Every Month Of 2017, Recapped By Incredibly Bad*ss Women- & POC-Led Movies

Every Month Of 2017, Recapped By Incredibly Bad*ss Women- & POC-Led Movies

Who run the world? Underrepresented groups in the film world, that's who! Sorry, Beyonce.
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As 2017 draws to a close and we look back to what this year gave us, we might find ourselves a bit disappointed in some (okay, most) regards. Be it from political transitions, natural disasters, or just plain social drama, 2017 has served us chaos on a silver platter. It truly wasn't all a disappointment, though: from the Women's March to the Silence Breakers, this year has shown us our capacity and potential to make real change in our lives for the better. Nothing could depict the silver lining to an otherwise questionable year than some of 2017's best films.

Here's a breakdown of movies released in each month of 2017, all of which lead by amazing women and POC actors.

January: Hidden Figures

Major Events: The Women's March on Washington, Hollyweed, Muslim Travel Ban

The year started out with a bang when pranksters tampered with the famous Hollywood sign to make it appear to say "Hollyweed" on January 1st. Maybe we should've taken the sign prank as a signal for how the rest of the year would go, but, ya know, the US has never really been too great at reading between the lines. This month also marked the end of the Obama administration and the introduction of the Trump administration, whose inauguration was protested most notably in Washington DC by the Women's March. The demonstration, as characterized by empowerment and a push for visibility as it was, along with Trump's first major act as President with the Muslim ban, is the perfect complement to "Hidden Figures," whose depiction of the amazing accomplishments of the black women of NASA in the sixties and their fight for recognition of their talents is an emotional must-see.

February: Get Out

Major Events: Trump overturns directive on transgender rights to use toilets, the Moonlight/La La Land mix-up at the Oscars

February gave us the masterpiece that is Jordan Peele's "Get Out." The film goes about discussing themes of racism and more through a unique, well-thought, and thrilling storyline. These ideas are reflected in some of the month's major events, such as Trump's repeal of the directive that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identified with. Shutting down and taking away freedoms of minorities such as this is aptly discussed in Peele's ground-breaking film, making it the perfect representation of the month.

March: Beauty and the Beast

Major Events: South Korea overthrows and arrests its president, Disney refuses to cut the "gay moment" from Beauty and the Beast for Malaysia and pulls the film from there instead, federal judges block Trump's second Muslim ban

In March, Disney released its live-action remake of its classic "Beauty and the Beast." The film, while following very closely to the original, intersperses some feminist themes into the story, causing quite an upset, much like the upsets caused when South Korea removed their president from office, or when federal judges in the US used their power to block Trump's second attempt at his Muslim ban.

April: Gifted


Major Events: Controversial Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner, Missile strike ordered on Syria, Fox News lets go of Bill O'Reilly after sexual harassment allegations

"Gifted" was released on April 7th, and tells the story of an extremely talented little girl and the custody battle over her between her uncle and grandmother. The film features strong women and girls of varying ages and backgrounds, and does a stellar job of playing with the ideas of family and what it means to defy stereotypes in a heartwarming and thoughtful way. The tenderness of the film provides a stark contrast to April's events, such as the violent missile attacks ordered by Trump on Syria.

May: Everything, Everything


Major Events: MTV hosts the first awards show with gender-neutral categories, attack on Ariana Grande's concert in London, Trump meets the Pope

May opened with a strong statement from MTV, whose Movie & TV awards became the first award show to feature gender neutral categories. This breakaway from tradition is similar to "Everything, Everything," the YA novel-turned-movie whose stories centers around a girl whose illness keeps her locked inside her own home and the next door neighbor that she falls in love with. The film features an interracial novel, something far too underrepresented in entertainment, especially in things directed towards adolescents, like "Everything, Everything."

June: Wonder Woman

Major Events: "Wonder Woman "is the first superhero film to be directed by a woman, Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement, "Dear Evan Hansen" wins the Tony for Best Musical

With the start of summer, June brought some pretty impressive milestones in the entertainment industry: "Wonder Woman "became the first superhero movie released that was directed by a female director. The film itself shows the kickass Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, whose badassery is spurned by the pure desire for justice, unlike the tragic backstories that most strong female characters are often given. Her desire for a better and peaceful world was, unfortunately, contrasted by Trump's June 1st announcement that the US would oppose the Paris Climate agreement that would combat climate change. While he claimed it would hurt our economy, we'd need Wonder Woman's lasso of truth to get a real explanation for why we're the only country to have rejected the agreement.

July: Atomic Blonde

Major Events: BBC announces the first ever female Doctor on "Doctor Who," Justin Bieber is barred from performing in China, Trump announces policy (on Twitter, very official) to ban Transgender people from joining the military

Following suit with "Wonder Woman "in June, July brought us another amazing female character not motivated by a tragic past with "Atomic Blonde. "Charlize Theron plays an assassin whose antics will both impress and amaze. It is a refreshing sight to see an older woman be a strong protagonist whose might will leave the audience in awe. Speaking of new representations of women, BBC announced this month that the next Doctor in "Doctor Who", who has always been played by a man, would be played by a woman. Go BBC for that step in the equality direction, but boo to Trump, who once again revoked rights from transgenders when he announced in a tweet that transgender people would not be allowed to join the military.

August: The Glass Castle

Major events: Disney announces plans for its own streaming service, a giant inflatable chicken that resembled Trump was placed outside of the White House as a form of protest, White supremacists march on Charlottesville, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma devastate Texas, Florida, and Georgia

With the events in Charlottesville and two hurricanes leaving parts of the US devastated, August proved to be somewhat tumultuous, much like the family in the emotionally-charged "The Glass Castle. "For a light-hearted aspect of an otherwise dark month (and film), an inflatable chicken that resembled Trump was set-up outside the White House in protest. When it comes to making a statement, those who set up the inflatable sure didn't "chicken "out, am I right?

September: It

Major events: Trump announces plan to end DACA, Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico and leaves entire country without power, Lebron James calls Trump a "bum" in a tweet

As the latter part of the year progressed, it brought with it "It, "an amazingly-made remake of the classic horror film about a child-devouring crown. The movie made a big splash, from showing the awesome talent of the cast of mostly children to causing some people to be attracted to a murderous clown. In terms of terrorization, August had its fair share of that outside of "It: "another hurricane left Puerto Rico suffering and without power, and Trump announced a plan to end DACA which protected children of illegal immigrants brought to the US at a young age.

October: Happy Death Day

Major Events: The New York Times publishes investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, sparking the beginning of the "Me too" movement

October brought the spookiness with "Happy Death Day, "which tells the story of a woman who has to relive the day of her death repeatedly until she solves her own murder. A woman-focused movie is an apt representation for October, for the month contained the release of the sexual harassment investigation into Harvey Weinstein, an entertainment bigwig, which then sparked a whole lot more. The "me too" movement had its beginning, where people were encouraged to post "me too" on social media if they had ever been a victim of sexual harassment. The show of solidarity was further supplemented by various sexual harassment allegations coming to light against many prominent men in positions of power, both in and out of the entertainment industry. Similar to "Happy Death Day, "the cycle appeared to repeat itself.

November: Lady Bird

Major Events: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their engagement, Matt Lauer is fired from NBC, Australia legalizes gay marriage

Spilling over from October, the trend of sexual harassment claims continued in a big way, with events such as Matt Lauer's sudden firing from NBC. Changes continued to occur on a more positive note with Australia's decision to legalize same-sex marriage. Female empowerment ran no only through November's days, and "Lady Bird "continued the theme with a moving and interesting story about the bond between a mother and her fiercely opinionated daughter.

December: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Major Events: Times Magazine names their "Person of the Year" as "the Silence Breakers," Trump announces US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, wildfires near LA shut down a major highway, the Federal Communications Commission votes to end net neutrality

2017 did not disappoint when it came to finishing out on a wild note. Along with Trump defying precedent with recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, wildfires in California stirring up a lot of trouble near LA, and the FCC voting to end net neutrality, the latest installment of the beloved "Star Wars" saga broke away from the norm with its content. The film, while well-loved and hailed by most, was much like 2017 in its entirety: starting with a bit of madness, getting all tangled up in the middle, and ending in a big ol' mess. Rey is still a badass, though, so we can forgive it.

Cover Image Credit: johnboyega / Instagram

Popular Right Now

10 Things I Learned From Being In High School Marching Band

It's a lot harder than it looks!
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As someone who entered high school band in the 8th grade, I've got quite a few years under my belt. Also, as someone who has moved high schools and still always joined the band, I have a wide variety of experience in many situations. Here are a few things that these 5 years taught me, and how I grew as a person.

1. The sunrise is extremely beautiful.

Having to be at school at 6:45 with your equipment set up is quite a challenge. Through all of my years, I've discovered that it's totally worth it when the sky looks like a work of art.

2. Marching is a lot harder than it looks.

You might fall on your face a few times too. I used to think that it was going to be easy, but then with my coordinate sheet, I started to forget which yard lines were which and what dot I was supposed to be on. Sadly, they all look the same, and for a mere 8th-grade drumline member, it can get confusing.

3. You better start with your left foot...or else.

In order for everyone to look the same, there's got to be a system. If you start with your right foot, you're basically done for.

4. Staying in step is not easy.

"Left, right, left, right, hit, right, left, right... what measure is this?" As noted before, you have to re-learn how to walk. Oh, and walk a specific way too. Heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe.

5.Parades are the worst. I'm sorry.

No parade is as glamorous as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Your local Christmas parade or Fourth of July parade usually entails sweat, lots of walking, and playing the same song on repeat for a mile.

6. Your memory is tested.

I learned that once I had the first two movements down, memorizing the third one came to be a lot easier... except that when I learned the third one, I forgot the first. Your memory is really your best friend in marching band. Eventually, I learned what needed to be played at what spot I was at, but connecting the two was really difficult.

7. There's nothing you cannot do.

Marching band is full of hardships. I moved schools, quit drumline, and moved to the front ensemble. Coming into sophomore year at a 7th-grade skill level in any mallet instrument was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. However, with a great teacher who saw my potential, I learned that if you put your mind to something, there's nothing that cannot be accomplished. By my senior year, I was playing a four mallet solo at the state competition.

8. Marching season is the longest and shortest time of the year.

During marching season, you feel like it will never end. When it's over, you feel like it flew by. Being in the band really means waiting until marching season, and then being upset when it's over every single year. Senior year is the worst because you realize that you won't ever get to go through another marching season and that yes, it is truly over.

9. The friendships formed last forever.

There's nothing quite like spending every single weekend with someone for two months, sharing hotel rooms, being totally sleep deprived, and getting into a *little bit of trouble together.

10. I will always miss it.

As a freshman in college, there's always a part of me that wants to be doing what I loved in High School because there's truly nothing like it. Marching band took up so much of my time and was extremely physically and emotionally demanding, and it played a big role in my life. Now that it's gone, I've had to find things to fill that void.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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So You Want To Be A Poet?

Joining The Great Conversation
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Hello, Everyone:

Note: I’m new to the ODYSSEY, so I thought it would be nice to start off with a simple introduction before jumping into our discussion on poetry.

My name is Savanah Burns, and I am currently a graduate student at Sam Houston State University. There are two other things you should know about me: one, my life is a mess, but it’s my mess. (I hope that gives you comfort.) And, two, I identify as a poet.


What exactly does it mean to be a poet, let alone, a writer? And what makes a “good” writer so “good?”

In Charles Bukowski’s poem “so you want to be a writer?” he lists off a litany, or a series of inquisitive statements that aim at expressing the same answer, in order to express what he thinks a writer is and why they write.

In his litany, Bukowski asserts that a writer is someone who is passionate. A writer is someone who writes when the feeling hits and who doesn’t expect to gain anything out of writing (Bukowski, lines 1-2, 14-19). A writer is someone who is patient in regard to when the right words come to them and who isn’t ready but insists on getting feedback (Bukowski, lines 28-36). A writer is someone who doesn’t try to be anyone but themselves and who writes because they are compelled. A writer doesn’t choose their passion for words; it chooses them (Bukowski, lines 37-64).

As for determining if a poet is good or not, there are two pieces to consider in this answer. One, it takes time invested in reading widely and diversely to know what is considered good writing and what isn’t. Also, there will always be an element of personal taste and subjectivity that is yoked with the former.

In saying that, I’m not going tell you my definition of “good” poetry. Not outright, anyway. Mostly I won’t tell you because that’s a question for you to answer on your own. However, I will share with you my thoughts on poetry and small pieces of my life as we go forward. But, more than that, I look forward to entering a conversation with you.


What is The Great Conversation?

The Great Conversation is this notion that writers and thinkers are free to enter any given conversation, on any topic, in any given time period, and be able to reference, build on, or refine that idea, thereby furthering the conversation. According to Robert M. Hutchins, The Great Conversation can be described as “the spirit of inquiry” and the use of “Logos” (48-49). In other words, “Nothing is to remain undiscussed. Everybody is to speak his [or her] mind. No proposition is to be left unexamined” (Hutchins 49).


How do you enter this Great Conversation?

I could give you a plethora of examples, or I could show you a personal one.

Recall how Charles Bukowski’s poem, “so you want to be a writer?”, asks the question: what is a writer and why do they write? To recap, a writer is someone who writes because of passion and is compelled to do so. It is part of who they are, and they write despite the disadvantages and being told not to write. If I were to enter this conversation, I would ask myself the same question: what is a writer or poet, and why do they write?

My response:

If You Were to Undress a Poet . . .

—After the poem, “so you want to be a writer?” by Charles Bukowski.


If you were to check the pocket of a poet,

you would find that they carry with them:

a bulge of air,

that’s heavy and ready to be cleared.


If you were to undress a poet,

you would find their paper soft skin.

Bare because they threw out their old draft;

Trash, worthless trash, written onto their body.

Revised draft, until perfect and holy.


If you were to open a poet’s chest cavity,

you would see their wings;

lungs—

replaced with glass.

Watch the doctor pull it out, wipe it off, and put it back in.


If you were to ask a poet, “what is most precious to you?”,

they might tell you, “Fire.”

It’s how glass is made.

It’s how they discarded their old skin, etched in nonsense.

It’s how they find the passion to keep breathing.


How did I enter the conversation?

When I entered this conversation, I made a couple of choices. I chose to consider a few specific details Bukowski made in his poem while making my own poem for the sake of making it feel like it was in direct conversation with his.

While Bukowski focuses on the process of writing and their voice, I decided to focus on what a poet looks like. In deciding that I wanted to comment on Bukowski’s poem, I wanted to take aspects of his writing to incorporate into my own. I mimicked some of Bukowski’s language while maintaining my own stylistic preferences; I copy how Bukowski repeats the “if” statement, but I was reluctant to mimic his choice of breaking a rule of grammar (capitalization). There are other choices I could have considered, but, this was enough for me to write the response I wanted.


Note: it should be said that, sometimes, a poet doesn’t acknowledge, or consider, what someone else has said when they enter The Great Conversation or talk about a given topic... To each their own.


Going forward, I hope you will consider continuing this conversation. I challenge you to select a poem from a website like poets.org and respond to it. However, even if you don’t, I still look forward to our next chat.

Best,

Savanah

Sources:

  1. Bukowski, Charles.“so you want to be a writer?” poet.org. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/so-you-want-be...
  2. Hutchins M., Robert. The Great Conversation. Britannica.com.http://blogs.britannica.com/wp-content/pdf/The_Gre...
Cover Image Credit: Abdullah Öğük

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