When the summer is ending, usually the movies that are released are the last of the blockbusters. All the superhero movies have passed, the animated wonders have gone, and the movie theaters are all empty. However, this year’s final days of summer had a very welcome surprise in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Not only was it a fantastic film in its own right, it is absolutely one of the best movies of the summer. “Crazy Rich Asians” is about a budding romance between a young economics professor Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, and her boyfriend Nick Young, played by Henry Golding. The two decide to travel to Singapore for a friend’s wedding, and also so Rachel can meet Nick’s family. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Nick’s family is wealthy beyond her wildest dreams, and she will need to prove herself to the snobby and elitist Young family. The story takes some great twists and turns, and while it can get predictable at times, the ending is still extremely satisfying, and the door is even left open for a sequel. There are so many intertwined storylines that come together in the end, and the movie makes sure to address each and every one before the final credits roll. This film is one of the freshest and greatest new films to come out in quite some time. It was based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, and the story is really quite magical. While the idea of a “lowly” significant other having to prove themselves to the rich family isn't new, it works so well in this new locale and with this incredible cast. Every single actor and actress plays their parts wonderfully. The Asian community has not had many great opportunities to lead films for wide American audiences, but this film was a grand slam from top to bottom. Constance Wu and Henry Golding are supported by a phenomenal cast that consists of Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Ken Jeong and Awkwafina, among many others, and not a single character felt out of place. So far, “Crazy Rich Asians” has been extremely successful at the box office. Audiences have continued to come out to see the film for many weeks now, and the great word of mouth has helped this out immensely. Do yourself a huge favor and go watch this movie, because it is very hard to be disappointed in something this great. It is a great ending to the summer movie season, and it will carry us all the way to the end of the year. “Crazy Rich Asians” is crazy tons of fun, and I for one cannot wait to see where the characters go next.
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In today’s modern day of controversial figures in the music industry, there are very few individuals that are more divisive than Marshall Mathers, Eminem himself. While the man is undoubtedly a masterful lyricist, he also has had some rather questionable opinions and some debatable choices in his life. Nonetheless, the man helped pioneer rap into the 21st century, and he has been a prominent voice in the music industry for over two decades now. His latest release, “Kamikaze” was released at the end of August, and the music industry, as well as his fans, are quite divided to say the least. Eminem was at the top of his game in the early 2000’s. The rap world was in awe of Eminem all the way through 2004’s “Encore,” but the prevailing opinion is that ever since then he just has not been the same. Almost 15 years later, that opinion just might change with his newest album “Kamikaze.” The album was released without so much as a press release, and fans all over the internet were in shock when a brand new Eminem album dropped only eight months after his last one. Right off the bat, “Kamikaze” feels like a return to form for the fast rapping Mathers, but not everyone agrees. While many people think “Kamikaze” is some of his best work in years, others feel that is nothing more than angry ranting that further proves Eminem is a has-been. I would argue with the former; this album is absolutely, and surprisingly, very well done. Eminem has obviously released successful singles over the years, but this feels like the first complete album ever since 2002’s “The Eminem Show.” Right away the album shines with two insult-laced tracks that take jabs at nearly all of Eminem’s “haters” from the last few years in “The Ringer” and “Greatest.” Immediately, listeners know they are in for a treat of classic angry Eminem, and the train is not slowing down at all. Mathers goes out of the way to call out many well-known naysayers of his, from Die Antwoord to MGK and Drake. Even President Trump is not safe from his tirades. The album continues on with the next few tracks, “Lucky You,” “Normal,” and “Stepping Stone.” Each one is just as strong as the last, and you really feel like you are listening to Eminem at the turn of the century. Insult after insult flies by and rhyme after rhyme flows through, and it is a ride that listeners do not want to get off. In the latter half of the album, we have the title track, as well as a pair of songs called “Nice Guy,” and “Good Guy.” The title track continues along with the fury that has been thrown around thus far, but things start to change with the pair towards the end. It would not be Eminem without some controversy, and it is these two songs that many feel are out of place on the album. Personally, these songs are quite strong, and a welcome change of pace on an otherwise stellar album, but not everyone would agree. Lastly, Eminem finishes off the album with a track titled “Venom,” which is going to be in the upcoming “Spiderman” film of the same name this October. It is a phenomenal bookend to an absolutely stunning return for Eminem, even though fans are very divided on the matter. However, one thing is clear: after years of struggling to break back into the genre that he helped mold, Eminem is back on top once more, and he looks like he is not going anywhere any time soon.
Macon is a town with such rich history; it can sometimes be hard to believe that the city is well into the 21st century. Specifically, Georgia’s booming film industry has been the home for many high-profile film and television productions, and Macon is no exception. With all of the up and coming opportunities in the industry, many organizations have sprung up to help fill the void. One of these groups is the Macon Film Guild. The Macon Film guild does many different things for Macon. As stated on their website, “The Guild is a 501c3 nonprofit organization of volunteers who do the research for new films, produce and distribute publicity materials, and develop the programming." In addition, the guild is best known for is their monthly films at the Douglass Theater. The head of the Macon Film Guild is Robert Fieldsteel, who has been in the film industry for many years. “I had a 28-year career in Los Angeles, during which I was director John Cassavetes' assistant for several years, followed by making my living as an actor in film, television and stage,” Fieldsteel said of his time in the industry. Fieldsteel leads a group of highly engaged individuals who strive to bring the best films to Middle Georgia. “I'd say that we offer the Middle Georgia community the chance to see films of high artistic merit that offer forms and styles of storytelling that differ from mainstream Hollywood fare, unique insights into other countries and our own country, and the distinctive vision of prominent film directors from around the world,” Fieldsteel said. Some of the films the guild has shown recently include “RBG,” the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Loving Vincent,” a hand-painted animated film inspired by the art of Van Gogh and “A Man Called Ove,” the much celebrated Swedish comedy on the best selling book of the same name. “People who move to Macon from other cities that offer independent and art-house films are extremely grateful that they can see them in Macon. We have a very loyal core audience that always attends, and many audience members who may have a particular interest in a particular film,” Fieldsteel said. The Macon Film Guild is a phenomenal organization that any Macon movie lover absolutely needs to check out. Their next showing is Sunday, Sept. 9, and they will be showing the film “Summer 1993.”
Are you an aspiring writer that would like to show off some of their work to the Macon community? Then look no further than the Macon Writers Group. With all of the organizations in Middle Georgia, this group is one of the few that celebrates writing with plenty of others of the same interest, and also puts out their own publication. Getting involved is as simple as joining their Facebook group. The Macon Writers Group was started by Shane Trayers, who is an Associate Professor of English at Middle Georgia State University. “Shortly after I moved to Georgia, I started the Macon Writers Group as a way to connect with other writers and have a sense of community in my new home,” said Trayers. Since its inception 10 years ago, the group has met over 100 times and continues to do so every month. The group has over 150 members according to their Facebook page, and there are posts all the time concerning new writings. The group has been featured in other publications, and their meetings see some great guest speakers come and talk. “We have also had published authors come talk to the group and give workshops, usually once or twice a year, sometimes more. We have been a part of and organized writers conferences, write-ins and writing marathons. We've been featured twice in Sidney Salons at the Sidney Lanier Cottage” said Trayers on their successes as a group. The group is actually working towards a rather large project as well. Trayers and the group are putting together an anthology that contains writings that celebrate the group’s 10 years of existence. They are hoping to have it finished in time for their 10th birthday party in January. The group is so successful that Middle Georgia State University decided to award Trayers with an award for her efforts. She was awarded the first place award for community engagement for her work in creating the group. Trayers and the Macon Writers Group are always looking for new members, and they would love to have anyone new come and join them at their monthly meetings, which are the last Saturday of every month at 2 p.m., at the Ampersand Guild in Macon. From their mission statement, “Writing, we believe, should be encouraged and nurtured within the group and the community at large.”
There is no such thing as a “sure thing” in the movie industry. Every movie that is released comes with its inherent risks. All movies, from well-known franchises such as “Harry Potter” to indie movie releases, always have a chance of flopping at the box office as well as with the viewers. That being said, bigger franchises do have a better track record. “Mission Impossible” is no exception, and the latest installment in the storied series is one of the best yet. “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is a fast-paced action movie that keeps you at the edge of your seat the whole time, and it just might be the best action film audiences have seen in years. Now, it is no secret that Tom Cruise may not be everyone’s favorite person, but no one can deny the man’s acting talents. He has been leading this series for over two decades now, and every single film seems to make the franchise better, which is a very rare feat. Some franchises simply run out of steam, out of ideas, or even out of time. However, “Mission Impossible” seems to keep every movie as fresh as the last one, and audiences just gobble them up. Alongside Cruise in “Fallout” is his usual cast of characters: series veterans Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Michelle Monaghan, as well as newcomers Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson and Sean Harris. Each and every one of them are an absolute delight to watch, as everyone feels right at home in their roles. The chemistry flows freely, and no one feels out of place at any time. What is interesting is that while each film is a new chapter in the “Mission Impossible” franchise, “Fallout” feels very much like a direct continuation of the previous movie, 2015’s “Rogue Nation.” All of the main characters returned to continue where the action left off, and that is a good thing in my opinion. By doing so, the movie flowed really well and was also easy to follow. Some action films can get so cluttered, or conversely, are rather empty story-wise. “Fallout” is able to follow an already phenomenal story, and it benefits because of it. The story was able to go in so many different directions that it was hard to pinpoint what was going to happen next. The twists may have been easy to spot out, but the movie still had some tricks up its sleeve that should leave audiences' jaws dropped all around the world. The action sequences were also some of the finest work in the franchise. After scaling the tallest building in the world in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” and hanging off of a giant Atlas C1 military plane on take-off in “Rogue Nation,” where else could the series go for action seekers? Well, rest assured thrill seekers, because Ethan Hunt and the gang pull off some of the craziest stunt scenes yet. There is a helicopter battle through the mountains, a car chase on the streets of France and fist fights that leave the audience gasping for breath as well. There is never a dull moment in the film, and the action sequences and set pieces make sure of that. The “Mission Impossible” franchise is many things, but it has never been a snooze fest for moviegoers. Some action movies seem to be all action and no plot, but Tom Cruise and company know how to deliver a proper story, and there is no shortage of wild and unimaginable stunts as well. If you are looking for one last action-packed summer blockbuster to carry you into the school year, look no further: “Mission Impossible: Fallout” will have you leaving the theater asking yourself, “How did they do that?” Do yourself a favor and go catch this movie, you can thank me later.
The summer of 2018 was really an exciting time in the world of entertainment. New movies broke box office records, musical artists took the world by storm and new television shows had us all binging like crazy. If you missed out on any of the awesome stuff that came through this summer, you’re in luck: here is the summer 2018 entertainment review. Movies This summer just might have been the biggest summer for movies in quite some time. We saw the release of new superhero movies, dinosaur adventures, animated wonders and great story-driven masterpieces as well. The summer kicked off with perhaps the biggest movie event ever with “Avengers: Infinity War.” With over 10 years of planning and dozens of movies leading up to it, this was the most anticipated movie to come through in years. Luckily, it did not disappoint; “Avengers” broke numerous box office records and even was a hit to the critics. People are still going to see this movie on the big screen mere days before it is to be released on DVD. If superheroes are not really your thing, that’s okay too. While three of the top five movies of the summer were superhero based, we also had the follow-up to Jurassic World and the next Star Wars movie to watch. While “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” may not have been the darlings of critics, moviegoers still flocked to the theaters to see these big adventures. If animation is more your speed, we also had a record breaker at the domestic box office with “Incredibles 2.” This hotly-anticipated sequel was years overdue for many fans, but we all can agree that it was better late than never, because it was one of the best of the summer. “Incredibles 2” is now the record holder for the highest grossing animated movie ever in America, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. If you missed any of these phenomenal movies this summer, I highly recommend you go and check them out as soon as you can. Television TV shows can be a bit harder to pin down as who was the best of the summer because everyone has different tastes. With that being said, there were some truly amazing shows that continued along the summer months, and some others that saw their finales show across the airwaves as their series called it a close. Lately, one of the hottest names in Hollywood is Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino. Glover has been all over the place, acting in recent movies such as “Spiderman: Homecoming” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” as well as continuing to put out fantastic music such as “This Is America.” However, one of his best achievements is his television show, “Atlanta.” The show returned for its second season in early March, running all the way through May to kick off the summer. The show is absolutely adored by critics, and it is seen as a very ambitious and refreshing series by many. Binging this show just might be the best thing you do before school starts back up. Another critical darling that was on this summer was the acclaimed series, “The Americans.” The 1980’s era spy drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys aired its final season, and the show is finally over. For years this Soviet spy couple has been one of the surest successes on television, and the fact that it is now over is a bitter pill to swallow. Catch this show as soon as possible if you want a gripping drama to carry you through long nights in the dorms. Perhaps the biggest TV series to be in lately has been Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, the show has captured audiences all around into its wonderful storytelling and the terrifying world within. After winning numerous awards, including the Golden Globe awards for best drama and best actress, this show is definitely one you cannot miss. If you’re looking for something to binge as school continues on this fall, these shows are some great places to start. Music Let’s just come out and say it; Beyonce dropped a new album, so she wins the summer. The season was flush with plenty of new content from some great artists, but if Beyonce is in the mix, it is not really much of a contest for the crown of the summer’s best. Her album, “Everything is Love,” is actually shared with her husband Jay-Z, and the two of them wrote and performed all of the songs together for one fantastic listen. You can't get much better than one of the best vocalists in the world mixed with one of the best rappers in the world. If you're looking for something other than Queen Bey, then look no further; this summer also saw releases by Cardi B, Future, Travis Scott and Kacey Musgraves. Travis Scott’s album, “ASTROWORLD” has been very anticipated, and its release is looking like a successful one thus far. Similarly, Cardi B’s new album, “Invasion of Privacy” has been on repeat on radio stations all over the country. New music always comes and goes, but if you’re looking for that new artist to start off the school year with, then these performers should give you some great music to choose from for the coming months.
After a whole summer’s worth of spicy movies, school is about to start back up and the season of blockbusters is coming to an end. So what better way to decide which film was the winner of summer than a tournament? We have decided to pit the summer’s top eight movies against one another and see who took home the crown for the summer’s best movie. The challengers, as ranked by box office sales (from BoxOfficeMojo.com), are: Avengers: Infinity War Incredibles 2 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Deadpool 2 Solo: A Star Wars Story Ant-Man and The Wasp Oceans 8 Mission Impossible: Fallout The tournament will follow standard tournament rules, with the seeding as follows: 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 5v4. The winner will be decided on three factors: box office numbers, Rotten Tomatoes score and overall opinion. The winner will advance and face the winner of the next matchup until a final winner is crowned. Without further adieu, the tournament begins! “Avengers: Infinity War” (1) vs “Mission Impossible: Fallout” (8) This one was much tougher than you would think. While “Avengers” just might be the best superhero movie ever made, it is going up against one of the best true action films of the last decade, and it is still going strong. “Avengers” gained an obscene amount of money, and any movie, let alone “Mission Impossible,” would be hard pressed to pass that. However, Mission Impossible is better ranked by critics according to Rotten Tomatoes at 97 percent versus 83 percent. In the end, a fantastic critic score is just not enough to surpass the mighty “Avengers.” Audiences the world around flocked to the nearest theaters just to see all of their favorite superheroes on screen, and the word of mouth made it one of the highest grossing movies of all time. This round goes to “Avengers: Infinity War.” “Incredibles 2” (2) vs “Oceans 8” (7) In this battle of the sequels, we have the much beloved animated superhero romp up against the all-female heist adventure. It is not much of a battle however, as Incredibles 2 wins on all fronts: it earned more money, was reviewed better and was just the overall better film. This is no disrespect to the ladies of crime in “Oceans 8,” but this was the sequel that no one saw coming, whereas we have been waiting for “Incredibles 2” for a decade now, and we were not disappointed. Who doesn't love a good Pixar film anyway? “Incredibles 2” moves on. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (3) vs “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (6) Dinosaurs versus bugs, who knew? The dino franchise had a monster of a release in the middle of June, and they were quickly catapulted into one of the highest grossing films of the summer. In the other corner, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was the very well reviewed superhero film that bookended the summer of supers, and it was much better than many viewers thought it would be. While the dinos made more money, many people thought it just really was not a good movie. And thus, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” moves on, and we have our first upset. “Deadpool 2” (4) vs “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (5) This matchup is an interesting one. These two middleweights made a lot of noise in the summer, but which one was better? While it may seem close, “Deadpool 2” is the winner on all fronts. It made over $100 million more at the box office, was rated better on Rotten Tomatoes, and was the darling of May, as opposed to the much less discussed “Solo.” The self-aware hero moves on, “Deadpool 2” is the clear winner here. ROUND 2 “Avengers: Infinity War” (1) vs “Deadpool 2” (4) The superhero films continue to duke it out with this matchup. However, this one is not as close as it was the first time around for the Avengers. While “Deadpool 2” just might be the comedy of the summer, the Avengers had a better score on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a better word of mouth, and the higher box office numbers go without saying. The Avengers advance to the finals, can they win it all? “Incredibles 2” (2) vs “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (6) The world really must love superhero films for the summer to have this many blockbusters. This match is most likely the fiercest of the tournament. Should it be the animated family film that caught the hearts of millions? Or the underdog Marvel movie that truly wowed many fans? As it turns out, “Incredibles 2” recently became the highest grossing animated film of all time in America, and it is well on its way to becoming one of the highest grossing films in America, period. If that is not enough to warrant a summer finals appearance, remember: it also has a higher ranking on rotten tomatoes. “Incredibles 2” moves on. FINALS “Avengers: Infinity War” (1) vs “Incredibles 2” (2) And then there were two. Summer blockbusters bring out the best in movies, and these two heavyweights are no exception. One of Pixar’s best goes up against the superhero team-up that was 10 years in the making. In the end, there can only be one. After a monstrous box office haul and the fact that the movie is STILL playing in theaters, over three months since it released, there is one obvious winner: “Avengers, Infinity War.” Would it really end any other way? While it was a hard fought battle, and also much closer at times than you may have thought, “Avengers” felt bound to be the winner all along. And there you have it! The summers eight best films put to the test against one another, and only one fantastic film prevailed. It goes without saying that if you have not seen any of these films already, do so as soon as possible; each and every one are wonderful movies, and audiences are still talking about them all. With the season over and the blockbusters finished, the tournament is now at a close. Who do you think will win it all next year?
Whenever a movie comes to theaters that was based on a book, it is hard to tell how successful it is going to be. The young adult book-to-movie craze was going strong for a while, but once “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” ended, a series of groaners and stinkers caused the trend to die down. That being said, there are movies based on books being released all the time, and “Ready Player One” seems to be quite the successful one. If you have read “Ready Player One,” you would know that the book is jam packed with film references, video game in-jokes and so much content that it is a wild ride until the end. Movies sometimes have a hard time recreating that magic, but when you have a director like Steven Spielberg at the helm, it is pretty difficult to mess things up. “Ready Player One” is about a dystopian future where everyone ignores their real life problems (like an energy crisis and rampant poverty) and spends nearly all of their time in a virtual world called, “The Oasis.” The creator of the Oasis passes away and leaves behind an “Easter Egg” somewhere in the games, and whoever finds it first, gets control of the entire system and the entire fortune, which is worth well over half a trillion dollars. In this world, you can be anyone, do anything and go anywhere you could possibly imagine, so it is not hard to see why there are so many different possible ways to make this movie. It is common knowledge that it is next to impossible to include every last detail of a book into a movie, so directors have to get creative with their adaptations. The tricky part with “Ready Player One” is all the references to other movies, video games, books, TV shows and music that needed to be in the film. Once the production team reached agreements for the rights of most of the property (such as “Back To The Future’s” Time Machine, or “King Kong” himself), the movie was able to take off. The only problem is that some of the best references in the book were unable to make it into the movie, which sometimes caused a rift between moviegoers and book readers. On top of that, Spielberg felt it was necessary to reorganize the entire plot structure from the book and change it for the movie. This is not necessarily a bad thing and more often than not, I am inclined to trust Spielberg’s judgement. However, this means that some of the most memorable parts from the book never made it into the film, which definitely may sour some people’s feelings for the film. The movie was acted wonderfully by all of its stars, such as Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. Their acting also showed off a wonderfully polished script and plot that flowed nicely and did not seem to have any hiccups. Where the movie truly shines is in its CGI, computer-generated imagery, effects. When you have a world to create where it’s only limits are your own imagination, it is truly a wonder to behold when the finish product graces the screens. The effects and visuals are absolutely something to behold, and the movie looks glorious on the big screen. As a whole, “Ready Player One” is an amazing movie, especially if you had not read the book before hand. If you had, then prepare for the movie to be more of a re-imagining of the book, as opposed to a true adaptation. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the theater, and I could tell everyone else did as well. Do yourself a favor, and go watch this one on the big screen. You’ll thank me later.
Movies about giant robots fighting otherworldly beings seem to be all the rage in the last decade. There have been multiple franchises attempting to wow audiences with big, explosive fun, and there are really only two names that have come out on top: Transformers, and Pacific Rim. While Transformers tried to emulate the toys, the later movies seem to have overstayed their welcome. On the other hand, Pacific Rim tried a different approach, and it seems to have worked. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” may be a bit cheesy or clunky at times, but it is a big, fun movie with epic moments and stunning battle scenes. The first Pacific Rim film, directed by Guillermo Del Toro in 2013, introduced audiences to a world invaded by giant monsters called “Kaiju.” In the sequel, a new cast of characters lead viewers back into the fray against a new evil, and it is really a wild ride. John Boyega and Scott Eastwood are the stars in “Pacific Rim:Uprising,” and they are met with both new faces and returning faces for the franchise. Altogether, the movie is led very well by its acting, as Boyega does a wonderful job in a film not named Star Wars and Eastwood is a serviceable co-star for the whole film. In addition, like the original “Pacific Rim,” “Uprising” provides stunning fight sequences and larger-than-life visuals that are truly a sight to see. Watching this movie at home really does it a disservice; the big screen is where these giant robots thrive, and audiences will be thankful for it. Moreover, the monsters they are fighting are truly a sight to be seen. Just when you think the artists of the film couldn't come up with another crazy Kaiju, another gorgeous example pops up to wow the audience. While giant fighting robots are fun for the most part, there does need to be a strong enough plot to carry the movie for a whole two hours. The plot did work most of the time, but it felt like it was trying too hard at times. More specifically, the plot tried too hard to connect to the first film and add things in that were not already established in the franchise. This, paired with an already shaky story, led for some cheesy jokes and questionable plot devices. However, the movie is quite successful overall. The acting distracts from the sometimes odd plot, and the crazy action scenes are more than enough to keep a viewer enthralled throughout the movie. Sometimes, a movie needs to be just a fun, action filled experience and nothing more. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” fills this need well, and it also opens the door for another entry into the franchise. After this successful outing, moviegoers will be waiting eagerly to see their favorite fighting robots on the big screen.
If you think of some of the best science-fiction movies that have been released over the past five years, which would you think of? “Interstellar,” the space odyssey about love and exploration? “Arrival,” a linguists time talking to aliens? Or “The Martian,” a movie about the loneliest man not on Earth? All of these films are fantastic science-fiction adventures that will go down in history as some of the best of the 21st century, if not of all time. I believe that “Annihilation”, the absolutely beautiful and also frighteningly thought-provoking film about an other-wordly “shimmer” and what lies inside it, belongs on this list. “Annihilation” is a high-concept, highly intellectual film about a team of women that venture into what is called “the shimmer,” to see what lies beyond it and to find out what happened to every other team that has been lost inside. “Annihilation” is getting high praise from many critics, but not all mainstream audiences are falling in love with the movie. When this happens, this is usually an indicator that the film was too much for the common viewer, or “went over people’s heads,” so to speak. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is not a good thing either because the film usually won’t make as much money. However, do not use this as an excuse to not go see the movie. “Annihilation” has so much to offer, even for the average moviegoer. The movie starts off as one would expect, with the five scientists venturing into the unknown, only for things to get weirder and weirder. Plot wise, the film did a wonderful job building the characters, setting the scene, and creating danger all the way up until the last thirty minutes of the film. At this point, the movie may lose some people, similarly to how Interstellar did so at its end. That being said, if one is willing to stick with it to the end, the payoff is worth it and chilling, to say the least. Natalie Portman is the leading lady in “Annihilation,” and her supporting cast consists of Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac, Tuva Novotny and Jennifer Jason Leigh. While Portman and her crew did a wonderful job for most of the film, the script did not do them any favors. There was a lot of vocal exposition that did not allow for the actresses to fully flesh out the scene to the best of their abilities. That being said, the women did do a fantastic job with what they had to work with, and Portman does not disappoint. Visually speaking, the movie was positively gorgeous. This is the type of movie that definitely needs to be seen on the big screen, otherwise the viewer is not getting the full experience of the movie. The plants and animals, the cinematography and the use of color makes for a simply breathtaking piece of cinema that cannot afford to be missed. “Annihilation” is a stunning film that is somewhat of a brain teaser. If you are a viewer who enjoys to puzzle or question, then “Annihilation” is for you. However, if you are a viewer that tends to get lost at time or does not pay full attention, then “Annihilation” may lose you in the second act. Nevertheless, the film is one heck of an adventure that is an absolute delight if you are willing to give it a chance. You can never be too sure about high-concept films that take chances such as this, but i can assure you that “Annihilation” is worth the risk. ✪8/10
In today’s political landscape, it is important to understand the significance of good journalism. People seem to have forgotten what it means to face the facts and instead have opted to use the phrase “fake news” when there is something in the news they disagree with. Our country has faced many clashes between the press and the politicians, but none have been as important as the Pentagon Papers incident, which is documented in the film “The Post.” The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. One could also argue that there has never been a better film chronicling a journalistic incident than “The Post.” While that is a debate for another day, it is certain that “The Post” is a phenomenal film that explores a dark time in American politics in a riveting story from start to finish. Steven Spielberg is a household name when it comes to movie directors and rightfully so. His work on films such as “Schindler's List” and “Saving Private Ryan” has placed Spielberg in the annals of filmmaking history. Any film with his name tied to it deserves a certain amount of respect. In his most recent work, “The Post,” he gives us an incredible story that explores the release of the Pentagon Papers and how the Washington Post stood behind the First Amendment in the face of absolute adversity. The owner of the Washington Post at the time, Katherine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, was faced with an impossible decision. The Washington Post was in possession of papers that would greatly anger the American public and significantly damage the reputations of those in office at the time, including President Nixon. Graham got together with her editor-in-chief, Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, and together they shocked the nation. Spielberg tells the story in only a way he could, and he weaves a narrative that truly draws the viewers into the moment. Hanks and Streep are perfect in their roles as always, and they did not feel out of place even for a second. They worked together to further the story, and they really make the audience believe that they are in the newsroom with them. The only downside to the movie is that it takes a while to get started. The pace corrects itself once the action starts to pick up, and the movie is all the better for it. “The Post” will go down in history as one of the best journalistic films that the industry has to offer, and it will sit atop a pedestal with the greats, such as “All The Presidents Men” and “Spotlight.” Audiences are in for a treat with “The Post.” Keep your eyes peeled during awards season, because this near-masterpiece just may take home some Oscars. ✪9/10
It is never smart to go into a movie with high expectations. Even if you are positive that the movie is sure to be a hit, there is always that possibility that it is a dud. Moreover, if you go in with high expectations, the littlest of things can ruin those lofty ambitions. Sadly, this is the case for “Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi.” Make no mistake, the “Last Jedi” was a good movie. However, the problem lies in the fact that the movie generated an absurd amount of hype and excitement before its release date. It did not wow viewers as much as it should have, and this is a problem for a film in a franchise as important as Star Wars. “The Last Jedi,” in one phrase, just did not feel like a Star Wars movie. What makes the series so special is the mythos involved; Star Wars is an epic space opera that is anchored by harrowing performances and heart-stopping stories. “The Last Jedi” had a good story and good acting, but not good enough to bear the title of a Star Wars movie. The film was a wonderful sci-fi adventure that had ups, downs, and everything in between, but it simply was not Star Wars Material. “The Last Jedi” opened exactly where the last film, “The Force Awakens”, left off, and it wasted no time getting into the thick of things. Right away, I knew there was going to be a problem, because some of the jokes and story beats simply fell flat. It felt like they belonged in an episode of Star Trek as opposed to the epic galaxy of Star Wars. Furthermore, it felt like there were whole sections of the story that felt out of place, such as the inclusion of the Casino Planet and the portion about animal cruelty. However, the movie would partially redeem itself later on by returning to its wonderfully epic battles filled with emotion and wonder that is inescapable. For the most part, the acting was respectable in “The Last Jedi.” Leading Lady Daisy Ridley as Rey was perfect as usual, and her film foil Adam Driver was excellent as Kylo Ren as well. The last performance of Carrie Fisher’s storied career was nothing short of magical, and the film did a great job of sending her off in a beautiful way. Where the acting faltered was in the usage of John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Issac’s Poe, among others; they just did not feel fully involved in the story, and I found myself being confused as to what they were doing and unconcerned about their character arcs. “The Last Jedi”, for most of the movie, had a strong script that was packed with feeling and bookended with powerful moments that carry the movie into stardom. But the story suffers the same problem as the acting; a lot of it felt out of place in a Star Wars movie, and I could not get myself to care about what happened next. The movie did however have very strong battle scenes and incredible plot twists that I would never have seen coming. My high expectations clouded my vision for the movie, and my overall experience suffered because of it. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is not a bad movie by any means; it is simply a bad Star Wars movie. The most recent star wars movies, “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” did a much better job of adding to the overall mythology of the galaxy far, far away, and the “Last Jedi” really seemed to derail the trajectory of the Star Wars franchise as of late. “The Last Jedi” was a good science-fiction film, but it should not have been a Star Wars film. My hope for the franchise is that the next two movies, “Solo” and “Episode 9”, create a major course correction and bring Star Wars back to its former glory. Until then, the famous space saga leaves a lot to be desired.
Another year, another college football championship with an SEC team on top of the podium. I am not here to discuss the merits of SEC football because we all know they are good. The problem lies in the fact that this year, there were two SEC teams in the four-team college football playoff, and they met in the national championship as well. Many fans felt that two SEC teams should not be in the national championship game, and people all over the country were upset. Not many people know this, but the college football playoff was created to avoid this exact situation, after Alabama played Louisiana State University for the BCS National Championship in 2012. As it turns out, this four-team playoff has done absolutely nothing to make the situation better and has in fact made things worse. The prevailing idea in college football is that the best teams get to play in the biggest bowl games. This usually is not a problem, even when some of the best teams come from the SEC. The problem begins with the fact that only four teams are allowed in the playoff when there are many more teams that should be in the playoffs. This past year, the Big 10 conference was snubbed. The champion, Ohio State, was left out because they had lost two games to Alabama’s one. The runner up, Wisconsin, was also left out due to their weak schedule. The Pac 12 was also left out with their champion, University of Southern California, having lost three games. The biggest travesty of the selection committee was the clear disrespect to Central Florida, who went undefeated while not being in a power-five conference. The college football playoff is not a playoff unless all of the able teams are allowed to participate. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Central Florida, Texas Christian University and USC all should have been strongly considered for the playoffs, but they were all overlooked for the fan-favorites of the SEC, Alabama and UGA. Ideally, the playoff should include eight teams. This way, each of the power five conferences would be allowed to send their champions. This also allows the inclusion of three at-large teams, which would Include Central Florida, Wisconsin, and another SEC team. With this system, the playoff would be more inclusive, and the country would be allowed to see a true champion, as opposed to an SEC matchup that no one wants to see. The current college football playoff system is broken, and there are ways to fix it. The NCAA just needs to recognize that fact and get on with it already before they lose even more fans to the snoozefest that is yet another SEC matchup.
One of the most amazing things that can happen in a movie theater is when the viewers leave pleasantly surprised and utterly belated by the film they just saw. “Jumanji” is exactly the film that does both of these things. I went into this film with absolutely no expectations, because I am usually not a fan of remakes or reboots. However, “Jumanji” felt like an entirely new movie that is a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, and it did not disappoint. The first “Jumanji” film was released in 1995 with the late-great Robin Williams at the helm. Because of this, I felt that no other “Jumanji” movie could ever live up to the first installment in any way. After I left the theater, I walked away thinking the complete opposite. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is the definitive “Jumanji” movie, and it more than lives up to the “Jumanji” name. “Jumanji” is led by a very strong cast that is headlined by none other than Dwayne Johnson in the starring role. Following him are Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan, and these four go on a wild adventure, meeting characters played by Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale, who round out the cast with strong performances. Together, the whole cast creates hilarious situations and act together wonderfully. Johnson’s natural leading persona mixed with the humor of Hart are always welcome, and Black and Gillan play off each other perfectly as well. I was not expecting much out of the script in “Jumanji”, because all of the advertisements ahead of the movie made it seem like just another family comedy to make some money over the holidays. However, I found myself laughing at far too many jokes with way too many truly funny scenarios. It is no question that Hart is the leading funnyman of the movie, but Johnson, Black and Gillan were all able to hold their own in the funny department. Sure, there were times when “Jumanji” felt overly cheesey or where a joke did not register with the audience, but these instances were few and far between. Where the movie really triumphs is in its ability to bridge the gap between young and old, and this creates a truly comical and very enjoyable movie that far exceeded the expectations that viewers had for the film. I left “Jumanji” with a giant smile on my face, and I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel that is bound to come our way in just a few short years.
The Marvel cinematic universe is now 17 movies deep over the span of 20 years. The film franchise has done nothing short of revolutionize the movie industry, and many wonder how much longer that the production company, Disney, can sustain its level of popularity at the movies. The most recent film up to the proverbial bat was Thor’s third solo outing, “Thor: Ragnarok.” While many were not sure how the god of thunder was going to fare after the sequel “Thor: The Dark World”, I have the pleasure of saying that the fans have nothing to worry about. Thor is back and better than ever in his latest outing, and it is one rip-roaring ride. This was director Taika Waititi’s first time at the helm of a Marvel movie, and he took the franchise in a very different direction. The first two Thor films were serious films that were full of emotion, exposition and gravitas. However, “Ragnarok” is a film that is much more on the funny side of films, and it really does justice to the Marvel Universe. Waititi allowed the actors to show their humor all throughout the movie, and it had me in stitches for nearly the entire time. The performances were also exactly what one would expect from actors of this caliber. Chris Hemsworth still fits the part of Thor like a glove, and Tom Hiddleston has another masterful turn as the mischievous Loki. Newcomers Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson also fit right into the cast, and they all made me feel like I was in the middle of the action. Blanchett’s role as the villainous Hela was chilling, and it was much better than some of the other Marvel movie evildoers (ex: Topher Grace as Venom in Spider-Man 3). However, the comedy highlights always came whenever Goldblum was on screen as the Grandmaster. Goldblum has seen a career resurgence as of late, and it feels like he has never left the screen. The story of “Thor: Ragnarok” develops quite nicely, and it rarely felt like it dragged on. I was laughing throughout the whole movie, yet the film was still packed with enough action to feel like a tried and true Marvel movie. In fact, the only major risk the movie takes is its large presence of comedy; the rest of the film feels very much like a formulaic Marvel movie that plays it safe where it needs to while also furthering the story. This would be a bad thing if the jokes were dry and fell flat, but luckily the laughs just kept on coming. At the parts where the movie did slow down, it was not long before Waititi was able to regain control and bring in the next big set piece. “Thor-Ragnarok” feels both like a welcome change to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a familiar bout between the heros and the villains. However, this threequel is light-years better than Thor’s last adventure. The entire theater was doubled over with laughter during the comedy and holding on with white knuckles during the action. Waititi delivered exactly the jump start that Marvel and Disney needed before we see the next Avengers movie. I cannot wait to see more of this in the future. ✪8.5/10
When “Stranger Things” hit the scene last year, it took the world by storm. It was Netflix’s first big hit since “House of Cards”, and the world could not get enough of the kids from Hawkins, Indiana and their strange misadventures. Not long after the initial praise for the first season, Netflix greenlit a second season, and the world waited with bated breath for what was to come next in the wonderfully weird and retro series. On Oct. 27, viewers were given the second season, “Stranger Things 2”. With only a few missteps, it does not fail to live up to the loft expectations of its predecessor. We return to the scene of the crime, and life is seemingly back to normal for the residents of Hawkins. However, it is not long before Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, is again in turmoil as a result of the events of last season. The boys are again aided by Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour), Will’s mother, Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and the rest of the gang to try and figure out this new mystery. Each and every character gives a masterful performance that further cements this ensemble as something truly magical. Millie Bobby Brown is menacing once more in her role as Eleven, and each of the boys make it feel like they have been acting for years. Not one single character feels out of place, and everyone involved took the series to new heights. Each episode of the series helped to unfold the mystery of the underground in Hawkins, and something new was added with each hour that went by. By the end of the season, more questions seemed to have been asked than answered, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Some episodes did pace slower than others, such as Eleven’s visit to Chicago. Others felt somewhat out of place, such as the romance between Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton). However, by the season finale, everything was tied together in a fantastic conclusion that left many opportunities for the third season to explore. “Stranger Things 2” may not have reached quite the same highs as the epic first season, but the second season is certainly no slouch. The Duffer brothers have sculpted a universe that simply begs to be explored, and it is hard to imagine what the show would be without its perfect actors and its witty writing. The story unfolds like a storybook penned by a masterful fantasy author, and the added 1980’s retro flair makes the series that much better. Nearly everything about this second season just plain works, and any viewer will end the season overjoyed and in awe by the events that unfold. The eventual third season has a lot to live up to if it is going to match the first two seasons of “Stranger Things”.
The month of October has seen the worst box office returns in 10 years. The Hollywood Reporter states that ticket sales will just miss reaching $560 million. The last time ticket sales in October have not reached $600 million, or even $700 million in sales, was 2007. How could this be? Have ticket sales finally reached too far? A bad time of year? Or was it simply just a down month for movies? One would think that October is just like any other month for movies; however, that is not the case. In order to understand box office sales, one needs to recognize all the factors that go into buying a movie ticket. First the movie needs to be good. There needs to be a reason for a viewer to pick a specific movie and go see it. Second, the price. At opening weekend, ticket prices nowadays can range anywhere from $5 to $25, depending on the movie, the theater, and if its enhanced or not—things like 3D, IMAX, or what have you. The reason that this October was so bad for movie sales was that it is historically a down month for movie sales, AND the movies in theaters were not very good, on top of ticket sales already reaching a fever pitch. Let's start with the month of October. It is usually a much lower month for ticket sales as it is. The best times for movies to release are during the summer and winter months. The summer brings blockbusters such as “The Avengers” whereas the winter, also known as awards season, brings movies like “Star Wars” and other awards contenders. October is right in the middle of these two phases. To add to the October slump, September had some high profile releases this year such as “It” and “Kingsman 2”, which boosted the month to record sales. On the other side, November kicks off awards season with two superhero smashes, “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Justice League.” October just really is a bad month to release a movie. The next factor is the one that drives viewers crazy: ticket prices. According to the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), the average movie ticket price in 2016 was $8.43. Every year prior, the movie ticket price jumped anywhere from 5 cents a year to 50 cents a year. Just over 20 years ago, the average movie ticket price was half of what it is now. Movies are getting more and more expensive to make, so they need to charge more to meet the profits they are striving for. On top of that, in recent years movie theaters have also upgraded their services, requiring an upcharge for the individual theaters as well. Some viewers simply do not want to pay upwards of ten dollars to go see a movie in a theater when they could wait a few months to see it on services like Netflix and Amazon. Lastly, this October had such low returns because, quite frankly, the movies were bad. The beginning of October saw the high profile release of “Blade Runner: 2049.” The studio had large expectations, but the movie far underperformed despite glowing reviews. With its large budget and its relatively middling performance, Blade Runner is going to end up being a flop. After that, the month saw the releases of movies like “Only the Brave,” “Suburbicon,” “Geostorm” and “Thank You for Your Service,” all of which are likely to miss making a profit. “Geostorm” and “Suburbicon” in particular are going to flop hard due to their large budgets. Viewers just could not justify paying the high ticket prices to go see any of these lackluster films, despite whatever good reviews they may have received. Instead, they watched things like the World Series and the release of “Stranger Things 2” on Netflix. Movie ticket prices are indeed getting too high for their own good. One can only blame so much on inflation and industry before people start to point fingers and cry foul. Production companies and movie theaters need to stay competitive, but they also need to make a profit. This month was simply not their month. It is unfair to place all of the blame on ticket prices for October's bad month, but if Hollywood and movie theaters are not careful, they could be in a lot of trouble in the coming years and lose many more moviegoers than they ever thought possible.
Sequels are more or less guaranteed in today’s cinema landscape. The advent of the superhero movie has brought with it an endless stream of twos, threes, fours and so on, all to milk the cash cow that is Hollywood. While this is not necessarily a bad thing (films like “Spider Man 2” and “Captain America 2” have been wildly successful), it can very much cause problems that are not just limited to a lack of originality and bad films. Matthew Vaughn, acclaimed director of 2010’s “Kick Ass,” and 2014’s “X-Men: First Class,” brought Mark Millar’s beloved short comic series “Kingsman: The Secret Service” to the silver screen back in 2015. Many viewers were seeing the movie as the spy genre for a new generation; a cocky new recruit with nothing left to lose but save the world was exactly the top of hero that audiences crave for in today’s theaters. It was a sleeper hit, raking in over $400 million in sales with raving reviews from critics as well. A sequel was all but assured and on Sept. 22nd, 2017, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” was released. [related title="Related Stories" stories="21436,21243" align="center" background="off" border="none" shadow="on"] In the first Kingsman movie, we saw Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton, struggle his way into the secret service, being taught by Merlin (Mark Strong) and Galahad (Colin Firth). When all others failed, the intrepid trio worked together to save the day. Directed by Matthew Vaughn once more, the Kingsman sequel follows in the vein of what made the first movie so successful: over-the-top action. The action scenes and set pieces are incredible from start to finish. From ridiculous car chases to unbelievable shootouts, the action never stops and is never too much either. Matthew Vaughn knew where to put which piece of excitement so that the movie would never feel slow or off pace, and it is wildly successful because of it. “Kingsman 2” brings back leads from the first movie: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, all of whom deliver fantastic performances. Newcomer to the series Julianne Moore plays a wonderful villain, even if her intentions seem a bit cookie-cutter, and the Secret Service counterpart, the Statesmen, led by Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum and Pedro Pascal, was a perfect addition to the series that I hope continues to grow. Where the movie falters is in the writing. While the first Kingsman was able to tread new ground for the action drama, the Golden Circle had to fight off the sequel slump while also trying to be better than the first film. Some of the dialogue did seem too cheesy at times, and a few of the monologues by characters seemed to be at odds with the rest of the film. A few of the story and character arcs also felt out of place, and by the end of the movie, I left very happy and entertained, but also bittersweet and a little melancholy. If “Kingsman: The Secret Service” helped to reinvent the modern action movie, then “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” was more of the same. It was not at all a bad film, but it did feel too similar in some places. That being said, the movie was a fantastic ride, and I highly recommend it for series fans and lovers of the genre; you will not leave disappointed. ✪7/10
Last week, the news broke that the Biloxi Public School System in Mississippi had decided to remove the classic American Novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” from its eighth grade curriculum. This is only the most recent case of a classic novel being banned from a school system; last year, Maya Angelou’s harrowing tale, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” was banned from a school district in Illinois. Censorship like this is, quite frankly, appalling, and it needs to stop immediately. I read “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the eighth grade as a matter of fact, as did each and every one of my classmates. While reading the book, I learned many valuable lessons, ranging from respect and compassion, as well as learning about the history of the south. It was an amazing novel to read, and I instantly understood why it is frequently called the greatest novel in American Literature. At the time, I had no idea that a book such as this was being censored in districts around the country. I know now that the language used in books like these, as well as Angelou’s novel, may be less than acceptable in today’s culture. This uncomfortableness that people are having immediately validates one of the books’ many purposes: You are supposed to feel uncomfortable.[sidebar title="Mockingbird Update" align="left" background="on" border="none" shadow="on"] As of October 25, To Kill A Mockinbird has been somewhat reinstated in Biloxi Public Schools on the condition that students must have parental consent to read the text. It still is not a part of the required curriculum. Read more about the initial coverage and the results of the controversy. [/sidebar] “To Kill A Mockingbird” was written about a period where bigotry, hatred and murder ran rampant in the south. While this may not be how the south is today, the book teaches about the solemn nature in which the book was written. The book uses strong language that may not be kosher to some families, but is absolutely necessary to the story. This brings me to the main concern: parents. More often than not, a book gets banned because one single parent decided to disagree with what was being taught. In this case, a parent in Biloxi, Mississippi did not like the language that was used in “To Kill A Mockingbird,” so they decided to complain to someone, who then promptly removed the book from the curriculum. Here lies the first problem: if a single parent does not agree with what is being taught in the book, maybe then their child could be excused from reading it. However, do not deprive the entire school system of the valuable lessons they could be learning by reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” just because one parent does not like it. This is the biggest problem with censorship in public schools: one parent thinks they have all the power, and in the end they get what they want at the cost of the education of everyone else in the system. The second problem stems from this; these valuable lessons are designed to make you uncomfortable, and they are supposed to force students to think, to reason, and to understand. “To Kill A Mockingbird” may be one of the single most important lessons in my schooling career, simply due to all of the ethical and cultural lessons I learned from it. Many other books, like “Huckleberry Finn” and “1984” fall into this same vein, and the constant censorship from one uncomfortable mom baffles me. Public schools should be given the authority they deserve when it comes to teaching students about classic literature. Students at the middle school level, and especially the high school level, are the best equipped they will ever be to obtain the knowledge within these pages, and it should not be overlooked in any way. Parents need to learn to let their children learn, or maybe they should join in the lessons to learn a thing or two themselves.
It has been a recent trend in the National Football League for players to kneel during the National Anthem as a form of silent protest against racial inequality, police brutality, and many other things. It was all kicked off by Colin Kaepernick when he was still a member of the San Francisco 49ers. However, while the protest was garnering plenty of interest and starting many conversations, President Donald Trump flipped everything on its head and lit a fire across the Nation, once again, with this line from his speech in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday September 22nd: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!” President Trump has just started a war. Regardless of how one feels about the protest itself, Trump has just messed up once again. What started out as an act of peaceful, singular protest has been turned to a league-wide protest against the president. While players are still protesting Kaepernick’s original issue, nearly every team in the NFL showed some form of protest or show of unity in response to the President’s remarks. This is what is important: the NFL players on Sunday all protested for the right to protest. [related title="Related Stories" stories="22316,22250" align="right" background="on" border="none" shadow="off"] If I were being told that I or a colleague of mine was not allowed to do my legal, peaceful protest that my place of employment has not outlawed me from doing, I would be furious. Before last Sunday, the majority of NFL players were standing for every National Anthem, while supporting their teammates whole-heartedly. After Trump’s tweets, everyone from Jerry Jones and the other owners of the teams to Lebron James (who isn’t even in the NFL!) has been outraged and reacted to the President on Sunday. Everything from team-wide locked arms to not even participating in the National Anthem (remaining in the locker room) was seen on Sunday. It is certainly interesting and heartwarming to see how many people will react when being told by someone uninvolved that they cannot peacefully protest. As for the President, I will just say this: this issue is extremely low in the list of things he should be worrying about. Frankly, this is below him in all sense of the word. I think he should be more focused on that wall that is supposedly going to be built, or the war he is dangerously close to starting with North Korea, yet he wastes his time on protests that are, quite frankly, inciting positive change for the league and the fans that watch on Sundays. In the end, maybe this whole debacle will add more fuel to the protests in the NFL. After all, Kaepernick’s original intention was to simply start a conversation, nothing more. Now that Trump has thrown in his two cents, it has become a frenzy for players to defend their right to protest whatever they please, regardless of their stance on kneeling during the National Anthem. People always want to do what people say they cannot do. The most extreme example of this has just occurred, and it has backfired for President Trump almost entirely. Maybe he wanted the media to focus on something other than his failed attempts to create a good healthcare system, I am not sure. If that is the case, it certainly worked. The National Football League simply was united because of it, and it was a wonderful thing to witness.