Movie Spotlight: Shutter Island: A broken island field with mystery, memories, regret, and violence.

In 1954, A U.S. Marshal, Teddy Daniels, with his partner Chuck Aule was tasked with finding an escaped patient. They arrive at Ashecliffe, a penitentiary that holds the most dangerous and damaged patients in the world. However, the audience understands Daniels’s true motive for taking on the case as he searches for the man who killed his wife.

The scenes are uneasy as the patients, doctors, and workers are mysterious, leading our main character to question his sanity. Pictures, songs, German doctors, subtle words, and officers remind Daniels of his past WWII memories. He develops hallucinations of his deceased wife, German soldiers, and Holocaust survivors at a death camp. An investigation for an escaped patient turns into Daniels fighting his past and himself.

Feb. 19, 2010, the legendary Martin Scorsese directed “Shutter Island.” The psychological thriller mystery drama is paired with an excellent cast. The three characters played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley complement each other in scenes. When all three are in the exact location, it’s a chess match of words wanting to make the other make a mistake.

When the movie ended, “Shutter Island” didn’t win any notable awards. The biggest surprise from this movie was that neither Scorsese nor DiCaprio were nominated for an Oscar. This is one of few blemishes of their career as it is the first time both haven’t been nominated for an Oscar. Some say the movie is hard on the eyes with the consistent flashes of war crimes, concentration camps, and gory death scenes in WWII. 

While the movie has its flaws, here’s what I like about the film. In the beginning, you hear eerie music behind the Paramount logo. It leaves the audience in suspense, wondering what will happen next. This noise follows throughout the movie, seeing odd patients, officers, and Daniels’s memories. I love films that display eerie music, and they put you at the edge of your seat.

Because this is a psychological thriller, conversations about human nature being violent, insane, or delusional are ordinary. However, there are three scenes, in particular, that center around violence. First, Daniels finds himself talking to a vital doctor of the penitentiary about being a “man of violence.” Next is a suspenseful scene of Daniels talking to an inmate, informing him about the dangerous things Daniels has done. Last, the warden has a one-on-one talk with Daniels about his survival instincts, willing to strike anyone in his path.

These scenes make the audience wonder and question, “what information from the main character is being held from us?” Movies shouldn’t just have the watchers have clear answers. A good film should make the audience jump through hoops till the truth is revealed. 

Finally, the biggest surprise is the constant questioning of Daniels’s partner Aule. Nothing is wrong until his partner leaves during an interrogation of a patient; she writes “run” in Daniels’s book. Another instance is when Daniels finds himself being questioned by an inmate on how long he’s worked with Aule and if he can trust him. 

All the paths Daniels ran to get closer to his answers led to a surprising development at the end. Finally, questions are answered, and if you want to discover them, log into Netflix and watch it and you’ll be in for a treat.

Source: Whatculture.com

Eastern University Fall Sports: A wrap up to a great season for Eastern’s Fall sports teams.

Eastern University Fall teams experienced their first year in the MAC Commonwealth Conference. Field Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, and Women’s Volleyball entered this year with high expectations, as they wanted to make their mark in the new league. 

First Field Hockey had an unfortunate and challenging season, finishing 3-15 and 1-7 in the conference. A big reason is the tough competition against the conference. Facing first place Messiah (16-2, 8-0), York (14-5, 7-1), and Widener (14-5, 5-3). Including non-conference games in Stevens Institute of Technology (15-4, 6-1), TCNJ (11-5, 4-2), and Haverford (13-5, 6-4). 

However, arguably the best win of the year was against Hood College. A hard-fought battle entering into overtime tied 1-1. An attack from Eastern’s Lily White scored the winning goal 2-1. It was a sight to see as it was our first win in the new conference. Regardless of the year, our field hockey team is ready for the challenge next season.

Women’s Soccer had both a great season and a disappointing outcome. They finished (7-8-3), winning six of their games at home. Two of which completely dominated their opponents, beating Gwynedd Mercy 9-1 and Lancaster Bible 6-0. Unfortunately, while doing great home, on the road was a different story as they lost seven on the road, four of them against in-conference teams. Thus, sadly, missing the playoffs while only scoring five points in the seeding race. 

While the team didn’t go far, it was still enjoyable to watch them play at home. The constant attack from our strikers made one feel as if the ball was always going in the net. I can’t wait to see what they bring next year as they have a bright future ahead.

Men’s Soccer had a great season as well but just missed the playoffs. They were starting the season with a six-game winning streak. But the second half of the season proved to be difficult as they faced the conference. Especially against nationally-ranked Messiah (16-1-2), they barely lost 3-2 in double overtime. However, the team finished (10-5-2), winning their last two games wonderfully against Widener and Albright.

Everyone on the team played great, some even winning “player of the week.” From offense to defense to goalkeeping, each play was fascinating to watch. Goal celebrations made crowds go crazy. I’m glad I watched their exciting season.

Finally, the Women’s Volleyball team went all out. They dominated their schedule with a (24-5, 7-1) record, making the first seed playoffs. What can you not expect from volleyball? Mark Birtwistle has won 22 out of the last 24 seasons in the program. Great defensive play, perfect setting, booming kills, and nasty serves; this team was crazy to watch. 

Game 1 of the MAC Commonwealth tournament hosted fourth-placed Messiah (20-9, 6-2). The Nest had the crowd wearing all white. Eastern managed to win the first two sets easily. However, they were in this position against Messiah as they suffered their first in-conference loss in five sets. Messiah won the following two sets to drive Eastern in shock, but we prevailed as we won the fifth set 14-16. Luckily Eastern had a couple of days to prepare for their championship matchup against second-place defending MAC Commonwealth champion Stevenson.

This game had back and forth action where both teams slowly took sets. Eastern found themselves down 2-1 entering the fourth set changing gears. They won 25-12, with momentum on their side in the fifth set, winning 15-13 and the championship. I would like to congratulate them for their hard work this season.

As for the Field Hockey and Women’s and Men’s Soccer teams, I would like to congratulate them and their seniors on finishing their careers as Eagles. It was an honor watching you all play.

Sources: MAC Commonwealth, Eastern Athletics, and NCAA

Squid Game: A look at Netflix’s new smash-hit, “Squid Game”

On September 17, 2021, Netflix’s “Squid Game” made its debut on the streaming service. Hwang Dong-hyuk’s “Squid Game” had a long journey to see the light of day, as it was initially rejected for nearly a decade until finally being greenlit by Netflix two years ago. 

“Squid Game” introduces their main protagonist, Seong Gi-Hun, who is in financial trouble with debt collectors. He is a gambler, lazy, divorced, and lives with his elderly mother struggling with health problems. To make matters worse, is his constant failures as a parent to his 10-year-old daughter, as he makes his daughter’s birthday unsatisfying. The same night after bringing his daughter back to his ex-wife’s house, he is met in a subway station by a well-dressed man. This man offers Seong the chance to play a game for money. This scene is very comical as every time Seong loses, he is then slapped by the man. Finally winning, Seong receives the cash and a card with a chance to change his life for the better. 

Thinking about the card and his financial troubles, his mother tells him that he will lose the chance to see his daughter as she moves to the United States in a year. Due to this information, Seong then calls the number in the back of the card to participate in a series of games without knowing the severe challenges he will face.

While being picked up by a mysterious man in a van late at night, Seong is knocked out by sleeping gas reaching to the games. He wakes up with a new pair of clothes in a room with other contestants. Seong notices his childhood friend, an older man with a brain tumor, and a pickpocket. At the same time, surprised by the number of people in the room, multiple men in masks walk out to introduce the games. In an uproar, the contestants are furious with being kidnapped and not knowing where they are. However, in particular, one man tells them why they are here and what measures had to be taken, as each contestant is struggling financially. 

The masked man then informs the 456 contestants that there will be six games, and if someone loses, they will be eliminated. While the players walk to the first stage, the contestants are introduced to “Red Light, Green Light.” Thinking this would be easy, contestants who failed were killed. The scene is eerie, as each player is shocked by the outcome of these games. While narrowing his safety, Seong and other players fear for their lives and want to quit knowing that half of the other members were killed. The masked men then allowed the contestants to vote to end the game or continue for the prize.

To me, “Squid Game” displayed significant character development not only in our protagonist but in our side characters. It focuses heavily on human nature as to what people would do for money and how this can damage relationships. The uneasiness of each member going through the games and outside of them makes it more challenging. Contestants lose their identities, while others grow new ones. “Squid Game” isn’t just a death parade, it is a show of character improvement.

Sources: Esquire, Collider, and Netflix

Julia’s Grace: A foundation joins Eastern to watch Women’s and Mens’s Soccer games.

The Julia Grace Foundation is a nonprofit organization that symbolizes the braveness of an eight-year-old Julia Grace Eveland. While having a Wilm’s Tumor, a form of childhood kidney cancer, she helped others during her treatment. 

She donated her birthday gifts to the oncology clinic, and from there, asked school fundraisers to enable doctors to find a cure for childhood cancer. Sadly, Julia passed away in September 2013. However, she is known to many as someone who put other’s first, and this foundation still follows her goal to make other’s feel happy through tough times.

On October 16, Enactus and the Eastern’s Athletic Department hosted Julia’s Grace Day during the Women’s and Men’s soccer games against Messiah. As a result, the Julia’s Grace Foundation could sell t-shirts and spread awareness of its mission to fans during halftime. Being there and hearing about their mission meant a lot as it focuses on childhood cancer. 

Childhood cancer is a common issue in today’s world, causing a struggle within families to bear news of their children having cancer. Julia Grace wants to make life normal for those in need and provide “hugs” to those during the process. 

Seeing the athletes and coaches wear Julia’s shirts connected us. We might have lost the games, but it was a sight to see as this moment bigger than sports.

Suppose you’re interested in donating or buying merchandise to the foundation look at the top of the page on their website juliasgracefoundation.org. With their click donate button, you can choose to either donate once, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Merchandise is next to their donations, so feel free to buy a shirt to support the cause. Lastly, if you want to follow their Facebook “Julia’s Grace Foundation” to view their movements. 

Sources: juliasgracefoundation.org, Julia’s Grace Foundation Facebook

 

The Art of Carving Pumpkins: A student reflects on the history and experience of this Halloween tradition.

It’s that time of year when families go to their nearby pumpkin patch to enjoy one of the nation’s most creative activities: pumpkin carving. The process begins with picking the perfect pumpkin, then cleaning it, and finally creating images on the pumpkin to capture the spirit of Halloween. 

Pumpkin carving dates back to ancient times when the Celtics first introduced these decorations. The “Jack-o’-Lantern” is originally named after the man “Stingy Jack” who drove the Devil. Due to him tricking the Devil, he ended up cursed, walking the earth in the afterlife. These small decorations are meant to keep Jack away from their homes.

When I think of pumpkin carving, the first thing that comes to mind is the mess. However, that’s also what makes it exciting and enjoyable as an activity, especially when surrounded by friends and family. My friends also enjoy it as it is a rarity that you can only enjoy once a year. I interviewed a few friends in particular about their experience in carving pumpkins. One friend explained what pumpkin carving means to her. She provided details of her first time performing this activity with her late grandfather when she was 10. Before starting the carving, the hard labor of cleaning was tedious, but this allowed her to show her creativity after completing the pumpkin cleaning. She got out of this experience by enjoying hard work; she has since participated in this tradition with loved ones around her. Another one of my friends had almost a similar story but with his siblings. He explained how pumpkin carving during his favorite month created a bond between him and his younger brother and sister—being the one looking over their pumpkins and helping them create what they wanted brought joy for him. He said, “It was amazing every time I could spend time with them creating something we can all enjoy.”

I have a very similar experience. I haven’t done an actual pumpkin carving in a few years, but when I did, I enjoyed myself. I carved pumpkins with my friends at a young age. Having the ability to create an image I could think of on this small object was remarkable to me. This activity made my love for Halloween more exciting. It wasn’t just the costumes, candy, or scary movies. Walking around at night and seeing each porch having a jack-o-lantern made Halloween fun. If it can make a child’s experience better on Halloween, then the hard work was worth it. So whether you do or don’t carve pumpkins, you can count on it being a tradition in many households during the month of October to capture the spirit of Halloween.

Source: Brunswick Forest

Movie Spotlight: “Uncut Gems”: A look at the 2019 thriller, “Uncut Gems.”

Looking for a movie with non-stop action that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats? “Uncut Gems” is exactly that in the 2019 drama and crime classic.

Directed by the Safdie brothers Josh and Benny, and written by Ronald Bronstein, “Uncut Gems” displays the life of a 2012 New York jewelry store owner Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler). Howard is a fast-talking businessman addicted to the thrill of gambling. Unfortunately, his addiction gets him into more trouble than he could handle, and runs into collectors who have no patience for his antics, including his brother-in-law Arthur. On thin ice, Howard’s luck could take a change for the better, as a golden opportunity presents itself.

Howard’s partner Demany sets up a meeting with Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett; originally luring him in for a watch before a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, a long-awaited package arrives from Ethiopia. Excited, Howard leaves Demany and Kevin for a moment to unravel the gem from the box. He then comes back to the front of the shop to show Kevin this gem. Kevin instantly gets hit in a trance from looking at this gem and then tells Ratner his desire for this gem. However, due to wanting the rock, Kevin asks if he can borrow it for the game. Kevin’s plea is reluctantly accepted by Howard, so Kevin gives his 2008 championship ring as collateral. 

The film explores more of Horward’s home life, including the highs and lows with family (including both his wife and mistress), debt, relationships, and business, eventually doubting himself. With his only hope being the gem in the hands of a star. From beginning to end, it is filled with twists and turns.

One great aspect of the film is that Sandler played his role well. Howard might be annoying, but his acting for this role was exceptional. He completely embodied the personality of a New York jewelry store owner, unfaithful husband, and gambling addict. Through all of the lows Howard hits, Sandler’s portrayal of emotion allows viewers to sympathize with a bad character. 

Another is how extremely unpredictable it gets throughout the film. Howard’s expectations and plans didn’t work or were stopped in their tracks. The story not allowing him to win stayed true to his character. He wants to rebuild relationships with his soon-to-be ex-wife and kids, pay off debts, and do business with Garnett. The buildup leads to a great climax towards the movie’s end, making Howard feel practically invincible.

Lastly, the great list of cast members outside of Sandler and Garnett in this film shouldn’t go unnoticed. Julie Fox, Idina Menzel, LaKeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, and more played their roles well. These characters’ antics make Howard’s world into a living nightmare.

“Uncut Gems” is timed at two hours and fourteen minutes, but it will keep you entertained as both a stressful and exciting watch. However, the movie’s popularity is significantly shown as its trailer has accumulated 12 million views at the time of this article on YouTube, and has been heavily featured on Netflix’s popular section. “Uncut Gems” also won critics over; currently holding  a 91% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Give Sandler credit, as “Uncut Gems” is the actor’s highest-rated feature-length film on the website by a wide margin (12% higher than “Punch Drunk Love”). 

“Uncut Gems”  is available to stream on Netflix. 

Sources: Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube

Athlete Devotional: Antonio Yeoman reflects about his time incorporating faith into lacrosse

      With athletes incoming and returning to Eastern, many trust their faith during games and hard practice with an understanding of God having their backs at all times.

      Antonio Yeoman, a freshman from Somers Point, New Jersey, connects with God as he plays lacrosse at Eastern. After listening to his story, one can notice Antonio’s enthusiasm towards athletics and his faith. A passion for sports and also a passion for God.

      Yeoman has been playing sports since he was 3-years-old. Early on he was interested in baseball, football, and wrestling. In sixth grade, he discovered his love of lacrosse. The movement of the game, watching the players flow with the ball, seeing the maneuvers of every player, are few of the reasons he loves the sport.

      After his interest peaked he began working on his skills each day trying to improve and become the best player he could be. Yeoman stated that sports are his life and “he doesn’t do it for the game itself, he does it for his family, friends, and teammates.” He wants to make them proud every time he goes out on the field, and to do so he puts 100% into every game. He plays lacrosse for three different reasons. First, to prove his doubters wrong. Second, for people who have his back. Lastly, to make sure not to disappoint his coaches. Overall, he focuses on improving his faith when playing lacrosse.

      Before each game he prays to God, asking Him to give strength to play the game. He enjoys his yearning for playing on the field, but he enjoys it more when he has God by his side. Being active, having family surrounding him, gaining friends, and getting to where he is right now, is all gifts from God. He wants to honor God while he plays on the field because God has never left him. When times were tough for him, he went to God for guidance.

      Outside of sports, he looks toward his faith to help him through the college workload and lifestyle. Sports are important, but grades will always come first. You can often see him working on classwork from professors in the library or his dorm room. Not only does he focus on school work, but he helps people around him who are struggling and supports them through stressful times. When one looks at Yeoman, one will see a person who is committed to getting things done and understanding that God has given him these opportunities. Ultimately, Antonio Yeoman does not only share his faith on the field but off the field, incorporating aspects of God’s love for us.

The class of 2022 has big dreams: Three freshman students are interviewed and share their hopes for the future.

      As freshmen are forming more solid foundations on Eastern’s campus, we wanted to share their desired goals for the future. It is common to find freshmen who already had a goal in mind when they officially decided where they wanted to study in the future. However, being away from family and trying to figure out how to develop their lives here at Eastern can change their goals they had made previously. All of these new and excited faces at Eastern have a plan for their college experiences and what they would like to accomplish. We found three freshmen who were willing to tell us what they hope for in the future with the degrees will earn.

      Hailing from Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, Brianna Williams has big hopes for the future. Studying psychology at Eastern she hopes to one day to be a clinical psychiatrist. She chose this major because of the soft spot in her heart for those struggling with mental health. She wants to one day better the lives of those struggling with mental health problems and lighten the burden on their families. Originally, she wanted to be a surgeon has since decided to become a psychiatrist.

      Chris Yanak, originally from England, now lives in Reading, Pennsylvania. He discovered his love for music at a very young age and to this day is very dedicated to it. His primary instrument is the piano with which he plays mostly classical and pop music. A large skill of his is being a sight reader for sheet music. First and foremost, he is majoring in music and as a backup he plans on minoring in music education. His big dream is to become one of the worlds greatest musicians.

      While walking down the halls of Sparrowk, we met Jon Dierkes from Morton, Pennsylvania. As a marketing major at Eastern, he wishes to get into music as well. He decided on marketing in order to learn different business styles and how to use finances to promote music. By studying music and business music, it will educate him on how to market his music. Understanding how to market his music will lead him to make the right decisions when trying to sell his products. A few minor goals include wanting to get good grades in his courses, making his parents proud and making friends in this new walk of life.

      Even in this new experience of education, incoming freshman all have goals set for their life. It may be a unfamiliar and overwhelming atmosphere, but these freshman are up for the challenge. They plan to work hard for the sake of their dreams and what will become of their goals. Each of them are willing to succeed within this new environment, which will not only get them closer to their goals for the future but create a change in themselves.