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Rooting for the Villain

February 16, 2024

Of course, we all love a superhero success story! But if we’re being honest, we’ve caught ourselves rooting for the villain at least once… or felt a little bad for them.

 

We’ve seen it in countless movies including Joker, Maleficent, Cruella, and even Sandman in Spider-Man 3.

 

What do these movies all have in common? They humanize the villain. They show a storyline where you can’t help but empathize with them and their rough upbringings. The moments that highlight the trauma they’ve endured. It’s when you see the look on their face after being betrayed by their best friend. When you see them vulnerable and just broken inside. And you say… “ohhh, so that’s why they act like that”.

 

President Snow is no exception in the new Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which takes a deeper look into President Snow’s life filled with a series of unfortunate events.

 

In the previous four Hunger Games movies, President Snow rules the dystopian society through fear, lies, and force. Snow has complete authority over the Capitol as a ruthless, cold-hearted, and selfish leader. While these traits remain true, new descriptions can be added to Snow’s character in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes; words like caring, loving, and thoughtful. Imagine that!

 

In the New Hunger Games, you can see a different side of President Snow. You see a human that viewers can empathize with. Not an old and bitter ruler with spiky eyebrows, but a young man who is navigating his life. Without giving too much away, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will unlock new personality traits for Snow that you wouldn’t expect. Dare I say you might even feel bad for him at times?

 

With that being said, you can form your own opinion about President Snow on February 16th! Come out to watch the Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes at 8:00 p.m. in the Vines Center!

 

 

Written by Madi Lewis

I’m a junior studying Strategic communications with a focus in Social Media Management. I love spending time with my family and friends. The summertime, fashion, traveling and capturing moments on camera. Writing has always been a creative hobby of mine and I’m excited to be a part of the Student Activities blog team!

The Relentless Romance of Pop Culture and Sports

February 9, 2024

The worlds of sports and pop culture have collided many times, but one of our favorite collisions is undoubtedly Taylor and Travis. This celebrity couple of the year has captured everyone’s attention with their charming presence and heartwarming affection. Their budding romance has influenced both fandoms to a wild degree. Taylor’s presence at football games and Travis’s appearance at her concerts have made fans far more likely to attend these events, support both the NFL and Taylor Swift, and root for their favorite couple. According to media sources, ticket prices shot up after Taylor announced her appearance at the Chiefs’ games. Kelce’s jersey sales climbed 400%. His podcast even hit #1 on Apple’s charts.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this happen. For years, pop culture queens and athlete duos have appeared as some of the most well-known couples on social media.

Just last year our beloved High School Musical queen Vanessa Hudgens married Cole Tucker, the baseball shortstop. The delightful couple surprisingly met on Zoom, according to Hudgens, in a meditation group.

And of course, we can’t forget the Beckhams. The soccer celebrity met the Spice Girls popstar at one of his games in 1997, and two years later got married. The two are still together today and have four beautiful kids.

Country star Carrie Underwood met her NHL prince Mike Fisher back in 2008 and have been married since 2010.

Quarterback Russell Wilson put a ring on Ciara back in 2016.

Even JLo and Alex Rodriguez, another baseball shortstop, were a thing for a few years, but sadly broke off their engagement in 2021.

Columbian icon Shakira was with Gerard Piqué, the former centre-back football player, for 10 years before splitting up in 2022.

Regardless of whether or not the couple works out, it’s a fact that music plays a big part in sports as a whole. The two often go hand and hand. Not only does it pump up the audience, but music also plays a huge role in energizing the players. Just think about football games. The half-time show always spotlights a popular artist because they know their audience will embrace the performers. The show creates more of a connection for the audience. During our games at Liberty, we have music playing every moment the timer stops, blasting songs we all know and love. It’s a core memory for any college sports game.

Pop culture plays a big part in the marketing side of sports too. When we see the biggest names in sports promoting things we use or like, it piques our interest, and we are more likely to purchase those products as a result. This allows them to reach a new audience with their products. It’s similar when musicians and athletes get together. Taylor and Travis may be the greatest couple like this that we have ever seen. Taylor’s fans are fierce and supportive, as are NFL fans. The combination of these two fandoms is an exciting development in sports and pop culture.

Seeing the passion and enthusiasm these fans bring together is something you don’t want to miss! To get a taste of this for yourself, head on down to Trivia is the Guy on the Chiefs happening on Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. in the LaHaye Event Space. Remember, each trivia round will include questions about the NFL and Taylor Swift, so don’t forget to have fans of both on your team.

 

Written by Faith Catanzaro

Faith is a sophomore studying Digital Media & Journalism concentrating in Video Production, and she is also a videographer for Student Activities. She loves watching movies, cooking, blogging on Instagram, graphic design, health, and fitness!

Wii love Nintendo

February 2, 2024

Picture this:

It’s early in the morning. The sun has just barely risen. You’re at the perfect age where you don’t care about sleeping in, and only have one desire for how to spend your morning. You shake your brother or sister awake, who you promised you’d wake up when you woke up the night before, and the two (or more) of you head to the living room. When you get there, you participate in the Saturday morning routine. Grab remotes, choose a disc, and pop it into whatever gaming console your family owned. Have a quick argument over who will be player one, but promptly forget about the argument when the game starts.

It is my sincere hope that a story like this rings a bell for you. Though all of it seems inconsequential today, this experience is something I treasure- not because it was a fun time of video games in the morning, but because this was the defining event of my childhood. (And for the record, my gaming console was the Nintendo Wii.)

The 2000s era of Nintendo had a way of doing that for many of our generation. Marked by ambitious innovations in gaming hardware, Nintendo sought to release both a handheld gaming system with a touch screen and a home console that centered around motion controls. Both of these ideas sounded candidly ridiculous at the time, but when the gaming empire launched the DS and Wii, respectively, skeptics were promptly put in their place. The Wii, most notably, became an absolute must-have for every gaming family. If you weren’t racing around on Mario Kart or accidentally launching the Wii remote across the room during Wii Sports because you forgot to put the strap on, you were missing out. And with that, you have to wonder what Nintendo—the company that didn’t even give your avatar arms in baseball games—did that made the experience so euphoric.

Ultimately, I attribute it to two factors: personality, and knowing your audience.

Nothing would be further from the truth to say that Nintendo games from the 2000s lacked personality. The titles from this time—think Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, or Animal Crossing: City Folk—all had a uniquely designed style to them. Running around your town in Animal Crossing is a completely different feeling from traversing the expansive seas of Wind Waker, which is completely different from soaring through the cosmic skies of Mario Galaxy. Nintendo knew what they wanted to achieve and how they wanted the player to feel for each experience- and that’s something the gaming giant continuously excels in, even with their numerous franchises that gain new entries in more recent years.

But what about the more generic Wii games, like Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and Wii Party? Those are the ones that sold so many copies. Don’t count these games out just because they don’t belong to a franchise. These games were built to be played by anyone and everyone, which is what made them such a massive hit. It was the express purpose of the Wii to make gaming fun for even the non-gamer. These motion-controlled games are how Nintendo executed that. They knew their audience and developed these titles as easy-to-swallow player experiences centered around friendly competition. As a result, Wii Sports became an absolute icon. You could play with your grandparents and younger siblings alike, and everyone knew what to do because it was simple, and so much fun. The only downside is that you’ll be forever afraid of sending the ball backward next time you go to the bowling alley. (Iykyk.)

At the end of the day, the love many of us (certainly I, at least) have for this company stems from the endless happy memories they enabled us to make. There was no other game developer in our lives at the time that put such energy into the little things- like goofy menu music, or the quirky facial expressions your Mii makes. So, if you had the privilege of growing up on Nintendo, don’t let that time of your life be forgotten. Go earn that 5-star town rating, keep Catching ‘Em All, and get that Wii Sports Pro bowling ball. My personal advice? Nintendo gave us a lot of stellar game soundtracks for every mood- you may as well use them as study music. Before you know it, you’ll be able to name all the Mario Kart Wii race themes like me.

Oh, and did I mention we have a bit of a competition night coming up? From video games to board games and the like, you can join us for Versus: A Night of Games on February 2nd at 6 PM in the LaHaye Event Space. Whether it’s in Chess, Checkers, or Super Smash Bros., there’s something here for you to be victorious in.

 

Luke is a sophomore studying Digital Media: Video Production. He is a Videographer with Student Activities, and has a passion for Nintendo franchises, movie soundtracks, and the digital arts.

Why Christians love batman.

January 26, 2024

This is why we can’t have nice things.

In the late 80’s Warner Bros. announced that Batman was going to be played by Michael Keaton, a comedian. Upon hearing this, fans went nuts. Calling the decision insane. Fast forward to 2006, and it’s announced that the famously kind aussie, Heath Ledger is going to play the Joker. Once the story broke, fans exclaimed that he was a terrible fit for the role. In 2013 Zach Snyder cast Ben Affleck and the internet freaked out, and in 2019 Matt Reeves announced Robert Pattinson, and well you get the point.

But here we are… in 2024, and over the last 35 years the character of Batman has appeared on screen (live-action) about 12 different times.. And with each director giving his take on the caped crusader you tend to get some good mixed with some bad. For instance, Jack Nicholson is a terrifyingly great Joker but, Tim Burton is a pretty lousy director. Bane is a fearsome and compelling villain, but the plot of The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t make a ton of sense. Robert Pattinson plays a very moody and conflicted Batman, but I had to hear that Nirvana song about 91 times that year. It’s a give and take.

Despite the pressure of creating a new Batman, the character seems to attract the best story tellers in the world. The part that I find most odd, is that for someone like me, who grew up in church, read the Bible, went to youth group, yada yada yada, I found myself unable to put down Batman stories. But why? Why not Superman, Spider-Man, or Captain America? Why is it more interesting to read about The Dark Knight, than it is to read about the boy scout? More importantly (and here’s the title of the blog), why do Christians like Batman?

There is a scene in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne attends a charity event, and after being asked “who are you pretending to be” his response is “Bruce Wayne, eccentric billionaire”. Now this is a fun line, but something else pops out here. He is the only person in the room not in a mask. Bruce Wayne is the mask. In fact, in nearly every iteration of Batman, the writers always address the idea that he is no longer the eccentric billionaire. Bruce is a façade.

I think there is a connection between the dichotomy of Batman and the calling amongst Christians to be in the world, but not of it. To deny oneself and be born again in Christ. I personally have never been swept away by the stories of the perfect hero, or the soldier who can do this all day. I’m more interested in the hero who’s entire conflict stems from the need to be his true self, while also being what the world needs. As Christians we adopt a higher meaning. One that is greater than simply being good, kind, or helpful. We adopt a calling to live Christlike and preach the gospel to all creation. We do not operate in our own sense of morality, but do so according to the framework of our Creator.

Batman cannot return to being solely Bruce Wayne, any more than I can return to a life outside of my relationship with Christ.  The lifestyle and temptation will always be there, but no one can take us out of the Father’s hand.

In my very most humble opinion, this is why Christians like Batman. At least it’s one of the reasons why I do. If you are lover of all things batman, we are hosting a Batman Movie Marathon on January 26th and 27th in the Vines Center at 7PM. On Friday we are showing Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, (what 50% of fans consider the best Batman movie ever made), followed by 2022’s The Batman (best car chase of the last decade IMO). On Saturday we are showing Batman: Under the Red Hood (Lately Tik Tok has been showing this movie some love) and The Dark Knight (what the other 50% consider the best Batman movie ever made).

Most importantly, what is it called when Batman doesn’t go to church?

Christian Bale.

 

Written by Cort Comfort, Director of Student Activities.

Why do we like escape rooms?

January 19, 2024

What’s so fun about being locked in a room? If you’ve never taken on the challenge of completing an escape room yourself, you might be asking this question. It’s no doubt that escape rooms and other mind-toggling games have recently increased in popularity. But what makes this strange endeavor so enticing?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, an escape room is, “A room in which people are locked in order to play a game requiring them to solve a series of puzzles within a certain amount of time to accomplish a goal, typically finding the key to unlock the room.” Those who agree to be locked in race against the clock and try to find a way out as soon as possible.

In the U.S. escape rooms started to rise in popularity in the 2010s, however, mind-puzzling games have been around for decades. Video game-style escape and mind challenges have roots as early as the 1970s. According to The Escape Game, the first real-life escape game was created in Japan in 2007. Takao Kato created the game after seeing the success of video escape games. The U.S. saw an explosion in escape room popularity in 2014, and today they are found across the country and the globe.

There are several theories as to why escape rooms are so popular. The challenge alone draws many people in, wanting to test their cognitive and deductive reasoning skills. Another reason may be due to the rise in experiential entertainment. This new type of entertainment is becoming more and more popular as people want to “do” rather than just “sit and watch”. Instead of just watching or reading about characters, customers get to be the characters and create their own adventures. Since these rooms are often completed in teams, they can also create a great environment for fostering team building and bonding. When people are locked in a room together, they are often forced to work out any disagreements and help each other escape.

Abby Newman is a Liberty University student who has a history with escape rooms herself. One of Abby’s favorite pastimes is completing escape rooms with her friends and family. When asked why her family enjoys this seemingly odd and difficult game she stated, “It’s fun to work together as a team to discover clues and puzzles all while trying to get out in a certain amount of time. Plus, you feel super accomplished when you make it out!”

Are you interested in taking on a challenge for yourself? Register for Student Activities Labyrinth: Scavenger Hunt. The games begin on Saturday, January 20th at the LaHaye Event Space.

Sources:

https://theescapegame.com/blog/the-history-of-escape-rooms/

 

Written by Mary Richey

Mary is a sophomore studying Hospitality Management. She enjoys spending time outdoors, going to coffee shops, and is always up for a road trip. Creative writing has always been one of her favorite hobbies!

Let It Snow

December 1, 2023

Being snowed in for Christmas – it’s not just the plot of the newest Hallmark romcom or an unfortunate side effect of living in the Northeast, but the accidental and irreversible slowing down of the holiday season.

After all, there are decorations to hang. Presents to be bought, wrapped, packed. Flights to catch. Food to be made. Family to catch up with. Movies to watch. And don’t forget to volunteer your time, you should be giving back to the community! While we’re told this is the “most wonderful time of the year,” it can often feel like it’s the most stressful, instead. From November to January, there is more to do than in any other season. And most of our anxiety and hustle is glossed over with glitter and wrapped in ribbon, smiles on our faces saying “I’m doing good! Just busy.”

Then, a storm blows in.

Suddenly, there is no more rush. No chance to do last-minute shopping, let alone get out on the roads. The perfect itinerary is out the window. Snow is piled up into doorframes, icicles cling to the tree branches, the world is white, and Christmas is ruined.

Or is it? Let’s back up.

How is it possible that the holiday season got so busy in the first place? If we were to ask Charlie Brown, he’d say “Everything’s gone commercial.” And I’d have to agree. Often, what keeps us busy is the expectation of spending: from family and friends to home décor and the office white elephant party.

As the holiday momentum picked up in America in the early 1800s, marketers began to catch on to the potential of Christmas to sell goods [1]. “In the early-to-mid 1900s, mass advertising campaigns full of holiday tunes and colorful decorations filled the radio airways and storefronts” [1]. And this fanfare has built upon itself year after year. In 2021, holiday spending climbed to an astronomical $886.7 billion [1]! I’ll be the first to admit that I represent an embarrassing percentage of that number. No one is immune to a little bit of commercialism.

However, as the holiday has become more about the dollar amount, we often can’t resist the rush of ads and sales, becoming swept up in consumerism. We get busier and busier, and Christmas detaches further from its purpose in favor of cash.

Being “snowed in” brings a halt to all of this.

With no more money to be spent, places to go, or décor to perfect, the Christmas season is stripped down to its roots: gathering together with loved ones, sharing in good company, and the joy of Christ’s birth. I think if we were to be locked in our homes for the season, it would serve as a “chilling” wake-up call as to where our priorities truly lie. So, let’s look at three ways we can reorient ourselves this Christmas: gratitude, reflection, and rest.

Consider for a moment: How wonderful is it that so many of us can celebrate Christmas with food, gifts, and loved ones? That we’re given the privilege to pursue our education and finish another semester? That Christ was born to die for our sins? This is the heart of gratitude. When the noise of consumerism and busyness is cut from our lives, we’re given the opportunity to be thankful for both the mundane and the fantastic in our lives. We have a heavenly provision! We’re saved by grace! Who really cares if we don’t find the perfect present?

Reflection, then, gives us the opportunity to look back on the year with fresh eyes. What did we accomplish? What were we proud of? What could we have improved on? How have we grown? Each new year is a chance to improve ourselves, reset our priorities, and establish new resolutions (even if we’ll ditch them by January 2nd). Plowing through November-January without taking time to evaluate ourselves does February us a disservice!

Finally, there’s rest. Contrary to popular belief, busyness is not the same as giving of yourself. It’s easy to think that the more we do for another person, the more we must love them, or if our days aren’t packed full, we’re not trying hard enough.  But the truth is that giving is about intentionality, it’s not measured in hours or dollars spent. And you can’t be intentional without first taking time to rest.

Rest may look like spending time with close family and friends or recharging your social battery in your own company. However you choose to rest, it should result in a newfound stillness, allowing you to reflect on and feel gratitude for the blessings in your life. Only then can we be intentional with those closest to us, give to them graciously, and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.

(Hint: Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s true.)

So, this holiday, I encourage you to consider this: maybe being “snowed in” isn’t about what’s happening outside, but what could happen inside, instead. And if you’re looking for a chance to join in rest and reflection with the rest of the student body, don’t forget to grab a ticket and join us inside the Vines Center on Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. for Christmas Coffeehouse: Snowed In!

[1] https://yorktownsentry.com/11944/about/staff/2022-23/a-brief-history-of-christmas-and-its-commercialization/

 

Written by Emma Lane

Emma is a Senior studying Strategic Communications with a minor in Business. While she loves all things photography, fashion, and indie music, creative writing has always been one of her favorite ways to express herself.

There are No Thanksgiving Songs

November 17, 2023

“Why are there are no thanksgiving songs?” That is the question the Student Activities team posed a month ago at our blog meeting. Our team has been busy in preparation for Christmas Coffeehouse: Snowed In. Tryouts wrapped up a few weeks ago, the emcees have been rehearsing and revising their script, the marketing team is pushing out promo videos and beautiful designs, and our evenings and weekends have been spent building and painting photo booths for that big night. And all that is for what? A show dedicated to displaying the talent of our student body through – you guessed it – Christmas music. But before we sprint through those last couple weeks of projects, finals, and Coffeehouse sandwiched somewhere in the middle, we get to return home and spend a day stuffing our faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. So, if Thanksgiving is so valued in our culture, why does our holiday music act like it doesn’t exist?

Well, one possible answer is that Thanksgiving is far less marketable than Christmas. I would like to believe that everyone enters into the holiday season with a grateful heart. But in our materialistic-centered society, that is far from true. The songs we listen to tend to attach themselves to memory, and from our mind flows our decisions. If the mall blasts Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” you won’t necessarily think of your special someone but instead recall those amazing Black Friday deals a few years back, when that same song was being played in every store you shopped at. Why are stores now playing Christmas music in October? Perhaps it’s because the earworms subconsciously motivate consumers to make their Christmas purchases long before frost covers the ground. Ty Justice, Student Activities Event Staff, phrased it this: “Thanksgiving is the speed bump on the Christmas highway.” Quite simply, Thanksgiving music is impractical for consumerism.

Another likely reason is that Thanksgiving is insulated to our American culture. Sure, some other countries celebrate Thanksgiving to an extent, but the holiday has roots in our uniquely American history. We understand that Christianity is a global faith. As the Great Commission is being fulfilled, the message of Christ is being spread to every culture in the world, and through the work of Bible translators, more and more people groups are gaining access to the narrative of the birth of Christ. But while the celebration of Christmas naturally follows the spread of the Gospel, Thanksgiving has remained bound to our country and even been diminished due to some of its negative origins.

Certainly, some Thanksgiving songs exist – songs like “Jingle Bells” or “The Thanksgiving Song” by Ben Rector – but these are few and far between. That is if we view Thanksgiving music from the Western understanding of a holiday. But how were the Old Testament festivals and the Sabbath we observe today depicted in Scripture? They were designed to be special days of remembrance, to recall what the Lord has done in the past that impacts our present and will transform our future. How does that relate to Thanksgiving songs?

Two Hebrew words (yadah and towdah), commonly translated as “praise” throughout the Old Testament (especially the Psalms), also mean “thanks” or “thanksgiving.” As believers, we should “[t]hrough Jesus… continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess His name” (Heb. 3:15 NIV). The Greek word used here for praise? Ainesis, which can specifically mean a thank offering. In that case, we sing Thanksgiving songs all year round – in church, in Convocation, in Campus Community.

“There are no Thanksgiving songs.” Oh really? Let me show you the Psalms and the set list for this week’s Sunday service.

As you head home for Thanksgiving break, bump elbows at the table with cousins and your crazy uncle, and nap off your turkey coma, don’t forget to lift your voice in praise. I believe that Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to bring out worship songs like “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake, “Thank You Jesus for the Blood” by Charity Gayle, and the classic “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.

Then when you return, get ready to turn up that Christmas music and display your amazing talent at our Christmas Open Mic on December 5th. The event starts at 7:00pm and will be held in the Montview Starbucks. We can’t wait to see you there!

Sources:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h3034/kjv/wlc/0-1/

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h8426/kjv/wlc/0-1/

https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/heb/13/15/t_conc_1146015

 

Written by Moriah Joseph

Moriah is a sophomore dual major, studying Music & Worship and Elementary Education. She loves to spend her time experimenting on the piano, serving at her church, and hanging out with friends and family. But you also won’t hear her complaining about a good book, mountain views, or dark chocolate. She has always loved writing, so she is so happy to be a part of the Student Activities blog team!

A Love Letter to La La Land

November 6, 2023

Some movies stand out as timeless classics in the film industry, while others leave a lasting impression on our minds and hearts. La La Land, a musical masterpiece by Damien Chazelle from 2016, belongs to the latter group. This captivating movie explores love, dreams, and the allure of Los Angeles in a fresh and original way.

 

  1. A Love Letter to Los Angeles

A mesmerizing traffic jam that has been transformed into an impromptu song-and-dance number on a Los Angeles freeway serves as the opening scene of “La La Land.” A movie that openly celebrates the City of Angels is immediately inspired by this spectacle. This film will rekindle your love for Los Angeles if you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting or residing there. The movie paints a vivid picture of the city’s beauty and charm by showcasing well-known landmarks like Griffith Observatory, the Watts Towers, and the Hermosa Beach Pier, among others. You’ll want to travel to the locations it depicts or, at the very least, take in the city’s vibrant culture and history from a distance after reading this cinematic love letter.

  1. The Power of Dreaming

Anyone who has ever dared to follow their passion will find “La La Land” to be incredibly relatable. The story of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz musician with aspirations of starting his own club, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, serves as the film’s main character. The dreamer in all of us can relate to their tales of ambition, struggle, and the pursuit of artistic fulfillment.” La La Land” serves as a reminder that our aspirations are worthwhile pursuits in today’s world where practicality is frequently prioritized over passion. It gives us the motivation to stick with our goals despite obstacles. The movie skillfully demonstrates how pursuing one’s dreams can result in extraordinary moments of personal development and artistic achievement, even in the most difficult situations.

  1. A Musical Extravaganza

La La Land is primarily a musical. The movie perfectly choreographs its song and dance numbers, evoking the heyday of Hollywood musicals. Justin Hurwitz’s catchy songs are enduring and have a way of sticking in your head. The songs improve the storytelling and elicit a range of emotions, from joy to melancholy, whether it’s “Another Day of Sun,” City of Stars,” or “A Lovely Night.”

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling put a lot of effort into learning the songs and dance sequences, and their chemistry is undeniable. The characters’ struggles and authenticity are enhanced by this commitment, which makes the movie even more compelling.

  1. A Bittersweet Love Story

La La Land is unquestionably a love story, but it deviates from the typical romantic film formula. Instead, it investigates the complexity of love and possible sacrifices for a person’s dreams. The passionate nature of Mia and Sebastian’s relationship is also tempered by difficulties that put their loyalty to one another to the test.

The movie does a wonderful job of capturing the highs and lows of relationships while also pointing out that falling in love isn’t always easy. You get a strong sense of how fleeting life is and how beautiful moments are that can never be relived from the ending, which I won’t spoil. La La Land stands out from other Hollywood romances because it is a realistic portrayal of love that many people can relate to.

  1. Stunning Cinematography

The work of cinematographer Linus Sandgren in “La La Land” is breathtaking. With its vibrant colors, creative camera work, and meticulous attention to detail, the movie is a visual feast. Long takes are used in the dance sequences to give the performance a sense of immersion and continuity. A true cinematic masterpiece, the movie’s visual aesthetic complements its emotional depth. The film gains authenticity and charm thanks to the choice to use realistic effects and shoot on location. It’s a welcome change from many modern movies’ reliance on CGI. The characters’ journey through the ups and downs of their lives is reflected in the cinematography, which captures the magic of Los Angeles.

  1. An Ode to Jazz

Jazz is a crucial component of “La La Land,” and the movie honors this defining style of American art. The story centers on Sebastian’s love of jazz music, which serves as a compelling backdrop for examining themes of tradition, creativity, and artistic integrity. The movie uses jazz as a metaphor for the characters’ own journeys because it is both timeless and evolving. The effectiveness of music in evoking feelings, telling stories, and establishing connections is effectively illustrated in “La La Land.” It serves as a reminder that even in the most trying circumstances, music can lift our spirits and bring us closer together.

“La La Land” is a cinematic gem that merits viewing due to its moving music, captivating visuals, and heartfelt storytelling. It’s a movie that inspires us to pursue our goals, appreciate Los Angeles’ natural beauty, and comprehend the nuance of human relationships and love. La La Land is a truly magical and unforgettable experience, regardless of whether you enjoy musicals or just enjoy well-made and thought-provoking movies. Why then should you watch “La La Land”? Because it’s a love letter to life, love, and the pursuit of dreams that will leave an emotional and lasting impression on you. This is my favorite movie of all time, and I hope to see all of you in attendance at the Vines Center for Student Activities Movie Night on November 7 at 8:00 p.m.

Here are my favorite quotes from the movie to get you excited.

“People love what other people are passionate about.” -Mia

“I am letting life hit me until it gets tired.” -Sebastian

“I am always going to love you.” -Mia

“I’m a phoenix rising from the ashes” -Sebastian

 

Written by Justin Rockey

Justin Rockey is a senior Communications major. He is very passionate about the story and creativity of La La Land and was honored to be able to share his excitement with the student body through this blog.

Texas has a Cult Following

October 27, 2023

“Everything is bigger in Texas!” This well-known phrase is often associated with American southern culture. From cowboy hats, boots, country music, and line dancing, Texas and its quintessential elements have gained a cult following in the United States. Chains such as Buc-ee’s, Whataburger, and H.E.B are well known across the nation. Even current social media and fashion trends such as “Coastal Cowgirl” seem to be rooted in Texas heritage. But why is there so much pride in Texas? What makes it stand out against other states?

According to the History Channel, the Lone Star State was officially declared in 1845. The state is massive with 268,597 square miles of land and over 25 million residents. An article from KXAN, an Austin Texas NBC affiliate, explains that Texas pride may stem from the state’s time as its own republic in the 1830s and 1840s. There is a sense of community and pride associated with Texas and its rich history. The website also included several items Texans themselves love and cherish. Some of these include personal freedom, the Houston Space Center, the Alamo, massive ranches, and state fairs.

Not only is Texas culture widespread throughout the nation, but hundreds of thousands of Americans are flooding the state. Texas is becoming increasingly popular to move to. From 2020 to 2021 about 596,000 Americans moved to Texas from other states. According to Texas View, people are moving to the state due to the low cost of living, low taxes, the down-to-earth nature of Texans, and the diversity of cultures and lifestyles.

Liberty student and Texas native Laurelie Nemeth had this to say when asked what she loved about living in the Lone Star State, “I love that question! It’s really difficult because each part of Texas can be vastly different. I am from a small town south of Houston and Houston is considered a melting pot of different cultures and people. I was able to experience so many cultures in my childhood, but living in a small southern town was one of the best parts because almost everyone went to church and knew the Lord. Obviously, not everyone had accepted Christ as their Savior, but for the most part, it was a very biblically based area, and I love how that can be easier to find in Texas! Our churches were involved with our community and our schools, so although I was raised in a non-Christian home, it was still possible for me to find and know Jesus! I also love how speed limits are just suggestions and summers just get hotter every year!”

When asked the same question, student Luke Tomlin responded, “I love that there’s a mutual pride that exists between Texans. Texas was its own country for a bit after it gained independence from Mexico and the most culturally significant places still have a little bit of “Tex-Mex” style to them. So, the history is super fascinating already! There really is an unspoken understanding between all Texans that we live in the best state and we’re all proud to be there.”

If you’re part of the Texas cult head on over to Everything Is Bingo in Texas on October 28. The event will start at 8:00 p.m. in the LaHaye Event Space.

https://www.kxan.com/news/texas/its-a-texas-thing-why-do-texans-love-texas-so-much/

https://www.history.com/topics/us-states/texas

https://texasview.org/why-texas-so-popular

 

Written by Mary Richey

Mary is a sophomore studying Hospitality Management. She enjoys spending time outdoors, going to coffee shops, and is always up for a road trip. Creative writing has always been one of her favorite hobbies!

Inception is Nolan’s Masterpiece

October 20, 2023

As of right now, most people know who Christopher Nolan is. With a dozen movies under his belt, he has become a household name in the industry and his films draw the attention of both movie buffs and critics. While you can find countless lists of Nolan’s movies ranked, I am baffled that Inception is not ranked number one in most of them. It is time we start recognizing Inception for what it is, not only Nolan’s best film but his Magnum Opus. I know that everyone has their own opinions, which I respect, but I am still going to try and convince you that my opinion is the right one.

Inception is an incredibly inventive movie. In a sea of remakes and reboots, Inception is not only a breath of fresh air but a vital oxygen boost to an industry that is suffocating under the weight of its own lack of imagination. I am not saying that remakes are bad, but I feel like it is an insult to the viewer’s intelligence when movies are the same rehashed formula over and over with little plot variation. (I am looking at you MCU.) Inception came out in 2010 and it still boasts one of the most compelling and creative plots to date. Without giving too much away, this movie follows a thief who steals secrets from people’s minds by entering their subconscious dreams. Not only is this plot incredibly creative but it also lends limitless possibilities to the writers. As the plot unfolds you are launched into a mind-bending journey that has you questioning the difference between reality and dream.

The cast and writing in Inception were incredible. Not only because it was a star-studded cast, but each character performed their role perfectly. One of the most important aspects of the cast is that they were written and acted in such a way that every character we were introduced to felt important. A lot of movies write characters just so they can move the plot along or even worse, simply explain the plot to an audience who would much rather just see it play out. Also, movies try to force an audience to love a character who just does not feel important to the story at all. Inception not only dodges these pitfalls but creates a cast that feels genuine and makes the audience care about them. As the story unfolds, you can enjoy each character’s journey because they all feel important and worthy of your time. The journey of each character comes together to form an unforgettable ending that has made this movie live long after it was released.

Now if you have read this far you either agree with me or you are plotting the perfect comeback by reading for all of my flawed arguments. Fair.  But let me give you one more reason. Inception is the quintessential Christopher Nolan movie. It has every Nolan trope, but they are all done so perfectly. You have the grand plot that messes with time and reality and while this plot seeks to be complex, you can still follow it and understand what is going on in a single watch. (I am looking at you, Tenet.) You have the loud sounds and score which I don’t think are an annoyance in Inception but help elevate the story. You have the practical effects that Nolan loves and come on, the hotel hallway fight scene is worth the price of admission alone. All of Nolan’s movies weave similar threads together and Inception does it so beautifully that if anyone has never seen a Christopher Nolan movie, Inception should be the first one they watch.

If you don’t agree with me but have not seen the movie in a while or have never seen it, you’re in luck! Student Activities will be showing Inception and Interstellar ( I have a lot of thoughts on that movie too) on Saturday, October 21st in the Vines Center starting at 7:00 p.m. Come on out to see Christopher Nolan’s movies how they are meant to be viewed, on the big screen.

 

Written by Jordan Kreitzinger

Jordan is the Assistant Director of Student Activities.