Album Reviews

Reviews of some of the most popular albums from September.

By Zach Bagbey

Kamikaze-Eminem 3/5

The legendary rapper and lyricist Eminem, dropped his surprise album “Kamikaze” early last month, where he addressed and responded to the backlash he faced after the release of his previous album “Revival”. With Dr. Dre listed as a producer, it’s no surprise every track has a phenomenal beat.

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Just For Kicks

A look into shoes that are trending this season

The classic silhouette of the Chuck Taylor “All-Star” sneaker continues to be timeless. This fall, try out the Converse Chuck 70. The upper of the Chuck is constructed with a thicker, more durable cotton material that will help keep your chucks looking pristine throughout the season. The outsole has an extra layer of rubber while keeping a tapered look, also with an off-white finish that tones down the sole. Since Converse in owned by Nike, it was only right to add comfort into their redesigned Chuck. Comfort is something Chuck Taylors tend to be lacking. Nike brought a new insole to the table with the Chuck Taylor 70 by adding a comfortable padded insole that helps with arch support for a much more secure fit. Investing into this shoe is a great way to have vintage style with a high quality performance, compared to the original Chuck Taylor “All Star”.

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Movie Reviews April 2018

The beginning of the summer movie season
provides some big hits and catastrophic flops

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

While cheesy, this teen comedy provides laughs and a heartfelt story that many will enjoy. Blockers follows three parents as they try to prevent their teenage daughters from having sex on prom night. This plot is absolutely ridiculous and has you questioning the logic and the behavior of the characters from start to finish. However, the film’s comedic elements and the stellar chemistry from the cast provide a very enjoyable experience. Most of the jokes were clever, and the non-stop pacing keeps you engaged throughout. Additionally, there are some very moving moments that both parents and students can relate to. The biggest surprise is the strong social commentary presented about how girls lose their virginity vs how guys do. John Cena proves to be a future star in Hollywood and is the film’s crowning star. The biggest flaw is the choppy editing in some scenes. In the end, Blockers is a fun theater experience that will enjoyed for years to come.

Rating: 3.5/5

This unique sci-fi horror provides one of the most unique films of 2018 thus far. A Quiet Place follows the Abbott family, and the struggles they face while trying to hide from sound sensitive monsters in a post-apocalyptic rural landscape. John Krasinski does a fantastic job at building suspense in his directorial debut, as well as acting alongside his co-star and real life wife Emily Blunt. The child actors are great as well, and provide a great sense of family. The film is a non-stop thrill ride with very few breaks,  and fits perfectly with the short runtime. The film’s only flaw is its lack of development. There are only subtle hints as to how the world becomes this way and leaves a lot to the imagination. Overall, A Quiet Place is a scary, yet intriguing film that will go down as one of the best films of 2018.

Rating: 4.5/5

The 19th entry into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is a change of form for the franchise and is its darkest film yet. Avengers: Infinity War follows the Avengers and their impossible task of defeating the powerful Thanos before he can conduct a universe wide genocide. The standout of the film is Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Thanos, giving fans easily one of the best MCU villains to date. The actions scenes are epic, and the set designs are mesmerizing. The characters work well with each other, and the chemistry built throughout the previous films become apparent. However, the big cast does not come without its flaws with many of the characters taking sideline roles rather than being front and center. The ending, while controversial, is a gamble that paid off for Marvel and will be talked about for years to come.

Infinity War is a great film, but should and will not receive an official rating until part two comes out next year.

Not even Dwayne Johnson can make this abysmal video game adaptation into a fun blockbuster hit. Rampage follows primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), and his attempts at stopping three genetically mutated animals from destroying Chicago. Right off the bat, this film can barely be called an action film as the only action happens in the last 20 minutes of the film. The characters all act cartoonish and provide no sense of realism whatsoever. The plot is extremely predictable and relies too much on too many improbable results all happening perfectly. Dwayne Johnson is always enjoyable to watch and the final action scene does have some moments, but the film provides little more than that. Rampage is a B-rated monster film that is taking away valuable ticket sales from better low budget films.

Rating: 1.5/5

Phone Off!

Phone use in the movie theater is out of control

By Jimmy Fortuna-Peak

You’re sitting in the theater, as the lights dim down and the film starts. It cost $10 to get into the show, but that’s okay. The big screen, the atmosphere, and the surround sound makes it worth the price. Just when things are all set to begin, someone in the front row pulls out their phone and starts scrolling through their Facebook and Twitter feed, completely distracting you from what’s being shown on the big screen.

In recent years, cell phone use in the theater has grown significantly, and it seems to still be rising. Whether before or during the show, you are almost always guaranteed to see a phone screen light up at one point or another.

The price of a night out at the movies has skyrocketed in recent years. The cost of tickets along with concessions can add up to about $20-$25 per person in some situations. This price alone has caused fewer and fewer people to go to the theater, and having someone make the movie unwatchable by using their phone makes people avoid the theater all together. 

Theater attendance in 2017 was the lowest it’s been in 25 years. To counteract this, some theater chains have tried to improve the theater experience by implementing reclining seats and gourmet food. However, this solution misses the root of the problem.

Some critics claim declining theater attendance to be an effect of the lower quality films that have been coming out in recent years, while others believe it is because of newer, better home video options. Both contribute to theater attendance, however, I believe the biggest reason is the inability of people to be able to stay off their phones for two hours. People go to the theater to get the most immersive movie experience possible. Phones tamper with and downgrade this experience, causing people to be less likely to go to the show. That is why theaters should start focusing on ways to prevent phone use rather than better seating and food.

Some theater chains in London have talked about creating phone detecting devices that would shine a laser in the face of someone using their phone during the show. Others have talked about distorting cell phone connection inside the theater’s premise. However, both methods have serious flaws such as eye damage and the inability to contact help in an emergency. Both are just in discussion and shouldn’t be anticipated any time soon.

If cell phone use is to be stopped, it needs to be enforced by the movie-going public. Using your phone before the show and during the opening previews is acceptable, but once the lights dim and the logos appear, the phone needs to be silenced and put into the pocket. If you absolutely need to use your phone during the theater, walk out, do what you need to do, then re-enter the theater. If you see someone on their phone during the show, don’t be afraid to tell them to turn it off. Everyone else in the theater will thank you for it.

Going to the movies is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be two hours of pure escapism where you can laugh and/or cry at the story in front of you. Phones have ruined this experience.If you can’t stay off your phone for two hours, then you have a serious addiction and should seek help immediately. It is up to us to stop this and make the theater an escape once again. Just sit back, relax, enjoy the film, and turn your phone off!

DHS Students Plan Walkout for School Safety

Protests will occur in schools around the United States as part of the #NeverAgain movement

by Isabella Franklin and Alisha Birchmeier

Throughout the country, students are protesting gun violence by walking out of school as part of a movement called “#NeverAgain.” American high schools have come up with a way to deal with these walkout protests, and Dexter High School is no exception to this. Several students at DHS are planning to participate in the scheduled national walkout protest on March 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. The protest lasts 17 minutes in order to honor the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. A later protest will also be occurring on April 20 at 10:00 a.m. in which students will leave school and not return until the end of the day.

Some Dexter students are participating in the protest because they believe that it will be an effective way to express their views and enact the change that they want to see, as opposed to just discussing the issue without action.

“I am participating because I feel that, to affect change, one needs to act instead of just talking about it and never getting anything done,” sophomore Kieran Grossman said.

For other students, there’s also an important moral and emotional aspect to these school protests.

“Gun laws need to change and people need to take action if they want that to happen,” senior Bri Walker said. “I think it’s also a form of respect for those who have died due to the shootings in the past.”

However, a massive protest that disrupts the school day can’t work without any regulation from the school. The Dexter Community School district administration has had several meetings amongst themselves and with students to form a defined set of rules around how teachers and students should behave during the protest on March 14.

“Mr. Koenig and Ms. Walls and I met with student leaders after school Wednesday to kinda talk about what they were intending to do,” principal Kit Moran said. “Our preference for students is going to be students that are planning to participate in the walkout will walkout over the catwalk and out the main door that way, out towards the parking lot.

“Nobody’s gonna tackle a kid and say ‘don’t go in this direction,’ but we’re gonna encourage kids to do that.”

Several high schools have discouraged students from participating in these protests, both by suspending students who attempt to participate in spontaneous walkouts and by banning these walkouts completely. These schools have received backlash for not letting students protest.

“Student protests are important,” Grossman said. “They’ve proven to be important when studying history, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be important now.”

Fortunately, Dexter students will be able to protest and express their political stances without any disciplinary action.

“We’re in the business of education, and I think for us there are what we call ‘teachable moments,’” Moran said. “I think the administration and teachers, generally speaking, think that this is a teachable moment for kids.”

According to an email from Principal Moran, students will not be penalized for walking out as long as they are back in class before 10 a.m. Teachers will be expected to partner with another teacher, so that there is one adult to monitor the students who stay in class and the students who decide to protest.

Some teachers are offering alternative options to walking out for their students who want to acknowledge the protest without leaving school.

“I would like to try and offer my students 17 minutes of silence in class during third hour around 10 a.m.,” art teacher Krickett Luckhardt said. “I just think that is a peaceful way to give the students closure while still, you know, letting them have their voice be heard in a way that they think might be safe enough. I just feel like the students want to stay behind but still want to participate should have an option to do something.”

To ensure student safety, no one but students and staff will be allowed on DHS’s campus from 9:45-11:00 a.m.

“The reason we’re gonna encourage them to stay in this spot is that we also are planning to basically block the entrances to the high school before that happens, about 9:45,” Moran said. “We’re gonna block the teacher lot and block the two entrances on Parker so that nobody can come or go. So, nobody’s coming onto the premises, if the kids go outside they should be safe.

“The other part of that is you can’t leave the premises, so if we’re blocking it, we’re blocking it … If you have a dentist’s appointment at 10:30 or 11 o’clock, you might wanna pick your child up ahead of time, because we’re not gonna want to be having people traipse back and forth, in and out.”

While some students have concerns about walking out of school harming their chances of getting into college, many colleges and universities have issued statements saying that peacefully protesting in this manner will not affect admissions chances or current enrollment. Among local universities, this includes Western Michigan University, Alma College, Albion College, Kalamazoo College, and the University of Michigan. Students throughout history have been great agents of social change, and this generation doesn’t seem to be any different.