Shaun: Five Things You Can’t Be Afraid of if You’re Going to Study Journalism

1. Talking to strangers

This might sound obvious, but when you’re standing in Kenmore Square on assignment to talk to five strangers, it can be very intimidating. The truth is that most people will give you their time if you identify yourself as a reporter and are respectful of their personal space and opinions. That said, you’re going to get rejected, sometimes with a polite “I don’t have time, sorry,” and sometimes with any number of rude gestures. Subway stations and bus stops are great places to find strangers who have nothing to do but talk to you anyway.

2. Phone calls

You can’t interview everyone in person — in fact, you can’t interview most people in person. A lot of the reporting process is spent on the phone, which means phone anxiety has to go. I came to college with major phone anxiety (I think it’s common for people our age), and the first time I had to call a source for a Daily Free Press article, I was terrified. Phone calls are awkward, and depending on who you’re calling, they can be intimidating. Just remember to talk clearly, listen closely, and offer verbal affirmation that you’re listening every 10-20 seconds. You’ll be dialing like a pro in no time.

3. Criticism

It’s the only way you get better. You might come into COM as a first-year thinking you know how write a good news story, but chances are you’ll be amazed (like I was) at how you actually don’t. COM, and all the extracurriculars that go along with it, are full of people who have climbed the ladders and done the nitty-gritty and want to help you succeed. Take advantage of them and the feedback they give you.

4. Competition

I want to be a White House reporter one day, and maybe you do too, and so do a thousand other people, but not all of us can do it. There are a TON of jobs in journalism (despite what your parents might be telling you) across an incredible array of areas. That said, you don’t get a job just because you want it (insightful, I know). Competition for internships and jobs is palpable, but I think in some ways that’s a good thing. It encourages you to push yourself to better.

5. Anti-journalism rhetoric

People will argue that journalism is dying, but I’d argue that journalism has never been stronger. I know people whose parents hate that they’re studying to be a journalist, because they don’t believe the profession is noble or fair. And even a cursory scroll through Twitter will show you that it’s far more popular now to say “fake news” than it is to actually read news articles. You have to take anti-journalism rhetoric in stride, and use it to motivate yourself to be the best, most accurate, most factual reporter you can be.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Malaika: Made in Massachusetts- 5 Film & Television Inspired Adventures to Experience While Living in Boston

Storytelling. It’s our brand, our livelihoods, and the basis of our education. Beyond the mediums of print, television, film, etc., the best stories transcend words on a page or images on a screen. They engulf our thoughts, and pull at our heart strings.

Massachusetts, and more specifically Boston, is the location of thousands of movie and television scenes. It is home to centuries of history, love, triumph, and wisdom; a true calling ground for narratives of every design. So while you’re living here in Boston, why not sightsee the inspiration behind some of film and television’s most iconic scenes?

Here are my 5 recommendations to experience Hollywood magic in the City of Champions:

  1. Boston Public Garden Bench – “Good Will Hunting”

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Who doesn’t love a classic Boston movie? The Good Will Hunting bench at the Boston Public Garden was home to Matt Damon and Robin Williams’ famous conversation scene (pictured above) in the 1997 Oscar-winning film.

Visit on a sunny day, sit on the bench, and watch the swans float by as you ponder life. “Your move, Chief.”

2. Bull and Finch Pub “Cheers” 

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The Bull and Finch Pub, an iconic Boston landmark, was the inspiration behind NBC’s Cheers (1982-1993). Located directly across from the Boston Public Garden on Beacon Street, the bar’s exterior was used in the television series’ exterior shots. Fans may also visit an exact replica of the set, as well as the Cheers gift shop at Faneuil Hall.

Stop by and snap a picture of the place where “everyone knows your name” (and check out their Norm Burger Challenge).

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4. The Castle “Ghostbusters (2016)”

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The castle from the opening scene of Ghostbusters (2016) may seem a little familiar to you… in fact it should, because it was filmed at Boston University’s very own Dahod Family Alumni Center, aka “the Castle.”

On your way to class, stop by to tour the newly renovated space, and later, for dinner, go to Kaze Shabu Shabu, a restaurant in Chinatown, to see the inspiration behind the Ghostbusters’ headquarters.

5. 4 Ocean Avenue, Salem, MA – “Hocus Pocus

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Since it’s the month of  October, take a day trip to Salem and visit this quaint beachfront home, Max and Dani’s house, in the Halloween classic, “Hocus Pocus”.

Happy Exploring,
CA Malaika

 

Geneve: Why Everyone Needs a Letter Board in Their Life

I bought my letter board from Primark this past spring, on one of those shopping trips where you aren’t really looking for anything in particular but something catches your eye, it’s under $10, so you know you HAVE to get it.

I’ll be honest with you, I might have only bought it because it was extremely popular on Pinterest and Instagram, and I wanted to add it to my collection of “aesthetically trendy room decor things” that I adorned my living space with.

I’ve always loved hanging up inspirational quotes in my room, so this was like another excuse to do that, but I could change the quotes all the time.

It wasn’t until this summer that I realized why a letter board was such a crucial piece that every college student absolutely needs. And, here’s why.

You know when your best friend tries to tell you something that can just never get through to your head? Like “It doesn’t matters what others are doing, it matters what you are doing.” Or, maybe even something simpler, like “You got this.” Well, a letter board might actually make these quotes stick better, and you might start to believe the motivational quote it tells you.

When you’re spending no less than fifteen minutes tearing out tiny letters to arrange onto a letter board, counting out the rows to make sure it’s centered, and sometimes adding playful touches to make the words slanted or dome shaped, you’re actually in the process of letting these words engrain themselves in your head.

Have I convinced you yet? The board I use isn’t being sold at Primark anymore, but here are five options for you if you’re ready to get your own!

  1. Forever 21 White Letter Board | $9.90– It comes in black, too! And for under $10? SCORE.
  2. Amazon Black 10 x 10 Felt Letter Board | $12.95– If you’re lazy and don’t want to head to the store, get this one shipped to you for free via Amazon Prime!
  3. Amazon Black 10 x 10 Felt Letter Board w/ Gold Letters | $14.95– Get one with gold letters for only $2 more!
  4. Amazon Black 12 x 16 Felt Letter Board | $16.79– A rectangular board is good if you know you’ll be making longer quotes and phrases.
  5. Amazon Maroon 10 x 10 Felt Letter Board | $15.93– Get one in your favorite color for a nice pop!

Share your pictures of your new letter board decor with me over on Instagram at @genevelau! I hope that I’ve convinced you all to get one now. What better time than now, at the start of the new school year, to add a new piece of decor to your space!

Stephen: Importance of Following Through

I don’t want you to read this title and think I’m talking about following through on a golf swing or anything like that. I’m going to be mostly talking about following through on things you have already set in motion.

I’ve always been one to constantly be thinking of new ideas and things I can do. Whether it be personal projects, classwork, or some type of collaboration with others, I like to engage in these opportunities and get as much on my platter as I can. For one, I highly enjoy photography and traveling around to take photos. I have spent countless hours watching videos about photography and have spent a great amount of time also researching different places to go. I am always so eager and excited to do these things, but where does it all lead to? In all honesty, not very far sometimes. There have been a few times where I have planned a photo trip and actually followed through with going out to take the shots, but for the most part it all comes to a halt before the trip even takes place.

This same principle applies to many aspects of what I do as well. For example, towards the beginning of last semester I went out to shoot a short film for fun with a couple friends. We filmed the entire thing in one evening, and had a fantastic time doing so. I just finished editing that project last week. I didn’t finish because it took me so long to work on, I just happened to be organizing some files and decided to take a look at it again. At this point I think you all understand what I’m trying to explain so I’ll stop with the personal experience and instead share a couple reasons following through is fantastic, and something that has really helped me change my ways.

Happiness. It is simple but one of the most powerful motivators. If you want to be happy, finish what you started, whether the result is bad rather than good. You’ll have a higher appreciation for yourself for being committed enough to complete something, and others will view you as a go-getter rather than a quitter. If you talked to someone about going to a new club then actually go and see if it is something you’d enjoy rather than convincing yourself beforehand that it wouldn’t be for you. If you decided to start a gym plan, set in place a proper schedule and get others around you to motivate you to keep pushing forward. I guarantee that looking back on the things you followed through on will make you smile. It has for me, and I’d like to replicate that as much as possible.


Learning. The things you can learn from following through with what you have started is invaluable. Life is all about trying new things and learning from those experiences. Sometimes loss and failure are the best teachers for learning too so don’t be afraid to put yourself in uncomfortable situations where the outcome isn’t guaranteed. Easier said than done, I know, trust me, but the more you experience it the easier it gets.

As for how I’ve been working towards following through with my own work, it is actually quite simple. I have become a pro at keeping my calendar organized. A whole blog can be written about calendars and such, but I’ll keep things simple for now. I have always kept a calendar for different events and such going on, but I was never always on top of keeping my dates organized and having my calendar up to date. This year I decided to change all of that. My calendar is one of the first things I look at when I wake up, and one of the last things I look at before I go to sleep. As soon as I hear about a possible event too then I throw it up on the calendar and work my free time around that.

I hope this short blog has provided motivation to some of you. I know not everyone deals with this same issue, but there are definitely those out there that do. Just remember, finishing what you started leads to many great things, but two that have been most important to me are happiness and learning. Now get out there, plan something, and just DO IT.

 

 

 

Carlee: Why FYSOP is the Perfect Way to Kick Off Your Fall Semester

 Move-in weekend can be a lot all at once.  You run into yellow carts all over campus, a ton of social interaction (which can be overwhelming for an introvert, or an ambivert like myself), the search for time to decorate your room and settle in, the task of memorizing your schedule for fall classes that will start in a couple days, hello and goodbye hugs everywhere- it’s definitely a lot at once.  If you had a summer that was more on the chill side (like I did), jumping right back into the hustle and bustle of BU can be rough.  If you’re looking to get acclimated to campus life a little earlier, and you have a passion for social justice, I have a solution for you…

  FYSOP!!!!

For those of you who have never heard of ~FYSOP~, the acronym stands for First-Year Student Outreach Project, and the program is conducted through BU’s Community Service Center annually the weeks before the fall semester kicks off.  This year was the program’s 29th FYSOP, and as a sophomore, it was my second year participating in the program.  Last year I participated as a first-year student, and this year, I volunteered as a staff leader and had a group of freshmen of my own.

 FYSOP is truly everything that you could ask for from a program (if you find it’s for you); it introduces you to new friends who are just as enthusiastic and passionate as you are, it enlightens you on all of the problem areas of Boston, and it allows you to give back to our city as a thank you for welcoming us as students.  The theme for FYSOP this year was: What’s your story?  So basically, the theme was storytelling… how COM is that?!  We love storytelling in both COM and FYSOP, so those two worlds collided for me.  The program encouraged us to have conversations with the residents of Boston, learn their stories, and discover our own.  FYSOP got us all thinking about our stories and experiences that we bring to BU- they’re all different and unique, and that’s what makes our student body special.

If you’re reading this as an incoming freshman, I could not emphasize the benefits of FYSOP more.  The program teaches you everything that you’d wanna know about your new city and it gives you a solid group of companions to dive into your first semester with, as well as a few mentors (your staff leaders)!  If you’re reading this as a continuing BU student and have ever considered getting involved with FYSOP, I highly recommend that you apply for a staff leader position this winter.  If you’re interested in both leadership and community service, FYStaff is perfect for you.  I had the best experience as a staff leader; my fellow co-staff were so incredible and kind, and they are truly some of the best at BU.  My group of first years were so much fun, and they bonded right off the bat.  The days of FYSOP are long ones, but the people you’re surrounded with make it so worthwhile.

No lie, as I am writing this in the GSU, I hear the table next to me talking about how much they loved FYSOP and how great their staff leaders were.  They’re even talking about a FYSOP reunion that they’re attending this weekend.  You’ll hear all over campus about how FYSOP can bring such light to students’ lives, and they aren’t wrong.  I understand that FYSOP may not be for everyone, but for those who find themselves ready to devote themselves to a program of such integrity and morality, this could be a home for you.

Yes, there are a lot of obnoxious cheers to pump all of the students up, and yes, you may have to find the motivation to take on the long days, but the program truly is the best way to kick off your fall semester, and it is a ton of fun.  Some even say that FYSOP is a cult on campus, but I find that it is a happy, open-minded cult. J

 The program set me up for my sophomore year here at BU and in COM, as I know feel motivated to understand the stories of those around me, escape the “BU bubble” and explore Boston more, and strengthen the friendships and connections that I made from freshmen year.  FYSOP could do the same for you, too!

 

Geneve: Five Instagrammable Spots in Boston

One of the best parts about living in a city like Boston is all of the beautiful spots perfect for photographing! Here are 5 spots in bean town that you are sure to love and likely to make it on your next Instagram post.

1. Piers Park | 95 Marginal St, Boston, MA 02128

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How to get there:

Take a Green Line train Inbound from Kenmore (C or D) to Government Center (6 stops)

At Government Center, change to the Blue Line (Wonderland) (3 stops)

Get off at Maverick stop

Walk to Piers Park, head southeast until you find Marginal Street

Piers Park was actually one of the first places I visited on my own without my parents since I got to BU! My friend Jack looked it up online before and really wanted to check it out so we did the first Saturday. It was a ton of fun, and you can get some really great photos with the city skyline in the background.

2. Acorn Street | Acorn St, Boston, MA 02108

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How to get there:

Take a Green Line train Inbound to Boylston

Walk across the Boston Common (Away from Tremont, along Charles, towards Beacon)

Find Spruce Street after crossing Beacon Street

Turn left on Chestnut Street

Turn right on Willow Street

Turn left on Acorn Street

Acorn Street currently holds the title of “Most Photographed Street in America”. It is a stop on every Boston tour, so you’ll always see handfuls of tourists passing by, as well as senior portrait photographers and wedding photographers doing shoots. Getting the perfect photo can be hard sometimes with so many frequenters but you just have to be smart about your angle and timing!

3. Berkshire Bank Sign @ Government Center

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Photo from Twitter

How to get there:

Take a Green Line train Inbound to Park Street

At Park Street, change to any train to take you one further stop to Government Center

Although not always up, these huge letters spelling Boston are a great way for you to show your Boston pride! If you happen to see the letters while you’re in the area, stop for a pic! They’re not always up. However, over the winter they put up a gorgeous skating rink, so if that’s more your style, all power to you!

4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum |  25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115

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How to get there:

Although accessible via the T, it takes way longer than walking

Turn away from the Charles on St. Mary’s Street

Turn left onto Mountfort Street

Follow Park Drive (slight right, and then slight left)

Turn right onto Brookline Avenue

Turn left onto Fenway

Turn right onto Evans Way

An absolutely picturesque gem, the Gardner Museum is not only free for BU students, but a great spot to enjoy both nature and art. Fun fact- the largest art theft in history is still an ongoing investigation for the 13 art pieces, worth up to $500 million, stolen from the Gardner museum in 1990. As part of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s will, none of the paintings in the museum can be replaced, so take a look into the different rooms–you’ll notice there are empty frames awaiting the stolen paintings’ return home!

5. The Boston University Bridge | Boston, MA 02215

 

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How to get there:

Heading westward on Commonwealth Avenue, take a right when you hit the bridge. You’ll pass the GSU and the Boston University Academy

Unexpected, but the BU bridge actually gives you this great overall view of the skyline of Boston! On a sunny day, you can get an amazing photo with the buildings in the background. Plus, it’s so close to campus, you barely have to travel to get there!

Avery: The Best Thrift Stores Near BU!

As a college student, I’m always looking for ways to save money. One thing I almost never did in high school that has become a staple for me at BU is thrifting! Thrifting is awesome because it’s cheap and you can get some really awesome, one-of-a-kind pieces from thrift stores. There are some super cool and trendy thrift stores close to the BU campus, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.

 

1. Urban Renewals: This place is awesome!! They have anything you could ever want, with endless rows of every single article of clothing possible. It’s organized by color, which is super helpful and makes the process a lot easier! Located at 122 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA.

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2. Buffalo Exchange: Buffalo Exchange is a bit more pricey than Urban Renewals, but it still has some great options. The choices here are very trendy, and they have everything from clothing to jewelry to shoes to random stuff like pins and notebooks! Located at 180 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA.

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3. Goodwill: Goodwill is a great option as it is right here, near the west side of BU’s campus. The store itself is massive, with options ranging from 80s prom gowns to Hawaiian shirts. If you ever need a very specific piece of clothing for an event, this is the place to go to! Located at 965 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.

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4. The Garment District: Ah, the Garment District. This store is a bit farther from campus, in Cambridge, but it has EVERYTHING you could ever want. Literally. This store becomes very popular around the time of Halloween, as they sell a lot of costumes in addition to regular vintage clothing. Located at 200 Broadway, Cambridge, MA.

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Casey: Sound is the Most Underrated Tool for Filmmakers

Ok, before you go on with the rest of this article I need you to stop what you’re doing for a few seconds and just listen to whats going on around you. Don’t think. Just listen. I’ll wait.

Alright cool now that those of you who actually cared enough to stop reading are back, let’s get to it. No matter where you are right now, the sound is one of the main things that sets the mood and feeling. Whether that be the low murmur of the COM Lounge or the loud thinking of angry Boston drivers as you read this on your phone walking down Comm Ave. Sound creates the world around you more than you notice day-to-day. And that’s why I think it is the most underrated tool when it comes to storytelling- in particular in filmmaking.

At this year’s Oscars, Dunkirk took home both the Sound Design and Sound Editing awards (yes, I was the only person I know who cared about those two awards) and is a perfect example to drive home my point. The movie begins with a small group of soldiers moves along a street. Throughout the beginning of this scene, there is an eerie silence. So much that you can hear the sound of the soldiers’ equipment ruffling and footsteps on the cobblestone paths, in addition to the fluttering of German leaflets, demanding surrender, to the ground. It creates a sense of calm and peace for the viewer, making them believe that the town the soldiers are in is abandoned, but that is shattered in a heartbeat with the quick but deafening sound of gunshots. Suddenly the previously steady music I noted scene has become louder and quicker, and the soldiers are running. 

Although there is a multitude of gunshots heard, very few bullets are seen. But they don’t need to be. The audience knows what that deafening sound is, and more importantly, what it means.

ImageNow you may think I’m thinking way too into this, but think about if Christopher Nolan had decided to do something different. What if the music had been ramped up from the beginning, creating tension from the very start. Then, change the gunshots a bit so that they are a little softer, and a little more spread out. Suddenly, they sound farther away, almost like warning shots, as opposed to an attempt on the soldiers’ lives. This gives a slightly different motivation as to why the soldiers are running, as now instead of the thought that they could die any second running through their head, they now simply believe that they should get out of the town as quickly as possible before they’re found. In addition, now the audience has less of a sense of tension and dread, and more one of thrill, feeling almost anxious about whether the soldiers will make it out of the town, on the edge of their seats.

That is the power of sound. It gives life to the things you see and creates the world around them. It changes the way you feel and experience a moment, whether you know it or not. So don’t just watch movies. Listen to them, too.

 

Alex T: 10 80s Flicks You Need to See Before “Ready Player One”

Let’s face it: it’s pretty hard to find people who love pop culture more than COM students. So, no matter how much it pains you to admit it, you’re probably going to end up seeing Ready Player One in a few weeks. And whether you’re just there to hang out with friends, or you’re the kind of person who openly weeps by the end of the film (my deepest apologies to everyone in the theatre with me last Saturday), you’re gonna want to brush up on the films your parents always made you try to watch as a kid.

 

1. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

downloadOkay, even if you’re not trying to catch Spielberg’s latest blockbuster this weekend, Back to the Future is still a must if you want to maintain any semblance of geek street cred you think you possess. Marty McFly is a classic 80s protagonist who always seems to be running out of time…until he goes back in time and is tasked with ensuring his parents fall in love so he can continue to exist. This story coupled with killer score and design (his name is Marty McFly…of course he’s going to rock the freshest outfit known to man) makes for a film that defined a whole generation of nerds.

2. The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985)

download-1For a little change of pace, (or if sci-fi, retro awesomeness isn’t really your jam) The Breakfast Club is another classic not to be missed. Five strangers, all stuck in Saturday detention, form an unbreakable bond by the end of the day. We’ve all heard the tagline: “They only met once, but it changed their lives forever.” Not only did it change their lives, it changed the lives of young audiences across the country. If you didn’t fall in love with the brain, the beauty, the jock, the rebel, or the recluse, I have to question whether or not you even have a heart in the first place.

3. Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)

download (1)This might seem like a strange choice to those who have never even seen the original Evil Dead, but you’ve just gotta trust me on this one. While it does rely on a lot of plot points and characters laid out in its predecessor, Evil Dead II is in a class of horror all its own. Ash and the gang are back at it again, slaying zombies and fighting curses in the same, gory style that’s a hallmark of all of Raimi’s films. However, where Evil Dead II stands apart is in a very unexpected place: its comedy. Most horror films do have the one off, snarky jokes made by the protagonist to keep the momentum up, but Evil Dead II makes fun of the form itself; Raimi admits that his story is ridiculous, and takes it a step further by acknowledging that fact in the film. It’s a parody and a love letter to the slasher horror genre, and a love letter we can still learn lessons from today.

4. Say Anything (Cameron Crowe, 1989)

download (2)We’ve all been there: a bright eyed, bushy tailed high school student, hopelessly in love with someone who won’t even give us the time of day.

…well, maybe that’s only me, BUT, this film still holds up, even if that isn’t your truth. John Cusack plays Lloyd, an unassuming recent high school grad who lands (and eventually loses) Diane, the girl of his dreams, played by Ione Skye. Written and directed with aplomb by Cameron Crowe, it’s hard not to fall in love everytime Cusack holds that boombox over his head. Because, at its core, Say Anything is about risking everything for someone or something we love; now, that’s a story that we can all relate to.

5. Tron (Steven Lisberger, 1982)

download (3)We’ve all been there: a bright eyed, bushy tailed high school student, hopelessly in love with someone who won’t even give us the time of day.

…well, maybe that’s only me, BUT, this film still holds up, even if that isn’t your truth. John Cusack plays Lloyd, an unassuming recent high school grad who lands (and eventually loses) Diane, the girl of his dreams, played by Ione Skye. Written and directed with aplomb by Cameron Crowe, it’s hard not to fall in love everytime Cusack holds that boombox over his head. Because, at its core, Say Anything is about risking everything for someone or something we love; now, that’s a story that we can all relate to.

6. Star Wars, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (George Lucas, 1980)

download (2)Though it’s technically just on the cusp of the 80s, I would be remiss if I didn’t include what is, objectively, the best Star Wars film in the franchise (I will actually fight anyone who disagrees). The George Lucas train was just picking up steam with the release of A New Hope in 1977, but he really hit his stride with The Empire Strikes Back. It marks a deeper dive into the extensive universe he created, and a more meditative look at the characters we all grew to love in the previous film. George Lucas set the precedent for transmedia franchises with Star Wars, and it’s easy to see that Episode V was the beginning of his reign over late 20th century pop culture. Also, Lando Calrissian. Need I say more?

7. Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)

download (6)Looking at films today, it tends to become a little difficult to see why, as a whole, we’re so obsessed with Tom Cruise. However, after taking a look at his breakout success in the 80s, we’re reminded of what he used to be and what he represented in a time when actors weren’t just pigeonholed into one type of character. That being said, he really did make a damn good action star, and there’s no better example of that than his performance in Top Gun supported by an incredible cast (Val Kilmer ftw) and a truly radical soundtrack (also Kenny Loggins ftw), Cruise led this movie to mainstream success and a lasting place in our hearts.

8. Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)

download (7)I’m just going to come out and say it: Die Hard is the best Christmas movie of all time. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’m okay with that. Facts have rarely been popular opinions. The story is about an off duty cop, played by Bruce Willis, fighting a gang of terrorists that take over a CHRISTMAS EVE party he’s attending. What defines a Christmas movie if not time of year? In all seriousness, though, Die Hard is a masterclass in storytelling both visually and verbally. Even though it’s obviously not the Citizen Kane of 80s cinema, it is an all around good time for any occasion, but especially Christmas. Oh,and the definitive list of best Christmas films is:

1. Die Hard

2. Step Brothers

3. Gremlins

9. The Karate Kid (John G. Avildsen, 1984)

43266c1fe9eb27ef7c08fff88d5420e9Oh man, it looks like we’ve reached peak coolness. The Karate Kid is the template for any quality movie you can remember from the 80s: a lonely underdog (Ralph Macchio) learns karate from his elderly neighbor (Pat Morita) to beat the high school bully (William Zabka) and win the heart of the girl of his dreams (Elizabeth Shue). Throw in sharp dialogue, nuanced performances, and the best featured song in movie history (You’re the best…AROUND!!!), and you’ve got the classic that we all know and love today.

10. Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985)

download (8)I’m bringing it all full circle with our last film on the list. Based on a story by Steven Spielberg, Goonies tells the story of a group of friends trying to find a hidden treasure so they can keep their houses from being destroyed to make room for an incoming country club. This movie holds a special place in my heart; it’s one of the few that I truly loved as a child. I remember watching it over and over for hours on end (and my parents were surprised that I’m a film major…), and that’s why I think we still love it now. It reminds us of what it was like to grow up. In reality, the Goonies are trying to save their innocence from being lost by losing the only group of friends they’ve ever had to a country club, the EPITOME of adult-ness!!! They’re just a group of outcasts and misfits (not unlike the group of outcasts and misfits most of us were a part of growing up) simply trying to spend what could be their last few hours together going on an adventure. And if that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.

Alex: 7 Movies You Have To See (Or At Least Pretend to Have Seen) If You’re a Film and Television Major

I know what most of you are thinking, “What? Alex Tuchi, of all people, writing an incredibly niche blog post?” Well, set your ridicule and derision aside for the moment and realize what I’m trying to do here: save you! You know what they say: jobs in communication are always won and lost based on who you know. But to know people, you need to talk to them. And before you enter the harrowing world of small talk with Film and Television majors (dun dun dun), you’re going to need to be equipped with these seven films just to keep you from looking like the sweet, simple fool you’re pretending not to be (don’t worry; 90% of Film and Television majors haven’t seen these either).

1. 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini)

8 1:2Everyone has heard of this semi-autobiographical masterclass in storytelling and cinematography by Italian director Federico Fellini. But has anyone ever really seen it? Doubtful. When talking about it, though, you can be sure to bring up a few key plot points to trick your friends into thinking you have. Just talk about the steam bath, Guido’s love triangle, and that weird sequence where he meets a prostitute when he’s eight years old. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make a lot of sense either; you’re much more likely to see Marcello Mastroianni’s ugly mug (with a jawline that could cut glass) on your roommate’s poster than in the actual film. The beauty of 8 1/2 is the universal fact that no one has seen it, which means no one really wants to talk about it. So as long as you practice your “Oh yeah, I’ve totally seen that one,” nod, you should be good to go!

2. E.T. (Steven Spielberg)

ETWe all know the broad strokes of this Spielberg classic: an alien crash lands in this kid’s hometown and, for some reason, it’s this literal child’s job to help an extraterrestrial being to return home, possibly altering the future of humanity in irreversible ways. Also his bike flies? Anyway, the Big Thing™ to remember when discussing this movie is that you can never say it’s bad. No matter how hamfisted that acting is, how hackneyed the writing is, no matter how insanely bad the CGI is in the 2002 re-release, it is a masterpiece for it’s time. It is a genre defining, convention breaking powerhouse that should be treated with nothing but the utmost respect. And if you disagree…be sure to keep that to yourself. Hell hath no fury like a scorned Spielberg nerd.

3. Thunder Road (Jim Cummings)

Thunder RoadThere’s really no reason to have skipped this one. It’s a short film that won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2016. Following a snapshot in the life of a small town police officer after his mother passed away, Thunder Road is the kind of film that gives us all hope. After debuting it at Sundance, filmmaker Jim Cumming was given $150,000 to keep making short films in the same style. What Film and Television major isn’t searching for a deal that sweet?!? Its success story isn’t the only reason to watch it though. It paints a nuanced portrait of a broken man and toes the line between tragedy and comedy perfectly. It is, at its core, a reflection of the human existence. And that’s the whole reason we fell in love with movies, right?

4. Tangerine (Sean Baker)

TangerineEspecially after the recent success of critical darling The Florida Project (talk about an Oscar snub, @WillemDafoe), Sean Baker has been en route to become one of those filmmakers that comes once a generation. So it only makes sense that we pay homage to his 2015 breakout film, Tangerine. Other than a stellar script, outstandingly diverse cast in terms of racial and gender identity, and brilliant performances from a host of talented actors, it also holds the distinction of being the first mainstream film to make it into the box office while being shot on an iPhone. It looks like we’re living in the future, kiddos, and the future is a place where the next blockbuster could be shot all on the little camera in your pocket. Baker deserves a round of applause for showing us that it can be done.

5. Brick (Rian Johnson)

BrickA trend that we Film and Television majors love to brag about is the fact that more and more “arthouse” filmmakers are being signed on to make big budget flicks with some of the biggest studios in Hollywood. The biggest example of this occurrence in recent memory is Rian Johnson hopping on the Star Wars train to write and direct Episode VIII. While it’s easy to think that Johnson is a filmmaking prodigy, handpicked from obscurity by JJ Abrams himself, we can’t let ourselves forget that, not that long ago, he was just a kid with a camera (like most of us). This is best seen with his first feature, Brick. Made on a shoestring budget, Johnson directed breakout stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his neo-noir film set at his old high school. Even if the genre isn’t your jam, it’s still worth a watch simply for its aesthetic beauty; every frame is a glorious, indie painting.

6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan)

Cameron PostI’m calling it early; this film is the John Hughes, coming of age story that’s going to speak for all of those geeky film kids growing up in the 2010s. Adapted for screen by Desiree Akhavan (a gifted actor in her own right), The Miseducation of Cameron Post tells the story of a young girl being sent to a gay conversion camp at the suggestion of her aunt. While we may have been placated by the bland, albeit charming, adventures of a few teens just trying to make it through Saturday detention, we need to address the problems of sexuality and racial identity in this day and age. And while you might have to wait a hot minute for wide distribution, do yourself a favor and catch this one; I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.


7. This is John (Jay and Mark Duplass)

Duplass
The Duplass brothers


The only suitable way to end this list is with a Duplass Brothers film. Built on the brand of distinct characters placed in perilous situations, Mark and Jay Duplass have been a household name of indie startup filmmaking since their first foray into the medium with This is John. The entire film is literally a man trying to record a new outgoing voicemail message (sorry, spoilers). The equipment is shoddy, the premise is narrow; everything in us as filmmakers tells us that it shouldn’t work. And yet, miraculously, it does. This is one film I believe to be almost perfect. It fills me with a creative spirit I only get when watching films I love, and it reminds me that I don’t need millions of dollars to make something that touches people. It reminds me that if I’m not out every weekend, shooting, writing, editing, that time is time wasted. Because every filmmaker on this list came from humble beginnings. Every single one was just a kid in the movie theater at one point in time, seeing their lives played out on screen in front of them, thinking, “Hey, someone gets me.” Films aren’t made by beautiful cinematography, or genius scripts, or breathtaking performances. They’re made by the little imperfections we, as humans, all share. This film, as all films should, remind me that I’m not perfect, but that’s okay. Because no one else is either.