Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Will Point Break be your Breaking Point??

Will Point Break be your Breaking Point??
Anyone who watches action movies knows the extreme stress put on the viewer to feel for the main character and their endeavors. Point Break, by director Ericson Core, is not one to disappoint, in fact the dynamic of the hero vs. villain story in this movie gets you to ponder are they really villains? This film digs deep into the emotional appeal of pathos to really suck the audience into 
the story. The films soundtrack does not fall short in helping them to achieve this feat. The main character Johnny Utah is an FBI agent who is supposed to be investigating a gang of robbers who perform quite the original crimes. These villains are extreme athletes, much like Johnny himself, who partake in 8 ordeals called the Ozaki 8 to try and reach Nirvana. One scene that goes a little against the theme of action and adventure that the whole film encompasses is a swimming/diving scene between Johnny and a female character from the gang named Samsara. The music for this scene is a song titled Warm by SG Lewis. This is the first time that Johnny has ever met Samsara. He walks out of a huge party to find her gazing out over the sea. In a matter of minutes, she dives off the yacht and into the open ocean, and so like any man drawn to a woman, he jumps in right after her. Right as he dives into the ocean the music begins. As the scene of them swimming and swirling around each other moves on the music depicts the feelings of the scene. They are no words because
they are both underwater and in a vast open ocean so the song really has to bring to light what the viewer should be taking from this scenario. Logos is depicted in this decision because with the lack of words the audience can focus more on the feelings of this moment and less of what is happening with the plot. This is a break for two characters that should be enemies to show attraction and have a romantic moment. This helps the audience to acquire positive feelings towards the “enemy.” This song uses solely the emotional appeal of pathos to help the viewer depict what this scene is meant to show. The song has an underlying beat to it to help depict a sort of heart beat/love feeling. This brings in a sense of passion between the two characters. As well as the beat there are several breathes that the singer takes during the song. This is sort of ironic because they are underwater and are not breathing, but this also adds an element of danger and desperate desire between the two characters. It is also a fast paced song allowing the audience to feel this sense of urgency and passion the character Johnny feels as he is drawn to Samsara. This movie uses a lot of pathos and some logos to help the audience feel
with the characters and the story, however, there is very little ethos used. None of the actors/songwriters are hugely known names. This is allowed however because Point Break already has a sort of reputation. This is a remake of the original film which came out in 1991 and was nominated for several awards including: the MTV most desirable male, and the best action sequence(IMBD). That film was extremely popular which, in return, draws a lot more people to this film in order to see if the remake was up to par with the original. Additionally, another scene in this movie that stands out to the audience is at the very end. This is after everything has happened and Johnny is by himself at the very top of a mountain. Being an extreme athlete he plans to snowboard down this extremely difficult slope to challenge himself. The song of choice for this scene was Still Breathing by Dig the Kid. However, right before this song happens there is a building moment where Johnny starts down the mountain. The music starts out slow and calm and as he starts his line down the slope the music builds. The string instruments in the background give a sense of urgency and concern as if they are almost screeching. This use of pathos has the viewer feeling stressed right up until the end of the movie. This is where the entire screen becomes completely white and the sounds almost hangs in the air for a split second until the credits and the last song of Still Breathing comes on. This scene is a perfect ending of suspense and drama that leaves the viewer shocked and almost has them to their personal “breaking point” from everything that has occurred over the course of this movie. Overall, I believe Point Break deserves an overall rating of 3 and a half nachos. This is based off of their great ability to sell the impressive stunts and also get the viewer to ponder if the villains really are villains in this film. Additionally, because it is an action film it definitely does its job of pushing the plot forward and really engaging the audience in what is going to happen next.

Bueller’s Musical Genius Doesn’t Take a Day Off

By: Lexi Frazier
January 31, 2017


The genius of the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  is that Ferris takes what may have been just an ordinary, humdrum day and gives it a twist, or in this case a “Twist and Shout.”  No scene better epitomizes this carpe diem theme than the parade scene, during which Ferris manages to sneak his way onto a parade float and dazzle Chicago urbanites with a show-stopping performance of this Beatles hit. This song sets an upbeat, carefree mood that ripples through the sea of spectators, leaving not a soul unmoved by its infectious rhythm. Everyone, from the lady German dancers to the marching band to the construction workers to rock star Ferris (with his hilarious, spot-on lip-syncing), all unite in an electrifying display of excitement. At the song’s end, the crowd erupts in applause, balloons soar into the air, American flags wave frantically, and the viewer is left comically entertained by the idea that one boy could stir up such a frenzy.

Since Ferris proves throughout the film to be a spontaneous, charismatic, free spirit, this fun and lively song serves to characterize him. Rather than being background music, it is significant that the song is at the forefront of the action and that everyone on screen is singing along. Prior to this song, Ferris is on the German-themed float lip-syncing a calmer, low-key, and ironically funny “Danke Schoen.” This provides contrast for the upcoming “Twist and Shout” number, where the volume, tempo, and overall energy of the actors are extremely amped up, evoking a happy, ecstatic mood for the viewer.  The volume increases throughout the song as the triumphant brass instrumentation of the marching band and the joyous voices of the crowd join in. This both builds the viewer's enthusiasm and conveys a sense of unity, showing that everyone needs to cut loose sometimes. As with many larger-than-life musical numbers, there are parts of the scene that make it unrealistic. From the entire premise of Ferris taking over the parade without objection from any authorities to the choreographed dance troop on the stairs, the likelihood of such a musical masterpiece taking place is far-fetched, but that’s part of what makes it so hysterically epic.

The selection of this particular song for the scene makes an ethos argument because “Twist and Shout” is by the Beatles, the undisputed most legendary boy band of all time. Thus, choosing a song by such renowned artists, who have sold over $170 million in the U.S. alone,  makes a statement about the quality of the song (and, by extension, the scene it accompanies) and appeals to devoted Beatles fans worldwide.

Lunsford states in her book Everything’s an Argument, “If you strike the right emotional note, you’ll establish an important connection.” Since “Twist and Shout” was such a popular song at the time, it makes such a pathos argument because a lot of people had already formed a positive emotional response to this familiar tune. Music has the power to transport us to another time and place, which explains why familiar songs, such as this one, can provoke strong emotions.  Thus, using music to strike an emotional chord makes people feel connected to the film and overjoyed to recognize a favorite tune.  

Finally, this song appeals to our sense of logos through its lyrics. With words like “Shake it up baby, C'mon twist and shout,” the song encourages the idea of shaking up the routine, seizing the day, rebelling against authority, and adding a dash of spontaneous fun to life. These implications are consistent with the message of the film. Ferris and his friends will be graduating soon and moving on; they will never be this young again. Hence, Ferris refuses to waste this precious time in school, so instead he fakes an illness so that he may make the most of his fleeting youth and truly seize the day. And seize it he does! Rather than listen to the monotonous voice of his teacher call out “Bueller” in the classroom, Ferris rocks the city of Chicago on a parade float! Ferris teaches us all the importance of grabbing life by the horns and making the ordinary extraordinary, and this carefree, vivacious song reinforces this lesson. It’s just as Ferris says in his iconic monologue: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”