My Favorite Movies of All Time

Vivre sa Vie: One of the great existential films of all time. After all, the title translates to “My Life to Live.” It’s my personal favorite from filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Godard brings a lot of his typical Vivre Sa Vie / It's My Life (1962) | Pers: Anna Karina | Dir: Jean-Luc Godard | Ref: VIV012AG | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Films De La Pleiade ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreementsixties- style to this film. He brings the same Brechtian distancing to the film through the use of intertitles describing what the “chapter” of the film is about, and  jump cuts.  Characters are shot from behind when they are talking, are strongly backlit, and talk into the camera sometimes. Anna Karina gives one of her best performances in this film and it has one of my favorite film scenes of all time in it– the “shootout scene.”  Don’t miss it!

Tokyo Story: When it comes to family-drama, can you think of one film even close to this? From the master of the family-drama, Yasujirô Ozu, we get a tour de force Japanese masterpiece that never leaves us. Ozu IMG_0566shows us the depth of simplicity through both story and style. He breaks our hearts with the simple plot of parents who come to visit their kids and end up connecting with their daughter in-law instead. With the frequent breaking of the 180 degree rule and the camera only moving once the whole movie, we are totally sucked into such a simple plot.

A Clockwork Orange: Who hasn’t seen this Stanley Kubrick classic? It is Kubrick’s finest, in my opinion. Every time I watch this film, I think about it for IMG_0562days afterwards. It’s the best critique of utilitarian philosophy to date. Kubrick creates a science fiction world like no other, and it is arguably the most well directed film of all time. Malcolm McDowell brings one of the greatest film characters of all time to life in an unforgettable way. My favorite film narration ever. A must see!

Taxi Driver: The best character study of all time. Martin Scorsese makeIMG_0563s us see the world through the lens of Travis Bickle. He forces us to relate with this crazy man until the very end when we are deceived by his actions. Robert De Niro brings this character to life with his best performance to date and one of the best acting performances ever, in general. Between the brilliant character study, Robert De Niro’s performance, Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant score, and Martin Scorsese’s brilliant directing, this film is a classic that is surely never to be forgotten.

The 400 Blows: Without hesitation the best coming of age film of all time. This is really the film that launched the FrenchIMG_0557 New Wave. François Truffaut changed the face of cinema over the corse of his career but this is really the one that changed it the most. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the movie is that it predicted the May 1968 student riots in France. In the beginning of the film the teacher explodes at the kids because of all the graffiti on the walls, their disruptive behavior, etc.  He yells, “What will France be like in 10 years!?” It is a largely autobiographical account of Truffaut’s childhood. From the masterful camerawork inspired by Jean Renoir, to the location shooting inspired by Italian Neorealism, to Jean-Pierre Leaud’s magnificent performance, this film is absolutely beautiful and unforgettable. A universally relatable classic that should be seen by everyone.

8 ½: The film that solidified Federico Fellini’s break from the Italian neorealist movement. The film the began Fellini’s surrealist phase. This phase notoriously began because Fellini had done LSD, which completely changed his life, wIMG_0560hile shooting La Dolce Vita. Fellini develops the main character through showing us his dreams. This is one of Fellini’s most autobiographical films, and it is his masterpiece. My second favorite Nina Rota score after The Godfather and my favorite film from my favorite director!

La Dolce Vita: Fellini’s critique of celebrity life and the press. The word “paparazzi” actually comes from this movie. The title translates to “The Sweet Life.” It also is a IMG_0559commentary on the seven deadly sins. The movie takes place over seven days in the seven hills of Rome. It is the first collaboration between Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni, one of the great actor-director partnerships of all time. It has one of the best film scenes of all time in it: the “Trevi Fountain scene”. Yet another timeless score from Nina Rota, one of the best performances ever from one of the best actors ever; Marcello Mastroianni, and one of the most well directed films ever from Federico Fellini.

The Seventh Seal: One of the masterpieces of foreign cineIMG_0565ma. From one of my favorite directors of all time: Ingmar Bergman. The best existential film of all time in my opinion. The best words to describe this film would be slow, monochrome, and mystical. Legendary actor Max von Sydow brings one of the best movie characters ever alive in his best performance to date. Ingmar Bergman is the best director to ever deal with existential themes.

There Will Be Blood: My favorite film of the 21st century. Daniel Day-Lewis gives the best acting performance of all time in this film, and it stands as Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film. You can tell that he is aging from watching this and his older films. He keeps some stylistic trademarks such as the constantly moving camera, the extremely loud music, and exploring themes of family. What changes is that rather than the very fast camera, the camera rather moves much slower and the shots are IMG_0564very carefully composed, and the pacing is slower and is much more detailed. The film is an examination of capitalism and greed that came out at the perfect time- the beginning of the Great Recession. Surely to be a classic in the future.

 

Apocalypse Now: Francis Ford Coppolas best film, even better than The Godfather. He shows us the horrors of war in a way that no film has before and no film ever will again. My favorite film opening of all time. The film features some of the best editing I have ever seen. It isIMG_0561 edited so that it will show our main character and what he is looking at, at the same time. Shots will open with what he is looking at and half of the screen will dim and we will see our lead character’s reaction. Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford and more, it has one of the greatest casts of all time.

California Sixth Grader Wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

12-year-old Ananya Vinay has just become the champion of the 90th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, marking the first time since 2013 the competition did not end in a tie.

Her winning word was “marocain,” which refers to a dress fabric of ribbed crepe. In second place was eighth grader Rohan Rajeev, who misspelled the word “marram” (a type of beach grass) and lost out on his last chance to win the National Bee.

Ananya, who hails from Fresno, California, is the 13th consecutive Indian-American winner. This year, the bee added a tiebreaker challenge which made Rohan and Ananya battle it out for up to 25 rounds. Ananya won on the 21st. “It was interesting to go back-and-forth for so many rounds,” she said.

Ananya Vinay, 12, from Fresno, Calif., holds the trophy after being declared the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ananya Vinay, 12, from Fresno, Calif., holds the trophy after being declared the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ananya had clearly spent a rigorous amount of time studying and preparing, as she never looked fazed by any of her 35 words, which included “zeaxanthin,” “wayzgoose,” and “gifblaar.” “I knew them all,” she said. She didn’t look surprised by her victory until her family ran up to the stage to hug her, prompting a smile. She later took time to comfort Rohan on his loss.

She won a $40,000 prize and plans to split it with her seven-year-old brother, and save her share to pay for her college education.

Ananya was the youngest finalist. The youngest competitor this year was six-year-old Edith Fuller, who was also the youngest person to ever compete in the bee. She was knocked out in one of the earlier rounds because she did not score high enough on the written test.

Beware of “The Choking Game”

By Jessica

The Choking Game, also known as The Fainting Game, Knock-Out, Airplaning, and Space Monkey, is anything but a game. This dangerous activity is often played by preteens and teens ages 9-16 years old. Police departments and school districts everywhere have been warning parents to speak to their children about the potential hazardous effects of engagement in such behavior. In this activity, kids either practiced alone or in groups with the goal of temporarily stopping the flow of oxygen to their brains by using belts, hands, or plastic bags, in an attempt to become momentarily unconsciousness. The end goal of participation in this type of behavior is to feel a few brief seconds of euphoria, also known as a temporary high, before regaining consciousness.

But not all participants regain consciousness; recently, a New Jersey student strangled himself to death. A survey by the Erik’s Cause website cited that 93% of parents were unaware of the existence of “pass-out” activities. The website also said 90% of children heard about this kind of behavior from their friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this activity caused 82 fatalities from 1995 to 2007. Kids continue to engage in this lethal behavior for reasons including pressure from peers, dares, trying to gain acceptance into a social group, a free way to become intoxicated, or just simply curiosity.

Parents everywhere are encouraged to make sure their children know preventing blood from reaching the brain is not safe in any way, shape, or form. We can help put an end to this harmful activity by looking for the warning signs. It only takes three minutes for the brain to be harmed blood and oxygen are eliminated. Signs one is participating in such behavior include red eyes, bruises on the neck, disorientation, unstable mood, and periods of silence. Knots left in clothing and ropes around the household is also a warning.  As a doctor stated, “It is important for children to know about the seriousness of what can happen to their body if they experiment even on time. Any type of asphyxiation, even if temporary, may cause strokes, seizures, retinal damage, brain damage or even death.” 

Public Schools Are Hurting Your Sleep — Here’s Why

How much sleep did you get last night? Five hours? Eight? Twelve? Chances are, if you’re a teen who goes to a public middle or high school, you’re not getting enough.

Sleep is a very important function in everyone’s lives, just as much as food, air, and water. Not getting enough of it can cause serious problems. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight, not engage in daily physical activity, suffer from depressive symptoms, use stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, and perform poorly in school. If that’s not enough, sleep deprivation has also been attributed to about 100,000 traffic crashes per year in the U.S., and lapses in attention, of which sleep deprivation is a major cause, are attributed to one million crashes per year — that’s one sixth of all traffic crashes per year in the U.S. This is especially magnified in adolescents.

Adolescents are different from children and adults with their circadian rhythms, or sleep cycles. Adolescence is a major stage of development, so the body needs, on average, about two hours more sleep than children and adults. In addition, the secretion of melatonin, the hormone which controls sleep, begins on average two hours later than in adults and children. The U.S. public school systems only add to the trouble.

According to the most recent Schools and Staffing Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Department of Education every few years to provide data on the condition of elementary, middle, and high school education throughout the country, only 17.7% of middle and high schools of the 39,700 surveyed, start after 8:30 a.m., which is the start time the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges schools to have in order to improve the health, safety, and academic performance of students. The countrywide average start time is 8:03. Only two states have average start times after 8:30, those being North Dakota at 8:31 and Alaska at 8:33. The even worse part is how early these start times get: 38.6% of schools start before 8:00, and 6.7% start before 7:30. Louisiana holds the earliest average start time, at 7:40.

A school boy sleeping at his desk.

A school boy sleeping at his desk.

Of an estimated 26.3 million students enrolled in public middle and high schools, the amount that have gotten enough sleep has remained at 31% since 2007, the first year that the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey included a question about it. The amount of sleep defined to be “sufficient” is 8.5 to 9.5 hours by the AAP, and eight to ten hours by the National Sleep Foundation.

Sleep is a very important aspect of life, and schools only make it more difficult for teens to get the necessary amount of sleep in order to function during daily life. Shifting school start times to even just a half hour later would benefit everyone’s health drastically. So, the next time you wake up miserably for school at 6 a.m., just know that it shouldn’t have to be the case.


 

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6430a1.htm https://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/sleep_and_teens_report1.pdf

North Korean Threat

North Korea has always made threats against the USA and the western way of life; lately however, things are getting much scarier. Recent missile tests proved they have the capability to reach the USA with ground-based missiles. There have been a lot of failed tests coming from the north lately, either failure to launch, missiles disintegrating mid-air, or something else. This led North Korean officials to believe that the USA was sabotaging them. The most recent test, however, proves a different point. North Korea is well on its way to developing nuclear warheads capable of taking out American cities. With a trajectory that was vertical, the newly tested missile reached an altitude of approximately 1,300 miles, estimated to reach 3,000 miles with a horizontal trajectory. With the approximate trajectory of 3,000 miles, and the US military base in Guam only 2,200 miles away, many US officials are on high alert, ready for anything.

Clash Of Rulers

Clash Of Rulers

Many speculate that the test was to see how high they could get a missile to go because the higher it goes, the faster and more violent the reentry is. This is related to a ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) warhead and while it was as intense as one, the duration was shorter. The threat of North Korea having ICBM warheads that could reach the Continental United States is fairly scary to think about. They never had any weapons that were a major threat to the USA, but now with these new developments, there is a possibility of war within the next few years.

Do Breast Implants Cause Cancer?

In some cases, breast augmentation surgery can lead to cancer.

In some cases, breast augmentation surgery can lead to cancer.

For many women, the pressure to have larger breasts can be overwhelming. Many women’s self consciousness lead them to turn to surgery. The desire to achieve bigger breasts has never been stronger thanks to breast augmentation, which some women believe is a harmless and permanent solution. Kimra Rogers, who was a happy and healthy 35 year old wife, and mother of three, got breast implants, completely unaware of the potential consequences. A year and a half before she was diagnosed, cancer cells began spreading from lymph nodes in her armpit up to her clavicle. Her skin started to turn dry and crack, her hair began falling out in handfuls, and she found an egg sized lump in her armpit. It was then she knew something was wrong and went to the doctor. Doctors could not see anything unusual in her blood work and x-rays. However, when they did an ultrasound, they saw six large hidden lumps in her breasts, which she had not been able to feel, because of her implants, doctors took a biopsy and sent it in for a CD30 test, which confirmed Kimra was one of the 359 women worldwide diagnosed with Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. After a year of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and testing, 15 years later at 50 years old, Kimra is still in remission. Kimra now has to deal with personal guilt and face daily chronic fatigue, “If I do something one day, like go to lunch with some girlfriends then get groceries, I know that the next day or two days I’m in bed,” Kimra says. Kimra hopes telling her story will make others aware of the risks she wishes she would have know before getting breast implants, “I want to get the word out to women, if you’re thinking about getting implants, think twice. Truly if they would have said, ‘Hey, there’s a possibility here you could get cancer,’ I would have taken that into consideration.” Fortunately, the FDA has recently issued a safety communication updating physicians and patients about a potential cancer risk associated with breast implants. Perhaps the “dream come true” surgery for many women needs to be put to an end- no cosmetic enhancement surgery is worth endangering one’s health.

Times We’ve Came Close to a Two-State Solution

Recently when Trump was in Israel, he referred to a Palestinian deal as “crucial.” The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on since the 1940s and is one of the most discussed political conflicts to this day. The movement for a two-state solution has picked up much speed in recent years from people who are sick of all the fighting. There have been a few times where a two-state solution was almost reached.

In 1937 Britain proposed the first two-state solution. It became known as the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palestinian nation they proposed covered a small part of Jerusalem, so it was rejected by the Arab community of Palestine but was accepted by most of the Jewish leadership.

In 1947 the UN proposed a partition plan that proposed a three-way division. It put Jerusalem under international control. This was accepted by Jewish leadership but rejected by Palestinian leadership as they did not want any independent Jewish presence in the area.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War was over control of the disputed land. The war resulted in the fleeing or expulsion of 711,000 Palestinians, known as Nakba from Palestinians, from the state of Israel and the 1949 Armistice Agreements. The Agreement divided the land between Israeli and Arab states. Palestine was not one of these Arab states. These lines were around until 1967.

In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the “Six Days War,” the UN unanimously passed resolution 242. Resolution 242 called for Israeli withdrawal of the territories they occupied during the war. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was strongly opposed to resolution 242 because they said it did nothing to reduce the Palestinian refugee problem. This was an important moment in the peace process because it marked the beginning of Palestinian rights.

In 1974, 56 member states in the UN General Assembly proposed adding the “question of Palestine” to the Assembly’s agenda. In November of that year in a resolution the Assembly affirmed Palestinian rights including “right to self-determination without external interference”, “the right to national independence and sovereignty”, and the “right to return to their homes and property”.

The PLO began supporting a two-state solution on an interim basis in the late 1970s with Said Hammami. In the mid 1970s the UN Security Council called for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines. This was rejected by the US because they think the borders should be negotiated directly by both parties.
In 1988 the Palestinians were finally given a state. The state still exists today, but it is very small and does not include a lot of the territories where many Palestinians live. Their declaration of independence directly mentioned the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and was endorsed by Israel. This has been interpreted as an Israeli endorsement of a two-state solution. A two-state solution seems to be coming closer and closer and could happen soon.