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Monthly Archives: March 2013

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Smash airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC
Rating: 2/5

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I’ve stopped expecting much from this show.

I know the acting will essentially be terrible. I know the storylines will be pretty ridiculous. I know that the songs are the show’s life support. And I know that Megan Hilty needs to move on to something that deserves her time.

Throughout the entire episode – and what seems like will be the entire season – Derek (Jack Davenport) and Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan) fight over the direction Derek is leading Hit List. Jimmy wants it to be all about the story and the characters while Derek is pulling in Broadway-ish elements into the off-Broadway show.

This could work if there was more than one side to Jimmy. All we ever see is him yelling at everyone about his work. If that could just be counter-balanced once, then we might have something to go off of. However, he’s stuck in one dimension and one-dimensional he shall stay.

I would just like to point out the hilarious moment when Jimmy was shouting at Derek for considering Lea Michele for the role of “Diva” in Hit List. It may have just been funny to me, but hey I enjoyed it.

One of the two points I gave tonight’s episode was from the thirty seconds Hilty sang “Let Me Be Your Star.” Seriously. The fact that Ivy is Marilyn again is the smartest thing the show has done this season, besides the wonderful Jennifer Hudson of course.

Tom (Christian Borle) wants to be everyone’s friend and invites the cast to tell him their thoughts and opinions on the show. Well this will be an original storyline, not. Of course, people begin to walk all over him as he tries to accommodate to everyone.

Sam (Leslie Odom Jr.) has returned and quit The Book of Mormon tour, which he wasn’t enjoying anyway. He quit because, after performing a Nate King Cole piece that Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom had written, Tom offered to put that song in Bombshell so that Sam could stay permanently.

Don’t get me wrong; I loved the “(Let’s Start) Tomorrow Tonight” song. Odom and the dancers were wonderful, but the idea to include it in Bombshell was just ridiculous. In no way can they just add that in; that is not how Broadway works people. Second, how does he not enjoy being a lead in one of the most talked about shows from Broadway? What on earth is that nonsense?

To quickly summarize this back-and-forth sub-storyline, the song does not get included after Eileen (Anjelica Huston) yelled at Tom and when Julia finally convinced him it was the wrong thing to do.

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Apparently the original Broadway cast of Rent is slowly having its reunion on this show. Not only is Tom Collins aka Scott (Jesse L. Martin) on the show, but now Mimi aka Eileen’s publicist (Daphne Rubin-Vega) is on the show as well. I love her. Shame on you if you didn’t recognize her! C’mon, it’s Mimi!! The feline of Avenue B!

Eileen (Anjelica Huston) just waltzes into The New York Times office, looking to secure a story about Bombshell from her friend, Richard (Jamey Sheridan). Excuse me; is it really possible to just walk into an editor’s office? If so, goodbye, I’m off to go ask for a job…

…Well that didn’t work…

Karen (Katharine McPhee) is beyond terrible tonight. I have never heard lines spoken in such a monotone fashion before. Do the producers and anyone on the show think that she’s good? Do they listen? Do they watch?

Her attempts to flirt with Jimmy are more awkward than when I try to talk to a guy – and that’s saying something.

Julia and Scott’s history is revealed. She promised Scott that he could direct her first play, but when the opportunity came for it to play at the Lincoln Center, someone else directed it. The play launched her career but almost ruined Scott’s. That is a pretty interesting back-story; I’ll give them that. But I swear, if they make these two lovers, I will be beyond angry.

After they talk and mix their directing personalities, Tom becomes more like Derek in the fact that he finally shapes up and acts like a leader. Derek actually listens to Jimmy and gets his input on a number the two had previously argued about.

What resulted was a weird staging of “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream,” another original Hit List song. As usual, Jimmy’s vocals were superb. But, the choreography was strange. The point was to show the obstacles that lovers face, but it was just too much. Also, Karen literally did not do anything during her parts of that staging. She stood there and lifted her arm, once.

Karen says she gets “all melt-y” for Jimmy. Just thought I should point out the high quality of writing there.

At an after-rehearsal bar party, Ana (Krysta Rodriguez) sings Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy” to show Derek that she can play the Diva role. Some parts were just too low for her register and then others showcased her voice beautifully. However, there are millions of songs to choose from that could have exemplified her talents better.

The ploy worked and Derek decides Ana will play the Diva. Yay she may actually get to do stuff in the show now!

20100331-131742-939545-300x268In order to actually have a story for The New York Times, Eileen proposes having Ivy’s mom, Leigh Conroy (Bernadette Peters) play Marilyn’s mom. Oh, snap. That’s going to cause problems for Ivy. However, I love Bernadette so whatever it takes to get her back, do it! Tom agrees.

I’m a little disappointed in Tom. He knows this is really going to mess with Ivy. I get he wants to seem in charge now but I don’t believe he was thinking clearly. It’s going to come back to bite him.

After Derek walks her home, Karen answers her door, thinking it is Derek, to find Jimmy there. In a scene that I think is supposed to be romantic, he barges in and the two start undressing each other as they make-out and head to the kitchen table. That’s not even your apartment! Get off the table! People eat there.

I hope she doesn’t greet all her guests like that.

More and more, I’m getting disappointed with this show. Pretty soon, my review will just read that the episode was terrible. The end. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Rating: 5/5

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I laughed. I cried. I loved.

The latest episode from How I Met Your Mother, “The Time Travelers,” demonstrated some of the best writing I’ve seen from the show in a long time. Again, they played on the idea of time and it blew my mind. Initially, the side story seemed pointless, though very well performed. However, everything tied together in such an emotional way.

Tonight’s episode will go on my list of favorites from all the seasons. If you are a HIMYM fan, you have to go watch it right now. CBS already has it uploaded; you have no excuses.

Right from the beginning, I knew the episode was going to be great when narrator Bob Saget paralleled Ted’s (Josh Radnor) life at that point in time to the Mother’s life. It was such a captivating beginning. For eight years, fans have pondered over any mere detail about the Mother, which is why I think moments like that should have happened more often.

In MacLaren’s, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) rushes to Ted, who is sitting by himself looking miserable because he is alone, and tells him that they have to go to “Robots vs. Wrestlers: Legends.”

When Ted initially declines, Barney tells him how he usually makes decisions – by asking what would make a great memory in 20 years. So, he tells Ted to ask his 20-year-later self.

What is better than one Neil Patrick Harris? Three Neil Patrick Harris-es!! It was legen- wait for it… -dary!

20 years from now Barney and Ted join present Barney and Ted. They are all then visited by 20 minutes from now Barney and Ted. Seems confusing, but it was hilarious. They are all trying to get Ted to go to “Robots vs. Wrestlers” until 20 minutes from now Barney points out what’s more important: the coat check girl from season one – played by Glee’s Jayma Mays – just walked into the bar.

No, that is not the beginning of some joke.

We’ll take a break from the oncoming awesomeness to introduce the side story.

Also in MacLaren’s, Marshall (Jason Segel) is furious that Carl (Joe Nieves) named his drink, the Minnesota Tidal Wave, after Robin (Cobie Smulders) because she had been ordering it a lot. What ensues is a silly battle that was made hilarious because of the acting talents from Smulders and Segel.

The two battle each other for the name of the drink by pushing the other’s boundaries. After entering a stall-in-use to erase what Marshall wrote on the men’s bathroom wall – yes you read that correctly – Robin writes on the walls of the women’s bathroom.

When Marshall goes in, he reads Robin’s long message, citing her issues with her father as a probable cause for taking credit for the drink. Or, it’s just a ploy to keep Marshall in the bathroom too long, forcing him to hide in a bathroom stall when women enter. Fantastic. I love Robin’s character and how brilliantly Smulders portrays her.

tumblr_mka6za7hcc1r7uxhho1_500Before Ted can approach the coat-check girl, two versions of the 20 years from now coat-check girl grab him. One is what will happen when Ted dumps her and the other is a version of when she dumps him. Either way, that relationship is doomed. “You’ve been dating for awhile, has it ever ended any other way,” she asks Ted. He lets the present coat-check girl walk out of the bar.

Don’t mind me, I’ll be over here crying in a corner. This scene was just so real and so interesting. Seriously, the writers did a fantastic job.

Ted goes back over to the booth. Present Barney tells him that none of this is actually happening. The Minnesota Tidal Wave incident happened five years ago, Marshall and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) are upstairs with Marvin and he and Robin are choosing caterers for their wedding. Ted imagined it all as he sat by himself in the booth, staring at the “Robots vs. Wrestlers” tickets he had but no one to go with.

Before going home, Ted imagines running to his future wife’s apartment and delivers one of the best moments in HIMYM history. Here’s his monologue for all of your enjoyment:

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“Hi, I’m Ted Mosby, and exactly 45 days from now, you and I are gonna meet. And we’re gonna fall in love, and we’re gonna get married and we’re gonna have two kids, and we’re gonna love them and each other so much. All that is 45 days away, but I’m here now, I guess, because I want those extra 45 days with you. I want each one of them. If I can’t have them, I’ll take the 45 seconds before your boyfriend shows up and punches me in the face because I love you. I am always going to love you ‘til the end of my days and beyond… You’ll see.”

If your heart hasn’t melted from that, then you probably didn’t have a heart to begin with.

Honestly, Ted has annoyed me for quite some time, but when he said those words, I remembered why I initially loved him and why we all root for him: he truly believes in love. All he has ever wanted was someone to spend the rest of his life; don’t we all want that?

Tonight’s episode was beautifully written and should have reminded us all as to why we invested eight years into this series.

Not to mention the six-part harmony between the three Teds and Barneys at the end was so incredibly amazing. Neil Patrick Harris just needs to sing all of the time.

By Nathan Gordon | ng312310@ohiou.edu | @GordonRises
Olympus Has Fallen  | Directed by Antoine Fuqua | Rated R
RATING: 3.5/5

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2013 is a year where we can expect two movies based off of the White House going through some type of takeover and, shall I say, some remodeling. White House Down won’t hit theaters until June, but no worries, because the first of the White House destruction movies has been released for our enjoyment. Olympus Has Fallen gets the ball rolling on this year’s double feature of White House flicks.

Plot

After the White House finds itself under a terrorist attack, former guard for the President and Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) makes his way inside to put a stop to the terrorist and save the kidnapped President (Aaron Eckhart).

Positives

Olympus Has Fallen definitely delivered on it main purpose, which in my opinion was to give the audience an explosive and entertaining time at the movies. Those of you how aren’t into all of the violence and explosions might disagree. For those who are on the opposite side of the spectrum, like I said, you walk away from this film with some type of enjoyment. This movie gives the viewer exciting shootouts (which includes a cool looking missile attack from enemy planes in the beginning), hand-to-hand combat action sequences, and even some touches of humor that movies like this have been known to add.

Although most of the cast seemed to be just going through the motions of what their character should be like, Butler and Morgan Freeman seemed to stand out. Butler’s acting job was nothing to marvel at, but he seems to be very entertaining to watch in those tough guy roles. In the case of Freeman, all his work was done sitting at a table. Still, he was able to convey the mounting stress of being abruptly given the job as President during a gigantic crisis.

Negatives

While Olympus Has Fallen was entertaining, the event that got everything going is just very hard to believe. I realize that this is a movie, so real life should be tossed out of the window. But, at some extents, it has to be pointed out. I’ve personally never been to the White House, but I would hope that it is much more difficult to attack than how it was shown in the movie. Yes, there were several people inside the White House and inside its gates to put up a fight. But how planes can get near it and how people can find a way into the gates should have been made much more difficult. If director Antoine Fuqua added that more difficult element, and the terrorist were still able to break through, then it would have been fine. Other elements in the movie just seem to be thrown in to make the movie more interesting, but aren’t thought-out to make sense; one example being not knowing exactly why someone becomes a trader of the U.S. Also, some of the CGI moments in the film were too obvious to the point that it just looked silly.

Last Words

Olympus Has Fallen is fun for the interested audience, and that is its intended purpose, but it should of worked harder on the other elements that make the story itself run. Now, seeing how Hollywood just went through a very similar situation last year with two movies released with similar premises- both being based off the story of Snow White- it’s only natural that we compare the two sets of movies in some way. We can’t answer this question until this summer, but we must get ready to ask ourselves: Is Olympus Has Fallen going to be the Mirror Mirror or Snow White and the Huntsman of the White House movies?

So we’ve come to the point in my life where I admit that I am a fangirl. As if my previous letters weren’t an indication, this one will take the cake. That I can promise you. But just sit tight. You’ll understand soon enough.

Dearest Jack and FInn,

I’m not even sure where to start with you guys. I mean, I guess I can start with how I was first introduced to you both. My roommate last semester was a huge Tyler Oakley fan, so we would watch his videos every week. One day though, my life changed.

You two appeared out of nowhere, and it was instant love. After subscribing to your YouTube channel JacksGap, I was hooked. You two were absolutely hysterical, and not in the ‘I’m trying too hard because I’m on YouTube and want people to like me’ way. You two are side-clinching hilarious in the ‘this is our personality just the way we are’ way, and that’s what makes your channel so great.

Also the fact that you are British twins and easy (really easy) on the eyes doesn’t hurt either. 

And those smiles? Dear lord, those smiles. Then you played guitar for your super talented sister, Jack, and I lost it. Your family is all so very talented.

I’ve been following you guys for half a year now and can say that you two are not only charming, hilarious and very handsome lads, but you both have such large hearts. 

The video you made for Comic Relief on your visit to South Africa was both extremely touching and incredibly revealing. You both are using your talents and popularity to reach out and help others. I think that is the best thing anybody can do in this world.

Jack, you are a brilliant filmmaker and prankster and photographer and wonderful human being. Finn, you are a talented graphic artist and photographer and designer who has a brilliant taste in music. Congratulations on being perfect guys.

Now one final point before I go. I have been studying in London for a good three months now. I came to London with a few goals in mind: visit Kensington Palace, master the Underground, get on TV, do well at uni and meet the Harries twins.

I’ve done well on the first four, but destiny hasn’t been so kind on that last goal. As fate would have it, living in London still doesn’t bring me close enough to randomly bump into you on the street.

I get that London is a big city, but what’s a girl to do when fate hands her a bad deck of cards?

I mean, we could go get some Nando’s (which I finally went to at the beginning of March. Thanks guys for that tip) or I could be your best friend and appear in a video. But in the end, all I’m asking for is a random run in on the street so I can get a picture and tell you how great you are in person. Will fate at least hand me that?

I swear I’m not crazy. I’m never even this brash. I’m pretty sure everyone can vouch for me when I say I’m a shy girl with a tendency to run, but I’m trying to change fate here. My thousands of apologies for being one of those crazy fangirls. I don’t mean to be so straightforward.

Well boys, I’ll leave you with this. I hope you enjoyed your American adventures, take care of Sophie, keep making videos, enjoy some Nando’s and take care.

Wising you the best,
Anjelica Oswald
@thisisjelli

By Will Ashton | wa054010@ohiou.edu
Stoker | Directed by Park Chan-wook | Rated R
RATING: 3/5

nicole-kidman-stoker-poster-01It’s safe to say that director Park Chan-wook’s new film, Stoker, was never going to be Oldboy.

But, to be fair, it was likely never going to be. Chan-wook made a modern masterpiece with Oldboy; a film so twisted, layered, and dark that it remains one of the most original, engrossing, and haunting films of the last decade.

In his English-language debut, it’s understandable that Chan-wook would stick in the realm of demented family drama/thrillers. Yet, even though it is very evident that Chan-wook has not left his enjoyment for pushing boundaries overseas, Stoker only remains part of what a great film it could have been.

Stoker follows the story of India (Mia Wasikowska), a young teenage girl who, after her father dies, finally meets her estranged uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode). Betaken by him, India’s mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), allows Charlie to stay with them in their house. But given his unexpected appearance, India remains extremely suspicious of him. But as he continues to live in the house, India begins to grow entangled by his presence, which sets off a series of morally dangerous circumstances.

Given his resume, it was safe to say that I was very much looking forward to this film. In fact, you could even say that I was stoked to see it. But, bad jokes aside, given the talent involved with this project, I was very much excited to see what was to become of the final product.

While I do ultimately like the film, there is always an underlying sense that this film deserves to be better than it actually is. After evaluating a number of different aspects of the film, I have come to suspect that the reasons are both Chan-wook’s unfamiliarity with the language and the script, penned by actor Wentworth Miller.

Stoker is a film of varying qualities. Each scene cares a different level of success, if successful at all. Some scenes are really good, others not so much. While the film never reaches the level of being terrible, it never truly hits greatness either. Often, characters say lines or react in ways that seem unlike how they should be acting. One could argue that this is due to the unusual people we are focused on here, but given how he has handled actors in his native language, I’m inclined to believe that he can handle strange people better.

It would seem, then, that Chan-wook unfamiliarity leads to some questionable direction of his actors, resulting in quite a few scenes that come across as confused and uncertain of itself. While we are only talking about a couple scenes in the movie, particularly the dinner ones, they are still here and, therefore, drag the film down. But when the film is good, it’s good. Chan-wook’s attention to detail always remains impeccable, and results in some truly haunting and memorable sequences.

With this said, the acting in the film is still pretty good. Despite her lukewarm performance in Alice in Wonderland, Wasikowska has proven herself to be a competent young actress in films such as The Kids are All Right and Jane Eyre. Here, she, once again, gives another strong lead performance. Additionally, Kidman also gives a strong supporting performance- with one monologue in particular that steals the show, if only for a moment. Goode gives a supporting role that is a little darker than we’re use to from him, and I mean that in a good way.

In his screenwriting debut, Miller provides a well-written script that proves that he might actually be better on the page than in front of the screen. Yet, there are scenes of dialogue here that just seem, well, hollow. I’m not sure if this is more from Chan-wook’s confused direction or his writing, but based on what’s being said, I have come to suspect that he is not entirely free of blame.

There are quite a few twists and turns in this film, but there is a lingering feeling that the film tries too hard to capture the same momentous tension found in Oldboy and his other films. Some of these twists come across as silly rather than shocking, and nothing in this film is ever as surprising as it thinks it is. Yet, its twisted nature still remains captivating, and as a result, the second half of this film is better than its first.

Stoker is a gorgeous film. Chung Chung-hoon’s cinematography is easily the film’s best feature. It’s a very beautiful film to look at, and images and visual symbolism shown throughout the film are sometimes quite breathtaking. Additionally, Clint Mansell’s eerie score adds a great deal of tension, and, while at times it can be a little rough, the editing in this film, at its best, is great. When these three elements are at play together is easily when the movie is at its best.

Ultimately, Stoker is an underwhelming, but still engaging film. Despite its flaws, when it grabs you, it grabs you. It’s an odd movie, but Chan-wook knows how to engage audiences enough to keep them going, even if it’s not in his native tongue.

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox
Rating: 3.75/5

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Tonight’s theme of “Guilty Pleasures” has left me with mixed feelings. Yes, the Glee writers and I share some of the same guilty pleasures, so I enjoyed the song choices. However, the storyline at McKinley was weak in comparison to the one in New York.

Sam (Chord Overstreet) confesses his guilty pleasure for doing macaroni art that is actually incredibly amazing. Shout out to whoever on the crew made those; they’re awesome! Blaine (Darren Criss) then confesses his love for Wham! Their sharing prompts the two to lead the glee club this week, for Schue is conveniently absent, in an assignment to perform their guilty pleasures.

I’d like to take one moment to discuss my issue with Will. Can he just leave the show? His character has deteriorated since season one and now he isn’t on the show half of the time. Matthew, stop wasting your talents.

Because of Blaine’s love, the glee club performs “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and is dressed as stereotypically ‘80s as possible. Pastels galore!

One of my favorite ongoing gags, Fondue for Two, is back! This time Brittany (Heather Morris) interviews Kitty (Becca Tobin) so that people can start understanding her and stop thinking she’s so terrible.

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I must admit that I do not hate her anymore. Shocker, I know! Read any of my reviews from the first handful of episodes of this season and you know I loathed that character with every fiber of my being. Now, her dialogue is actually hilarious; it reminds me of the wit Santana (Naya Rivera) use to snap out during glee club meetings.

I’d like to proclaim that the old Kurt (Chris Colfer) has finally resurfaced for good. His dialogue is witty again and the character is finally more than some pedestal the show stood on to show that it was trying to address the issues teenagers face. Oh how I missed you! Not to mention the fact that his guilty pleasures include working out with Richard Simmons and a pillow shaped like an arm that he cuddles with at night.

Sam has another guilty pleasure: he’s a “Fanilow,” as in a Barry Manilow fan. He acts like it is something that people would truly reject him for; listen, that is not that big of a deal. They are all acting like their guilty pleasures are some major secret. Yes, you may not tell everyone about it but it is NOT that big of a deal. Here’s the weak storyline I mentioned earlier.

Then, he sings “Copacabana” and I love my life for those few minutes. As a fellow Fanilow, “Copacabana” is, of course, a favorite. However, it does make me anxious to visit Havana.

Kitty confesses her guilty pleasure is the Spice Girls. Excuse me, I am a loud and proud lover of the Spice Girls! Girl power! Spice Force Five! Sue me, I’ve loved them since I was 5-years-old.

Jake (Jacob Artist) wants to do a Chris Brown song as his guilty pleasure assignment, but all the girls overly freak out about it, saying that is unacceptable because of Brown’s past actions. While I agree that Brown is a terrible person, I also agree with Jake when he says that just because he likes his music doesn’t mean that he’s admiring him as a role model. Wow, that would be insightful if five girls weren’t yelling at him.

Brody (Dean Geyer) has left, without giving Rachel (Lea Michele) a good reason. When Rachel mentions the possibility of the two getting back together, Santana tells her the truth about Brody. Would you have ever imagined this situation happening? Oh how the tables have turned since season one.

Blaine performs “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” to show his Phil Collins guilty pleasure. I don’t get how Phil Collins would be a guilty pleasure but whatever. As usual, I swooned over Darren’s voice. Obviously, this song is about his crush on Sam. Not really amused that they used this beautiful song to convey a crush, but I’m done being picky with Glee.

Glee'sSpiceGirls4x17The girls perform “Wannabe,” and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I love the Spice Girls with an unwavering passion; I always have, which is why I think I didn’t like the cover. Their harmony just was not up to par to the flawlessness that the Spice Girls had. Plus, Heather Morris should have done the rap.

Instead of doing Chris Brown, Jake performs “My Prerogative.” Dumb me thought he was covering Britney Spears, not realizing that Bobby Brown originally did this song (cue slap to the forehead). The dancing was spectacular! Jacob finally got to show his ballet and dancing background. However, his froggy vocals were still not my favorite.

Rachel confronts Brody and tries to give him money in an attempt to mock him. Did anyone else think of Moulin Rouge during that scene? Just me?

The two officially break up but sing one last song together: “Creep” by Radiohead. I love this song! I actually think they did a good job using it and performing it. I think, again, that it could have been used in a better way for another storyline, but again, I’ve stopped being picky.

Sam tells Blaine that he knows about his crush on him. Unlike the Finn (Cory Monteith) and Kurt situation in season one, Sam doesn’t call Blaine a derogatory term. Instead, the two hug it out. While I think the season one issue was portrayed realistically, I adore the Blam bromance.

Rachel tells Kurt and Santana the news, as those two sit on the couch with their own arm pillows. She thanks Santana for telling her the truth and sticking by her. Never doubt the Mexican third eye!

Tumblr_mj7pgjC4hf1qg49w0o3_1280In one last guilty pleasure indulgence, Rachel suggests watching Mamma Mia and then begins to sing the title song. When Rachel sings and scenes in New York were spectacular; however, I was less thrilled with the parts in McKinley. The wardrobe was unnecessary. Of course, the moment was saved when clips of the cast simply goofing around were thrown in with the choreography. I love those people and their weirdness.

Small moments truly saved the episode (like the moment pictured above). Glee needs to get its act together or it’s going to become one of my guilty pleasures where I won’t admit to anyone that I watch it.

William Hoffman

Staff Writer | wh092010@ohiou.edu | @Wilbur_Hoffman

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Having been in the Athens rap scene for over 10 yeImagears, Hil Hackworth has gained some major respect all across Ohio, and his new solo project, Hidden In Lyrics, is one of the most ambitious and infectious projects to date.

Following last years album, Dysfunctional Family Reunion, which required a great deal of collaboration among artists, Hidden in Lyrics is written, produced and mastered exclusively by Hackworth and focuses on his recent struggles in his love life.

Hackworth said he broke up with his girlfriend of two years and almost instantly started writing about the loneliness he felt, and that emotion certainly comes out in the album.

Hackworth doesn’t hold anything back, sharing a great deal of his personal life with fans — loss, betrayal, anger, violence, love and hate.

What’s even better is that Hackworth puts a hook to all of his songs. I found myself going back and listening to songs such as “Natural,” “What Am I Doing Here” and “Jolene” over and over again because I couldn’t get the song out of my head.

“Natural” is easily one of the more uplifting songs from the album, seemingly about Hackworth’s recovery from his previous relationship and being a natural at getting back to chasing women. The chorus has a catchy hook and it’s supported by a cocky swagger in his verses. I actually had to look up the chorus to make sure it wasn’t a sample from another song — it’s that catchy.

But it’s songs like this that are in stark contrast to his more serious songs such as “The Opposite Of Love,” which talks about the duality of his two-year-relationship. “I’m sleeping on the couch wonder what just happened,” Hackworth raps on the song. “I started with the yelling she started with the slapping, I started with the shut the fuck up she started crying. I’ll never understand this girl there’s no denying.”

“Jolene” is another emotional song that samples Dolly Parton’s hit song of the same title. The guitar part is cleverly taken from the song and set to a hip-hop drum beat and sick bass lick. And Dolly Parton’s vocals add an oddly ominous feel to the story of the song.

The album is one of the most emotional and personal albums to come out of Athens in recent years and anyone from hardcore rap enthusiasts to rock and roll die hards can appreciate the story it tells.

All of this is not to mention that it’s a quick 10 song listen and a free download off of bandcamp. Hackworth has made a record from the emotional anguish he felt and this album will surely come to connect with others who feel the same.