Laurel: A Guide to Navigating the Historic, Ever Trendy, Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is perhaps the most history entangled one-stop-shop Boston has to offer. With its prime location surrounded by the Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, and the Charles River Esplanade, there is no better place to spend your day.

One of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods, Beacon Hill houses about 10,000 of Boston’s finest among the luxurious, aesthetically pleasing, quaint brownstone setting. Filled with rich history and just steps away from the heart of the bustling downtown, Beacon Hill has become an oasis for the local, the tourist, and the resident.

You don’t need to study the history books to learn the context behind the cobblestone alleyways or who designed the English style brick buildings. Rather, take a stroll up and down the streets to read the history plaques for yourself. When you’re there, you may come across anything from Mount Vernon housing six of Boston’s most prominent citizens way back in 1795 to a few of the first free-standing mansions that housed some of the most famous revolutionaries throughout the century.

Tour the State House, walk the streets, or play in the park. Afterward, meander along Charles Street to fully experience the charm and delight for yourself.

First, take a stroll through the tiny yet charming Deluca’s Market. Go in the summer months to find cute flowers lining the sidewalk or pop in during the winter to browse the character-rich aisles.

Keep your head on a swivel as you continue walking through the blocks. On your way, you will find some of Boston’s best cuisine. Try The Paramount for the best comfort and breakfast food all day long. If you are looking for some pizza, try Figs or pop in three doors down to The Upper Crust. (Maybe you have a pizza showdown with all your COM friends!) If you are in need of a classy brunch stop or a romantic dinner, try Beacon Hill Bristo or wander into one of the endless amounts of Italian restaurants ranging from casual to gourmet.

Whatever you do, do not forget to stop by Tatte Bakery for the best vanilla latte, pastries and brunch to propel you into a life of bliss. The owner designs each Boston location down to the tile on the floor. When it comes to Tatte, the line is indicative of the quality—worth the wait.

When your tummy is full, Beacon Hill still entertains. Walk around and find alleyways such as Acorn Street for the perfect photo opt to capture your aesthetic. Explore the beauty and get lost in the cobblestone.

Don’t be afraid to stop into the shops. The boutiques carry anything from home decor to casual clothing, even pure cashmere! There will always be something for everyone. Find your dog a cute new leash or leave with a pair of skis from the local ski shop. Keep walking to find the classic J.P. Licks for some ice cream and cross on over to the esplanade or work your way back to the park. Either way, Beacon Hill is a great way to spend a day. Relax, walk around, read through the history and discover the best qualities (both touristy and not) that Beacon Hill has to offer.

Lauren F: Music and Journalism Are Not Mutually Exclusive, and I’m Living Proof

Welcome to my first blog post of the semester! My name is Lauren Frias, and I’m a freshman in the College of Communication at BU studying journalism. I’m currently serving as the Catalyst associate features editor for the Daily Free Press, the independent newspaper on campus. I’m also a production assistant and reporter for BUTV10’s On That Point, an award-winning news station at BU.

Because of my pretty heavy involvement in the world of journalism, I always get a shocked glance from others when I tell them I’m a part of the marching band, as if it’s something that they never would peg me to do. Granted, it could also be due to a lack of familiarity, but, to me, I feel like I identify as much of a musician as I do a journalist. While I may not be a music major/minor or have vast musical knowledge, a bar of music is just as important to me as a byline.

I started learning how to play piano when I was seven years old, taking lessons with a nun who played the organ at my local church. From then on, I was the opening performer in our annual recitals, as well as various school performances. I even performed with a jazz ensemble playing jazz piano (which, in my opinion, was more difficult than any original classical pieces I learned to play). Apart from being a pianist, I also played percussion since I was in the fifth grade, participating in symphonic band, orchestra, and–my favorite of the three–marching band, which I still do here at BU.

My appreciation for the arts gave me some perspective on what kind of stories I had a preference for covering. For the FreeP specifically, I covered events such as the pirate (yes, pirate) ballet, Le Corsaire, and Ace Plays Orchestra, a concert featuring an electric guitar at the forefront of a traditional orchestra (I linked my stories because self-promotion is a shameless activity).

Because BU offered me opportunities such as FreeP and the BU Marching Band, I’m able to simultaneously explore my passions, just as I did in high school. Obviously not to the same extent because of the more strenuous school and work schedule, but still existent nonetheless. And I hope other students follow suit–continue to pursue your side passions apart from your actual major! Even if it doesn’t do anything to aid you academically or professionally, it’s all about making the most of your college experience while you’re still here. While I will continue to despise the constant rush to get from band rehearsal to an event that I’m covering, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Emily: Animals Make Everything Better

As a new semester rolls around, there are so many things to look forward to. A new set of classes, opportunities to meet new people, and another chance to have an amazing time at BU with your friends! However, there is the homework issue. If you’re anything like me, the second I see my blackboard fill up with assignments, an instant feeling of dread fills my body. The only thing that can pull me out of a homework induced funk? Animal Instagrams. Some may call it procrastination, but I could spend hours fawning over adorable animal pictures and videos. So without further ado, here are my all time favorite animal instagrams that cheer me up when I’m drowning in work (or on any day, really).

1. @pleasantcats

Featuring a variety of different breeds, pleasant cats is the purrrfect instagram for a cat lover! As the handle suggests, the account features the cutest cats (and sometimes dogs) on insta, and they always give picture creds, which helps you find more furry friends! As my friends will attest, I have spent an inordinate amount of time squealing over these pictures.

2. @juniperfoxx

If you are looking to tap into your ~wild~ side, then juniper the fox is just for you! This account follows juniper, a domestic fox, and all of her adventures. This account is all adventures- whether it is a walk through the woods, curling up to her owner in bed, or flirting with the other animals in the house, Juniper is always up to something. Lucky for us, her antics are caught on camera!

3. @mensweardog

As its bio claims, menswear dog is the “most stylish dog in the world”, and I could not agree more. Not only is menswear dog a shiba inu (my fav breed), but he is impossibly stylish. Menswear dog would never be caught dead wearing out of season fashion, and I’m always eager to see his next ensemble. I’d especially recommend this to all of my fashionistas and dog lovers out there.

4. @pitterpatterfurryfeet

If you love animals and beautiful photography, @pitterpatterfurryfeet is the account for you. Run by two professional photographers, the account always manages to capture its subjects, Alice, Finnegan, and Oliver, in adorable poses (and with beautiful lighting). This is also the account for someone that likes both cats and dogs, as Alice and Finnegan are Siberian Lynx and Oliver is a Havanese. This honestly is the most aesthetically pleasing animal account that I have found, which makes it easy (almost too easy) to scroll down the feed for hours.

5. @lordhamiltonofficial

For anyone looking to branch out beyond cats and dogs, @lordhamiltonoffical is a great introduction into the farm life. Lord Hamilton is an adorable pig that dedicates his time to make others smile while working as a therapy animal.  Every picture features Lord Hamilton’s signature snout and smile, and it never fails to put me in a good mood.

6. @nevillejacobs

For those of you who keep up with celebrities, you may recognize this famous pet’s last name. Neville Jacobs, pet of Marc Jacobs, lives a more luxurious life than the average dog… or person. When he’s not cuddling with his fashion icon father, Neville can be seen by the pool, taking a glamorous headshot, or hanging with his crew of famous pups (and even sometimes a Kardashian). If you’re like me and like to live vicariously through celebrities, this account is too tempting not to follow!

Emma: It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Thing (Thank You, AdLab)

When I first attended Admitted Students’ Day for COM back in April of 2014, I was blown away by the information I received from professors and COM Ambassadors about all the amazing organizations and opportunities that BU provided to help me advance professionally. Right off the bat, before I even started, I was told that getting involved in the college was the key to my success. I pocketed this information along with my excitement, and couldn’t wait to get on campus and try absolutely everything.

In a perfect world, I would have moved in and done just that, but as we all know, college likes to throw a wrench or two in your plans. My first semester ended up being a lot more challenging than I had anticipated (said every college student ever), from both an academic and social standpoint. I did not know who I was here; I didn’t feel like I belonged in any particular group, and my identity as a good student from high school didn’t seem to be transferring over here. I saw my peers, the same people I had met at Admitted Students’ Day and orientation, diving into everything COM had to offer, but my response to my tough first semester was to revert inwards and refrain from getting involved. My thought was that, if I could barely handle COM101, how was I supposed to commit time to clubs and organizations? With this line of thinking, I refrained from trying anything at all, and I was left wondering if my dream school was everything I thought it would be.

The next semester was not much better, but I got involved in Greek Life, which helped me to meet some of my greatest friends, and gave me a foundation upon which to join more on campus. I won’t take you semester by semester, as the culmination of this story is not until this past semester, but they followed in line with the passivity of my first year at BU.

By the start of my junior year, I was restless. I had met so many wonderful people participating in/running so much on campus and in COM, but even though they were my peers and close friends, they felt so far ahead of me in terms of involvement, that I was discouraged I would never catch up. A few weeks before the start of the fall semester, I thought back on Admitted Students’ Day and all the organizations, classes, and clubs that had been mentioned and I suddenly remembered AdLab. For those of you who don’t know, AdLab is the largest and oldest student-run advertising agency in the country. What better way to learn about advertising than to get involved here, right?

So I registered and when I showed up on the first day, I still felt so late to the party. I was surrounded by people who had already worked in agencies and had shining recommendations from professors here, some of whom were juniors like me. Instead of letting that get to my head, though, I tried to have a different approach. My peers are hard-working role models, why wouldn’t I derive inspiration from them? And from there, I tried to talk to as many people in AdLab as possible. I got to know people in my classes involved at the agency, and anytime I needed help or advice, I knew AdLab had someone nearby with the answer.

AdLab helped me see that there was nothing to be afraid of, but more importantly, it showed me that it is never too late to get involved in the right thing for you. My first semester of AdLab pushed me to work harder than I thought I could or wanted to, and despite my constant venting at the expense of my friends’ sanity, I gained practical experience in several arenas of advertising.

Most importantly, though, AdLab helped me learn how to get out of my own way, and that letting fears of getting involved consume you only perpetuates the cycle of never trying anything new.

No matter what year you are, what semester you are in, or whether you are on campus or abroad, don’t forget that it is never too late to find the thing that will have the biggest impact on your college experience, and even your future. You can never have too many hobbies, skills, passions, or friends, and with an open mind to try new things, you will only develop more of each of these.

If I could say it any better I would, but in perfect conclusion, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott.”

Hannah: 11 Ways to Be a Better College Student in the New Semester

The New Year is all about resolutions.  It’s out with the old and in with the new you.  But if you’re like me, you know not to set unreachable goals.  You need to keep your expectations somewhat close to reality, so that you don’t get too discouraged and completely abandon your new and improved habits.  This is why I like to keep it vague.  If you set the goal, “Be a better person,” you could technically accredit all the little random acts of kindness you do as sticking to your resolutions.  Which is much easier than pledging to exercise or complete a long-term project.

I also like to keep this New York Times article in my back pocket as a reference to keep me on track to Be A Better Person in the New Year.  And with the spring semester off to a fresh start at BU, I decided it’s not a bad idea to apply these life guidelines to college as well.  Inspired by the NYT piece, here’s 11 Ways to Be a Better College Student in the New Semester.

  1. NYT says:  Live Like Bill

I say:  Live Like Howard Thurman

While I agree that the late fashion photog Bill Cunningham had the right idea about life (if you haven’t seen the documentary about him, go do that now!), I like to live by Howard Thurman’s words.  Thurman, a civil rights leader, former STH professor and former dean of Marsh Chapel said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

  1. NYT says: You Are What You Wear

I say: You Test How You Dress

Whenever I take tests in sweats, I struggle to keep my eyes open.  It feels like I’m wearing PJs to the exam.  I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, but it’s my firm belief that to feel confident to do well on an exam, you should dress for success.

  1. NYT says: Ask Your Betrothed the Big Questions

I say: Ask Your Professor the Small Questions

There are no dumb questions.  If you don’t want to raise your hand in the middle of class to ask your professor a question, stop by his or her office hours.  If you don’t understand something, there’s no shame in getting some clarification.

  1. NYT says: Start a Bromosexual Relationship

I say:  Get to Know Someone Different From You

The article says some of the best friendships are with people who have different romantic preferences from you.  And I think at BU, it’s pretty easy to stick to hanging out with the same exact people—the ones in your major, on your team, in your sorority.  If you make the effort to break out of your bubble a little, you could end up with some seriously interesting friendships.

  1. NYT says: Try Tinder for Love

I say:  Try Tinder for Fun

People are getting really creative with social networks and even dating apps to bring people together.  Apparently, Tinder can now be used to find people to hang out in groups.  My friend needed subs on his co-ed intramural soccer team to fill in, so he put out a request on Tinder for a couple of girls to join the game.  I’ll check back on how that worked out for him.

  1. NYT says: Get Rid of Stuff

I say: Get Rid of Old Stuff in Your Backpack

You’ve had that in there for how long? Over the course of last semester, my tote bag collected a heap of gum wrappers, receipts, pennies, and chapsticks.  Clean out your school bag to start off a new semester feeling organized.

  1. NYT says: Seat the Bores Together

I say:  Pick Somewhere New to Sit

I don’t know how often the average college student hosts a large dinner party, but most of us stick to the same dining halls or the same table in the GSU, even the same seats in class. Try out a new row—maybe the change in scenery will keep your interest up or introduce you to a new study partner.

  1. NYT says: Pay Attention

I say: Pay Attention

Yeah. I think they got this one right. I know I need to stop adding to my online shopping bag, and instead pay attention in class; stop trying to text while I walk, and rather take note of what’s around me.  Life moves fast and I don’t want to miss it.

  1. NYT says: Iron Your Clothes

I say:  Wear Gym Clothes to Class

I don’t even own an iron.  But, I do own some athleisure clothes, and I find that if I wear them to class—particularly my classes near FitRec—I’m more likely to stop by for a HIIT session instead of heading straight home, never to make it back to the gym that day.  Wear training shoes and leggings to class, and you’ll have no excuse not to work out after.

  1. NYT says: Send That Condolence Note

I say: And All Other Kinds of Notes

Condolence notes are hard to send.  But you know what’s not?  A ripped-out notebook page note to your pal sitting next to you to make him laugh during lecture.  Or a Boston postcard for your mom to let her know you’re thinking of her.  Or a thank-you card to your professor to show your gratitude for the letter of recommendation he wrote.  Or a note to your roommate to say, “Hey I just ran out to buy eggs, be back soon!” I just love notes.

  1. NYT says: Spoon More

I say:  Croon More

Not all of us have someone to cuddle with, and that’s okay.  But anyone can turn up the Spotify volume and sing along.  Again, no scientific evidence from me that this works, but I think crooning to your favorite John Mayer song or learning all the words to “No Problem” makes singing an instant mood booster.

It’s ok if you can’t stick to all of these, though. Just BU.

Ethan: Winter Survival Movie List

Boston recently celebrated the 2-year anniversary of one of the biggest snowstorms the city has ever seen, and it has me feeling nostalgic. I thought back on those days holed up in my Warren double freshman year, watching Netflix and eating popcorn, I wondered how everyone stayed (somewhat) sane. So I made a winter movie playlist to help everyone get through a potentially tough season in our beautiful town.

  1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars is perhaps the most culturally important franchise our species has seen – if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you take advantage of a snow day and marathon all the films. This installment prominently features Hoth, the ice planet. Many a meme was created during the blistery winter relating Boston to the remote planet.

  1. Snowpiercer (2013)

After a climate change experiment goes wrong, the world is consumed by ice. The last survivors of our world are aboard Snowpiercer – the train that runs around the globe. A class system develops on the train, and tensions constantly run high. The film assumes the tone of a comic book film and is full of well-placed action sequences, but there is also a strong story underneath. The class divide is certainly topical, and with climate change as a central motivator, this film will continue to be relevant for years to come.

  1. The Hateful Eight (2015)

Yes, it is 3 hours and 7 minutes long. Yes, it mostly takes place in one room. Yes, it’s still full of blood and vulgarity. People largely overlook this Tarantino film in favor of his more fast-paced movies like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, and I think it’s unfair. The story largely unfolds in a cabin in Wyoming during a snowstorm. A group of 8 – made up of bounty hunters, criminals, and lawmen, stay the night, (portrayed by a stellar cast) and violence ensues. Though this is not my favorite Tarantino film, I highly suggest it if you’re a fan of his quick dialogue and interesting characters.

  1. Eddie the Eagle (2016)

This feel-good movie flew under the radar after its release, but it deserves much more attention. Producer Matthew Vaughn drew inspiration from Cool Runnings to make this story of an Olympic underdog come to life. All his life, Eddie Edwards simply wanted to compete in the Olympics, but he could never find a sport. One day, he discovered ski jumping, and the rest is history. The film takes from the true story of Eddie Edwards’ life, but it takes a decent amount of liberties with other characters and storylines. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this movie so much that I watched it twice over winter break.

  1. The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s The Thing is easily one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. Coincidentally, it’s one of the greatest thrillers of all time as well. In The Thing, a research facility in Antarctica is invaded by an alien that presents itself as different humans. Paranoia consumes the crew as they attempt to figure out who is still human. The Thing has gone on to inspire a myriad of films throughout the years due to its creative story and iconic ending.

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

I’ll confess: the first time I saw this film, I thought it was subpar. I was young and ignorant, and I simply didn’t get it. Recently, however, I thought about the story and decided to revisit it. I loved it. It will simultaneously break your heart and fill you with hope. The main idea behind the story is: What would happen if someone could erase you from their memory? The question unfolds into a complicated and remarkable story. The impressive cast takes on characters that all embody different levels of emotional stability, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them. I include it on this list because a lot of the movie takes place during the winter. Also Valentine’s Day is coming up, so this is prime to hit you right in the feels.

  1. The Shining (1980)

This was obvious. The Shining is about Jack Torrance and his family staying in a hotel through the winter to keep watch over the estate. Jack goes stir crazy, and you probably know the rest. Kubrick’s Drama/Horror is iconic, and a must-see. Imagine not being able to leave Warren for DAYS, and you can easily relate to Jack.

  1. Frozen (2013)

It’s overrated. It’s still very good though. (Note from the Editor, CA Megan: no winter movie list is complete without this film. Its all about sisterhood, and has a talking snowman. Also the most annoying Disney song ever, but what can ya do. Some parts are actually golden.)

L.E.: Life in La La Land

Unfortunately, I’m the first on the list of “abroad posts” so I haven’t been gone tooooo long. But I’ll do my best to share as much of my experience so far that I can.

So without further ado…..

HELLO FROM LOS ANGELES!!!! I’m currently taking part in the BU LA Study Abroad program. Although I have one semester left in school, I wanted to try out Los Angeles before I graduated so I could see if I wanted to stay after graduation. So here our Five Things about BULA/My experience.

#1 Internships

Most of my internship knowledge is New York-based so I did a lot of research on positions before I met with the BULA Assistant Director (the person who connects us to internship contacts). I knew that I wanted to work in Television and I love talk shows and development so that really narrowed down my choices. I applied to and got offered an internship at one of the talk shows in Burbank, CA. I’ve been here for a few weeks and don’t even have enough words to describe how much I love working here. Everyone in the office is so lively and passionate about what they do, which is the best environment to be in. When looking at internships, definitely think about what type of people you want to be surrounded by because it can really make your experience even better.

#2 Roommates

When finding roommates for abroad, you can go random or pick your friends! I’m living with four of my friends from Boston and it’s an absolute blast. BULA has a partnership with Park La Brea Apartments, which is in a great location and right by the grove. Roommates are great in LA because you always have someone around and if your roommates are like mine, you always have someone to go to Target or Costco with. Also another roommate PLUS is carpooling. One of my roommates is also on the Warner Brothers lot so we carpool four days a week. She likes it because it saves her some gas, and I like it so I can sleep in and get ready in the car.

#3 Driving

So speaking of carpooling, driving is pretty much essential in Los Angeles. I’ve never tried to use the public transportation, I just trust people when they say it’s difficult. I rented a car from Enterprise and it makes life a lot easier because you can get to work on time and go on weekend adventures. If you don’t drive, don’t fret! One of my friends doesn’t drive and works the same days at Warner Brothers so he just tags along with us!

#4

So many places to visitCalifornia is HUGE. There are so many amazing places to go and to visit, it is impossible to be bored. We haven’t done much traveling yet because it’s been raining. Yes raining. BUT, I’ve driven up the California coast before and I’m so excited to do it all again! The weather is nice this weekend so maybe I’ll get past Malibu this time. Regardless, there are always new places to visit and explore in California so make sure you bring comfortable shoes.

#5

Food, Food and more FoodIf anything is thriving in Los Angeles, it’s all of the restaurants’ and the possibility of for amazing food. For months I’ve been stalking Instagram and looking for the best places to get reservations to and visit with my friends. Fair warning though as your list gets longer, your wallet gets smaller so choose your stops wisely.

That’s my brief spiel about studying abroad in Los Angeles, I wish I had more to share and more time to write but if there’s one thing you need to know about the program is, be prepared to be BUSY. Between class, work and explorations, you will never have a dull moment but you’ll also barely have time to sleep in.

To my friends in Boston- miss you and hope you’re enjoying the snow. I’m going to go to the pool now, bye.

Jimmy: A Plea for Local Art

On Sunday, I saw Hand to God at the SpeakEasy Stage in the South End. It was a play I heard a lot about when it first ran on Broadway, but I never got around to seeing it. This production was thrilling. The small, 200 seat theatre added to the intimacy of the horrifying, grotesque text. All the actors brought their A-game, and I even recognized one of the leads from BUTV10’s Paper Trail.

Overall, the experience cost me $25 and it is something I will never forget. With news of federal Cuts to arts funding and stories of cultural landmarks being shut down, this positive experience made me pledge to keep supporting the local arts scene.

As a college student, I’m always broke too. It’s difficult to allot money to things besides food and necessities. I get it. I often improperly prioritize my spending habits. I’ll refuse to buy a $10 movie ticket, yet spend $25 a week on iced coffee. The little things add up. And it’s disappointing to know that I would much prefer to enrich myself with a performance or new album from a local artist than a caffeine addiction. Sure, it’s easy to find less than legal ways to download music or stream movies, but if you cut the small luxuries and celebrate unique content with your wallet, it benefits that artist and the larger arts community as a whole.

Whether you’re Film & TV, Advertising, PR, Journalism, or any other communications profession, we’re all storytellers, and we should respect anyone who dedicates themselves to the craft–especially those in our immediate community. Here’s a list of ways you can get involved in the Boston Arts scene and celebrate storytellers of every medium.

Comedy

http://www.laughboston.com/

http://www.improvboston.com/

http://www.improvasylum.com/

Great WBTU show featuring local music

https://www.facebook.com/Left-of-the-Dial-WTBU-289651040961/

Theatre

http://www.speakeasystage.com/

Film

http://www.brattlefilm.org/

http://www.coolidge.org/

Information on discounts you can get with your BUID (including $9 tickets to Brattle Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company and more!)

http://www.bu.edu/arts/more-discounts/

Carly: 5 Films Celebrating Big Anniversaries This Year

Upon returning home after my first semester of college, I could not help but look around my hometown and feel a sudden sense of lost time. I knew it was fairly common to feel this way, and I knew that most college students experience the same nostalgia as they enter the next stages of their lives. Nevertheless, it seemed as if my childhood had come and gone in a blur and that I was rapidly speeding toward adulthood without any ability to brake. Time flies — especially when you are having fun during your first semester of college — but we can easily find time leaving its marks not only on us but on the things we love around us. My favorite films, in particular, were getting old right along with me, as I soon realized. So if you are ever feeling old, you are not alone. These great films are celebrating some pretty astounding birthdays this year too.

Enchanted

Enchanted is not the best movie celebrating its 10th anniversary. 2007 also gave us Superbad, Juno, Zodiac, and, perhaps most notably, No Country For Old Men. But I start this list off with Enchanted simply for the sake of nostalgia. The film is a combination between animation and live-action and tells the tale of Giselle (Amy Adams), the happy-go-lucky soon-to-be princess of fantasy kingdom Andalasia. After getting pushed down a well by the evil witch Narissa (Susan Sarandon), Giselle finds herself in the bustling live-action world of New York City, where she meets and ultimately falls in love with Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a divorce lawyer and a single father. Trouble stirs in the city as the rest of Andalasia quickly comes after Giselle–first her fiancé prince, and then the witch Narissa, who sets a plan in motion to kill Giselle to make sure she never returns to Andalasia. Ultimately, Giselle is saved by true love’s kiss — not from her prince, but rather from Robert, a regular guy surely does not belong in any fairytale. They end up living their “happily ever after” in the real world.

The movie/musical enthralled an entire generation of children–along with several adults–and I am sure many fondly recollect singing along with Amy Adams to her “How Do You Know” number in Central Park. 10 years later, the children who loved the film have mostly grown up, but if you watch the film again you will find that little has changed in Giselle and Robert’s love story.

Good Will Hunting

20 years ago, the world fell in love with Matt Damon in his debut role as Will Hunting, a self-taught genius whose intellect is rarely utilized as he spends his days drinking with pals and working as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Damon wrote the screenplay along with his childhood friend Ben Affleck, and the two took home the Oscar for Best Screenplay, solidifying their entry into the film industry. In the 20 years since the movie’s release, both Damon and Affleck have gone on to enjoy very successful careers. Robin Williams starred alongside Damon as Hunting’s therapist and mentor, Dr. Sean Maguire. As Hunting comes to learn, Sean struggles with his own inner demons, and as the film progresses the two help each other fight through the pain of their pasts. Williams won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

The story takes place in our very own home of Boston, Mass. — and I guarantee, if you watch it again, you will easily notice and appreciate the various locations within the city where the movie was shot.

If you watch this movie anytime soon, do so not only to enjoy your enlightened sense of Boston, or for a young Matt Damon, or for the nostalgia of Robin Williams, but also as a reminder that even today the message still holds true: we could always do with a little bit of help from others, and we are never alone.

Titanic

Damon was not the only blond-haired beauty who had a successful year in 1997. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jack Dawson in James Cameron’s Titanic, a masterpiece film that documented a fictional love story aboard the Titanic. DiCaprio plays a poor artist who falls in love with Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), a first-class passenger who is unsatisfied with her arranged engagement. As the two experience the trials of a love forbidden by a division in social classes, the tragedy

DiCaprio and Winslet shared an electric onscreen romance. Few can forget the classic scene they share at the helm of the ship, Jack holding Rose up against the wind to experience a feeling of liberation she rarely enjoys in her stifling upper class life.

Though it celebrates its 20th year of circulation, Titanic will most likely survive the tests of time and live on as a powerful love story that will consistently pierce the hearts (and activate the tear ducts) of future audiences.

Star Wars

40 years ago, the very first Star Wars film was released, launching a film franchise that endures and captivates audiences still today. The original Star Wars, what would ultimately become Episode IV: A New Hope, introduced the world to the Rebel Alliance, a revolutionary force attempting to take down the evil Empire that ruled the galaxy. Rebel leader Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hides the plans to destroy the the Empire’s massive space station of destruction, the Death Star, inside droids that ultimately end up in the hands of ordinary farmer boy Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). When Luke discovers Princess Leia’s message, he is led to ancient Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness), where he learns of the history of Jedi Knights, the powerful, supernatural energy known as the Force, and the fate of his own father, Anakin, who fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi. Skywalker’s life is then changed forever as the Force calls him back to fulfill his destiny of helping the Rebels. The three movies provide audiences with an eclectic cast of well-loved characters and an adventure tale that will last for ages to come.

After a trilogy of prequels in the 90s, the franchise came back to life in 2015 with The Force Awakens, a sequel that will last two additional episodes. In 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film that serves as a link between Episodes I, II, and III and Episodes IV, V, and VI, was also released. Star Wars shocked audiences way back in 1977, and it still enthralls first-time viewers today. The original trilogy is a classic tale of good and evil, heroism, bravery, rebellion, and love, and it is a hard story to beat.

On December 27, Carrie Fisher passed away, sending the world into a state of mourning with another tragic 2016 loss. Her charisma and talent will be greatly missed.

The Graduate

And finally, in its 50th year, The Graduate reminds us that the future is never very far away — and it never ceases to evoke the same sense of distress within all of us. A very young (and very attractive) Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who engages in an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s law partner, over the summer as he avoids thinking about graduate school or future career plans. Ben ultimately ends the affair when he ends up falling for Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross), who returns to school in Berkeley when she learns of the affair. A desperate Ben follows her to Berkeley, where he learns that Mrs. Robinson convinced her family that the affair was the not consensual and Ben had seduced her while she was drunk. When Ben tries to explain the truth to Elaine, Mrs. Robinson pulls her out of school, brings her home, and rushes her to marry a college fling. Ben races home and makes it to the wedding just in time to interrupt the service by crying out for Elaine behind the glass doors at the back. After a moment of hesitation, Elaine returns his cries and flees the church with him, escaping the clutches of her mother and hopping aboard a bus outside with Ben. The two collapse at the back of bus, grinning from ear to ear and elated about their success.

The Graduate is notably remembered for its final few shots — the smiles fading from Ben and Elaine’s faces as the uncertainty of the future settles in. By capturing the few moments that come just after their “happily ever after” celebration, the film reflects the quandary that develops when the story goes on and life keeps moving. With a marvelous Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, The Graduate is a film that all recent and upcoming college grads should watch or rewatch this year.

Megan: My Winter Break Movie Ratings

Winter break is an absolutely incredible time of year. College students go home to their families, eat lots of food for the holidays, sleep every day away, and catch up on all the movies they didn’t have time to see during the semester. At least, that’s what I did for an entire month. And, if you’re like me, you see the same movies over and over again. I don’t know how or why this happens, but I do know I’m certainly not upset about it. Here’s my rankings of the movies I saw over winter break, based on the number of times I saw them.

1. Rogue One. Times Seen: 5

Yes, I have seen Rogue One a grand total of 5 times in the just over a month its been out. I have no excuses for my actions other than that I love Star Wars and that this is an outstanding movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, go. If you have, go see it again. The richness of the characters is phenomenal, and its always nice to see more of my favorite galaxy.

2. La La Land. Times Seen: 4

It is going to be a very long time before I see this movie again, but I’m so happy I saw it. I honestly probably would have been fine after seeing it 3 times, but this is a movie I made everyone I know see with me. The movie is beautiful, and I’m excited to see where it goes with Oscar noms going up today.

3. Hidden Figures. Times Seen: 1

Oh can we talk about this movie?! So good. I teared up multiple times, but in a really good way because of how powerful this movie is. If you haven’t seen this movie, go see it. See this over literally any other movie on this list.

4. Manchester by the Sea. Times Seen: 1

I will never see this movie again. It deserves so many awards, and is so fantastic, but will also drain you like no other. My mom and I cried for two hours straight during this movie. Go see this movie with a box of tissues and no plans for the rest of the day, because you will be tired and sad.

5. Moana. Times Seen: 1

Can we discuss for a minute how underrated this movie is? I’ve said it to everyone I’ve talked to, but this movie came out at the wrong time. It is so good, but didn’t get the recognition it deserves. The music didn’t catch on like Frozen did (which is a travesty), and the movie has some incredible themes. Plus, its beautiful.

6. Sing! Times Seen: 1

Coming in at last place, Sing! is good only because of the ending. So many bad things happen to every character in this movie, and I was honestly upset the entire time. I kept waiting for something good to happen to someone, but instead things just kept going south.