Campus Couture – Top 10 Oscars Red Carpet Looks of All Time

Arts & Entertainment

Keri Marable, Staff

Welcome to Campus Couture, a segment of La Salle TV’s Backstage Pass brought to the Collegian, talking about all things fashion at La Salle. For Campus Couture’s first fashion coverage in the Collegian, Campus Couture’s team of editors has selected the Top 10 Oscars red carpet looks of all time.

Zendaya – Valentino 2021

At the top of our list, we have Zendaya wearing a vibrant lemon-yellow Valentino Haute Couture gown that went viral on social media. The actress, who presented the Oscar for Best Original Score, stunned in an outfit inspired by Cher that she paired with  183 carats Bulgari diamonds. Valentino said on Instagram that the chiffon dress was custom designed by their Creative Director, and it took artisans 300 hours to produce. The Italian label also revealed that the gown has its own name: Force de beauté, or force of beauty.

Cher – Bob Mackie 1974

Looking at the inspiration for that Valentino dress worn by Zendaya, Cher had show-stopping looks at every Academy Award show she attended. The 1974 Oscars was when Cher was promoting her self-titled album and had recently separated from Bono. Once again, wearing Bob Mackie, her staple designer, she wore a floral sarong-style dress skirt with a wrap-tie bralette and matching floral corsages around the neck and pinned up into her hair. Her stylist also brought the color palette of the dress into her beautiful look through her lilac eyeshadow, and plum-shaded blush.

Lady Gaga – Alexander McQueen 2019

Taking it forward to 2019, we have another iconic singer in another iconic look. Lady Gaga wore Alexander Mcqueen at the 2019 Oscars, where she won an award for Best Original Song after her duet, “Shallow,” in the movie “A Star is Born,” topped the charts that year. Lady Gaga’s stylist reported that they were going for a timeless look, taking inspiration from the silhouette of Marilyn Monroe’s dress in the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” as well as adding a diamond necklace last worn by Audrey Hepburn in promotional photos for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The yellow diamond stone of the necklace is called the Tiffany diamond and is one of the most famous pieces the company has ever created. 

Audrey Hepburn – Givenchy 1975

Let’s look at the one and only, Audrey Hepburn, who Lady Gaga’s necklace paid homage to. In most of her iconic fashion moments both on- and off-screen, Audrey was wearing Givenchy. She and Hubert de Givenchy met in their mid-20s. Their friendship and professional partnership spanned over 40 years. He designed her first Oscars dress, the black satin gown she wears in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and a pink jersey dress for her wedding day. She once said that Givenchy’s creations always gave her a sense of security and confidence, and her work went more easily knowing that she looked “absolutely right.” This Givenchy dress with intricate beading and a modest cutout at the 1975 Oscars is at the top of our list.

Lupita Nyong’o – Prada 2014

On the topic of Tiffany’s- topping many magazine and news outlets’ Best Dressed lists, Lupita Nyong’o stunned the fashion world with her custom tiffany-blue silk Prada look at the 2014 Oscars, which she later described as a “Nairobi blue” in honor of where she grew up in Kenya. This look was everywhere in the news and on social media, and for good reason. Lupita looks like an effortless and ethereal Cinderella in this light and airy pleated gown with a deep v-neck top and low-cut sides. She paired the dress with Fred Leighton jewels, satin Prada platform sandals, and a matching Prada clutch with baguette crystal detail, framed in gold to go along with the award she won for Best Supporting Actress that night. 

Elizabeth Taylor – Edith Head 1953

In another fairytale look, Elizabeth Taylor attended the Oscars in 1953 wearing a dress fit for a princess. The actress chose an elaborate light pink ruffled corset dress for the event, which is thought to be designed by Edith Head. This dress was appraised in 2011 at an event in Minneapolis, MN, on the show “Antique Roadshow” of the PBS channel. 

Grace Kelly – Givenchy 1955

Fellow queen of the silver screen and real-life Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly wore an Edith Head original when she won Best Actress for “The Country Girl” at the 1955 Oscars. Grace Kelly’s custom gown cost $4,000 to make in 1955. At that time,  it was the most expensive Oscar dress ever. According to Elle Magazine, Designer Edith Head described the hue as “blue champagne.” While A-list stars of today consider outfit repeating a faux-pas, Grace wore her Oscar dress for three different occasions: for a Life Magazine cover, for the premiere of “The Country Girl” movie, and finally for the Oscars. It went on to become one of the most memorable gowns in Academy Awards history. 

Sandra Oh – Elie Saab 2020

Next on our list, Sandra Oh walked the 2020 Oscars red carpet wearing a champagne-colored Elie Saab gown. The dress had a plunging neckline and a dramatic open back. The long dress featured thousands of sequins and the gown’s sleeves had large, sculptural, floral-esque bunches of tulle and lace from shoulder to elbow. The 3-D elements of the sleeves were mirrored all along the bottom of the gown’s skirt, making Sandra look like royalty. She paired the gown with a gold velvet bow belt, jeweled hoop earrings, a silver ring on one hand, and several thick chain bracelets on the other. Fashion bloggers listing it on their worst dresses of that year criticized the gown for being “too much,” but with a strong and bright personality like Sandra’s, she easily pulls it off. 

Halle Berry – Elie Saab 2002

Another Elie Saab gown making Campus Couture’s Top 10 List is the one Halle Berry wore when she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002 for her role in “Monster’s Ball.” This dress was so popular it even has its own Wikipedia page! A poll in The Daily Telegraph ranked this dress as the eighth greatest red-carpet gown of all time. Cosmopolitan also cited it as one of the best and most well-known Oscar dresses in history. Variety Magazine’s Complete Book of Oscar Fashion mentioned how it had “fashion critics raving for days.” Designer Elie Saab spoke with Australian Vogue about becoming a household name after Halle Berry wore this dress, saying “Halle Berry made the name Elie Saab more popular. She managed to really put the name Elie Saab on the international market. Halle Berry was the first woman of color to win an Oscar. It was elegant and daring and chic. I think this moment was a very exceptional moment for cinema.”

Charlize Theron – Gucci by Tom Ford 2004

Finally, we have Charlize Theron wearing Gucci at the 2004 Oscars, where she took home the award for “Best Actress” for her role in the movie “Monster.” Charlize wore a spaghetti-strapped, fitted, glittery gown from the Italian fashion house of Gucci. Tom Ford designed the dress when he was still the Creative Director of Gucci, but now he is well known for his own brand under his name. This dress, with its daring front slit and flowing train, made fashion history and is included in many best Oscar dress lists.

And that is Campus Couture’s top 10 Oscars red carpet looks! If you’d like to hear more about all things entertainment, be sure to follow Backstage Pass on Instagram @backstagepassLTV and stay tuned to find out the next time you can get your backstage pass to fashion on campus with Campus Couture!

“Don’t Worry Darling” & Other Film/TV News

Arts & Entertainment

Sophia Conte, Staff

From the concert stage to the movie set, Harry Styles stars in Don’t Worry Darling and the question on my mind is can Harry Styles act? Do fans even care? Well, if you saw Don’t Worry Darling this weekend, you probably have some of those answers. The film is directed by Olivia Wilde and stars Styles, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan. With a budget of $35 million, and a press tour mired by rumors of drama between director Olivia Wilde and star Florence Pugh along with wild speculation over photos of Styles potentially spitting on co-star Chris Pine from the Venice Film Festival. Between bad press and average pre-release ratings, the film did well in its first weekend, grossing $19.2 million from Friday to Sunday. Facing Don’t Worry Darling this past weekend was The Woman King which was on its second weekend in theaters, and the re-released highest grossing film in history, James Cameron’s Avatar

Warner Bros. Pictures

Another film playing in theaters this past weekend was horror movie Barbarian, directed by Zach Cregger. The film stars Georgina Campbell and IT actor Bill Skarsgård. Barbarian is in its third week since its release, on Sept. 9th. Moving towards the gruesome is Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, released on Sept. 21st . Directed and written by Ryan Murphy, who is also famous for his creation of Glee and American Horror Story, the Dahmer series stars an AHS actor, Evan Peters. Eating while watching this series is not recommended. 

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Disney fans got a glimpse of The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey. Unfortunately, some people were, let’s face it, racist concerning their issues about the casting of Halle Bailey who will play the first black Ariel. Most comments and discourse came from the popular social media app, TikTok, where people voiced how the casting choice was not “biologically accurate” for the fantastical, made-up creature, that we call a mermaid. Also generating controversy over diverse casting, is Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power show which is placed inside The Lord of the Rings universe. Overall with 25 million people watching the first two episodes upon its release, the series is doing well even though it places women and people of color in the forefront of its narrative.

Movies that got me through this year: A retrospective

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Staff

In the spirit of the school year ending, it felt appropriate to look backwards instead of getting on my soapbox and talking about any new movies. These thoughts simply reflect the impact these films had on me within the last two semesters. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.

1. The “Before” trilogy

Back in the fall, I set out to show my roommates Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy for the first time. There is simply nothing like the experience of watching these movies for the first time, and the shared experience of watching them with another person is incredible. “Before Sunrise” is romantic escapism. “Before Sunset”  is a perfect fairytale. “Before Midnight” is the reality of life. All three movies in the trilogy when watched together feel simultaneously entrancing, euphoric and devastating. No movie can quite examine and comment on experiences of love, hope, regret, heartbreak and aging using the progression of time like these films do. 

2. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” / “The Worst Person in the World”

I had written about these two movies already, but they deserve some type of mention again. I saw “The Worst Person in the World” in February and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in April, and both have stayed with me long after watching them. It’s an incredible feeling to watch a film and instantaneously know that you are watching something made with so much talent and love. I’ve sung their praises so much in prior reviews, so there isn’t much more to add.

3. “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

All autumn, we counted down the days to “No Way Home.” Rumors had been swirling for months about Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. The excitement of my friends was palpable even though the movie’s release date coincided with finals week. For me personally, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the perfect catharsis after a week of exams and a semester of anxiety. Much of my childhood was spent watching the Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” movies with my sister, and getting to see these characters on the big screen again with her sitting next to me was amazing. The reason that Spider-Man resonates with so many people is that everyone can see themselves in Peter Parker. A normal person with a good heart who simply wishes to do better than before and help others. Therefore, a movie that essentially functions as a massive celebration of Spider-Man is bound to hold a special place in the hearts of so many, including myself.

Marvel Studios

4. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

I had been intending to watch Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” for the past few years but never got around to it. In early January, I finally dedicated an entire evening to watching this movie, and I was lucky to have such foresight. I couldn’t do anything afterwards. My eyes stared at the TV for at least ten minutes as I simply tried to process what I watched and how I felt. It is everything that a romantic slow burn should be with meditative pacing that eventually quietly explodes. It’s a movie that isn’t loud at all but somehow still produces the profound effect of a loud, in-your-face movie on the viewer. During the final scene and shot, my chest even felt tight, and my breathing became noticeable. Either Sciamma is a true master of her craft, or I was experiencing a minor heart attack.

Lillies Films

5. “Dune”

In October, on a whim with friends I saw “Dune” on opening night in IMAX and have thus decided not to watch it again. Not because I didn’t like the movie. No, no, I adored it. Just, there is no way I would be able to ever come near that particular viewing experience of this Frank Herbert adaptation ever again. “Dune” is the type of film that someone needs to watch on the biggest screen they can find. It cleaned up at the Oscars in the technical categories and for good reason. My only complaint would be that my theater was also 4D, so sand kept getting in my slushie.

Review: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Staff

Writing about “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is not easy. I write this openly and honestly when I say that words make it difficult to describe this film. Words make it difficult to even describe the experience of watching it in a theater. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. I audibly said “What?” a lot. Therefore, the only word that comes to mind when thinking about the latest cinematic effort by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert is ‘triumph.’ Between its acting, directing, editing and, most of all, its screenplay, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” represents a creative triumph on all fronts. In the same way that the Daniels wrote this screenplay as a response to the worsening postmodern state of the world after 2016, its hopefulness and meta-modernism take a stand against nihilism. The important thing to know about this movie though is that nothing can prepare you for the experience of watching it. Whereas I would usually provide a brief plot summary, it genuinely would benefit the viewer to know less going in. I can’t recommend it enough. If there is one movie you watch this year, it should be “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

A24 Studios

Utilizing the Potential of your Cast

One thing this film does extremely well is utilize its cast to the utmost potential of each actor’s star caliber. Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” “Shang-Chi”) leads the film as Evelyn Wang—a role that is both a physical and emotional powerhouse. With an extensive background in Hong Kong kung fu movies, this role allows Yeoh to show off her physical strengths in fight choreography while also producing the dramatic and comedic performance of a lifetime. Alongside Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan especially shines as her husband Waymond Wang. Quan returns to acting in an emotional tour de force performance after famed childhood roles in both “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Quan noted he never actually would have returned to working in front of a camera if not for the cultural milestone of “Crazy Rich Asians” in 2018 for Asian actors in prominent leading roles. His performance has easily been my favorite of 2022 so far and likely one of my favorite performances of the past few years. Stephanie Hsu also delivers a great performance that is versatile and threatening while also incredibly heart-breaking. Finally, it’s important to note Jamie Lee Curtis (“A Fish Called Wanda” “Freaky Friday”) who truly embraces her talents as a comedic actor in this film.

A24 Studios

Everything on a Bagel: Insane Absurdism Works

The Daniels overcome issues at the heart of many movies that revel in absurdism or use weird sci-fi concepts like a multiverse by anchoring a strong emotional core to all this insanity. There is a bagel that has quite literally all of existence on it. There is a racoon named “Racacoonie” who controls a chef like the rat in “Ratatouille.” There are scenes where all human beings have hot dogs for fingers. There is also a scene where two rocks talk only through subtitles. But the emotional core of the movie is so well written and weaved throughout every aspect of the story that this scene ended up making me cry. This film goes to crazy places, yet it always stays grounded in the humanity of its characters. The main existential struggles and family trauma of the protagonist always remain at the root of the story’s events despite the absurdism.

Blending Genre

Everything Everywhere All at Once” is especially skillful at blending genres in a way that is not usually executed well in other films. It’s science fiction. It’s a dark comedy. At moments, its fight choreography makes it feel like a kung fu film. At times, it is an emotionally crushing drama. On a basic level, it’s a slice of life movie about doing your taxes. The Daniels in one scene even attempt to pay homage to the moody tension-filled atmosphere of Wong Kar-wai’s romantic masterpiece “In the Mood for Love.” The pure creativity of its screenplay is on display throughout the use of different genres, yet this blend of genre never feels disjointed or works to confuse the audience. Instead, the film embraces a metamodern tapestry of genres to tell a grand narrative about existential anguish, the effects of trauma, and healing.

Review: “C’mon C’mon”

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Staff 

Everyone wants to feel seen. Everyone wants to feel understood. I don’t think it would be an over-exaggeration to say that a great struggle of life is finding others who truly understand you and truly understanding them in return. Thoughts. Nuanced emotions. Experiences. It’s impossible to fully know anyone and their individualized perception of the world. Every person is left to simply try their absolute best to understand the people in their lives. I like to think that the filmography of Mike Mills intends to at least address and explore this universal struggle and the stresses that result from the “gray spaces” in all human connections. Mills’ writing of characters is always uniquely full of both love and empathy in comparison to many other filmmakers though.

“C’mon C’mon”

“C’mon C’mon” is Mike Mills’ newest film offering for audiences coming off his prior successes — 2016’s “20th Century Women” and 2010’s “Beginners” — and follows a radio journalist, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker,” “The Master,”) who must care for his nephew Jesse during a family emergency. Phoenix’s character Johnny in his profession as a journalist interviews children across the country regarding their hopes for the future and outlook on life. Johnny is forced to process and mend his own strenuous relationships with his sister and gain perspective on parenthood. Spanning from Los Angeles to New York to New Orleans, Johnny looks after his nephew Jesse while continuing his career and understanding more and more how special his own nephew’s perspective of the world is. Acting as a parent can be incredibly challenging, but the protagonist very emphatically cares about his nephew and is able to forge a strong meaningful bond.

A24 Studios

Mills as a visual filmmaker

With a previous background in graphic art and design, Mills is an auteur that understands the importance of film as a visual medium. His films are always framed well and simply just look good. When speaking to music legend and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, this writer-director talked about how the basis for what “C’mon C’mon” would look like came from this idea of a parent and child walking in space. Many scenes in the movie include this type of shot—whether Johnny and Jesse are walking on a beach in Santa Monica, a busy urban street in New York City, or under a Southern Live Oak tree in Louisiana. Cinematography has played a major role in Mills’ prior films, and “C’mon C’mon” is no exception. Black and white cinematography was used to draw out more sense of the scene and authenticity of the relationships onscreen without the distraction of color for viewers — a feat that Mills achieves with flying colors.

Writing personal connections

A major aspect of Mills’ directorial features has been his incredibly personal connection to each work. “C’mon C’mon” is about this filmmaker’s relationship to his son. “20th Century Women” is primarily based on his mother and his struggle to truly know and understand her in their relationship as mother and son. “Beginners” was written about Mills’ father and his own struggle to know and understand his dad through their relationship as parent and child. Writing about real people, personally, feels somewhat gross and exploitative, but the manner by which Mills always does so is with compassion and love. He does not try to sculpt an image of this person from his life and present them to the audience as he experienced them. Mills instead deftly offers that each individual person is more complex to a degree that is not humanly comprehendible. Each movie is about the struggle and experience of trying to know that person and the profound effect it has had on Mills.

Hosts get into altercation at La Salle TV Awards | Foolegian

Foolegian, Satire

Thin Willy, Celestial Entity

On March 27, 2022, during the live television broadcast of the 30th annual La Salle TV Awards (LTVAs), host of LTV’s game show “Q&A” and LTV producer Gregory Shannon, the then-nominee and eventual winner of the LTV Award for Best Producer, walked onstage and slapped “SportsLine” Producer Isaiah Clark across the face as he presented the LTV Award for Best COM 408 Documentary Feature. Just before, Clark was seen stuffing his face full of mini-M&M’s, Shannon’s favorite snack, at the snack table. Shannon, who has had an on-going addiction to mini-M&M’s during the months following the awards, was initially seen laughing at the joke, rose from the audience, walked onto the stage and slapped Clark in the face. Shannon then returned to his seat and twice shouted, “Keep my mini-M&M’s out your mouth!”

Video footage of the altercation quickly went viral, rapidly accumulating tens of views across multiple platforms and prompting widespread commentary, discussion and debate. It has also inspired several parodies, remixes, memes and jokes.

During the same ceremony, Shannon went on to win the LTV Award for Best Producer for his portrayal of La Salle graduate Jack Rohr in the series “Q&A.” In his acceptance speech, Shannon apologized to the studio and colleagues, but not Clark.

Following public backlash, Shannon issued a formal apology on Instagram and Facebook posts. Shannon referred to his own behavior as “not 100 percent” and “not pushin’ P.” Shannon went on to directly address  Clark: “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Clark. I was out of line; I was off the gloop and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. Except for in Brooklyn… And Central Jersey, especially Central Jersey.”

Some sugar-addicts have spoken out about how the incident has made them feel worried about the possibility of more confrontations and may be more careful about the snacks they eat at college television award shows. “La Salle TV News” claims this fear stemmed from the unresponsiveness of the umbrella group behind the LTVAs, the Young Broadcasters Academy, just after the incident and felt that the owners of the studio where they might perform may act in a similar manner.

On March 28, 2022, the day after the incident, Young Broadcasters announced that it launched a formal review of the incident. The studio’s board of producers disclosed plans for a full meeting to explore further action and consequences in accordance with their Bylaws, Standards of Funny Men and Philly Law scheduled to take place on the Wednesday following the incident. Jonathan Colella, the Young Broadcasters Co-President, issued a subsequent letter to studio members, noting that he thought the incident was extremely funny and he wants to see Clark be slapped again, but since Clark is also co-president he is being forced to figure out some sort of punishment for Shannon.

Review: “The Worst Person in the World”

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Staff

Joachim Trier’s 2021 feature “The Worst Person in the World” explores the endless purgatory of a person’s 20s and the uncertainty and crushing anxiety that coincide with the freedom of adulthood. Set in Oslo, Norway, the film follows Julie — portrayed masterfully by Renate Reinsve (“Welcome to Norway,” “Oslow”) — as she waits for her life to start. After dropping out of medical school and switching various career paths, Julie is unsure of what lies ahead. She bounces between career paths in psychology, photography and commentary writing. She finds herself in a relationship with a man in his 40s. At the beginning of the movie, she does not know what preferred shape her life will ever take. The next two hours detail the experiences of the protagonist as she grapples with various relationships, doubts about the future and the pervasive feeling of being stuck.

         Nominated for Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay at this year’s  Academy Awards, the film has already received widespread critical acclaim. While set to face stiff competition from Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” in the International category, “The Worst Person in the World” may hold a realistic chance of winning Best Original Screenplay. The Cannes Film Festival in summer 2021 even nominated the film for the highly coveted Palme d’Or before awarding it to Julia Ducournau’s “Titane.” Reinsve obtained the Best Actress award at this film competition though — an achievement appropriate for her entrancing performance.

Oslo Pictures

The nomination for Best Screenplay is an inspired choice by the Academy, because the script from Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier easily serves as the film’s strongest quality. Split into a prologue, twelve chapters and an epilogue, each section varies in length and details pivotal moments for the main character traversing her 20s. This story-telling device feels ingenious as it progresses the story forward easily while effectively showing how each character grows over time. The prologue finds the main character pivot from various career paths as she faces indecisions. Each chapter then focuses on a specific period in this young woman’s life and slowly creeps towards a crescendo in the final chapters and epilogue that reveal deeper insights about life and love. As a coming-of-age film, a theater goer already knows the main character will learn an important lesson and undergo a transformation, but Joachim Trier somewhat subverts genre norms with this movie. The screenplay takes the audience on an imaginative route to the film’s finale by making you feel like you are reading chapters in a book about this young person’s struggles. Certain sequences utilize animation and hallucinations, and one scene even shows the main character stopping the world around her. This particular sequence was my personal favorite scene andshows Julie flip a light switch and freeze almost every single person around her in place for an entire day. She then runs through the quiet, sun-soaked streets of Oslo in a moment of jubilation and glee. The rest of the day is spent on a date with a potential love interest with whom she had shared a night years earlier. The scene feels utterly euphoric and overcomes the anguish and regret of youth. When one feels stuck in a career, living situation or relationship, they often somewhat desire to diverge on a different unknown path. There is an underlying desire to try out a new relationship, quit their job or even fundamentally change their life. In reality, a person cannot stop time to find what they actually want before settling down and making a life for themselves. The protagonist does though. Her own freedom from the constraints of mundane life and the opinions of other people reflect the strong desire of many young people to freeze everything and break away from their current life trajectory.

Oslo Pictures

As someone who recently turned 21 and now faces the rest of my 20s laid out before me, the film strikes a terrifyingly relatable chord. It’s difficult to figure out what I should be doing — what to reasonably yearn for within a career or a fulfilling existence. I don’t think I ever truly will know. I also think that no one ever truly does either. This film at least makes me feel less alone in this search. It presents the idea that some fulfillment can be simply found in the journey and not just by reaching a desired destination, career or relationship. It’s a soothing reminder that humans always have the ability to find some semblance of stability throughout the chaos of youthful instability. Julie continuously does not feel secure and stable even though she continuously grows older. Her resistance to getting her life together causes this protagonist to continuously make misguided decisions and view herself as “the worst person in the world.” The inherent doubt and indecision that comes with being an adult must make every young person “the worst in the world” to some degree.

Review: Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past Trilogy.

Arts & Entertainment

By James LeVan

Speculative fiction is an amazing genre, not only because it takes us on a journey across time and space to far off worlds, but also because it manages to hold up a mirror to humanity and makes us confront our very nature. That is what Chinese author Cixin Liu does in his “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy , consisting of “The Three-Body Problem,” “The Dark Forest,” and “Death’s End.” The books detail the thousands of years of conflict between humanity and an extraterrestrial race of aliens who seek to conquer the Earth and eradicate humanity. Liu uses his trilogy to discuss questions of human nature, the importance of the greater good, humanity’s role in the universe and how to fight mass surveillance. Each book individually is a masterpiece of literature, but to genuinely appreciate the story Liu has written, one should read all three, as he takes us from the fall of Constantinople to rural China at the height of the Cultural Revolution; the novels also include large city-space stations and  a pocket dimension at the end of the universe.

Ever since I first learned of this series from my professor, I was eager to get my hands on the book.  I learned that my local Barnes and Noble had only one copy left, so I rushed over there to get it just as they were closing. As soon as I grabbed it, I saw that it earned the praise of several noteworthy people including “Game of Thrones” author George R. R. Martin, Mark Zuckerberg and even former President Barack Obama. Curious, I began  reading it two weeks before classes  started and was immediately hooked. Once I was done, I ordered the complete trilogy, and what I found was an epic writer who deserves some more acclaim than he currently has.

Inverse.com

The first book in the series, “The Three-Body Problem”, is a mystery tale about a nanotechnology scientist named Wang Miao and a detective named Dai Shi who  investigate the strange deaths of several scientists. These deaths connect  to a bizarre computer game, in which players attempt to understand the nature of a distant world that rotates between stable and chaotic eras. “The Three-Body Problem” is unique because it feels like a mystery novel. It is set on the eve of humanity’s realization that they are not alone in the universe and are set to be exterminated in four centuries. 

The second book,  “The Dark Forest,” feels like a wartime novel. Humanity begins to prepare for the eventual arrival of an alien race. The book’s main protagonist, Luo Ji, a former astronomer turned sociologist, has been chosen by the world government to join an elite group of individuals and plan humanity’s counterattack in secret. The third and final book in Liu’s trilogy, “Death’s End”, is a historical  story and features a young prostitute who visits  the Byzantine Emperor and informs Luo Ji of a strange power she has that may save his empire.  

“Death’s End” is the largest of the three texts, taking readers thousands of years into the future as humanity and the aliens are locked in a relationship of mutually assured destruction. Liu takes us through various periods of human history as our species goes further into space and becomes a part of an epic intergalactic struggle. 

Wall Street Journal

One of things the author does well is that he manages to tell his stories, not from a single perspective or character, but from multiple perspectives. Each book has its own protagonists but the trilogy is about humanity as a whole. There is one chapter in “The Dark Forest” where Luo Ji is talking to another important character, and they give him the secret to saving humanity. The whole scene is told from the perspective of a spider, who observes the ordeal while crawling on a tombstone. The scene is incredibly beautiful and the fact that Cixin Liu can write from these different perspectives is a testament to his skill.

Each book asks various questions about whether we are redeemable and if so, how do we redeem ourselves? Several characters in the books ponder the nature of humanity and whether we can evolve on our own, or if we need the aid of an outside force to make us do so. Liu tackles the use of mass surveillance technology and how to get around it, and the struggle between sacrificing personal desire in the name of duty. Each of the characters struggle with this as they must decide whether to sacrifice their own wants and needs for the good of humanity. The final theme I gathered was that opposing factions need one another. The trilogy shows that both sides are needed to balance one another; humanities help us to understand the mental and spiritual reasons for why we are, while the sciences explain physical reasons. Alone, each only tells half of the story, and both are needed to understand the bigger picture.I only have one major critique about Cixin Liu’s work. The amount of hard science in his books can be daunting. Liu’s background is in computer engineering, and as a result, he sometimes spends pages discussing theoretical science. If you are not familiar with those fields, it can make his books intimidating and hard to follow at times. However, you eventually learn to skim to get the gist of what he is saying and can understand. The main story is good enough that you can train yourself to either get around or understand the basics of what he is saying.

The “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy is a trilogy that will supercharge your imagination. As I read each book, I was left pondering human nature, our place in the universe and what will become of us when the universe begins to fall apart. It is a humbling epic and strongly recommended for anyone with the time and patience to read them. 

What’s Trending — May 5

Arts & Entertainment

Jeriann Tripodi, Staff

Header image: Stereogum

Lady Gaga’s alleged dognappers have been arrested

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TMZ

Two months after pop singer Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot and her two French Bulldogs were stolen during a robbery, five people have finally been arrested. According to Yahoo, the suspects range from 18 to 50-years-old. Three were charged with attempted murder and robbery. Two were charged with accessory after the fact. One of the adults taken into custody is the woman who returned the stolen dogs to the police station after the pop singer offered a $500,000 reward for the pets to be returned safely. 

Kim Kardashian looks unrecognizable with new blonde look

US Weekly

Reality star and socialite Kim Kardashian has changed her hairstyle several times throughout the years, however, her most recent look shocked fans. Posting to her Instagram story, the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star shared the process of her transformation, which included her eyebrows being bleached. The reality star then shared a photo with her makeup fully done while sporting blonde eyebrows and honey blonde hair. After driving fans into a frenzy, the final photo showed Kardashian as a brunette, as she indicated that the blonde look was not permanent and was only for a photoshoot. 

“The Celebrity Dating Game” set to premiere this summer 

TVLine 

On June 14, “The Celebrity Dating Game” will premiere on ABC. This new game show is adapted from “The Dating Game,” which was a game show that aired from 1965 to 1986. It will follow the same dating format, but with a celebrity spin. Each episode will follow the stars as they pick one suitor out of three bachelors/bachelorettes from a hidden panel based on their answers to a range of questions. The identities of the celebrities will also be hidden from the suitors. Taye Diggs, Hannah Brown and Iggy Azalea will be the first three celebrity contestants. Also, Michael Bolton and Zooey Deschanel will be co-hosting. 

“Kissing Booth 3” set to be released this summer

Business-Insider

Netflix has announced that the third and final installment to the “Kissing Booth” series will arrive on the streaming platform on August 11. According to TeenVogue, the teen rom-com’s plot will revolve around main character Elle’s huge college decision that will have an impact on her close relationships. All of the main cast is expected to return. “The Kissing Booth 3” is rated PG-13 and stars Joey King, Jacob Elordi and Joel Courtney.  

Number one song on the Billboard charts: week of May 1, 2021

SoundCloud

According to “The Hot 100” on the charts, the number one song in the U.S. is “Rapstar” by Polo G. This is the second week the rap song is at the top spot. 

“The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” review

Arts & Entertainment

Nolen Kelly, Staff

The newest Disney+ miniseries from Marvel Studios is “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Marvel’s transition from “WandaVision” to this is like watching the witch comedy “Hocus Pocus” and immediately following it up with the James Bond flick “Skyfall.” The show centers on Sam Wilson, or the Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker,” “The Adjustment Bureau,”) and Bucky Barnes, or the Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Once Upon a Time,”) dealing with the passing on of their friend and super-ally, Captain America, aka Steve Rogers. Despite being the second miniseries from the super movie conglomerate, there are a few kinks they still need to work out. 

Marvel Studios

I think the best place to start when talking about this show is the characters and the chemistry of the two leads, the titular Falcon and Winter Soldier: Sam and Bucky. I think they are pretty goofy together and work very well like a couple of good pals. There are moments of light humor that quickly shift into some good fighting chemistry and sometimes end with both of them dealing with what happened in serious conversation. Sam and Bucky, and by extension Mackie and Stan, have good on-screen chemistry that started in the movies and is definitely the reason they were given this show. Next is an incredibly important character, Isaiah Bradley, who I really want to talk more about but I think it is best to watch his story for yourself and just experience him and why he is important. He is an important piece of not only the MCU but is also an important reflection of what real world historical images are created and what is hidden. HBO’s limited series adaptation of the graphic novel “Watchmen” does this as well and they do it incredibly well, but I would say the history of Isaiah Bradley is a more gut-wrenching and emotionally poignant story. Without spoiling much, his tale holds up a mirror to America’s history of systematic racism in a way only a superhero story can.

Just as much as this show tackles very serious subjects like race and institutional corruption, it also brings a refreshingly silly comic relief to many of its character moments. The cinematography also lends to the situation, being impressively animated during action scenes, but showing that charm and silliness of the characters when they quip or joke around. For example, because of some of this camera work I had a running joke with my roommates while watching that Anthony Mackie had a GoPro strapped to him at all times because the series constantly cut to a close up of his face while doing stunts aptly titled “Mackie Cam.”

Marvel Studios

Anyone who is in the pop culture space on Twitter has seen the video of Baron Zemo dancing in the club, so it is not much of a spoiler to say that returning from his only other appearance in the MCU in 2016’s “Captain America; Civil War,” is Baron Zemo, played by Daniel Brühl (“Rush,” “Inglourious Basterds”). Rather than being the show’s antagonist he is the “knows everyone and everything” character that helps the two leads get to the places they need. Brühl as Zemo is a delight. I liked him more as a villain in “Civil War,” but his help in progressing the story made it pretty interesting at times, taking them to interesting places like the fictional South Eastern Asian city of Madripoor. 

Another additional character that brought a lot to this series was former Captain of the United States Army, John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell (“Overlord,” “22 Jump Street”). I really liked Walker in every episode he was featured in. Walker is initiated by the United States military as the new Captain America despite the role originally being intended for Wilson, showing that they would rather choose a white soldier as America’s role model than a Black superhero. Fantastically portrayed by Russell, he starts off as a very unwanted character who then stems into someone you feel a little bad for and enjoy watching. But, in his final stretch you either really root for him or you really want him to fail. I personally rooted for him the whole way and without giving away his story, I think Marvel has some incredible potential with Walker in the future. He is cocky and charming yet not a complete jerk, and Russell’s performance is so good I am officially creating my second petition targeted towards Marvel to give a miniseries or movie series specifically for Wyatt Russell as John Walker in the future. My first petition is to give “Daredevil” a proper finale and fourth season, but I digress. Finishing off the list of notable characters is the antagonist, Karli Morgenthau, leader of the terrorist group The Flag Smashers. I don’t think it’s a hot take to say her story was very bland, rushed, unfinished and uninteresting. Erin Kellyman as Karli was fine at best. Her plot was really just a generic “villain wants to take over the world and anyone against us is bad” kind of story. I could not find any kind of interest in her story with the only exception being a conversation she has with Wilson about oppression and resistance. 

Marvel Studios

I went into this show not very excited because everything else Marvel had been putting out was big budget sci-fi focused, but for them to step back to espionage as their next step was a little strange. It is not very hard to get interested in this show, luckily. There are plenty of substories going on that quickly become “filler” content, although some of it is just fun. For every story that drags on there is one that is interesting and cool enough to keep you wanting to see the end. The finale is both a ‘hit’ and ‘miss’ episode that is a good amalgamation of all of the things the show was: fun, rushed, action-packed, long and filled with good character moments. I want more John Walker, I wish there were less subplots and I liked what I got. There is enough referential comic content to keep the nerds, like me, happy and enough visual spectacle to keep casual viewers interested. The story itself is fine and a bit predictable at times, the pacing is occasionally frustrating and the dialogue gets pretty dumb and irritatingly cliché at times. I found a lot to like and a lot to dislike out of this and I am still not sure which I prefer between “WandaVision” and “TFATWS” but I do think this was a step in a good direction for Marvel. I realize my grading system has always been horribly confusing thus far with the Collegian, so to simplify it I’ll just use letters. “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” is a light to decent “C.”