Image c/o Drew Paxman
By Drew Paxman
Editorial Designer/Visiting Entertainment Columnist
Awards season is wrapping up and very few questions remain. This season’s Oscar races, with a few exceptions we will dive into, have cemented clear frontrunners in almost every above-the-line category. But that doesn’t mean we necessarily think those frontrunners should win.
In this article, you’ll see our final predictions for the above-the-line categories for the 2024 Academy Awards and who The Collegian staff thinks should win.
Anatomy of a Fall
Killers of the Flower Moon
The Zone of Interest
Expected Winner: Oppenheimer
Staff Pick: Oppenheimer or Barbie
This one is a done deal. Christopher Nolan’s sweeping summer blockbuster biopic is (spoiler alert) set to dominate on Oscar night. Oppenheimer won best picture prizes at the Golden Globes (for Best Motion Picture - Drama), the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the BAFTAs in addition to picking up a win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards. Couple those wins with 13 nominations and you have a set frontrunner. Our staff, however, is more divided. While half of us sided with the likely winner, the other half favored its summer blockbuster sibling, Barbie. While our polling may have been close, don’t expect the same results on March 10.
Anatomy of a Fall - Justine Triet
Killers of the Flower Moon - Martin Scorsese
Oppenheimer - Christopher Nolan
Poor Things - Yorgos Lanthimos
The Zone of Interest - Jonathan Glazer
Expected Winner: Christopher Nolan
Staff Pick: Christopher Nolan
This one may be more set than Best Picture if you can believe that. Like his film in the Best Picture category, Nolan has won every best director award at the major precursors. Additionally, Nolan has never won an Oscar before, creating an “overdue” narrative that provides more incentive for voters to vote for him. Both our staff and awards voting bodies agree: Nolan’s directorial achievements are undeniable.
Bradley Cooper - Maestro
Colman Domingo - Rustin
Paul Giamatti - The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy - Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright - American Fiction
Expected Winner: Cillian Murphy
Staff Pick: Cillian Murphy
More Oppenheimer dominance, though this category is less crystal clear. After taking home the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor, Paul Giamatti seemed like the likely frontrunner for his starring turn in The Holdovers. However, after recent wins at the BAFTAs and SAG (in addition to his Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama at the Globes), Murphy has ascended to the frontrunner position. Our staff agrees that Murphy should win, but also note both Giamatti’s and Bradley Cooper’s performances as particularly stellar.
Annette Bening - Nyad
Lily Gladstone - Killers of the Flower Moon
Sandra Hüller - Anatomy of a Fall
Carey Mulligan - Maestro
Emma Stone - Poor Things
Expected Winner: Lily Gladstone
Staff Pick: Lily Gladstone or Emma Stone
The hardest category to predict. A case can easily be made for both Stone and Gladstone as far as who will win on Oscar night. Let’s start with the basics. Both Stone and Gladstone won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in their respective categories. Stone then went on to win the Critics’ Choice and the BAFTA, while Gladstone recently was the victor at SAG. A few external factors separate these two nominees, as well. First off, Gladstone has a much stronger narrative than Stone. Her win would signify the first Best Actress win for any indigenous person and, unlike Stone, would be her first win in the category (Stone previously won this award in 2017 for La La Land, so there may not be a desire to reward her a second time so soon). Disputes given whether Gladstone is in the right category given her limited screen time, however, hurt her campaign. Gladstone was also not nominated at BAFTA, a noteworthy miss given Killers of the Flower Moon’s success in securing nominations in other categories.
This situation can very easily be compared to last year’s Best Actress race in which SAG and Golden Globe winner Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once) defeated Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA winner Cate Blanchett (Tár) for the Oscar, becoming the first Asian-American actor to win Best Actress. While on the surface it seems like Gladstone’s case is identical to Yeoh’s, a couple factors separate this year’s race from last year’s: 1) Yeoh is a veteran actor and has been a force-to-be-reckon with in the film industry, creating an “overdue” narrative, and 2) Yeoh’s film went on to be the biggest Oscar winner since 2008, winning Best Picture and six other awards. Gladstone is a relatively new face in the film industry and does not have an “overdue” narrative like Yeoh. Additionally, Killers of the Flower Moon is firmly out of the Best Picture-winning conversation (Gladstone’s win would likely be the only one it would get). However, because of the significance of winning a SAG Award and because of similarities between Gladstone’s and Yeoh’s cases, we are hesitantly predicting Gladstone to win the Oscar.
Our staff is just as torn on our personal preference as we are on our prediction. Stone and Gladstone give star-marking performances in their respective films. While Gladstone is subtly brilliant, Stone is eccentrically commanding on the screen. We understand voter’s confusion in picking a winner.
Best Supporting Actor
Sterling K. Brown - American Fiction
Robert De Niro - Killers of the Flower Moon
Robert Downey, Jr. - Oppenheimer
Ryan Gosling - Barbie
Mark Ruffalo - Poor Things
Expected Winner: Robert Downey, Jr.
Staff Pick: Robert Downey, Jr. or Ryan Gosling
Another addition to the Oppenheimer sweep. RDJ has this one in the bag. The former Avenger has won a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, BAFTA, and SAG Award for his performance as Lewis Strauss.
At The Collegian, we are a little more mixed than the voting bodies. While we love Downey, Jr.’s performance, we are partial to Ryan Gosling’s comedic turn as Ken in Barbie. Unfortunately for him, Gosling’s performance might not have been Kenough to steal this Oscar away from Robert Downey, Jr.
Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt - Oppenheimer
Danielle Brooks - The Color Purple
America Ferrera - Barbie
Jodie Foster - Nyad
Da’Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers
Expected Winner: Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Staff Pick: America Ferrera
Another easy one here. Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s hauntingly beautiful performance in The Holdovers has got her all four major precursors and plenty of critics awards. Like Supporting Actor, this race is over.
Our staff, however, preferred a different performance. Most of The Collegian staff voted for America Ferrera’s powerful performance as Gloria in Barbie. Her powerful monologue near the end sealed the deal for many of our writers.
By Andrew Martinez Cabrera
For cinephiles, the new year has begun with several momentous cinematic events. The Oscars are coming up and audience members have been bickering over nominations, snubs, and ultimately, disappointing winnings. While studios are busy campaigning for their Best Picture nominees, they have also been dumping movies that no one will watch and, ultimately, will die on arrival. The movie that has been leading in this category is the new live-action adaptation of Madame Web.
Madame Web is the third movie made by Sony-Marvel that is not connected to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It also relates to Spider-Man’s extended universe (whatever that means) without ever showing Spider-Man. Instead, audience members follow the title character, Cassandra Webb, played flatly by Dakota Johnson, an EMT/ambulance driver in 2003’s New York City before getting her superpowers.
I find it fitting that the movie is set in the early 2000’s. It felt like they found a 20-year-old script in a warehouse and decided to produce it so that Sony wouldn’t lose their license. Madame Web feels like a time capsule, reminiscent of a time when studios were still trying to figure out how to make superhero movies and would just throw things on a wall until something stuck. Madame Web, unlike an itsy-bitsy spider climbing on the wall, is a massacred splotch that stained the wall and somehow found itself in movie theaters.
Let's be honest, no one is going to watch this. If I were to assign merit to an otherwise meritless cash grab, I’d say it is fun to watch. That being said, this fun comes at the cost of also having to sit through some boring sludge, just to end up laughing at the most abysmal line reads.
So, indulge me in spoiling a movie that isn’t worth $12 of your hard-earned cash. Instead of going to the theaters, choose to stream this movie in the future, like Madame Web would have wanted it. That’s her whole gimmick anyway. Tell me, when you think of Spider-Man’s superpowers, do you picture web-swinging, superhuman abilities like strength and speed, and the famous Spidey-sense? What are Madame Web’s powers, you might ask?
Clairvoyance. You know, that classic thing spiders do. Does she have any other abilities? Nope. Does she get a costume? Not until the last minute of the movie. The only connection between the two franchises is that she was bitten by a spider in the Amazon (or technically her mother was). A lot of plot building happens, and then she falls into a river and dies. Cassandra then gains her powers when an indigenous tribe of Spider-people helps her dying mother give birth to her or something. Hence, her powers become trauma-induced. This chaotic scene takes place in the first 20 minutes of the movie before it becomes a confusing version of Groundhog Day, where she’s struck with disjointed flashes of the future yet to happen. One of these flashes reveals to Cassandra that three teenage girls will also be targeted by the same evil Spider-Man-like figure that killed her mother.
Does that sound convoluted? It is. Does this sound like a real movie? I know it shouldn’t be.
Madame Web is undercooked in every single aspect of the movie-making process, from its weak script to weirdly-paced editing sequences, it is a disappointment. And again, no charismatic actors occur whatsoever. Part of its “charm” (and that’s being generous) is that it doesn’t feel like a superhero movie for the majority of its runtime. The references to Spider-Man are there to remind you of a different universe that audiences like more. This can clearly be seen in the movie’s teasing of the birth of Peter Parker,as if he were Jesus Christ Himself.
The final scene of this movie perfectly encapsulates Sony/Marvel’s capitalistic ethos. Throughout the movie, Pepsi incorporated explicit product placement during seemingly inappropriate scenes, making their brand critical to the plot itself. Instead of ending the movie at a famous New York landmark, the director settled on a Pepsi-Cola billboard atop a decrepit firework factory. The ending in itself sounds like a cheap mad-libs construction. It culminated with one of the letters from the billboard detaching and crushing the villain to death; we can thank Madame Web’s clairvoyance for that one. To make matters worse, this death was teased throughout the entire movie. I couldn’t help but groan when I realized why: an advertisement takes out the bad guy and an inanimate Pepsi-Cola becomes the hero. It sounds like something Don Draper from Mad Men would have pitched.
The movie ends with Cassandra saying that the best part about the future is that it hasn’t happened yet. It’s a sweet-enough sentiment lazily hamfisted into the movie. The best part of my future is never having to see Madame Web again.
SPOILER WARNING for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Image c/o Lionsgate
By Madison Sciba
Eleven years after the first movie in the Hunger Games franchise was released, a prequel hit theaters. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place 64 years before Katniss volunteers for her sister in the reaping. The film centers around Lucy Gray Baird, a singer from the poor District 12 and her romance with capital student, Coriolanus Snow. The film is essentially the villain origin story of the evil President Snow that we see in the original Hunger Games trilogy.
Normally a prequel or spinoff of a popular franchise can be a severe disappointment to fans. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, however, held up to the standard set by The Hunger Games over ten years ago. The movie not only filled a void that was left after Mockingjay Part 2 was released but can have some fans leaving the theater with a moral conundrum.
The central character, Coriolanus Snow, spends the entire film in constant conflict with his morals. Those with knowledge of the original trilogy know that Snow eventually becomes the ruthless dictator who causes so much death and violence. In the film, however, the audience even starts to pity him: the poor pretty boy down on his luck doing what he thinks is best for his family and country. It did not hurt, of course, that the actor chosen to play the young Coriolanus Snow was extremely attractive.
Overall the film was impressive and fit extremely well into the Hunger Games universe. It may surprise some people, but the focus of the film is not on the Games but rather Snow’s life and internal conflicts. While it is a serious film with a lot of death, there is a surprising amount of humor. Lucky Flickerman steals the show with his witty and snarky commentary. “Ill Dill, tuberculosis on legs,” said about one of the characters, was out of pocket but made the entire theater chuckle.
If you enjoyed the previous movies or just want a deeper understanding of the trilogy, I highly recommend reading the novel of the same name. It goes in such depth and is told through Snow’s point of view, giving a much deeper angle to the character’s intentions and thoughts.
Image c/o writer
By Olivia Burke
Visiting Entertainment Columnist
The holiday season holds many different traditions. A large part of many peoples’ traditions is food, and as businesses start to roll out holiday merchandise, seasonal flavors come back into the spotlight. With Thanksgiving having come and gone, we’ve passed the height of what many people call “pumpkin spice season”. For many, the pumpkin spice craze begins on September 1st, regardless of the fact that the official autumnal equinox is September 22. Many companies take advantage of the excitement over this seasonal flavor, and thus the scope of pumpkin spice-flavored products has grown exponentially. With the addition of stranger and stranger products each year.
Why is it that pumpkin spice is so beloved? In a Today interview with Martha Stewart, published on November 10, Stewart gave her opinion on the pumpkin spice craze. When asked how she felt about pumpkin spice she replied, “In a pie, I love it. In anything else, I do not love it” . This is certainly an unpopular opinion, as most people seem to love pumpkin in any form they can get their hands on. A pivotal moment in pumpkin spice history occurred in 2003 when Starbucks released their now famous pumpkin spice latte, commonly known by its nickname PSL . As many of us know, this launch was an incredible success, and it was merely the beginning of the craze. The pumpkin spice lovers of the world have fueled what is essentially a new industry of pumpkin flavored and scented products, and it is making millions. An article from NBC New York states that, “A new study timed to National Pumpkin Spice Day found sales are on the rise. Last year, in 2022, sales of [pumpkin spice] products reached more than $800 million, up 42% compared to 2019.” Nearly every company that markets food products has made an attempt to participate in the pumpkin spice trend, and understandably so knowing just how much money they have the potential to make if folks continue to gravitate towards this fall flavor.
Some very unusual pumpkin-flavored products have hit the market in the past several years. A few of the strangest being Pumpkin spice Goldfish crackers, hummus, protein powder, soda, Cup Noodles, and SPAM. A company called Chosen Foods released a limited edition pumpkin spice caviar this year, and despite the fact that it is made with avocado oil in place of fish eggs, it doesn’t sound very appetizing. Although pumpkin spice is primarily a flavor, the trend extends far beyond food, and now includes practically any product that has a scent. Pumpkin spice lip balm, candles, toiletries, air freshener, and pumpkin spice scented trash bags, have all been on the market, allowing consumers to take their love for pumpkin to new heights.
What is it that makes pumpkin spice a fan-favorite? The love for pumpkin spice really relies on the spice aspect, since pumpkin has a very subtle flavor on its own. Most “pumpkin flavored” products truly just contain the flavors of various autumn spices. As for the reason we love the flavor, some say it is loved for the seasonal novelty, while others say it retains its popularity as a result of the fond memories of holidays and family that are commonly associated with the flavor (Reilly, Deirdre). Regardless of the reason, pumpkin spice remains a cozy classic that is savored year after year.
Image c/o Getty Images
By Matthew Colvin
On October 28, 2023, renowned actor Matthew Perry passed away from an apparent drowning in his Pacific Palisades home. The “Friends” star was found unresponsive in his hot tub after a 911 call that afternoon and was pronounced dead at 4:17 PM that day. Perry was an incredibly successful comedic actor, most well known for portraying Chandler Bing in NBC’s long-running hit sitcom “Friends.” His comedic ability and timing were such that he earned an Emmy nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He performed in numerous other comedic and dramatic roles as well, including “The West Wing” and “Scrubs.”
Perry was notably outspoken about his lifelong struggle with drugs and alcohol, publishing a chronicle of it in his 2022 memoir “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.” In it he openly detailed everything from opioid-induced near-death experiences to how he had spent as much as $7 million on rehabilitation efforts over the course of his life, only to relapse several times. Perry’s exact cause of death is still “deferred,” as his autopsy results are yet to be released until a toxicology report is fully completed. Seeing that such reports can take weeks to run, it may still be some time until his cause of death is known for certain.
Since Perry’s death, a massive outpouring of love and support has occurred, with dozens of celebrities paying tribute. Perhaps chief among them were his former Friends costars, who issued a statement saying, “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We were family.” In honor of Perry’s battle with addiction, the Matthew Perry Foundation has been established in the wake of his passing by the National Philanthropic Trust in order to help those similarly affected by alcoholism and drug addiction. Perry is survived by his divorced parents, Suzanne Morrison and John Perry, and five half-siblings.
A review of the new Blumhouse production Five Nights at Freddy’s
Image c/o Universal Pictures
By Val Hill
Visiting Entertainment Columnist
In August of 2014, a man by the name of Scott Cawthon released a game called Five Nights at Freddy’s. This game was produced by ScottGames Clickteam Illumix, and was quickly picked up by YouTubers like Markiplier and MatPat. These YouTubers were a key aspect of most of the success of the franchise, and there was talk of a movie since around April 2015 with the release of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4. But it was taking too long for most fans, so some took matters into their own hands to make their own fan movies. So when horror production company Blumhouse announced that they would be producing the movie, fans had high expectations. Blumhouse is responsible for producing other films like Split and The First Purge, so fans were ready for a blood and gore-worthy movie. A film that was worthy of a rated R, and definitely not kid-friendly. However, the movie was going to be released as a PG-13 and this is what started the downfall of the movie.
The movie was marketed as a horror movie, but it was anything but horror. The movie took more of its inspiration from the book “
The movie follows a guy named Mike (Josh Hutcherson) who is having a difficult time trying to keep a stable job in order to take care of his younger sister Abby (Piper Rubio). She is very distant and almost cruel to her brother, even after all the sacrifices he made to try and keep her aunt from taking her away. Meanwhile, Mike finds it difficult to keep a job following the kidnapping of his younger brother Garrett. So after being fired from another job, Mike finds his way as a night-time security guard for a place called “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza”, a family-friendly arcade game pizzeria. Mike is offered this job by an all-too-eager guidance counselor played by Matthew Lillard. There are four remaining animatronics left in the place: Freddy, Bonnie, Foxy and Chica along with her Cupcake. But unknown to Mike, these animatronics are possessed by the spirits of four children who disappeared in the ‘80s. Over the course of the movie, Mike tries to figure out what the spirits want along with a female police officer named Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail). Who gives off the aura that she knows more than she is letting on, and over the movie you wonder if Abby somehow fits into the plans of the animatronics.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: A film that should be a holiday classic
Image c/o Paramount
By Madison Sciba
In 1987 a film was released about a man struggling to get home to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles features two comedy legends: Steve Martin and John Candy and was directed by the iconic 1980s director John Hughes.
Of all the holiday films, very few center around Thanksgiving. Most “I have to get home” films are about people struggling to get home for Christmas. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, however, is about a man trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Like the title suggests, Steve Martin’s character Neal takes a series of planes, trains, and various automobiles on his quest to return home. On this quest he gets stuck traveling with Del (John Candy), and the two suffer a series of accidents and delays, preventing their journey.
The holiday season has been increasingly overwhelmed with films about Christmas, so here is the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving without angering the “it's not Christmas yet” relatives. After the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Westminster Dog Show, and whatever football game is on, consider Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The heart warming story is nothing compared to the great comedy duo that was Steve Martin and John Candy.
(Image c/o Walt Disney Studios)
By Madison Sciba
On October 13, 1993, Jack Skellington made his first appearance on the big screen. Now, thirty years later, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a cult classic. What people may not know is that Tim Burton did not direct the classic Halloween film. According to the Netflix docuseries, The Movies that Made Us, Burton was too busy filming Batman Returns to direct The Nightmare Before Christmas. Although the film was directed by Henry Selick, it was the brainchild of the infamously creepy and weird director, Burton, while he was still an animator at Walt Disney Studios. However, Burton was one of the producers and kept a firm hand on how the film was being made.
Initially, the film was not a success and it wasn’t until after a few years the film found its popularity. At first Disney chose not to put their name on the film but rather that of Touchstone Pictures, one of their adult-centered production companies. The Nightmare Before Christmas was rated PG which was a big deal for Disney who was churning out G rated movies at this time such as Aladdin.
Made entirely in stop motion, The Nightmare Before Christmas was the first full length stop motion feature film. It set a precedent and began a trend of creepy stop motion films hitting theaters. Films like 2005’s Corpse Bride and 2012’s Frankenweenie followed in The Nightmare Before Christmas’s footsteps and both films were nominated for Academy Awards.
Now, thirty years after the world was first introduced to The Pumpkin King who wanted to become Santa Claus, Disney is still profiting highly off a film that they thought was going to be too creepy for their brand. Every September and October, Disneyland hosts the Oogie Boogie Bash, a Halloween party based on the villain from The Nightmare Before Christmas. So every year, Disney fans from around the world flock to Disneyland to celebrate the spooky holiday with the characters that Tim Burton drew almost forty years ago while he was a lowly animation apprentice at Disney Studios.
(Image c/o Addie Roanhorse/Apple/Paramount)
By Andrew Martinez Cabrera
In the non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon, journalist David Grann writes about the time of blossoming flower fields, referred to as the season of the Flower Moon. Starting in May, “taller plants, such as spiderworts and black-eyed Susans, begin to creep over the tinier blooms, stealing their light and water. The necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground.” It is an instance where nature acting as metaphor reflects real life, when members of the Osage Nation, some of the wealthiest people in the world per capita, began to die off mysteriously. These murders became the basis for the latest Martin Scorsese picture, Killers of the Flower Moon.
As any self-proclaimed cinephile would know, a Scorsese-helmed western was bound to happen. One of his favorite films is John Ford’s The Searchers, a classic example of cowboys vs. Indians, a simple reduction of a reductive sub-genre. The Searchers, while regarded as one of the greatest American films of all time, is also one that has a troubling racist legacy, something which Scorsese has grappled with. For Scorsese’s longtime collaborator, the late Robbie Robertson, he explained that Scorsese always said to “look at the filmmaking. In these movies, it’s not the message. It’s literally just a trip.”
While it is quite literally a trip, with a 3-hour-long runtime, Killers places its message in the foreground. Following deeply involved consultation from the Osage Nation and an entire rehaul of the story, moving away from the FBI investigation that is the foundation of the book, Scorsese decides to focus on the relationship between Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), one of the main conspirators to steal the Osage wealth, and his wife Mollie Burkhart (Lily Gladstone), an Osage woman who is the emotional core of the film. While we do see many different Osage perspectives, the core tragedy of the deaths relates to Gladstone’s character and her response to the greater Reign of Terror. Gladstone is monumental; a performance that shifts from restrained and melancholic before transitioning into total heartbreak. She represents the best of our humanity, the antithesis of Burkhart.
Given the opportunity to tackle a Western with a more empathetic lens towards Indigenous Americans, Killers still enters the narrative through Ernest Burkhart. One of our first images of the Osage sees them dressed as wealthy socialites, looking like frequenters of Gatsby’s parties. Their source of wealth is tied to an abundance of oil found on their reservation. The juxtaposing image that follows is of Burkhart, gross-looking and miserable, looking like the human embodiment of a malnourished dog. Before we know it, his goal is outlined to us before the plot even begins because we have seen the allure of wealth.
It is that allure that has excited storytellers like Scorsese, whose filmography has always dealt with America’s obsession with greed. Naturally, it makes sense for Scorsese to approach Killers through one of these killers, a representation of the worst side of human nature. What once used to be the narrative interest for Scorsese – protagonists such as mobsters, God’s lonely men, and Wall Street criminals – is now a terrifying notion that Scorsese reckons with in Killers.
What is the need to tell this story through his eyes - examining evil as something learned or something inherent? It is something that is absolutely tied to his Catholic upbringing, and now in his twilight years, Scorsese is interrogating his fascination with evil by shifting his paradigm. The energies from his other films like The Wolf of Wall Street, whose themes are more in line with Killers of the Flower Moon, are traded for a more subdued and meditative film, akin to Silence.
Killers of the Flower Moon is incredibly reserved and paced like an adagio musical piece, boiling with an anger unparalleled in his other films. When Scorsese previously depicted violence in his youth, it was an ugly spectacle – flashy, scored to period-era songs; the camera constantly moving, the editing flowing in a hectic motion. Killers’ treatment of violence does not revel in its ugliness, it just shows it. It is as simple as it is powerful. These terrible moments carry so much weight because we have to carry that emotional weight when these static scenes unfold in front of us. What Scorsese illustrates best in Killers is that evil is banal. That is the most terrifying realization one can come into contact with.
Scorsese exposes us to some of the dumbest hicks on the planet who mess up almost every single step of their conspiratorial plot and yet they still succeed. While their plan progresses, so does the entire American project situated in the peripheral. All the while, an entire history continues to set like the moon, disappearing below the horizon line, until it is out of our view.
While depressing, Scorsese still reminds us about the beauty of the Osage people, many of whom worked behind the camera or were towering 30 feet in the air while projected on the silver screen. The Indigenous Americans of Scorsese’s youth, people meant to be antagonists, have their voices and faces be the ones we connect to. However, he understands his limitations as a non-Osage to tell this story, and the only way he knows how is through the victors.
The brutally blunt portrayal of America’s original sin is an honest attempt to honor those whose lives were lost and condemn those who benefitted from those deaths. I am hopeful now that those faces and those stories will continue to blossom for years to come on the silver screen; for when the sun sets, the moon will always come, and shine anew.
The Disney film that became a Halloween classic.
By Madison Sciba
On July 16, 1993, Walt Disney Pictures released Hocus Pocus in theaters. Now, over 30 years later, the film has become almost synonymous with Halloween and this spooky time of year. For many, Hocus Pocus was an essential part of Halloweens growing up. Was it really Halloween if you didn’t watch Max light the black flame candle?
As a child, it seemed as though there was nothing scarier than watching Billy Butcherson’s not-so-dead body rise from the grave and cough up moths. Even to this day that scene can give shivers to anyone with a dislike of scary movies. It was one of the films that children were allowed to watch that was considered “scary.” While it still maintains a PG rating, some scenes, like the witches draining Max’s life force, could be really terrifying for kids.
Directed by Kenny Ortega, the film takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, a historically *bewitching* town. Most known for being the site of the infamous Salem witch trials in the early days of American history. As a result of the film’s success, Salem has become not only a destination for those interested in the witch trials, but also for fans of the film. The town welcomes tourists to come during the Halloween season and see the filming locations from the movie. They also host a variety of themed events and fan meet and greets with the cast.
Even though the original has become a classic Halloween film, the 2022 sequel Hocus Pocus 2 was seen as a bit of a disappointment to fans. With very little of the sequel tying it to the original film, audiences did not have those same nostalgic feelings toward it.
Whether you enjoyed the sequel or not, it is hard to deny that Hocus Pocus has become a tried and true classic Halloween film. It has all the essentials of a good movie for the season: takes place over Halloween, in a historically spooky location (Salem), witches, the undead, and magic. It is no wonder that Hocus Pocus has stood the test of time and continues to be watched by future generations when celebrating Halloween.
Madison Sciba '24,