Captain Phillips Movie Review

By Luke C.

“Captain Phillips” is a action drama film that follows true story of the crew of MV Maersk Alabama, a freighter ship, which is hijacked by pirates near the coast of Somalia. It follows the raid of the ship and the kidnapping of Captain Phillips, the titular character, who is brilliantly portrayed by Tom Hanks.

This movie is my personal Oscar pick for best drama. I love this movie. I think it’s one of 2013’s best dramas and one of its most exciting action movies. It doesn’t feel like a traditional action movie, but don’t get me wrong, it has plenty of heart pounding action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Pros:

The acting in this movie is amazing and best of all, extremely lifelike. While many actors can play ‘characters’ well, these actors, specifically Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, play real people extremely well. They both are understandable characters; both are doing what they are to help their families.

As I previously mentioned, the action in this movie is great. The pirates’ raid on the ship is extremely lifelike and exiting. The rest of the movie slows down a bit after this, but the action near the end of the movie is so suspenseful, it’ll make you hold your breath in anticipation.

Cons:

I have difficulty finding cons for this movie. It’s really that good. If I were to make one complaint, it would be the length. The movie is two hours and ten minutes long which can be long for some people, but the length is fine for me.

“Captain Phillips” is a great action drama; the lifelike drama and acting make it one of the best of 2013. Some theaters are still showing it, even though its release was five months ago. I’d see it in theaters if you can, but it’ll also make a great rental movie. I highly recommend the seeing this movie.

Editor’s Note: “Captin Phillips” did not win any of the six Oscars it was nominated for at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014.

Hook Play Review

Image from Maddie N.
Image from Maddie N.

By Maddie N.

You have probably heard about the student directed play, Hook, that has recently finished its last showing. The play tells the story of Peter Pan, now known as Peter Banning, who has decided to grow up and settle down with a family. Being a grownup has proven to be so stressful for him that he has become overprotective to his kids and his other loved ones leading to him losing his inner child. Then, in an exciting twist, Hook, Peter’s old nemesis, decides to kidnap his children in order to bring Peter back to Neverland to fulfill his own destiny in defeating the great Peter Pan.

The directors of the play, Emma Brashear and Celia Hallan, have been dreaming about this moment since their freshman year. They were so excited to finally direct their own play. Emma and Celia, and the rest of the cast and crew, worked with dedication and speed to perfect their play, and they did just that. In terms of quality, the actors were great and really embraced their inner child. The tones of voice and the facial expressions really added to the effect. Though, I’m probably a bit biased, since two of my best friends were in the play.

Overall, the play was wonderful. It was entertaining, funny, suspenseful, and more. If you weren’t able to see the show, be sure to visit one of the other upcoming shows such as Thoroughly Modern Millie starting March 13th.

On the Go with Car2Go

by Maddie N.

So, you’re driving down a street in Minneapolis, and suddenly you see a cute little white and blue smart car. You think nothing of it. But then you see another, and another.  You take a closer look and see a little logo on it: Car2Go. That’s right: if you can drive, you have now discovered an exciting new way to get around in Minneapolis.

What is this Car2Go?

They are electric-running smart cars parked throughout the city, from Downtown to here in Linden Hills. At just $0.38 a minute, you can go anywhere and end your trip anywhere in the city.

How does it work?

First, you get a member card by signing up online. Then you find a Car2Go, scan your member card on the windshield to open it, enter your pin on the screen, and drive. That simple. You can either happen upon a Car2Go, or you can reserve one near you 30 minutes in advance online or with the Car2Go app to save time. You can also use the app to find one near you.

Rules

You must park it within Minneapolis, and it must be parked at on-street areas, rather than in a driveway or other private properties. There is no penalty for driving outside of Minneapolis, but you have to come back to the “home area.” One nice feature is the stopover. Say you’re making a quick trip to the grocery store; you get a Car2Go, get to the grocery store, and lock the car, insuring it will be there when you get back. With the stopover, you can “stop” anywhere, without worrying about parking regulations. But you’re still paying by the minute, so make your stopover quick!

Cons

If you plan on taking a longer time or going to further places, it will end up costing you more. And, true to the smart car’s style, there is only room for two.

The Car2Go is mostly designed for a one-way trip. While this can be nice, it means if you don’t want to spend more money on a stopover, you have to find another Car2Go or other transportation to go back.

You also might find yourself abusing its convenience. Many reviews talk about how users took 5 minute trips in the Car2Go that they could’ve done by walking.

The Car2Go is only in five other cities in the U.S, so it is still a modern and experimental idea. It’s just another new, convenient way for us to get around these big cities.

My Journey Through Thanksgiving Madness

By Hannah R

   I personally love Thanksgiving not just because I get to have dinner with our extended family but I get to have an excuse to go shopping! We woke up early to check what good deals we can get from these doorbusters. My mom’s been busy reviewing these flyers since a couple of days ago and got my dad on board too. What? Macy’s has great boots and cashmere sweaters for a third of the original price? Target has a PS3 bundle that’s a hundred dollars less? Walmart has 60-inch smart tv that’s half the price off!? These great deals, according to my “coupon-savvy” mom do not happen every day.

 

    After dinner at my grandmother’s house, off we went to our great adventure of the night. Mall of America here we come! As expected, the mood is hyped. Everybody is falling over carrying these shopping bags. I got to Macy’s a little late so all I see are empty boxes of those boots I was eyeing. Oh well, better luck next year. We met up with my dad who had a pair of shoes for a good deal, so the night was not a total waste. He was babbling about how long the lines are at the cash registers, but you could tell he was still happy. Mom got some of her Christmas shopping done too.

I noticed as I walked around, amused at the crowd, that there were less people this year as compared to last year. Some stores didn’t even open this year. It made me disappointed, because I think Black Friday is a significant part of Thanksgiving, just as much as a turkey dinner. Then again, the safety of others and family bonding should always come first, so I understand. I can’t wait until next year though!

A New Year, a New Discipline Policy?

By Maren E.

Despite its constant striving towards perfect organization, the American public school system is widely recognized as being flawed. Parents say it, students say it, the news says it; teachers would likely say it, if they were permitted to—and some do, anyways. To some extent, this is understandable—anything this expansive is bound to have shortcomings somewhere or another. However, it’s been looking to those at the Minneapolis Public Schools board meetings like one of the greatest problems isn’t superficial in the least. A central issue that’s appeared is an unhealthily extreme method of discipline, especially towards minority students, and the school board intends to soften this cruelty by integrating an entirely new discipline policy.

Statistics show that suspensions are far too frequent to be considered reasonable; those that receive the least are able white students, who are subject to such severe consequence only around a sixth as often as African-American students. Those with cognitive impairment are also treated more harshly. In an attempt to change this, the school board has decided to reinvent their methods of discipline. Though suspension will still be a working punishment for misbehavior, it won’t be carried out nearly as often now.

The ideas behind the new policy are simple: students will be punished not for their actions, but for the reasoning behind them. Harm to a teacher or classmate, for example, will only be considered an infraction if it’s stated or proven to be intentional. The idea behind this is that it will better take into account the state of the student, rather than throwing a punishment at them with no thought to the complexities of the situation. In this sense, it may be a wonderful idea, but it also contains an obvious flaw: students, especially high school students keen to misbehave, are all too capable of lying. It would be simplicity itself for one to commit an illegal action, then claim that it was somehow an accident or misunderstanding; the staff, locked in by their own rules, would then be unable to respond with the necessary consequence.

Still, it’s true that the current suspension rates are extreme. Will this uncertain new policy help to bring them down, or will it whittle away at the framework of classroom order until the school seems to be running on no rules at all? Is there a better way to be reworking the idea of discipline? It won’t be known whether this is for better or for worse until August of 2014, when the new rules will go into effect, and even then it is likely to be much debated, and perhaps even reformed over again in the years to come, in an attempt to continue building a perfect system.

Give Us a Break

Everyday, as students, we strive to do our best (whatever our best may be) and deal with the stress of homework, family, hormones, friends, and getting a good night’s sleep. When that wonderful three day weekend or holiday break comes by, it’s a time to rejoice, a time to unwind or spend time with family. Yet, we continue to receive homework even on days that are considered a “break” and frankly, it’s plain wrong.

I understand that homework, depending on the class, is a necessity. In math, it is useful to get in a good handful of practice problems before the test. For history, it is necessary to read academically about historical events. What is English class without having to take home a book and read that sucker? Although homework can make for a good learning tool on more than one occasion, students, depending on the level of classes being taken, can receive a huge amount of homework. I’m talking three to four hours of homework; that is if students even bother to do it whole-heartedly. Is it really necessary to read and annotate thirty pages worth of a thick, boring reading just to bring it to school and find it’s actually not acceptable so you must take it home to redo it? Is it also necessary to, in addition to the thirty pages, to do thirty math problems? Plus, the math problems aren’t simply math problems they have a part a, b, c, d, and e. Don’t get me started on math problems that also have Roman Numerals that follow those letters. So thirty math problems is actually more like sixty and don’t forget to fully show your work and graph your equations, friends! My point here is that students receive a lot of unnecessary homework; we’re made into slaves to school work and grades. Why? Because if you don’t do your homework you don’t get good grades; if you don’t get good grades you don’t get into college; if you don’t get into college you don’t get a good career, and finally you live an unhappy life. What’s even better is that it’s not even good enough to get good grades anymore; you must be a phenomenal athlete, club-creating, extrovert who can afford to pay an arm and a leg for college. All of these things haunt students these days, and all we deserve is an actual break from the pressures of being a “good student” every once in a while: a nice simple break.

A nice simple break is really all we need, but things aren’t so simple. I have come to believe that when a break comes along teachers think, “Great! More time for students to do their homework.” Now, I’m  not claiming this is actually what teachers think or anything along those lines, but I get so full of rage that I feel the need to blame someone or something on the fact I have to spend my lovely Thanksgiving time being oh-so-very-thankful for all the homework I have to do! Yes, I would love some equations with my turkey, oh I would love some reading with my mashed potatoes and who could eat apple pie without an essay?! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, Thanksgiving break is five long days including Saturday and Sunday. But think about it this way, every single family is different, so maybe family “A” has a whole lot of relatives coming over and they need to prepare the day before, celebrate the day of, and then has a bunch of cleaning to do the day after. Come Saturday evening and student of family “A” has to worry about all the homework they received even though they’re exhausted. Let’s say family “B” has their small family dinner, but loves to go black friday shopping, which of course can be very exhausting. Anyway, the point of the holiday break is to give time for not only holiday celebrations but also for a BREAK. Thanksgiving break used to be longer than three days, anyway. So really, this holiday break isn’t “extra homework time,” it’s supposed to be break time. Maybe some students don’t get any break homework, but I sure do. Not only this last Thanksgiving break, but on many “breaks” over the years.

I could go on and on if prompted, but really holiday breaks are meant for a break. Life for a student isn’t so simple anymore and the amount of unnecessary things we have to deal with is ridiculous to the point that it’s hard to find the motivation to strive to be our best. What cruel institute pushes students to the point of stressing out during Thanksgiving? Learning is a beautiful thing and no one goes a day without learning something new, but why has learning become a stressful activity? Well despite the stress of school, and the unnecessary homework over holiday “breaks,” what’s life without a challenge? Yet, we need a little balance in our lives, and a real break from the complications of the world is a true necessity.

Winning the Lottery Survey

What would you do if you won the lottery; if you came across a huge amount of money?

Would you save it up or splurge on whatever your heart desired? Here are some answers from Southwest students:

Freshman Virginia Culhane simply answered that she would save up for college. Freshman Athen Schooler said he would save it for college, a house, and a car; then give the rest to charity. Both of these freshman had their education in mind, a smart choice. Sophomore Mya Johnson replied with “Do you know how much merch you can buy with that?” An anonymous junior said he would give 10% to the Philippines; open a Thai cuisine restaurant; invest in a Korean farm; and give 2% to  friend. I asked him if he would save any for college and he replied, “I wouldn’t need to go to college with that much money.” Senior Victoria Mackin replied that she would probably shop, and meet some famous people. When asked who she’d choose to meet, she said Foster the People, The Who, and One Direction. Senior Kimberly Vice immediately answered that she’d leave this country to go to Japan and give the rest to her mom. An anonymous senior replied, “I honestly don’t know”.

It would truly be difficult deciding what to do with a whole lot of money, but these students would all seem to invest in something worthwhile to them. So, what would you do if you won the lottery?

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