Category Archives: Entertainment

Book Review: “Water for Elephants”

By Alanna Anderson 

***There is content within the review that may ruin the plot for some people***

If you’re into historical fiction, shifts between time period, romance, slightly graphic sex scenes, and don’t mind animal abuse and violence or slightly unrealistic endings, then Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen might just be for you.

The story tells the journey of the main character, Jacob, who ends up in the circus after an unfortunate event leaves him feeling lost, abandoned, and in search of a new home. The rest of the story entails not only his journey with the circus, but also narrative shifts to present time where he’s in an old folks home complaining about his helpless state. Not only are the morals and scenery of the story compelling, but the characters of the story, for the most part, seem to come to life.

If you are looking for action, this story is probably not the best place to look for it but it does include its own spark. The story is one that mainly touches on the struggles and troubles of life and those who are living, just trying to make it through. The main downfalls are the main character (and his romance), unnecessary description, and lack of a structured plot that keeps the story from being truly great.  Overall, the main purpose of the story was clear and I felt anticipation, but not enough to be truly impressed with the story.

 

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Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson starred in the 2011 movie adaptation of the book.

Something that definitely caught my attention throughout the story were the morals that the characters introduced. The author had the good fortune of choosing a setting and time period that could be manipulated easily for her story. Since the story took place during The Great Depression, Gruen does a great job of channeling all of the desperation and loss that was common during that time. This was also used to find ways to implement specific themes and values throughout almost the whole story, but the one that stuck out the most to me was the idea of respect. The idea of being able to respect people as a common courtesy and only stopping when their actions prove that they should be treated otherwise.

Another moral was that everyone has struggles and that it’s not wrong to acknowledge them. These are just two among the many that could’ve been interpreted, like how being abusive and not showing humanity can result in a hard case of karma. The morals definitely made the story more complex emotionally. If someone wanted to read a fiction book that touched on morals and the underlying aspects of human nature then this book is suggestible. This is one of the techniques that I really appreciated in the book and found to be enjoyable.

It was enjoyable how the author took advantage of characters and their development in order to keep the reader interested. Sadly, she seems to expand on every character except for Jacob and Marlena (a person very close to Jacob). With these two characters she sort of expects the reader to just like them and automatically accept them. This lead me to create a strong bond with a lot of the characters, such as Kinko, a man who ends up being Jacob’s friend. I really felt for him and wanted to hear more about his story than I wanted to hear about Jacob’s. Another person who I wanted to know more about was Camel, a kind-hearted drunk in the circus, as it’s hinted at that he has a dramatic past, but his past is only mentioned to make Jacob have sympathy for him.

43641.jpgA way that the author created these connections was making the reader feel sympathy for
a character; it made me care more about them and feel like I’m supposed to pay attention to them. It was actually very effective but where the author went wrong is when she only added in these characters’ stories to attempt to make Jacob more interesting. I feel that this was a lost opportunity for her because her story was held back due to trying to progress a character who just wasn’t that interesting.        

A cool aspect of the story is that the point of view shifts between the young and older version of Jacob. Seeing the differences between the two sides of him helped with the mystery of the story because it built anticipation as to how he ended up where he was at. His grouchiness seemed a bit odd too. When he is young he is cheery and innocent and chivalrous, and when he is older he loses that charm and becomes a crabby elderly man. This can happen and I’m sure that it has happened to people before, but for the character himself it seemed to just discredit the positive emotions that he feels while he’s young. This also begins to create too strong of a contrast between young Jacob and older Jacob. The differences in their personality at times makes it seem like I’m not even reading from the perspective of the same character.

The personification in the story was one of my favorite techniques.  Rosie, the smartest and most kind-hearted elephant who is Jacob’s best friend, and even other animals such as the always smiling chimpanzee were described frequently as smiling or doing something such as shaking a hand in thanks, or showing a strong spark of intelligence. This had the benefit of making me feel closer to the animals than the humans sometimes because they were the only ones acting relaxed most of the time and not freaking out like the humans were.

The one issue with this is that I wanted more mentions of the animals. They seemed like they would be a focal point of the story because of Jacob’s occupation and interests, but they’re used more to enhance the story than actually be that involved in it. The personification of the animals was made even more interesting when they’re compared to how the humans are physically described in the story. In one sex scene the man is made to sound beWater-For-Elephantsast-like and in moments of anger the humans are described as feral and wild. This contributed to the parallel of appearance being deceiving and the “real animals” being humans due to their destructive nature.

I started reading the story with high expectations because of the buzz that had been built around it, but found myself greatly disappointed. Expecting something great from a book because it has become popular and a movie is always a way to find disappointment. I still have an underlying frustration with the story because I was stuck in a state of excited expectation and never-ending boredom.

Many aspects of the story left me conflicted, like my opinion on Jacob. He was the kind of main character that I felt sympathy for, but started to lose a connection to because I was constantly waiting for him to make up his mind and come to a decision about his life and people and stick to it. Luckily, I felt a better connection to a lot of the other characters of the story and they’re what helped me to pull through and kept me reading. I do appreciate that the impression of chaotic circus life did help me to connect to the story and Jacob more.

The anticlimactic events in the story (that were usually anticlimactic due to Jacob’s constant inaction) contributed, in my opinion, to the story’s decrease in greatness. It’s alright to have a few teasing moments, but the story seemed to take the moments that I was looking forward to and made them completely disappear. The ending made me want to bang my head against a wall for a bit as well. It seemed too farfetched and unrealistic and completely rushed. It seems especially rushed when I found out that the author wrote the story in a month, and this might have made it zoom through the editing process. If it weren’t for my interest in the characters of the story and how they would turn out my interest in the story would’ve almost been completely gone.

My awareness of writing techniques definitely made me disappointed with certain aspects of the story. Scenery was definitely a high point and cannot be touched, but the graphic sex scenes of the story felt sort of desperate at times. Instead of relying on the natural surprising aspects of the circus, the author began to write in sex scenes that left me wondering about the necessity of them.

Capture.PNGAs they continued I became more and more aware of how unnecessary they were and how exactly they were holding the story back. It seemed like the author felt the need to throw in unnecessary events to an already wild story, unrealistic love between love interests, a slightly boring main character that remains stagnant while others develop, and a pace that isn’t consistent. All of these elements contributed to my displeasure at the story.

Gruen’s imagery was bitter-sweet for me. Some of her imagery was enjoyable and helped me to keep reading.  The life of someone living at a circus was vivid and descriptive and I could clearly imagine Jacob tending to the animals, and his vivid horror at being tricked into being bit by a lion. A counter to this is the fact that Gruen would describe some unimportant things more than others. There’s a sexual scene that is described in great (great, great, great) detail and it bordered on making me uncomfortable because the language and description became very vivid at this time specifically. At other times, events that were important to me just fell through the cracks. So while imagery was one of my favorite techniques of the story because it connected me to the text, it also put me off at times because of the moments and events that the author chose to explode and describe the most.

One of the biggest downfalls of the story was its lack of a structured and well paced plot. The story begins with a flash of a future event and it built the anticipation a lot. After reading that my expectations for the story grew even more because I looking forward to said huge event.

The beginning of the story had a pace that was okay. In the middle of the story I started to water-for-elephants.pngget the feeling that the author was getting bored with the story. It just felt like she was slowing down too much and trying to expand all of the moments that really didn’t need that done to them. At the end of the story I was so disappointed. The author seemed to just give up and assume that what she had written was enough to make up for a rushed ending. Basically, it felt like she was turning in an assignment that was due in an hour. This caused me to care a bit less about the story because she seemed to care less too.

The story had good points and bad points, but overall it is not a book that I will come back to soon. I felt like I was constantly looking for something that the story just couldn’t provide. The good use of writing techniques really couldn’t make up for the issues that I saw with pacing, Jacob, and the lack of attention drawn to certain aspects like secondary characters, because they were too distracting. If I had to read the story again it would be as a reference for imagery, but not for the plot at all. I’m still really glad that I could find a moral to take away from the story, but it’s from what I found in the text and not from any special relationship with a character. Maybe if the author had payed more attention to making her events deliberate and blending with her writing techniques I would feel differently.

I would suggest this book to someone if I knew that that didn’t bother them. I’d also suggest this book to people who enjoy books with imagery and are looking for something fun that includes morals about life, but not something that is even close to being considered a literary classic.

Alanna Anderson is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

“The Glass Castle”Book Review

By Stephane Mohr

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is one of the most brilliant, gorgeous books I have ever read. A heartbreaking, intense story of the life of Jeanette and her three siblings as they learn to cope with their parents’ instability, Walls recalls her childhood and, more specifically, the heart-wrenching relationship between she and her father with such vivid descriptions that it’s easy to forget the novel is actually a memoir. Complete and utter real life events and people mapped out within three hundred pages of broken promises and barely-there hope.

The novel follows Jeanette from the age of three until what seems to be, but is never specified, he early thirties, and her siblings Lori, Brian and Maureen as they bounce from place to place on the west coast with their unreliable parents — their alcoholic father, Rex and their selfish, seemingly uncaring mother, Rose Mary. He can’t hold a job for very long, doesn’t trust anyone, and is always “doing the skedaddle” — moving anywhere the government can’t find him, probably because he owes taxes, although he creates elaborate, intense stories of mafias and gangs that are after him, instead, just to make everything seem more like an adventure.71VBpx0qsmL.jpg

Everything has to be an adventure for Rex and Rose Mary. They get antsy if they stay in one place too long, and hate “living like normal people”. They’d much rather camp out in the middle of the Nevada desert and starve than live in a regular house with neighbors and a steady income. Which is all fine and dandy — when you’re not dragging a newborn and three elementary school aged children along with you.

Not everything in the Walls’ children’s life is bad, and their parents aren’t completely horrible at times — and what a beautiful thing Walls, as an author, does to show us this. When reading a memoir, I find myself always needing to remind myself that everything is really. The people actually lived, the events actually took place, certain dialogue was actually said — those types of things, and The Glass Castle was no different. However, what did stick out to me from other memoirs I’ve read was the characterization of the people she was writing.

People are not black and white. An obvious statement, but still, necessary to make. Everyone is deeply flawed and intensely intricate in their own ways, and the relationships we form with others is no different. Jeanette shows us this in the most beautiful way possible. As she recalls her childhood, the struggles she faces and the relationships she forms with her siblings is obviously there, but it becomes clear almost immediately that the book as a whole is about her father. And about she and her father’s relationship as a father and daughter.

She takes us through being a child, and idolizing her father. Hanging on to his every word, defending him when others call him a bum, or an alcoholic, or accuse him of being a bad dad. She shows us that he is a highly unlikable character. Verbally abusive to his wife, neglectful of his children, selfish. As readers, we want to hate Rex, but we can’t quite do it. Why? Because he’s human. And because he’s human, he is not all bad. Jeanette shows us sparse, but absolutely stunning moments where we as readers can see just how much he truly loves his children.

The moments are more like seconds. Barely there glimpses into his mind and his thoughts. When he takes each child out individually and gives them a star for Christmas. When he almost loses Jeanette and Brian because they get caught in a fire. When he sneaks them in to the zoo and convinces them to pet a tiger. When Jeanette finally leaves the house. But these moments, like they are not enough, in the end, to keep Jeanette wanting to stay, are equally not enough for us, as readers, to feel completely bad for him. Still, he is human.

Along with her stunning characterizations of not just her father, but her mother and siblings as well, Walls pairs her unique narrative with such vivid imagery, the reader is immediately there with her, wherever she goes. A casino in Vegas, a run down town at the edge of a barely-running train station, a suburban neighborhood in Phoenix, an ashy mountainside in Virginia. Every description of every season, sunset, street corner and car ride is so alive and so detailed, you wonder if she visited these places again as an adult, just to get them just right.

“The Glass Castle”, while the title of the book, is also the dream Rex Walls had for his children. Whether it was a legitimate plan, or just something he made up to keep them sedated and interested is never truly explained (although the reader gets the feel it was more of the latter). The Glass Castle was just that — a castle made of glass, that he would build sky high and they would all live in. One big happy family. The Glass Castle serves as well as a metaphor for all of the promises Rex made Jeanette and never kept. All of the dreams he talked about having, and the things they would all do, but never did.

The book catalogs the less than unusual childhood the Walls children had, the bonds formed between siblings in the face of adversity and neglect, the love Jeannette has for literature and writing, the dreams she and her siblings had to finally get out, and get away, and escape. And her father. The one she always vouched for, always believed, and always loved. The one who, even though he may have made some pretty questionable decisions, was still, until the very end, human.

Stephane Mohr is a Senior at Barbara Ingram

Straight Out of Bagels (A Podcast Series) – Episode One: Pilot

Episode One “Pilot” was Written and Performed by Max Gamerman and Amelia Lowry (featuring Jackson Spickler)

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They’ve traveled through the wastelands of New Jersey.  They’ve ventured through the desolate jungles of Pennsylvania.  They’ve tangled with lions and cowboys and mermaids and the entire cast of Seinfeld (especially George) and now they’re here in Washington County Maryland.  And they’re bringing it fresh like a good bagel.  This is a podcast you don’t want to miss.

Max Gamerman is a Junior at Barbara Ingram  and Amelia Lowry is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

Barbara Ingram’s Little Mermaid

By Amber Eason

It’s been announced that this year’s Barbara Ingram School for the Art’s play is the Little Mermaid. And I was allowed exclusive access into the world of sea creatures, and upcoming musical numbers.

The Little Mermaid is the sixth consecutive musical Barbara Ingram School for the Arts has produced. The play’s cast consists of only BISFA students, and this year’s play boasts one of the largest cast of them all with a breathtakingly huge ensemble. The sheer size of the production offers some of its own challenges as well; however, this enormous cast of characters guarantees a full-bodied and immersive experience. “It’s the largest we’ve ever had,” said Amanda Askin, a musical theater major in the play.  “There’s a lot of coordination and timing that goes on behind the scenes that the audience doesn’t see.”

Along with its staggering number of performers, the show also offers some rather amazing special effects: lighting, projections, and even creatures floating on the air. “The audience will feel they’re under the sea with us.” That was Amanda’s favorite thing about the Little Mermaid: “It’s going to be a beautiful experience … I can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction to just that — to us.” She described it as a sort of under the sea choreographed jigsaw puzzle, filled with brilliant colors, fancy footwork (or perhaps finwork), all complete with the lovable — and laughable — buoyant banter of the characters you love.

A look around Black Box Theater and I couldn’t agree more. I was surrounded by a sea of rainbow sequins, bubbly bright colors and swirl after swirl of wispy tool. I think every color in the spectrum was captured.

So at this point you might be thinking so what? It’s bright and beautiful, and somewhat immersive — what’s the big deal about that? Well, alongside it’s bedazzling costumes and sparkling atmosphere, the die-hard Little Mermaid fans will be sure glad to hear that it develops a rather close narrative to the Disney story.

“The play follows a lot of the movie — it’s pretty close, actually,” said Judah Ickes, a musical theater major also in the play. “You get the classic music — the well known stuff — but you also get to hear some cool new tunes, and it puts a nice spin on the old characters.”

So there you have it, folks: the same songs you love and a fresh story to make it pop. It should also be noted that the voices behind these songs are simply magical. I sat in with the concert choir (featuring many of the voices that will be in the play) and honestly I was speechless. Their voices were so strong and harmonious that they resonated around the classroom. It was like everything was in sync with the graceful ring and echo of their pitch. I’m certain the musical will be no different, and these glorious voices will leave the audience as entranced as I was sitting in that white-tiled classroom.

I felt hopeful and alive while leaving, I think that feeling can be found almost anywhere downtown. I saw a few posters advertising for the play in the windows of some local businesses like Regenerate Float Spa and struck up conversation with one of the employees. He said he was excited for the big event, and was happy that the Barbara Ingram School for the Art’s students we’re apart of it. He said it was a way of “making art for now, and saving it for the future.”

The musical is sure to deliver in every way possible, and so if you haven’t already, I would suggest purchasing your tickets hereLiam Clark, a musical theater major performing in the play, said, “It’s like a bonding experience for everyone — you develop a connection with the actors right in front of you — so like people get to bond with their own families while watching ours perform.”

 

Amber Eason is a Sophmore at Barbara Ingram.

James Buchanan Drama Club Retells Classic Tale

By Mary Miller

On March 13, 2016, I saw Jekyll & Hyde at James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.  It was a musical adaption of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and was originally produced on Broadway.   In this classic tale of good versus evil, a kindhearted doctor’s experiment goes awry and forces him to live with terrifying transformations into an evil alter ego.

The musical featured a large ensemble of James Buchanan’s most talented actors. The play starred senior Hunter Daugherty as Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, senior Lauren Dukehart as Emma Carew, sophomore Claire Alfree as Lucy Harris, and senior Sam Ortbal as Gabriel John Utterson.  I was very impressed with all of the students’ performances, both dramatic and musical.  

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Hunter Daugherty and Lauren Dukeheart

Every musical performance was quite enjoyable, particularly that of Hunter Daughtry.  Each song was well executed and exciting to watch.    The show was also greatly enriched by the performances of the “London citizens” and pit orchestra.  

In my opinion, the most impressive aspect of the play were the special effects.  Strobe lights and smoke machines are just a couple of things the school used to better enhance the dramatic side of the play. The creative sets effectively flipped between settings and moods while holding the audience’s interest the entire time.

Above all, I must applaud the school for choosing such an imaginative play.  Jekyll and Hyde was an ambitious and creative choice, and I feel the school pulled it off quite well.  Jekyll and Hyde was a joy to attend, and I look forward to seeing James Buchanan High School’s future productions.

Mary Miller is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

Not So Fast: Games from Last Year You Shouldn’t Put Away in 2016

By Becky Snyder

2015 was the year responsible for some of the best games I’ve ever played, so I thought it would be a good idea to compile them into a top five list.

Please note, this is my personal opinion and does not in any way reflect on those of Post Script Magazine.

  1.   Fran Bow

Fran Bow is the kind of game that when you finish, you’ll pause, sit back, and wonder: What the heck did I just play?

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Promotional art for the game

As you can probably tell from the picture, the game is in the category of “psychological horror” for a reason, and that’s what I find so interesting about it. It’s disturbing in a way that makes you think. Not to mention, the art style of the game is the kind of style that blurs the line between disturbing and beautiful. The gameplay consists of mostly puzzles, which fits well with the overall thought-provoking theme of the game.

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Fran tries to get into a circus tent

The reason this game isn’t higher on the list is because of the story’s ending. As the game winds to an end, a huge plot twist occurs. It’s probably one of the most interesting plot twists I’ve ever seen, but after it the rest of the game simply spirals downward into confusion.

Overall, the game has beautiful art style and thought-provoking gameplay, but the confusing and unsatisfying ending takes away from the disturbing beauty of it.

Rating: 7/10

  1. Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

    This has got to be the most ingenious idea for a game ever created.

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The thumbnail for YouTuber RageGamingVideo’s video on the game.

This game is a complete gem. It is by far one of the easiest ways for friends to get into arguments since Monopoly was created. It is the reason I can say I’ve heard the phrase: “I’m talking about the circles, you Twit!”

I don’t know how to properly describe how unbelievably intense it is when there is a bomb about to go off in 30 seconds, there’s one puzzle you can’t figure out, you’ve got two strikes already, your other player is frantically flipping through their manual trying to find the correct instruction,s and you’re both screaming at each other.

The game itself is great — the sound effects and music add to the overwhelming intensity, and the fact that every bomb is different makes it even more fun. You literally cannot play the same bomb twice.

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One of the more difficult bombs in the game.

The reason this isn’t higher on the list is due to the fact that, even though this game is incredibly fun, it is, essentially, a minigame. There is no story and although that doesn’t take away from this game, I prefer story-rich games.

Rating: 7/10

  1. The Beginner’s Guide

The Beginner’s Guide is a game that will leave you unsure if you should cry or have an existential crisis, and then it won’t matter because you’ll do both anyway.

The Beginner’s Guide has no traditional gameplay mechanics. There are no goals, no objectives. Doesn’t sound like much of a game, does it? However, it’s more than that. This game is made by the same guy who made The Stanley Parable, Davey Wreden, and it is about the works of his friend called Coda.

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Title screen for the game.

Quick warning for anyone considering playing this: the game has no shortage of triggers.

While I can’t say much about the plot without giving spoilers, I’ll tell you one thing — I have never played a game that made me feel the way this one did. This game brings out emotions that I didn’t think games were able to bring out. That’s what makes this game so beautiful. It hits you, and it makes sure to hit you hard. You’ll be fooled by the cheery beginning, but trust me — this game is out for tears.

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A screenshot of one of Coda’s many games.

The plot twist is one that I’m sure I won’t forget anytime soon, and the finale moral of the game nears earth-shattering levels.

The only reason this one isn’t taking the number one or two slot is because there is zero replay value. You play it once, and that’s it. When you expect the plot twist, it doesn’t hit you anywhere as close as it does the first time.

Overall, this is probably one of the only games out there that has zero replay value, but at the same time, will leave you with an experience that you won’t forget for quite some time.

Rating: 8/10

  1. Life Is Strange

Ah, Life Is Strange. People who know me well probably expected this to be up here.

Life is Strange is a “your choices change the story” style game split into 5 different “chapters” that follow the story of an eighteen year old girl named Max Caulfield who has the power to reverse time.

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One of Max’s photos in the game.

Now, while this may seem like Max’s life may be a little strange (ba dum tss), the story is actually extremely compelling. As it goes on, it begins to get more and more complex but, unlike Fran Bow, which ended up collapsing in on itself, Life Is Strange’s complex storyline fits together well and makes sense. The plot is really well done. It has enough action to keep you engaged, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed.

The gameplay is fantastic. The puzzles put into the game are thought-provoking and engaging, but not so difficult to the point where you get annoyed.

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Max must decide who to blame for tormenting one of the characters. 

The art style of the game, as you can probably tell, is unique and beautiful. It’s a strange kind of style that looks realistic, but at the same time, doesn’t. The most interesting thing about the art style, however, is that it was all hand painted. You heard me right, everything in this game, save for the lighting effects and other features relating to that, was painted by hand. If that doesn’t show incredible dedication, I don’t know what will.

The only real problem I can find with Life Is Strange has to do with its explanation for certain events. Max getting her powers is never explained throughout the entirety of the game; they just suddenly appear with no reasoning whatsoever. It relies way too much on Chaos Theory, relating everything back to it, but not really explaining how the events fit into Chaos Theory. It leaves the player a little confused after playing.

Overall, Life Is Strange is a game that is compelling, beautiful, and fun all at the same time. I just wish they had explained the reasons behind it a little better.

Rating: 9/10

  1. Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a mix of genres, taking your typical cheesy horror movie and smashing it together with a Telltale style of game where your choices affect your story.

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From left to right and top to bottom: Sam, Mike Josh, Ashley, Matt, Jess, Emily, Chris and Beth.

This game is one of the only horror games that I’ve even seen, due to my overwhelming fear of everything in the jumpscare horror genre. But, I have to say, I’m glad I didn’t chicken out on this one.

The story itself is perfect for this genre. It follows the basic pattern for a cheesy horror movie, but with this game (and I’m not sure how they did it) it works. It feels as though you are right in the midst of an authentic horror movie experience.

The style of the game where your choices affect the story makes this even better, because it is your choices that determine which characters live and which die. You can make it to dawn with anywhere from zero to all eight characters alive, and I love that about this game. It’s not one of those games that claims to be a “your choices matter” game but then it turns out it’s not. In this game, your choices play a huge factor. One wrong choice, and a character ends up dead, just like that. Also, the jumpscares in this game are timed fantastically. There’s not so many that you expect them, but not so little that you aren’t at least a little jumpy.

The thing that truly makes this game worthy of the horror genre, however, is how it molds itself based on your choices. Between every “section” of gameplay, there is a small scene where you are speaking with a therapist, and the therapist asks you about your fears. Based on what you answer, your fears are literally implanted into the game, making it all the more scary because the game is then based off of your personal fears.

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The player must select which of the options they fear the most. 

Aside from the gameplay, the characters are fantastic. Every character has a different personality, and while, yes, they are your typical cliche horror movie personalities, that’s what you expect from this game and it works. The characters’ features were actually based off of the voice actors who played them, using motion capture, and they look incredibly realistic. See if you can recognize the familiar face of a certain Night At The Museum star, Rami Malek, or maybe, if you’re from my generation, Meghan Martin, a.k.a. Tess from the 2008 Disney hit, Camp Rock.

There is practically nothing this game got wrong. From the amazing story to the fantastic gameplay to the perfectly done characters, this game worked to be called number one and deserved it.

Rating: 10/10

There you have it — my top five games of 2015!

Becky Snyder is a Freshman Creative Writer at Barbara Ingram. 

‘Deadpool’ Sets Itself Apart With Ultra Violence and Unique Humanity

By Joshua Geblein

Deadpool is the crude/bloody/violent/revengeful love story of Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool). This latest Marvel Franchise stars Ryan Reynolds as the “Merc with a mouth.” He is very crude, and very “hot.” Wade is diagnosed with cancer, and as a way to stay alive for the girl he loves, Vanessa, he lets scientists turn him into a superhero. However, after things go south, Wade is out for revenge as Deadpool, and won’t stop until he is returned to his original state.

If you are like me, you don’t really read Marvel’s comics, you just sit through their typical two-and-a-half hour action flick, with some really cool action figures, a pretty unbelievable plot that always ends the same way, and a villain that is almost indestructible until the last five minutes because, heck, it’s Marvel and they can do stuff like that. However, this is the Marvel movie that disrupted the formula.

Deadpool is violent. No more Pg-13 crap. No more only the hero can seriously injure his enemy. Deadpool is R-rated (don’t even try to sneak in without an adult, kids), immediately setting it apart; even the opening credits are hilarious and bloody, which real action fans will love.

Deadpool is uproarious. The comedy in this movie is perfect. It makes fun of other movies, it makes fun of real people, it makes fun of actors, and the best part is it makes fun of itself and Ryan Reynolds. It is filled with crude, self-deprecating, offensive, and genuinely funny comedy.

Behind all the bullet holes, severed limbs, foul language, and raucous humor, Deadpool is actually a really interesting love story. Wade Wilson is in love with Vanessa, a former exotic dancer, and when the people that turned Wade into the ugly, monstrous-looking Deadpool kidnap his girl, the story becomes surprisingly romantic. I was shocked at how much this movie actually emotionally hooked me in. I felt the pain Wade feels, and the anger Vanessa feels. Again, this breaks from the typical template for comic book movies which don’t engage the viewer in more than a superficially sympathetic way. We’re forced to engage with them empathetically. At one point, Deadpool is in tears, crying in secret, while his girlfriend sleeps near him.

Another unique way this movie separates itself, is through the main villain, Ajax, a mutant who, despite his super power, seems very human. This allows an audience to connect emotionally, as opposed to the robot Ultron in Avengers II: Age of Ultron. Ajax was strong as a villain not because of his power but because of his psychologically disturbing character and dialogue. He wasn’t all that powerful, but he was the perfect villain for Deadpool because the conflict wasn’t about physical clashes as much as it was about getting under each other’s skin, and pushing each other to the edge.

Deadpool truly sets itself apart. But what else would you expect from a movie about a character who breaks the fourth wall and knows just that: he is a character.

Joshua Geblein is a senior vocal student at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. He will be attending Belmont University in Nashville to study film after he graduates.

Why You Should Like Marvel Universe LIVE!

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By Alanna Anderson

The idea of seeing a show up close and personal has been around for centuries, but modern technology has given it a new edge. Some of those cool things are the introduction of voice overs during the show, improved lighting, video backgrounds, and safe ways of suspending performers from the ceiling. Recently I attended a show with all of these features that goes by the name of…(*drumroll*)…Marvel Universe LIVE!

Marvel Universe LIVE! contains “25+ characters” and “1 epic quest.” As expressed in the title, the show is a live performance and fully takes advantage of a lot of the performance technology that has recently become available. The show is meant for a family audience so the jokes are PG rated, but they still contain small references that can only be caught by older viewers. Even without being a genuine fan of the Marvel universe, someone can still enjoy the performance and even some of the various puns. But that’s part of the reason why this article is being written: so that I can inform you of the pros and cons to see if this show is right for you.

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Pros and Cons

Pro: The Decorations in the Lobby

This technically isn’t part of the show, but it was still appealing. Even though I wasn’t transported into a “whole new world,” I still enjoyed the efforts that were made to incorporate the Hulk into a hat for employees to wear. So while the Spiderman webs hanging from the toy carts and the Marvel posters pasted everywhere were cool, maybe it was the suffering-glint in the employee’s eyes as they tried to sound enthusiastic with Thor on their head that really got me going.

Con: A Lot of the Attendees (Especially the Screaming Kids)

I understand that a show like this would draw in little kids, including my brother, but you can only get pushed by so many little Ironman’s before you start to lose your patience. Ironically, the only place that wasn’t crowded was the woman’s bathroom. While walking to the security guards to have them check my ticket, Soccer Mom #1 with the Unneat Bun bumped me with her purse. While walking up a set of stairs to get to the floor that had my seat, little Ironman, Hulk, Spiderman, Thor, Black Widow, and probably the whole Marvel Universe knocked into me. There were polite people that tried to stay out of my
way, but for the most part we were all so crowded together that it seemed like we were trying to imitate the codependency of Dean and Sam Winchester from
Supernatural. One of the worst parts had to be when I was standing in front of the toy cart to wait for my brother to pick something and Soccer Mom #2 with the Messy Bun and Mismatched Outfit, reached her arm so close in front of my face to point at something that I could see the mustard stain on her lavender cardigan, and smell the unpleasant scent of baby wipes mixed with olive oil. I still haven’t let that go, Soccer Mom #2.

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Pro: The Snow Cone Cups

I was even further immersed in the show when I had the experience of slurping syrup out of Spider-Man’s head. I had finally caved in to the yelling and coaxing of the walking employees and decided to purchase a snow cone during an intermission. While the snow
cone itself wasn’t that good, it’s cool to have a Spider-Man head as a souvenir. I do have to wonder how many people have spent their money on this though since it 1. wasn’t very filling, and 2. was one of those purchases that while it doesn’t really mean much, it seems to make me think back and wonder if the money spent in the heat of the moment was worth it.

Con: The Cost

This is something that varies depending upon your own personal experience, but the cost of my family going was more expensive than some people would like to spend. The cost of four front row seats was about $360 — which is $90 each. I’ve listed this as a con because while my family was fine with this, it could be a deal breaker for other people. Front row seats gave us what we thought was the best experience, but it could still be fun for anyone anywhere that they may be seated. The problem with being in a different seat is that you may not be able to see all of the performance details and actors’ facial expressions, the person in front of you may be too tall to see over, and these problems are even more apparent when you’re faced with the fog that blows out fairly often due to performance enhancement. I personally loved my seat, but as always when you’re making a purchase, you have to figure out how much you’re willing to sacrifice for the sake of entertainment.

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Pro: The Show Itself

Despite the cons that I’ve listed, I would definitely go to the show again and my family has agreed with me. It did at times feel as if the intermissions in the beginning were dragging on, but the show was a very enjoyable two hours. It’s background info was presented like a story by using video and voice over to make it seem like current news channels were speaking about a catastrophe happening in our world. The characters in the show had a 70’s-action-movie-flair and entered by flipping and jumping and climbing over ramps. Their actions were very exaggerated, but that added to the appeal of seeing a performance. Not only was there an actual plot to the show, but the large amount of action enhanced it instead of seeming to be random additions. The performers hung from the ceiling, rode around, did tricks on motorbikes, fought each other, and told amusing/horrible puns and fighting lines.

Like with the performers it’s obvious that the crew cared a lot about the production. The costumes seemed straight out of an action movie, the fighting choreography and stuntswere really entertaining, and the special effects helped the show. It was just really awesome to see and to know that there are people who care about the production of a show being amazing. It’s pretty rare that I have no issues with a show, but with this one I couldn’t really find any faults. There were no mistakes (that I know of), the story was organized and not just random fighting scenes with no connection to the plot of the show, all of the audience seemed to be completely entertained, and afterwards I kept replaying parts in my head that stuck with me. Not only do I give this show an 8/10, but I also recommend it to anyone who is into family-rated live action shows — and wants a Spider-Man head you can drink out of.

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Live shows definitely aren’t for everyone, but they continue to be an element of our society that is still revered by many. Maybe it’s the sparkling lights, dazzling acting, and special effects — maybe it’s even the parts of the show that we personally think suck. Seeing a show live gives the audience a feeling of being connected and involved with the show. To many, the talent that it takes to not (noticeably) mess up and to nail a performance every time without the use of editing makes live shows more impressive than recorded shows. Either way, there most likely won’t be an end to live shows anytime soon. We seem to need this connection to the past that improves as time goes on. As long as people are still willing to use art to express culture and thoughts, and are willing to choose spending their money on shows over other things, the live show experience that we have today will not only continue, but also continue to get better.

Alanna Anderson is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

An Open Letter to Christmas Movies

Dear Christmas Movies,

This is a love letter to your countless forms: comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and even horror. You are, at this point, your own art form. Taking themes of generosity and caring, or even just the immortal Santa Claus and weaving a thousand stories from them. There are your classics, of course. Movies like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with its claymation cast, that always bring back feelings of nostalgia for Christmases past. Or A Christmas Story, whose famous line “You’ll shoot your eye out!” has been heard by almost any kid who has received a BB gun for Christmas.

You also have modern movies that made their way into our hearts just like the old ones did. One particular favorite of mine being Elf, starring Will Ferrell as a man who grew up in the North Pole, but then goes to New York in search of his father. This movie nails the classic Christmas themes of giving, and also has plenty of laughs along the way. But what really makes this movie special is that in my house around Christmas it is always playing, and I mean, always playing. The small TV in the kitchen is screening Elf in a constant loop as we dash about the house, getting everything ready for our big family gathering. It’s practically a measurement of time at my house, an acceptable response to “What time is it?” being “Three runs of Elf past noon”

But, the greatest thing about you, is that like any other genre there are some wonderfully weird films. One I love is Santa Conquers The Martians. Which is, in all honesty, a terrible movie. But it shows the variety and originality you can have. The story of santa being kidnapped by martians, who have no one to give their children presents, is just one of many examples.

As I look forward to more of you this December, watching the oldies, and even seeing new exciting films, I never want to forget the awe, nostalgia, and joy you bring me every year.

Sincerely,

N.Retherford

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Five Nights at Freddy’s

By Becky Snyder

These past few months have definitely been a time for Five Nights at Freddy’s fans to celebrate. In case you don’t know, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror videogame created by Scott Cawthon. The basis of the first game is that you play as the new nightguard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a children’s pizzeria that vaguely resembles Chuck E. Cheese. Trick is, there are multiple animatronics that come to find you and attempt to kill you on sight. Survive from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. for five nights, and you win.


Trailer for the newest version.

The franchise has grown to four separate games, each keeping the relative plot the same, but each with its own additions and tweaks. The second game includes more animatronics and abandons the old system, instead using a system involving disguises. The third game only has one animatronic that can kill you (the others can only scare you), the only thing keeping it out is a complicated ventilation system. The fourth game abandons the nightguard concept entirely, and instead favors the player being a child hiding in his room from the animatronics, holding doors closed to keep them out.

If you’ve searched “Five Nights at Freddy’s” on Tumblr lately, you’ll know about the picture that every fan of the game has been raving about for the past month.

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Did you see it? No? Look a little closer at the small metal endoskeleton head on the left of the golden bear towards the top right on both photos.  As you can tell, the endoskeleton is a more cartoonish version of itself in the bottom photo. Now, the fans of FNAF being who they are, jumped on this immediately. In the overall history of the game, small details changing were normally clues to something on the way, such as another game, or a new clue to the extensive lore behind the game. Everyone wanted to know what this change meant, and though some people tried, everyone knew Cawthon wouldn’t explain, as he has a history of leaving these cryptic clues just about everywhere he goes.

Fans of the franchise now have even more things to be excited about. Recently, this post was made on Cawthon’s official Tumblr page:

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Yes, the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise is finally going to be receiving the long-rumored and anticipated FNAF movie, as Cawthon has agreed to join with the project and finish the movie by, at the earliest, some time in 2016. This movie will, as stated above, be the last addition to the franchise as a whole, and seeing how Cawthon has dedicated so much time into the franchise, fans are sure to know that the movie will end the franchise with a bang.

Or, at least, a good jump scare.

Becky Snyder is a Freshman at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts