Last week Professor Thomas L. Dumm wrote an article for The Amherst Student entitled “The Elephant in the Room,” concerning the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct at Amherst and their questionable exclusion of the intersection between athletics and sexual respect issues on campus in their official report on sexual respect released recently. As per usual, the comment board on The Student website quickly overflowed with spewed vitriol and poorly thought out, overly simplistic criticisms.
It’s that time again: Time for me to have an excuse to talk about the Oscars without complaining about how meaningless they are! But seriously, the Oscar nominations proved me wrong this year by taking some interesting chances and meting out some snubs which, whether I agree with them or not, at least show the Academy is perfectly willing to upset the public if it wants to. There are surprisingly few locks this year, especially in comparison to recent years, and I can honestly say I’m not 100 percent on most of these picks.
In the past few months, much has been written about “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow’s dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden through the eyes of fictional CIA officer Maya (Jessica Chastain). By a wide margin, it’s the best-reviewed film in what was generally a pretty good year for films. It’s been praised as a more than worthy follow-up to director Bigelow’s and screenwriter Mark Boal’s Oscar-winning previous release, “The Hurt Locker,” and was at one point all but assured to win throughout the year’s round of awards.
Going in, I was fairly skeptical about “Lincoln.” Naturally, the desire to see Daniel Day-Lewis in one of his patented live-as-the-character method roles excited me, but the potential for a movie about one of our greatest presidents to be little more than a waxworks show was undeniable, and the presence of Steven Spielberg at the helm left me even more ambivalent. Don’t get me wrong: Spielberg has made several of the greatest films of the modern era, and his ability to craft equally compelling films aimed at both pure escapism and hard-hitting drama is unparalleled.
Despite an increase in the homeless population of America over the last several years, most people who have not been homeless don’t think for even a second about this issue. Few people bother to look behind the image and see the person beneath, or to understand why homelessness is so prevalent and what factors could have led to someone’s homelessness. This is because homelessness is an issue of convenience for so many; when you walk by, you might give a dollar to feel better about yourself, but for most, this is about it. Anything else wouldn’t be convenient.
I love horror movies. Unfortunately, it seems like I’m increasingly alone in this statement — not that I can blame people for a lack of interest in a genre that self-cannibalizes and generally trades character identification and suspense for cardboard cut-outs and shock value. That being said, the number of horror films, including “Psycho,” “Jaws” and of course, “Halloween,” that are affectionately deemed cinema classics is larger than you may think. Are these, however, really the only films worthy of coming back to when looking for a scare?
“Argo” is the second of the handful of year-end films carrying with them heavy loads of Oscar buzz and attempting to bring home the hearts of film-goers and, more specifically, the Academy Awards come February. Following “The Master,” the result of a five-year toil of the director whose previous film was perhaps the most critically acclaimed of the last decade, hype for “Argo” was comparatively restrained.