Thank You for Smoking

By Noah Beaver

What if I told you that there was a movie that made giant corporations look appealing, lobbyists promoting good health like scum bags, and that smoking is cool as hell? That movie is Thank You for Smoking.

Our protagonist is Nick Naylor, played by Aaron Eckhart. He’s a spokesperson for the world’s biggest cigarette company. His job is to convince as many people as possible that smoking is good for you.

His antagonist is a senator from Vermont, played by William H Macy. He’s trying to prove what should be obvious: that smoking kills. His overall goal is to make it

mandatory for cigarette companies to put image labels that warn about the effects of Tobacco.

With this description alone, you’d probably think of Nick Naylor as the bad guy, just like in an after school special. However, that’s not the case. Nick’s job is to convince the masses of the pros of smoking. And the thing is, he’s great at it. He convinces by having actual valid points, such as the fact that cholesterol is a much bigger killer than cigarettes, if cigarettes should have a giant warning label, shouldn’t also Vermont cheese?

His rival is trying to put a giant label with a skull on crossbones on all cigarette boxes, so that everyone will know of the dangers of smoking. But the fact is, everyone knows about the dangers of smoking. Schools and parents both already warn of the dangers of smoking, as they should. So why should a cigarette box do the same? Nick believes that with the knowledge present, people have the right to choose for themselves.

You may still believe that this movie isn’t worth watching, because you still don’t believe in it’s message. You probably have family members who have lost their lives to smoking. So, have I, and I don’t believe that smoking is good for you at all, or that cigarettes companies should have the freedom to sell to everybody. And neither does this movie.

A story almost always gives you a clear good guy and a clear bad guy. Or maybe it will give you a redeemable bad guy, or even no bad guys at all. Part of the genius of this movie is, neither are obvious. The smoking company is corrupt for trying to make as much money as possible, selling the deadliest substance in the world. But the lobbyists against it are just as corrupt, they use the same advertising tactics cigarette companies use to influence the public, censor media from having any of the characters smoking (even as far as to censor old ones by replacing the characters smoking with having a lollipop or candy cane in the mouth), and profit from raising the tax dollars of cigarettes.

If you’re a fan of comedies/satire, watch this movie. If you want a reason to smoke, watch this movie. If you believe that all smoking should be banned, and that you’re 100% sure that this film would do nothing but offend you, watch it. Because the only thing offensive about this movie, is the message, and the only possible danger you could get from it is finding out that your beliefs are wrong.

PS Also this film is rated R. That’s only because it uses “the f-word” too many times, it doesn’t use any swear words stronger than that, nor does it include any naughty body parts.

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nullAmerican Idiot the musical contains mature themes. If you are under sixteen, don’t watch it.

American Idiot is a musical based off of the album of the same name by Green Day. The musical and album tell the story of a twenty-something boy named Johnny making a journey through the city and finding his place in the world. Johnny is tired of living in the suburbs and sets out for Los Angeles. His friends decide to join him but end up abandoning him along the way. After getting to the the city, Johnny meets the girl of his dreams, referred to as “Whatsername”, and hallucinates a drug-addled persona named Saint Jimmy. Johnny, because he is overcome with addiction, threatens Whatsername with a knife. She leaves and he pursues a career. He gives up on his office job and goes home, resulting in the metaphorical suicide of Saint Jimmy. When he returns home, his friends although initially upset, embrace him (see the Wikipedia Article for a more in depth summary).

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There are, of course, many performances of American Idiot: The Musical. For the theatrics portion of this, I will be focusing on the L.A. performance, performed by Glory|Struck. There were a few artistic choices made in this performance. The biggest one I saw was that they had a woman play Saint Jimmy. This change was… Bad. It was bad. Although it could be seen as an interesting look into “Maybe Johnny is a trans woman” (seeing as Saint Jimmy is a reflection of Johnny and how he wishes to be, the life of the party, Etc.). If you were wanting to give that perspective you would need to give more in depth story attributes to that. Saint jimmy in his own song is referred to with masculine pronouns. The choreography for the whole musical was a little sloppy but still amazing.

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Now onto the audio design. I would talk about the mismatch between the actors vocal ability and the songs being played, but there’s genuinely only one person who can sing like Billie Joe Armstrong, and that’s Billie Joe Armstrong. In “American Idiot” (the individual song) they had amazing vocals, I loved the chorus with the delayed mirroring effect. I have found a clean version of “American Idiot” being performed by the broadway cast Here. The light work was well done, it did a great job of setting the mood for a lot of scenes.

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I have definitely seen worse musicals. This performance was not as good as what I’ve seen from the broadway version, but it was still an amazing experience. I’d love to know what other people think of it!

Niel Breen Supreme

I think we’re all familiar with the genre of ‘so bad that it’s good’ movies. A film that manages to do so makes so many terrible choices, that it becomes a hilarious riot. This is a movie that manages to not only make bad choices, but it makes them at places you didn’t even think was possible. null

Meet Neil Breen, or god, the new flavor of terribly amazing movies. Never before have I seen such perseverance, such beauty, such magnificent trash shown on screen before. This scene alone should give you a taste of what I’m talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZLkJcoQjJA

Believe me, it doesn’t make sense with context either. But the genius (or Breeneus) of Neil Breen doesn’t stop there. His 3rd movie, Fateful Findings, amazingly enough, doesn’t have a single scene in it that didn’t have an amazing amount of wrong.

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The movie starts with a 2 friends, a little boy and a little girl. They bury a locket in the ground, the boy gets superpowers, and the girl moves away. He grows up to be a writer, and a hacker who’s encrypting government secrets. He later reunites with his childhood friend, who his pil-addicted wife suspects that he’s having an affair with. Also his neighbors take up a considerable amount of screen time. Anyway, will Neil Breen reveal those giant government secrets, convince his wife he’s not having an affair, and fix his neighbors relationship? Or not?

Sorry, just gotta wipe some blood off my nose, trying to describe the plotlines of this movie was so exBreenly difficult, I got a Breen, err, I mean brain aneurysm. You might think that although written down the movie script seems extremely convoluted, it must translate better on film. I can assure you that it does not.

But the power of Breen’s filmmaking isn’t just kept to convoluted “plotlines”. His profession at being unprofessional transfers to all acts of filmmaking. The camera closes in on the faces too often without reason, nullalmost all of the scenes take place at different locations yet were obviously filmed at Neil Breen’s house, the music is generic stock, and whenever one of the characters try to do a basic movement or activity, they always find a way to fail at it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92KCWiczOm8

And that’s what makes Fateful Findings one of the most hilarious movies I’ve ever seen. If you liked the Room, see it. If you’re a fan of terribly amazing movies in general, see it. If you want a movie that has coherent plot lines, character movement, and dialogue, or a movie that’s at least decent, don’t watch it. But for the rest of you, this movie would likely be too opbreen, I mean obscene for you to handle.null

Movie Review: Minions

By Noah Beaver

Let me make myself clear: Minions is not a good movie. It’s the greatest work of all time. It proves itself to not only be completely necessary and made without any intentions other than the duty of releasing true art, it not only makes literally everything else pale in comparison (with the exception of Despicable Me, that gets second place, Sing gets third), but it has proved that an animated movie doesn’t just have to be intended for children: it can be intellectual and artistic, just like all the others.

Our story starts with explaining the origin of Minions. It turns out, they were created from evolution millions of years ago before humans. A truly remarkable and very necessary origin story, after all, I can’t see how else a race of yellow creatures who served an evil genius in the original movie could have been created any other way. Anyway, from the very beginning of their evolution, Minions had only one purpose in life: to serve an evil master, the most evil one they can find. They may be immortal, and they may be able to create their own societies with housing and entertainment, but without a master, they have no purpose.null

Anyway, after serving Napoleon Bonaparte, the Minions find a cave in the snowy wasteland. They build a colonization with homes and entertainment, but they eventually realize that their lives are meaningless without a master. So they decide to send 3 minions off into the world so that they can find a master. Those Minions are the main characters, Kevin, Stewart, and Bob.null

The wacky and hilarious trio eventually find their way to America, during the 60’s, meaning the Minions were dwelling in their ice cave for at least 159 years. Which is too bad, I can think of one particular bad guy they could have served. You know, the one with the cool mustache. Anyway, they find the most evil bad guy of all time: and it’s a woman! Yup, her name is Scarlet Overkill, and she has the most evil weapon of all time: screaming! I would go into more detail over the masterpiece that makes Citizen Kane look like bird crap, but quite frankly, the plot is much too complicated for your fragile little minds to even comprehend.

To see the full mastery of this godlike movie studio who constructed this masterpiece, compare them to this other crap company called ‘Pixar’. To be clear, they aren’t sell outs: that would indicate they were sold in to begin with. Every single movie they’ve made has been nothing more than an attempt to brainwash people to buy their merchandise, particularly our children. Just look at one of their many terrible movies titled ‘Finding Nemo’. It uses a completely unrelatable story with so many obvious cliches, it’s animation is very outdated (I mean just look at it), and worst of all: it has violence! The only reason this ocean turd is memorable at all is because it tries it’s best to scar your children with the first act! And this is unforgivable, chlidren should never be shown movie violence, after all, all us good parents know that they’re not actually going to encounter any in reality! So why show them any at all? Children are obviously to delicate for the real world, that’s why a parent who’s actually sensible would agree that the best way to raise them is to lock them indoors away from all outside communication and real world events.

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And that’s why I give this tear of god 9/10 stars. I took one away because this movie was so well constructed, my eyes melted off my face from it’s sheer beauty, and the hospital bill was pricey. Too bad I couldn’t have gotten better insurance with Trump Care! Anyway, when you inevitably decide to watch this masterpiece, make sure to wear shades, because the future with Minions is so bright! null

Movie Review: Get Out

By Noah Beaver

This is the kind of movie you almost never see. It takes two genres that usually don’t go together, doesn’t include any giant celebrities, focuses on a controversial issue, and yet grosses 30 million on it’s premiere. And for good reason. I highly recommend everyone to watch it, go to your local movie theater, and fake an ID (editor’s note: The Blunderbuss does not condone the forging of identification documents).null

Get Out is a satirical thriller. It exposes a type of racism, one that doesn’t include a white hood or a vote to the president you oppose. It’s one harder to reveal in the real world, one that we are all guilty of.

Chris, a young black man, is dating Rose, a white woman. They’re about to meet her parents, but Chris is worried because she didn’t tell them that he’s black. But when they arrive, her parents greet Chris in open arms. But something seems off. With each minute, it’s made more and more obvious that they are treating Chris as an exhibit instead of a person; because he’s black. Roses dad specifically tries to relate to Chris by trying to talk street, in an obviously fake manner. What’s more, the parent’s caretaker’s are all black, and all of them act outlandish. And later the parents invite their other rich white friends, where it’s revealed why everyone’s acting so weird: they’re kidnapping black people so they can transfer their minds to their bodies.

There is a problem in this world this movie exposes, and it’s not slavery. It’s a accidental problem, one that all of you have likely experienced or taken part in at some point. It’s a complicated one, and it’s hard to expose. So I won’t bother trying to. After you’ve seen it, look up somebody else’s analysis of the film to understand the message. Or better yet, watch interviews with the director Jordan Peele, because If I try to explain the message, I would certainly word it wrong.

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But even forgetting the satire, as a thriller, I loved this movie on it’s own right. They only problem I had was one too many jump scares, but everything else was great. It’s one of the few thrillers I can think of that is not only suspenseful, but also logical.

Much more analysis should and has been made with this movie, so please, research it. Research and talk about it with others, try to make this movie talked about.

Movie Review: Chicago

By Noah Beaver

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2002’s Chicago is, in my opinion, a perfect example of what a musical should be, most notably on the screen. It has songs that are not only butter to the ears, but they each have a point. Too many times have I seen musicals with songs that are there usually because it pre-existed a few years ago and Hollywood wants to capture the young demographic. But the biggest problem I usually see, is celebrities. Unfortunately, Hollywood always wants recognizable names on their movies, and that includes movie musicals. The problem with that is, the celebrities hired either do a terrible or mediocre job singing because of a lack of experience, Hollywood doesn’t understand that acting and singing are two different talents. Though Chicago does star celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, and John C. Riely, each of them does a great job with their musical chops. But enough of me crowing, what’s the story?

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It’s 1924. We’re in a certain city, but I can’t remember which one. Anyway, our main lead, Roxie Hart, sees star Velma Kelly perform the song “All That Jazz” at a local theater. Wanting to have the spotlight, she has an affair with Fred Casely, who claims to know the manager. Afterwards, Fred reveals he just wanted her body. Enraged, Roxie shoots him dead. Simultaneously, Velma gets arrested for murder for her husband Charlie, and sister Veronica, who were in bed together. Both wind up in prison, but with Chicago’s best lawyer Billy Flynn, they both have a chance of walking free. Can Roxie and Velma manipulate the press and walk free? Or will they rot in lady prison, or worse, get the death penalty?

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As far as I can tell, the costumes resemble what was worn in 20’s Chicago, as do the sets. The actors have the old timey accents nailed down, and each character has their own charm. Though there’s plenty of singing, not even the forgettable songs are bad, nor out of place. Song or acting, it’s fun to watch, I can’t think of a single part of the movie where I was bored. Whether you’re a musical fan, or a newbie, watching will surely give you a razzle-dazzle time.

 

Movie Review: Ai Wei Wei Never Sorry

By Noah Beaver

The Chinese government has been and still is communist. It paints China as a perfect country. It does that by covering every single mistake, they censor every single natural and unnatural disaster, and they censor anybody in their country who tries to expose it. This documentary focuses on Ai WeiWei, an artist who has exposed China’s flaws.

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DON’T SKIP OVER THIS REVIEW! I know at least half of you reading this have decided they are not interested in this movie, because it’s a documentary. And let me tell you, most documentaries bore me to. But this movie is an exception, because of how extraordinary and unreal it seems. It seems unreal because China itself seems unreal, unreal because of how unjust it is, criticism and satirization itself can and does get people arrested in China.

This is where Ai Weiwei comes in. He is a Chinese revolutionist His biggest contribution in China was helping build the Bird’s Nest for the 2008 Olympic games, which he later regretted, calling it a ‘fake smile’ for China.  image01.jpg

In May, 2008, an Earthquake struck China. During it, many schools collapsed, killing thousands of children. Instead of broadcasting this tragedy, or even trying to get some help funds from other countries, the Chinese government ceased any mention of this tragedy all sources, no extra motives for this can’t be found other than pride. Like others, Ai Weiwei investigated the weak infrastructure used for the buildings, and produced a list of the victims on his blog, and 2 years later, made this memorial in Munich, Germany.  

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It says in Chinese: She lived happily for seven years in this world, quoted from a mother who lost her child in one of the schools.

This is one of Ai WeiWei’s many advancements captured in this movie. It shows how much work he’s put into his projects, how he’s criticized his government’s mistakes, and how the fear he’s had because of how much power the government has to make him stop. I fully recommend everyone to watch it, not only for the harsh reality, but also the passion that comes with exposing it.