchy phrases or instrumental beats that fans seem to enjoy.

The question that remains, however: is this type of rap and hip-hop here to stay?

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LBJ: Doesn't Go All the Way

LBJ 1It’s Nov. 22, 1963 and President John F. Kennedy has arrived in town. There’s an exciting buzz around Dallas, Texas for the President’s arrival because he embodies everything about America: hope, energy, excitement, and strength.

For the President’s arrival, a grand parade is scheduled where Texans will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to greet Kennedy as he rides along the streets of Dallas. The weather is perfect too.

There’s not a single cloud in the sky, great for letting the hood down and taking in that Texas sun. At around 12:30 PM, you are one of the many visitors waiting for a glimpse of the President as he breezes by Dealey Plaza.

Once the President finally reaches the Plaza, you see him in all his glory, waving to raucous crowd. Then suddenly, shots are fired and the President has fallen over in the backseat of the vehicle.

The First Lady is hysterical as blood covers her hands. The motorcade speeds out of sight and there is confusion in the crowd. Later that day, President Kennedy is announced dead and there is a new man in charge: Lyndon Johnson.

Despite the pressure of filling in Kennedy’s shoes, President Johnson passed important pieces of legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Wilderness Protection Act.

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Wonderstruck: A Wonderful Silent Film

Eighty-two years ago, silence was golden for the film industry. Actors like Charlie Chaplin could make audiences laugh until they cried, while actresses like Mary Pickford stole the hearts of America. Silent films could move an audience without uttering a word because a great deal of effort went into storytelling and performances.

Decades later, we are so spoiled by the magic of sound that we take for granted how far film has come. However, with movies like Wonderstruck, we can appreciate film’s roots.

Since the death of his mother, Ben, played by Oaks Fegley, longs to find his missing father now more than ever. Ben goes through his mother’s old room to find traces of his father, where he comes across a book mark stashed in a museum exhibit book.

The book reads an address located in New York City. After coming across the bookmark, Ben is suddenly struck by lightning and becomes deaf.

Despite his hearing impairment, Ben sneaks away on a bus heading to New York City to find his father. Meanwhile, there’s another story parallel to Ben’s, which features Rose, played by Millicent Simmonds, who is also a deaf child in search for someone.

While it may sound far-fetched, the story is told beautifully by giving the audience a perspective on hearing impairment, while nailing the time periods of Ben and Rose’s narratives.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu