Southwest Cancellations: A lack of transparency keeps flyers in the dark.

Planning on flying? Hopefully your flight is not booked with Southwest Airlines, as the company has been running into issues with mass flight cancellations and delays. These cancelations and delays have impacted an estimated tens of thousands of customers and that does not even take into account the $75 million loss they took according to CNBC. While Southwest Airlines is not the only one to cancel flights, they are perhaps the most talked about in the news. 

There are numerous reported reasons for the cancelations and delays of flights: One possible explanation is the volume of demand since travel has seen an increase with rules regarding the COVID-19 pandemic began to loosen with more people becoming vaccinated and infection rates going down. The biggest culprit, however, could be the staff shortage. This is not just an airline issue, it seems to be impacting numerous industries. Walking around New York City recently, it is noticeable that a lot of small businesses remain closed as they are understaffed. This can be tough on airlines, as flight attendants are needed on every flight. The Wall Street Journal reported that Southwest Airlines is over halfway to their goal of hiring 5,000 employees in 2021, but the process is still taking longer than usual.

Despite whatever may have caused all of these issues, that does not take away from how frustrating it is. I asked a friend of mine, who is currently planning on taking a trip down south via Southwest Airlines, for his thoughts regarding the cancellations. “They better not cancel my flight,” he said. It seemed like a reasonable response considering there is not a clear-cut answer as to why the flights are being canceled. He spent hundreds on his flight tickets there and back, and while a cancelation would likely result in a refund or credit of some sort, a big part of his trip revolves around an event happening that weekend. Being that he is flying from Maryland, it would not be easy if he had to suddenly change course and drive down to Alabama.

I have a lot of sympathy for those flying with Southwest Airlines and in this situation. Whether it is the unclear reasons for these issues or the fact that my flight was in danger of being canceled at the last second. Sure, the COVID-19 pandemic could still be a reason for these cancellations, but at some point or another, we kind of have to do what we have to do and travel. Some do it for work, others are traveling on vacation, and I think it can be mostly agreed upon that traveling is one of the most important things for mental health. When I went to Iceland this summer, it was my first time flying since the start of the pandemic. The process was incredibly frustrating; we had to get a last-second test because of new travel rules that were enforced the day we flew and we also had to wear our masks for the entirety of a six-hour flight (much easier said than done on a hot plane). But all of that was worth it to get to experience a beautiful city like Reykjavik, and it is one that I will not forget.

In the end, while I do think that it is a shame that Southwest Airlines is having issues, the lack of transparency is incredibly frustrating. I cannot speak for everyone, but I think having a clear answer such as a lack of workers, or concerns about the pandemic would ease some of the tension. Of course, some would still find things to complain about, but most understanding people would do what they have to do if it meant they could travel. Sooner or later, Southwest Airlines will have to be a little bit more transparent, because people can only be left in the dark for so long.

The NBA’s 2021 Return: A look around the NBA’s tipoff and star troubles.

The NBA has been in a weird limbo since the COVID-19 pandemic began; at one time, they were in “the bubble,” and then last season opened in December and had the Finals in July. We are now in the third season of the pandemic, and it feels as though the NBA is attempting to get back to a sense of normalcy. 

The big matchup of the tipoff night was the Los Angeles Lakers against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors pulled it off 121-114, Steph Curry had a triple-double with 21/10/10 despite shooting only 5/21 from the floor. Unfortunately, Lebron’s 34-point day wasn’t good enough to overcome the team he currently has a 1-3 record against in the NBA Finals. The Lakers will have to wait until February 12 to get their revenge. Nevertheless, the win was crucial for the Warriors. Who is coming off of a 39-33 season in which they lost in the play-in bracket. It was their first time watching the playoffs from their couches in eight years. 

In the Eastern conference, the Milwaukee Bucks blew out the Brooklyn Nets 127-104 on the opening tipoff night. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 and added 14 rebounds. Nets forward Kevin Durant also finished with a comparable 32 points and 11 rebounds, but that was not enough to escape a blowout from the Bucks. 

Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green, the top two picks in this year’s NBA Draft. Both had  disappointing starts to their career. Cunningham was ruled out and did not participate in the season opener. At the same time, Green, selected by the Houston Rockets with the second overall pick, began his NBA career with 9 points and 4 rebounds in and 4 assists against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Luckily for the two of them, the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint, so expect the two rookies to find their groove sooner than later. 

The Brooklyn Nets looked like they could use Kyrie Irving in their first game, as he is sitting out due to not wanting to get the vaccine. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the 76ers deal with one of their stars, Ben Simmons, wanting out. From playoffs to work ethic, Simmons time with the 76ers has been rough. So a trade does feel inevitable but finding suitors has proven to be somewhat difficult. 

Even if the wait was shorter than usual, it is great to have the NBA back already. A new season means new rookies, veterans on new teams, and there is a long way to go before a playoff picture becomes clear. 

Basketball Reference, ESPN, NBA.com, NBC Sports

 

Celebrating The New York Film Festival: Film festivals are back in full swing with the New York Film Festival occurring from September 24-October 10.

Festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, The Tribeca Film Festival, and now, the New York Film Festival have all returned this year. Thousands of movie lovers will gather between the many auditoriums of Lincoln Center to catch some of the best films of the year. From big films such as “Dune,” and small projects like “Bergman Island,” the New York Film Festival offers the best of the best of films that you will likely hear about when the Oscars roll around. 

Not being accredited for the New York Film Festival as a member of the press did not stop me from buying tickets to some of my most anticipated films of the year. I attended four screenings: “Bergman Island,” “The Lost Daughter,” “The Power of the Dog,” and “Dune.” 

While it was my first time participating in a film festival, I instantly could feel that there is something unique and special about film festivals; lights begin to dim, and audience members are fully focused on the film. How many times have you gone to the movies and people are on their phones, or talking with their friends? None of that is tolerated or seen at the NYFF. During my screening of “Dune,” they had security constantly wandering up and down  the aisles to ensure that everyone had their masks on and were not videotaping the film. Perhaps it is because “Dune” was still a few weeks away from being released to the general public, but it helped keep everyone focused on the actual film itself. It is like going to a Marvel movie on opening night in a packed theatre, but these films are well made and are likely to win awards. 

Following most feature films were Q&As with select filmmakers and actors and were usually moderated by some sort of critic.  “The Lost Daughter” had one of the most positively-received talks, and included cast members Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Ed Harris, and director Maggie Gyllenhaal all in attendance. The crowd especially popped for Colman akin to the wrestling fans in attendance when CM Punk debuted on AEW this summer. Even Wes Anderson—who is currently filming his latest film in Spain—checked in via live stream with other frequent collaborators to converse with some cast members of “The French Dispatch” who were in New York, including Jeffrey Wright and

Léa Seydoux.

All of this is to say, the New York Film Festival is a special experience. From foreign films, animated features, to Wes Anderson’s latest, the New York Film Festival gives movie fans all sorts of opportunities to expose themselves to great cinema. Very seldom do I feel like I just watched something special when the credits roll, especially with the slog of franchise films based on IPs that we mostly receive today, but seeing

a film at the New York Film Festival will leave you with the feeling that you just witnessed something special. Films like “The Lost Daughter” and “The Power of the Dog” will likely be in the conversation for awards from now until next spring, and you would be amongst the first to see films like these if you attend the New York Film Festival. Before the concern of a sort of elitism at the New York Film Festival, they are not completely against franchise films, as they are showing “Dune,” which hopes to get a sequel down the line. 

The atmosphere is also something to behold. It is extremely rare to find yourself watching a film in a theatre amongst people who are all there to closely watch the film. There is not the usual smell of popcorn and soda filling the air, and while that may not be ideal for a film as long as “Dune,” it helps keep you focused on the film. Plus, Lincoln Center is located in the perfect part of New York City with fantastic restaurants such as Rosa Mexicano, P.J. Clarke’s on 63rd, or Il Violino. 

Whether you are a casual moviegoer or a diehard “cinephile,” the New York Film Festival can easily wet your appetite with their variety of films. I cannot recommend enough that if you ever have a chance of attending a screening at any film festival, jump at the opportunity and experience it for yourself.

Open Letter: An open letter to my favorite artist, Paul McCartney

You may know me for wearing U2 shirts all the time, but before Bono and The Edge came into my life, Paul McCartney was my biggest influence growing up. Before losing my necklace in Iceland over this summer, I wore my Paul McCartney Hofner violin bass guitar necklace everywhere I went since I got it for Christmas a few years back. It is a reminder of my musical roots. I am by no means anywhere close to the same stratosphere of the great Paul McCartney, but it reminds me of those nights I would spend learning “Blackbird” or “Yesterday” on the guitar. I even wanted to force myself to learn the guitar and bass lefthanded. I even remember the time I went to the Allentown Symphony Hall to catch “Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow” with my dad when I was 12. Regardless of how much I have changed as a person, Paul McCartney and his music have always been a constant in my life.  

While I believe that it is unfair to really compare all four of the members of The Beatles for their full body of work, it is also hard to argue McCartney’s success. McCartney went from The Beatles to his self-titled solo album, “McCartney,” which includes one of the greatest love songs ever in “Maybe I’m Amazed.” His next group, Wings, was also a success and brought songs like “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “1985,” “Silly Love Songs,” and “Listen to What the Man Said” to the table in just seven albums together. 

Even McCartney’s last three albums, “New,” “Egypt Station,” and “McCartney III” have continued his success. They are not necessarily filled with hits like his previous works, but songs like “I Don’t Know,” “Early Days,” “Queenie Eye,” and “Seize the Day” are all a part of my daily rotation. It amazes me that McCartney has matured so much in his writing, and the sheer fact that he can still put out full albums (including some where he plays every instrument) is incredible. 

Perhaps most importantly, McCartney has been touring for fans for decades. Say what you want about his voice in 2021, but he deserves credit for constantly traveling the world and bringing songs from The Beatles, Wings, and his solo albums to fans. I was lucky enough to see him on his “Out There” tour in 2013, a support tour for “New,” and I would say that this was one of the last years with his voice at full strength. It was a three-hour show of hit after hit, and I do not know if any concert experience will ever top that, especially given that the concert happened on Father’s Day that year, and my dad was the one who sat down and burned each and every album by The Beatles on my iPod when Apple did not have the rights to their music. 

So while I cannot act like McCartney’s lyrics are all as deep as the likes of U2 for example, but there is a timeless quality to McCartney’s music that has resonated with me since I was a child. With this crazy pandemic, I do not know if McCartney will ever tour again, but I am thankful for the opportunity I had to see him. Even though he will never see this, thank you, Paul, for all that you have done. I am far from the only person he has touched, but now at 79 years young, it feels appropriate to celebrate the one and only Paul McCartney, because I am amazed that he has been with me all this time. 

Some of Sports’ Most Heated Rivalries: A look at two of the biggest rivalries in professional sports.

Rivalries are part of what makes sports so entertaining. Whether you follow a professional sports team or you rep your school spirit as they take on a heated rival, rivalry games always bring an extra flare. Some rivalries are born out of being placed in the same division, others are from playoff losses or off-field history between players and coaches. Regardless, rivalries can bring out the very best in teams, and two of the best examples of this are the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics and the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Baltimore Ravens. 

One of the most legendary rivalries is the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The two teams have faced off in the NBA Finals on 12 occasions dating back to 1959, when the Lakers were the then “Minneapolis Lakers.”  There was a gap between 1969 and 1984 where the Lakers and Celtics didn’t meet in the Finals, but they have since played five series against each other. The Lakers have won three of the five matchups beginning in 1984, including the 2010 Finals, which went the distance of seven games. The 2010 NBA Finals was the last championship that the late Kobe Bryant won, and he put up 28.6 points per game. 

In the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are two divisional rivals with a back-and-forth history. The two teams are generally competitive and usually in the playoff race, but the Steelers currently lead the all-time series 30-24. The Steelers have won the last two matchups in 2020, but the Ravens swept the series in 2019, including an overtime victory on a walk-off 46-yard Justin Tucker field goal. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 15-10 in the regular season and 2-1 in the postseason in his career against the Ravens. Despite having a winning record against the Ravens, his statistics take a dip against the same team. In his career, Roethlisberger has a passer rating of 93.9 while posting a rating of 85.3 against the Ravens. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is technically 2-2 thus far into his short career as the Baltimore signal-caller, though he has only started two of those games and is 1-1. The Steelers and the Ravens don’t face off this year until Week 13 before they close out their seasons in Baltimore for their second matchup. Knowing the AFC North, the Week 18 game could have the teams’ playoff hopes up for grabs. 

With the NFL season in full swing, the MLB postseason coming up and the NBA starting up again soon, get ready to sit back and watch some great rivalry games unfold.

Sources: Basketball Reference, The Football Database, Land of Basketball, Pro Football Reference

Concert Spotlight: Phoebe Bridgers on her “Reunion Tour.”

Phoebe Bridgers’ “Reunion Tour” came to the Skyline Stage at the Mann in Philadelphia on September 22. The “Reunion Tour” is a support tour for Bridgers’ newest album, “Punisher,” which was released during last year while touring was not possible. It marked her second studio album, and was nominated for four Grammys in 2020 (Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance (“Kyoto”), Best Rock Song (“Kyoto”), Best Alternative Music Album (“Punisher”). 

After two opening acts including duo Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill and MUNA, Bridgers finally made her way to the stage, opening with “Motion Sickness,” a song off of her first album “Stranger in the Alps.” Despite being a relatively slow song, the audience went crazy for it and were dancing along. After the instrumental “DVD Menu,” Bridgers segued right into “Garden Song” as heard on the “Punisher” album. Then came “Kyoto,” perhaps the most up-beat song about having an identity crisis. Audience members were having a blast bopping along to a song that talks about payphones in Japan.

The momentum of the concert takes a slow turn after “Kyoto,” as the titular track off of “Punisher” was played, followed by “Halloween,” and “Smoke Signals.” The middle of the section of the set is far more ambient, thus the crowd was standing still but was very much into her music. It’s important to note that Bridgers’ music is not for everyone; the ambient and occasionally depressing tracks don’t make for a party-like atmosphere in a live setting, but her voice and backing band make up for the lack of excitement in her set. Most of the audience seemed content, filled with skeleton outfits like the ones being worn on stage by Bridgers and her band. 

The finale of the main set came with “I Know The End,” a track that features Bridgers belting out a blood-curdling scream at the peak of the crescendo. A fitting end to the main set, and the crashing crescendo had fans screaming in unison like it was a heavy metal concert. After a few moments, Bridgers and her band came out to play “Georgia,” a song from “A Stranger in the Alps,” and then ended the show with two covers, one was Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling,” from his Emmy-winning pandemic comedy special “Inside.” The second cover was “Here Comes a Regular” by The Replacements. A set consisting of the “Punisher” album in full, five songs from her debut solo album, and two covers is a great start to a blossoming touring career. 

Bridgers’ current “Reunion Tour” is set to make stops all throughout the country before commencing in Atlanta on October 24. This is far from the end for Bridgers; in fact, this is only the beginning for the young star. It was a reported sold-out crowd by the Mann Center’s official Twitter, so let’s hope that Bridgers makes another stop in Philadelphia the next time she is making her rounds on tour. 

(Emmys.com, Grammy.com, The Mann Center)

Remembering “Songs of Innocence”: A look back at the U2 album that appeared on iTunes accounts everywhere.

September 9 marked the seventh anniversary of the release of U2’s “Songs of Innocence,” an album that had a unique release plan. The Irish rock band teamed with Apple in a move that saw the album placed into the “purchased” section of iTunes libraries. A reported 81 million people downloaded the album, but that did not mean everyone was happy with the move. New York Magazine compiled social media reactions that included: “My disdain for the band U2 is making me contemplate switching to a Samsung Galaxy phone.” While it can be argued that the release plan for the album was invasive, “Songs of Innocence” is one of the band’s most unique albums.

“Songs of Innocence” is the closest U2 has come making to a concept album. It’s a semi-autobiographical album, mainly focusing on the childhood of lead singer Bono. It balances throwbacks to the early days of U2, such as the opening song, “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” an ode to the late lead singer of The Ramones. “I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred,” belts Bono in the chorus of the song. The song brings the band back to their punk-rock early days in a tribute to one of the biggest punk bands ever. “Song for Someone” is a tender love song for Bono’s wife Ali, and “Iris (Hold Me Close)” is a touching tribute to the singer’s mother who passed away in his teenage years. 

It wouldn’t be a U2 album without some politics, and there are references to the politics of Ireland in the 1970’s, as seen in heavy-hitting songs such as “The Troubles” and “Raised By Wolves.” The latter of which being about the car bombings in Ireland. “Cedarwood Road” takes listeners to Bono’s neighborhood and has a dedication to Bono’s childhood friend Guggi in the official lyrics. It opens with the lines: “I was running down the road/The fear was all I knew/I was looking for a soul that’s real/Then I ran into you.” The intensity of the song builds to a crashing crescendo where Bono croons “Sometimes fear is the only place we can call our home/Cedarwood Road.”

 “Every Breaking Wave” serves as this generation’s “With or Without You,” as a twisted love song about the metaphorical waves that serve as the troubles in any relationship. The band had a particularly emotional stripped-down rendition at the 2014 MTV EMA’s that is a must-watch.

Another standout from “Songs of Innocence” comes on the deluxe edition as a bonus track. “The Crystal Ballroom” features a thumping bass line that is a cross between The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and the theme from “The Munsters.” The song serves as a way to transport us to an old nightclub in Dublin. While it did not make the final album, it was played twice live. 

Let’s face it, U2 is far from the days of being “cool.” After all, their lead singer wears sunglass everywhere he goes and the guitarist wears a black beanie, but “Songs of Innocence” is one of U2’s most mature projects to date, and spawned one of their biggest tours, the “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour.” U2 once again pioneered a concept in the music industry with the idea of telling a narrative in their shows. Just look at what Bruce Springsteen did with “Springsteen on Broadway.” The journey that the band has been on for the last seven years can be traced back to that tumultuous Apple release. “Songs of Innocence” may not always resonate with all fans of music, but it was an attempt to branch out their fanbase to a younger generation.  Perhaps it is worth a listen, as maybe a miracle will occur.

Sources: Billboard, New York Magazine, Setlist.fm, The Verge, U2.com

People of Eastern: Dr. Bittenbender: A conversation with Eastern’s longest-tenured English professor.

Dr. Christopher Bittenbender has been a part of Eastern’s staff since 1998, making him the longest-tenured English professor currently on the staff. Bittenbender grew up in Northeastern PA, close to the Wilkes-Barre area, and was raised on a farm. “I do miss it,” said Dr. Bittenbender when asked about the farm life. He now resides in Center City Philadelphia, a far cry from the country, though he finds that the city lifestyle also has its perks. He loves going to museums in the city—he specifically noted the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where his fiancé works—and enjoys the fact that they showcase local artists. 

Art is obviously a big part of who Bittenbener is, as he has an appreciation of film, music, and literature. “Art has an ability to tap into the world in creative and innovative ways,” said Bittenbender. His love for literature stemmed from professors he had back in college. He was originally a history major, and while he still does have a lot of passion for history, his love for literature overtook that. 

For seniors out there beginning their thesis project, Dr. Bittenbender was also once in the same position. His thesis was focused on David Jones, who wrote In Parenthesis, a World War I epic poem that drops readers right into the trenches. His graduate school program took him all the way to Scotland, where he spent four years. He studied Irish and Scottish literature at the University of St. Andrews, which was founded in 1413. After coming back to the United States, Dr. Bittenbender worked as an adjunct professor at Villanova before taking a job at Eastern. The rest is history, and he is now coming up on his 25th year here. He cites the community, environment, and the students as reasons for his love of Eastern. 

For those who only know Bittenbender as an English professor, he has two children of his own that are in college and is also an outdoorsman. He loves hiking, canoeing, and skiing, which stemmed from his time studying at Middlebury College in Vermont. In between his undergraduate program and graduate school, he helped his father and brother build a log cabin in the Poconos. 

While the beginning of the year can be stressful, Bittenbender wanted to remind students to take risks. While college is a time where it can be easy to stay content, Bittenbender said that students should jump on opportunities such as internships, jobs, and clubs on campus—words of wisdom from a professor like Bittenbender who has been at Eastern for nearly a quarter of a decade. 

Previewing Eastern’s Fall/Winter Sports: A look at the Eagles’ upcoming seasons.

The wait is finally over, as many of Eastern’s fall sports are gearing up to begin their seasons.

Eastern’s soccer team started off their season 4-0, including an exciting game with a game-winner by junior Emmanuel Hewitt against Farmingdale State College. They follow up with a three-game away stretch against Cairn University, Cabrini University and Swarthmore College, which is their longest stretch away from St. Davids for the rest of the regular season. They return to St. Davids on Sept. 25 for a game against Lycoming College before taking on Catholic University on Sept. 29.

The men’s cross country team opens the season with four straight away events in Lebanon, La Plume, Philadelphia and Frederick, Md. before the MAC Championships in Center Valley, Pa. Returning team members include Billy Dykes, Solomon Rios and senior Milan Sharma, and they are welcoming first-year student William Housworth to the team.

For fans of the lacrosse team, the maroon-white scrimmage game will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The men’s basketball team also looks to have a great season, and their season kicks off with a scrimmage on Friday, Nov. 20. There is a slew of first-year players on the team, with only ten out of twenty-four players being upperclassmen. 

Eastern’s women’s volleyball team may be made up of mostly first-year students, but that has not stopped them from a red-hot start to the year, beginning 8-1. After a game at Stevenson, they return to St. Davids for a four-game homestand against Franklin and Marshall College, Rowan University, Goucher College and Albright College respectively.

The women’s golf team began their season on Sept. 24 at the Arcadia Invitational. They will then have five invitationals in the next month following that. Marin Dremock and Elaina McGarrigle return, with Julia Leo joining the team as a first-year student.

The women’s field hockey team had two road games against Swarthmore College and Alvernia University before they returned back to St. Davids on Sept. 22 to take on Elizabethtown College. While much of the team is made up of upperclassmen, Joel Groff, Grace Wise and Rebecca Webb all join the team as first-year students.

The women’s cross country team will have two meets to prepare for their MAC Championships, one on Oct. 9 and another on Oct. 16. These come awhile after their Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 contests at Lebanon, Pa and La Plume, Pa., respectively. While four of the six team members are upperclassmen, there are two first-year students on the team in Madison Moylan and Hailey Shreffler.

It will be another great year of sports for Eastern University’s Eagles. For each team’s full schedule, visit Eastern University’s athletics website.

Source: Eastern University Athletics

The “Before” Trilogy: A look back at Richard Linklater’s underappreciated postmodern and unique romantic drama trilogy.

When thinking of the greatest movie trilogies of all time, what comes to mind? It could be the groundbreaking “Dark Knight” superhero trilogy from Christopher Nolan, the epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” the original three films in the “Star Wars” saga, or maybe even “The Godfather” trilogy even despite its lackluster third entry. One trilogy that isn’t recognized enough in these conversations is Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy of dramas, which consists of “Before Sunrise” (1995), “Before Sunset” (2004), and “Before Midnight” (2013). The Oscar-nominated director has a knack for telling stories that take long periods of time to make. 2014’s “Boyhood” was filmed over the course of 12 years, and the “Before” trilogy took nine years in-between sequels. All three of the films end on a  cliffhanger, and the long periods of time between the films create a greater sense of anticipation than superhero movies.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke need to be lauded for their stellar performances in the trilogy, especially considering the amount of time that passes in between each film. It can be hard to come back and play the same character years later; just take Harrison Ford in the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie or Al Pacino in “The Godfather Part: 3” as prime examples of that. Delpy and Hawke break the mold and remain consistent in their portrayals of Celine and Jesse throughout each entry of the trilogy. Their characters grow and age in the nine-year gaps between movies, but they never feel like impersonations of younger versions of the characters. The two have an impeccable rapport, which is needed in films that are very dialogue heavy. They make it so easy to believe that they meet spontaneously in the first installment, and their chemistry keeps you bought in throughout the entire series. There’s an argument that lasts for about thirty minutes in “Before Midnight” that
will be enjoyed by anyone who liked “Marriage Story.” The weight of the entire series is placed on the shoulders of the two leads, and they did more than their fair share to carry it.

As mentioned, all three “Before” movies are very dialogue-heavy and lack any sort of action or fast-paced scenes. They’re simple stories by nature but take advantage of every minute of their runtimes. It’s a tightwire act to try and keep conversations engaging, and it’s a trial that Linklater, Delpy and Hawke all pass
with flying colors. Twenty-minute scenes at dinner tables or on boats fly by and the relationship between the two leads blossoms with each conversation.

All three films in the “Before” trilogy are superb and deserve more recognition when the greatest movie trilogies of all time are talked about. The latter two movies each received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Adapted Screenplay,” but they still feel underappreciated. They’re not as big as “The Lord of the Rings,” or as culturally significant as “Star Wars,” but they provide a romance arc that takes eighteen years to complete. The trio of films were recognized and released in a beautiful box set for The Criterion Collection in 2017, becoming Linklater’s fourth, fifth and sixth entries in the esteemed physical media company. The trilogy puts a different twist on romance movies and offers something completely different with endings that are more contemplative and don’t always offer the resolutions the audience expects. All of that being said, the third entry in the trilogy, “Before Midnight”, was released in 2013 and here’s hoping for a surprise fourth entry in 2022.

Sources: The Criterion Collection, IMDB