Review Category : Opinion

The Maturing Moviegoer: Beasts of the College Town

I spent the better part of my 18 years in the land of milk, honey and $11 craft sandwiches: Los Angeles. Growing up in the City of Angels has undeniably affected my coming of age (as well as my radical vocabulary). To help understand both the visible and invisible influences of place on coming of age, we’ll use Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin’s 2012 adaption of Lucy Alibar’s one-act play, Juicy and Delicious. I saw the movie twice, the first time after it came out, and the second last Saturday night, with a couple of Natural Lights in my belly. The second time was tremendously better (maybe because of the Nattys). This film tells the story of Hushpuppy, a six-year-old resident of the “Bathtub,” a poor, isolated community in New Orleans threatened by storms and rising sea levels. Hushpuppy is by and large a miniature version of her ailing father, Wink. In fact, he often refers to her as his ‘man’ or hopes she will one day become... ...

Read More →

Growing With Film: Wising Up With “The Iron Giant”

My column thus far has dealt with adult issues that include, but are not limited, to the power of stereotypes, drug use and sexual maturation. Today, we’ll take a step back from the ‘R’ rated movies and look at Brad Bird’s 1999 The Iron Giant. I have seen this film twice in my life — once as a thumb-sucking five year old, the other as a head-in-the-clouds college student. I’ve got to say, the movie got my tears a-flowin’. This came mainly as a result of its surprisingly candid look at the power of death in childhood, themes regarding the importance of self-determinism and inner peace, which help demonstrate one of the most illustrious themes in coming of age: the wisdom of children. But how can children be wise, Eli? Good question. The only wise thing I could tell you as a youngling would be to avoid girls and, in turn, the scourge of cooties. I kid (pun definitely intended). Kids seem to have a mind that while not fully... ...

Read More →

Guest Opinion: You Can’t Fight Bigotry with Bigotry

As many of you have probably heard, there was a recent controversy surrounding a planned but canceled Cinco de Mayo party by CoHo employees that turned into a huge uproar here at UC Davis. This is not the first time something like this has happened; according to some people who have been on campus longer than I have, the usual protocol is to quietly reprimand people who do such culturally insensitive acts for fun rather than out them in public. I understand that perhaps people think that quiet discipline is not enough and everyone needs to know that such acts are not okay; the result this time may have led to unintended consequences that also revealed other kinds of unsavory attitudes on campus. First of all, I want to say that I realize that Cinco de Mayo is primarily a Mexican-American and Northern Mexican holiday brought over to the United States to celebrate cultural roots by Mexican-Americans, and has served as an important symbol of cultural unity. We also need... ...

Read More →

Co-op Bonanza: That’s my milk!

About six months ago, I moved into a cooperative community and I couldn’t be more thankful. Sure, I’m living with 16 people in one house and sometimes I camp at the library to get a breather, but all these eccentric people have taught me quite a bit. Some of their lessons seem relatively simple: how to fry an egg, what goes/doesn’t go into compost and how to make beans (Hint: soak them. Forever.). However, while I’ve learned heaps of useful life skills like cooking, the most valuable lesson I believe I’ve learned is how to communicate. It sounds somewhat simple. Communicating is just speaking, right? Saying what’s on your mind? It’s a little more than that, if you ask me. My favorite definition, courtesy of the ever-fantastic Oxford English Dictionary, is as follows: an “interchange of speech, conferring, discussion, debate; an instance of this, a conversation, a conference.” This definition manages to capture the interactive bit of communicating that I’ve come to know and respect. Living in a co-op has... ...

Read More →

Editorial: University apartment shutdowns — Save the Parks Now

Biking around town, it seems the only type of building more popular in Davis than Thai food restaurants is apartment complexes. But two years from now, two whole complexes will be gone — Solano Park Apartments in July 2016, and Orchard Park Apartments on July 31 of this year. With this move, UC Davis is displacing families, disadvantaging student parents and reducing affordable housing options. Orchard Park and Solano Park, respectively located northwest and southeast of campus, are affordable housing complexes designated for graduate students and students with families. Benefits for residents of both complexes include campus proximity, safe spaces away from traffic for children to play, a community network of other student parents and families and a relatively low rent that is manageable under their student-worker salaries. According to Student Housing, the buildings are being torn down because they are old and need to be improved, and repairs are more expensive than renovations. We’re all for making sure that buildings are safe and comfortable for their residents, but the... ...

Read More →

Guest Opinion: Cinco de Drinko

We, as concerned students of UC Davis and community members, would like to declare our utter offense and disgust with an off campus event organized by UC Davis students. It has been brought to our attention that a “Cinco de Drinko Sloshball” Facebook event page was created by UC Davis Coffee House (CoHo) student employees earlier this week. The event is a party intended to have attendees dress in “festive” attire, meaning stereotypical “Mexican” dress (a sombrero and sarape, fake mustache, etc.). In addition, attendees are given an image that demonstrates the attire they should wear, which includes a border patrol officer costume. These images are hurtful to our community and only serve to create a hostile campus climate by sending a message of disregard and disrespect for the Chican@/Latin@ and Undocumented/Immigrant campus community. Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that marks and celebrates the victory over French rule that was momentous for the state of Puebla, Mexico. This holiday is often manipulated by individuals who use inaccurate images of... ...

Read More →

Modern Bey Feminism: Does pretty hurt feminism?

In 2012, People Magazine announced that Beyoncé was the “Most Beautiful Woman In the World.” As a feminist, I would argue that women should not be judged on what they look like, and thus should not worry about society’s (or People Magazine’s) beauty standards. But this is all much easier said than done, especially when Beyoncé’s flawless face is staring at you in the grocery store. In her latest album, Beyoncé examines the idea of beauty and how it is formed and encouraged by the society we live in, specifically in her song “Pretty Hurts.” The music video shows Beyoncé as a pageant contestant, preparing for the competition, picking out outfits, throwing up in the bathroom and then losing the pageant. The video is a clear criticism of the beauty ideals that our society encourages women to strive for. Beyoncé sings, “We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see/ It’s the soul that needs the surgery.” While Beyoncé criticizes this form of beauty, I don’t... ...

Read More →

The Maturing Moviegoer: Growing Pains and American Beauty

Before Kevin Spacey was ruthless United States Congressman Frank Underwood, preying on girls half his age, he was Lester Burnham, a middle class American man — who also preyed on girls half his age. “American Beauty” is a 1999 Best Picture film by Sam Mendes. It’s up there on my list of greatest movies ever made. This great piece of work instructs us to “look closer” into what gives ordinary lives meaning, and how we react to truths about ourselves and others. Such themes are persistent throughout life, but they hold a certain weight in youth. Lester’s in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Morning masturbation sessions are the highlight of his days. He’s a man with a family, but that doesn’t make him a family man. His materialistic wife hates his guts, and his daughter thinks he’s a “lame-o.” It’s dysfunctional. We’ll focus on the daughter, Jane. She’s an insecure girl who finds no anchor in her family. She turns to others in her life. But even these others... ...

Read More →

The Maturing Moviegoer: “Traffic” and Drugs Today

Pot. Weed. Devil’s grass. Hell shrub. MJ. Doug. These nicknames (several of which are unique to my own vernacular) are among the many terms used to refer to the common drug, marijuana. In this column, we’ll look at Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 drama “Traffic” and how drugs are now, more than ever, a poignant part of coming of age. It’s my hope that we can create compromise on the effects of drugs, an area so devoid of middle ground. So go ahead, light a bowl of Doug. Relax. We’ll get started. Drug culture can be extreme. Not in the Nancy Grace sense, where a puff of hell shrub makes a person hungry to murder. But in the sense that drugs have the tremendous power to underscore the thoughts and actions of young adults. In “Traffic,” they do just this, dramatizing the relationship between the United States Drug Czar, Robert Wakefield, and his heroin addicted daughter, Caroline. The film feels like a documentary that has access to an uncanny truth on the... ...

Read More →

Editorial: Blood drive boycott — Bloodclot

On April 22 and April 23, the UC Davis Community Service Resource Center and Clinica Tepati sponsored the spring blood drive. BloodSource “bloodmobiles” were on the Quad from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. both days, and students and community members with a valid ID could stop by any time to donate blood. Because of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy created in 1983 that bans gay and bisexual identified people from donating blood, the ASUCD Gender and Sexuality Commission (GASC) is leading a boycott against the blood drive. On its Facebook page “UNBAN THE BLOOD: Boycott the Policy,” GASC claims the boycott is a response to the outdated and discriminatory FDA policy. Volunteers will be distributing flyers and brochures with “#bloodboycott” and other information regarding the ban and the boycott leading up to and during the blood drive. While we fully support equal rights for all LGBTQIQA communities, we believe that this blood drive boycott is an ineffective method of obtaining these rights. The opposition to the ban is not... ...

Read More →

The Maturing Moviegoer: Magnolia is the biggest flower

If you’ve been reading my column for the past couple of weeks, you are probably a brave, intelligent and interesting person. I thank you. As a reward, I’m going to talk about one of the finest movies ever made: Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 Magnolia. I cannot say enough about this movie in the narrow confines of this column. It’s a film that relies less on plot, and more on story. This distinction helps us play up the importance of the many characters and the way their lives intertwine in the course of a single day in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. In the many stories presented in this three-hour tale, there is one that gives a beautiful and sad depiction of a young boy’s coming-of-age. His name is Stanley, and he’s a boy genius whose talents are used by his father for monetary gain via a game show. Stanley’s got it rough, but he doesn’t show it. He loves learning more than Fox News loves miseducating. He pursues... ...

Read More →

Breaking Norms: Robots or ninjas?

Robotic. That’s essentially the type of movement people seem to expect from you. If you don’t conform to the norms laid out and you instead spring to life like an actual human, then there might be something … off. Take walking around campus for instance — everyone seems to blend together quite seamlessly. There aren’t students running and jumping around like ninjas, nor are there any who really stand out in an obvious way (as far as body language and movement goes). So, how come this is our reality? Well, the rules of social conduct tell us that bursting out spontaneously would frighten those who don’t do that, and acting wild is for savage animals. But we are savage humans. So, I decided during my daily routines around campus to test this social norm. When people don’t expect me to transform my slow-paced, run-of-the-mill walk into a full sprint ending with a ninja kick, their visible response portrays their confusion. I think that general members of society think that if... ...

Read More →

Modern Bey Feminism: Sexy feminism

The camera zooms in on a French manor in the countryside. It’s an average morning for Beyoncé as she eats breakfast and then dances sensually in a diamond bustier. After watching the video for Beyoncé’s song “Partition,” there is no denying that Beyoncé is sexy. But the motivation behind this sexuality has often been questioned. Is Beyoncé an innately sexual being and merely expressing this through her music and videos? Or has society forced her into sexualizing her music in order to sell records? Or, is she consciously using her sexuality to make money? Her newest visual album titled “Beyoncé” features 17 videos and not a whole lot of clothing. But I would argue that her videos do tell a story, and she’s not just being sexy to be scandalous (or profitable). Unlike many women featured in the hip-hop videos of her male counterparts, Beyoncé uses her body to express herself and her music. While you may not experience love the same way as Beyoncé does in her “Drunk in... ...

Read More →

Co-op Bonanza: Cloyne Wars

Imagine that someone comes along and tells you you can’t live in your house anymore. Imagine they are going to kick you out and undo all your work and keep you from being a part of that space. *Sings* Imagine all the people… When I think of this happening to my own home, I see the art created by friends and residents being eliminated. I see the collection of posters ranging from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to a Periodic Table of Produce in the trash. Worst of all, I see how empty the house would be without my housemates’ laughter and poetry and out-of-tune renditions of “The Imperial March.” And what about the cat? Oh Zuni… For the residents of Cloyne Court Co-op in Berkeley, this devastating picture is becoming a reality. I know there’s a group of us that have something in our hearts against Berkeley students, but the issue surrounding Cloyne is one that transcends grudges. When a Cloyne resident died because of a drug overdose... ...

Read More →

Modern Bey Feminism: Not just his little wife

On Dec. 13, 2013, the world changed forever when Beyoncé released her fifth album, titled Beyoncé. The Queen’s musical baby came into the world less than two years after her actual baby, Blue Ivy, was born. The surprise album left fans stunned (and so so happy), but also piqued the age-old question: can women really have it all? Beyoncé was a success according to both the critics and the charts — Apple announced that it was the fastest selling album ever on iTunes, after 828,773 copies sold in the first three days. From my perspective, Blue Ivy has been a success as well. She is dressed to the nines every time she’s photographed, and is featured on two chart-topping songs (“Glory” by Jay-Z and “Blue” by Beyoncé). So it would seem that Beyoncé, at least, can have it all. Her success so soon after becoming a mother shows that women can make achievements while simultaneously raising a child. However, Beyoncé is not your average mom. With what is likely a... ...

Read More →