‘Reel’ opinions of 2011 cinema

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Maddison Shook | staff writer

The nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were announced on Jan. 24, determining the best there was in 2011 cinema. The following films were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse.

Many of these films have not been seen by the average moviegoer, let alone heard of. Many feel that the discrepancy between what critics think are the best films and what the public praises has grown greater and greater as the years have gone by.  Do students at APU agree with the critics or does that same disagreement over what makes a film great exist here as well?

Most students at APU have only seen and heard of the more commercial nominees such as The Help, Hugo, War Horse and Midnight in Paris. Students had mixed opinions of whether the list of nominees is a fair representation of the best movies of 2011. Katherine Rose, a sophomore theatre arts major, thought it was fair since a variety of styles of film were nominated, whereas Sarah Hyde, an undeclared freshman, that some more edgy films of the year such as Drive and Girl with The Dragon Tattoo were snubbed of a nomination.

“Some always seem to slip through the cracks though, but the ones nominated are all very good” Mat Arnold, a freshman cinematic arts major, said. “Ideally the movies nominated are those that either challenge us or capture the human condition in a meaningful way.”

Critics such as Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger predict that The Artist is most likely to win the Best Picture Oscar. “Making a silent, black and white film appealing to this audience in this day and age seems basically impossible, but I’m so glad that someone had the courage to produce a film like it, to go back to the origins of film. It was just great” Hyde.

However, there were many other films that students thought to be the best of the year.

“The Help was very, very touching. It was very well done, and truly had something good to say without the message being too forceful and blatant,” Jeffrey Holmes, a junior cinematic arts major, said. “Also, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is a film that most people will be sickened by and won’t understand, but is amazing if you do grasp it.”

Students also were fans of some of the major blockbuster films of the year. “I really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. It sucked you into a world of mystery, detail and problem solving with, of course, the extremely talented Robert Downey Jr.,” Rose said.

This raises the question: What truly make a movie great? Students also enjoy the escapism that comes from a good film. “A great movie is one that captures you and takes you into a different world for 90-120 minutes. It is a film that engages you and makes you feel like you are in that world, not just watching it.” Holmes said.

“A truly great movie is a movie that is entertaining, just grips you from start to finish and you leave exhilarated. It is only when you look back on the movie that you see just how deep and insightful the story really was,” Arnold said.

The world will find out which film will be the best of 2011 when the 84th Academy Awards airs on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Original Article: http://www.theclause.org/2012/02/reel-opinions-of-2011-cinema/


Students express frustration over Internet filtering on campus

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Maddison Shook | staff writer

The Internet can be a source of knowledge, but inappropriate images and websites can also be accessed, whether deliberate or unintentional. And because college students spend so much time online, APU has subscribed to an Internet filtering service that protects all students, faculty and staff from accessing any offensive or inappropriate content on the Internet.

Some students feel that the Internet filtering policy has affected their online experience negatively. “I have found that several of my regular sites have been blocked. Most often, the sites that I try to visit that are blocked are humor-related stuff such as cracked.com,” junior graphic design major Caleb Barefoot said.

In an official statement from Information and Media Technology, or IMT, the purpose of this policy is “to inform, educate and set expectations for the members of the university community of their individual and corporate responsibilities towards the use of information, products and services obtained from the Internet.”

But what is deemed offensive or inappropriate is causing a stir among students.  Many feel that pornography and known source of viruses and scams are worthy of being blocked.

“I do not agree with the policy in its entirety. Yes, there is content that should be blocked such as porn sites, but to moderate content because it’s ‘PG-13 (or R) rated material’ seems to be overbearing,” Barefoot said.

Likewise, freshman international business major Kristi Shevkun is concerned that filtering sites with “questionable” or “tasteless content” is all too similar to the recently censored SOPA and PIPA debacle.

“We [students] came to APU to get a well-informed education. By blocking certain websites that might not completely support school policy APU is limiting our ability to learn different opinions and views. The whole ‘questionable’ category reminds me too much of a communist country, where propaganda is a norm and everything against the ruling party is banned.”

IMT explains that the filtering system has several different methods to how they filter websites. These include human review. Websites are reviewed by student life, faculty, and the deputy chief information officer for their content.  There is also a licensed contextual URL filtering engine, internally developed neural net analysis programs, and automated recognition of content labels generated by the Internet Content Rating Association, which Web developers often put on their sites.

This same group reviews appeals to unblock particular sites. Barefoot submitted an appeal due to the blocking of a site that was needed to his work.

“In early January, I found that I could not access my portfolio website because the host site, Deviant Art, a massive artist community, had been blocked. Thankfully, I was able to appeal the block, so I am able to access my site again,” Barefoot said.

Many students, though, feel like the policy is unwarranted and unnecessary. “The problem with the policy, in my opinion, is that everyone has a different definition of “questionable” and college students should be able to use their own judgment,” Shevkun said.

“I can understand wanting to censor the internet for the safety of the school network, against viruses and malware, found especially through file sharing, but I think it’s a waste of energy, resources, and time to try and censor internet access as if to protect us from the scourge of the internet,” Barefoot said.

Original Article: http://www.theclause.org/2012/02/students-express-frustration-over-internet-filtering-on-campus/

‘Stuff People Say’ videos mimic real life with hilarious results

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Maddison Shook | Staff Writer
 The premise of “Stuff People Say” is really simple: It is just a collection of the random things that a group of people, such as girls or hipsters, say that sound outlandish and hilarious when compiled back-to-back.

The Internet meme started out mainly on Twitter but has now spread to Facebook pages and viral videos. Recently, the meme now has its own APU-related incarnations in the forms of the Stuff APU Students Say Facebook page and the “Stuff APU Girls Say” YouTube video.

The Facebook page started in early January, when six APU students wanted to create something similar to the “Stuff Girls Say” web series. The students wanted to create something simpler and decided upon a Facebook group page.

In the short time that the page has been online, the response has shown the power of word-of-mouth, or Facebook invite, per se.

“We originally invited about 30 of our friends to the group, and then they invited their friends who invited their friends and so on,” Chanel Fuchigami, a senior applied health major and one of the page’s founding members, said. The Stuff APU Students Say page has gained a lot of positive response, creating many discussions between students commenting on posts.
“The Stuff APU Girls Say” video was created and filmed by junior screenwriting major Yolanda Rodriguez. Starring Shelli Marr, Ekaterini Angelis, Lindsay Cooper and Leslie Horrisberger. The video covers a wide variety of sayings derived from girls at APU. The topics in the video include the frequent use of the phrase “so good,” Wi-Fi-induced irritation and the awkwardness of the steps on West Campus.

“The video is funny because it is so realistic,” Horrisberger, a junior communications major, said. “There is a lot of truth to it, and I have personally heard a lot of people I know say things from the video. [And I have] said a lot of it myself, which makes it fun to laugh at.”

The video has gained a positive response from students.

“I thought it was funny because most of it is so true — maybe not typical for every girl at APU, but that stuff still happens,” freshmen graphic design major Alyssa Zavala said.
One of the greatest concerns raised about the meme is whether or not it encourages stereotypes. While that may be true to an extent, there seems to be no harm done. Both Fuchigami and Horrisberger expressed that stereotypes may exist in the meme, even though that was not its intention.

It is important to remember that these sites and videos are meant for humor. It may be considered somewhat stereotypical, but there is truth in the stereotypes. Obviously, not every single girl at APU dreams of marrying Tim Tebow, wears Tom’s shoes and excessively uses the word “community.” But there are enough people to make the statements in the video absolutely hilarious. There is no need, furthermore, to get worked up over another fad in Internet humor.

Stuff People Say will most likely remain popular for only a few more months — its popularity will die down after a while. Memes have a tendency to lose their pop culture relevance. Try to think of the last time someone actually referenced “My Life Is Average” in a conversation, for example.

To be quite honest, it is downright comical to think about how often we say or think about certain things. What makes these videos and sites so humorous is how true the content actually is and how people identify with it. Viewers know people who have said the exact same things from the videos and are often guilty of it themselves. “The Stuff APU Students Say” and “The Stuff APU Girls Say” videos are just glimpses of student life. Truth be told, life sometimes is just plain funny

Original Article: http://www.theclause.org/2012/02/stuff-people-say-videos-mimic-real-life-with-hilarious-results/

Faith, football and the phenomenon of ‘Tebowmania’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Maddison Shook | Staff Writer
Over the course of this year’s NFL football season, Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, has been garnering major media attention from sources as varied as ESPN, CNN and People magazine. Every pass, every fourth-quarter comeback, every “Tebowing” kneel and every action makes the headlines. This media blitz may make football fans wonder: Is Tebow worth the hype?

On Sunday, Jan. 8, the attention of Tebow peaked at the AFC Wildcard Playoff Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tebow, who is famous for having the 3:16, referencing the Bible, on his eye back when he played at Florida State University, threw 316 yards in the game. Also, his average completion passes were 31.6 yards, and the television rating of the fourth quarter of the game peaked at 31.6 million viewers.

This event sparked a massive interest in both Tebow and the verse John 3:16. On that day, there were more Web searches on Yahoo! about “John 3:16” and “Tim Tebow” than there were for any other subject.

There are a lot of factors that attribute to the craze that is often regarded as “Tebowmania.”

Rudy Carlton, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at APU, believes that the media covers Tebow to the degree it does because of his successful fourth quarter passes and comeback victories, along with the controversial subject matter of Tebow’s faith.

While the media has given massive coverage of superstar quarterbacks before, according to Carlton, there has not been this much coverage of a quarterback with his level of play before.

“He is a pretty good quarterback, and he has some crazy games, but mostly I’d have to say a lot of the attention is because of how open he is with his faith and how hardworking he is,” freshman applied exercise science major Jackson Hale said.

Tebow has received a lot of criticism for his faith, from both Christians and non-Christians alike.

“I get really frustrated when Christians say that he is too over- the-top about his faith,” Carlton said. “I pray that God continues to use him in a powerful way.”

Despite the criticism, Tebow’s witness has been inspiring to students at APU.

“I have never seen an athlete like Tim Tebow before,” freshman business administration major and Denver native Ryan Bell said. “His faith has inspired, and I greatly respect him because of how he has dealt with all the criticism that has come with the media hype.”

The combination of physical skill and spiritual awareness distinguish Tebow from the other football celebrities.

“He is a profound figure in the media right now,” Bell said. “Because not only has he made some miraculous plays this season, [but also because] he is such an inspiring role model and a great guy.”

Faith aside, the question of whether Tebow is worthy of this media frenzy is still a legitimate question.

While Tebow has set an example of the Christian faith, some feel that the way he has played has not warranted this phenomenon.

“I love everything that Tim Tebow stands for, and if the gospel is being shared on such a big stage, I would say as a Christian that he is more than worth the hype,” Carlton said. “However, as a football fan and a Bronco fan at that, [I think] he is overrated and not the answer to their issue as quarterback. I don’t think that he will be a long term starting quarterback in the NFL.”

Carlton also noted that the media has focused only on Tebow, not giving credit to other team members of the Broncos.

“I do feel that he received a lot of credit for situations in the game that were out of his control,” Carlton said. “And the way he played, outside of the Pittsburg game, did not warrant the type of coverage that he received.”

While the Broncos season is over this year after a loss to the New England Patriots, all eyes will be on Tebow next season as he has been confirmed to remain the Bronco’s starting quarterback.

Original Article: http://www.theclause.org/2012/01/faith-football-and-the-phenomenon-of-tebowmania/

Idoloonies Guest Spot

On May 3, 2011, I appeared on  TVLine.com  editor Michael Slezak’s Idoloonies as a guest commentator.


Who’s the real villain of American Idol‘s tenth season: Jimmy Iovine, Nigel Lythgoe, the American teenager? On this week’s installment of Idoloonies, my cohosts (including a real live high-school student!) and I ponder this important question, and assess the last five vocalists remaining in the competition.

We also take a deep dive into these other vital topics: Why is Jimmy so hellbent on destroying Haley Reinhart’s Idol dreams? Was Haley justified dropping an expletive during Carole King Week results show? (Spoiler alert: Yes!) What bit of advice should Scotty McCreery completely ignore? Which former Idol contestant should Lauren Alaina try to emulate? Did James Durbin have an Idol Moment with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”? And Jacob Lusk: Why?

To get our answers, press play below on all three parts of our latest episode (costarring characters from Deadwood, Citizen Kane, and yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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