Archive for October 11th, 2012

by Jaime Grijalba.

Another year has gone by and it’s time for the usual conversation, discussion and usual ranting about the choices made regarding the Nobel prize winners for literature of each year. As many of you may know, or maybe not, I started writing for this site after an email I sent Sam Juliano, telling him that I was interested in doing some book reviews and that I wanted to exercise the use of my english writing habilities (I don’t know if I’m getting better or worse, but at least I’m getting some readers that comment on my pieces), so I took the chance to do it due to the fact that Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize in 2010 and I had in my house a bunch of his books that I didn’t have the chance to read, so I decided to go ahead, dwelve inside the works of this peruvian writer in the hopes of getting something out of it, specially some explanation about what the fuss was about his literature. So I started reading the books and writing essays and I was doing alright until this year, in which I completely stopped my tracks in my discovery of his written word, because I was going in chronological order and the next book that I have to read called ‘Conversations at the Cathedral’ was lost by my father after he left it in some building and he hasn’t got it back. The book is long and heavy, and it’s really difficult to find it in libraries for me to borrow it. Then came last year, in which we celebrated the new nobel prize winner for literature: Tomas Trasntrömer, a swedish poet that turned out to difficult to read his first works, so any advance on his search (Really, I need the compilation that reunites his first poetry books, can anyone borrow and scan it for me?). And now comes this somewhat known chinese writer: Mo Yan, a name that wasn’t a complete mystery when I heard it this morning in the news (as opposed to the whole mess that was finding out about Tranströmer), as it shouldn’t be to anyone that has some interest in chinese cinema, specially the films of Zhang Yimou. He wrote the novel ‘Red Sorghum’, in which the film of the same name is based, so I wasn’t completely lost about it, but… why him?

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by J.D. Lafrance

Animal House (1978) is the pioneer of mainstream gross-out comedies, featuring a classic battle between the snobs and the slobs that takes the form of an escalating prank war, culminating in a memorable parade of devilment. It is a film that spawned countless toga-themed college parties and was the inspiration for any number of cafeteria food fights. Spawned by the malcontents at the popular humor magazine National Lampoon, Animal House was an ideal combination of the right elements, from the hilarious screenplay by Doug Kenney, Chris Miller and Harold Ramis to an ensemble cast that featured veteran character actors (John Vernon) and up-and-comers (Tim Matheson), all anchored by larger than life comedian John Belushi of Saturday Night Live fame. The end result was nothing short of cinematic lightning in a bottle with a film that delighted in thumbing its nose at any notion of good taste.

We meet two aspiring college freshmen – Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) and Larry Kroger (Tom Hulce) – attempting to pledge a fraternity. They are played to dweebie perfection by Tom Hulce, as the goofy square-peg, and Stephen Furst; the pudgy, baby-faced legacy. They are immediately dismissed as a “wimp and a blimp” by a sorority girl working the welcome table at the Omega House party. Right from the get-go, director John Landis makes it clear what the Omegas are – boring, stuffy and elitist. Everyone is in suit and tie with someone playing insipid dinner music on the piano. Host Douglas Neidermeyer (Mark Metcalf) oozes faux sincerity as he repeatedly gets Larry’s name wrong and quickly shepherds him and Kent over to the party’s anti-VIP section whose guests already include an African, an Indian, a nerd, and a physically handicapped student. (more…)

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