Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Peter Anderson Festival: It's Surreal

This weekend, Rachel, Julia and I went to the Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs, my hometown, this weekend. We drove down after class Friday and, despite a never-ending traffic jam, managed to make it. Before going to my house, we stopped at Walmart and discovered the Ocean Springs Walmart apparently sells Gold Brick eggs in the fall. We also got ice cream and chips because we were planning to eat healthy all weekend. Especially Rachel who is a nutrition major.

When we got to my house, we ate dinner and then studied and read before going to bed because that's the kind of interesting people we are. Because traffic at Peter Anderson is insane, we planned to wake up early and get to the festival the moment it opened. My sister Mary decided she wanted to come to the festival with us, so she went to sleep early; she's clearly living a crazy high school life.

And, for once, the plan went smoothly. We got up on time, got dressed, beat the traffic and made it to the festival completely on time. We walked around the different booths for a couple of hours and saw some pretty cool stuff. We saw a booth that had jewelry made from beads from the 1800s (I ended up buying a bracelet from there). I ran into a lot of people from high school and church. It was good to see everyone from Ocean Springs, since I hadn't been home in a while.

For lunch, I took everyone to Phoenicia, a local Mediterranean restaurant, and we stuffed ourselves with pita bread and hummus. We also found $15 rainboots and ended up buying scarves and clothes. Rachel kept staring at everyone's dogs, which is really hard as everyone in Ocean Springs has one, because she misses hers. Mary discovered the pet booth and tried to convince me to buy a rabbit. Because Mom and Dad wouldn't have killed me at all.

After the festival ended, we went to the Biloxi mall. Where we discovered the sales racks at Books-A-Million. Julia bought a ton of books and swore she wouldn't buy anything else — then found a really cute coat on sale at Charlotte Russe and ended up getting that as well.

After we finished at the mall, we met my parents at Wasabi for dinner. Where, still upset over LSU defeating Bama, Rachel and Julia talked about football, and I occasionally added something to the conversation. Like how we could indirectly beat LSU. Yeah, I helped come up with that.

After dinner, we headed home and decided to study and read our new books before watching "You've Got Mail." Then Rachel decided to take a nap and wake-up and study some more. What really went down was I fell asleep after she did, and Julia started reading. Then Rachel's alarm went off and this went down:

Rachel: I don't want to do this. I'm going to sleep.
Julia: Me too.
Hannah: I'll get the lights.

It was ten fifteen.

We got up this morning, and I took Mary to Sunday School and saw the youth group. And then we packed up the car and headed back to Starkville to make it back for The Reflector meeting because we're that dedicated. And then we bought our midnight Harry Potter tickets.

I'm really excited for that.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Returning to Starkville: Back to Normality

April and I woke up this morning and drove back to Starkville, and it was long. I studied French most of the way home. And, to be honest, nothing really exciting happened. I shut-up and didn't get us lost.

What I Learned:
1) Canons are more popular than Nikons.
2) There's a lot we can do to make the paper even better.
3) College Publisher is confusing.
4) April knows where she's going and doesn't need my help to direct us anywhere.
5) I should never give directions.
6) It's probably good Delta messed up our flight. Because we had to buy stuff. And then bought more stuff.
7) I need to do something, anything, this summer.
8) I understand the basic rules of football. Kinda.
9) Bad sleep patterns=Being tired all the time.
10) Journalists are weird people.

The conference was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot. I just wish I didn't have make-up work and assignments staring me in the face. I'm looking forward to Friday and it's only Sunday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Break From Shopping: NCMC Day Four

Today was the day of truth: interview day. April and I slept in because we had stayed up late last night to attend the midnight newspaper critique. We met with the adviser for the Iowa State newspaper and the online editor. They gave us good advice, and April and I have some ideas for the paper and know what they said we need to improve. But, over all, they had a lot of good things to say about The Reflector.

Anyway, after we woke up, we did some homework and then went to eat. I decided I wanted a salad, so April asked the hotel desk where a good place to eat was. The guy working suggested a grill between sixth and seventh, so we decided to head there. Once we got there and looked at the menu, I saw a yummy sounding Mediterranean pasta dish. So I got that instead of the salad, and it was good.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel and did more homework. I read a lot of my King Arthur assignment and have come to the conclusion that Malory is probably the worst Arthurian writer ever. And no one besides me cares. Our interviews began creeping closer and closer, so we got ready and went downstair twenty minutes early.

I still don't know exactly how my interview went. Because my interviewer liked me, said I had passion and gave me advice to prepare for a job and said I would go far, but admitted my smaller number of internships and sophomore status would not put me at the top of a list for an internship this year. But hoped I would consider the Courier-Journal as a career goal one day.

After interviews, April and I went to go get smoothies at Thelma's. They were ok, just not great. We then went back to the room, and I took a nap for two hours. I blame being so tired all the time on Delta. We then went to get pizza for dinner at a place call Sicilian's and watched the MSU-Kentucky game.

During the game, as usual, I had intelligent commentary like:

Me: So we're in the middle of the fourth quarter?
April: It's actually the third quarter but yes.

Me: So our plan is to stop Kentucky from scoring and hopefully make another touchdown?

Me: We're MSU. We're not Kentucky.

Me: I understand what the [D and fence] signs mean.

And that's some of the more intelligent things I said. Yeah, I know, I'm sure April is proud to have me as an employee of The Reflector. There's a reason why I have experience to Entertainment and News but not Sports.

After the game ended, we headed back to the hotel. Where we either worked on homework or blogged. Because we're nerds.

I also saw two more Canons today and no Nikons. I think that means something.

Oh, yeah, we didn't go shopping today. That's a first.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Saw Only Canons: NCMC Day Three

Everyday this week, April and I have been oversleeping. The best part of this extra sleep thing? We haven't been late to our nine o'clock sessions yet. This morning, we both decided to go to career-related sessions. After listening to April talk about finding a job after she graduates in May, I have become officially freaked out about being competitive enough for the job market.

Basically, I learned:

1) Include references on resumes.
2) All of your high school experience is pretty useless.
3) Graduate school is pretty useless you want to teach later.
4) Objectives are stupid. They know you're objective — to get a job.
5) Portfolios should be five to seven clips.

April later went to a session on blogging, while I went to a session on feature stories. While at her session, she was inspired to create a new blog. I was also inspired — though my ideas were about The Reflector instead. Hopefully when we return to Starkville, I can begin following up a few of the ideas I've had here.

April and I also attended a class on working with the law enforcement officials on campus because I did not want to go to another advertising seminar. I learned some useful stuff about developing relationships with police officers and learned Reflector history.

I was going to go to a session on covering the community, however, the speaker was really late, and I honestly got tired of waiting. So I went back to the room and decided to start on some of my homework. The good news is that I've taken what I think is a decent news photo for photography to turn in on Monday. The bad news is I still have a lot King Arthur to read this weekend, and it's all about Lancelot who is probably one of the worst knights ever.

At six o'clock, the newspapers involved with the job fair at NCMC posted who had received interviews for jobs and internships. So, around six-thirty after the crowds had cleared, April and I went downstairs to see if we had gotten anything. Both of us have interviews tomorrow with the Courier-Journal at four-thirty, which is exciting.

We went down Fourth Street to eat, though because of some of the events being held I had to get my hands marked as a minor. I now have two permeant-marker ms on my hands that make me look like I'm in a low-budget gang. Or so I think. After eating, I shot a band who was playing outside for my photography assignment before we went to the two-story Borders. Yep. We went to Borders. To get books for school. I think it's official that we're nerds.

It turns out that when I was packing at two in the morning, because I had put it off like always, I did not grab interview appropriate shoes. So, once again, April and I found ourselves at a mall — though this one was much better than the one we went to last night. This one has a Pottery Barn and a Loft. I managed to find some reasonably priced heels at Dillards and April found some cute professional clothes on sale at Loft.

After we finished shopping, we headed back to the hotel, and I discovered the Internet was working (for once). I finished my application for PowerPlant, a summer missions organization, proofread it, and submitted it. I am proud to say I completed something before the very last minute. I then moved on to something useful i.e. reading random Tweets from the conference.

After reading NCMC Twitter posts, I came to a conclusion:
Me: April, I think we're attending a conference with a bunch of weirds.
April: They're journalists. There's a ton of weirdos.

The conference is offering a free newspaper critique at midnight, so we will be heading down soon.

Oh, and for the record, today I saw a lot of people carrying around their cameras, and every single one was a Canon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stalking the Indiana Jones Dude: NCMC Day Two

Today started off better than yesterday, if only because I wasn't freaking out about what size containers I could bring my liquids in and if I had everything. (Not that it mattered.) Even though April and I managed to get some sleep, we were still tired when we went to register for the conference. We got reporter's notebooks and these really cool eco-friendly pens. I really liked my pen and used it all day. Luckily, the hotel has a place to get coffee so I didn't fall asleep during the first session.

After registering, we split up to go to our first sessions. I went to "Thinking Like an Editor," which was something April had suggested because she went to it last year. Bill Elsen, who worked for The Washington Post before retiring, suggested many different ways for editors to work with their staffs and how to be organized.

Somehow, I ended up in an advertising session next, and I'm not sure how. I learned that Iowa State has a really large staff and has about six thousand other mini-websites. The guy in front of me kept blowing his nose, which made me want to use a lot of Germ-X.

April and I both went to a session called "Chicken Salad" where crappy college designs were redesigned by the guy who led the session. I was proud when none of The Reflector's designs appeared — not that the Michael Koretzky, the speaker, even knows who we are. But I can dream that he's in awe of our fabulous designs.

After "Chicken Salad" ended, we went to lunch. While at lunch, I made the discovery that the guy who wrote some of the Indiana Jones novels was going to speak at today. So, because I felt that going to a session that had anything to remotely do with Indiana Jones would enhance my journalistic qualities, I ended up going to something called "You Should Write a Novel." The room it was located in was away from everything else, and when I asked a hotel employee directions she told me to follow a group of guys headed to the same place.

Big mistake. They didn't know their way around at all, and it took us fifteen minutes to find the room. And, because we went in circles for ten of the fifteen minutes, I had no idea on how to get back to where I should be. So, after stalking Max McCoy, the author, and gaining some tips on how to get a novel published, I truly had no idea what to do with myself.

So I decided to try to find my way back to the main convention area. When that didn't work, I found elevators that I thought would take me to my room because I knew I could find my way back from there. Nope. They had glass backs and creaked and took me to the office and business part of the hotel. I eventually made it to the east tower, somehow, even though it said west tower from where I was standing. So I did the smart thing. I told April I was lost. After walking out into the cold, discovering I was in the east tower instead of the west and getting directions from someone, she managed to find me.

We ended up taking a nap after sessions ended to catch-up on the sleep we lost because Delta didn't inform us they had canceled our flight. (Yes, I'm still mad about that.) It was the best nap ever, though I managed to sleep through several phone calls and text messages. Oops.

After we both woke up, April and I decided to get food. Then we walked out of the hotel and discovered it was really cold. So we went to buy jackets from a mall. After purchasing our clothes, we went to go find something to eat and ended up at a Mexican restaurant that had pretty good nachos. When we got done eating, we headed back to the hotel to do homework.

Once I got tired of my French homework, I decided that blogging would be a better use of my time. And oddly enough, I'm still really tired.

Random Things That Happened Today:
*We officially have traveled to five states because we went to Indiana to go to the mall.
*April and I both like Canons better than Nikons, and April has been asking random people which they prefer.
*I ordered my lunch just so I could get sherbet.
*We were originally going to eat dinner at Panera Bread, but they closed at 7 p.m. Dinner isn't even over then. And this is a big city, not Starkville.
*I once again gave bad driving advice. Seriously, why does April keep asking me?

Oh, and I can still hear airplanes out my hotel window.

By the way, you should read April's blog post to see how her day went.

Thanks, Delta: NCMC Day One

Because April and I are attending the National College Media Convention in Kentucky from tomorrow until Sunday morning, we were supposed to fly out of Columbus this afternoon and catch a flight to Louisville and arrive around 8 p.m. Supposed being the key word. When we showed up at the airport, we found out our flight had been canceled and had been pushed to tomorrow afternoon and no one had told us. And Julia, who had dropped us off, had already left, so we were stuck at the airport. So, thanks, Delta. For everything. Really.

April tried to find out if we could get a flight out of another airport, but one of the desk guys — who I am officially dubbing Mr. Grumpypants (yes, I know I sound about five) — thought she was stupid. I just don't think he understood her questions. After trying, and failing, to get another flight to Louisville today, we just decided to drive.

Which is why I spent eight hours in a car driving across four states. Well, April did the driving. Luckily, Julia was able to come get us and drop of off at April's car. We took the Nachez Trace even though we didn't have to — that was my fault by giving bad driving advice — and got to see pretty leaves while following a really slow moving silver van. I learned I should never give anyone any opinion on directions, ever and that people drive really slow.

I also have a list of popular songs like "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry and how many times they were played on the pop station of April's satellite radio (eight, for the record). I tried to take pictures of the moon with my camera, but even with the shutter speed at 4000 and the aperture at 36, all I got was a black picture.

I spent the first half of the trip staring at my computer and occasionally writing things down for an opinion article for Friday's edition of The Reflector. Like always, I'm sure everyone will love my take and write me tons of fan mail. That, or call for my immediate resignation. I finally was able to finish it in time for a really annoying smart car to pull in front of us and drive really slow. I'm pretty sure April's land rover could have taken it out.

Eventually, after a gas station stop, a late night meal at Wendy's and getting off at the wrong exit, we made it to the hotel. Just in time for a plane either land or take off every two minutes outside our window. Literally. I still don't understand how every flight to Louisville was booked. But now we're here, with a car and ready to go on another adventure after catching a couple of hours of sleep.

But the worst part of all this is the fact that I went out and bought travel sized bottles to take on the plane. And now I don't even need them.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wanted: Morris Cohen - The Reflector - News

Wanted: Morris Cohen - The Reflector - News

This is the second part in my series about the "Super Bad Dawgs" of Mississippi State University. I actually thought it was much cooler that we had a Russian spy attend State than a gangster, so this article was more interesting to write. It's actually shocking how much he and his wife did throughout their lifetime, it's fascinating to think of why they did it.

Of course, everyone who read, "Communism holds merits we may not have seen", my opinion article last Friday, may think I was cheering them on. Of course, they also probably read too much into the article if they think that. I mean, does anyone really think I would choose my form of government based on a cartoon?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

WANTED: Super Bad Dawgs - The Reflector - News

WANTED: Super Bad Dawgs - The Reflector - News

I haven't really had time to update between homework and everything else. Lately, I've been spending all my free time in Mississippi State's archives to research notorious students for a series of articles called Super Bad Dawgs. I also found a lot of other interesting, random stuff that doesn't apply to the articles whatsoever, but now I feel smarter.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Don't Have Homework ... Shocking

In between duties for The Reflector and ranting over the Emmys, I've had quite a bit of homework over the past week and a half. Not that I mind doing it, of course, because I'm at Mississippi State to learn — but it is exciting to have a day, every once in a while, that doesn't require much responsibility. Sadly, I do have a weirdly place night class on Tuesdays, but it's only for fifty minutes and then I'm free. (For the record, I don't like night class at all. Thank goodness it's only once a week.)

I got my "Lost" Blu-rays in the mail on Friday and have only gotten to enjoy bits and pieces of them. But I did watch the twelve minute epilogue to the series. It's a great way to wrap up some of the story lines and mysteries that weren't mentioned in the finale, and I really loved how they brought at certain original character back. I really recommend anyone who watched the show to check out the new footage. Or just buy the Blu-rays. I'm really enjoying what I have been able to watch and look through.

Last Tuesday I also didn't have much homework and managed to tear through the last book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. I really liked it a lot better than the last book (of course, I'd really have to because "Catching Fire" wasn't good at all) and wrote a review of it for The Reflector. You can find it here. Sadly, I don't have a book to read this Tuesday, but hopefully I can come up with something constructive (yet fun and slightly lazy) to do. I'm just so excited to have free time, even if it's only for a day.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guess What I Bought?

Yesterday, I became the proud purchaser of "Lost: The Complete Collection." I still can't believe the series is over, and I don't think it will really hit me until Tuesday night spring television begins. It was the most original, exciting and frustrating television series of the twenty-first century and the first show I bothered to follow and watch live and, no matter how weird it got, I never gave up on it.

I can't wait until when the show is actually released on Blu-Ray, so that I can own it and force all of my friends to watch it with me. Get ready, guys. You're about to be converted ... whether you like it or not.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer Reading: How I Discovered My New Favorite Book

This week, my sister went back to school on Thursday. On Monday, I realized I had few plans after Wednesday, so I needed something to do. I decided instead of calling my friends at home and forcing them to do stuff with me or doing something constructive (like packing) I would go to the library and pick-up a few books to read.

Somehow, I stumbled upon "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman — a humorous take on the Apocalypse foretold in the Bible. The book follows Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, who have both become accustomed to life on Earth and each other. After having bonded over their love for classical music, sushi and slight disinterest in their sides' agendas for thousands of years, the two supernatural beings have become closer to being friends than enemies.

After living his life happily for thousands of years, Crowley receives a wake-up call when he discovers the Anti-Christ will rise and begin the end of the world. He doesn't like this because Hell doesn't have the pleasures Earth holds. So, with the help of Aziraphale (who will also miss doing something other than strumming the harp for eternity), Crowley sets out to convince the Anti-Christ to be a force for good so the world will never end. Which means he can eat sushi for eternity. Not that their plans pan out, of course...

I've always admired Neil Gaiman and have been dying to read "The Graveyard Book" since it first was published (I'm in the middle of it now), and I hoped this book would be just as hilarious as the review on its jacket promised (not that those reviews mean much, after all, the publisher picks them out). The reviews did not overrate the book, and I found myself reading until one a.m. in the morning and snickering as a character delivered a particularly snarky remark.

During the moments when Crowley and Aziraphale were on the page together, the book truly became alive and the fast moving dialogue snapped with life. I loved every minute I spent with the demon and angel and when the book focused on the other characters (who were likable as well and actually were fleshed out), I sometimes felt myself wondering when I could get back to the unlikely duo's antics.

And, even though the book was extremely funny, it carried weight with the implications Gaiman and Pratchett left at the end of their story. It lets the reader question who is good, who is evil, what destiny means and how one becomes the way one is. I was captivated and fascinated by each part of the book, and when I closed the pages of the novel I was left with the impression that I could read it again and again and still not catch all of the subtle details the authors layered in their story.

My only regret? That I didn't discover this book earlier. It was published a little over twenty years ago, though it is so oddly relevant it could have been published today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How Did I End Up With All of This?

Today I was planning to sleep in. But, as luck would have it, my phone (which is never on silent because I always forget to turn it off despite it going off every morning) decided to wake me up. And somehow, instead of wasting my time, I ended up cleaning a good deal of my room. It turns out I own a lot of things I don't really care about.

For example, somehow, despite talking about for years how the "Twilight" books aren't well-written at all I own all four of them. And they're actually placed somewhat neatly on my shelf. It's not that they're horrible, or anything. I just realized many of my favorite books ("Wuthering Heights," "David Copperfield," "13 Reasons Why" and "Jurassic Park," to name a few) aren't in my house. Do I really want to own escapist fantasy I'll never read again instead of books I've checked out of the library so many times it's slightly embarrassing?

But I get points back for owning all of the "Harry Potter" books, right? Because they will be known as classics just like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Watership Down" are one day.

Even when I went through my movies I discovered I don't even want to watch half of the DVDs in my collection ever again. In high school, when most of these were purchased, I apparently really liked romantic comedies and superheroes. And, for the record, "Spiderman 2" and "The Dark Knight" are probably the greatest comic book movies ever made and are simply good in general. But the fact remains that in twenty years I probably won't care about "Night at the Museum" or "Fool's Gold." In fact, I never really cared about "Fool's Gold" because it was just ... bad.

Despite "Saving Private Ryan," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Toy Story 2" and "The Princess Bride" being some of my favorite movies since I first saw them, I've never bothered to buy them. And it's probably because I've just impulsively bought things that I felt like reading or watching at the moment.

But that's why we have the library and Netflix. So I can borrow fluff books and movies instead of turning my room into a hoard of "entertainment." It's too bad I didn't figure this out five years ago and saved myself the trouble of trying to decide what to do with all of my junk.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Supporting Characters: The Real Reason Brilliant Movies Work

Author's Note: The following post contains some slight spoilers for "Inception," "Saving Private Ryan" and "Spiderman."

"Inception" is a brilliant movie. It was worth going at midnight and is worth seeing again — which is a good thing because apparently sometime next week I'm taking my little sister and her friend to go see it. You can read my review of it here. This morning at 2 a.m., I was excited about the intricate plot and the mysteries Christopher Nolan left unsolved. Today, however, when I considered my favorite parts of the movie I realized I loved the character development of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) — the man Dom Cobb, Leonardo DiCaprio's character, is hired to target.

Most of the film rightfully focused on Cobb and his family history and why he became a fugitive. However, I was more interested in Fischer and his broken relationship with his father. Murphy's performance was captivating, and it was emotional to watch the young man come to terms with how his father viewed him and how he could become his own man. The final scene Fischer had before he woke up from his dream was the most gratifying part of the movie for me as an audience member — it brought his character full circle and almost moved me to tears. But not quite.

Supporting characters stealing the show is nothing new — I remember watching "Saving Private Ryan" for the first time. While I cared about John Miller (Tom Hanks) and came to admire Private Ryan (Matt Damon), the one character I connected with was Upham (Jeremy Davies).

His struggle to deal with being thrown into the harsh reality of war and combat was affecting and real. Though many people I have discussed the movie with have called Upham a coward, I never saw him as one. I simply saw the consequences a gritty, hopeless reality can have on one's soul. Upham was a scholar, a philosopher who was never built for war. His compassion for Steamboat Willie in the middle of the movie showed someone struggling to be different and break away from the endless killing cycle. And, finally, when Upham reached his turning point in the climax, it's easy to see turmoil and a rush of emotions cross his face. Through his performance, Davies helped make "Saving Private Ryan" one of the most emotional, if not the most emotional, war movies of all time.

Even in straightforward superhero movies sympathetic supporting stars strengthen the overall plot. Throughout the entire Sam Raimi "Spiderman" franchise, James Franco's Harry Osborne was the character whose story arc was the most unpredictable and compelling. As Harry struggled with who to trust and what to do, the audience empathized — even when he knowingly turned on Peter momentarily. Though some (like my friend April, for example) were only upset at the end of the third movie when they realized they could no longer stare at James Franco were a sequel to be made, I cried for the loss of a great character.

I don't think I'm alone — I mean, how many people's favorite character from "Harry Potter" is Harry? Or Bella from "Twilight?" While main characters usually make or break a movie, book or television show, it's the supporting roles that give some of the best surprises and depth.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Instant Gratification Entertainment

Tonight, or rather tomorrow morning, I am going to see Christopher Nolan's new movie "Inception" at midnight. This is nothing new for me; I've been to eight midnight movie premieres — mostly just so I could experience the thrill of seeing the films before most of the viewing public. It's also rather amusing to watch "Twilight" fan girls hyperventilate over the fact that two fictional characters are about to kiss. Yes, despite not being a big fan of Stephenie Meyer's vampire stories, I attended the midnight showings of the first two movies. They're more enjoyable that way, anyway.

It doesn't matter what I have going on next day when there's a movie out I want to go see at midnight. When "Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was released I had an AP US History final exam the next day, but I showed up to the theater all the same and made it through school on three hours of sleep.

I was even convinced to dress up for the midnight premiere of the film version of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." Ten of us dressed up. My friend Katie even made a Golden Snitch costume. It was a very fun night and a great adrenaline rush.

I've even gone to two midnight book releases: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn." I was excited to be apart of history as the seventh "Harry Potter" book was released and read to from cover to cover after my friends and I bought copies. I agreed to go to the midnight release of "Breaking Dawn" for my friends' birthday celebrations. It was the most boring four hours of my life — we even bought coloring books so we'd have something to do. The wait was made worse by the fact that I didn't care. At all.

Even though television shows do not have special releases, I still insist upon watching my favorite programs live. I even watch the Oscars, possibly the biggest waste of a Sunday night, instead of waiting for internet updates so I can see who wins.

It's not really an obsession, I just like knowing and experiencing things before everyone else does. I don't want to be spoiled — especially when it comes to movies like "Inception" whose plot hinges on secrecy or cultural tent poles like the final "Harry Potter" book. With the internet, the potential to have plot summaries spoiled has increased exponentially. I just want my entertainment experience to be as pure as possible. Because, really, would being spoiled lessens the emotional impact and surprise. It's just not the same. Besides, it's entertaining to watch fangirls and fanboys get worked up to the point of crazy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Limited Release: The Bane of a Cultured Mississippian

Today, the first trailer for a new comedy "It's Kind of a Funny Story" was released online. You can watch it below. The film is based on a novel of the same name and revolves around 16 year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who checks himself into a mental hospital to deal with his depression. Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) and Emma Roberts (Valentine's Day) play Craig's fellow patients.

And guess who also stars in the movie? Jeremy Davies who played Daniel Faraday from "Lost" and is one of the greatest character actors of his generation (in my opinion). So, still hoping to hold onto anything to do with "Lost" in anyway possible, I was understandably excited to go see the film when it comes out September 24th. Besides, even without Jeremy Davies, the film looks like it will be really good and seems to have the same originality "(500) Days of Summer" carried.

However, I became disappointed when I learned the film would only open in limited release and then may not expand to any theaters near me. Because I live in Starkville, Miss. for the bulk of the year. It's a place where the one cinema we do have doesn't give viewers an option between 2-D and 3-D experiences, and one is forced to pay a higher ticket price.

In September people who live in New York City will be able go see "It's Kind of a Funny Story," while I'm stuck with the Kristen Bell comedy "You Again" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Even though "Wall Street" has gotten good reviews, it's still a sequel starring Shia LaBeouf (something new for Hollywood — not). And even though smaller films like "Slumdog Millionaire" have done well once theaters actually start showing them, it still takes months from the original release for the movies to make their way to states that aren't New York or California.

It's just not fair that it took three months for "Slumdog Millionaire" to make its way to Mississippi from its original release. And "(500) Days of Summer" took from July to August to receive a wide release. I know that offbeat films don't have tested audiences like sequels to big blockbusters or famous directors to bank on but when given the chance, many arise to the occasion.

Because audiences, believe or not corporate Hollywood, do like a change of pace. And if a film is good people will continue to buy tickets. It wouldn't hurt to send a film that isn't a sequel or a movie full of $100 million explosions to Mississippi. Just every once in a while. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Animated Film: The Last Creative Haven

For the past year, I have received some flack for loving animated films more than live action movies. I am, after all, going into my second year of college and hold the position as the entertainment editor for Mississippi State University's student newspaper. I should, logically, like movies that grapple with serious adult issues or little known indie dramas. And I do. I just like good movies, no matter what medium is used to create them.

Last year, mainstream Hollywood released a bunch of stinker horror movies that were either remakes like "The Stepfather" or were so full of cliches it would be impossible for anyone in the audience to become scared. But the stop motion film "Coraline," which is based on a eerie children's novel, was full of thrilling twists and gruesome images. While "New Moon" and "The Ugly Truth" gave viewers unrealistic pictures of romance, "The Princess and the Frog" delivered characters whose love story truly works. And while there were many dramas like "Up in the Air" last year that connected with the audience, none were able to bring as many people to tears as "Up" did in the first five minutes.

That isn't to say every animated film is perfect; "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" was one sloppy mess. And 2009 also brought an inventive take on "Star Trek," the offbeat romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

However, Hollywood has, for the most part, begun green lighting things from the same, tired formula. From "G.I. Joe" to "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" summer blockbusters have become full of explosions, tired crude jokes and stale dialogue.

This year, most of the "big" movies have been disappointing. While "Alice in Wonderland" was creatively structured, it was no masterpiece. And the summer blockbuster season has been full of box office disappointments like "Prince of Persia" and critically dismissed films like "Sex and the City 2." So far, "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Toy Story 3" have been both two of the biggest box office successes of the year and two of the films garnering the highest acclaim for their inventive plot lines and character development. It's pretty sad that "kid's movies" have become the one generally reliable place for a good, thought provoking time.

Last Friday, "Despicable Me," an animated comedy about a super villain who adopts three girls in an attempt to use them for his nefarious plan to steal the moon, earned almost $60 million during its opening weekend — more than double the amount a blockbuster like "The A-Team" made during its opening.

I saw "Despicable Me" yesterday, expecting it to be full of retired jokes and flat moments. But I was wrong. Even though the movie was cute and full of familial bonding between the super villain Gru (Steve Carrell) and the three orphans, it was intelligently written, and it actually had jokes that were original. The plot was actually something new and different. Sure, it had moments where anyone over the age of six knew what would happen — but doesn't almost every film?

With "Inception" coming out on Friday perhaps the summer streak of stinker films aimed specifically to an older audience will end. But it's no wonder everyone was in line for "Toy Story 3" instead of the other cinema options. I mean was anyone really clamoring for another "Robin Hood" movie?