The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Staff’s Picks: Best/Worst Entertainment Summer 2011

Best Movie: ‘Harry Potter’

By Megan McKeown
Watching the final Harry Potter was a bittersweet feeling because I grew up with the books. As I got older, so did the characters. Now that the movies are over, I have nothing to look forward to in this series. The magic is gone …literally. Nevertheless, I cried and rejoiced at the same time throughout the entire thing.  The movie jumped straight into the action, so I was literally on the edge of my seat for the entire film.
Seeing Snape’s compassionate side and discovering he secretly cared for Harry for all those years made me change all of my bitter feelings I had toward him before. Snape’s memories Harry sees through the Pensieve justify Snape’s behavior during Harry’s years at Hogwarts. 
Neville Longbottom proved himself in this movie when he stood up against Voldemort.  He honored his friendship with Harry by speaking up for him when everyone thought he was dead and nothing could be done -— the mark of a loyal friend. 
After Harry breaks the Elder Wand, there is a moment when the audience sees Ron, Harry and Hermione standing together with a long shot of Hogwarts in shambles in the background. They were all looking forward holding hands, and it was then I realized the series was over. The books and the movies that I had grown up with were actually over. Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for giving me my childhood.

WorstMovie: ‘Captain America’

By Hannah Rogers
Movies should be made to tell a story — not to advertise for another movie. Sure, studios and those involved in the making of the film can dream for a sequel or spin-off, but the plot and ending of the first movie shouldn’t be designed wholly around the idea for more.
“Captain America” was a decent film for the majority of its running time, considering the Captain isn’t Spider-man or Batman and didn’t have the budget of bigger superhero franchises. Chris Evans was likable in the titular role, and there were several heartfelt moments, even if it was a bit campy at times.
And then came the climax. And then the ending. Basically, “Captain America” was ruined by its final five minutes. Because it had the disadvantage of being a hybrid of the endings of “Iron Man 2” and “Thor” — and Thor had the benefit of being more attractive, casting Natalie Portman and coming out first.
But more insulting than not having an original ending, which admittedly isn’t as important as a satisfying ending, was how the movie suddenly became “Captain America: A Giant Commercial for The Avengers in 2012” instead of “Captain America.” If Marvel wants to make “The Avengers,” that’s great. However, asking people to pay an average of $10 (not counting 3D screens) to see a two-hour trailer for it is nothing more than a pathetic cash grab.
The Captain deserves better and so do movie viewers.


BestMovie: ‘The Hangover 2′

By Eric Evans
“The Hangover 2” might just be one of the most anticipated “dirty humor” movies to hit the theater since the first movie came out. With expectations soaring ever higher after the first movie was released, many people did not expect such an impressive showing with the sequel.
The large budget for “The Hangover 2” was immediately apparent with great quality, better camera shots and much better production all around. The characters mostly stayed the same but some new talent came to the scene without distracting the viewer from the main actors.
The biggest difference between the first movie and the second were the extremes “The Hangover 2” went to so it ensured the whole audience was in awe of what was going on. There was not a dull moment during the movie and laughter could be heard almost continuously. Laughter was not the only sound emitting from the auditorium, however, as gasps could be heard during some especially shocking situations. No matter what sounds were being made, the audience was drawn in to go along on the wild ride “The Hangover 2” makes so thrilling.
The movie is rated R for a reason, though. Some scenes were quite disturbing and pretty traumatic to say the least. If you can manage to overlook some of the more disgusting scenes, you will definitely enjoy the wild antics “The Hangover 2” provides.

WorstMovie: ‘Thor’

By Kaitlyn Byrne
Super hero movies seem to be a hot trend lately, but the only thing hot about “Thor” was Chris Hemsworth, the actor who played the title character. However, Hemsworth’s (admittedly) god-like abs were still not enough to keep viewers interested for the 115 minutes of B-movie action.
When Thor’s manipulative, jealous brother frames him and gets him kicked out of the Norse heavens, Thor must try to save Earth from impending intergalactic doom (I bet you didn’t see that one coming) delivered by the “frost giants.” Unfortunately, the frost giants look about as intimidating as their name sounds. From the frost giants’ failed attempt to look like scary villains to the video game-esque shots of the heavens, the graphics in “Thor” scream low budget, even though Marvel Studios sank millions into its production.
Graphics and plot aside, “Thor” still disappoints.
Throughout the movie, Thor exhibits a severe lack of personality, a lack of creativity, and a lack of intelligence. I predict we will see “Thor” reenactments in a spoof movie in the near future. At least, I hope so.

Best TV Show: ‘Wilfred’

By James Carksadon
A grungy man in a cheaply-made dog suit talking to Elijah Wood doesn’t follow the normal sitcom model of attractive twenty-somethings living in a city, but FX’s “Wilfred” has developed a loyal following over the summer.
The crude content of the show may turn some viewers away, but the show has been consistently hilarious in its first season. If FX can keep “Wilfred” and “Louis” in its Thursday night lineup, it may be developing a killer tandem of comedy shows.
The show centers around Elijah Wood’s misadventures with Wilfred (played by Jason Gann in a dog suit), who only Wood can hear talk. The idea is far-reaching, and I would love to have been there when it was first pitched to executives, but to my surprise it has become one of the best shows currently on television.
Seeing a jobless lawyer talk to a pot-smoking dog helps remind us that, well, we’re not too far from going crazy ourselves.

BestMovie: ‘Super 8′

By Hannah Rogers
I admit I was biased in favor of “Super 8” before I saw the movie. Director J.J. Abrams helped bring “Lost” to the small screen. Steven Spielberg was billed as a producer, and the movie itself harkened back to “E.T.” and “The Goonies.” And the adult male lead, Kyle Chandler, finished his run as Coach Eric Taylor on “Friday Night Lights” before “Super 8” debuted in theaters.
Expectations for the movie were high, even though much of the plot was kept secret, and it did not disappoint. Even though it could technically be classified as a popcorn blockbuster, “Super 8” has enough emotional weight to remain memorable after the credits roll.
Whether or not the movie worked depended on the group of young actors cast as friends trying to film a zombie movie in the ‘80s could not only act believably in comedic moments, but also carry poignant moments. They succeed as an ensemble, but Joel Courtney, who plays protagonist Joe Lamb,  accurately conveys the sorrow of losing a parent, the rush of first love and the courage to move forward.
And although “Super 8” is unlikely to be a Best Picture nominee in the Oscar race next year, Michael Giacchino could easily be nominated for his beautiful score.
J.J. Abrams, arguably one of the most creative minds in Hollywood at the moment, has yet to disappoint and with “Super 8” reached new heights of emotional yet adventurous storytelling.

Worst TV Show: ‘The Bachelorette’

By Hannah Rogers
I was happily wasting my summer watching the NHL network, and I would have continued to be happy had I not been forced on several occasions to sit through the train wreck that is “The Bachelorette.” Admittedly, I could have walked away from the television when my family turned on ABC, but I was attempting to be social. So instead of saving my brain cells, I got to sit through the joys of reality television.
Ashley Herbert, a dental student, was this summer’s bachelorette, and did nothing to prove my assumptions about the show wrong. Those assumptions include how overly dramatic these situations are, how awkward the concept of dating multiple people in attempting to gain a serious relationship actually is and how ABC just needs to let the franchise die instead of exposing America to delusions of “love.”
How can people actually watch these contestants (victims?) go on dates and talk about the same subjects over and over again? Can the next season of the show end any more awkwardly than this one did? And why was Ashley stupid enough to obsess over Bentley for so long after knowing him for such a short period of time?
Maybe I’m too judgmental. Maybe I’m bitter about being a college student who doesn’t get to travel overseas for her dates.
 Or maybe I just want my summer programming to not make me want to vomit from its ridiculousness. But let’s face it, even if you’re a regular fan of the show, this season was a disappointment.

WorstMovie: ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’

By Hannah Rogers
Let me preface this by saying I realize “Transformers” isn’t meant to win Oscars or spark meaningful questions about society. However, it is intended to be blockbuster summer entertainment, and there lies the problem. Because, like the second “Transformers” movie, the newest installment in the series lacks the ability to entertain.
The only surprise within the movie is how long robot battles actually can last, considering the lack of story surrounding said battles. Convoluted robot mythology (apparently, there is such a thing) and lame jokes populate the films quieter moments. (A quieter moment in “Transformers” is one that doesn’t give the audience members headaches.)
To be fair, “Transformers” has one redeeming moment: a cameo from Buzz Aldrin. Why a real American hero wanted to associate himself with this cultural disaster one can only guess, but it is what it is.
Aside from the five-second nod to American history, which admittedly much of the target audience won’t care about anyway, there is nothing to enjoy. The comedy isn’t funny. There is no character development, and there is still the question of why Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his vapid girlfriend (this time played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) are even in a movie about CGI robots.
Let me put it like this: I attended two car-related events this summer — “Transformers” and driving school. I had more fun at driving school.

Worst TV Show: ‘Shark Week’

By Hannah Rogers
The part of me that believes in educational television feels bad for speaking out against Shark Week. I honestly think it’s great that people willingly (and get excited about) learning more about the natural world. However, after literally watching Shark Week every day, for most of the day, I can say with authority there is sometimes too much of a good thing.
Does the world need a Shark Week every summer? I mean, what about dolphins? Why don’t other aquatic dwellers get a week, or even a day, dedicated to them? Or even other predatory animals? It just seems, that after so many years, the Discovery Channel has milked the shark craze to death.
Unlike most people, I’m not afraid of sharks. But after watching them attack their prey over and over and jump out of the water like psycho-killer dolphins, I think I’m tempting fate. And as I spend most of my summer by the beach, I feel like a fear of sharks can’t be healthy.
Of course, the ratings hit high marks this year, so I guess I’m alone in my hatred of Shark Week. But after about the third day, all the information starts to blend together, and it’s hard not to be hypnotized by the water. Maybe knowing that some sharks can jump out of the water will one day save my life, but until then, I remain convinced next year I will not be suckered into camping out in front of my television for another round.

Best Music: Lecrae

By Piper Reaves
Summer 2011 provides top-chart singles in every genre, as this season tends to do, such as Lil Wayne’s top hit “She Will.”  In the Christian genre of music, this is no exception with the artist Lecrae’s newest album Rehab.  Although the album was released at the start of 2011, its singles still hit the charts.
Lecrae is a rapper who makes Christian music and has put out recent albums Rebel and Rehab
Do not get preconceived notions of what is typical Christian music, because this artist produces just as good “beats” as any hit hip-hop/rap artist in the secular music genre. 
The difference between the secular rap and Lecrae’s Christian rap is, of course, the powerful content of Lecrae’s lyrics that does not exclude mentioning the issues of sex, drugs, drinking, pornography, etc. but from an obviously different standpoint. 
Compared to the artist who holds the spot of number one at this time or anytime in the regular hip-hop/rap section of i-tunes, this album still proves to be my “summer’s best” because it has comparable style of music instrumentally with powerful, Christian, real-life lyrics to his life’s testimony. 
This artist declares to his listeners to not look to him as a superstar but rather to God. Lecrae also asks God to write his lines and to take the lead while he plays the background.
 If you want to listen to a power song, listen to the humble hits of this great artist as he points to the true Best, not only of the summer, but also of eternity. 

Best Music: Death Cab for Cutie

By Mollie C. Reeves
Released May of this year, Death Cab for Cutie’s new album Codes and Keys surpasses the band’s previous melodramatic undertones and initiates the band’s breaking from former lyrical structure. Singer Ben Gibbard, also known for his work with the band The Postal Service, sparks new interest in Death Cab’s latest album by playing with low-fi recordings throughout the album, as well as intricate looping during performances of Codes and Keys.
Although the album begins with a mainly instrumental — and somewhat dull on first listen — beginning track entitled “Home Is a Fire,” the album’s title track “Codes and Keys” makes up for the slow start with beats that keep the entire body wired to the unpredictable, shifting measures.
Played at Death Cab’s shows on this tour, the title track sets the tone for the entire album, which one might call a simmering shade of musical delectatudes just in time for the 2011 dog days of summer. Gibbard plays with traditional chord progressions and allows the album to remain staccato and dissonant, emphasizing his return to the band’s 2003 album Transatlanticism.
At its Aug. 11 tour show in Atlanta, the band only played four or five songs from the new album, a rarity for an 11-track album begging to be “unlocked and opened.” Rather, Death Cab pulled its set list from almost all of their albums, including “Cath” and “Grapevine Fires” from its 2008 album Narrow Stairsand “Crooked Teeth” from 2005’s album Plans, among others. The final encore, “Transatlanticism,” shook the crowd, especially after fans initiated singing “Happy Birthday” to Gibbard, 35, whose birthday was the same day as the show.
Codes and Keysends on a lighter note with its track “Stay Young, Go Dancing,” with lines such as “when she sings, I hear a symphony,” begging to be decoded as dedicated to Gibbard’s new bride, singer and actress Zooey Deschanel.

Best TV: ‘Teen Mom’

By Wendy Morell
Every Tuesday, I get really excited. I settle down with my purple Snuggie and a little snack and prepare myself to watch possibly the best television to ever grace, well, television. I wonder if Farrah still thinks she is going to make it in the world of modeling. Will Amber and Gary break up and get back together again? Wait, are Amber and Gary together or not this week? How adorable will Maci and Bentley be this week, despite her questionable relationship with Kyle? And, finally, are Catelynn and Tyler still staying strong living on their own?
MTV’s second season of “Teen Mom” has kept me riveted all summer. The girls are so real, and the show brings up important debates like whether the viewers should be “Team Kyle” or “Team Ryan.”
The show also serves as somewhat of a parenting tool. It highlights the strengths of some of the moms while also exposing their weaknesses. Most importantly, it proves teen parenthood isn’t the ideal situation for anyone. The characters, er, real people in the show are so easy to sympathize with or dislike. Some people say the show presents an unrealistic illustration of teen parenthood, but I think the opposite. After all, with all the drama going on in their lives, how do these girls find time to be mommies, too?

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Staff’s Picks: Best/Worst Entertainment Summer 2011