Tag: alex mcfry

JSU student reflects on the Film Club trip to Rome International Film Festival

All roads lead to Rome…Georgia, that is. Last weekend, the city hosted the eleventh annual Rome International Film Festival, otherwise known as RIFF, in the heart of downtown Rome.

Members of the JSU Film Club made the hour-long journey to Georgia for Thursday’s opening night films.

To start the weekend off, the Rome Symphony Orchestra opened with a selection of works from movies and their soundtracks.

Before they put away their instruments for the weekend, they accompanied Charlie Chaplin’s Work, a silent film that kicked off a weekend full of celebrating cinema. The black-and-white, silent classic was followed by An Ode to Love, an animated short created by a New Zealander about a man living on a deserted island who finds love in the strangest of places Audiences then got a peak into the life of a beekeeper in A Passion of Gold and Fire, a documentary short by a Belgian filmmaker. The final film of the evening was Mousse, a Swedish comedy about a man fed up with living as a second-class citizen.

Macon Prickett, a JSU senior who attended the festival, said,“It was fantastic. The theater, this festival, the whole ambiance of Rome—it was charming. They picked one of the best areas in the south to have a film festival.”

Michael Panik, a senior at Jacksonville State and aspiring filmmaker, said, “RIFF was entirely unassuming. Who’d have thought they could cram so many great films from so many countries in one theater over four days in little old Rome, Georgia?”

Panik and his younger brother, a student attending UAB, are in the process of producing their very own documentary film, Thrift Store Symphony.

Among those in attendance of RIFF was Jalisa Williams, a junior who has already been on location in Atlanta several times for filmmaking.

“It was great I hate I didn’t get to attend the entire festival…“It gave me a rush to go create something amazing with my team. It made me excited for the film club. I can’t wait for what’s in store this year,” said Williams.

The JSU Film Club plans to become much more heavily involved in local filmmaking Attending festivals in the surrounding areas is one of the first steps they are taking to ensure students are not only receiving a quality education and learning the ropes of the industry, but making the real-world connections they need as well.

The film club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Longleaf Studios in Jacksonville, where they watch independent films, discuss them, and plan projects of their own.

Alex McFry
Staff Reporter

Valentine’s Day: Single and ready to mingle

When the dog bites. When the bee stings. What makes you feel sad? Being single on Valentine’s Day is supposed to be one of the most depressing feelings in the world. That’s what the movies say, right? Walking into Wal-mart and seeing the sea of balloons on the ceiling fills all us single kids with anger, sadness or rage, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

The misconception that each and every person that is not in a relationship is bitter about the highly-marketed holiday gets old faster than all that overpriced candy that people flock to stores to buy last-minute. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that people should get their own lives in order before they worry about tying themselves to another person.

The emotional, mental, and physical dedication that goes into a relationship is time-consuming. Maintaining a healthy relationship is never easy, so while you’re in college struggling to come up with ways to make ramen noodles into a more creative entrée for dinner, why struggle with pleasing another person at the same time? Go to Wal-mart, head held high, and buy an over priced, four-foot-tall teddy bear for yourself.

To all of our committed friends out there, stop assuming that just because we aren’t in a relationship, that we spend our spare time stomping on flowers and buying Valentine’s Day cards just to light them on fire. We’re okay, and we’re happy that you are too. Just don’t get so PDA when you’re around everyone…because that is annoying.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor

American Horror Story: Freak Show takes a bow

Last week, yet another season of American Horror Story came to a close, leaving audiences everywhere in a state of conflict about how the writers chose to end this season of the newest hit-craze for Netflix bingers everywhere. Beware, all you AHS fans out there that don’t have cable—there will be spoilers.

American Horror Story: Freak Show was perhaps the most hyped season to date, leaving a million different possibilities for humor, horror, and amazement—all elements of the previous three seasons. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk kept the theme of this season a secret as long as they possibly could, attempting to build up anticipation with fans of the show.

This season started by introducing Bette and Dot, the conjoined twins played by Sarah Paulson, what some would think to be an on-screen impossibility for just one actress. Somehow, Murphy and Falchuk managed to make their idea realistically come alive.

Other characters included actors and actresses with physical abnormalities playing the parts that they portrayed in real life. All of these aspects make for shiny elements to newcomers that are just now getting on the bandwagon, but they quickly become old hat.

While it kept my attention for the first four or five episodes I watched, the concepts quickly became routine, even as all of the characters’ backstories began to unfold. Speaking of backstories, let’s take just a minute to compare season four to season two—Jessica Lange plays the misunderstood, “mother monster” character with a tragic history that nobody seems to understand, Evan Peters plays the rebel child who no one listens to until the very end, and Sarah Paulson is the savior.

I understand typecasting, and realize that every actor and actress has their own strengths and weaknesses, but my question for the writers is this: how many times can we watch Jessica Lange drink away her sorrows?

Perhaps it was my dislike of season two’s setup that made me cynical about season four, but that brings me to yet another point. In the series, we have been led to believe that each season is a different universe in itself. Different characters, different stories, different elements each October when FX airs the premiere, right? Well, this season, Pepper, the loveable pinhead, returned to the silver screen, and we found out that it’s not all that simple.

With an entire episode dedicated to the backstory and epilogue of Elsa Mars’ beloved “pet,” Pepper, characters find out that Elsa is present, even in the asylum. But wait—Pepper stayed the same. How is Elsa Mars identical to Sister Jude? Are they twins? If that’s the plan, Murphy and Falchuck, please just go ahead and spare us yet another bad horror cliché.

To me, part of the appeal of American Horror Story was that there was a “reset button” every season. Nothing was ever the same in the plots, even though the characters were reoccurring. Will I stop watching? No. Am I disappointed? Very.

Regardless of the portals between worlds, it is certain that the finale of Freak Show was a rush job, putting a bullet in all of our hearts as Amazon Eve fought for the freaks until the very end. (And I won’t say I didn’t enjoy watching Dandy drown…)

I’m very curious to see what directions Murphy and Falchuk are going next. Let the speculations of next season begin!

A barista’s Black Friday blues

While there are some people are gearing up for Thanksgiving and others are jumping straight into Christmas, everybody has been preparing for the infamous third holiday in the middle of all of the nonstop, face-stuffing madness—Black Friday.

As a barista, I’ve gotten to witness the Black Friday craze from behind the counter for the past two years.

Retailers and department stores start running their ads as early as one month before the Friday that makes Thanksgiving “not-so-thankful.”

In years past, stores have started opening their doors to Black Friday deals and door-busters as early as 6 p.m. on Turkey Day, leaving workers with their faces only half-stuffed before they have to jump in their cars to prepare their workplace for the never-ending crowds.

People make a plan, pitch a tent, and, of course, grab their caramel brulée lattes before settling in for the multitudes of hours on a freezing cold sidewalk just to beat that woman in the next isle to that PS4 bundle they’ve had they’re eyes on for the past few weeks.

Having witnessed this chaos from both sides, both behind the counter and in front of it, my question is simple: is all this hustle and bustle really worth it? What do shoppers really gain from camping out in front of a store for forty-eight (or more) hours at a time just to get something a little cheaper right before Christmas?

What’s better? When the same frantic shoppers compare prices on all these products three months, two months, even one month after Christmas is over, and they’re just as cheap (or cheaper) than what they bought them for in the first place.

People talk about Thanksgiving being lost behind the fantastical façade of Christmas, but what about the greed of Black Friday? Do any of the people camping out in front of the local Best Buy think about the fact that those inside the store preparing for the oncoming stampede of shoppers missed spending time with their families to do so?

Some people would argue that you shouldn’t have one day of the year singled out to see your family—take a vacation day.

I wonder how a day that should signify a nation’s beginnings became a competition over a company’s twenty-sixth version of the same video game system.

I suppose that it really isn’t about what day is spent, but the fact that it is spent at all. Thanksgiving is a day of recognition—a day to give thanks for everything and everyone we are privileged enough to have in our lives.

Black Friday holds a lot of hype, but it might be possible that the monopolized madness only gets as much attention as we as a society let it have.

Here’s hoping that I won’t be seeing anyone spending their Thanksgiving holiday standing in line at Starbucks for a peppermint mocha.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor

O’ Brother’s, where art thou?

With the announcement that Brother’s Bar is for sale, Jacksonville could be at risk of losing a piece of history over the course of the next few months.

Dan Nolen, owner and co-founder of the bar, opened the hotspot in 1976 with the help of his brother at about the time he graduated from Jacksonville State University.

“There was nothing for the students, no where for them to go,” Nolen said last week in an interview with Fox 6.

Originally called My Brother’s Bar, the nearly forty-year-old establishment has been a part of the university experience for students at JSU for decades.

Even though there is competition between Brother’s and Pelham’s, the experience at each establishment is a completely different one.

The tree stump stools at Brother’s attribute to the rustic atmosphere, which contrasts with the new age feel of Pelham’s.

No matter which bar students prefer, not having one of the bars in town will be a historic change to Jacksonville’s small-town records.

The announcement of the property going up for sale with King reality surprised other small-business owners in the community, too. Carol Watts, owner of Mad Hatter cupcakes just around the corner from Brother’s, said that she hates to see it go.

“Our parking lot is always full when they have a show,” Watts said.

When prompted about his reasoning behind selling the beloved hangout, Nolen told Fox, “It’s a younger person’s game now, it’s time to move on.”

The Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Sister Hazel and Zac Brown are just a few of the numerous groups that have performed at the venue over the years. Greek life at JSU has rented out the bar many times since it has been open to the public.

Nothing is certain yet in regards to the bar closing its doors, even though there have been several inquiries about purchasing the property. As of now, no further events have been booked past December 5.

Nolen also told Fox that the “changing landscape in live entertainment and how it’s been affected by social media” are huge aspects he had to take into account when deciding the future of the beloved bar.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor