By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Hello friends! I hope you all had a great winter break filled with great food and good company. Here we are at the start of a new year, time for new beginnings and new life hacks to try out.
But before we turn over a new leaf, it’s important to take a look at the past and learn from our mistakes. Why don’t we take a close look at the fall semester and rectify the mistakes we made (if you didn’t make any, good for you – but let’s be real: we’ve all made mistakes).
Here are five things we (hopefully) learned from first semester:
This does not mean simply skimming. It may get the task done quickly, but not very well in the long run. When it comes to studying, websites like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes are helpful to refresh your memory, but the only way to actually know what’s going on is to read the real deal. Don’t have the time? Try an old elementary school tip and apply it to college by reading a portion of the assignment each night. You can also make a habit of active reading by taking notes or by quizzing yourself at the end of chapters, another great study tool.
2. Monitor your party habits.
Partying is fun, I get it. The experience is unlike any other, but at the same time, don’t be that desperate freshman looking to “turn up” every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. First semester it might hard to find the delicate balance between having a social life and partying too much, but now that we’ve had a semester to assimilate, it is no longer acceptable for you to stagger into your dorm every single weekend. Instead, plan out your weekend. One night out, another night in. Your body will thank you for less toxins and more sleep.
3. Get involved.
Academics are great, and should be a huge part of your life. However, if you spent your entire first semester hitting the books, it’s time to get some fresh air. Thankfully, BU has over 500 clubs and organizations, including the Community Service Center (CSC), that you can always find something to do. SPLASH may be over, but another way to find out what BU has to offer is through this great site that lists all our student organizations. If you don’t have the time to commit to anything specific, at least make a late New Year’s Resolution to explore Boston. Go see a Red Sox Game, visit a museum, the list goes on.
4. Make an effort to keep your friends.
This one isn’t as obvious, but if you notice, your friends have been coming and going all throughout first semester. The friends you thought you would keep all four years from orientation are no longer your friends and the random kid you met in math class is suddenly your best friend. Unlike high school, you don’t see your friends every single day, which makes things more difficult. Take the time to keep in contact with people, by making a lunch date to catch up. It will be worth it in the end.
5. Social media is not that important.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. We’re all obsessed, and while we say we can stop at anytime – the truth is, we can’t. Document how much time you spend on social media everyday for a week and you’ll how bad your media addiction really is. By learning to cut back, you can increase time spent on studying and spending time with friends, and therefore improve your grades and relationships. If you can’t stop checking your social media sites, look into applications such as Self-Control (Apple) that block you from accessing those pesky sites you go to by instinct.
Best of luck in making this semester even better than the last.
Here are some fall movie reviews from MUSE for the cinema buffs:
By Max Cohen, Staff Writer
“If I don’t shoot you in the face I’d be violating a contractual obligation,” explains face-swapping assassin La Chameleon to her target. But maybe it’s actually Robert Rodriguez, the director of “Machete Kills”, speaking to his audience. Rather than relying on covert excitement and tension, Rodriguez shows up to the theater with tanks, helicopters and heat-seeking missiles. That is the kind of movie you’re getting yourself into.
The second of Rodriguez’s hyper-violent exploitation parodies, Danny Trejo stars as the eponymous ex-federale who must save the world from a madman with a surgically attached missile (just go with it).
This sequel trades the original’s gleeful gore and satirical solemnity for contrived action and formulaic jokes. However, “Machete Kills” has some terrific one-liners and one of the funniest 3D jokes I’ve ever heard. Regardless, the movie is far too fast-paced for any meaningful characterization to emerge and the plot is strung along half-heartedly.
But you aren’t seeing “Machete Kills” for the emotional depth. You’re watching in the hopes that you get to see the most ridiculous things you’ve ever seen in a movie. Don’t worry: “Machete” delivers, handsomely. If you enjoy people getting mutilated by propellers – multiple times – then you’re going to have fun. That said, there are far too many times when the gore is monotonous; explosion-filled gunfights are quaint compared to guns that turn people inside out.
But everything else aside, the main draw of the movie is Mel Gibson. Let me repeat: Mel Gibson is in this movie and he is as gleefully deranged and psychotic and you’d expect from a man who starred in The Beaver. His clairvoyant super-genius was endearingly hilarious and his over-the-top scenes were the movie’s best.
Most of the cameo appearances are built the same way as Gibson’s: Some big-name actor shows up to spit out one-liners and inanely move the plot along. This was especially true for the movie’s supposed number-two star, Sofia Vergara, whose character is just a raunchy parody of “Modern Family’”s Gloria. She spends her meager screen time shouting lines in unintelligible Spanglish and making repeated and contrived boob jokes. No shocks there.
But the actors and gratuitous violence can’t stop me from being slightly disappointed. The film wasn’t very funny and while the gore was satisfying, the originality of the level of carnage was disappointing. Watch it when it comes out on Netflix instead.
By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
There’s a lot about divorce that can be traumatic, which first time director Stu Zicherman sets out to explore in “A.C.O.D.,” which stands for “Adult Children of Divorce.” Unfortunately, Zicherman tries to cover just about all of those traumas and, despite a stellar cast, the film sags with too many competing story-lines and a waver between genres that leaves much of the comedy falling flat and most of the drama shallow and clichéd.
One assumes that “A.C.O.D.” is supposed to be about middle-aged restaurateur Carter (Adam Scott) dealing with the gradual dissolution of his parent’s divorce as they begin to reconnect, but it’s hard to discern. The movie opens with Carter’s quest to get his vitriolic, long-divorced parents, Hugh (Richard Jenkins) and Melissa (Catherine O’Hara) to be civil for his younger brother’s (Clark Duke) wedding. Yet that’s seemingly abandoned when Carter realizes he unknowingly participated in a published, best-selling study on the effects of divorce on children while talking to a woman he thought was his therapist, Dr. Judith (Jane Lynch). But as his parents begin to reconnect, Carter struggles to keep them apart as the story shifts again. This dizzying back-and-forth is not just confusing but exhausting and offers no pay-off in the absurd, sitcom ending.
“A.C.O.D.” struggles with an identity crisis genre-wise as well as plot-wise, starting out enjoyably as a wacky, offbeat comedy before steering into a sickly sweet, preachy family drama about two-thirds of the way through. This is punctuated by moments like Hugh’s latest wife Sondra telling Carter that he might have liked her, but he “didn’t get to know her.” Gag.
Fortunately, the prolific cast keeps this mess from entering complete disaster territory. Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins are both hilariously twisted and nightmarishly pugnacious, launching into a terrifying screaming match in the film’s opening scene with such tenacity that it makes the viewer feel truly sorry for the young Carter pictured trying to enjoy his ninth birthday against the shrill volume. Jane Lynch is similarly delightful as the eccentric Dr. Judith, playing a bluntly honest weirdo as only she knows how to do. “The homeless are getting so aggressive these days,” remarks the hostess in Carter’s restaurant when Dr. Judith pounds on the window and waves a cheerful hello.
Zicherman, who co-wrote the semi-autobiographical screenplay, had a lot of great ideas. Muddled all together in one film, however, and the viewer is left just as helpless and confused as a child of divorce – adult or otherwise.
By Joe Incollingo, Staff Writer
If all movies from now on were built solely on Tom Hanks and xenophobia, worse things would have happened. Captain Phillips – in theory a story so enthralling of a spirit so strong that every audience need only wait for the tears to flow and the cheers to roar – has to work.
Forgive the movie, then, the slow start. Rich Phillips (Hanks), folksy and underwhelming, a quiet and harmless denizen of quiet and harmless Vermont, goes to work. On the other side of the planet, on the sticky, sunny sands of Somalia, the pirates head to sea. This is an important contrast, mind you, albeit a little too blatant, but the movie does its best to stick with it. Each scene is lousy with polarized color, peppered in to call back blue mountains and yellow dunes. Phillips’s crew wears blue polos; the pirates don yellow rags. The captain’s blue beard quivers; a pirate snarls with yellow teeth.
To the credit of director Paul Greengrass and his Green Zone-cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, this is done without seeming too gimmicky. It adds a needed dreaminess to Greengrass’s trademark realism, a style that works in an odd way. Shaking a hand-held camera on a boat is, after all, a terrible idea. However, Greengrass discovers a masterful marriage of suspense and disorientation in the process. For lack of better words, the movie induces seasickness, making it that much tenser towards the expected resolution.
All this makes the characters dragging Captain Phillips that much more disappointing. It’s not so much Phillips himself; though one of the blandest heroes in recent memory, he’s done plenty justice by Hanks. The performance is understated and perfectly boring while Hanks traps just enough fear in his eyes to keep his captors awake before crumbling into the final act’s desperation. Nobody wants this man to die, which makes the tissue paper bad guys so easy to look past. Given the “us versus them” nature of the story before an American audience, the limp attempts to humanize the pirates seem unfortunately futile in the first place. Newcomer Barkhad Abdi delivers the only morsel of pathos: Phillips asks if he can’t just be a fisherman, to which he somberly replies “Maybe in America.” That’s it, though. Miss it, and he sticks in your head as another grinning monster threatening an honest American.
This is the biggest letdown of Phillips, as if writer Billy Ray had no faith in the humans behind his villains. There needs to be drive outside of some mysterious “Boss” pulling strings. If it’s the desolation of desert life Abdi refers to that Americans can’t comprehend, then show it. Show us desolation. Show us humans in need. Show us why violence is the only option. To stop just past Tom Hanks washing feet and taking beatings gives only a biased half of what Ray (and Greengrass) claim is a whole sculpture. Despite what you’ve read, some stories need more than that.
By Brandon Lewis, Staff Writer
It’s that time of the year again. Students are back in school, the cool weather is on its way and everyone’s favorite shows are returning for the fall season. Here are a few shows I think you should look out for:
Since I’m a native New Yorker, I have an overwhelming bias for Law and Order: SVU. Season 14’s finale ended with the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers. [SPOILER ALERT BELOW]
Detective Olivia Benson, one of the show’s remaining original characters, returns home following a disappointing verdict in which a rapist is acquitted of assault charges. She hears a strange noise in her apartment and attempts to investigate where it’s coming from, only to find the acquitted rapist in her living room with a gun pointing in her direction. Then, the screen fades to black. Will Benson survive the ordeal or are her days numbered? SVU airs on NBC on Wednesday nights.
The show that’s loosely based on the life on COM’s very own PR alum Judy Smith has been one of the most popular shows on television since the series premiered in April 2012. Ms. Olivia Pope and her incredible crisis management staff are responsible for cleaning up the mistakes of people and preventing their secrets from being exposed. They fix people’s problems before these problems ruin their lives. Pope is strong when it comes to the workplace but becomes vulnerable when in the vicinity of her former client, the current President of the United States. She has feelings for the president, and the feelings are mutual between the two. Will they ever become an item? We’ll just have to wait and see. Scandal shall return for its third season on October 3 on ABC.
The Marvel based show premiered on September 24 to a resounding 12.12 million viewers, which is pretty awesome. The series premiere was the largest for a network drama in four years. People really go crazy for anything Marvel related. The show follows around Agent Phil Coulson as he assembles a select group of agents known as the S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect the world from evil. Sounds like a typical Marvel plot, doesn’t it? It’s going to be interesting to see if the show continues to attract large amounts of viewers, since this is Marvel’s first television series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on ABC on Tuesday nights.
CBS’s new show grips you right from the start. A prominent doctor, who is moments away from performing brain surgery on the president, is abducted along with her family. The assailants inform her that her family will die unless she kills the president during the operation. What would you do in that situation? Be known as the doctor responsible for killing the president or risk your family’s life for the sake of saving one of the most powerful men in the world? Tough call. Hostages airs on CBS at 10 pm on Tuesdays.
By Clemence Pluche, Staff Writer
Boston’s prominent collegiate youth play a great role in determining fashion trends. This fall’s trendsetters have shown us that fall/winter trends are a re-vamp of summer style. This is most commonly achieved by layering up and toning down; mini skirts become maxi skirts, the color palette darkens.
Some popular choices are:
Transitional weather is tricky when it comes to fashion, especially in a city like Boston with such erratic weather. A great way to avoid being too hot, too cold and anything in between is to wear a maxi skirt. Prints are always a fail-safe for changing weather. When paired with a bralette, a cardigan and some ankle boots, this look is a combination of both summer and fall.
Classic patterns and daring colors
Designers and fashionistas have been riding the vintage wave for ages, but this fan favorite has directly impacted this year’s fall fashion both on the runway and in street style. Old patterns such as houndstooth, plaid, tweed, ‘80s floral and pinstripes all made appearances in collections like Rag & Bone, Thakoon and Dolce & Gabbana. Patterned coats and skirts are more common, but if you’re brave, venture out with some tweed pants, a floral blouse or a plaid trench coat this fall for a statement look.
We have seen a progression in the color trends this fall. Winter white was a popular choice for designers at Fashion Week in Milan and New York. Naturally, as summer fades, darker shades of green begin to emerge; from forest-green to olive-green – this color is officially a trend of fall fashion.
High-waisted bottoms is and has been a steadfast trend amongst the youngsters of Boston. The varieties of which are endless. High-waisted jeans, pants, shorts, skirts, all add an edge and a dash of class to your outfit. It tricks the eye by elongating the legs and accentuating the waist.
Tan boots…or black
Boots of all shapes, sizes and colors have always been a fall staple. Unless you have industrial-quality Hunters, the snow-filled winters of Boston will not be kind to your boots. Fall is the best time to break out these boots before winter sets in and does them damage. Tan boots in particular have proved to be a staple of the Boston college student. The color goes with any pattern, color or texture, even overall looks for that matter (whether it be preppy, grungy or vintage.) As a word of advice when matching colors: Do not fear brown and black. Using both colors has a reputation as a big fashion no-no, but brown doesn’t necessarily look bad with black. Some black skinny jeans or leggings go perfectly well with brown boots. Though for the more classic at heart or for those of us who are more big-footed, black boots is always another good choice.
The beanie is a fashion staple, whether the fashion be hipster, urban or high-fashion. The beanie is definitely a college-friendly (and wallet-friendly) accessory for chillier weather. Dress up an outfit with a bolder beanie color or dress it down with a subtle color. There is a definitely a beanie for everyone this semester.
By Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
Fall is in full swing, which means it’s time to break out the pumpkins if you haven’t done so already. Massachusetts is a great area to go pumpkin picking, so make it goal to go at least once during your time here in Boston. Unfortunately, most of the farms that offer pumpkin picking are away from the city and toward less urban areas. But don’t let that stop you!
Situated in Brookline is Allandale Farm, Boston’s last working farm. Accessible by the bus and even the Green Line, Allandale offers beyond your basic pumpkins. They sell pumpkins of all sizes, mini to monstrous, in addition to gourds, squash, a variety of pies and fresh cider.
For those of you who have access to a car or are willing to go on a public transportation adventure, you should check out some of the farms that Middlesex County has to offer. As a recent visitor of Shelburne Farm in Stow, I assure you that the 20-mile trek there is worth your time. Shelburne is nestled on a large plot of beautiful land, and you can pick your pumpkin right off the patch. They have a pleasant little store where they sell some of their other produce. Though it’s a little late in the season for apples, they still have a small portion of them left ready to be picked right off the tree.
Right down the road is Stow’s Honey Pot Hill Orchards, another pumpkin picking hotspot worth the trip. The scenery is great and the variety of pumpkins to pick from is even better. Honey Pot is known for its scrumptious warm cider donuts that are apparently to die for!
Moreover, you should make it a goal to get to one of these farms this fall season if you haven’t already. What better to than spending a crisp fall afternoon on a farm picking pumpkins that you can bring back home and carve for Halloween!
(Because the Jack Chop video never does get old.)